The Oosterdam is one of the older Holland America ships but is attractive, well maintained, and comfortable and has probably the best service, certainly the friendliest service, of any of the Holland America ships that we have sailed on. The officers, too, are unusually cordial and went out of their way to greet and chat with guests. What I liked best about this 17-day Panama Canal transit cruise, though, was the location of our veranda stateroom, high on deck 10 adjacent to the Crow's Nest Lounge and the Observation Deck. For viewing the Panama Canal, the cabin couldn't have been better situated--and I loved being able to just walk out the door in the early morning for an espresso in the Crow's Nest and a quick check of the shelves of the briskly traded paperbacks at the entrance. (Why, oh why, has Holland America done away with a real library?!!!!)
The Oosterdam veranda cabins have less storage space than the newer ships, but it seemed adequate, and the balcony space, at least on the 10th deck, is more narrow; there was not enough room for lounge chairs there. The bathtub showers, despite grab bars, are a little hazardous for old folk but I got used to being careful.
Entertainment isn't usually the strong suit for Holland America, but this cruise had not only two performances by the stellar Step One Dance Company, but two crowd-pleasing performances by the handsome male-diva group calling themselves The Dutch Tenors, who were the stars of the ship. They not only received standing ovations but found themselves applauded when they entered the dining room. Everyone loved them. The BB King Blues Band on board the Oosterdam never seemed to play music really intended for dancing, so that was a letdown; we usually love dancing to 60's and 70's music and the BB King groups have been in the past a big part of why we chose Holland America.
Loved, absolutely loved, the high 10th deck location of our cabin. The balcony was smaller than usual, though, and there wasn't as much storage as on the newer Holland America ships.
Leon is a long way from the port, the temperature was 99 degrees, and the guide (Elvis) had little to say. Not recommended.
Very, very far from Antiqua.
An appealing array of crafts here near the pier.