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We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. This size ship makes for more manageable group functions like dining, pool usage and seating, as well as shore excursions. Only exception to this was first stop in Key West which was only half a day in port so everybody queued up to disembark and got backed up because shuttle trams off ship couldn't keep up to the numbers of people. You have to shuttle from ship through a Navy Yard to get into town. We are a senior couple and we traveled with two other couples from our neighborhood so we all got same level of suites (Neptune Suites) and were located all together on starboard side. Neptune suites have a private lounge where we could get snacks, read, play cards, watch TV, and was staffed with concierge type employees who could coordinate any special requests we might have (shore excursions, specialty dining, anything requiring appointments, and could print out itemized account info so we could see how much we might be spending). Neptune suite residents also could eat breakfast in one of the specialty restaurants (Piccadilly) at no extra cost. Suites were large and roomy, along with bathroom (double vanity, whirlpool tub, shower stall, marble counter tops), couch and chairs, dressing area, extra closets, and large balcony. Room attendants courteous and efficient; not as personable as we're used to on Celebrity cruises but still pleasant to deal with. They just stayed out of sight for the most part. Dining in the main dining room was used each night. The first night we expressed wish for better table location to assistant manager and starting following night were given a much better (more scenic) table. Dining steward was efficient, friendly and very personable. He earned the extra gratuity we gave him and made dining a very pleasurable experience. Wine steward was almost as good but had to coordinate ordering drinks via a note pad that he could swipe with room or beverage card. This was kind of a long and involved process (but got quicker as days went by) but the system meant, for example, three drinks ordered were delivered by three different orderlies at three different times. Half a minute between drink orders could result in five minute separation of delivery to the table. Entertainment was exceptional. Stage productions combining dance, song, and electronic scenery was above any other cruise experience we had. Comedian was very good, a concert pianist played Spanish themed program very well, and on last night they combined their performances into one gig. A string quartet was available in a small lounge each evening between main stage show times and was excellent. There was also a lounge called B.B. King's Blues Club which had excellent musicians and vocalists but was a little too loud for our taste. Key West was Key West. Been there before but played tourist again anyway just for kicks. Disembarkation frustrating as mentioned above. Signed up for Hop On Hop Off tram ride. Name is misleading. You ride for 1.5 hours and stop for a break and for rest of the day you can catch one you can hop on or off of. First part you are just riding about town. Probably okay for anyone on first time visit but for us it was kind of boring. In Roatan we did city tour/beach. Took us to a mountain top lookout offering majestic views of the water and reefs but you had to maneuver your way around the local shell and bead merchants to see anything. Kind of pesty with a sales pitch to make you touch their "hand-made" bracelets and necklaces and very tiresome after just of few minutes. Beach portion was nice but mundane. Belize went to Mayan ruins of Altun Ha after a bus tour of Belize city. City tour was sort of boring but gave you a perspective of how one person's luxury is another person's slums. Typical Caribbean island mix of 4 story high rises, half built or abandoned construction, trash everywhere, and places we wouldn't walk through at night without an armed guard. Altun Ha was exquisite. Absolutely fascinating. Can't say enough about it or the bus/tour guides who explained everything to us. The whole thing was less than 5 hours duration and worked out just right. Also got to visit the Iguana farm and feed large and small iguanas.Belize has no docks for ships to tie up to so took tenders from boat to shore and back. Kind of choppy with good sized swells that slowed disembarkation some but not too bad. Tender rides were hold on for rock and roll. Cozumel did the chocolate and wine pairing trip. Never thought the two were good with each other but turned out very interesting and very tasty. Overall, cruising on Holland America's Oosterdam to Western Caribbean was a very pleasant trip. If we had the money and were offered the chance to turn around and go right back out, we would. We've gone numerous cruises and have always enjoyed Celebrity the most but now we are placing Holland America right up there on the same pedestal.

Great cruise to Western Caribbean out of Tampa

Oosterdam Cruise Review by Jimsam

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. This size ship makes for more manageable group functions like dining, pool usage and seating, as well as shore excursions. Only exception to this was first stop in Key West which was only half a day in port so everybody queued up to disembark and got backed up because shuttle trams off ship couldn't keep up to the numbers of people. You have to shuttle from ship through a Navy Yard to get into town. We are a senior couple and we traveled with two other couples from our neighborhood so we all got same level of suites (Neptune Suites) and were located all together on starboard side. Neptune suites have a private lounge where we could get snacks, read, play cards, watch TV, and was staffed with concierge type employees who could coordinate any special requests we might have (shore excursions, specialty dining, anything requiring appointments, and could print out itemized account info so we could see how much we might be spending). Neptune suite residents also could eat breakfast in one of the specialty restaurants (Piccadilly) at no extra cost.

Suites were large and roomy, along with bathroom (double vanity, whirlpool tub, shower stall, marble counter tops), couch and chairs, dressing area, extra closets, and large balcony. Room attendants courteous and efficient; not as personable as we're used to on Celebrity cruises but still pleasant to deal with. They just stayed out of sight for the most part.

Dining in the main dining room was used each night. The first night we expressed wish for better table location to assistant manager and starting following night were given a much better (more scenic) table. Dining steward was efficient, friendly and very personable. He earned the extra gratuity we gave him and made dining a very pleasurable experience. Wine steward was almost as good but had to coordinate ordering drinks via a note pad that he could swipe with room or beverage card. This was kind of a long and involved process (but got quicker as days went by) but the system meant, for example, three drinks ordered were delivered by three different orderlies at three different times. Half a minute between drink orders could result in five minute separation of delivery to the table.

Entertainment was exceptional. Stage productions combining dance, song, and electronic scenery was above any other cruise experience we had. Comedian was very good, a concert pianist played Spanish themed program very well, and on last night they combined their performances into one gig. A string quartet was available in a small lounge each evening between main stage show times and was excellent. There was also a lounge called B.B. King's Blues Club which had excellent musicians and vocalists but was a little too loud for our taste.

Key West was Key West. Been there before but played tourist again anyway just for kicks. Disembarkation frustrating as mentioned above. Signed up for Hop On Hop Off tram ride. Name is misleading. You ride for 1.5 hours and stop for a break and for rest of the day you can catch one you can hop on or off of. First part you are just riding about town. Probably okay for anyone on first time visit but for us it was kind of boring. In Roatan we did city tour/beach. Took us to a mountain top lookout offering majestic views of the water and reefs but you had to maneuver your way around the local shell and bead merchants to see anything. Kind of pesty with a sales pitch to make you touch their "hand-made" bracelets and necklaces and very tiresome after just of few minutes. Beach portion was nice but mundane.

Belize went to Mayan ruins of Altun Ha after a bus tour of Belize city. City tour was sort of boring but gave you a perspective of how one person's luxury is another person's slums. Typical Caribbean island mix of 4 story high rises, half built or abandoned construction, trash everywhere, and places we wouldn't walk through at night without an armed guard. Altun Ha was exquisite. Absolutely fascinating. Can't say enough about it or the bus/tour guides who explained everything to us. The whole thing was less than 5 hours duration and worked out just right. Also got to visit the Iguana farm and feed large and small iguanas.Belize has no docks for ships to tie up to so took tenders from boat to shore and back. Kind of choppy with good sized swells that slowed disembarkation some but not too bad. Tender rides were hold on for rock and roll.

Cozumel did the chocolate and wine pairing trip. Never thought the two were good with each other but turned out very interesting and very tasty.

Overall, cruising on Holland America's Oosterdam to Western Caribbean was a very pleasant trip. If we had the money and were offered the chance to turn around and go right back out, we would. We've gone numerous cruises and have always enjoyed Celebrity the most but now we are placing Holland America right up there on the same pedestal.
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