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Oosterdam Mexican Cruise 11/18/06  11/25/06 Embarkation  We arrived about 11:45 on Saturday the 18th. We dropped our bags at the terminal and then I parked the car in the lot across the street, very convenient. There were 4 of us and our check-in went smoothly the computers were down so they could not take our pictures at check-in. (We had our pictures taken that night at the front desk took all of 5 minutes). We were given a number (17) and were asked to wait until it was called to board, we waited about 15 minutes and then were on to the ship. The 4 of us were escorted to the Lido deck after checking in our carry on baggage (this was nice as we did not have to lug our baggage around with us). At approximately 1:00 PM the call came that our cabins were ready picked up our carry on bags and preceded to the cabins. Cabin 5002 this is a handicap cabin at the front of the ship (I recently had knee surgery) the cabin was nicely laid out and the cabin steward (NaNang) was at our beck and call. We had minor problems with the toilet not flushing the first day and he got it fixed in a matter of hours. We also had an AC problem after some maintenance was done near our cabin and NaNang got it fixed right away. Great Steward and very friendly he always greeted us with a smile. This cabin has lots of storage we did not use all the shelves and drawers. The verandah is a great place to watch dolphins surfing in the wake of the ship and flying fish. Those going on this cruise in Jan  Mar 07 should be able to see whales from the verandah. Early Dining (5:30 - 6:00)  We had 3 different waiters (Guru, Iip, Artha) during the cruise  lucky for us the asst. waiter (Prince Rama) was with us every night. Here we had a little concern, this is the first time I have been on a cruise ship that almost every dish had onions in it, even chilled Mango soup. This is a problem as I am allergic to onions. After some discussions with the waiters and head waiter, I was allowed to see the next evening menu prior to leaving each night, this way I could order and they made sure no onions were served to me. As for selection on the menus it seemed that it was not as good as on the Maasdam, this could be for many reasons but I believe it is the chef's choice as to what is served or offered. Thanksgiving the menu options included a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and a lot of people ordered that. Two of those at our table requested more gravy as not much was on the plate - messes up the presentation so the Asst. Waiter got them their own gravy boat full of gravy. Because the Thanksgiving the Surf and Turf usually scheduled for Formal Night was offered on Wednesday night. Lido - we ate most breakfasts and lunch in the Lido and found the service could have been better. It is a little hard to handle a tray of food with one hand while walking with a cane. Lucky for me after the 2nd day Iip (who worked the Lido for breakfast and Lunch) saw me and made sure someone assisted with the tray. The selection in the Lido was one of the best I have seen on any ship. The bread pudding was great however if you didn't get any by 2:00 pm each day they seemed to run out. The selection of sugar free/no sugar added desserts were ok. Pinnacle - we ate in the Pinnacle on Monday evening, gift from our TA, there were six of us and we each had something different. The service was good however probably would not pay the $30 per person to dine here. This is just my opinion. Lay out of the ship- Talked with Mr. Dearing the Hotel Manager about the choke points in the ship - Photo Gallery and Shopping Arcade - he stated that it was designed that way so you have to go through those areas. The designers thought it would help photo and shop sales, in my opinion I don't think it worked as we went on Deck and around those areas when it was crowded. Casino - We felt the casino was about the right size. We never had a problem finding a slot machine or a gaming table. One of the group actually got a blister on her finger from playing one of the games. However, I thought it was weird to have the Texas Hold'em table in the sports bar. Photographers - The photographers were not as insistent as on other cruises we have been on. This was a good thing, once we told them we were not interested they left you alone. Shopping Guide - Linda the shopping guide assisted our wives in getting some good prices on jewelry. She went out of her way and delayed going back to the ship to help our wives out. She was very knowledgeable on what a good price was and how far you could negotiate with the local dealers. Shows - The shows were the usual cruise faire except for Julie Barr the comedian, she gave two shows one was a family show and one was for Adults. Both of her shows were outstanding she gets the audience involved in the show and that was great. Mariner Party - The Mariner Party with the Captain was not well attended, approximately 200 out of 700 Mariners appeared at the party. We also attended a smaller party with the Captain and Officers in the Oak Room; we were able to actually speak with a number of officers, the Cruise Director and others about the ship and what we could expect during the cruise. This was a very informative and insightful gathering. Green House Spa - I had a rock massage and would not recommend it to anyone. After the massage I felt like my shoulders and back was still knotted up. I had the same massage on the Maasdam in February and felt great afterwards. Ports of Call: Cabo San Lucas - There were relatively high seas and since you tender in this port it took awhile to load the tenders and get ashore. HAL did hire extra tenders to help with the tendering process. We picked up our tender tickets (# 45) at about 12:30 and were not called to get on the tender until 1:40. As we are fisherman we just went to the pier and talked to the locals about the fishing, saw a lot of Marlin, and Dorado being brought in. We plan on coming back on a land vacation to do some fishing. Mazatlan - We tied up to the pier here and disembarkation went very smooth. We did not have a shore excursion planned here and ended up getting a local tour operator to take us around for $20 per person. He was knowledgeable, however we were put with a group of people who just wanted to see the local churches, and our wives wanted to shop so he had a hard time pleasing both groups. I believe next time we will take a taxi or a HAL shore excursion. Puerto Vallarta - This was another tender port, the seas were calm and tendering went fast. We took the Town and Country Tequila tour, it was well worth it, and our guide Jose (Pepe) was very knowledgeable and made the tour very interesting. Learning how Tequila was made was educational and the tasting wasn't bad either. We did have a couple that did not return to the Bus when we were downtown and Jose waited about a ½ hour for them and then left them in town. The way I look at it is if 20+ people can make it back on time then it was only their fault they got left in town. Sea Days - There was so much going on you could not physically do everything so you had to choose what you wanted to do or just relax by one of the pools. We had a great time just watching others have a good time. The Cruise Director and her staff did a good job getting people involved in the activities. Disembarkation - This went very smooth, being able to stay in your cabin until your number is called is great. However, there were still people who lined up in the passageways around the gangplank with their luggage to wait for their number to be called. Finding the our bags was easy, just asked the HAL rep were Orange 4 was and found our bags were all together in one area. First time we haven't had to hunt for our bags. Since we parked across the street I went and got the car and pulled up to the terminal and we were on our way back to LA before 10:00 AM. Miscellaneous - Everyone who was on this cruise has a different experience, we enjoyed ourselves and thought the crew went out of their way to accommodate us. The vibration from running on one Azipod was more noticeable in the aft part of the ship and when the ship was going at least 16 knots, the further forward we wend the less noticeable it was for us. However in some moderate seas 7 to 10 feet we felt the roll of the ship more in our cabin than our friends did in their Aft-ship cabin. Overall this was a great experience and we can't wait to go on the Volendam in January.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by GarySuzy

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2006
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Oosterdam Mexican Cruise 11/18/06  11/25/06
Embarkation  We arrived about 11:45 on Saturday the 18th. We dropped our bags at the terminal and then I parked the car in the lot across the street, very convenient. There were 4 of us and our check-in went smoothly the computers were down so they could not take our pictures at check-in. (We had our pictures taken that night at the front desk took all of 5 minutes). We were given a number (17) and were asked to wait until it was called to board, we waited about 15 minutes and then were on to the ship. The 4 of us were escorted to the Lido deck after checking in our carry on baggage (this was nice as we did not have to lug our baggage around with us). At approximately 1:00 PM the call came that our cabins were ready picked up our carry on bags and preceded to the cabins.
Cabin 5002 this is a handicap cabin at the front of the ship (I recently had knee surgery) the cabin was nicely laid out and the cabin steward (NaNang) was at our beck and call. We had minor problems with the toilet not flushing the first day and he got it fixed in a matter of hours. We also had an AC problem after some maintenance was done near our cabin and NaNang got it fixed right away. Great Steward and very friendly he always greeted us with a smile. This cabin has lots of storage we did not use all the shelves and drawers. The verandah is a great place to watch dolphins surfing in the wake of the ship and flying fish. Those going on this cruise in Jan  Mar 07 should be able to see whales from the verandah.
Early Dining (5:30 - 6:00)  We had 3 different waiters (Guru, Iip, Artha) during the cruise  lucky for us the asst. waiter (Prince Rama) was with us every night. Here we had a little concern, this is the first time I have been on a cruise ship that almost every dish had onions in it, even chilled Mango soup. This is a problem as I am allergic to onions. After some discussions with the waiters and head waiter, I was allowed to see the next evening menu prior to leaving each night, this way I could order and they made sure no onions were served to me. As for selection on the menus it seemed that it was not as good as on the Maasdam, this could be for many reasons but I believe it is the chef's choice as to what is served or offered.
Thanksgiving the menu options included a Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and a lot of people ordered that. Two of those at our table requested more gravy as not much was on the plate - messes up the presentation so the Asst. Waiter got them their own gravy boat full of gravy. Because the Thanksgiving the Surf and Turf usually scheduled for Formal Night was offered on Wednesday night.
Lido - we ate most breakfasts and lunch in the Lido and found the service could have been better. It is a little hard to handle a tray of food with one hand while walking with a cane. Lucky for me after the 2nd day Iip (who worked the Lido for breakfast and Lunch) saw me and made sure someone assisted with the tray. The selection in the Lido was one of the best I have seen on any ship. The bread pudding was great however if you didn't get any by 2:00 pm each day they seemed to run out. The selection of sugar free/no sugar added desserts were ok.
Pinnacle - we ate in the Pinnacle on Monday evening, gift from our TA, there were six of us and we each had something different. The service was good however probably would not pay the $30 per person to dine here. This is just my opinion.
Lay out of the ship- Talked with Mr. Dearing the Hotel Manager about the choke points in the ship - Photo Gallery and Shopping Arcade - he stated that it was designed that way so you have to go through those areas. The designers thought it would help photo and shop sales, in my opinion I don't think it worked as we went on Deck and around those areas when it was crowded.
Casino - We felt the casino was about the right size. We never had a problem finding a slot machine or a gaming table. One of the group actually got a blister on her finger from playing one of the games. However, I thought it was weird to have the Texas Hold'em table in the sports bar.
Photographers - The photographers were not as insistent as on other cruises we have been on. This was a good thing, once we told them we were not interested they left you alone.
Shopping Guide - Linda the shopping guide assisted our wives in getting some good prices on jewelry. She went out of her way and delayed going back to the ship to help our wives out. She was very knowledgeable on what a good price was and how far you could negotiate with the local dealers.
Shows - The shows were the usual cruise faire except for Julie Barr the comedian, she gave two shows one was a family show and one was for Adults. Both of her shows were outstanding she gets the audience involved in the show and that was great.
Mariner Party - The Mariner Party with the Captain was not well attended, approximately 200 out of 700 Mariners appeared at the party. We also attended a smaller party with the Captain and Officers in the Oak Room; we were able to actually speak with a number of officers, the Cruise Director and others about the ship and what we could expect during the cruise. This was a very informative and insightful gathering.
Green House Spa - I had a rock massage and would not recommend it to anyone. After the massage I felt like my shoulders and back was still knotted up. I had the same massage on the Maasdam in February and felt great afterwards.
Ports of Call:
Cabo San Lucas - There were relatively high seas and since you tender in this port it took awhile to load the tenders and get ashore. HAL did hire extra tenders to help with the tendering process. We picked up our tender tickets (# 45) at about 12:30 and were not called to get on the tender until 1:40. As we are fisherman we just went to the pier and talked to the locals about the fishing, saw a lot of Marlin, and Dorado being brought in. We plan on coming back on a land vacation to do some fishing.
Mazatlan - We tied up to the pier here and disembarkation went very smooth. We did not have a shore excursion planned here and ended up getting a local tour operator to take us around for $20 per person. He was knowledgeable, however we were put with a group of people who just wanted to see the local churches, and our wives wanted to shop so he had a hard time pleasing both groups. I believe next time we will take a taxi or a HAL shore excursion.
Puerto Vallarta - This was another tender port, the seas were calm and tendering went fast. We took the Town and Country Tequila tour, it was well worth it, and our guide Jose (Pepe) was very knowledgeable and made the tour very interesting. Learning how Tequila was made was educational and the tasting wasn't bad either. We did have a couple that did not return to the Bus when we were downtown and Jose waited about a ½ hour for them and then left them in town. The way I look at it is if 20+ people can make it back on time then it was only their fault they got left in town.
Sea Days - There was so much going on you could not physically do everything so you had to choose what you wanted to do or just relax by one of the pools. We had a great time just watching others have a good time. The Cruise Director and her staff did a good job getting people involved in the activities.
Disembarkation - This went very smooth, being able to stay in your cabin until your number is called is great. However, there were still people who lined up in the passageways around the gangplank with their luggage to wait for their number to be called. Finding the our bags was easy, just asked the HAL rep were Orange 4 was and found our bags were all together in one area. First time we haven't had to hunt for our bags. Since we parked across the street I went and got the car and pulled up to the terminal and we were on our way back to LA before 10:00 AM.
Miscellaneous - Everyone who was on this cruise has a different experience, we enjoyed ourselves and thought the crew went out of their way to accommodate us. The vibration from running on one Azipod was more noticeable in the aft part of the ship and when the ship was going at least 16 knots, the further forward we wend the less noticeable it was for us. However in some moderate seas 7 to 10 feet we felt the roll of the ship more in our cabin than our friends did in their Aft-ship cabin.
Overall this was a great experience and we can't wait to go on the Volendam in January.
GarySuzy’s Full Rating Summary
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