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This review is for the Oosterdam Ship of Holland America, for our August 2014 cruise. A couple of things to note while reading my review. This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare it to. I'm 28 years old, easily one of the youngest people on board the cruise ship. Overall, we had a very nice time on the cruise. The room was a decent size, with a surprisingly "large" bathroom. We did select a room on the port side (4014), so we had a balcony that had a solid color rail that we could not see through. We honestly didn't see any reason to select port side vs. starboard. The captain turned the boat around in Glacier Bay so that you could see from both sides. Most of the other rooms have a glass balcony that you can see through. I shared the room with my parents, so I had the "luxury" of sleeping on the pull out sofa. It was super uncomfortable and was definitely a bit broken because it never folded completely down. We LOVED the food in the Vista Dining Room each night. It was prepared to order and was also hot and delicious. I'm also a vegetarian and they have a separate menu you can order off of each night, or they have at least two vegetarian options on the menu each night. We also loved our dining room servers. Now the Lido is a completely different story. I hated the Lido. There were never enough seats in the Lido - you had to push through people to find a table and to get food. The good quality was definitely less than I would have liked as well. I would recommend staying as far from the Lido as you can get. This cruise was old. Meaning that the average age on the ship was around 75. I knew that typically these cruises were an older crowd, but I thought there would be a good mix of younger people too. I was wrong. There were maybe 20 people in my general age bracket. Therefore, I didn't meet a whole lot of people while on the trip. The entertainment was pretty weak. I wasn't expecting greatness, but the cruise's performers were lacking. We did enjoy the comedian, magician and the violinist/pianist at one of the bars. Otherwise, don't expect much. The one thing that I did not enjoy either, was that I always felt like I was being sold something, even during the magician's routine! People were constantly hassling me to buy wine, buy photographs or merchandise from the gift shop. I want to relax and not be bothered while I'm travelling. If I want to buy something, then I will let you know. I thought that embarking/disembarking was actually quite easy. We didn't experience any issues with it. I would recommend that if you take this cruise, that you plan a trip before/after the cruise to see the real Alaska. My family and I got to Anchorage before our cruise and rented a car for 9 days. We stayed in Anchorage, Seward, Talkeetna and Denali on our own. We got to see so much more of Alaska then we ever would have had the opportunity to do so on the cruise. The cruise was relaxing and we wouldn't have been able to see Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau and Ketchican without it, but you don't get enough time in the Ports to really get to get a feel for Alaska. Even if you add on what the cruise ship offers, it is better than nothing.

Overall great cruise - some room for improvement

Oosterdam Cruise Review by bluebell2629

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2014
  • Destination: Alaska
This review is for the Oosterdam Ship of Holland America, for our August 2014 cruise. A couple of things to note while reading my review. This was my first cruise, so I have nothing to compare it to. I'm 28 years old, easily one of the youngest people on board the cruise ship.
Overall, we had a very nice time on the cruise. The room was a decent size, with a surprisingly "large" bathroom. We did select a room on the port side (4014), so we had a balcony that had a solid color rail that we could not see through. We honestly didn't see any reason to select port side vs. starboard. The captain turned the boat around in Glacier Bay so that you could see from both sides. Most of the other rooms have a glass balcony that you can see through. I shared the room with my parents, so I had the "luxury" of sleeping on the pull out sofa. It was super uncomfortable and was definitely a bit broken because it never folded completely down.
We LOVED the food in the Vista Dining Room each night. It was prepared to order and was also hot and delicious. I'm also a vegetarian and they have a separate menu you can order off of each night, or they have at least two vegetarian options on the menu each night. We also loved our dining room servers. Now the Lido is a completely different story. I hated the Lido. There were never enough seats in the Lido - you had to push through people to find a table and to get food. The good quality was definitely less than I would have liked as well. I would recommend staying as far from the Lido as you can get.
This cruise was old. Meaning that the average age on the ship was around 75. I knew that typically these cruises were an older crowd, but I thought there would be a good mix of younger people too. I was wrong. There were maybe 20 people in my general age bracket. Therefore, I didn't meet a whole lot of people while on the trip.
The entertainment was pretty weak. I wasn't expecting greatness, but the cruise's performers were lacking. We did enjoy the comedian, magician and the violinist/pianist at one of the bars. Otherwise, don't expect much. The one thing that I did not enjoy either, was that I always felt like I was being sold something, even during the magician's routine! People were constantly hassling me to buy wine, buy photographs or merchandise from the gift shop. I want to relax and not be bothered while I'm travelling. If I want to buy something, then I will let you know.
I thought that embarking/disembarking was actually quite easy. We didn't experience any issues with it. I would recommend that if you take this cruise, that you plan a trip before/after the cruise to see the real Alaska. My family and I got to Anchorage before our cruise and rented a car for 9 days. We stayed in Anchorage, Seward, Talkeetna and Denali on our own. We got to see so much more of Alaska then we ever would have had the opportunity to do so on the cruise. The cruise was relaxing and we wouldn't have been able to see Glacier Bay, Haines, Juneau and Ketchican without it, but you don't get enough time in the Ports to really get to get a feel for Alaska. Even if you add on what the cruise ship offers, it is better than nothing.
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Cabin Review

Cabin 4014
Our room was nice and clean. The fold-out sofa bed was not remotely comfortable and needed replacing. The bathroom was bigger than we expected and even had a small tub. The balcony was nice, but you can't see through it like most of the other rooms. That didn't seem too important to us because you are standing when you want to see something.
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Haines
    Going to Haines was great because it wasn't built up like the other towns we visited. Now if you stay in the town while you are there, you won't get to see the real "Haines". We rented bikes for $20 once we got off the ship and rode them to Chilkoot Lake (9 miles down the road). It's one of the most beautiful bike rides I've ever been on and we saw about 10 bald eagles just on the way there. The highlight was seeing the resident bear that calls this park home. She was unconcerned with humans and busily ate her salmon while we watched in awe. Don't do the twilight bear viewing - it's a waste of money. Rent your own car ($60 for the day) or bike to check it out yourself for much cheaper.
    View All 83 Haines Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Haines Cruise Port Review
  • Mendenhall Glacier
    I booked an excursion with Above and Beyond Alaska that included a hike to Mendenhall Glacier, glacier hiking and viewing the ice caves. It was beautiful!! We did not book through the cruise line, as only one tour goes to this area. I would definitely recommend it! Didn't get to see much of Juneau though due to our limited time at Port.
    View All 889 Mendenhall Glacier Reviews
  • Ketchikan
    Unfortunately for us (and most likely most people who stop at this port) it rained while we were there. It's an adorable little town to walk around though. I would've loved to do some kayaking while we were there, but it was far too wet.
    View All 1,784 Ketchikan Cruise Port Reviews
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