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This 4-day reposition down the Western US coast was the least satisfying HAL cruise we've ever taken. The atmosphere aboard was truly uninspired. In fact, it seemed as if this short sailing was a Blow Off. The entire crew seemed distracted and disengaged, unlike most crews we've had on other HAL ships. Were they exhausted from the just-finished Alaska season? Were they focused on making the transition to the up-coming winter season? Was there some sort of on-going, behind-the-scenes crisis disturbing the crew? Who knows, but the passengers aboard between Vancouver and San Diego were clearly not their top priority. The food, in terms of both variety and quality, was sub-par. The entertainment offered was sub-par. The service was somewhat slow, and certainly lacked HAL's usual personal warmth. There were no special events for the Mariners aboard, no Officers' Reception for all passengers, no Good Morning Oosterdam sessions. This cruise seemed like a real strip-down operation. And the disembarkation process, which is the last chance HAL has to leave passengers with positive impressions, was terribly mishandled, then botched, by an inept Cruise Director who lacks the required skills for clear communication, organized process management, and successful crowd control. Even when we fairly grant that a 4-day transitional sailing has to be full of tough, unusual problems, this dis-spirited, disappointing cruise should cause HAL's management some real concern. On the positive side, the ship was clean and in good repair.

Disappointing Reposition Cruise

Oosterdam Cruise Review by GrayGrammy

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2011
  • Destination: USA
  • Cabin Type: Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
This 4-day reposition down the Western US coast was the least satisfying HAL cruise we've ever taken.

The atmosphere aboard was truly uninspired. In fact, it seemed as if this short sailing was a Blow Off. The entire crew seemed distracted and disengaged, unlike most crews we've had on other HAL ships. Were they exhausted from the just-finished Alaska season? Were they focused on making the transition to the up-coming winter season? Was there some sort of on-going, behind-the-scenes crisis disturbing the crew? Who knows, but the passengers aboard between Vancouver and San Diego were clearly not their top priority.

The food, in terms of both variety and quality, was sub-par. The entertainment offered was sub-par. The service was somewhat slow, and certainly lacked HAL's usual personal warmth. There were no special events for the Mariners aboard, no Officers' Reception for all passengers, no Good Morning Oosterdam sessions. This cruise seemed like a real strip-down operation.

And the disembarkation process, which is the last chance HAL has to leave passengers with positive impressions, was terribly mishandled, then botched, by an inept Cruise Director who lacks the required skills for clear communication, organized process management, and successful crowd control.

Even when we fairly grant that a 4-day transitional sailing has to be full of tough, unusual problems, this dis-spirited, disappointing cruise should cause HAL's management some real concern.

On the positive side, the ship was clean and in good repair.
GrayGrammy’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Cabin HH 4113
Cabin 4113 was fine for us. Since we usually select an interior, no-view room, the lifeboat obstructing our window view made no difference to us. The space in this cabin and its bathroom seemed a bit smaller than what we get in category K or L interior cabins, and we felt we had slightly less storage space than we are used to, but we were perfectly comfortable in this cabin. It's location, about halfway between the midships and aft elevators, meant that our hallway was quiet, which was a plus.
Upper Promenade Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Victoria
    Victoria seemed like a rather strange selection for the only stop on this cruise, especially right after a Vancouver departure, and for October when the weather is likely to be dreary. Perhaps Victoria was chosen to please the large number of Canadian passengers aboard, but a stop in either Seattle or San Francisco would have offered many more interesting options for excursions.
    View All 958 Victoria Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Victoria Cruise Port Review