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Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. My spouse and I are 50. This would have and should have been a 5 star cruise...if not for the malfunctioning/ nonfunctioning stateroom toilet. Flew into Tampa the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City/Downtown Tampa. 5 stars for the Hampton Inn and would highly recommend. Clean, super friendly and helpful staff, a decent hot breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. Great location right at the end of 7th Ave where all the bars and restaurants are. A quirky area where we felt completely safe. Check out The Florida Cane Distillery for free samples of various flavored vodkas. Tasty! We bought some to bring home. Had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant which was very good, highly recommend. If we cruise out of Tampa again, we'll stay here again. Took the free hotel shuttle to the port at around 1100. Took approximately an hour to get onboard after going thru security and checking in. Stateroom was ready, clean and had a decent balcony with foot stools for each chair and a small table. Toilet worked at this time. Had second seating dining which we did four nights. Good service and good food. As mentioned in previous reviews and boards, the wine selection for a glass under $9 is minimal. Did the Pinnacle Grill the first night at around 8:00 and the place was near empty. Good service and good food. I had the halibut and my wife had a filet. The filet was cooked perfectly but under seasoned. Great crab cakes. Brunch everyday at the Lido. Decent food, great salad bar and usually not a problem finding a table. 2nd formal night was with another couple we befriended. They made us a reservation for anytime dining in the Main Dinning Room. All of us had the lobster tail and filet which was very good. Was the birthday for one of them and the wait staff brought out a piece of birthday cake and enthusiastically sang a song. Very fun. Did the Lido buffet the last night for dinner, decent. Spent a lot of time relaxing and reading by the Sea View pool at the aft of the ship. Always easy to find a place to sit or lay out. Bar service staff was lacking. Seemed like if you were more than ten feet away from the pool, they rarely came around. There were dozens of passengers that were ignored as they would repeatedly approach passengers near the pool that would decline drinks. Was almost like there was an invisible fence they could not cross. Did trivia several times which was fun. Checked out the BB King's Blues Club several times which was good as well as the Billboard Onboard which was also good. BEST bartender on the ship was Elwood at the Billboard bar. Great chocolate martini's, friendly and fun to talk too. He gets our vote for best employee. Unfortunately for any of you hoping to meet him on the Oosterdam, his contract is up at the end of the month. You'll have to look for him on the Westerdam in a few months. Casino was decent, won $300 at the Black Jack tables. Didn't do any excursions on this cruise. At Key West we walked around and took in the sights with some bar hopping and lunch. At Roatan we just walked along the beach and checked out the shops in the cruise port . At Santo de Tomas de Castilla we checked out the tourist center, watched a local band and made a few purchases before returning to the ship for a couples massage in the Spa. Unfortunately the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled at the last minute due to damage at one of the docks and the Mexican authorities reassigning our dock to another ship. Disembarkation was a breeze. Waited in our stateroom until called. Took about ten minutes to get off the ship from our stateroom and another ten to fifteen to retrieve our luggage and make it thru Immigration and Customs. Now for the bad. Five of the seven days our stateroom toilet did not work properly or not at all. It started Sat night into Sun morning, again Mon morning, Tues morning, Tues evening into Wed morning, Wed afternoon and finally DID NOT WORK AT ALL from 900 Thurs morning until we left the ship at 900 Fri morning. There was an issue with the vacuum system at the aft of the ship...which we weren't told until Wed afternoon. We weren't the only stateroom having problems. Repeated calls and visits to the front desk and the issue would only be fixed temporarily. Sometimes the toilet would flush partially, sometimes an hour or two later, and sometimes overflow. Luckily there's a floor drain right next to it. Extremely frustrating and a major inconvenience when you have to walk up or down several flights of stairs to find a functioning public toilet. Annoyed that it took so long and a meeting with the Front Desk manager to be told the truth about the vacuum system problem. At first we were accused of clogging the toilet and one front desk employee stated that "hundreds of guests" were flushing toilets at the same time in the morning causing the problem. We knew that was BS as we've been on eight previous cruises. We were provided a letter and a $300 shipboard credit for the "plumbing challenges" and "as a gesture of goodwill". That covered approximately 10% of what we paid for the cruise....nice gesture but not enough to counteract how this issue tainted our cruise experience. Will we cruise HAL again? Probably. We will have some reservation due to the toilet issue though.

IF ONLY THE STATEROOM TOILET WORKED!

Oosterdam Cruise Review by booboocruiser

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2017
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. My spouse and I are 50. This would have and should have been a 5 star cruise...if not for the malfunctioning/ nonfunctioning stateroom toilet.

Flew into Tampa the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City/Downtown Tampa. 5 stars for the Hampton Inn and would highly recommend. Clean, super friendly and helpful staff, a decent hot breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. Great location right at the end of 7th Ave where all the bars and restaurants are. A quirky area where we felt completely safe. Check out The Florida Cane Distillery for free samples of various flavored vodkas. Tasty! We bought some to bring home. Had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant which was very good, highly recommend. If we cruise out of Tampa again, we'll stay here again.

Took the free hotel shuttle to the port at around 1100. Took approximately an hour to get onboard after going thru security and checking in. Stateroom was ready, clean and had a decent balcony with foot stools for each chair and a small table. Toilet worked at this time.

Had second seating dining which we did four nights. Good service and good food. As mentioned in previous reviews and boards, the wine selection for a glass under $9 is minimal. Did the Pinnacle Grill the first night at around 8:00 and the place was near empty. Good service and good food. I had the halibut and my wife had a filet. The filet was cooked perfectly but under seasoned. Great crab cakes. Brunch everyday at the Lido. Decent food, great salad bar and usually not a problem finding a table. 2nd formal night was with another couple we befriended. They made us a reservation for anytime dining in the Main Dinning Room. All of us had the lobster tail and filet which was very good. Was the birthday for one of them and the wait staff brought out a piece of birthday cake and enthusiastically sang a song. Very fun. Did the Lido buffet the last night for dinner, decent.

Spent a lot of time relaxing and reading by the Sea View pool at the aft of the ship. Always easy to find a place to sit or lay out. Bar service staff was lacking. Seemed like if you were more than ten feet away from the pool, they rarely came around. There were dozens of passengers that were ignored as they would repeatedly approach passengers near the pool that would decline drinks. Was almost like there was an invisible fence they could not cross.

Did trivia several times which was fun. Checked out the BB King's Blues Club several times which was good as well as the Billboard Onboard which was also good. BEST bartender on the ship was Elwood at the Billboard bar. Great chocolate martini's, friendly and fun to talk too. He gets our vote for best employee. Unfortunately for any of you hoping to meet him on the Oosterdam, his contract is up at the end of the month. You'll have to look for him on the Westerdam in a few months. Casino was decent, won $300 at the Black Jack tables.

Didn't do any excursions on this cruise. At Key West we walked around and took in the sights with some bar hopping and lunch. At Roatan we just walked along the beach and checked out the shops in the cruise port . At Santo de Tomas de Castilla we checked out the tourist center, watched a local band and made a few purchases before returning to the ship for a couples massage in the Spa. Unfortunately the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled at the last minute due to damage at one of the docks and the Mexican authorities reassigning our dock to another ship.

Disembarkation was a breeze. Waited in our stateroom until called. Took about ten minutes to get off the ship from our stateroom and another ten to fifteen to retrieve our luggage and make it thru Immigration and Customs.

Now for the bad. Five of the seven days our stateroom toilet did not work properly or not at all. It started Sat night into Sun morning, again Mon morning, Tues morning, Tues evening into Wed morning, Wed afternoon and finally DID NOT WORK AT ALL from 900 Thurs morning until we left the ship at 900 Fri morning. There was an issue with the vacuum system at the aft of the ship...which we weren't told until Wed afternoon. We weren't the only stateroom having problems. Repeated calls and visits to the front desk and the issue would only be fixed temporarily. Sometimes the toilet would flush partially, sometimes an hour or two later, and sometimes overflow. Luckily there's a floor drain right next to it. Extremely frustrating and a major inconvenience when you have to walk up or down several flights of stairs to find a functioning public toilet. Annoyed that it took so long and a meeting with the Front Desk manager to be told the truth about the vacuum system problem. At first we were accused of clogging the toilet and one front desk employee stated that "hundreds of guests" were flushing toilets at the same time in the morning causing the problem. We knew that was BS as we've been on eight previous cruises. We were provided a letter and a $300 shipboard credit for the "plumbing challenges" and "as a gesture of goodwill". That covered approximately 10% of what we paid for the cruise....nice gesture but not enough to counteract how this issue tainted our cruise experience.

Will we cruise HAL again? Probably. We will have some reservation due to the toilet issue though.
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