I'm not sure I sailed on the same Oosterdam as the other people. Mine was marginal, at best. Mexican Riviera, 10/21-10/28/06
As has been reported, one Azipod was inop. Without notice of this prior to boarding, we sailed from San Diego into the projected path of Hurricane Paul!! With the Captain's assurances that passenger safety was his first priority. (??) It all worked out, but not before wandering around at sea in the vicinity of Cabo San Lucas for 36 hrs with a short last minute stop at Cabo primarily for crew disembarking, and skipping Mazatlan entirely. Finally Paul dissipated and we did make it to Puerta Vallarta on schedule. Us, the Rotterdam and two other cruise ships, all totaling about 10,000 people.
As on the previous two HAL cruises we've taken, stateroom and dining room service were excellent. However, room service was a disaster, time after time. We had a Deluxe Verandah Suite and ordered coffee for delivery between 7:30-8:00 each morning. It was ALWAYS early. Knocking on the door usually began at 7:10 or so and was our wakeup call. And lunch one day with guests in our suite took 1:45 to arrive, in spite of repeated calls and being told it was ready and would be up soon.
Numerous little things on the ship were broken, like elevator buttons, the phone messaging system, light bulbs out, our toilet leaking, etc. And most were not addressed during our cruise. They did fix the toilet though. But it all added up to an impression of uncaring maintenance. They could have at least removed the broken chair from the front row of the Crows Nest.
The Deluxe Verandah Suite we purchased seemed to buy us nothing. We did get a special line at check in and use of the Neptune Lounge, where the poor ladies acting as concierge got to deal with our repeated calls. They really did try hard and were truly concerned, but resolutions to our problems were out their control. And in spite of buying HAL's airport transfer, we were among the last off the ship and dropped at the San Diego airport on a Saturday morning with 25 minutes to plane time. So much for suite privileges.
It didn't help that, as we learned, there were 1200 travel industry persons aboard and HAL kept closing public areas such as bars, deck pools, Crows Nest, etc for their prime time private parties. And the ship's officers who were supposed to host functions for the suite customers only briefly showed up, if at all. Guess they were busy elsewhere.
We weren't the only passengers who experienced our frustrations. Our dining room tablemates were also suite occupants and they had the same experiences and observations we did. It was an anniversary cruise for them and his first (and I think last) cruise.
So now we'll cancel our deposit on the Westerdam for an Eastern Med. cruise next May and be looking at other lines for future cruising. We sure liked our previous HAL cruises but this just smacked of a big decline in attitude.