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From the moment we stepped on this ship, everything seems a bit "off". I'm accustomed to being greeted with a glass of champagne, but on this line passengers are just shuffled through. Our veranda suite was spacious and attractively furnished, except that the sofa pillows were stained and dirty. I hid them in a cupboard for the rest of the trip. The sofa was upholstered with slick vinyl, and was extremely uncomfortable. the veranda was large, had an attractive wicker-look table and chairs with cushions, which were a huge improvement over the veranda furnishing on Celebrity ships. The bathroom was also nicely done, with twin sinks, plenty of storage and both a stall shower and a whirlpool bathtub, but the fixtures were an unattractive shade of pinky-beige. The towels and bath mat were thin and dingy. Things didn't improve much in the public areas. The shops were small and crowded, the merchandise indifferent. The library wasn't convenient to use - each time I tried to get a book it seems that the librarian was "out". The Internet center was good, made even better by the package deals which offered a significant discount. Packages are sold by the number of minutes you use. The quality of the coffee and espresso in the coffee bar was absolutely horrible - worse than in your average fast-food venue or a convenience store. The bars were nice, except when an art auction blasted noise into what was meant to be a quiet, relaxing spot. And now ... to the food. There are three dining venues, all mediocre. The first is cafeteria style "casual dining" in a very ugly dining room. The carpet was a bright royal blue; the tables had tartan plaid laminate tops. IMO, not a particularly appetizing combination. The food was nothing special. Meat was often overcooked and dry, veggies were soggy. Although the desserts looked appealing, they were almost universally tasteless. The Vista Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Passengers can choose either open seating or assigned tables. But, as another reviewer noted, other passengers didn't seem to be as open and friendly as on other cruise lines. I can only speculate that their subdued demeanor was due to the generally uneven quality of the food and service. One difficulty we experienced was a "language barrier" with the mostly Indonesian wait staff. Many have accents that were difficult to understand, especially against a background of clanking dishes and cutlery. On one evening the dining staff in the Vista puts on a "show" that is incredibly cornball and annoying, unless you consider silly hats and parades of napkin-wielding waiters entertaining. The third dining option is the Pinnacle Grill, touted as "speciality dining". Considering that this dining room comes at an additional cost, it is definitely not worth it. When we made our reservation, we were told they would "fit us in", but when we arrived the room was nearly empty. Once diners are seated, the waiter trundles over a large trolley displaying enormous cuts of raw beef, from which a diner is expected to choose. Maybe it's just me, but I would rather not see my dinner in the raw before I eat it. Despite the massive display of raw meat, the cooked beef was oddly tasteless. My husband had the fish, which was better but not spectacular. Desserts were better than in the Vista. I will never take another HAL cruise, but will stick with the more reliable Celebrity ships.

HAL no!

Oosterdam Cruise Review by Arielski

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2008
  • Destination: Alaska
From the moment we stepped on this ship, everything seems a bit "off". I'm accustomed to being greeted with a glass of champagne, but on this line passengers are just shuffled through. Our veranda suite was spacious and attractively furnished, except that the sofa pillows were stained and dirty. I hid them in a cupboard for the rest of the trip. The sofa was upholstered with slick vinyl, and was extremely uncomfortable. the veranda was large, had an attractive wicker-look table and chairs with cushions, which were a huge improvement over the veranda furnishing on Celebrity ships.
The bathroom was also nicely done, with twin sinks, plenty of storage and both a stall shower and a whirlpool bathtub, but the fixtures were an unattractive shade of pinky-beige. The towels and bath mat were thin and dingy.
Things didn't improve much in the public areas. The shops were small and crowded, the merchandise indifferent. The library wasn't convenient to use - each time I tried to get a book it seems that the librarian was "out". The Internet center was good, made even better by the package deals which offered a significant discount. Packages are sold by the number of minutes you use.
The quality of the coffee and espresso in the coffee bar was absolutely horrible - worse than in your average fast-food venue or a convenience store. The bars were nice, except when an art auction blasted noise into what was meant to be a quiet, relaxing spot.
And now ... to the food. There are three dining venues, all mediocre. The first is cafeteria style "casual dining" in a very ugly dining room. The carpet was a bright royal blue; the tables had tartan plaid laminate tops. IMO, not a particularly appetizing combination. The food was nothing special. Meat was often overcooked and dry, veggies were soggy. Although the desserts looked appealing, they were almost universally tasteless.
The Vista Dining Room serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Passengers can choose either open seating or assigned tables. But, as another reviewer noted, other passengers didn't seem to be as open and friendly as on other cruise lines. I can only speculate that their subdued demeanor was due to the generally uneven quality of the food and service.
One difficulty we experienced was a "language barrier" with the mostly Indonesian wait staff. Many have accents that were difficult to understand, especially against a background of clanking dishes and cutlery.
On one evening the dining staff in the Vista puts on a "show" that is incredibly cornball and annoying, unless you consider silly hats and parades of napkin-wielding waiters entertaining.
The third dining option is the Pinnacle Grill, touted as "speciality dining". Considering that this dining room comes at an additional cost, it is definitely not worth it. When we made our reservation, we were told they would "fit us in", but when we arrived the room was nearly empty. Once diners are seated, the waiter trundles over a large trolley displaying enormous cuts of raw beef, from which a diner is expected to choose. Maybe it's just me, but I would rather not see my dinner in the raw before I eat it. Despite the massive display of raw meat, the cooked beef was oddly tasteless. My husband had the fish, which was better but not spectacular. Desserts were better than in the Vista.
I will never take another HAL cruise, but will stick with the more reliable Celebrity ships.
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