My wife and I have just completed a 14-day Alaska cruise with Holland America on the MS Oosterdam. It was such an incredibly disappointing experience on all fronts that I feel that I must share my experience with other cruisers considering sailing with Holland America. I apologize for the length of this review, but it is necessary.
ACCESS FOR THE MOBILITY IMPAIRED - Like most cruise lines, Holland America only supplies wheelchair assistance for embarkation and disembarkation. The thing that sets Holland America and this cruise apart was the fact that I had to WALK several hundred yards from the bus/taxi drop off point to the office where you could request a wheelchair. While I was getting mine, a porter told the Holland America representative that a lady was sitting on the curb at the drop off point since she was unable to walk to the office. The HA rep was visibly annoyed and said that the woman would have to come to the office to get a wheelchair. Unbelievable! I do not know how the problem was resolved. There was a similar problem with disembarkation. We were told to report to one place on the ship if we needed a wheelchair. When none came, I managed to attract the attention of a HA rep and asked where the wheelchairs were. He appeared to be annoyed and told me “didn’t you hear the announcement?” You have to WALK to another area of the ship to claim your wheelchair for disembarkation.
FOOD - This food on the trip, with a couple of exceptions, was very disappointing. The descriptions of the food made it sound fabulous, but they didn’t reflect reality. The food was not as described and was obviously “altered” to save money for HA. For example: “waldorf salad” consisted of apples and a little bit of celery (no grapes, no walnuts); a slice of fruit pie had two small pieces of fruit in it, the rest of the filling was thinned out fruit? liquid with a ton of cornstarch in it to make a gelatinous solid; “New York style cheesecake” looked like cheesecake, but was a concoction whipped up with air obviously to save money on ingredients; “baked Alaska” was just a small scoop of ice cream. Most of the main courses were of poor quality the worst being the fish, which was obviously frozen and was always dry and overcooked. After my second fish dish, I learned not to order that again. Unlike on our cruise earlier this year on the Emerald Princess, I never looked forward to dining on the Oosterdam.
Cabin was OK but a little tired