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Oosterdam Mexican Riviera Cruise 11-25-06 to 21-2-06 by AZjohn OK, this will be my first cruise review I have ever done. I hope to offer a brief overview of my wife and my experience onboard and a few shore excursions that we did which maybe a little different than our fellow Cruse Critic members. By the way, we had the best Cruise Critic group, period!!!! Personal Background: We are a couple in our late 40's /early 50's who have cruised 4 times previously to this in the past 3 years (we became quickly addicted to cruising after our first experience in 2003). The previous cruises were on Carnival, NCL, Oceania, and HAL, with this cruise being our second time on HAL. We basically look for two different ways to enjoy a specific itinerary on a cruise. Either a port intensive exploration of towns or a simple R&R escape from a busy life. This particular cruise was deemed as totally R&R with no need for anything but nice weather and a comfortable lounge chair. The Ship: The Oosterdam was an inviting and gracious ship. Our stateroom was a VB veranda # 6112 on the port side. It was typical in size but got to say the bed was much larger than we ever experienced on any ship before. It felt close to a king size rather than a small queen size, which is a huge bonus for us both. We also enjoyed the view on the veranda through the glass and the bathtub is what the wife enjoys over any other cruise line. Our steward, Tony, was great and always took care of us in the standard HAL way. The flow of the inside public areas were kind of different than what we have experienced before. It seemed to kind of wonder or snake around from fore to aft with a lot of small secluded sitting/bar areas. I found it interesting to seem to find a new area of the ship most everyday. Our favorite spot for lounging in the sun was on deck 10 by a spiral staircase you can find by the lido pool. There wasn't much traffic up there or music playing, which was exactly what we enjoyed about it. Just the sound of the ocean and the sea breeze blowing across the deck, ahhhhh. We had the first dinning time in the main dinning room on deck 2 (lower). We had a great crew taking care of us there with a can do or will do attitude. We were seated at a table for 4 and the other couple was friends of ours. Now this really helped with the flex dinning time of between 5:30 and 6:00 because we were always either running early or late to dinner. It was great to ask the other couple what time we want to meet for dinner an hour before hand, so we never had to wait for each other before we ordered. I could imagine if it was another couple we didn't know who was sharing the same table, we would have problems if we showed up at 6:00 and they showed up at 5:30. We did have dinner one night in the Pinnacle Grill which was the only negative experience we had on the whole cruise. The overall condition of the ship I would rank as excellent. I finally got to meet James Deering at our CC party and I can tell he runs a great ship and he is a nice person. I thought it was very cool he took time out of his day to meet our group and talked very candidly about the ship. This leads me to the topic of the port side azipod. Other than showing up at noon in Cabo and leaving PV at 6:00 or 7:00, there wasn't anyway I could tell there was a problem with the azipod. Plans are to replace the azipod with a new one which will be shipped at the first of the year. When it will be replaced in dry dock is yet to be determined by the headquarter offices in Washington. Embarkation and Disembarkation was a breeze in San Diego. What a pleasure it is to show up at 10:30 and be on the ship at 11:30 having lunch. Our cabin was ready at 1:30 and Tony was there to greet us with a smile. The following Saturday (I will refer to as the saddest day of the cruise) we were able to order room service for breakfast and hang out in our room or lounge at my favorite spot on deck 10 until 9:45 when we were called to leave the ship. Took us only 15 minutes and we had our luggage and cab heading for the airport. Ports Of Call: Cabo was a short day due to arriving at noon. We took the Swimming with the Dolphins excursion through HAL. What an experience!!!! There were 5 groups of 6 people in each who got to go in the huge pool and play and swim with dolphins. I don't know how to describe this experience the way it should, but I will just say that everyone should try this once in their life, it's truly worth the cost. In Mazatlan we booked and 4 and a half hour massage at Aroma Spa (use to be called Royal Spa). I got to tell you that this was an awesome experience and the service was great. An American named Knute owns this and was great to deal with. We pre-purchased these massages on e-bay for about $70 each (what a deal). Now I got to warn you that if you are shy this may not be a massage you would enjoy because the therapist will massage every inch of your body with the exception of your private areas, but they came close to those&LOL. Just a small towel is used to cover those areas, but I personally enjoyed my buns massaged and am not usually shy or bashful. The spa is located about a mile or two from the pier but would recommend getting a taxi to take you there because it would have been impossible to find just by walking (a lot of one way streets to get there). PV was our favorite stop on the cruise. We walked directly to Krystal Resort from the ship (thanks to the CC members who gave directions). Now they do charge $20 to get into the resort but I just flashed them a copy of my e-mail conformation for our massage appointments and told the security guard we are here for a massage. They let us in with no problem without paying the $20 each. Once inside we headed for the beach part of the resort to find some lounge chairs on the beach. We found a guy dressed in a brown uniform that was in charge of assigning the beach lounge chairs and handed him $5 and asked for 2 chairs under a straw umbrella next to the shore line. He gave us the best he had, wiped off the chairs and got us a table and then called our waiter over for us. At noon we headed over to the massage area (can you see a pattern here?) and had another exceptional massage at the price of $35 for 75 minutes. The rest of our day was spent lounging on the beach, eating and drinking, and just enjoying life. Our bill at the end of the day for 2 lunches and 5 drinks was something like $20, so we gave the waiter a nice tip and called it a great day! Oh, and I tried parasailing there for the first time in my life and what another great experience! Summary: My wife and I had a very enjoyable and relaxing week vacation. Because we were just looking for kicking back and not having to be entertained or partying all the time, this cruise worked out perfect. We do enjoy HAL for many personal reasons but understand they may not be right for everyone. I don't think we will ever book a cruise on a larger ship than the Oosterdam and will probably stick with the Volendam size ship next time we book a HAL cruise. Not that there is anything wrong with the Oosterdam, she is a beautiful ship, but we both kind of have fond memories of our first cruise on the Volendam last summer in Alaska.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by AZjohn

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2006
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Oosterdam Mexican Riviera Cruise 11-25-06 to 21-2-06 by AZjohn
OK, this will be my first cruise review I have ever done. I hope to offer a brief overview of my wife and my experience onboard and a few shore excursions that we did which maybe a little different than our fellow Cruse Critic members. By the way, we had the best Cruise Critic group, period!!!!
Personal Background:
We are a couple in our late 40's /early 50's who have cruised 4 times previously to this in the past 3 years (we became quickly addicted to cruising after our first experience in 2003). The previous cruises were on Carnival, NCL, Oceania, and HAL, with this cruise being our second time on HAL.
We basically look for two different ways to enjoy a specific itinerary on a cruise. Either a port intensive exploration of towns or a simple R&R escape from a busy life. This particular cruise was deemed as totally R&R with no need for anything but nice weather and a comfortable lounge chair.
The Ship:
The Oosterdam was an inviting and gracious ship. Our stateroom was a VB veranda # 6112 on the port side. It was typical in size but got to say the bed was much larger than we ever experienced on any ship before. It felt close to a king size rather than a small queen size, which is a huge bonus for us both. We also enjoyed the view on the veranda through the glass and the bathtub is what the wife enjoys over any other cruise line. Our steward, Tony, was great and always took care of us in the standard HAL way.
The flow of the inside public areas were kind of different than what we have experienced before. It seemed to kind of wonder or snake around from fore to aft with a lot of small secluded sitting/bar areas. I found it interesting to seem to find a new area of the ship most everyday. Our favorite spot for lounging in the sun was on deck 10 by a spiral staircase you can find by the lido pool. There wasn't much traffic up there or music playing, which was exactly what we enjoyed about it. Just the sound of the ocean and the sea breeze blowing across the deck, ahhhhh.
We had the first dinning time in the main dinning room on deck 2 (lower). We had a great crew taking care of us there with a can do or will do attitude. We were seated at a table for 4 and the other couple was friends of ours. Now this really helped with the flex dinning time of between 5:30 and 6:00 because we were always either running early or late to dinner. It was great to ask the other couple what time we want to meet for dinner an hour before hand, so we never had to wait for each other before we ordered. I could imagine if it was another couple we didn't know who was sharing the same table, we would have problems if we showed up at 6:00 and they showed up at 5:30. We did have dinner one night in the Pinnacle Grill which was the only negative experience we had on the whole cruise.
The overall condition of the ship I would rank as excellent. I finally got to meet James Deering at our CC party and I can tell he runs a great ship and he is a nice person. I thought it was very cool he took time out of his day to meet our group and talked very candidly about the ship. This leads me to the topic of the port side azipod. Other than showing up at noon in Cabo and leaving PV at 6:00 or 7:00, there wasn't anyway I could tell there was a problem with the azipod. Plans are to replace the azipod with a new one which will be shipped at the first of the year. When it will be replaced in dry dock is yet to be determined by the headquarter offices in Washington.
Embarkation and Disembarkation was a breeze in San Diego. What a pleasure it is to show up at 10:30 and be on the ship at 11:30 having lunch. Our cabin was ready at 1:30 and Tony was there to greet us with a smile. The following Saturday (I will refer to as the saddest day of the cruise) we were able to order room service for breakfast and hang out in our room or lounge at my favorite spot on deck 10 until 9:45 when we were called to leave the ship. Took us only 15 minutes and we had our luggage and cab heading for the airport.
Ports Of Call:
Cabo was a short day due to arriving at noon. We took the Swimming with the Dolphins excursion through HAL. What an experience!!!! There were 5 groups of 6 people in each who got to go in the huge pool and play and swim with dolphins. I don't know how to describe this experience the way it should, but I will just say that everyone should try this once in their life, it's truly worth the cost.
In Mazatlan we booked and 4 and a half hour massage at Aroma Spa (use to be called Royal Spa). I got to tell you that this was an awesome experience and the service was great. An American named Knute owns this and was great to deal with. We pre-purchased these massages on e-bay for about $70 each (what a deal). Now I got to warn you that if you are shy this may not be a massage you would enjoy because the therapist will massage every inch of your body with the exception of your private areas, but they came close to those&LOL. Just a small towel is used to cover those areas, but I personally enjoyed my buns massaged and am not usually shy or bashful. The spa is located about a mile or two from the pier but would recommend getting a taxi to take you there because it would have been impossible to find just by walking (a lot of one way streets to get there).
PV was our favorite stop on the cruise. We walked directly to Krystal Resort from the ship (thanks to the CC members who gave directions). Now they do charge $20 to get into the resort but I just flashed them a copy of my e-mail conformation for our massage appointments and told the security guard we are here for a massage. They let us in with no problem without paying the $20 each. Once inside we headed for the beach part of the resort to find some lounge chairs on the beach. We found a guy dressed in a brown uniform that was in charge of assigning the beach lounge chairs and handed him $5 and asked for 2 chairs under a straw umbrella next to the shore line. He gave us the best he had, wiped off the chairs and got us a table and then called our waiter over for us. At noon we headed over to the massage area (can you see a pattern here?) and had another exceptional massage at the price of $35 for 75 minutes. The rest of our day was spent lounging on the beach, eating and drinking, and just enjoying life. Our bill at the end of the day for 2 lunches and 5 drinks was something like $20, so we gave the waiter a nice tip and called it a great day! Oh, and I tried parasailing there for the first time in my life and what another great experience!
Summary:
My wife and I had a very enjoyable and relaxing week vacation. Because we were just looking for kicking back and not having to be entertained or partying all the time, this cruise worked out perfect. We do enjoy HAL for many personal reasons but understand they may not be right for everyone. I don't think we will ever book a cruise on a larger ship than the Oosterdam and will probably stick with the Volendam size ship next time we book a HAL cruise. Not that there is anything wrong with the Oosterdam, she is a beautiful ship, but we both kind of have fond memories of our first cruise on the Volendam last summer in Alaska.
AZjohn’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
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