Holland America gets it right: Oosterdam Cruise Review by bordenaz

Oosterdam 5
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Holland America gets it right

Sail Date: September 2009
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
The cruise started on the right foot because about 2 weeks prior to travel we received an e-mail giving us the opportunity of upgrading from our inside cabin to a veranda. It took about 1 second to make the decision. The veranda cabin wass terrific. We arrived in Barcelona a 2 days prior to boarding the ship to provide time for sampling Barcelona. We did this with another couple and did not use HAL for any of the bookings. We had opted for a 3 day Barcelona card which would provide us with transportation from the airport to the vicinity of our hotel and then 2 days of sightseeing. A waste of time and money. We only used it for the trip from the airport. We should have taken a taxi, more convenient and less expensive in the long run. We had to take a bus from terminal 1 to terminal 2 for the Renfe. When we arrived at the train stop for our hotel, we were faced with schlepping 3 suitcases up 3 flights of stairs. My wife's back was bothering her so I did all the schlepping. She waited More on landing to keep an eye on the suitcases while I dragged them up the stairs to the street level. Not recommended. We then tried to find the hotel which was close by. Ha. Try to find someone who knows where the hotel was located worked after several attempts. The hotel was a good choice. near Las Ramblas. We weren't on the same flights with our friends. They arrived about an hour earlier. Our friends were not so lucky in getting from the train station to the hotel. On the way up the stairs to the street level, a 'friendly person helped with one suitcase by grabbing it and turning one of them around. When she arrrived at street level she had all her suitcases but was missing one wallet. After that event Barcelona was great. We were there for Patron Saint Day and saw some great costumes. We boarded the ship without incidence after that. The ship spent the first night in Barcelona so we had another day there.

The first port was Monaco. Very nice. There was a yacht show taking place and the large yachts in port were magnificent. The next port was Livorno and we had hired a car and driver. We used Tuscany by Taxi and our driver was Ricardo. Well worth the price. Ricardo knew his way around Tuscany and got us in fornt of the line whenever possible. Of course, Firenze was beautiful. Next stop was Civitavecchia and we took the train into Rome. Ah, Rome. so packed with sights to see. Next stop was Messina. The clock tower in the Duomo is not to be missed. We then had a sea day and the next port was Nafplion. We took a tour from the ship to Epidurals and Palamidi Castle. Well worth it. Our next port was Katakolon and we opted to walk around town on our own. The next ports were Corfu, Dubrovnik and our final destination, Venice. In Venice we took a tour through Viatour and it was excellent.

One bad note on this trip. I had became ill and wetn to the medical clinic. My care was excellent but the clinic was woefully organized. The nurses and doctor all had problems locating the supplies they needed. Less

Published 11/06/09
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: 214

We had a veranda, cabin 214. The size was very comfortable. The view from our balcony was great. We were towards the bow and on the port side. Leaving from Barcelona on this itinerary I recommend the port side.

Port and Shore Excursions

Barcelona is a great place to visit. We stayed around the Las Ramblas area and had some great tapas. Also, the festival for the Patron Saints was something to see. All the great costumes. They had some great dragons. We also took the hop on/hop off bus and got a great overview of the city. Don't miss the the Sagrada Familia. Had lunch in a cafe in La Boqueria, a famous market. There were crowds everywhere we went.
Read 1755 Barcelona Reviews

We had breakfast in the cabin so we could get an early start for our tour. We opted for the ships tour of Achillon and the city of Corfu. Great tour. The place of Achillon was magnificent. The town of Corfu was good also. After the tour, instead of going back to the ship we walked around on our own. Good shopping and a beautiful church.
Read 510 Corfu Reviews

It was very windy upon our entry to the port. There were wind gusts of 55 MPH by the bridge just short of the port. The ship reportedly swamped some small boats we didn't see it happen. Dubrovnik is not to be missed. We walked around on our own and enjoyed it immensely. It is a walled city and has many delights. We visited the oldest synagogue in the world. It reminded me of the shuls in Brooklyn when I was growing up. We also visited the first pharmacy. We saw Croatian dancers and singers in the won square. They also had a market and I believe it was for our ship.

Ah, Florence. Nothing I can say can describe its beauty. A great place to visit with all the sights. Our TuscanybyTaxi driver Ricardo made this a delightful trip. He was very knowledgeable and certainly knew his way around. We saw the Uffizi, and and the other main sights there. We also made a side trip to Pisa and I even climbed the stairs to the top of the Leaning Tower. It was worth the effort as the view was great.

Monaco being what it is you can see the whole place in a short time. We visited the Palace Museum and rode the little tourist train around town. We also saw Prince Albert leaving the castle via car.

How can you beat Florence? By going to Rome. So many sights packed into one city. We took the train from the Port to Rome, walked around for a bit and then took the hop on/hop off bus to get a good overview. We walked around the Coliseum which is you don't want to miss.

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