52 Holland America Oosterdam Australia & New Zealand Cruise Reviews

We picked this cruise because of the itinery and dates matched our local school holidays, In hind site it was a mistake, and we probably should have gone on another ship that was closer to our demographic. Most of the passengers on this ... Read More
We picked this cruise because of the itinery and dates matched our local school holidays, In hind site it was a mistake, and we probably should have gone on another ship that was closer to our demographic. Most of the passengers on this cruise were elderly, we are in our early 40's with two kids. Its hard to articulate my feelings on this cruise, the ship was nice, the food was nice, if a little bland, the ports were lovely, and the staff did their jobs well. The ship just had no atmosphere, there were small groups that were having fun and enjoying themselves, but mostly people were sitting around looking bored. Entertainment, really was geared towards to older passengers so there wasn't a lot for us to do, though we did enjoy the BB Kings lounge a few times, but there weren't a lot of people at the shows, so there was little interaction between the band and audience, I also never saw anyone in the nightclub. By 11pm most might, you would be lucky to get a drink as most of the bars were closed and the place was a ghost town. We had a large internal stateroom and it was comfortable and clean, the beds were very comfortable. Kids club was pretty disappointing, granted there weren't a lot of kids on board, but the staff treated the kids like a bit of an inconvenience, and really didnt put in a bit effort with the entertainment. We also had some bad weather that prevented us from going to Dunedin and Milford sound, but we got an extra day in Melbourne which we really enjoyed. I think we'll be going back to Royal Caribbean, its more suited to us, the atmosphere is a lot better, which to me, is more important than some of the other aspects that HAL boast. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Where to start. Embarkation - Pouring rain when we got to the port. No cover we were soaked through dropping our bags. Then watched our bags moved to the trollies which were also without cover, by the time we got them they were soaked ... Read More
Where to start. Embarkation - Pouring rain when we got to the port. No cover we were soaked through dropping our bags. Then watched our bags moved to the trollies which were also without cover, by the time we got them they were soaked as well. Great Start. HAL need to remember that not all their passengers are from the US. Everything on board was aimed at a US market. The quizzes, the food, the trivia, the talks and even the entertainment. The food was extremely poor. Three nights in a row we retreated to our room for a room service steak sandwich as we could find nothing edible (and believe me we are not the fussy type). The buffet was gazetted as closing at 8pm (early) however on 3 occasions we went to eat at 7.30 to find them already closed. You could eat reheated pizza or undercooked pasta whenever you liked. Coffee machines were out of order constantly or if they were working they were often out of water. The staff did the best they could and were friendly and helpful. Entertainment - With the exception of Paul McD in the Piano Lounge (He was brilliant) the other guests were poor. (If they were busking I would have kept my hand in my pocket and kept walking) The staff shows were good but why at 11pm. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we were very happy with it. I'll start with the positives: - excellent service, from our stateroom stewards and from the staff in the dining room. A special "shout out" to Havat, our dining room steward, who was very helpful & made us feel like honored guests. - overall service on the ship was very good. - lovely stateroom - despite comments in earlier reviews, we found our stateroom in an excellent state of repair - BB King Blues lounge - this was our 1st Holland cruise where the ship had a BB King Blues lounge. We went several times & enjoyed it very much. - nice, quiet lunches in the Pinnacle. - on one occasion where many people were coming back late from activities, the ship staff kept the LIDO open so people could still have a late lunch But there were several negatives: - most importantly for us, the overall quality of the food in the main dining room (MDR) was ordinary at best. One of the members of our party used the term "cafeteria style". Holland used to promote its culinary program, with links to several celebrity chefs. These chefs would not be "happy campers" with the food served. On one of the formal nights the main course that we each ordered was inedible & one person returned it to the kitchen for something else. which was also disappointing. That has never happened to us before on previous cruises. This is a big issue for us. We used to look forward on every cruise to our dinners in the MDR. Not so much any more... - even food in the Pinnacle was good, but not excellent as we had found in the past - we rated it as 8/10 on this cruise as opposed to 10/10 on previous cruises - additional charges - don't get me going on this! We are already paying for lattes & cappucino's. It is really an insult to now charge a 2nd amount for "premium Arabica coffee beans". We also saw, for the 1st time, certain items on the Pinnacle menu for which you have to pay a supplement, over & above the amount you pay to go to the Pinnacle in the 1st place. - price of Holland excursions was too high & non-competitive. On past cruises we have virtually always taken Holland excursions. On this cruise we only took one (in Hobart). We booked all other excursions on our own. We found that the Holland excursions were terribly expensive & not good value-for-money. Example - in the Marlborough region, the Holland excursion to wine country included a stop in 2 wineries for tastings & in 1 garden. Excursion was 4 hours long & cost about US $150. We booked a whole day, small group wine tour with stops for tastings in 5 different wineries and other interesting stops during the day. Total cost was about 1/2 the cost of the Holland excursion. - on At Sea days, there was a lack of interesting educational activities and many activities either were tied to things that Holland was selling or cost something. The only thing of value for us was the port talks. - there were several At Sea days at the beginning of our cruise. It was really difficult to get a table in the MDR or Lido for breakfast & lunch on At Sea days at "normal" meal times. Either there is insufficient capacity or Holland should offer more options. - tender process - we only had to tender in 1 port (Akaroa). But the tender process was long & poorly organized. In that we weren't on a Holland excursion, we had to line up & get tickets. We arrived 15 minutes before the announced time & still only managed to get a tender off the ship about 1 hour after the tender process began. As a result we were late for our planned activity. - we only had one minor plumbing problem during the trip & that was quickly resolved. However our friends, who had a suite similar to ours on the port side of the same deck, had multiple problems. That is unacceptable. - for breakfast we like having a quiet table for 2 - just want our coffee & not engage in major discussions. In 2 cases the maitre d'hotel in the MDR requested that we sit at a table for 4, in 1 instance even though the MDR was almost empty. Clearly that is for their benefit, not the benefit of the guests. We enjoyed this cruise a lot but given the various issues we weren't altogether satisfied with Holland. As a result, when we take our next cruise, we will look at different, perhaps more upscale &/or all-inclusive alternatives. We had always been happy with the quality of Holland cruises in the past, including our previous cruise in the Fall, but on this cruise we were not as happy with things. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on ... Read More
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on deck one , near the bow, but the cabin was ok. We were on anytime dining, the food was not great, there was only 3 nights out of 14 that we could say we really enjoyed our meal. The choice was limited, with only a couple of new items on each night, mostly the same options night after night. Service was not that good, we did eat in the lido each morning, some staff were very good, most were indifferent, not bothered. Same with the bars, some staff were excellent, especially Josef in the pinnacle bar, but some were poor. There was a 15% surcharge on all bar bills, disgusting when you consider the charge of $23 per day gratuities, we refused to pay that and opted to pay half, although wish now that we had not paid anything at all. Entertainment was not great, most of the acts were mediocre, did a couple of quizzes, the piano bar was quite good for a couple of nights but repetitive after that. The excursion charges were extremely high, not good value for money. it was very easy to arrange excursions from the ports, the information centres were very good, helpful and a lot cheaper than the ship prices. We particularly enjoyed Napier and Picton in New Zealand. We did a tour in Rotorua with Mount Tours, booked on the dockside, that was brilliant. All in all a disappointing experience with Holland America and would not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We ... Read More
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We booked a Neptune class suite on the Oosterdam for the Sydney to Auckland cruise last year expecting a great holiday on fine ship with a premium stateroom. We didn't quite get what we paid for or hoped for. The Oosterdam needs some TLC inside. The threadbare furniture in some of the lounges should be replaced; the decor generally had a "tired" look to it. Our stateroom on deck 7 was no exception. Upon embarkation I noticed right away that the shower stall had been damaged some time in the past and had been repaired in the past with strips of masking tape which were beginning to peel away. Is the part of the "Signature of Excellence" the line advertises? If the damage had occurred with the past week then I can accept a temporary fix. The masking tape appeared to be HAL's permanent solution. This speaks volumes about HAL's current approach to maintenance and after spending thousands of dollars on a premium stateroom decorated with hardware store tape, I was less than impressed. However the staff were great. Since our last HAL cruise the quality of food offered throughout the ship has clearly declined; but that is another story. As if the add a punctuation point to the tape issue, the toilet functioned poorly during the cruise. That was a first. I'm sure they will eventually repair the shower, but I don't intend to wait and see. HAL needs to get passionate about routine maintenance of its older ships. Its very competitive out there especially in the luxury segment where more is expected and more must be offered. Next time its either back to Cunard or maybe Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and ... Read More
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and only offset by good staff service and a great itinerary. The entertainment was below par, all overstated show and poor quality entertainers. Food in the Lido buffet was ordinary and not hot. We did not expect all vegetables to contain peppers or the fruit selection to be so limited. The tea and coffee was poor and compounded by no fresh milk (only long life) for the last week of the cruise. We resorted to buying our own on shore excursions. The other restaurants were better but some charged extra. Good quality tea and coffee may be an Australian preference but we also found Americans who said the same. We did our own excursions as we the HAL options were expensive and we prefer our flexibility without a crowd. Overall this was not as good as our Norwegian Cruise Line experiences and more expensive. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
This was my first cruise with Holland America Line and must say a very disappointing experience in comparison to other companies. Oosterdam ship is aging, and unfortunately this is not balanced with the service which I would quote as very ... Read More
This was my first cruise with Holland America Line and must say a very disappointing experience in comparison to other companies. Oosterdam ship is aging, and unfortunately this is not balanced with the service which I would quote as very poor for a cruise experience. Thanksfully, you'll find some friendly staff onboard, but overall the level of service is poor. Staff reflect a low level of standards and worse tell you things but doesn't act as said! Curiously staff is using the same facilities than customers on their day off and you lost sense of who is the customer and who is the professional supposed to be in charge to make your cruise an enjoyable experience. Worse... as ship needs some refresh works, workers do execute those from early morning with short notice and refrain from ability to use the outside veranda. Food is ok, but once again below expectation for a ship cruise. It is hardly difficult to say a positive word on this cruise, but once again a few staff members are willing to offer a great experience, but these individual skills are not taken consistently through management not raising the bar and ensuring everyones fully dedicated to service. All in all poor service, aging boot, staff nor dediated to service and customer, ongoing works and lack of professionalism... NEVER BACK ON HOLLAND AMERICA LINE! Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed ... Read More
While I have read mixed reviews about the Oosterdam and this particular cruise in November in New Zealand and Australia, my wife and I can only say we enjoyed the trip. We flew from Sydney (our home) to Auckland the day before and enjoyed the city ahead of embarking on the 14 nights cruise on the Oosterdam. HAL offered us a paid upgrade to a Neptune Suite which we took to experience the larger cabin and additonal on board facilities. It is a great way to travel if you can and we did not regret the extra cost. The Neptune lounge is a great facility and the Neptune staff were excellent and were always there to assist with dinner and excursion bookings, and went out of their way to assist us when bad weather caused a change of itinerary during the cruise causing cancellations of shore bookings. However the ports of call were great in New Zealand and the extra day and night In Melbourne a bonus to those of us who love the city. While a number of pasengers complained about the change of itinerary due to bad weather, the Captain and crew made the correct call to alter the cross Tasman passage and reduce the discomfort due to heavy swells. On that issue the Oosterdam was impressive slicing through the swell with ease and was very smooth considering the 7 metre seas. The Oosterdam was in great shape during our cruise. Spotless and very pleaseant crew made the trip enjoyable. Having travelled with Holland America on several occassions this ship is of a high standard. Dining generally up to the usual good HAL standard. A couple of issues - embarkation procedure in Auckland was very poor and long delays caused irritation to some passengers and amusement to others as the ship was going nowehere until we all got aboard. The coffee at the Explorations Cafe was shocking. HAL still don't know how to make a good cappucino or expresso on their ships. More barista training please! A large number of passengers (including us) could not wait to get off the ship when in port to find a good coffee.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This review is for the cruise from Auckland NZ to Sydney, embarking on November 7, 2014. First, the embarkation process was an organizational nightmare. Long lines (embarkation took over two hours) and long times standing in what can only ... Read More
This review is for the cruise from Auckland NZ to Sydney, embarking on November 7, 2014. First, the embarkation process was an organizational nightmare. Long lines (embarkation took over two hours) and long times standing in what can only be described as a dillapidated pier. Walking surface was uneven, which was a challenge for any passengers with mobility issues. We had booked a Neptune suite, which is supposed to include priority boarding, but that was not accommodated. Furthermore, my mother has problems walking and uses a walker, but there were no arrangements made for guests with these problems. Stateroom: As mentioned, we had booked a Neptune Suite. These suites are smaller than similar ones on other vessels. The size of the room was comparable to a standard veranda suite on Princess and Celebrity (both of which we have sailed recently). Our stateroom steward was nice enough, but it was the day AFTER sailing when we finally met him. On previous HAL voyages, our steward would introduce himself on the same day of embarkation. He was also difficult to locate if we needed anything. Neptune Lounge: The best part of the being in a suite. The ladies in the lounge were WONDERFUL and always willing to help out with any questions we had. They also tracked down our steward for us when we couldn't find him. I also love the fresh coffee in here. Wonderful espresso maker. Food: VIsta Dining Room - mediocre at best. Quality was upscale cafeteria and definitely not fine dining. Dishes lacked flavor, were often improperly cooked and the variety was limited. Seafood was often rubbery. Shrimp for shrimp cocktail (the simplest thing on the menu) tasted like it had been thawed and refrozen several times. Service was a comedy of errors with lost orders, delivering the wrong thing to the table, and never being able to find a server when you needed anything. Wine steward was never around and his knowledge of the wine list was severely lacking. Lido Buffet - Borderline inedible. Salads looked old. Fruit it was either too green to eat or too old. No in between. Pinnacle Grill - The first few days the service was a disaster. No cream for coffee, no servers around, and bringing the wrong items to the table. This improved after the first few days, but a few of the staff did always seem to be out of it. The coffee quality declined significantly after the first week on the ship. It was as if they ran out of the good stuff and started substituting Folgers. We also went to the Le Cirque dinner which was quite nice. Not 5 star, but still very good and the best dining experience on the ship. On Board Entertainment - Only went to a few of the shows and they were good. The band (HALCats) was good and fun to listen to. The guitar soloist in the Crows Nest was good too. Culinary at Sea: The cooking classes are a joke. Many of the recipe cards handed out had obvious errors and missing ingredients - the proceedure would tell you to use an ingredient that was not listed. HAL needs to double check these and standardize them. The mixology classes were good and fun. Casino: Good staff and some fun events. The casino hostess is very nice and helpful. All dealers were fun to lose money to. Final note: we had booked this cruise to visit Milford Sound and Hobart, both of which were excluded from the itinerary at the last minute. The reason given was rough seas. It is worth noting that on the cruise immediately prior to this one, they excluded these same destinations. Other ships on other lines were able to go and on the day we would have been going to Hobart, the ferry between Melboune and Tazmania was sailing w/o any problems. If you want to see the Fjords or go to Tazmania, I would recommend a different way to do so. Perhaps HAL should consider removing these two destinations from future published itineraries if it is common that they have to be excluded at the last minute. Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. ... Read More
This is our 6th cruise with HAL and as always a wonderful experience. The quality of service on this cruise line is next to none. Stateroom attendants are in a class all by themselves always smiling, service oriented, quick and efficient. Many thanks to our attendants Suni and Kumar. Neptune lounge concierges Roxy and Kristin were a pleasure to travel with. Always helpful, efficient and professional. Stateroom big with tons of storage space, all areas of the ship clean and in good condition. I had read previous reviews that made it sound as though the ship was in need of upgrading but we did not find this. Yes it's true that some other cruise lines may have bigger and more outlandish decor but we like the style of HAL as you always feel you're on a ship rather than on a floating resort. Food was excellent as always but occasionally we found the breakfast fare in the dining rooms to be warm rather than hot (Pinnacle and MDR) - never ate at the Lido). The Cellar Master evening was OUTSTANDING and I would highly recommend this event even more than the Cirque night. No opinion on entertainment as we attended few but went to Karaoke once only as the equipment failed and this was therefore cancelled for the rest of the cruise. We did however have a better option which was to sing with the Halcats one evening and that was wonderful, even better than Karaoke. Hopefully they could do this activity on more sailings. All ports of call were excellent although we skipped Hobart and Milford Sound due to bad sea conditions. As a compensation we had 2 days in Melbourne instead of one. Many thanks to Captain Draper for making difficult decisions but keeping passengers safe and comfortable. Embarkation: somewhat painful in Auckland due to inadequate terminal. We were kept waiting in an u heated hangar on a somewhat chilly morning. Disembarkation: fast and efficient but would have appreciated if HAL had warned us that the Sydney terminal was under construction and we could not remain inside. We were immediately forced outside to wait for transport. Thankfully it was a hot sunny day. Excursion organization: my one irritant was that on this ship if you were on a ship excursion, you got your excursion sticker given as your excursion was called and as you exited the show lounge. In our 5 previous cruises, stickers were given as you entered so you had the option to disembark and wait outside. If you were unlucky enough to have a departure at 8:45 am and the ship was docked at 7:30 am you had to wait onboard the whole time. Passengers doing non-ship excursions had a better deal than those paying the premium price. Passengers with priority disembarkation were equally penalized.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2014
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of ... Read More
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of call, not the ship. Many described it as "tired" but the décor was ghastly, especially the bizarre thrones and benches throughout the ship. There did not seem to be any unifying theme in the décor. Our stateroom was fine and our room steward worked really hard; he said he was responsible for 29 staterooms and that seems like too many. Food was plentiful, but not outstanding and there were certain times of the day when one could not get coffee or anything, except through room service. I used room service every morning by ordering the night before. It was always delivered promptly, but the coffee was bad (as if it had been warming since the night before). I learned to order tea and use the hot water with instant coffee packets I brought from home. With the exception of one speaker, the entertainment was underwhelming. Australia and New Zealand are fantastic, but if I go back, I will do it as a land tour. Read Less
Sail Date October 2014
My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards wer fantastic and offered advice as to the best places in port for free WiFi. We ate most mornings and nights in the Vista dinning room as the food was just amazing and a different menu each night, the staff on every part of the ship worked very hard to keep it clean and fresh daily as well as always smiling and polite. The tender process was very efficient and no problems at all.embarkation and disembarkation is well organised and very quick not an issue as I thought it would be.All the ports were great and most organised a free shuttle bus with locals giving a running commentary. We only booked 1 shore excursion as most we found to expensive to book on ship but we used the port time to walk and explore the each port ourselves, we found that most of the museums were either free or only gold coin donations and were worth the time to explore them it helped get a great feel for the city and it's history, don't be afraid to use the public transport system as we used the bused to travel about often . When researching we could not find any info on the laundry costs as the Oosterdam does not have any available for passenger use but after a few days we spoke to our room stewards about this and found out that for $98 we had unlimited use just fill the bag with the form after organising it with the desk not an issue and worth it, if we had known this before the cruise it would have saved taking to many clothes. Overall it was a great experience and we enjoyed very much. Ron Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
Background information - We are 'young', active 59 and 64 year olds. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America. Our reasons for choosing the NZ Discovery cruise were (1) It fit our available time slot (we had originally chosen ... Read More
Background information - We are 'young', active 59 and 64 year olds. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America. Our reasons for choosing the NZ Discovery cruise were (1) It fit our available time slot (we had originally chosen the South Pacific cruise immediately before this one but the scheduling of a family wedding necessitated a change) but, more importantly, (2) it gave us a chance to see all of the eastern side of New Zealand and (3) it was a round trip cruise from Sydney, eliminating extra flights. Hotel information (if any) - Having stayed at the Sydney Sofitel for a conference in 2013, we chose to make our own hotel arrangements and stayed at the Intercontinental in a Club room prior to the cruiseOur room had a view of the city towards the inner harbour to the west and a tiny slice of view of Circular Quay. But we also had access to the Club Lounge on the 31st floor with 360° views of the Opera House, Harbour and Bridge. The view, together with breakfast, all day snacks and 'happy hour' drinks and cold and hot nibbles included, certainly justified the additional cost over the Sofitel with no views, no breakfast and a smaller room. Ship information - The Oosterdam is the largest ship we have sailed on. Part of the reason we chose this cruise was that it was a 'try out' to see if we would enjoy a cruise on a significantly larger ship farther away from home. In short, the answer is no. Even on day 13 I was still not able to tell whether I was going forward or aft without looking out the windows at which way the water was flowing. However, even with the additional deck of balcony staterooms, she doesn't have the ungainly, 'apartment block' look of many of the larger cruise ships. Like all HAL ships, the blue hull, raked bow, white superstructure and teak decking combine to make her look like a real cruise ship, rather than a party boat. Inside, the decorations are a bit over the top and the colours are BRIGHT but, aside from the Lido buffet, it never felt crowded to us and, as it was the last NZ cruise of the season, the ship was full. We really enjoyed the glass elevator as it was right outside our stateroom but, as it reduced the number of stairs we climbed, it probably wasn't a good thing. Internet is an issue - slow, expensive and non-existent above Deck 3 when one of the modems went out on Day 5. Now, about the miracle upgrade. Originally, we had booked Signature Suite (category SS), as the cost was comparable to our Ocean View stateroom on our 14 day Alaska cruise on the Amsterdam in 2012. We wanted to try a verandah stateroom as we have always had an ocean view and the SS category is approximately 30% bigger than a standard verandah. We booked on the port side as the cruise was going counter-clockwise and we anticipated we would see more land that way. We had 3 invitations to upgrade to a Pinnacle (Penthouse) Suite at varying amounts of additional cost, which we chose to ignore, and then, on the Tuesday (Australian time) before the cruise received notice that we had received a complimentary upgrade to a Neptune (Deluxe Verandah) Suite with all the Neptune perks! Although we moved to starboard, we still saw plenty of land while coming in to ports and enjoyed our miracle upgrade very much! Although I still don't know whether the extra room in the SS suites is all that much more desirable than the standard verandah, because we were never inside one. Activities - We didn't do a lot - no trivia, casino, cooking classes, movie nights or shows. We did one wine-tasting (and were reminded why we generally don't drink in the day time!), walked the Promenade, used the Spa several times and had our photographs taken by Black and White. Other than that, we spent our 'at sea' days roaming the ship or on our balcony so my husband, a keen photographer, could take photos. I did craft work and we both read. Service - Generally, it was excellent. Arnold and Carla in the Neptune Lounge were personable, helpful with dinner reservations and alert to any and all opportunities to assist. They provided nibbles and afternoon tea on several occasions when we had other guests back to our stateroom and the two of them managed to surprise me with balloons, a card and handmade chocolates on my birthday! Our stateroom attendants were most efficient at looking after our stateroom, most of the time without even being seen by us. They did make sure that we knew that they had 21 staterooms to look after but, as they accompanied that statement with a request to know when it would be most convenient for us for them to service our room, I didn't find the comment inappropriate. The wine stewards were run off their feet and it was obvious. But they always tried to provide the very best service they could. Port & shore excursions - We booked all our shore excursions prior to the cruise through HAL and found them all excellent. We could easily have been more active if more active shore excursions were on offer. Nevertheless, since what we were looking for was a taste of places and experiences in NZ that we hadn't had previously, they all met their brief. My husband particularly enjoyed the opportunities to see and photograph wildlife, the Art Deco aspect of Napier has long been an interest of mine and we both enjoyed the Hobbiton movie set very much. Travel to embarkation Port - We flew to and from Sydney from our home in Melbourne on QANTAS, a quick and comfortable 1.5 hour flight each way. Cabin - Our stateroom was clean, spacious and comfortable. The assortment of soft, medium and firm pillows was much appreciated, as was the extensive closet space and drawers and the lighted dressing table outside the bathroom. Having both the standing shower and the shower over the tub was not necessary for us but a nice idea. The verandah was twice the size of the standard one and we enjoyed breakfast or afternoon tea out there on a number of days. I don't think we will ever go back to an ocean view cabin, at least not on a warm weather cruise. Dining - We ate breakfast either in the Neptune Lounge or ordered room service and ate on our verandah. Lunch was in the MDR for set functions - Mariners embarkation lunch and Mariners brunch - or from the Terrace Grill or the taco/Mexican bar set up on the pool deck. Neither of us are fond of buffets and avoided the Lido as a result. We ate 3 times in the Pinnacle Grill - 2 standard dinners and the Le Cirque night - and once in Canaletto. We found the Pinnacle Grill menu delicious but just a little bit limited, as compared to our previous cruises. We enjoyed Le Cirque much more this time than we had on our Sydney to Singapore cruise in 2011. Beautiful, delicately flavoured food and much less 'show'. Canaletto's new menu philosophy of 'sharing' suited us much better than their previous menu and we were sorry we waited until our last night to try it! We ate in the MDR all other nights and the food ranged from good to excellent. The prime rib was tasty, even if I did have to cut fat and gristle off, salads were nice, the bread was always excellent and desserts were yum - to my will power's cost! Food was never HOT but it never tasted too cool to me. As mentioned above, the wine stewards in all restaurant venues were very busy and sometimes hard to catch but they were always pleasant and knowledgeable. At the end of the cruise season, you should expect that some vintages would be running low and they were, but suggested substitutes were acceptable and, in some cases, an even better bottle than what they were replacing. Children's clubs - Not relevant to us and the one part of the ship I have never seen. Entertainment - I went to the Maori Polynesian show (guest artists who came aboard in Napier) and it was excellent. The crew shows are presented too late at night for us and we skipped the other main shows, preferring to enjoy a leisurely dinner instead. We enjoyed the violin and piano duo and Gaither, the solo guitarist. We also enjoyed the Jazz Band and vocalist on the dock in Napier. Lots of fun. Disembarkation - Unfortunately, this is really the only part of the cruise that didn't go smoothly but it was mostly my own fault. We had booked a HAL airport transfer prior to the cruise and were ready well and truly before time. We got up early in order to see our transit through the Heads and up the harbour. Although it was dark, this was very worthwhile. We ordered room service breakfast but it didn't arrive. Consequently, when our room attendants arrived and asked if they could begin stripping our room, we took our carry-on and went to the Neptune Lounge for breakfast. We went from there to disembarkation without returning to our stateroom and I didn't complete that 'final walk-around' I usually do in a hotel to make sure I haven't left anything behind. It wasn't until I was unpacking at home and couldn't find my husband's electric shaver, our battery-operated toothbrushes, his brand new bottle of after shave etc. that I realised that I must have left them in the bathroom. I have contacted HAL guest relations to see if any of our bits and pieces have been turned in to Lost and Found but have yet to hear anything from them, other than an acknowledgement of my email. Sigh. Summary - This was a very enjoyable 14 day cruise made extra special by an upgrade to a Neptune Suite and the celebration of my birthday. Although we have decided that we prefer the smaller HAL ships and have booked a Panama Canal cruise next year on Amsterdam, HAL is still a winner in my book.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
A cruise to New Zealand was something my wife and I had wanted to do for a very long time, and having recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, what better time to do it. We chose HAL for their 'signature of excellence' ... Read More
A cruise to New Zealand was something my wife and I had wanted to do for a very long time, and having recently celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary, what better time to do it. We chose HAL for their 'signature of excellence' logo, but should have perhaps taken a little more notice of the reviews. However, with our friends, we had a great cruise, where our expectations were met, and in some cases, exceeded. Waiters, food and general ambiance aboard this grand old ship, were excellent. We loved the rich and lavish way in which the ship is fitted out and the way we were treated. However, 5 star cabin? No way, more like 3 star. Musty smelling, grey sheets welcomed us to our stateroom, along with a bath that had a 4" inch crack along the top and a generally tired and in need of refurbishment overall appearance throughout. The sheets were changed, but still grey and not what one would expect from a 'signature of excellence'. Whilst this did not spoil our cruise, it is something to take into account when advertising their product as 'excellent' means everything spot on. Time for Oosterdam to have some TLC - tender loving care methinks! The ports of call for very good and gave us a flavor of this lovely country. If you are fit and able, most ports of call allow you to make your own arrangements to sight see. Transfer, by both tender and shuttle bus, were very good. Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
First, and most important, today's HAL is not the HAL of years past. It was once a gracious and elegant line that appealed to well-traveled middle to upper age passengers. In HAL's effort to appeal to the masses, much has ... Read More
First, and most important, today's HAL is not the HAL of years past. It was once a gracious and elegant line that appealed to well-traveled middle to upper age passengers. In HAL's effort to appeal to the masses, much has changed. We are a well-travelled couple, mid-60's, who have been on 25 plus cruises all over the world. --Embarkation and Debarkation in Sydney:  Both nicely done and efficient. We had priority boarding due to a suite reservation. --The Oosterdam in general: Tired, worn, and in need of a major refurbishment. Much of the upholstery in the public areas is worn and some is dirty. Some worn carpeting. Generally clean. --Cabin: Neptune suite was spacious, clean, but showing some age. Above normal amount of rust on verandah and on bathroom door frame. Verandah was spacious, but no reclining lounge chairs. Cabin stewards did a fine job. The Neptune lounge is a nice touch and the concierge's are very pleasant and courteous. Room service was excellent and the quality of the food was good. --Excursions: Expensive, but nicely done. Hal has picked good providers who offer good tour experiences. --Dining: The main dining room food was generally good, but waiters are rushed. We found it impossible to reserve a table for two and many times, the table reserved by our concierge was not assigned at the dining room. The "As You Wish" dining just does not work well. Not sure what we should have received with our suite "Priority Dining Reservations", but we could not see that it meant much. The Pinnacle Grill food and service were outstanding. (A couple of the waiters were as good as we've experienced anywhere!) Unfortunately, what should have been a fine dining experience was ruined by the noise coming from the Atrium Bar. A handful of noisy drunks and a raucous, noisy bartender produced a sound level throughout the Pinnacle that was really annoying. This occurred mainly up until 7PM, when "drink specials" seemed to pull in the worst behaved. Wine prices are very high-about five times retail at the liquor store for the wines we enjoy. The "dress code" did not appear to be enforced. We frequently saw passengers in jeans and shorts in the dining room, with some dressed that way even on formal nights. In a few cases, the guy who mows my lawn looks about as good. I'm all for casual dress, but a dress code should be enforced or why have it? --Entertainment: We very much enjoyed the individual acts in the theater. The "revue type" shows are not our favorites, but the few we attended were OK. There has been an obvious reduction in pre-dinner entertainment in the bar areas-something we have always enjoyed. --General comments: Crew was friendly and tried hard to produce a good experience. We met many nice passengers that we enjoyed, but, unfortunately, found too many who just did not know how to use common courtesy and etiquette. In addition to the dress issues, there were too many feet on the furniture and a few too many children. (Many passengers who were on the previous cruise were very upset about the 300-400 children, some of whom were not supervised or controlled by anyone!) Are there any people who can close a door without slamming it? I can't blame HAL for the passengers, but do believe it's, in part, a by-product of the HAL marketing to try and appeal to a different demographic. In summary, HAL does a lot well, but there was enough not to our liking that we will not book with HAL again. Others may find HAL very much to their tastes. We just seem to be a better fit for Celebrity, Azamara, and Oceania.   Read Less
Sail Date January 2014
This was our first cruise and Holland America had been recommended by my brother so we had a bit of background on what to expect. The first sighting of the ship on Sunday 8 December from our airport shuttle service coming down George ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Holland America had been recommended by my brother so we had a bit of background on what to expect. The first sighting of the ship on Sunday 8 December from our airport shuttle service coming down George Street Sydney was amazing with the ship moored at Circular Quay towering above the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. From that moment we were impressed with most aspects of the ship and life aboard the Oosterdam. Let me get the few negatives out of the way first. 1. The shore excursions were totally overpriced compared with similar options available dockside. 2. The continual sales pitch to extract extra dollars from passengers was a bit "tacky". (Photos/Artworks/Sidewalk Sales/Wine packages etc) 3. Wine was overpriced compared to beer, spirits and cocktails. 4. Coffee was very average and only tea bags - no leaf tea option was available. Thats all the "cons" I can think of as the "pros" far outweigh them and were numerous. Our cabin 5171 was excellent and could not be faulted. The cabin service was first class with friendly smiling faces each day and all special requests met promptly and efficiently. The food and service in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner were excellent. The Lido provided a good range and quality of food and seating was always available. The entertainment was excellent with very talented singers, dancers and musicians. The officers and crew were friendly and helpfull at all times and the process for embarkation and dis embarkation were timely and very efficiently handled as was the tendering process to shore and back when required. The open dining was an excellent option for us as first time cruisers as we were able to meet a lot of very friedly people from all walks of life and from a range of countries. All in all a very pleasing first cruise experience and we will definitely have Holland America as our first choice option for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
In 2013 we did two cruises on the Oosterdam. The first was in March to the Pacific Islands, the second was a round trip to New Zealand in December. We could not get over the difference between the two cruises. Our disappointments started ... Read More
In 2013 we did two cruises on the Oosterdam. The first was in March to the Pacific Islands, the second was a round trip to New Zealand in December. We could not get over the difference between the two cruises. Our disappointments started with the same dancing shows yes exactly the same on both cruises...surely we are not the only people who go on 2 cruises 9 months apart? We and other Mariners noticed cost cutting in areas that first time cruises would not be aware of such as, inferior quality toilet paper. We also got the impression that the aim was to "on-sell". The cabin stewards did a wonderful job as usual, but it was mentioned to us that that were now having an increase load to service more staterooms. On the NZ cruise there was a pathetic variety of activities and it appeared that bean toss each day was a lazy uncreative way to keep us entertained! The Captain, Travel Director and Cruise Director on our Pacific Islands cruise were absolutely brilliant and handled difficult people and juggling change in itinnery due cyclone so professionally. By the time we came to the New Zealand cruise we had new Captain and Directors, all who had smooth sailing and we hardly ever saw them "out and about" "around the ship". With our Pacific Cruise, The Travel Director would have a session in the theatre prior to each port and talk about what there was to see and how you could get around on your own. This was not so with the New Zealand Cruise Director. If you went to him at his desk he only tried to get you on an organise tour from the ship. The food was still at the excellent standard that one has come to expect. However the female activity team member and the female singers in the band were shabbily dressed and below our expected standard. The furniture, fittings are starting to look tired and the carpet was worn on the main staircase. There was a strong sewerage odour on deck 3 stern hallway and the ship smelt musty. We did hear that in the next two years the HAL fleet will be fully refurbished. I hope they can last that long! Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are still recovering from our first cruise experience! We had a wonderful time aboard the Oosterdam and found that we really had two holidays in one. We understand now why so many people do countless cruises year after year...It is a ... Read More
We are still recovering from our first cruise experience! We had a wonderful time aboard the Oosterdam and found that we really had two holidays in one. We understand now why so many people do countless cruises year after year...It is a fun and economical way to travel. I travelled with my husband, we are both in our late twenties from Melbourne, Australia. Anyway, on with my (point form) review! EMBARKATION -We arrived in Sydney around 9.30am so had time to kill. Boarding commenced at 1pm and the queue at this time was massive! I was pleased that we could drop off our suitcases, allowing us to relax by the harbour sipping wine, admiring the ship until we were ready to embark. -customs was very easy, we embarked around 3pm and there was hardly anybody else getting on so it was quick. THE SHIP -looked majestic in Sydney Harbour, sailing out was definitely a highlight (shame we didn't disembark in Circular Quay on our return) -tastefully decorated, beautiful, very elegant decor, always clean and tidy, never found it to be particularly busy in one spot and rarely had to queue for long which surprised us given there were 1,900 guests on board, -it did take a little while to spot some younger travelers (no disrespect intended!) but frankly, we loved cruising with an older crowd because they were so much fun and easy going I always felt safe on board, could leave my purse on the table with no concern of it being stolen, there were no drunk troublemakers and we could just have a fun time doing things like bingo and line dancing without anybody judging us!! :) -Only a small group of kids on board and they seemed to be well taken care of by the kids club. Aside from often taking up the pool and hot tubs, the kids were fine and not too rowdy! ACTIVITIES -a very good range of activities every hour to choose from. Particularly liked the sail away BBQ's, bingo, trivia, game shows and karaoke competitions. -well organised, Jazzy (show host) and Michael (cruise director) were especially vibrant and entertaining. -even if there were no activities of interest on, there was always a band playing somewhere or a cocktail calling our name! -only used the Lido pool once, didn't go in the Sea View pool as the wind was always unpleasant on the decks! The one time we used the pool it was quite literally standing room only. Hot tubs were very powerful! -We used the Greenhouse spa, my husband had a full body massage on his birthday and said it was great. I used the hydrotherapy whirlpool thingy and the thermal suite which was very relaxing and a nice quiet space. The staff here were very helpful. SERVICE -Majority of the staff are from Indonesia and the Phillippines, very sweet natured, gentle and welcoming, always remembered our names and did a great job servicing our room. No complaints! PORTS/SHORE EXCURSIONS -I noticed that next year, HAL will no longer be tendering at Gisbourne and going to Picton instead. Wise choice as we were back on the ship within an hour in Gisbourne, not much to do here. Otherwise, happy with the ports of call although for first timers to NZ, I think a campervan type holiday would have been better to see inland and particularly more of the south island. -we did not book any excursions with the ship as found them very overpriced and not of interest to us. We pre-booked just 2 tours with private companies in Akaroa and Napier and also hired a car to drive around Rotorua/Hobbiton. Both tours were custom designed for cruise ship passengers, picking us up at the dock and getting us back with plenty of time to spare. -we were very impressed with how quickly the ship gets all the passengers on and off especially when tendered, communication was great and the ships shuttle buses were plentiful once in town. CABIN -verandah suite, very comfortable bed, quiet, spacious, shower temperature always perfect, balcony was great especially for cruising the Fjordland whilst enjoying our breakfast. -TV had basic channels, only news was CNN, sport and movie channels, movies very repetitive. Would have liked a channel with talk shows/sitcoms etc as we actually did spend a lot of time in our room. There was a catalogue of free DVDs to borrow but we didn't do this. -I found I would wake up most nights shivering and there were no spare blankets in the room, resorted to covering myself with the robe! DINING -we only visited the dining room once, had any time dining and didn't realise we would be sharing with others at a table. Specialty dining booked out very quickly so we had a combination of room service and lunch at the Terrace Grill, but had most of our meals at the Lido buffet. -a friend recently cruised with Carnival and said that room service was not complimentary and I know that with P&O, you have to pay for some food after 4pm. -Breakfast was always delicious and filling, loved the salad bar and pizza/pasta station. Very good quality food overall and room service was very good too! -We liked the convenience of grabbing a burger by the pool and the mexican buffet was really nice! -We had our fair share of cocktails on board, all reasonably priced compared to other lines and delicious! My favourites were Fashionista, Tropical Cable Car and Ultra Strawberry Lemonade. -Found ourselves at the Ocean Bar and Crows Nest most nights, having a drink and listening to great live music. -Only suggestion would be more drink service in the Lido buffet as we often struggled to find a waitress while we were eating. Service was abundant by the pools. Perhaps a soda fountain would be good too with free drinks just during dining hours?!? Hmm...not sure if that will ever happen! ENTERTAINMENT -Fantastic!!!! 10/10!!! Shows in the Vista lounge every night at 8pm and again at 10pm. Filled up very quickly so we would try to arrive at least 15 mins early to get a booth at the front. -The "HAL Cats" band was great, as I said earlier there was always some form of entertainment happening on the ship. The game shows, "Dancing with the Stars" competition and karaoke were thoroughly entertaining. -Only critique, I purchased a DVD of the entertainment expecting full length recordings of each show but was disappointed with a "highlights" compilation. If I'd known the shows weren't recorded, I would have done so myself! Would love to watch them all again :( -In regards to internet connection: it was very slow as expected, especially in our cabin. At every port, there were "Free WiFi" stickers everywhere so in hindsight, I wouldn't have purchased an internet plan on board. DISEMBARKATION -Again, very easy, well organised process. We were off the ship and in a taxi within 30 minutes. -Had to leave our suitcases outside our cabin by midnight the night before so had to think ahead regarding clothes and supplies for the next morning. -Was expecting to go through customs/metal detectors in the terminal but literally grabbed our cases, handed over our immigration card and walked out! SUMMARY -We absolutely loved our first cruising experience with HAL! Would definitely sail with them again, would love to try their other ships. -Beautiful ship, a bounty of activities and entertainment for every age group and service with a smile! -I think that cruise holidays are something you either love or hate. I did heaps of research before booking our trip, read A LOT of reviews/forums to find out if it was for us. My advice for first time cruisers is do your research and make sure you get the most for your money. -We were not disappointed with Holland America and the best thing for me personally was that I felt safe and relaxed surrounded by an older crowd. I hope you enjoyed my review and find it helpful! Thanks for reading :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Thoroughly enjoyable 2 weeks doing very little. There is a full program of activities and events always happening on the ship so one can either do nothing or find something to do. Open Dining was great - no need to worry about what time ... Read More
Thoroughly enjoyable 2 weeks doing very little. There is a full program of activities and events always happening on the ship so one can either do nothing or find something to do. Open Dining was great - no need to worry about what time we dined however the one night we did find some friends to dine with we perhaps should have made a reservation as we had to wait 15 minutes or so. Rooms with balcony were perfect size - plenty of time spent reading and enjoying the fresh air but perhaps because the weather was in our favour! Beds very comfortable. Found the Lido Pool deck area closed up a bit much - not sure what the policy is there but a couple of days people looking to lie in the sun but half the cover was still over the deck. Didn't do any HAL shore excursions - the islands we visited are generally fairly cheap to get around having been there before, so found the shore excursion prices on offer way over the top. Main show attractions not overly impressive - a couple of singers maybe couldn't get a job elsewhere??? Final razzle dazzle show though was fabulous. Showroom seemingly full every night and one needed to be early to get a seat - however sitting up the back meant you could sneak out early if not enjoying the show! Enjoyed the casino - it was under-patronised on this cruise but I learnt to play craps from a couple of others playing and the staff at the tables which they usually don't do so was pleasantly surprised they were happy to help. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
My husband and I cruised to New Zealand on the Oosterdam for our 50th Wedding anv and to visit family and friends. We had a amazing time and really enjoyed all that was offered on board. My only comment is that if you have a problem with ... Read More
My husband and I cruised to New Zealand on the Oosterdam for our 50th Wedding anv and to visit family and friends. We had a amazing time and really enjoyed all that was offered on board. My only comment is that if you have a problem with walking, there really is a lot of it to do between Dining at one end of the ship and entertainment at the other end. Then again if you plan you time there are plenty of places to rest on the way. The food in the dining room was great, as much or as little as you want .Plate of Fresh vegetables available all you have to do is ask. Staff were so helpful and happy people. We did anytime dining and loved the fact of meeting lots of different folk. Our cabin was a partially obstructed view on the upper promenade, and very comfortable with king size bed and plenty of room to pack away our things. Cases fitted under the bed with no problems. Our bathroom was roomy for a cruise ship, included a full bath. WE enjoyed going to happy hour in the Crows Nest and Peter the waiter was always there ready and knew what we would order from day one. It is a great place to meet people. We had breakfast most days on the Lido deck and I loved being able to have a omelette made to exactly how I wanted it. The only complaint I have is the coffee leaves a lot to be desired....you could buy a reasonable coffee in the library. There is plenty to do on-board, cooking demo's dancing with the stars (which was great fun to watch) talks about all sorts of things. After talking to people about other cruises and hearing what they have to pay extra for.... I would just like to point out that the only things that you pay extra for are your drinks, coffee ect from coffee shop, Fine dining $25 for 7 courses (worth every dollar) and the Italian restaurant $12 (I think) Disembarking at ports was well organised and even getting on and off the tenders was ok. Thank you HAL for a wonderful trip and as a bonus I was able to catch up with family and friends at all ports cheers Margaret Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I ... Read More
The agenda...14 days in Venuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji, followed by immersion for 14 days in New Zealand was great. The ports were wonderful, the activities available were plentiful and the agenda experience was outstanding. I wish I could say the same about our onboard time. Oosterdam operated like it didn't care if you were there or not. HAL, the once excellent cruiseline, has reduced itself to the lowest common denominator in the cruise industry. While their brochure promise Five-Star Luxury and treatment, they deliver 1-star performance. The company has decided that cost cutting comes before customer satisfaction. I really don't want to say anymore because I'll get in trouble with HAL defenders, but HAL needs to fire some folks and FIRE-UP their operations. They lack staff enthusiasm and it shows in the product they deliver, be it be the food or the service or the entertainment, Their "safety" drill...the one where you show up at your lifeboat station...is a joke. No one is paying attention and the staff we must rely (singers, dancers?) on appear to be incompetent and uninterested in the exercise. I can only imagine the panic in a real emergency! Our cabin was nice...about double the normal stateroom size. Finding storage space was not a problem. And it was comfy. The Neptune Lounge was nice, but hardly enough to justify the very expensive price of the suite. Some folks just love these suites, but I find it difficult to see the cost-value benefits. The staff doesn't seem to care if you're there or not. OK, no more on this. I'm already in big trouble with HAL fans. Go for the low price, but don't expect much except for what you can do for yourself. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
So, if you have been on Disney then you can't compare. The Oosterdam is old. Really old. Things work. This was pretty much a retirement people cruise. Only 1 family with two small kids. No teens and no other kids. Lots of old people ... Read More
So, if you have been on Disney then you can't compare. The Oosterdam is old. Really old. Things work. This was pretty much a retirement people cruise. Only 1 family with two small kids. No teens and no other kids. Lots of old people - like 75 and up. I think I was like the only 36 year old there. Oh yeah - really weird there was a dog - Chihuahua - on the boat. So you can bring a pet - I was told it was for medical reasons - really ? Shows are okay. Better than Carnival and Royal. But you just can't beat Disney. The only good one was the opera singer, but I guess people don't all enjoy that. I have to say they were creative since we were there for 28 days. The lounge performers are good. The standard bands. What was different was a classical violinist. Different from the traditional piano players and jazz bands you see on all the other cruises. Activities wise - the sea days are so boring - so we always booked a spa that day. Oh and you know the price always changes, but if you marked a good massage person you can get them to give you the same price for the who cruise. That is what we did. 2 hours for $89. Compare to Disney there is just way more to do and no down time. You just have some much to do on board that you don't even feel like it is a sea day. There was mass every day - like you want to go to church when you are on vacation every day - really? Oh the shops only open on sea days so if you come back early from the tour there was nothing to really do. There computer classes are great. Since they are free and usually a microsoft set of classes is like $400. The best part was that I found all my pictures and the techspet taught me on my own labtop. At least we got our money's worth for that. Look for the happy hour specials. We got 2 margaritas for $6 and that included the 15% service charge. But get those early. We found that when you get them early they give you more and in the big glasses, but people who came latter got them in smaller glasses. Cooking classes are definitely interesting and something different to do on the boat. Especially, since I'm a foodie. I love the tastings. The best part is that you get to ask the chefs questions - like hard ones at the end. We had creme brulee and I asked how to you add fruit flavors and able to compensate for the extra moisture in the creme. I learned a great trick that day. Truth be said there really is not much to do. The movie theater was nice and the lounge chairs are cool and you get popcorn. the only problem is that there is only like 20 seats. Get there early. we don't gamble and you know what every time we walked by there was like no one there - even on sea nights. Most people did not go to the pool, but quite a bit of people in the hot tub. the good thing is that they got 5. So plenty of room, not like on carnival. Dinning Room - this is the worst thing I have to say about the cruise. So Day 2, by the time I got to the end of my Caesar Salad there was a dead fly at the bottom of the plate. Day 4 in the Lido buffet at lunch a big fly landed on the chicken - They took that and threw it out. Day 5 the risotto was raw, but the grilled salmon was good. I kept having something wrong with my dinner from missing clams with the pasts, to no chocolate cake on the black forest cake - just cream and cherries, dinner taking 1/2 hour to come, sand in the muscles, gamey turkey - which if they just soak the bird in buttermilk - and the same with the lamb - took one bite and sent it back. So after 2 weeks of something wrong, the head waiter started coming to my table to check on my dinner and things got better. The best part of the cruise is the staff's service. So, compared to Disney - HAL staff is nicer. They remember your name and the staff always gets you drinks even if it is just coffee or tea. When my mom and I went to the Lido just to sit out and watch the wind servers would come and offer us tea or coffee, not alcohol. That is nice. They aren't trying to sell you something, but really serve you. This is what HAL is rated - really service and after cruising with so many other cruise lines the staff is the best. I also got sick on the cruise and the staff was great in taking care of all my needs and food expectations. So, find one or two staff and just keep going to them each time and they will remember you. You will get exceptional service rather than constantly changing and asking anyone. So you do get what you pay for. We paid $5000 for 28 days for 2. As compared with Disney, I used my Disney timeshare so it was cheap, but our friends paid $5000 for 5 days for 4. Disney you get the seafood in the buffet none on the Oosterdam. The dessert buffet is way better than the Oosterdam. More choices like crepes and really art that you can eat, not look. Over all it was okay. Oh if you get sea sick be prepared the Tasman sea is really bad. I had it bad. you can only eat so many green apples, but at least the patch and pill works to keep food down. Our friend didn't do as well and I had to give him a patch.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
After overcoming computer problems when boarding and finally finding our way around the ship, we settled into our balcony stateroom which appeared larger on the internet but in reality, it was everything that we needed. The cabin staff ... Read More
After overcoming computer problems when boarding and finally finding our way around the ship, we settled into our balcony stateroom which appeared larger on the internet but in reality, it was everything that we needed. The cabin staff were excellent and our beds were made twice every day as we often had a 10 minute lie down after our port visits. The cleanliness of the ship was truly amazing. The deck around the pool was cleaned in total every second day. Half the chairs, tables etc were removed in the afternoon and the deck totally cleaned. Then the next day, the other half of the deck received the same treatment. The bar staff and the restaurant/buffet staff did a brilliant job and if you are lucky enough to have Ernie Limon (a beautiful Filipino barman with an amazing smile) on your cruise, you'll be well looked after. The food was good, although we didn't try the Pinnacle Grill or the Italian Restaurant. If we go again, we will try the Pinnacle Grill and also eat in the dining room more often than we did this time. After a while, the Buffet became a bit repetitive, although they always had some different selections, although the salads were very different to what we have in Australia! They also call their main meals, "entrees" and their desserts are "pastries". We did have a couple of problems with the office staff but everything worked out in the end.   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Never cruised with Holland America (HA) before so flying halfway around the world (from England) for a 4 week cruise a gamble but generally we were happy with the cruise. We would feed back direct to HA as they said they would send an ... Read More
Never cruised with Holland America (HA) before so flying halfway around the world (from England) for a 4 week cruise a gamble but generally we were happy with the cruise. We would feed back direct to HA as they said they would send an email for feedback on our return home rather than give us a paper one as they want to reduce the amount of paper they use. This is clearly a joke as every day we had mail to our cabin with special spa offers, deals in the on board shops which all went straight into the bin. The ship could do with some updating; some of the carpets on the stairways are very worn, some elevators did not work for the whole cruise; the sunbeds by the aft swimming pool all need replacement. Little things generally but gave a poor first impression. Everywhere very clean throughout the ship although we must say that when the bar staff remove empty glasses they should clean the tables - did not see this too often. Staff very friendly; like most cruise lines mainly Philippines and Indonesians but generally seemed very happy in their work and very pleasant. Shore time a little strange; when we were in bigger cities we had much less time on shore than when we were in smaller places with less to do. We realise that it probably costs HA more to dock in a big harbour than a small one but we had less time in Auckland and Wellington (NZ) than we felt reasonable especially as we had relatively short distances to travel for the next days port. Excursions and alcoholic drinks on HA seemed to be more expensive than other cruise lines we have used and some of the shore excursions were frankly almost robbery. A lot of the beers on the bar price lists were not stocked even when we left Sydney where presumably huge amounts of provisions were loaded. We were told they run out of Australian beers because there were so many Australians on board..... wow lots of Australians on board a ship where the cruise starts and finishes in Australia... what a surprise!! Surely which ever idiot orders provisions would realise this especially when the Ozzie beers sold were so much better than the American beers on offer. As ever (like other cruise ships) the coffee in the buffet and restaurant was weak and virtually tasteless but surprise... if you pay extra and go to the café on deck 10 you can get a much better coffee. Surely decent coffee should be included in the price? On board entertainment probably the best of any cruise we have been on with a number of entertainers flown in for a couple of days or so to do their acts. The in house entertainment staff much like other cruises; sequins and average. We would cruise with HA again and would recommend them over Princess cruises. Last comment really applies to (nearly) all cruises. When I stay in a hotel I never find a surcharge to my room to pay the people who work in the kitchen, laundry etc but HA add a nightly fee which they say 'forms an important part of the staff remuneration'. They should pay their staff a decent wage in the first place and not advertise the price of a cruise then add a nightly charge to pay their staff. It would never be tolerated in a hotel so why do people tolerate it on a cruise? The people in the kitchens, laundry etc probably work no harder than a hotel. I am not saying they don't work hard or don't deserve a decent wage but... PAY YOUR STAFF A DECENT WAGE AND STOP THE NIGHTLY SURCHARGES. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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