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We sailed on the Oosterdam Nov. 17-24, western Caribbean. This was our first time with Holland America having travelled with a variety of other lines. Boarding the ship was well organized but we were really surprised to be able to access our cabin immediately. Every other cruise line we have travelled with, we learned that cabins would not be available for 2-3 hours after boarding. The oceanview cabin was relatively spacious and had lots of closet and storage space. The bathroom, with a tub/shower combination, was much more comfortable than some other tiny, barely-fit-in-the-shower experiences we have had. The beds were so comfortable that I’d bring one home and replace our current, expensive mattress. Some reviews I had read worried me that this ship would present as old and needing some face-lifts. What we found instead was classic, elegant and refined. Every public space was like a very high-end hotel. The bars were truly relaxing areas to have a drink and enjoy private conversation in quiet environments. I was led to believe that very senior citizens are the primary clientele of Holland America but this was not at all the case on this trip. There was a broad range of ages, including some families with children. Perhaps most surprising, the pool areas were never clogged with people. We could always find deck chairs together as opposed to finding dozens of empty chairs with towels left on them for hours at a time. We have cruised on one of the new mega ships and will never do that again. Food is a very personal thing to comment on. In this area, I found the main dining room at the same level as most other cruises we have experienced, i.e., lots of high notes with some missed steps. Fish is a challenge when the kitchen is preparing so many dishes at a time and on 2 occasions, the fish was over cooked. There were some examples of potatoes that were like small pucks. The steak and lobster dishes were very well done. Service was attentive, water glasses kept filled, drinks replenished and coffee/tea always offered. Desserts were average. We did anytime dining and never waited more than 3-5 minutes for the 5 of us to be seated. When eating in the Lido, we were able to find seating without too much wandering around, even at the busiest times. Our room attendants were the best we have experienced. They were always cheerful, always had time to chat and never made us feel that they were looking for tips. This was also true of all other personnel on the ship, never walking past guests in silence, smiling and helping out in any way they could. The level of service that we experienced was exceptional. Our thanks to all. On all other cruises, the hallways were always crowded in the morning as the attendants raced to do up the rooms. On this ship, we never saw laundry baskets in the halls or cleaning supplies and vacuums. Several of us love cooking and were pleased that America’s Test Kitchen offers demonstration classes during the cruise. A stand-out feature for the musicians in our group was the on-board professional quintet - piano and strings. They presented several concerts and their playing was at a very high standard. I would plead with Holland America to enclose this performance space, a portion of one wall is open to a hallway and some guests, in spite of signs asking for quiet, have not learned to use their indoor voices. Glass could cover the open area and largely solve this issue and be respectful of the artists. When the ship arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the cabin as we were in no rush to disembark. We walked off with our bags at 10 a.m. and had no issues. We look forward to travelling with Holland America again.

Classic, Elegant, Refined

Oosterdam Cruise Review by princt2

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We sailed on the Oosterdam Nov. 17-24, western Caribbean. This was our first time with Holland America having travelled with a variety of other lines. Boarding the ship was well organized but we were really surprised to be able to access our cabin immediately. Every other cruise line we have travelled with, we learned that cabins would not be available for 2-3 hours after boarding. The oceanview cabin was relatively spacious and had lots of closet and storage space. The bathroom, with a tub/shower combination, was much more comfortable than some other tiny, barely-fit-in-the-shower experiences we have had. The beds were so comfortable that I’d bring one home and replace our current, expensive mattress.

Some reviews I had read worried me that this ship would present as old and needing some face-lifts. What we found instead was classic, elegant and refined. Every public space was like a very high-end hotel. The bars were truly relaxing areas to have a drink and enjoy private conversation in quiet environments.

I was led to believe that very senior citizens are the primary clientele of Holland America but this was not at all the case on this trip. There was a broad range of ages, including some families with children. Perhaps most surprising, the pool areas were never clogged with people. We could always find deck chairs together as opposed to finding dozens of empty chairs with towels left on them for hours at a time. We have cruised on one of the new mega ships and will never do that again.

Food is a very personal thing to comment on. In this area, I found the main dining room at the same level as most other cruises we have experienced, i.e., lots of high notes with some missed steps. Fish is a challenge when the kitchen is preparing so many dishes at a time and on 2 occasions, the fish was over cooked. There were some examples of potatoes that were like small pucks. The steak and lobster dishes were very well done. Service was attentive, water glasses kept filled, drinks replenished and coffee/tea always offered. Desserts were average. We did anytime dining and never waited more than 3-5 minutes for the 5 of us to be seated. When eating in the Lido, we were able to find seating without too much wandering around, even at the busiest times.

Our room attendants were the best we have experienced. They were always cheerful, always had time to chat and never made us feel that they were looking for tips. This was also true of all other personnel on the ship, never walking past guests in silence, smiling and helping out in any way they could. The level of service that we experienced was exceptional. Our thanks to all. On all other cruises, the hallways were always crowded in the morning as the attendants raced to do up the rooms. On this ship, we never saw laundry baskets in the halls or cleaning supplies and vacuums.

Several of us love cooking and were pleased that America’s Test Kitchen offers demonstration classes during the cruise. A stand-out feature for the musicians in our group was the on-board professional quintet - piano and strings. They presented several concerts and their playing was at a very high standard. I would plead with Holland America to enclose this performance space, a portion of one wall is open to a hallway and some guests, in spite of signs asking for quiet, have not learned to use their indoor voices. Glass could cover the open area and largely solve this issue and be respectful of the artists.

When the ship arrived back in Ft. Lauderdale, we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the cabin as we were in no rush to disembark. We walked off with our bags at 10 a.m. and had no issues.

We look forward to travelling with Holland America again.
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