Terrible cabin - wonderful solo guitarist: Oosterdam Cruise Review by hybrn8

Oosterdam 4
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Terrible cabin - wonderful solo guitarist

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Hawaii
Embarkation: San Diego
Waited awhile to write this review as I wanted to be as objective as possible and let the little things float away and see what stuck in my memory.

That said, we are long-time cruisers having traveled on ships of all shapes and sizes. Several HAL trips, including a previous voyage on the Oosterdam, make it possible for me to be somewhat objective as we pretty much knew what to expect when we booked and boarded.

What we didn't expect was a cabin whose forward position made it nearly impossible to occupy when sailing into the wind...roaring, wailing, screaming winds whipped by our balcony door for days on end. No point complaining to staff as ship was full. We almost always book guarantees and have never been unhappy until this trip - I doubt the folks in Seattle who assign cabins have any idea that these forward cabins are so prone to these wind-related problems.

As a result, we were seldom in the cabin and trying to find a quiet, peaceful place to just relax More and enjoy the sea days (we actively seek out cruises with few port calls)turned into a challenge. There were just way too many activities for us to even consider and most of them entailed once quiet corners of the ship (Explorers Lounge, for instance) suddenly becoming the venue for a trivia/cooking/art/spa lecture/contest.

The Crows Nest is a zoo - too much going on, trying to be something for everybody and succeeding in little except in the evenings when the solo guitarist, Chris Bartlett, appeared.

He was one of the highlights of the trip - a very talented young man who has a wide ranging repetoir and an engaging style. Please seek him out on your next cruise and ask him to play "Hallelujah" for me (Jeff Buckley version).

Food was good - ate about half our meals in the Pinnacle and a few in the Canaletto. Breakfasts and lunches were usually in the MDR. Too chaotic in the poorly designed Lido and too much hustle and bustle in the MDR for enjoyable evening meals (we never choose 'traditional' dining).

Entertainment, in addition to Chris, was a mixed bag - a very unfunny comedian named Noodles, a wonderful ventriloquist, a great ELton John imitator, and so forth. Lecturers were good and varied.

Having been to Hawaii several times we weren't too interested in the ports but did manage to have a few good lunches ashore - dim sum in Honolulu was a highlight. Car rental with Budget/Dollar in Hilo was a fiasco - spend more and get National or Hertz car.

The staff was very good - always a smile and a real desire by 99% of the staff we encountered to make sure the passengers were happy and enjoying themselves.

Overall, we'd give the trip a 7 out of 10 and doubt we'll ever travel on the Oosterdam again given its over-large (to us) size. We'll go back to one of the smaller ships like the Maasdam/Zaandam instead.

Hope the foregoing helped. Less

Published 01/27/12

Cabin review: SA7001 Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite

7001 is right under the superstructure for the bridge and some view of the sky is effected. Worse is the way the wind whips around the superstructure and screams/roars/wails into the cabin. Assume cabin on opposite side of ship as well as those forward cabins on decks below Rotterdam are likewise effected. Otherwise, it's a hike from anywhere but that means no hallway traffic or noise. Just made you think twice about returning to cabin to get a forgotten item or leaving cabin without making sure you had everything you needed!

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