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We enjoyed our trip to the southern Caribbean in late December 2015 (Christmas trip) on the Oosterdam. But one bad experience spoiled it for us. My wife booked our cruise a long time in advance of the departure date and booked our excursions weeks in advance. We took our grandson on the Christmas cruise to expand his scuba diving experience and let him see some of the other countries and cultures. It all came to an end in Bonaire when Dive Friends Bonaire refused to allow me to dive with them because I am over the age of 65. Nearly all parts of our cruise were good-to-very good. Our stateroom was very good and plenty large enough for the three of us and our stewards took good care of the stateroom. We missed the Mariners onboard gathering and none of the staff knew anything about it. So much for that perk. We attended the Gala nights and had all of the pictures taken. My wife enjoys having photo documentation of our trips even if the price is outrageous. The food served was good and presented in a wonderful way and there was a good selection every night. If you want to spend an hour to two hours dining then take advantage of the regular dining assignments. We did enjoy the Dive-in Dogs after a good shore excursion even though diet wise they are not the best thing to eat, but they were good. Otherwise the Lido buffet served a verity of foods and more time could be spent on the other shipboard amenities. We did not take advantage of many of the shipboard amenities such as facials, massages, saunas and such. Not much for laying around a pool with a lot of noise and roasting like a pig on a spit. I wasn't crazy about the ten kids that spent their day running and jumping in the pool and then running to the hot tub and jumping in and splashing all of the water out. No running, jumping, or diving notices posted everywhere and no one to control it. A highlight was the evening dining. Our table stewards were great. We had fun and they interacted with us and made the meal something to look forward to. My hat's off to Putu and Komang. That brings me to getting on and off the ship. The embarkation went much better than the last HAL cruise. Maybe because we stayed at a Hampton Inn & Suites that provided a shuttle to and from the cruise ship and kept our vehicle at the Inn while we were on the cruise at a very reasonable cost. Getting off of the ship for excursions was a nightmare. No organization at all, just a bunch of people pushing and shoving and hollering at fellow passengers. It is hard for me to understand how people can act this way. One port was tendered in very choppy seas (tender would move up and down 3-4 feet) which created a very dangerous condition especially for the older clientele that had canes or walkers or had physical handicaps. The debarkation went really smooth. We had time to get up enjoy a breakfast and then wait for our turn to get off. By 10:30 to 11:00 we had picked our vehicle and were on the road home. We enjoyed the stops we made and it gave us the opportunity to have the grandson see different countries and cultures. Half Moon Cay is ho-hum. Few things to do if you don't want to just lay in the sun. They even removed the parasailing which the grandson was looking forward to. So we walked and talked. We visited Grand Turks, Samana, D.R., Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba. Grand Turks, Curacao, and Aruba were wonderful. While the grandson and I scuba dived my wife enjoyed island tours. She saw some good things and learned a few things. A highlight was the slave housing and its history in Curacao. Samana, D.R. was not a good shore excursion mostly due to the weather conditions. But we survived it even though the dive operation was not up to standards and we cut our dive short. The lunch served on shore was very good with the fresh caught fish served hot. Bonaire was a big disappointment. This is where we made our big mistake. As I stated my wife set up the cruise and made the excursions weeks in advance. When scheduling the scuba diving in Bonaire with Dive Friends Bonaire she did not see the "age" limits. Anyone over 65 can't dive with Dive Friends Bonaire if they are on the Holland America Line ship. I am 67 years old and have no medical problems, am physically fit for my age, have no disabilities, and take no medications at all. Yet, I was not allowed to dive because I am over 65. Somehow Holland America Lines is partnered with Dive Friends Bonaire and together they acknowledge and support age discrimination. I still don't understand this. We had five ports scheduled for scuba diving, with three of them booked through the ship (Gran Turks, Bonaire, and Aruba). We were allowed to dive with the Gran Turks and Aruba ship excursions but Dive Friends Bonaire had the age limit. Had we known this prior to booking we would not have booked with Holland America or Dive Friends Bonaire. If we had not booked through Holland America I could have dove with Dive Friends Bonaire. And this makes no sense to me. The Oosterdam was full of elderly and disabled people. Some with wheelchairs, carts, walkers, and canes. So why would Holland America Lines partner with Dive Friends Bonaire and discriminate based on age? Based on this experience we cancelled our future cruises with Holland America Lines and will take our next cruises on another cruise line.

When Age is the Determining Factor

Oosterdam Cruise Review by Culbles

6 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2015
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
We enjoyed our trip to the southern Caribbean in late December 2015 (Christmas trip) on the Oosterdam. But one bad experience spoiled it for us. My wife booked our cruise a long time in advance of the departure date and booked our excursions weeks in advance. We took our grandson on the Christmas cruise to expand his scuba diving experience and let him see some of the other countries and cultures. It all came to an end in Bonaire when Dive Friends Bonaire refused to allow me to dive with them because I am over the age of 65.

Nearly all parts of our cruise were good-to-very good. Our stateroom was very good and plenty large enough for the three of us and our stewards took good care of the stateroom. We missed the Mariners onboard gathering and none of the staff knew anything about it. So much for that perk.

We attended the Gala nights and had all of the pictures taken. My wife enjoys having photo documentation of our trips even if the price is outrageous. The food served was good and presented in a wonderful way and there was a good selection every night. If you want to spend an hour to two hours dining then take advantage of the regular dining assignments. We did enjoy the Dive-in Dogs after a good shore excursion even though diet wise they are not the best thing to eat, but they were good. Otherwise the Lido buffet served a verity of foods and more time could be spent on the other shipboard amenities.

We did not take advantage of many of the shipboard amenities such as facials, massages, saunas and such. Not much for laying around a pool with a lot of noise and roasting like a pig on a spit. I wasn't crazy about the ten kids that spent their day running and jumping in the pool and then running to the hot tub and jumping in and splashing all of the water out. No running, jumping, or diving notices posted everywhere and no one to control it.

A highlight was the evening dining. Our table stewards were great. We had fun and they interacted with us and made the meal something to look forward to. My hat's off to Putu and Komang.

That brings me to getting on and off the ship. The embarkation went much better than the last HAL cruise. Maybe because we stayed at a Hampton Inn & Suites that provided a shuttle to and from the cruise ship and kept our vehicle at the Inn while we were on the cruise at a very reasonable cost. Getting off of the ship for excursions was a nightmare. No organization at all, just a bunch of people pushing and shoving and hollering at fellow passengers. It is hard for me to understand how people can act this way. One port was tendered in very choppy seas (tender would move up and down 3-4 feet) which created a very dangerous condition especially for the older clientele that had canes or walkers or had physical handicaps. The debarkation went really smooth. We had time to get up enjoy a breakfast and then wait for our turn to get off. By 10:30 to 11:00 we had picked our vehicle and were on the road home.

We enjoyed the stops we made and it gave us the opportunity to have the grandson see different countries and cultures. Half Moon Cay is ho-hum. Few things to do if you don't want to just lay in the sun. They even removed the parasailing which the grandson was looking forward to. So we walked and talked. We visited Grand Turks, Samana, D.R., Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba. Grand Turks, Curacao, and Aruba were wonderful. While the grandson and I scuba dived my wife enjoyed island tours. She saw some good things and learned a few things. A highlight was the slave housing and its history in Curacao. Samana, D.R. was not a good shore excursion mostly due to the weather conditions. But we survived it even though the dive operation was not up to standards and we cut our dive short. The lunch served on shore was very good with the fresh caught fish served hot. Bonaire was a big disappointment.

This is where we made our big mistake. As I stated my wife set up the cruise and made the excursions weeks in advance. When scheduling the scuba diving in Bonaire with Dive Friends Bonaire she did not see the "age" limits. Anyone over 65 can't dive with Dive Friends Bonaire if they are on the Holland America Line ship.

I am 67 years old and have no medical problems, am physically fit for my age, have no disabilities, and take no medications at all. Yet, I was not allowed to dive because I am over 65.

Somehow Holland America Lines is partnered with Dive Friends Bonaire and together they acknowledge and support age discrimination. I still don't understand this. We had five ports scheduled for scuba diving, with three of them booked through the ship (Gran Turks, Bonaire, and Aruba). We were allowed to dive with the Gran Turks and Aruba ship excursions but Dive Friends Bonaire had the age limit. Had we known this prior to booking we would not have booked with Holland America or Dive Friends Bonaire. If we had not booked through Holland America I could have dove with Dive Friends Bonaire. And this makes no sense to me. The Oosterdam was full of elderly and disabled people. Some with wheelchairs, carts, walkers, and canes. So why would Holland America Lines partner with Dive Friends Bonaire and discriminate based on age?

Based on this experience we cancelled our future cruises with Holland America Lines and will take our next cruises on another cruise line.
Culbles’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Cabin SS 6101
Great cabin and stewards. Made the evening meal something to look forward to.
Upper Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews