My wife and I are both retired and have been taking yearly cruise for a number of years. We are 3 Star Mariners and this was number 8 with HAL. Last year, we did our second, end of season Alaska cruise with HAL, out of Vancouver on the Noordam, which was a great trip.
We like Holland America because of the older, more seasoned travelers on board and a very high percentage are return cruisers.
This years cruise on the Oosterdam was nothing like any of the other HAL ships we have been on. This also was the biggest ship we have been on at 1,975 passengers and ONLY a crew of 800.
Our big complaint this time was the food! On the Lido deck, It was unimaginative for the most part, often poorly cooked and in no way up to the standard of past cruises. In short it was very pedestrian. It seemed that there fewer serving station and the number of choices was lacking. Also, there were fewer staff on the floor and we had to get our own coffee,water most of the time. Dirty dishes were everywhere and most of the staff was to busy trying to sell soft drinks and wine to do anything else. There were no trays, so we had to make trips for juice, salads & desserts. There were hardly any orchids on the tables as well. Most had missing flowers and empty stems. Last year every table had one.
The main dinning room seemed to serve mostly the same food as the Lido and service was slower this time.
If this is to be the new normal for the HAL ships, we will not be returning.
In fairness, we did eat at the Pinnacles which was outstanding as always. And, also the Dive In, at the to the Lido pool, which has great hamburgers.
Last year we did have the Signature Drink Package for the 7 days and enjoyed it very much. In looking it over for this trip, we discovered that many of the drink prices had been raised to $8.25, which is 25 cents over the price limit for the package.!! So, we only went to Happy Hour once. They no longer serve mixed nuts and if you want any appetizers, good luck!
I hate to be so negative here, but the fact is, everything seemed to be cheapened down and there was way more 'up selling' going on then on past voyages.
We were very much looking forward to becoming 4 Star Mariners, but, now I fear that won't happen.
Our cabin, which was a G category, ceiling to floor ocean view, was the smallest we have ever had, and there were no drawers, only shelves. We did not see our cabin stewards until the end of the second day.
This is the third time through Vancouver's Canada Place. Each year it has become even more inconvenient then the last!! If you have a walking problem, bring a cane or get a get a wheel chair so you can go through the faster line.
This was limited to about 23 people and was the most expensive of the excursions.
It was worth every penny. A proper tea and the gardens were lonely.View All undefined undefined Reviews