First Time On a Cruise Ship: Oosterdam Cruise Review by opelmanta1900

Oosterdam 5
Member Since 2011
21 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

First Time On a Cruise Ship

Sail Date: April 2011
Destination: Mexican Riviera
Embarkation: San Diego
I have to start by saying that I have nothing to compare this cruise with since I've never cruised before... I also realize my girlfriend and I are much younger than the average passenger on board but we were not bothered by that one bit... Neither of us drink and we don't really enjoy the "night life" so we are probably much different from most other 29 year-old cruisers... I should also mention that I love to write, so this is going to be a long-winded review...

We boarded the Oosterdam on 4/9... Everything on this cruise far exceeded our expectations, including the politeness of the staff, including the quality and ease of dining, and even including the accuracy and speed of room service...

The Food - I will start with room service... We had heard time and again that room service on board the Oosterdam is unreliable and of poor quality... I don't know what all of those people are doing wrong... We had room service 3 times per day... My girlfriend had breakfast More delivered at 9:30 everyday... It was always accurate, always at the appropriate temperature, and always delivered within 5 to 10 minutes of the time she selected... Everyday I had a triple-decker club sandwich with no mayonnaise delivered to the state room between 3:30 and 4:30 with chips, an assortment of cheeses and crackers, and usually smoked salmon and a Caesar salad with chicken for my girlfriend... I had the same meal delivered again everyday between midnight and 1:30, minus the salad and salmon, but added a plate of cookies and two milks... The food was always, always, always, delivered within one hour of the call being placed, and only once out of the dozen or so times did they forget to hold the mayonnaise on my sandwich... The food was always at the perfect temp when delivered, it was delicious and pretty close to perfect every time... We did tip $2 for the room service each time... Maybe that made the difference in accuracy and punctual delivery times... Either way, I was 99% pleased with everything about room service and found the majority of complaints I had seen on here prior to cruising to absolutely not be the case for us... Maybe we were just lucky...

We did eat at the lido every morning about 11:30 or so... I did not like it when the lido reverted to self-serve... It was much cleaner and more organized when food was served by the servers... Once it went to self-service, filthy hands touched just about everything you could imagine... So, after the self-serve started, we relegated ourselves mostly to items such as the sandwiches, which only the staff handle... So sandwiches it was, and they were great... We had no complaints and we liked our sandwich maker Jaime so much we went and supported him at the Filipino show, which was enjoyable in it's own way...

The Vista Dining Room was an experience to remember... We originally had open seating, but on the first day when we tried to change our Pinnacle reservation, one of the staff insisted he had the perfect "Honeymoon Table" for the "Beautiful Honeymooners"... (we're not married (yet), nor were we honeymooning (yet), but throughout the rest of trip, this staff member constantly referred to us affectionately as his "Honeymoon Couple" and we absolutely loved it)... And, he wasn't lying... The table was a perfect little table for 2 and we had dinner with the same waiters (Wikan and Saury, whom we love) at the same table every night at 7:45... We were very thankful he had talked us out of the open-seating... It worked out perfectly... The food was fantastic, with the exception of one night when it was just so-so... Again, we had heard numerous times before our cruise that dinner was a 2 hour affair, took a long time to get anything you wanted, and so on and so forth... We found none of it to be true... The food was always the correct temperature, nearly always tasted fantastic, and we were always in and out within an hour... within 2 minutes of finishing a dish, the next one was brought out... Maybe Wikan and Saury are just the most fantastic waiters in the world and we lucked out by getting them, but either way, it was always a delight to eat in the Vista Dining Room and I was nearly in tears at the thought of not getting to see our kind and affectionate waiters again... Also, as a side note, our wine steward (who's name I have regretfully forgotten) always remembered after the first night that we each took a coke with our meal, and always had it to us within 5 minutes of our having sat down... Absolutely phenomenal service from everyone in the Vista Dining Room... And yes, we went to the Master Chef's Dinner, and despite what we had heard about it being a limited menu and not a very enjoyable experience, we absolutely loved it, loved cheering our waiters on, loved watching them unwind, loved the napkin ballet, and had no problem finding food we enjoyed... Even got to try oxtail soup for the first time... Not half bad...

We ate at the Pinnacle one night and it was the best dinner of my life... Upon arrival, our waiter, Jos, led us past all of the tables and chairs to one of the only 2 booths in the restaurant... We felt spoiled already... Then he brought out a tray of 3 different sea salts and proceeded to inform us of what they were made from and what dishes they complimented best... We felt even more spoiled... Then he brought out a special treat from the chef... I believe it was raw tuna, covered in a sweet wasabi like sauce... My girlfriend loves sushi and as such, this was a real treat for her... It was very good and she absolutely loved it... It was fairly obvious to both of us at this point that The Pinnacle is easily worth what it costs and more... We really were treated like royalty by all of the staff on-board, and it especially showed in The Pinnacle... She had the filet mignon and I had the troll-caught salmon... we both figured we'd fight over the filet, both of us being beef lovers, and the filet was excellent, but in fact, it was the salmon we battled over most... Without a doubt the best fish either of us had ever had... It ruined the taste of regular old salmon for both of us... I finished up the meal with the softest, creamiest cheesecake I've ever had topped with fresh raspberries... She had the souffle and loved it... BTW, we were told before boarding that souffle would have to be ordered at the beginning of the meal as it took about 20 minuted to complete... We now know that the ovens on-board the Oosterdam have been updated, and the new technology allows for about a 7 minute souffle, so no more need to order ahead unless you are in a hurry to get out of there, which we were not... We never wanted to leave... I will pause here to say that Jos was without a doubt a joy to be waited on by... Very knowledgeable , very kind, very fun to interact with and just made the whole Pinnacle experience that much better... We were so impressed with the Pinnacle that we contemplated trying to squeeze in another meal there, but in the end found we had too much of a good bond with our Vista Dining Room waiter to want to go another night without seeing him... If people played no part in the decision, only food, or if we could have squeezed in 2 dinners every night, we definitely would have eaten the Pinnacle more often as the food was just above and beyond amazing...

I should pause here to mention that even though my review and the constant mention of food intake make my girlfriend and I out to sound like morbidly obese pigs, we're both pretty fit and the amount of food we took in during this cruise is not reflected by our weight... We ate a lot during this cruise, probably 4-5 times as much as normal, but usually we are quite responsible about our diets... but hey, this is what vacation is for, right?

Ok, no more food talk...

The casino... Since neither of us drink and since we know Holland America makes most of their money on booze and gambling, we felt it our due diligence to donate via the casino, which we did... there was a fun ambiance in the casino when it wasn't absolutely packed, but the machines were definitely very tight... We had a lot of fun in the casino despite never winning much of anything... The machine in the casino that you drop the quarter tokens into in hopes of winning far less tokens than you've put in - I Loved It! I had never seen one before... My girlfriend said, "I've never won anything out of one of those"... I put in a couple of dollars and won a couple of dollars and a losing lottery ticket and a couple of Holland America Dice... I enjoyed it as much as anything in the casino, despite the absolute absurdity of it...

The shows... We saw the show the first night... Kind of a high school musical type production... The dancing was very good, and the lead male vocal was tremendous... The lead female vocal however smiled instead of opening her mouth when she sang... It made her hard to understand and sounded a little weird... Overall it was a fun show, and probably really fun if that's your thing, but it wasn't really our thing...

We saw the impersonator, Pete Peterkin... He was great... Did a great Obama impersonation, was very musically talented, and overall just a very entertaining individual... We enjoyed him thoroughly... I wish I could say more to praise him, but really, he's just one of those acts you have to see to fully appreciate...

Leo Ward, the magician... Poor guy must have had a list of things that can go wrong during a show and was able to put a check next to each one of them, up to and including my girlfriend throwing his plush ball towards the balcony only to have it get lodged in a hole in the wall that cradled the spotlights(yes, that was us)... He should be less insistent on telling the audience members to throw the ball "Anywhere you want"... It was a good laugh though and the show was very entertaining minus the teenagers sitting in the front to the left side of the stage... The few teenagers on-board were not well behaved or well looked after and were one of the very few disappointments about the trip... Don't get me wrong, they did not spoil our trip or make us very unhappy for any significant portion of the trip... They were just very poorly behaved and it was a sad surprise to find as we specifically cruised with Holland America to avoid such individuals... The actual children on-board were very well behaved (at least that we saw), and their parents did such a wonderful job supervising them and keeping them controlled (at least that we saw)... The children were not a problem, only the teenagers...

We skipped the comedian, and are now glad we did as we heard his humor was not in the greatest taste...

We played bingo once... It was a lot of fun although we did not win...

We watched the movie Inception in the screening room... The movie theater was cold and a little difficult to hear at times... As for the movie itself, well lets just say I'm glad I read the entire wikipedia page about the movie before watching it or I wouldn't have had the slightest idea what was going on... Overall, we enjoyed the screening room experience a great deal as we rarely if ever get the opportunity to go to a movie together... It was a lot of fun... And it didn't cost $32.50 for a medium popcorn and large coke, so another huge plus...

We didn't get off the ship at either ports... I grew up in San Diego and have been to Mexico many times and my opinion of the place was not changed by Puerto Vallarta... In my opinion, the only thing dirtier than the water in Puerto Vallarta was the air in Puerto Vallarta... The giant Wal Mart and Sams Club almost blocked the view of the dilapidated, disheveled apartment buildings that the locals call homes... I'm sure there is beauty beyond at the lovely resorts and hotels and scenic beaches that the many tourists visit but I did not care to see that... and as such, we stayed on the boat... And all for the best... We love ship life and never wanted to leave, although Cabo did tempt us...

The view of Cabo from our balcony was amazing... The beaches and the water and the rock formations... I'm sure Cabo also has terrible conditions that the locals call homes, but in Cabo, it wasn't sitting right outside of my balcony and I'm sure that made a difference in my reaction to it... In the end we chose to stay on the ship in Cabo simply because 12,000 other people had made the decision to get off the many ships docked around us... It was very crowded, and again, even at this point in the cruise, we had not tired one bit from being on-board... We played shuffle board, my girlfriend visited the spa for a much deserved and well-loved massage, and I walked around and looked at all of the absolutely must-see amazing relics and works and pieces of art displayed about the ship...

As I said, we absolutely loved being on-board the ship, never tired of being on-board, and even slept better when we were at sea... The rocking of the ship put us right to sleep...

The most memorable part of this trip, the one thing that stood out the most, and the main driving factor behind why we will definitely be planning another cruise with Holland America, is without a doubt the staff... Never in my life have I been treated so well by people who barely knew me... My name is Joel and my girlfriends name is Jacquelyn... I'm a fairly slender white guy with long dreadlocks that go past the middle of my back... When we entered the lido the first day, one of the workers on the far side of one of the stations saw me, and broke into a loud, Filipino-accented, broken-down English version of the Bob Marley hit, Jammin'... By the second day, this had spread to the majority of the Lido workers, and the very sight of us usually generated some rendition of some Bob Marley song by at least a couple of them... Our waiters in the Vista Dining Room never called us by our names, but rather by the nicknames they and the rest of the staff had affectionately chosen for us, which was Bob and Jack... The staff on-board were an absolutely lovely experience in and of themselves... We did not treat them as servants, but rather as we would a friend, and it made them all the more lovely to be around...

This has been the best vacation of our lives, without exaggeration... We are looking towards Alaska for a honeymoon cruise (an actual honeymoon cruise) and it will certainly be on-board a Holland America ship... Less

Published 04/19/11
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: VC5149 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Close to the elevators, but never any noise problems as a result. Very convenient room placement.

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