We took this cruise with another couple, long-time friends and traveling companions, booking two balcony cabins with adjoining doors and balconies, and we had a very good time. We were nervous about the weather sailing south down the coast, but needn't have been, because the weather was gorgeous and the seas were very smooth. Boarding was wonderfully efficient - we arrived at the port a bit earlier than advised to, and were on board and eating a lovely lunch in a little less than an hour. Our cabins, and the entire ship, were clean and well maintained, and we all appreciated the slightly subdued decor (nothing glitzy or over the top) built around gorgeous caste aluminum elevator doors and beautiful floral displays on every deck. Contrary to some reviews, we all found the food to be excellent in every included dining area - the Vista main dining room (where we had open seating) was attractive, comfortable, and offered lovely views and the Lido Market buffet was spacious and nicely decorated, had great views, and offered an amazing selection of different varieties of food in specialty areas - Asian and South Asian treats, salads, pastas, a carving station, sandwiches, burgers, ice cream and desserts - you name it, they offered it. The musical entertainment, in several venues (BB King's, MainStage, Lincoln Centre Stage), was also varied and geared to many different tastes - classical music, show tunes, rhythm and blues, dance standards and a stand up comic who offered great humour combined with marvelous fiddling (at one of her shows she was accompanied by her lovely and very talented 11 year old daughter). Our favourite spot for chatting and watching the sights was the Explorations Lounge on the Observation Deck, and we had a great time playing cards in the Lido Market buffet area after the 9pm show, as they continued to serve tasty food (their French fries and home made potato chips were perfect card-playing snacks). In typical cruise line fashion, HAL does overcharge for all alcohol (the dining room's wine bottle charges were utterly ridiculous), but the four of us aren't serious drinkers, so we made do with a fairly reasonable 6 bottle wine package to accompany our dinners and were happy enough because we drank lots of craft beer in every port. Our traveling companions both enjoyed the Casino, and my husband and I really enjoyed the beautiful outdoor pool and hot tubs (the ship has an indoor pool and hot tubs as well, with a retractable roof). None of us experienced the hard sell mentioned in a previous review (but we didn't attend the History of Diamonds presentation), and we appreciated that the on-board photographer was quite respectful if you just said "No, thank you." The icing on the cake, though - and Holland America should be proud - is their truly exceptional service, offered by every crew member we met. Friends of ours have always recommended Holland America and we hesitated sailing with them because we've had less then happy experiences with mid-priced cruise lines, but this cruise made us understand their preference. We would not hesitate to sail with Holland America on the Oosterdam again.
Attractively decorated, quiet (we didn't hear any of our neighbours or people in the hallway), roomy and providing ample storage, our cabins were very well maintained and exceptionally clean. We appreciated the generous number of hangers, but wondered about the lack of drawers. The bathroom is standard (i.e. small), but everything worked properly and it was nice to have a shower/bathtub combo and no shortage of really hot water! The verandah is fairly roomy, with two chairs and a small table, and there were charging stations on each side of the bed beneath reading lights - a nice touch. All in all a very comfortable cabin.