Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day ... Read More
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day itinerary,
A little history on me--I have done about thirty five cruises, three previously with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Eurodam--these ships were beautiful. When I booked the Oosterdam, I thought I would have a similar ship to the Eurodam (which I only did four months ago) but was shocked at the state of it: on my of my facebook postings, I stated "I am on a ship a few sailings away from the scrapyard" and it was not an exaggeration.
The crew were exceptional in trying to maintain the cleanliness but there comes a point that the effort to keep up an appearance is all in vain, which was the case here, and I feel so bad for those hard working people.
Unlike the other ships that had nice light, warm inviting colours, one entered into this one facing dark, drab maroon and blue--very 70s retro. As I walked down the hall to my cabin what was the most noticeable was the smell of dampness, then looking at the carpets, on most all decks, they were water stained. Not little ones here or there but the stains were making their own pattern in the carpets!
The room--same drab colours, a couch that was threadbare and the arm rest black (mixed into the maroon) with dirt, the bathtub so worn that my initial reaction to all the nicks was a slight heart palpitation because I thought they were insects. The water temperature in the shower never got above luke-warm, the light fixture behind the bed was broken, about to fall off, one light needed replacing and the coffee table lever was broken so it was left in the highest position.
To me it felt like the ship must be on a scheduled dry-dock sometime soon because all effort to make it look somewhat presentable was gone. Others on board seemed to enjoy it, and I am glad they could make the most of it, but with all these cruises under my belt, I felt the need to place this review for a) frequent cruisers like myself who have a certain expectation of cleanliness and a small standard of basic working order of things and b) for those who might be spending hard earned money for a first-time cruise---my advice, do another ship or wait to see if this one ever gets upgraded.
In Cabos I went to the Walmart there to buy more cleaning supplies to try to get that "dirty" feeling out of my room but by Mazatlan, I knew that I could not do those last two days at sea, researched the contract, confirmed with the ship that I could depart in PV and that is what I did. I booked a hotel in PV, new flights up to my final vacation destination and set the wheels in motion.
Note--if one chooses to go this option, expect a change in attitude from the front desk staff from sweet and polite to rather blunt. Further, when I first inquired as to being allowed to stay on-board until noon I was told no problem but by 7pm on the last night, a letter arrived to my room informing me that at 7:45 am the following morning I must report to the Immigration officers on-board with my luggage (normal procedure) but I had to depart the ship immediately after---there went the welcome. Too add insult to injury, they did not even communicate my departure with the security officers on Deck A so after I cleared the Mexican Customs on board, the security staff still pulled me to one side to "verify" that I was allowed to leave. I had a few choice words for them on that topic.
The ports I have been to before---San Diego, to begin is a beautiful city and I will go there again. The first sea day, and on Western based cruises this is to be expected, it was freezing and wet! Cabos uses tenders so be prepared for a bit of a line-up to get on one unless you have an excursion. Coming back close to noon a very intoxicated woman sat next to me and practically passed out on my shoulder going back to the ship--I had to wonder how much she drank so early in the morning?! Mazatlan, though it did not have a tendering system because it was docked at a cargo port, meant that one still had to wait for little shuttle trolleys to take passengers from the ship to the cruise building. The town itself was lovely and I took the local bus over to the hotel zone to find a Starbucks to get a coffee and good wireless. The malecon in Mazatlan is miles long and very scenic--loved it. PV--I have been there many times on land vacations and though the ship docks close to the hotel zone and 7 peso bus ride can take anyone into the historic part in about 20 mins for each direction.
Overall, I would use Holland America again, especially one of the past three ships I enjoyed, but the lesson I learned this time, even after all my cruises is that any future cruise I take, I have to research the ship more closely, in particular--the date it was built and when it was refurbished! Read Less