Oosterdam Cruise Review by Steve Martin
- Sail Date: January 2005
- Destination: Mexican Riviera
29 Jan 2005 Mexican Riviera
While this was our first pleasure cruise, I am not new to sailing. I have made 19 Atlantic crossings, the last being first class on the QEII, so I write with some knowledge and time spent on the sea.
Holland America was selected for their reputation of service first, the itinerary second and the fact that it would probably have fewer young families on board at this time. We were right on all counts!
Overall, it was a wonderful 7 days and we have already begun planning our next trip with Holland America.
We embarked at noon in San Diego in a very smooth process where everything was done in a very professional manner. Since we had done our immigration forms online and had completed our credit card form prior to appearing at the pier it was easy to move through the line and be on board within 30 minutes.
We proceeded to the Lido restaurant for a great lunch and views of the city and the bay. By 1:15 the announcement came that we could proceed to our cabin, a superior suite, #8040 port side. This was a great cabin with a full verandah, which we used extensively.
Our requests for an earlier seating for dinner (needed for medical reason) had been approved (we had been wait listed); we unpacked and began to explore the ship. This ship is very well appointed and it is very easy to get around with postings near the elevators for directional purposes.
Everyone on board tried to make this a great experience and they pretty much accomplished that feat.
Here are my specific comments:
Overall service: Excellent from all crew. We did experience some disappointing service in the Vista dinning room table 114. It was a table for 6 and while we were all seated and ordered at the same time the meals we participated in frequently were not served together. Someone was always forgotten. We found a similar problem with lunch in the Vista. The Vista is loud, hurried and typical mass dining.
Our solution was to up the already reserved dinners (3) in the Pinnacle grill to 5 nights. Was it worth the extra $40 per night? ... You bet. The food was excellent. Presentation was delightful and the service fantastic. Maitre d' Mike makes you feel like it is old home week and runs a tight ship in the room. (Ask for one of the cozy booths to make it an extra special dining experience. This will be the highlight of your trip, if you enjoy fine dining!)
Cabin 8040/a Superior suite grade. Our cabin steward, Tonio, was excellent. He seemed to know exactly what we wanted and when. He was great, kept us in order and yet was unobtrusive. The cabin was a delight. Very spacious with a couch that could serve as a pull out bed and a very comfortable queen bed converted from 2 singles. While directly under the Lido deck we had very little noise from above except when people were playing ping-pong in the late evening. Then we could hear the ball bounce on the floor when they hit it off the table. Just a note, not a real complaint.
The decor is pretty and well maintained.
We don't really care for much of the activity that is offered on board, preferring to do our own thing. The magician, Mel, was pretty good and the Bobby Black show was good. The cast show while a good attempt was not what we enjoyed so we left after 20 minutes. It was way too loud. We missed the "adult" comedian but heard many good things about him.
If you wish to meet the Captain for the photo shoot, go early. One of the assistant cruise directors forced everyone in line to another entrance after about 20 minutes because the Captain needed to get backstage. We were 4 couple away from him after standing in line for 20 minutes. We then waited 30 minutes for him to appear on stage.
We stayed out of the casino, but it seemed popular. The Piano bar, Crow's Nest and Ocean bar all had very nice lounge entertainment in the evening with accomplished musicians. Our favorite was the piano bar ... a throwback to the great little piano bars so many hotels had in the '50s, '60s and '70s.
Excursions: We prefer to do our own exploring. I heard both positive and negative comments from folks who did the excursions. We already knew Mazatlan, Cabo is pretty sparse and we did our own tour of PV.
The shopping advisor on board is obviously a paid representative of just a few stores that are part of the cruise-shopping network. I would suggest you save your time and simply read the excellent flyer produced each day, which has the same information and maps he discusses during his presentation.
Disembarkation: We requested an early disembarkation on our form presented to the office and were called at 8:45 and in a cab by 9:00 and at the airport by 9:15 in Delta's Crown room by 9:25. It was all very smooth. And I might add that a Carnival ship docked the same time we did, so it could have been a real mess on shore, but it wasn't.
Would we do it again? Yes! Same ship? Yes! Same port? Yes! Same Itinerary? Probably not.
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