HAL is nice, but it's not Celebrity.: Oosterdam Cruise Review by naperguy12
Overall Member Rating
HAL is nice, but it's not Celebrity.
Room: We paid a premium and booked an SA Category Deluxe Veranda Suite. A very nice size room (no separate bedroom), with a very large veranda. Room has a California King size bed (very nice). More than enough storage and closet space. Bathroom has a tub with a shower and a separate individual shower, dual sinks, and plenty of storage here also. Suites come with access to the Neptune Lounge which is open from about 7am until about 8pm. Very nice place to get online if you need to stay "connected", via separate internet package. I was disappointed that individual rooms do not have wifi access, you must go to the Neptune Lounge or other public area's of the ship. Neptune Lounge also has snacks and drinks always available. Also a personal concierge there for restaurant bookings or shore excursions.
Ship: Overall was clean and nice. I didn't find it More tacky as other reviews have mentioned.
Staff: Seemed readily available. We rarely saw our room steward but room was always cleaned in the late morning and turned down during dinner time. Towel animals were on the bed every night.
Casino: Friendly dealers, and generally machines were open. I even won the slot tournament. Champaign, glasses, and a HAL robe were the prize.
Restaurants: Were generally good, but nothing special. Vista (main) dining room was generally good. No complaints. Pinnacle Grill (which everyone seems to rave about), seemed very average to us. Very nice setting, but we all found the food just OK and nothing that special. Service was just average here also. Ordered iced tea when sitting down and waited about 15 minutes to see that iced tea. We complained to the waiter twice about waiting so long for a tea. We also tried Canaletto (Italian restaurant). This was good. It's basically "large tapas" style dining. Family style if you will. Food here seemed better than Pinnacle Grill. Very large portions to share. The Lido Buffet was also good, but nothing real special here.
Entertainment: We were on a private charter which brought on their own entertainment. The piano players in the lounge were good and always had a nice crowd.
Spa & HydroPool: As expected, very expensive services, but nice to do on a cruise. HydroPool was nice, but wish they would change out that water more often. Main pool area is great and they usually keep it covered so its warm and can lay out at the pool in your swim suit or sit around in shorts and t-shirt and watch Alaska go bye.
Alaska: Juneau was nice and typical port shopping. Sitka was very interesting with it's Russian heritage and history. Ketchikan was our favorite, but very short port time. Arrived at 7-8am and departed at noon. Was our favorite stop but so short, there was no time to do anything. Victoria was very nice.
Overall: Tracy Arm Glacier was just beautiful. We saw whales, eagles, sea otters, etc. I would LOVE to return to Alaska but would probably change routes and do Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, etc. HAL was good, nothing to complain about to much, but nothing that overwhelmed us either. I would recommend HAL and the Oosterdam based on a price point. I think if you can afford the extra cost that a Celebrity Cruise would be a step-up in quality. Less