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I have to agree 100% with Melinda Hopp on her EXTRAORDINARY review of HAL's OOSTERDAM. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL. The first, to the Baltic, was one of our finest cruise ever. Having taken more than 20 cruises in all major cruise lines (from Royal Caribbean, Princess, Renaissance to Silver Sea & Radisson ), for my birthday, we booked this cruise with great expectations. We figured that a bigger, brand new ship had to be much better. Big, huge mistake.It had nice things, but the negative ones outnumbered the good ones. The first impression of the ship was one of mixed feelings,it's not a beautiful ship, doesn't have an impressive atrium, just a mid size gold staircase with a hanging world globe as the centerpiece. There were art collections around the ship, along with Indonesian & Filipino wood benches and gorgeous metal art covering completely the main door elevators. Fresh flower arrangements with orchids and cala lilies were displayed all over the ship, and they gave the dark, low ceilings a touch of beautiful color. Our room was a large room with a balcony with a simple decoration, a full size tub, 3 closet doors that lacked drawer space, a vanity chest with the TV on top leaving no space to put the cosmetics.The room was not neatly clean, the life jackets were under the bed (had to go to the drill without them), the toilet got stucked 3 times, problem with the ventilation system, specifically the smell of sewerage, one night there was no running cold water, only hot..hot water. Yes, after we complained everything was fixed, but indeed all those small details is what makes a cruise to be a memorable one. Regarding service, also mixed feelings. Overall the Indonesian & Filipino crew were friendly, attentive and well trained. As HAL's policy of no "tips required", their service was truly genuine. We got bad luck.The room stewardess, the dining room waiter, his assistant & the head waiter were the worst ever. The entertainment was mediocre, only "pianist extraordinaire" Paul Pappas, with two performances did a great job. The gym was O.K. The fitness coordinator Johan did a great job with my husband, with private exercise classes. The Spa was great, the Hot Stones massages were superb. For $250 per person we got unlimited access to the talasotherapy pool, the sauna & the hot tile seats with its spectacular view. I know all this treats cost $$$, but it's your vacation, so you deserve to be pampered. My biggest disappointment was the food. After having caviar, fresh strawberries & flambee desserts every single day on my previous HAL cruise, nothing was compared to that. The only dinner that deserves a mention was the Farewell dinner, that served caviar & lobster tails. Their signature "bread pudding with hot vanilla sauce" was sinful. But the most absurd thing of this cruise was that(according to my head waiter) HAL's new policy is to make flambee desserts (cherries jubilee, banana flambee, crepes suzette or peach melba) in a different venue than in the main dining room. My husband loves this types of desserts, so every night after dinner we had to go to the Explorers Lounge, order the dessert,listen to a terrible music, have a coffee and an after dinner Port wine or Sambuca. On one occasion the dining room waiter brought us the dessert to our table. Why not every night? I think that with that policy, they only make 30 or 40 flambee desserts. If done at the main dining room, they must do 200 or more. Overall it was the least enjoyed cruise I had have,& I think this cruise ship should not be rated 4.5 -5.0 as HAL's ship often gets. Maybe this mega ship is new for HAL, accustomed to smaller ships. If asked to travel with HAL again, I doubt it. There are numerous options out there. I hope this review will help anyone who has the OOSTERDAM ship on their plans. Sincerely, Doris Garcia

Oosterdam - Northern Europe

Oosterdam Cruise Review by Doris Garcia

Trip Details
I have to agree 100% with Melinda Hopp on her EXTRAORDINARY review of HAL's OOSTERDAM. This was our 2nd cruise with HAL.
The first, to the Baltic, was one of our finest cruise ever. Having taken more than 20 cruises in all major cruise lines (from Royal Caribbean, Princess, Renaissance to Silver Sea & Radisson ), for my birthday, we booked this cruise with great expectations. We figured that a bigger, brand new ship had to be much better. Big, huge mistake.It had nice things, but the negative ones outnumbered the good ones. The first impression of the ship was one of mixed feelings,it's not a beautiful ship, doesn't have an impressive atrium, just a mid size gold staircase with a hanging world globe as the centerpiece. There were art collections around the ship, along with Indonesian & Filipino wood benches and gorgeous metal art covering completely the main door elevators. Fresh flower arrangements with orchids and cala lilies were displayed all over the ship, and they gave the dark, low ceilings a touch of beautiful color.
Our room was a large room with a balcony with a simple decoration, a full size tub, 3 closet doors that lacked drawer space, a vanity chest with the TV on top leaving no space to put the cosmetics.The room was not neatly clean, the life jackets were under the bed (had to go to the drill without them), the toilet got stucked 3 times, problem with the ventilation system, specifically the smell of sewerage, one night there was no running cold water, only hot..hot water. Yes, after we complained everything was fixed, but indeed all those small details is what makes a cruise to be a memorable one. Regarding service, also mixed feelings. Overall the Indonesian & Filipino crew were friendly, attentive and well trained. As HAL's policy of no "tips required", their service was truly genuine.
We got bad luck.The room stewardess, the dining room waiter, his assistant & the head waiter were the worst ever. The entertainment was mediocre, only "pianist extraordinaire" Paul Pappas, with two performances did a great job. The gym was O.K. The fitness coordinator Johan did a great job with my husband, with private exercise classes. The Spa was great, the Hot Stones massages were superb. For $250 per person we got unlimited access to the talasotherapy pool, the sauna & the hot tile seats with its spectacular view. I know all this treats cost $$$, but it's your vacation, so you deserve to be pampered.
My biggest disappointment was the food. After having caviar, fresh strawberries & flambee desserts every single day on my previous HAL cruise, nothing was compared to that. The only dinner that deserves a mention was the Farewell dinner, that served caviar & lobster tails. Their signature "bread pudding with hot vanilla sauce" was sinful. But the most absurd thing of this cruise was that(according to my head waiter) HAL's new policy is to make flambee desserts (cherries jubilee, banana flambee, crepes suzette or peach melba) in a different venue than in the main dining room. My husband loves this types of desserts, so every night after dinner we had to go to the Explorers Lounge, order the dessert,listen to a terrible music, have a coffee and an after dinner Port wine or Sambuca. On one occasion the dining room waiter brought us the dessert to our table. Why not every night? I think that with that policy, they only make 30 or 40 flambee desserts. If done at the main dining room, they must do 200 or more.
Overall it was the least enjoyed cruise I had have,& I think this cruise ship should not be rated 4.5 -5.0 as HAL's ship often gets. Maybe this mega ship is new for HAL, accustomed to smaller ships. If asked to travel with HAL again, I doubt it. There are numerous options out there. I hope this review will help anyone who has the OOSTERDAM ship on their plans.
Sincerely, Doris Garcia
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