Travelers: Myself 40's, my mother 70, and my son 8. My aunt and uncle as joined us (60's) they stayed in a VC 5168. We flew in from Seattle on Friday and stayed at the Hampton Inn. It worked out well as they have a van that picked us up at the airport at 12:30 pm and took us to the hotel. I requested rooms toward the front and we got them. One of the rooms wasn't ready but one was we put our luggage in one room and took off for lunch. When we returned the other room was ready so we settled in and meet up again about 6:30 for dinner which we walked to at Anthony's Fish Grotto it was wonderful walked right in and were sat right away. I was expecting a wait being Friday night. I think this is a perfect hotel if the Holiday Inn is booked or if you want to save $50.00 or $60.00 a room. The hotel shuttle took us and all our luggage to the terminal the next morning.
Embarkation: Went very smooth, we got our carry-on luggage and went through security, and got right up to check-in. we arrived at 11:30 and there was already quite a few people there, but the wait was short. We waited about 5 minutes and our number was called to board. We were on the ship about 20 minutes after arriving at the pier. We got a table in the Lido and I went right away to get our Pinnacle reservations confirmed. We got called to our rooms about 1:30. No luggage until about 4:00 but didn't really need except jackets for muster as it was chilly.
Stateroom: We were in SS8072 a superior suite. It was perfect for the 3 of us. The bathroom was spacious and plenty of closet space, the beds were super comfy, even the sofa bed for my son was comfy (not as great as the beds, but we didn't tell him as he was happy with his). Flat screen TVs and DVD players. Our cabin steward was Harjo he was super. We had things before we asked. He loved to visit because he said he liked to practice his English. My son loved seeing what towel animal would be there each night waiting on his bed.
Dining: We had table 28 which is on Deck 3 portside aft windows in the middle of the aft. Our servers Mat and Alit were great. They made every dinner wonderful. We had main seating at 8 to 9 but we were always there not later than 8:15. I fed my son at the Lido every day as he didn't want to miss Club Hal at 8. This worked out well for me as I was able to enjoy the leisurely dinner for 1 ½ hours to 2 hours which he would never have been able to sit through. Our dinner at the Pinnacle was fabulous I had the tenderloin and everyone else had the rib steak. The service was attentive and after they brought dessert they brought my mom a whole chocolate mousse cake(the reason for the cruise was her 70th birthday). They also let my son get his entrEe very fast so he could go to Club Hal.
Ports of call: We only did Swim with the Dolphins in PV and that was worth every dollar. In Cabo we just walked around, shopped and ate at Cabo Wabo. Mazatlan we shopped and took a ride to Golden Zone and then to el Centro. Would book with Mazatlan Frank if possible or stay on ship and take advantage of spa specials.
Entertainment: Julie Barr and Joel Mason were great. Bought his DVD and am so glad I did. We enjoyed this cruise very much and would do it again. There were negatives but they weren't big enough to interfere with our fun. There was a lot of kids on board but other than the 1st day and the last day I didn't notice them with exception of the brat pack that were running through the ship non stop. I went to a CC get together and Mr. Deering showed up, what a wonderful man he is. He answered all the questions about the azipod. The shortened port times were not a problem either and the $25.00 per person credit was much appreciated, spent on pictures and soda card.
Sorry this is so long, but I really felt the Oosterdam was getting a bad rap for things that aren't that big of a deal. Feel free to email me if you have any questions.
Club Hal: My son had a great time, I was a leery about him checking himself in and out but after the 2nd day he was coming to the room and taking a nap so he could go back in the afternoon.