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Before the cruise, we had the 2 day package in Venice that came with being in a Signature Suite. On my own, I’m not sure I would have chosen the Bonvecchiati Hotel, but its location was perfect and the room was fine. Transfers were handled by HAL and went off without a hitch. Embarkation was very fast with priority Mariner status. We liked the ship a lot. Our cabin was great but it had a lot of noise from people walking on the pool deck above, carts being pushed, chairs scraping, people dropping things, etc. It didn’t keep us awake at night but it was fairly constant. Our neighbors were smoking on their balcony despite the smoking ban. The cabin and the balcony were large, the bathroom was big with a bathtub and a separate shower and 2 sinks. I loved the nightlight in the bathroom. Our stewards were excellent and were able to quickly fix a blocked drain. You can stream movies on the TV but you can’t check your cabin account, order room service or order shore excursions (you have to use the app). AC worked well and there was good storage space. There was norovirus on the ship but not many people got it. The crew seemed to do a really good job of keeping it from spreading. This might be the best cruise ship buffet I’ve seen. The variety was good and the food was actually hot. Don’t miss the nights they do the giant antipasto spread and the international desserts – gorgeous displays with tons of choices. I was not impressed with Dive In. The food takes a long time, isn’t particularly hot, and is it's just average grill food. Also, the hot dogs are too salty. Service in the DR was excellent and the food was very good, although they are pretty skimpy with the vegetables. If the menu says your protein comes with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, expect one Brussels sprout and one bite of potato. Entertainment on this ship was excellent. The production shows were terrific and the singers had good voices. The dueling piano players were great. BB Kings All Stars were terrific and really talented, but the volume was so loud I couldn’t sit in the lounge. If they had turned it down, I would have gone every night, but it was painfully loud. We went to a few of the lectures, which we enjoyed, but didn’t take part in other daytime activities. Shore excursions were very expensive but well run. Twice our tender pilots didn’t seem to know where the pier was. Disembarkation was very fast (we got off early with our suitcases). Overall, we loved the ship, had a great (if somewhat noisy) cabin, and thought the crew were great. The food, entertainment and service were all excellent. Good job, HAL!

Excellent cruise

Oosterdam Cruise Review by pirasea

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2018
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Before the cruise, we had the 2 day package in Venice that came with being in a Signature Suite. On my own, I’m not sure I would have chosen the Bonvecchiati Hotel, but its location was perfect and the room was fine. Transfers were handled by HAL and went off without a hitch.

Embarkation was very fast with priority Mariner status. We liked the ship a lot.

Our cabin was great but it had a lot of noise from people walking on the pool deck above, carts being pushed, chairs scraping, people dropping things, etc. It didn’t keep us awake at night but it was fairly constant. Our neighbors were smoking on their balcony despite the smoking ban. The cabin and the balcony were large, the bathroom was big with a bathtub and a separate shower and 2 sinks. I loved the nightlight in the bathroom. Our stewards were excellent and were able to quickly fix a blocked drain. You can stream movies on the TV but you can’t check your cabin account, order room service or order shore excursions (you have to use the app). AC worked well and there was good storage space. There was norovirus on the ship but not many people got it. The crew seemed to do a really good job of keeping it from spreading.

This might be the best cruise ship buffet I’ve seen. The variety was good and the food was actually hot. Don’t miss the nights they do the giant antipasto spread and the international desserts – gorgeous displays with tons of choices. I was not impressed with Dive In. The food takes a long time, isn’t particularly hot, and is it's just average grill food. Also, the hot dogs are too salty. Service in the DR was excellent and the food was very good, although they are pretty skimpy with the vegetables. If the menu says your protein comes with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, expect one Brussels sprout and one bite of potato.

Entertainment on this ship was excellent. The production shows were terrific and the singers had good voices. The dueling piano players were great. BB Kings All Stars were terrific and really talented, but the volume was so loud I couldn’t sit in the lounge. If they had turned it down, I would have gone every night, but it was painfully loud. We went to a few of the lectures, which we enjoyed, but didn’t take part in other daytime activities.

Shore excursions were very expensive but well run. Twice our tender pilots didn’t seem to know where the pier was.

Disembarkation was very fast (we got off early with our suitcases).

Overall, we loved the ship, had a great (if somewhat noisy) cabin, and thought the crew were great. The food, entertainment and service were all excellent. Good job, HAL!
pirasea’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Signature Superior Verandah Suite
Cabin SS 8055
There was a lot of noise from the pool deck above, but it didn’t keep us awake at night. Cabin and balcony were large, bathroom was big with tub and separate shower and 2 sinks. Loved the nightlight in the bathroom. AC worked well and there was good storage space.
Upper Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    Mixed bag. Montjuic Hill was the best part of the tour. To get there, you have to walk up a long ramp. You could stay on the bus at that stop, but don’t – the view is great. Then we drove around downtown. The streets closest to Sagrada Familia are closed to buses, so the bus just drives around in a circle a couple blocks away from the church and people try to take pictures down the side streets between the trees – in my opinion, not really worth it. You’ll need to be on the right side of the bus to try to get a photo. Then we had a 30 min stop at Olympic Harbor for free time. Here, you had to get off the bus but there were benches if you couldn’t walk down to the boardwalk. There was a beach and lots of shops and restaurants but not really anything to set it apart from any other seaside city, so it was too long a stop in my opinion.
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  • Dubrovnik
    Excellent. We took a very short bus ride to the end of the pier to get on the boat. There were only 24 of us on a boat that could hold twice that many. The guide was excellent. We had a short walking tour in town and then about an hour of free time. On the return trip, there was no bus ride back from the pier, so it was a longish walk back to the ship.
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  • Cinque Terre
    This was a good tour but I think my expectations of Cinque Terre were too high. Also, the pickpockets on the train are very, very good at what they do, so beware. That said, I enjoyed the tour and it was very scenic. We had a very good guide, who took everyone’s name and cabin number and then took attendance before we left each place. We drove 2.5 hours with a comfort stop to get to the first town.
    It was a scenic drive, so it was quite nice. We went to Portovenere first, where we had a short walking tour and some free time (about 70 min total). Then we had a 1 hour ferry ride to Monterosso. You don’t need to be on the top deck for the best views but you should be on starboard side. The villages are quite small, so while they are very photogenic, for most of the boat ride you are just looking at green hills. In Monterosso, we had a short walking tour followed by free time (about 1 hour 45 min total). The advertised snack was a wine tasting with a few tiny pieces of bruschetta,, so don’t expect to make lunch out of it. Then we took a 10 min train ride to the bus. Two pretty young female pickpockets intentionally created a bottleneck to make it hard to get on the train. By the time we got into the train and got seats, everyone around us had had their bags opened, although nobody seemed to be missing anything. Carrying your bag in front of you isn’t enough – keep a hand on the zipper too and try not to be distracted by the chaos around you. It was a 2 hour bus ride back to the ship, with a comfort stop. All in all, if Cinque Terr is on your bucket list, then this is a nice tour. The villages are pleasant and picturesque, but don't expect the whole boat ride to be colorful.
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  • Katakolon (Olympia)
    It was a half hour drive each way. We had a 45 min guided tour (our guide was excellent, and the over-ear whisper devices worked well) and then we had about 45 min of free time. If you're quick, that is enough to cover the rest of the site. There is a lot of walking on uneven ground and a few stairs, but there was more shade than I expected. Our tickets had said that no bags were allowed in the site but that turned out not to be true. After the visit of the ruins, the group reassembled and walked to the museum for a guided tour. It would have been nice to have more time at the museum. Then we walked down many stone steps to have 30 min free time at some shops. AC in the bus was inadequate. Overall, a great tour to a really interesting place with an excellent guide.
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  • St. Paul de Vence
    I really enjoyed this tour. The guide was excellent and the village is seriously pretty. It took about 1.5 hours to get there. We drove through Villefranche and Nice, so we got to see some of those places, too. When you get to the village, there are bathrooms in the bus parking lot. We had a 30 min guided walking tour of the town and then 1.5 hours of free time. You really can’t get lost in the village itself because there is only one way in and out, but make sure you understand how to reverse the walk (which takes 10-15 min) between the bus parking lot and the village. The village itself is gorgeous, with lots of nice shops and art galleries and restaurants. The streets have pretty patterns in the cobblestones. On the drive back we went a different way, which was a little shorter, so it was nice to have different scenery on the way back. Beautiful village, well worth seeing.
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  • Naples
    I really enjoyed this tour. I know everyone online says to do Capri on your own, but if you’ve never been there I think you would waste a lot of time just learning how to use the transportation system (where to buy tickets, where the bus stops are, etc.). The tour ran closer to 9 hours than the advertised 8, and we did not use the headsets mentioned in the description. Our guide was very good. We took a bus to the 8:35 jetfoil, arriving to Capri at 9:25. We took minibuses up to Anacapri, where we had 75 min. You have the option of having all of the time as free time (if you want to take the chairlift, you should get in line as soon as you get to Anacapri) or you can go with the guide to the museum and then visit the gardens at the museum and have the rest of the time as free time. The gardens and the views from the museum were not to be missed. Then the group reassembled and took minibuses down to Capri Town for an excellent lunch at Ristorante La Pigna. The food was very good. Then we had a few minutes if you wanted to taste or buy limoncello before the group walked to the main square. From there, you had the option of 1 hour of free time or you could go with the guide through the town and to the Augustus gardens and overlook with about 30 min time on your own. The town is very nice and the views were terrific. Then we met and took the funicular down to Marine Grande for the 3:25 ferry back. A lot of the funicular ride is through tunnels so there isn’t much to see. After the ferry we rode a bus back to the pier. Overall, I thought this was a great tour with a good guide and a delicious lunch, and I don’t think we could have covered as much ground if we had tried to do it on our own as first timers to Capri.
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  • Ruins of Ostica Antica
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  • Sarande
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  • Toulon
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