3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on ... Read More
Love it , peaceful, quiet , relaxed , loved . Amazing food , lovely crew members , excellent manners , impecable ship, classic , in excellent shape for it age . As a handicap person using an electric scooter , I never found any person on the elevators , my cabin SY8081 was not accesible cabin and I found a lot of space for my scooter . I recommend it . Not many places to go at night , BB king, the piano guys and the main stage But for us is more than enough . I start to realize that mid size ships are the best . The cruise director Nathan dance amazing , he has such a lovely personality who light up the room and attract younger people . All the meals were fantastic no matter where it was The lido or the main dining room . Everything was amazing , the consistency , the flavour The quality of the food . It’s hard to describe everything . You need to try by yourself .. everything was perfect . They are detail oriented . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, ... Read More
Great trip – Senior Citizens will love this cruise! My DH (65ys old) and I (63yrs old) boarded Holland America’s Oosterdam on December 8th, 2018 for a seven-day Western Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This is an older ship, that caters to an older clientele – the average age on the ship was 75+. DH and I felt like teenagers! We only saw two or three families with young children. This cruise is perfect for the older age group. Embarkation at Port Everglades was easy and very well organized. There were a lot of people in wheelchairs and scooters, and the agents made sure they were well taken care of while boarding. Upon arrival at the terminal around noon, we were quickly registered and given a “Group Number” Boarding was done by Group number and was done very fast. This was one of the best embarkation experiences we’ve ever had. We had one carry on full of water bottles and four bottles of wine. Two of the wife bottles were taken away, we were told only one bottle per person was allowed (they were returned the night before disembarkation). Once on board we were able to go to our room immediately, which was very nice. Our luggage was delivered by 2:00 pm. Food on board was good. They do not have buffets like other ships, this is more of a Cafeteria style service, where food is served to you by an attendant as you walk down the line. They will give you a small portion, but you are welcomed to ask for more if you desire. There was not a lot of selection, but what was available was usually good. Breakfast had ommlete station, waffle station, and even an egg benedict station. There is Grill by the covered pool where you can get Hamburgers, hotdogs, etc. made to order – they’ll give you a beeper, so you can pick up food when ready. For Dinner we only used the Main Dining Room and found the service to be excellent. The open seating option was great, we rarely waited more than five minutes for a table for two. We had a balcony cabin 6121, which was a nice size. The bathtub was a nice surprise, much better than the very tiny showers in most other cruise lines. Our cabin stewards were amazing, my DH and I would make bets on how long we would be out of the cabin before we returned to a fully made up bed – I miss that at home LOL. Entertainment was scarce, but very good. They only have three venues, the BBKing Night Club, two Pianos by the Casino, and the theater. They also have a stage that offers classical music most nights. Unfortunately, most of the time only one of the venues has performances, so if you don’t like what is going on you have no choice but to stay there or go to the next venue and wait for the next presentation. Because of the demographics of the group on board, this works well most of the time, but if you want variety, you will not get it. The best think about the Oosterdam is the service. Everyone on board was efficient and very pleasant. If you are a Senior citizen with limited mobility, this is your cruise ship! If you are looking for a cruise with lots of on-board activities, or you have children, try a different line. DH and I decided we are too young for this ship, but we are perfectly willing to come back in 10 or 15 years Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in ... Read More
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in Venice before embarkation. These were very successful. We accidently found out that some tours were offered besides the evening cocktail party at a Venetian Palace. That was also very enjoyable with Bellini’s and heavy appetizers. I told a couple we met who had never sailed on Holland America how they would be impressed as it was a classic cruise line. I was embarrassed as we boarded the ship. There were no wheelchairs, which I needed at embarkation. There was a 300 foot walk. All elevators in the ship had scars and small tears on the walls. There were several broken windows around the public areas. Some windows also were clouded and did not give a clear view. The dining room was half empty when we would eat at the early dinner hour; the food was fine, but seemed to be better in the Lido which offered the same as the ding room with many more additional items. One excursion was changed from moderate to strenuous, and we were graciously refunded our money for that We were given a complementary dinner in the Canaletto because of my husband’s complaints about no wheelchairs at embarkation and a huge lack of help and care for handicapped cruisers during the lifeboat drill. One crew member said they were there for only emergencies. We had an early flight home. One wheelchair was available for debarkation, so another couple let me take it. At the airport we were just left with the piles of baggage in the terminal and there seemed to be no directions on how to find your airline. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My partner and myself had wanted to do the North Atlantic to Northern Europe but when this deal came along, we couldn't resist. Unfortunately my partner lost his passport on day of sailing and missed the departure. Big Hint here: ... Read More
My partner and myself had wanted to do the North Atlantic to Northern Europe but when this deal came along, we couldn't resist. Unfortunately my partner lost his passport on day of sailing and missed the departure. Big Hint here: First thing to do is to call Holland America and advise them. They will then try to help you get to next port and will do everything necessary to help you avoid large extra charges. My friend didn't do this and wound up with big expenses that a call to the cruise line would have been the much better way to go. My review is based on my being in a corner Neptune suite with a wrap around balcony and dining almost completely in the Pinnacle Grill. While this suite balcony might be great on a Carribbean cruise, on the Atlantic Ocean, totally unnecessary. Plus the side balcony cuts into the cabin size and isn't as big as mid ship suites. Plus, being in the back, I had less visits to the Neptune Lounge and I missed that very much. Of course I had 2 brilliant room stewards. Raymond and Yoman. I like getting up early and having my room done first. No problem for these guys. Thank you very much guys. Having the Lounge is a huge plus. You get the services of 2 fabulous concierges. Mine were Hazel and Anika. Thank you ladies for your great help with my friends' woes and for all you do for the passengers in the lounge. A wonderful place to rest and meet your fellow cruisers. Get a cappuccino or a bite to eat. Work on their computer and watch some TV. Since I was waiting for my friend to make it back from the Miami Passport agency, I didn't arrive on board until about 345PM. Needless to say he didn't make it back on time. So my embarkation.was veery speedy. My cabin was ready and the amount of closet space was very generous. The bathroom was very big with twin sinks. They now have nightlights but I think they're too bright. I bring my own but impossible to turn theirs off. You don't need to be blinded if you need to use the rest room during the middle of the night. The Oosterdam was just in dry dock and had all of her dry goods replaced. That meant I got to be first to use the new beds and linens. Delicious bed. I really wish they could figure out a way of making the twins feel more like a single bed and not 2 beds slid together. I also like having all the goodies that they bring to your suite. Dining: As I mentioned before, I had almost all of my meals in the Pinnacle Grill. Being in the top suites has one perk that I really love and that's a full breakfast in the "Grill". Thanks to Arlen, Ida, Anna and Lesley and all the others that made my days so enjoyable. Dinners were probably the best in my many times on other ships in their Grill rooms. Bravo. So good, I did lunch there a few times. As I'm a 4 star Mariner, I get 50% discount on all meals in the Pinnacle. That includes the pop up "Rudy's Sal De Mer". BTW, I did hear good remarks from the people that ate in main dining room. The Grill chef made my and from my observations of others, great temperature meats and fish and general great dining. Since I was rather bummed out about my missing friend, I didn't get to see many of the shows but did give the casino some action. I broke even, pretty good actually. I also met on board some previous cruiser friends and joined them quite a bit. They too ate mostly in the Pinnacle and our times were very close, so we joined each other a few times. Thanks to Candice Karin and Randy and Steve. The ports were excellent for this crossing. Funchal was our first port and my friend was supposed to meet us there. Alas, they wouldn't let his flight land due to heavy winds, and we didn't meet up until we got to Lisbon. Yikes! He has a crazier story than I do. The other ports were quite good and Joseph and I did a "Taste of Malaga" tour through the group, "We Love Malaga", with tour group owner, Victor. I totally recommend him to anyone. For the other ports we took in the shuttles and walked around on our own. Service on board the ship was almost perfect. I did have a bit of a problem with trying to set up space for our Mah Jong players and it took too many visits to straighten this out but in the end they did find a compromise for our group. Not that I was too happy about it, but not worth getting too upset. Holland America is one of my favorite cruise lines and this was my 24th crossing altogether, so I have experience and know what to expect. We had a very big storm on our journey but the Oosterdam held up beautifully. I heartily recommend this ship and this line. I love sea days. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed in a Signature Suite. There were 3 adults in our room, one of whom used a rollator to get around off ship and used a cane to get around on ship. It was my first time sailing Holland America and some of the cruise critic postings made me wonder if this was the right line/ship for us. It turns out we had a great time. We bought the Thermal Suite spa passes and spent several hours relaxing there each day. We only made it to a couple of the shows, but we entertained ourselves with many hands of pinochle, thermal spa visits, reading on the balcony, and generally relaxing. In fact, we came home, and we all agreed that we wished it had been longer and we were ready for the next cruise. Pros: The smaller ship size meant that the buffet wasn’t too crazy and we always managed to sit in the same general area. The buffet was generally good and I was worried that the fact they had to serve many dishes v self serve would slow down the process, but it didn’t bother me on the ship. We liked the pool deck layout with so much space devoted to tables instead of loungers. It made it more useful for us. Cons: Main dining room food was pretty bland. I tried ordering some spicier dishes, but they always came out barely spiced. We would sail Holland America again if the price/itinerary was right for us. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to ... Read More
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to be cancelled. Thankfully we had trip insurance so all non-refundable expenses were reimbursed. Six weeks later, we were in the doctor's office for another check-up. Since the eye was healing on schedule, we asked, "Can we take a vacation on a ship?" We live in Seattle so the doctor said, "Absolutely, yes"". A quick call to our AAA travel agent and, 9 days later, we left on a 7 day round-trip to Alaska on HA's Oosterdam. We selected this cruise because we'd previously been to Skagway and the Oosterdam's itinerary included Sitka (instead of Skagway) plus Hubbard Glacier (instead of Tracy Arm). We were so happy with our substitute cruise...while it wasn't Venice and the Adriatic, we had a wonderful time on the Oosterdam, with its emphasis on European Art and Holland America's partnerhsip with America's Test Kitchen. Sitka is a great city to visit...so much Russian and Native Northwest Indian history; we'd love to go back for a few days! If you every get to book a cruise that visits Hubbard Glacier, you'll be very impressed with the immensity of this glacier. Sailing up Tracy Arm provides spectacular scenary but Hubbard Glacier is so huge. Our ship's naturalist said our sunny, 45 degree day was the best weather of the entire 2017 cruising season to Alaska. What's not to love about that? We'd heard a few stories that HA caters to an older cruise clientele. From our first experience, this is probably true, at least compared to our other cruise experiences with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. There were families with small kids and grandparents with grandchildren, just not as many as on other cruise lines. (Our cruise was in late September, well after the school year started, so that was probably a contributing factor.) We're nearly 70 and had a great time. We really loved the emphasis on classical art and music. Once again, the best part was meeting interesting travelers, which is true on every cruise anywhere. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
Average cruise, smaller rooms than most cruises, good service, okay food, great entertainment, big outdoor pool (deep), smaller indoor pool (shallow), kind staff. Our TV circuit kept popping, so we did not have TV for the first 2 days, our ... Read More
Average cruise, smaller rooms than most cruises, good service, okay food, great entertainment, big outdoor pool (deep), smaller indoor pool (shallow), kind staff. Our TV circuit kept popping, so we did not have TV for the first 2 days, our sink would not turn off (plumber had to come and fix it), shower/tub would not drain. I traveled with my husband, my daughter (14), and my mother-in-law. Food to your room takes a bit of time...faster just to get food from the buffet and bring it down to your room. Overall, average cruise, not a lot for kids to do, and not a lot of time spent in the ports. Other cruise ships had arrived before us and we left before they did. Nice, but not luxurious or fancy. My daughter loved the outdoor pool and the basketball court. Not many activities for kids her age. Wish we had more time in the ports. I would choose a different cruise line. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Having set sails with RCCL, NCL, and Celebrity, I tried not to set my standard too high because I know that HAL is going to be different and more traditional. After spending a week on Oosterdam, I can break it down and say things that I ... Read More
Having set sails with RCCL, NCL, and Celebrity, I tried not to set my standard too high because I know that HAL is going to be different and more traditional. After spending a week on Oosterdam, I can break it down and say things that I like and dislike. Things I like, 1. the relaxing nature of this cruise. It's very laid back and be as lazy as I wanted. 2. Food quality was superb. I like that I didn't notice anything artificial like food coloring. 3. A lot of healthy food options; from no sugar added items to seafood. 4. Drink pricing was reasonable. For example, Cappuccino was $2.25. 5. Everyone seems friendly and very efficient in their own area. 6. Educational events and shows, especially with BBC 7. Elevators were fast and efficient. i particularly loved the scenic elevators with glass panels facing out of the ship. 8. Refurbishment could be seen and easily noticed, especially at the Lido Market. 9. Lot of movies playing, especially in cabin. 10. Getting on and off the ship was super easy. Things I dislike 1. The relaxing nature of this cruise. It gets boring at some point on a week long cruise. 2. Crew members were friendly but restrained. I felt like they were trained to say so much and that's it. 3. The use of public areas could be improved. I ran out of things to explore. 4. The lack of energy. There wasn't much going on at all. Bars were dead and filled with people taking a nap or knitting. 5. Shows were educational and informative. Not exciting and energetic at all. 6. Comedies were good but PG-13 7. The ship could use more seating area, especially at the Lido Market. 8. The lack of food venues to help breaking up the crowd. 9. Duration at ports could have been better. Ketchikan 7am-1pm was silly. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for ... Read More
I booked this cruise in December as a gift to my husband who had, until now, never cruised. We wanted to try a short, 5-day, cruise to make sure he wouldn't become deathly ill from motion sickness and to just give him a taste for sailing. Background - I've sailed at least 17+ times on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and Norwegian but mostly on RC. My husband and I are 40 years old, don't really party anymore but still enjoy good shows, music, friends, fun, and fantastic food. The ship - We both agreed, the ship was absolutely immaculate! I have never experienced a cruise ship that has been cared for so thoroughly! Everything aboard the Oosterdam has been cared for and maintained meticulously. She shows signs of being 14 years old, mainly in the decor, but physically the ship is outstanding. Our cabin - We upgraded from a SY (Signature Suite) to an SA (Neptune Suite - 7062) a week before sailing and are SO glad we did! The suite was a decent size, the bed was extremely comfortable, and the cabin stewards always made sure the room looked perfect. The suite gave us access to the Neptune Lounge which was directly across the hall. We popped over to the lounge a few times during the day to get coffee, juice, and sample the wonderful horsedouvres. The lounge concierge was always very eager to help and definitely made our trip even more special. The complementary guest laundry and dry cleaning also worked out well and came in very handy. We will most likely always book a suite with similar amenities from now on as they are well worth the expense! Dining - Ok, The Main dining room, Canaletto, and the Lido buffet were just par for cruising cuisine. None of them were terribly spectacular and the dessert at all three venues was pretty lackluster. The Pinnacle Grill, however, was absolutely fantastic! We had breakfast and dinner there a few times and thoroughly loved it! When we return, we will likely only eat in the Pinnacle and forego the other restaurants completely. Service - The service on board was outstanding! Everyone we came across had a huge smile on their face, greeted us, and truly made us feel at home. So here is where things get a little funky for me... Remember, my husband and I are both 40 years old. Apparently, HAL's target demographic is considerably older than us. We found this out first-hand before boarding. When we walked into the pier, the security staff asked if we were crew. When we responded "No, we are passengers..." their jaws dropped and they let us pass in amazement. Most of the other passengers, we later found out, were in their late 70's, 80's and early 90's. I'm totally fine with cruising around senior citizens, don't get me wrong. They were extremely nice, quiet, and were all very friendly. We were walking on the Promenade and came across an elderly lady napping, head back and mouth WIDE open, on a couch. I was afraid she had passed away right there and was tempted to place a mirror under her nose to see if she was still alive. Entertainment - The entertainment wasn't that great but, again, it was designed for the target HAL demographic. My husband and I were expecting a Broadway-worthy production yet, well, that wasn't the case. The Lincoln Center Stage performers were wonderful and the America's Test Kitchen demonstrations were extremely fun. There just wasn't much in the way of nightlife. Overall - Great ship, amazing service, wonderful food (at the Pinnacle)! It's a little like a floating nursing home but there is nothing wrong with that! Just be prepared. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2017
We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I ... Read More
We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I saw a lot of really old people using scooters and walkers and wheel chairs...Never saw the entertainment director at the pool.The pool two of them had a 10 person compacity, very small. Lots of smokers surrounding the pool area. The cabin was a good size,BUT mold in several places on the shower curtain, the refrig ottom and the glass in the deck... The food the first night in Main dining seating, sent the steak, so touff could not cut with the knife, Chose chicken instead and it was OK. Lido deck for breakfast,eggs always cold,sausge and potatoes too. The only get a good breakfast was to wait on line for a omelet. Coffee machines worked sometimes same with the ice tea machine,always being worked on.. The third night we were all awaken by a alarm, that was put off by mistake,followed a 3 minute via loud speaker speech from the Ship Captain. We went o Mexico Cuzamel nice port, Honduras,not so nice port,Guatemala and Costa Maya Mexico. Excursion were informative and fun, again lots of really old people..Remember I am 70 they were OLD !!!!!! The shows mid ship were great the shows in maintheater were terrible. The Movie theater was great.. The ship needs to be put in for repair and spruced up...This is our eleven ships and can pretty much can compare.This ship needed help. the crew were great. The digatal workshop was superior Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2016
Cabin SS6106. Redo is very nice. Ship was clean in good condition. Staff, as always, is the very best, although very overworked, which leads to less personal attention. MDR food was for the most part good. Some nights, not up to par. ... Read More
Cabin SS6106. Redo is very nice. Ship was clean in good condition. Staff, as always, is the very best, although very overworked, which leads to less personal attention. MDR food was for the most part good. Some nights, not up to par. Speciality dining in Pinacle and Canalito was very good. Entertainment was not very exciting. We rented a cabana in The Retreat for about 7 days and really enjoyed the quiet and wonderful service. Especially Lester! The spa was a special treat, had facial and leg treatment. Peter at the spa was a personable manager, making the visits special. We only went to the Butterfly Garden in Key West, which we visited before and loved it. My only complaint is that embarkation for handicap was horrible. I am an oxygen user and got no wheelchair until we were up in terminal. We waited about 2 hours for assistance. Disembarkation was much smoother, since they took us right to curb. We are 3 stars with HAL and have never experienced this embarkation problem before. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2016
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at ... Read More
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at our room. I couldn't believe it was a Neptune Suite it was so much smaller because about a fourth of the room was taken up with a handicapped bathroom. It had a shower you for wheelchair person to sit and be hosed down, and lets the water get on the floor-slippery, dangerous to us. The bathtub was so deep we had to hang onto the handicapped rails to actually climb into it. We both almost fell a few times, made this a problem for us as well. The curtains were on electric button so you had to keep them either closed all the way or open all the way. With the sun beating down it made the room too hot when open during the day, and the view was basically tunnel vision so you could watch the water move from the engine. The cruise itself was good but the room was a nightmare for us. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2016
We are a family of 4, mum, dad and twoo teenage daughters. This was our 6th cruise with HAL, all in the Med. The Oosterdam was recently refurbished in dry dock. She looked very fresh. We used anytime dining but with an angoing reservation ... Read More
We are a family of 4, mum, dad and twoo teenage daughters. This was our 6th cruise with HAL, all in the Med. The Oosterdam was recently refurbished in dry dock. She looked very fresh. We used anytime dining but with an angoing reservation at 6:30 pm. This is a great way to have fixed dining (and sometimes even fixed seating) but not to be limited to the regular fixed dining times 6 pm or 8 pm. The entertainment was great. The cast was excellent and performed in 3 shows during the 12 night cruise. Great addition with the upgrade from the piano bar to Billboard onboard. We loved Diego and Meagan on the dueling pianos. We upgraded to a suite from a verandah stateroom to a neptune suite. The suites were brand new and gave nice perks like breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill and of course the great service of the Neptune Lounge stewards. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2016
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam ... Read More
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam in 2005 in Alaska, and the improvements to the common areas/cabins were excellent. HAL ships are meticulously maintained and the crew was fantastic. We had a Signature suite which was perfect for a 12 day cruise and well worth the extra cost. The food on this cruise was outstanding. High quality, excellent presentations, and portion sizes that were just right. The itinerary for this cruise Rome/Naples/Crete/Santorini/Rhodes(we lost Kusadasi, Turkey)/Athens/Olympia/Corfu/Dubrovnik/Montenegro/Venice was spectacular. The mediterranean is very calm this time of year, and although it was hot, even first time cruisers would be comfortable as the ship was very stabile and sailed mostly after 6PM, except for one sea day. HAL tours are always high quality and the variety was perfect. Can't say enough about this ship and cruise line. If you want to party like rock stars, HAL is not for you. If you want a high quality cruise, with very interesting fellow passengers, this is the one. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
Background: We have never cruised with HAL, but had been on 2 Princess, 2 Carnival and 1 RC. We are 40 something's on a cruise with some good friends. We had been to Alaska before, back in 1997 on Princess. We flew in the day ... Read More
Background: We have never cruised with HAL, but had been on 2 Princess, 2 Carnival and 1 RC. We are 40 something's on a cruise with some good friends. We had been to Alaska before, back in 1997 on Princess. We flew in the day before, stayed at one of the hotels near the port and took their shuttle to the pier on day of departure. We were traveling together as 2 couples. We picked up my husbands scooter at the terminal. They had it ready for him. This was the first time it was not delivered to the cruise ship stateroom. As we proceeded through to embark, hubby and I were able to breeze through, but our friends had to go through as usual. I do not remember an embarkation taking so long as this one. We waited for them to get through the line and I believe we waited close to 2 hours. The line curved on forever. They did not have enough help to check people in. This was literally the worst thing on the entire cruise. Once they got through, we boarded and let the fun begin. Services: I enjoy going to the spa when on a cruise and this time was no exception. I really enjoyed the massage. I went on a port day and had no trouble getting into the time slot I wanted. The pool was very nice. Sat by that and caught some rays. A waiter was readily available should I need anything. Art Auction: My husband and I like going to the art auctions, but for some reason, this gallery and staff turned us off. One of the male auctioneers gave me the impression that he was too busy to stop and talk with me. Too bad for him, as we have purchased art before from other cruises. It is usually our reminder of the cruise and the good time we had. Instead, this trip I bought a Phillip Stein watch. Food: We ate in the main dining room at the anytime dining. We really enjoy that. 5 of the 7 nights we ate with our friends at a table for four. Food was excellent. In fact this is the best food we have had in a long time on a cruise. Only draw back was they kept seating us way in the back when my husband had his scooter. It was OK when we would go in because tables were empty going back, but when we would come out, the restaurant was packed and people had to get up and move their chairs in so he could get by. We suggested they seat us up front, but they always said no no no, it is no problem. We just nodded and said OK. Activities: Went to the Newlywed game- it was a blast. We haven't laughed that much in a long time. It was fun because the crowd was really into it also. We spent time up in the Crow's nest Lounge. We would play cards up there, have some cocktails and play trivia. Always a great way to spend a day at sea - great views!! Casino: Very nice Casino! Not too smoky. Huibby had a good time playing blackjack and even won a little. Casino staff very helpful. We enjoyed the slot tournaments they had. Disembarkation; Went very smooth. Much better than getting on. Little wait time. We were sad to be getting off. Wanted to stay another 7 days! Summary: We went to Alaska before with Princess Cruises in 1997. It was a different time and cruising was different. Food quality was so much better and this was our very first cruise and I think you always remember your first cruise. Having said that, I feel HAL was an excellent cruse to Alaska and I think the ports have improved since we were there. For seeing glaciers and the scenic shoreline, HAL was better! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We had a lovely first time cruise with our disabled daughter on the Oosterdam. But like any holiday there were problems that we were unprepared for. The help that we received from most of the staff was exceptional. We managed to get a ... Read More
We had a lovely first time cruise with our disabled daughter on the Oosterdam. But like any holiday there were problems that we were unprepared for. The help that we received from most of the staff was exceptional. We managed to get a great deal of help to get her and the wheelchair onto a tender to go to the Isle of Pines and also off the ship at Vanuatu and Noumea. But what we couldn't get was information about the islands that we visited.We had no idea that the Isle of Pines had a sealed road for example. In Noumea the ship docked at the container wharf. We were told that shuttles would takes us to the city as we couldn't walk through the wharf. But the shuttle buses had 4 steps to get on board. Too bad if you are old or disabled. I had to enlist some strong passengers to lift her on the bus - everyone was helpful except the tour director in charge.She told me to ask the driver of the bus for help. The disabled stateroom was spacious and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. But the door to the room was heavy.The bed was lovely but quite high for transfer without lifting. The ship had great dining facilities and there was space to walk with a wheelchair inside and out. The pools were not accessible and the lovely spa pool in the brochures was not part of the "free pools". We did manage to use a spa pool that had two steps up - not an easy task. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
This was our second HAL cruise. It may be our last. We had taken this cruise five years ago on the Norwegian Pearl, but this time we wanted to try HAL as a previous repositioning cruise with HAL was very nice. We thought the food and ... Read More
This was our second HAL cruise. It may be our last. We had taken this cruise five years ago on the Norwegian Pearl, but this time we wanted to try HAL as a previous repositioning cruise with HAL was very nice. We thought the food and service might be better than on the Pearl. We were right about that. It was what we didn't know that would have caused us to choose the Pearl again. DEPARTURE HOTEL We always fly in a day before the cruise and out the day after a cruise primarily because my wife does not have a lot of stamina as a result of a medical condition. This time we chose the Mayflower Park Hotel in downtown Seattle and loved it. We took the train from the airport to the hotel, which has the advantage of being both very inexpensive and ending in the mall next door to the hotel. Fortunately the ride was on a Saturday afternoon and the train was not crowded - there is really no place to store Pepto and Bismal, our very large, very "findable" hot pink suitcases. (This was their first trip with us and they provided many a laugh while never being hard to spot in the sea of suitcases!) The hotel is about 5 blocks from Pike's Place Market. Being Mother's Day weekend the market was more awash in flowers than usual. We love street vendors, and we found a wonderful leather bag to replace one we'd bought 18 years ago in St. Thomas. EMBARKATION The Mayflower's van vendor is wonderful, and they delivered us to the ship at about 11:15 a.m. We were in our room by 11:45, and eating lunch by 12:15. STATEROOM We stayed in 6175, which is a handicapped aft suite. It was a wonderful room, with more room than the three of us needed. I have never seen so much storage! It was nicely appointed with excellent craftsmanship (I'm a woodworker, so I notice such things). The bed was excellent. The window was quite big with a wonderful desk in front of it and sash big enough to sit in. The balcony was very large with a table, 5 chairs and a chaise lounge. Previous reviews I'd read had warned that there is virtually no overhang over the balconies on deck 6 aft and that proved to be a handicap on the few times it rained during the cruise. I would have loved to have had the corner suite next door so I could have seen "around the corner" on the wrap-around balcony, but the very nice folk that stayed in it had booked before I. We had never sailed in an aft cabin. Though I don't care to not being able to see where we were headed, the advantage of very little wind as the ship moved through chilly air was nice indeed. The biggest disadvantage, at least on the Oosterdam, was at Tracy Arm. The captain got us there just fine, but once there he kept the ship pointed forward for a short time, then turned it around and promptly left. We only had moments to see the glacier and the harbor seals on the ice. Had I known that's what he was going to do I would have fought the crowds and gone forward for a while. Our room stewards Joe and Tree were just exceptional, astoundingly wonderful, beyond words, etc. DINING The food in the main dining room was excellent - almost every dish was as good as one could get anywhere. The service was mostly good except at lunch a couple of times. The Pinnacle was mediocre, crowded, with inadequate seating, and it always closed before the posted closing time. We always had our "first breakfast" via room service ordered for 6 a.m., and it always arrived at 5:30 a.m. It was quite tasteless. We were thankful for the order forms we filled out the night before and hung on the door, as room service did not answer the phone one single time on our cruise. As a result, we consider HAL's claim that food is available 24 hours a day just so much hot air. If you are hungry after about 8:30 at night, your menu choices are pizza and ice cream, at least until about 11. After that, forget it. We learned quickly to buy food in port, or get extra yogurt at breakfast for those late night snacks. What became amusing, but nice, was that later in the cruise coffee that we didn't order started showing up about an hour after breakfast was delivered. ACTIVITIES AND SHIP SHOPPING The "activities" were a source of derision, especially to our 20 year old daughter. It reminded me of the days I have visited folks in adult daycares. But, I don't go on cruises for ship activities, so that might explain why I thought they were so funny. My girls are professional shoppers and it didn't take them long to explore, then dismiss shopping on board - they forgot swimsuits and were out of luck as there were none. For me - no bandaids or (few) toiletries or socks or underwear? Wow. I've gotten on ships before with little or no extra clothing - on purpose - to just buy it there without having to bring a big bag, and it's a good thing I did not try that on Oosterdam! ENTERTAINMENT The one show we went to was ok; the female lead singer was very good, and some of the dancers were excellent. The routines were a mixed bag from mediocre to quite good. The comedian, Julie Barr, was quite funny. PORTS We love any port in Alaska and either shop or just walk around town visiting with locals. When shopping we avoid the cruise line's in-pocket shops and seek out locally owned places. Sitka is wonderful, as there are only about 3 places affiliated with the cruise lines. We found an amazing piece of whale bone art at Sitka Rose Gallery, and I could have maxed out a credit card or two there. (The piece beat us home to Oklahoma too!) The walk to, and around the national park in Sitka is stunning and not to be missed. I loved Sitka so much that I am going back in August for a week just to fish and hang out. There was a native art place in Ketchikan back from the harbor near the Creek Street shops that had an amazing piece of marble bear and seal (I can't remember the name of the shop), but ma wouldn't let me spend $4,000 on a rock! Darn. I'm still thinking about tracking the place down and calling them to get it. The State Museum at Juneau is small, but fun. One of the displays was a spoof and I felt rather silly after saying "Oh, give me a break" several times, then seeing the explanation outside the room only upon leaving it. We love shopping in Victoria, but unfortunately our favorite shop closed down/changed its inventory "because the younger generation does not care for fine woolens" drats. However, as I've detailed below (and noted that cruise reviews for the week before ours say the same thing), don't count on anything happening in Victoria as there is not time there- a pox on HAL! If you do get a little time in Victoria the taxis are half the cost of ship-provided transportation, and there was absolutely no waiting for one either to get to town or back to the ship. THE "YUCKIES" This ship had some mechanical issues. The toilet seemed to have a mind of its own re: flushing. Some of the time flushing occurred successfully upon pushing the button. Other times it might flush five minutes after pushing the button. Many other times it would flush an hour later. And at least 6 times it would not flush at all and we had to call maintenance. On one visit the tech actually admitted that they were having system problems all over the ship and whole sections would become inoperable because of "air locks". I asked a few of our neighbors if they were having problems, and all said "Oh, yes." I found it odd that most of the propulsion came out of the port side propeller. I even asked the captain himself about it and he gave me some nonsensical mumbo jumbo; I didn't care until it became obvious that the ship was running slow everywhere it went. We sat for four hours outside the Sitka harbor while they repaired "a problem with the anchor." Apparently it wouldn't come aboard. They only managed to make up 2.5 of the hours, so we were late getting into Ketchikan and lost that hour and a half in that port. As other Oosterdam cruisers have reported, we left Ketchikan half an hour ahead of the Norwegian Pearl, but the Pearl passed us late afternoon. We got into Victoria an hour and a half late and saw the Pearl already docked and unloaded on time. We ran into a local who claimed his brother was a harbor pilot, who explained that Oosterdam had a history of running late; that the pilots thought it was because the captain wanted to collect his fuel savings bonus, and that none of the cruise lines wanted to stop in Victoria anyway but were required by law to do so. Who knows if this is true or hogwash, but at any rate, the whole is not a positive. The end result, whether because of ship issues or captain's motives, we lost a lot of time in port. So, if I ever go HAL again, I will assume that the itinerary is probably baloney. DISEMBARKATION Walked right off at 9 a.m., found our suitcases immediately, and were outside in the van back to the Mayflower by 9:30. SUMMARY The food was worthy, the cabin extremely nice, and most of the service was outstanding. However, if we do a third Alaska cruise, we will go on the Pearl again, or try some other line. Toilets are things one only notices when they don't work, and dishonored itineraries left me feeling less than comfortable about trying this one again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2012
First let me say that I did a lot of research on Alaska cruises prior to booking. My research included the individual cruise lines comparing pricing, accommodations, services and dining, as well as through sites like cruisecritic.com. We ... Read More
First let me say that I did a lot of research on Alaska cruises prior to booking. My research included the individual cruise lines comparing pricing, accommodations, services and dining, as well as through sites like cruisecritic.com. We ultimately booked through an independent agent through the Internet due to some booking incentives. After booking I started watching the blogs closely in anticipation to our cruise on the HAL Oosterdam leaving Seattle, WA on Sunday, May 13, 2012. We arrived a couple of days prior to the cruise and stayed in Seattle, arguably one of our favorite places in the US. We arrived at the port for embarkation early (about 10:30am) and met DW's sister and her DH. Porters were available everywhere and before we were able to put a foot on the ground one was there ready to take our bags. The awesome service had begun. We entered Terminal 91 and found it to be clean and very well marked. The brother-in-law had rented a powered scooter and it was ready and waiting for him when they arrived at the terminal (big plus). As we entered the terminal, it became clear that one hand didn't always know what the other hand was doing. We were ushered toward an elevator (because of the scooter) but my DW was in the bathroom. The nice man that had offered the elevator had stepped away and a not so pleasant woman, pointing toward the elevator said "GO OVER THERE". Mind you, I am just starting my long awaited vacation...RUDE was not what I was looking for. Just as I started to chime in, the nice man returned and got us on the elevator. Security screening was not horrible, but I did have too many carry-on's (not more than I could physically handle, but more than I wanted to handle) so I was getting a bit crabby standing in line that wasn't moving as quickly as I would have liked. As we reached the front of the line, we were ushered to a nice lady that had a total of 3 people standing behind her...helping her. Not only was she new, but they were learning a new booking system as well. She did the best she could with what she had to work with, and surprisingly enough, I let it roll off. We were inside the terminal with check-in completed and waiting to board by 11:10a Boarding began promptly at 11:30, and being in the front of the disabled line we were on board by 11:45. As we walked on, I asked if we could wait for our cabins in the Vista Dining Room - the response was "your cabins are ready". WOW! That has never happened on Carnival - we have always had to wait until at least 1pm. We were on and our vacation had begun. Now, all of the things that I had read in the blogs that I would like to comment on. CABINS: We booked a guaranteed SY category "Superior Suite". We were upgraded to an SS in cabin 8042. Upon entering the cabin we were definitely in love. Very large (for a cruise ship) bathroom with 2 sinks, tub with Jacuzzi tub and separate shower. There was lots of storage space, not only in the 4 closets but in drawers around. The sofa was a red leather color, but was very comfortable. I laid on it most every evening for movie night. There are 3 nice chairs and a footstool. The lighting could be better, especially in the entry hall. We had a slight problem with the in-room safe, but the staff came and took care of it. This cabin is shown as having a queen sized bed - we had a king. I had heard that the refrigerators were more like cooling boxes. I can tend to be very critical about things, but I must say, it worked much better than I expected. It was nice having it in the room. We brought on a 12-pack of soda and some bottled water and it was very drinkable. The veranda was spacious with 2 chairs and footstools, as well as a round table and 2 chairs. We were impressed by the cabin, and more so after looking at the other part of the family is 8027 veranda. It was quite a bit smaller and more cramped than ours. The upgrade was worth it for us. CREW: The reviews that I have read about the crew were pretty right on. The staff that we dealt with (excluding the front desk staff) were awesome and always willing to go the extra mile. Our room stewart ("Su") always had the room cleaned and turn down down while we were out. He tried once when we were on the balcony, and when we offered to vacate so he could work he apologized and said that he would come back. Awesome... The Vista Dining Room staff (Mafood and Gun) were great - could not have asked for better service. The front desk staff were not so great. I found it very difficult to communicate with them over the simplest of issues. Their English was not horrible, but the accent does tend to get in the way when you are frustrated and trying to deal with a problem. We had purchased a soda card ($25 for a $50 card) - it was a good deal, but it would not activate and I took it back. After about 10 minutes of explaining the problem about 4 times, she gave me a new card. I didn't look real close and we tried to use it at dinner and it didn't work because it had not been "activated", which is supposed to happen the 1st time you use it - it didn't. I took it back a 2nd time - frustration level climbing - only to find that they replaced the soda card with a $50 beverage card and charged me for both. After explaining the problem to someone else again...they were able to make it right, and charge all of our soda purchases that had not been covered on the card. FOOD: Let me start with our top pick. The Pinnacle Grill was amazing! It was definitely worth the additional money. We ate there once for dinner and once for lunch. Would highly recommend. The Vista Dining Room - as I said, the staff was excellent. I was really looking forward to the food after reading through the blogs and HAL's website. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the food was nothing special. The shrimp that they served had no taste, the steaks were less than prime and not very tasty. I could go on and on - but, it didn't ruin our cruise. If we had be left only to the Lido I would have jumped overboard - even in frigid waters. The only word to describe it is "gross". I had better food in boot camp. The oatmeal was paste, the scrambled eggs were powered, and everything I tried (outside of the hamburger, taco bar and the ice cream) didn't get finished. SHIP: I had heard differing comments about the condition of the ship. I found the ship to be very clean and in good condition. I did not notice the areas of disrepair that were mentioned - and I was looking for them. One thing that was not mentioned was the on-board photography. The sister-in-law found a package deal on HAL's website for $299 - all photo's taken on board included. We figured that we would look when we arrived and decide after that. Once on-board we found that the package had increased $50. If you like good photo's this is a good deal even at full price. We ended up with about 20 different seating's for photos, and came home with a ton of photo's. You can go to any of the places on ship where they are taking photos as much as you want, change cloths and go back if you like. If they are not busy, they will often do as much as you want, and as goofy as you like. DW took advantage of it and we go our monies worth. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and ... Read More
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and perhaps a more sophisticated demographic which we found to be quite incorrect. We looked forward to our Chirstmas cruise on the Oosterdam but unfortunately we left the ship quite disappointed. Likes: Friendly officers & crew Well trained and friendly PSD staff Easy Check in Meals generally tasty Breakfast dishes excellent Good buffet lines Complimentary after dinner specialty coffees albeit not brewed Linen hand towels in public restrooms Gents being handed jackets on formal nights Santa Gifts for children on Christmas Balcony furniture Table fully set in MDR Size and shape of coffee cups in MDR Brewed coffee in MDR and throughout the ship....free No steward carts in hallways Very comfortable beds Towel animals on bed each evening Full hot breakfast available from room service Wine stewards in MDR Not being hustled for drinks around pool areas Scooped ice-cream available free Juice available free in buffet Fully tiled cabin bathrooms Medicine chest in bathroom Glass holders in bathroom Adjustable table in cabin Coffee, tea, cookies set out for bridge players and CC meeting Dislikes: Tables in outdoor bars and buffet areas left un-bused and dirty for long periods Unexciting production shows Lack luster entertainment No Laundromat Closing of MDR on sea day for Mariner's luncheon MDR closed on port day, no help for H/C person in Lido buffet Very crowded MDR for dinner Dinner service extremely slow; dinners took full two hours each night Number of out of order fixtures in public restrooms bathroom Small atrium No refund of FCC after 4 years Very small accessible cabins No onboard wheel chairs for disabled; must rent at cost of $200 for 7 days Very limited shops and boutiques Crow's-nest Lounge used for too many activities...coffee bar, library, dance classes, trivia contests, internet lounge, meeting room...... Large columns blocking views in Vista Theatre Glasses and bottles in pool area Poor condition of Lido poolside lounges. Very limited cabin closet space Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers Limited drawer space Very small ice buckets....ice melted before happy hour Cabin fridge used for mini-bar Wines more expensive than other lines Running out of pool towels in late afternoon Dinners often cool Meat often tough Smoking including cigars permitted Onboard activities poorly organized and equipped No note paper in cabin Dirty glasses not removed from cabin in evening. San Diego is such a poor terminal non US Citizens, including Canadians MUST report to USINS at 0645 with passports, not withstanding HAL and INS having passport and NEXUS information months ahead. Gentlemen allowed in MDR at diner in shorts and t-shirts. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
We had previously flown to visit all the islands in Hawaii but never attempted this many days at open sea to cruise to Hawaii. We brought along a transport chair for my husband in case he needed it but once on board, he did just fine ... Read More
We had previously flown to visit all the islands in Hawaii but never attempted this many days at open sea to cruise to Hawaii. We brought along a transport chair for my husband in case he needed it but once on board, he did just fine walking. In fact, with so many seniors on board with walkers, scooters and wheel chairs, it was so much faster to simply walk down the stairs to get to the Vista dining room. However we purposely choose a veranda room at the back of the ship for that reason. We started our cruise with a preplanned CRUISE CRITIC Meet and Greet. It was pleasant but I think it needed to be in a private room. The Cruise Director, Michael, was there but he never got around to our section and we did NOT hear any real suggestions or organization within the group. I don't believe the group ever meet again, it just slowly disbanded after an hour or so. Maybe we missed something - we are not sure. But other Meet & Greets we have attended on other cruises had more "structure" to the meetings, but I am not complaining. What people we did meet were very friendly. We found the Oosterdam comfortable and very clean. There were hand sanitizers everywhere! We had sailed on the Oosterdam 6 years ago and laughed when we saw the very same highly ornate (actually very very gawdy) benches and chairs throughout the ship. The style just did not appeal to us but ship was very clean and spotless. Our cabin was nice but we did find the cabin furniture old, dented and looking dated. The couch & toss pillows were badly worn. Jezzyebelle's review was right on - toss the toss pillows! Kudos to Holland America for having the best mattresses. Sealy Posture Pedic Euro top mattress was heaven to sleep on and every night we had the darling towel animals on our bed. I can't rave enough about having our own veranda as people HOG deck chairs and Room 5186's veranda was wind protected. Room service was wonderful and on time every time plus our breakfast always came HOT! With so many seniors on board, we found the early show very crowded each night plus seniors save seats and to be honest, it did take a bit of a patience on our part to deal with so many people demanding instant service and the endless saving of seats. Vacations are what you make of them, so I'll not let these minor things ruin our vacation. We came to relax and chill out, but we did overhear many people complain about the littlest things. Yes, there were constant lines for elevators and you had to be way early to get a seat for any on-board event. After a while we just dealt with it - but because there was so many lines we started to choose to NOT attend many events the last few days of our cruise. It began to be easier just to read a book. Oh yes - as a side note - I attended many FREE Tai Chi classes as I had an interest but the instructor and her pace was annoyingly SLOW. And I am disgusted that they charge extra for YOGA and Pilates. Tsk Tsk. Shame on them. The daily formal teas were lovely. All the food at all meals in general, was good and it is easy to simply overeat because it is there. However, we found most prepared desserts items to be lacking in taste - they were either all too light, moussy or boring. Simple ice cream was the best. One important note - LUCKILY we were prepared for rough seas. I am SO GLAD I read several reviews about traveling on OPEN SEAS. We had a prescribed patch to wear behind our ears, the sea bands for our wrists and Dramamine tablets and we used everything and we felt fine. But many others were sick and the main dining room was near empty the first night heading out of San Diego and the last few nights heading back. Coming back we were a rocking and rolling and just walking down the halls you had to hold onto the rails. HEY! Why do people hang out by Deck 1 and 2 on Disembarkation Day? Is it a senior thing? Disembarkation was a BREEZE except for trying to make our way thru the sea of people just sitting all over the place waiting to get off. We were all told we could wait in our staterooms until our number was called. That's what we did and enjoyed a glass of wine and laying on the bed watching TV until time to get off. By the way, Holland America has a wonderful policy about allowing wine to be brought on board and ok to drink in staterooms. It's a good policy and I hope they always keep it. The entertainment was good and there was certainly enough venues of music to listen to throughout the ship. We liked their free DVD rental policy and their selection was good. The library on deck 10 was very nice and cozy. I was able to read 3 novels on this cruise and really relax. Holland America offered some interesting seminars on computers and photos editing which were great - but once again, you had to get to the event way early to get a seat. The tech instructor was very FAIR - he insisted everyone leave the room after his event to wait in line for the next seminar. I so wish all events could be handled like this to avoid people CAMPING OUT on deck chairs, library spaces, LIDO Deck spaces, etc. We enjoyed all Hawaiian Islands and went on 2 tours. We toured the crater and lava tubes on the Big Island - very interesting. In Honolulu, the Pearl Harbor tour and the tour of the might MO battleship was fantastic. On Kauai, we simply took a free shuttle and shopped. On Maui, we took a free shuttle and went to the beach although the waves were rough. Latter, it felt good to have a lunch OFF the ship. On this trip I did not utilize any services in their SPA. So our recommendation on this cruise is favorable as long as you plan for potential sea sickness and plan to chill out. A couple of bottles of wine would not hurt either! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
GOODBYE MATZALAN HELLO MANZANILLO Our 7 day Oosterdam cruise started off on a very easy note. We drove from the Palm Springs area & arrived at the Aladdin parking lot at 10:30 am. We were ready to go to the port right away, but ... Read More
GOODBYE MATZALAN HELLO MANZANILLO Our 7 day Oosterdam cruise started off on a very easy note. We drove from the Palm Springs area & arrived at the Aladdin parking lot at 10:30 am. We were ready to go to the port right away, but they told us that the port wouldn't let them drop us off until 11am. Once another couple showed up 5 minutes later, they decided to take us (I guess 3 people on the bus weren't enough!) At the port, a porter with a wheelchair whisked us from the sidewalk to the port, an another took us to the check-in to the ship. We received an invitation to the Mariners' luncheon in the Vista Dining room. The service was slow, but the food was great, and it was relaxing to sit down instead of fighting through lines on the Lido Deck. By 11:30, an announcement came over the speakers that our cabins were ready, and we could hear a cheer from all over the ship! Our cabin was a Veranda suite near the aft elevators, and it was nice to have the fresh air. We had 2 twins & a pull out sofa for me to sleep on. When pulled out, it was hard to open the cooler, but it was great to have a place to keep milk & cookies for the evening. Love the bathtub! We received our Captain's Brunch invitation in the basket outside the door, and planned on a light breakfast with cabin service. Then came the announcement. Due to the violence in MATZALAN, our 2 sea days before PV were changed to one sea day, then stops in Cabo, PV, and then a new port, MANZANILLO! The brunch was moved to Thursday, the same day as our second Formal night. The clocks moved ahead twice during the cruise. As we arrived in Cabo, a pod of Dolphins & school of Whales were there to great us. I took off to find the Banner Wave, exploring the small casino, lounges, and theater along the way. I was very pleased to find plenty of quiet places to sit & read around the ship, but disappointed to find that the entertainment in those lounges was limited to after 5pm (many other cruises, it was scattered through the ships starting in mid-afternoon). The Neptunes were a great easy listening trio, with a variety of modern songs. In the Piano Bar, we played Name that Tune with Jim, who had a great personality. The Adagio Strings in the Explorers Bar were very soft & melodic. Most of the ship was comfortable, but the Main Deck, and lower level of the theater were Very chilly. The first night, people around me were wondering why they didn't bring a blanket. If you went even a few rows back, it warmed up considerably. The stage had elevators to raise & lower sections of the stage to different levels. FOOD: Great, but I was disappointed in the variety of cold soups available. I was pleased to discover that chocolate croissants were available daily on the Lido deck, and not just in the MDR. Rack of Lamb, Lobster, and lasagna were great, and fruit was plentiful. Royal Dutch High Tea was offered buffet style with lemon & strawberry tarts, chocolate dipped strawberries, fruit tarts, Eclairs, and other sweets. A selection of teas was offered at the tables. The rest of the week, a sit-down tea was served, with tea & sweets brought to the tables. On Friday, mini-cupcakes were substituted for the sweets. On Thursday, a desert buffet with ice sculptures, fruit kabobs with white or milk chocolate fountains, & various cakes & tarts from the teas were offered. The chefs were presented in a parade. The chefs dinner was presented Friday night in the MDR & reservations were requested. A ballet presented by the wait-staff was offered with a presentation of napkins & a mousse on bread, then a Swing dance was offered with the Salad. The Duck l'Orange was delicious, and you had your choice of a semi-baked Alaska (meringue over ice-cream with a bit of cake) or other deserts (I had the flourless cake with raspberry sauce -it was very similar to the chocolate melting cake on Carnival). There was also a rib barbecue on the Lido deck, which I did not participate in (that was the only night crème Brule was served in the MDR, and I didn't want to miss it!). As a disabled person, I was disappointed in the seating we were given in the MDR, being forced to the back of the room, when there were empty tables up front. They then took my walker away, & I had to search to find it. We chose Own Time Dining, but if you don't make a reservation, they will make one for you- we were given a very unacceptable 7pm time one night, which we cancelled & used the Lido deck instead. The Captain's brunch was elegant with a very limited menu and a very talkative Captain, who had a great personality and a fun sense of humor. ENTERTAINMENT: The daily activities were very limited- one Trivia contest a day, except on the day we our schedule was changed & they announced a morning Trivia before we got to a mid-day Cabo arrival). There were 2 day-time Name that Tune (70's - not Disco, and Broadway), with am evening Name that Tune in the Piano Bar, which was fun. Cruise Director TJ Watters handled the games with grace, humor & style, & showed many other talents throughout the cruise. DJ Matt handled Bingo & daytime Name that Tune, as well as a poorly attended Karaoke, but I couldn't really get a handle on his personality. The Karaoke selection book was on a hard to operate computer system, and you cannot bring your own discs. There was a great selection of movies on DVD for rent, but no descriptions of the movies. Films in the Screening room ranged from the Oscar nominated Inception to the Spy- movie send-up Night & Day. These movies were also shown on TV (very limited cable station entertainment- TCM, Cartoon, TNT, Fox & CNN News & 2 Sports channels). Evening shows featured a very talented cast of singers & dancers in three production shows (backed by the HALCATS) , Magician Johnny Tran, and Joel Mason, in a tribute to Elton John and lots of comedy dialogue between. The Finale on Fri night brought back all the performers in a great jam session, where everyone displayed other talents. All in All, it was a very smooth crossing, no accidents, & a new port added spice to the usual MR cruise.. [url]http://s809.photobucket.com/albums/zz18/ccruisequeen717/HAL%20DAILY%20EXPLORERS%20JAN%2011/[/url] Scans of Daily Explorer Read Less
Sail Date: November 2008
Its been five years since my last cruise experience - also on Holland America. During that time, I became what one would call "partially disabled" due to repeated leg surgeries. I've learned to see the world from a different ... Read More
Its been five years since my last cruise experience - also on Holland America. During that time, I became what one would call "partially disabled" due to repeated leg surgeries. I've learned to see the world from a different perspective and consider myself fortunate in that I can still walk, though I require assistance. However, I did require a room with handicapped capabilities (toilet, shower, etc. and a peculiar issue with my infirmity is that it limits the types of chairs I can sit on to those with arms. All in all, when my partner and I booked this short cruise as a kind of test to see if I could handle the challenges, we didn't foresee too many issues. The first thing I need to say about the Oosterdam is that I have the unusual perspective of having sailed on the ship shortly after she went into service and now 5 years later. I have not travelled by vessel in between. The ship has not aged well. HOA needs to freshen the look, change most of the carpeting, polish the brass in the elevators and update some of the public spaces. I understand that may take it out of service for a week, but 5 years without time in the beauty shop shows! Back to the original topic at hand, however. We had some expectations for the cabin that were evidently completely incorrect. When we travelled in past years on some NCL ships, we noticed that their handicapped rooms were substantially larger than other rooms in the same class. Not so for HOA! There was clearly space for a wheelchair to maneuver, but that extra space was taken away from the already sparse storage. Additionally, while HOA is known for their roomy bathrooms with tubs (I couldn't step over a tub to take a shower), their handicapped bathrooms are claustrophobic with the space for only a small flat shower. The toilet might work for most - it is high and rails help with leverage, but the architecture made all the pins and screws in my leg dig into my flesh as soon as I tried to make use of the - well, you get the picture. Strangely enough, the public handicapped facilities are not raised, so those of us who cannot raise or lower ourselves without difficulty are in trouble. Seating in the various showrooms is another issue. The Vista Lounge has a row designated as "handicapped". However, on inspection, all the seats are sloped downward so anyone who tries to use them will likely fall to the floor or be unable to raise themselves. For strange disabilities like mine that make me dependent on only chairs with arms, there are groups of those chairs in front that can be accessed without using the stairs (another problem in raked houses), but you have to get to the room at least a half hour early to claim the seat. Saving the best - or most distressing indignity for last is the issue of off-ship encounters at ports of call. This problem, I'm sure, is not limited to HOA - and they acknowledge it up front. But the inability to use the tenders or most if not all of the shore excursions because their physical limitations conflict with my physical limitations was certainly distressing and clearly limited enjoying the full benefits of the cruise. I've heard that some ships now have wheelchair accessible tenders which is certainly a step in the right direction. I also acknowledge the fact that HOA and other cruise lines are dealing with countries and infrastructure often not responsive to people with physical limitations, but no effort seems to be made to remediate this issue and it certainly put a big damper on my enjoyment of the first in five year trip. Read Less
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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