As we live on the east coast, a cruise out of San Diego might not have been something we explored seriously. At a charity event, an Oosterdam cruise was on offer and we had the winning bid. We (my spouse and I, and eventually my sister) decided on the December 28 sailing. We had not spent any appreciable time in San Diego before so it seemed an attractive idea. We met in Los Angeles first and spent a great night there. Enjoyable, but the drive to SD was not fun--should have taken the train. San Diego is a lovely city, and we had a great dinner with cousins. San Diego is quite beautiful and a walk downtown along Broadway was interesting. The train station is beautiful and is the meeting point of several transportation options. We spent a night on Coronado after the cruise that was equally wonderful.
Boarding was completed easily enough--the usual hubbub but all went well, very quick and welcoming. It was nice to hear that the cabin was ready when we boarded at 1:30. We boarded in the forward part of the ship so it was a long walk to our aft-facing cabin.The ship itself was quite nice inside--lovely carpeting throughout, interesting (mostly) artworks, and cleaning was ongoing. Good to see at this germ-y time of year. The exteriors of the ship needed tending, however. Our deck was dirty (the deck below was worse), windows were grimy and difficult to see out of (not just salt water), and posts were rusty and flaking. The cabin, #5190, was spacious with a very large L-shaped deck, and plenty of closet space. A nice two-sink bathroom, with a separate shower and tub. The shower was very small and leaked, so we had to use many towels to keep the floor dry. The cabin had attractive lighting and the bed was extremely comfortable. My sister said that the sofa bed was perfectly fine and even cozy. The cabin was made up early every morning, which I appreciate as we're early risers.
We explored all dining options, I think! The Lido Market (buffet) was not the most comprehensive and the food was a bit bland, but it did have some of the best breads I've ever had at sea, especially the rye bread. The usual fare, all of which were fine if not memorable. Dive In, the poolside burger and hot dog place, was very good and much less chaotic than I've seen on other ships. You place your order and get a buzzer to let you know when your order is ready. That kept people from milling about and bumping into one another. Nice looking taco and nacho bar, too. The MDR was really nice, with great service and friendly people all the way around. I loved the food and we spent many nights there. The Pinnacle Grill was exceptional for breakfast. It was open for suite guests only, and the service was remarkable. Canaletto, another restaurant with a surcharge, was fine, though nothing special. Drink packages were only available if everyone in the room purchased one. As one of our party doesn't drink except for a few glasses of wine during the week it was not worth it. I guess it says more about the other passengers that HAL suspects a lot of cheating would be going on. It happens, but it made things less easy for us. The bartenders were all nice, but they measured every drink (fine) but did not always clean the jiggers (not fine). Ordering a vodka drink and then tasting other liquors is disconcerting. An Irish coffee was lukewarm with a drop of whipped cream because on the last night of the cruise they ran out of cream(!).
Roomy and comfortable, with plenty of storage space. Very comfortable beds, linens, and pillows. Nicely maintained, though the decks were in need of a serious power-washing.