58 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Alaska

This is our 4th HAL cruise. We've been in Alaska few years ago and we loved the scenery. We booked the balcony so we could enjoy the beautiful view, but it was a BIG mistake because we never enjoyed it because of a strong smell of ... Read More
This is our 4th HAL cruise. We've been in Alaska few years ago and we loved the scenery. We booked the balcony so we could enjoy the beautiful view, but it was a BIG mistake because we never enjoyed it because of a strong smell of smoke. We reported it few times at the costumer service but they never did anything. They keep telling us they will investigate ( whoever smokes at the balcony), NEVER solved the problem and it just gets worse everyday. The buffet was always crowded and I often heard people complaining about lack of space. Food was ok .The other complimentary restaurants had about the same food as buffet just fewer choices and service was not good there either.The dinners were just ok. We spent an hour and a half waiting on courses to be served. The positives side of this trip were the staff, they were great and friendly.. except the staff at the costumer service whose not very helpful. Front desk folks not helpful or friendly...took us many trips to report a problem and NEVER solved. Lack of activities as well. Most activities were just an opportunity for Holland to sell you something. This time I was in some ways disappointed. I remember our previous cruises with HAL was always great.. Not this time. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out ... Read More
Our son and our nephew both graduated from high school this year. We wanted to get my husband's whole family together, and since several of them live out west, Seattle was a good meeting point. Our family (we don't live out west) flew in one day before the cruise. It was a good thing because our flight was delayed. I would suggest, if you are coming from a long distance, fly in a couple of days ahead and explore Seattle. Uber rides from the airport only take 15-20 minutes to where our hotel was. We stayed in the Sheraton Four Points due to its great location. It is walking distance to the Space Needle. We got an Uber to the port and it was a very quick ride from the hotel. We got onto the ship pretty quickly. We had a bit of a wait before checking in but were on the ship by 12:30. And, our room was ready when we got on. Things were smooth for embarking. The ship itself was clean and easy to navigate. It is an average-sized ship, I would say. We liked walking around the deck on a daily basis, although at times, it got rainy or chilly. The public spaces were nice and comfortable. We especially liked the crow's nest area. It was just down the hallway from our room and was a perfect meeting spot for family members. This ship is very similar to other HAL ships we have been on. Our son works out a lot. He was not impressed with the fitness area. And, the lady who works in that area was rather rude to him. So, he didn't spend much time in there. The pools and hot tubs were nice. The pools never were crowded. And, you could get into a hot tub if you wanted, although they were very small. They closed very early in the evenings, perhaps because of the weather, I'm not sure. Smoking was allowed in an area by the aft pool. We don't smoke, so we avoided that area. No smoking was in the casino. The casino got fairly crowded, depending on what was going on there. Our son discovered that he is a good poker player on this trip; that was exciting for him. I didn't participate in many ship activities. There wasn't a huge amount of entertainment. The music was good that was performed. It was very loud and crowded in the Blues Club; I don't think that the space is large enough for the people who want to hear the music there. The comedian was pretty funny, and he was clean, so the kids were able to join us. Our nieces went to the children's activities and seemed to really like them. There were a good number of teenagers; between two of our families, there were 6. The teens met several others on the ship, and they seemed like nice kids. I don't know how much they had provided as far as organized activities for the teens, but our teens did have a wonderful time. Service on the ship was very good. Our stewards did a consistent job of tidying our room, although we keep a clean room. And, the dining room service was nice, as well. Our waiters were friendly and did an excellent job each night. We dined in the main dining room every evening. Even our teenage kids wanted to dine in there each night. It was a fun experience for them. We had a couple of nights where all 21 of us ate in there together. Although we had late dining, because the sun barely sets at that time of year in Alaska, it wasn't a bad time, really. Lunch meals were nice in the dining room, too. The menu was varied, and the food was of good quality. I especially liked the main courses. The Lido often got busy and it could be hard to find a seat sometimes. They have some nice stations in there at lunch time, so the days the MDR was closed, I would walk around and see what was available before getting food so I didn't overeat. Dive Inn is a good place for sandwiches and fries; I just ordered from there one time and shared my food with a daughter. Our cabin was on the tenth floor. It was a balcony but might have been a little smaller than some of the balcony rooms. It had a tub, a real plus on a cruise ship. This had less storage than other balcony rooms I have stayed in, but there were four of us. We had two beds together (king), a pull-down bunk above, and a pull-out loveseat. Beds were comfortable with nice linens. The balcony itself was pretty narrow, I think due to the location on the ship. The pull-down bed actually rattled a lot, until I finally stuck a rolled-up towel into part of it. We had the wall between our balcony and the ones beside us opened up because there were three family rooms beside each other. I would recommend closing them back at night because they can make some noise. One night, there was a huge amount of fog, and the foghorn was going off all night. At first, I thought someone had fallen overboard. Once I realized it was the fog, I fell asleep. it is nice having the balcony when going to the glacier and also when in port. But, it gets cold and windy when traveling. And being on the tenth floor is close to the Crow's Nest, which is a nice spot. Each port was good. Seattle is a lovely city. We enjoyed the Seattle center with the Space needle, fountain, museums. Just a great place to walk and see the sights. And, the mountain views are gorgeous as you leave port. We booked a last-minute whale watching tour in Juneau. The kids LOVED it. It was fun and we saw a lot of sea creatures. We booked it when we got off the ship and so we got a nice discount. I recommend NOT booking on the ship for these if you can avoid it. Better deals for the same thing onshore. Hubbard Glacier was incredible. One couple in our group had booked a suite, and they had a wraparound balcony, so we spent a good bit of time there during our Hubbard Glacier stop. We got close to the glacier, saw some calving and had great weather. The port for Sitka is 6 miles from town, but the shuttle gets guests back and forth quite well. It was about 12 minutes to get there, and the wait for the shuttle was just a few minutes. If you get a Sitka map online, you can just follow that and walk around town. Our group enjoyed the sea walk and spent a lot of time out along the sand in the sound area. We saw starfish, eels, crabs - the kids LOVED it. There were seals swimming in the sound, too. There are pretty green spaces and flowers on the walk, as well. We walked to Sitka National Historical Park's Totem Trail. We walked to the river; it's a very pretty, but also fairly easy walk. You can get nice views of St. Michael Cathedral along Lincoln Street. And panoramic views can be seen from Baranof Castle Hill. You will take several flights of stairs to get up, but it's worth it. At the end of town is the Pioneer Home, some type of retirement home. It sits on a big square with a giant totem pole and is a good photo spot. our time in Ketchikan was short - only five hours. I suggest getting up very early so you can see it all. It's not a big town. The waterfront promenade is nice, and there is an interesting tunnel that is good for photos. We got some nice street views right beside the tunnel...after walking up several dozen steps. Creek Street is fun to check out. There was an eagle down by the creek eating fish, and we saw cute little marmots. Married Man's Trail was pretty; my son and up took the stairs up to the Civic Center. It was a pretty walk. We also took a walk along Park Avenue, by the creek. After crossing the bridge, we found a paved path among the trees. We then found a spot where we could walk down to the creek banks; my kids loved that area. The waterfront shops are good places to buy souveniers. Victora was really lovely. We walked quite a ways and just got lots of pictures. We were there in the early evening. I would love to have been there during the day. But, we all had a great time at each stop, so I cannot really complain. Disembarkation was pretty quick. Really, if you need to change your time, they will work with you. It was easy finding our suitcases. You have to walk a little way to get to the Uber area, but once you get there, booking a driver is very simple. We loved this cruise. The stops were great. Our time with family was delightful. Typically, HAL cruises have a huge number of senior citizens. This cruise had a wide array of ages. There were many, many family groups, and it was a festive enjoyable feel overall. Our son (18) wasn't crazy about the onboard experience and would probably like RCI a little more, or Carnival, with its party atmosphere. But our three kids did have a fabulous time with family and this cruise allowed us to all gather together and that was what was so special about it. We have gone out of Whittier before, and getting to Alaska by plane is exhausting. Going to Seattle was a little tiring, but much easier than all the way up to Alaska for the departure. Yes, I would go again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were ... Read More
My wife and I have been on two other cruise lines so a friend of ours invited us on a vacation to Alaska on the line HAL Oosterdam. The staff was very friendly but when we needed some guidance we couldn't understand what they were saying and they didn't even know the answer to our question so make sure your staff who works on the ship knows everything about it like where's the nearest bathroom . While going down the hall to my room it smelt like sewage that was just not normal and it wasn't just my hall... we made a shore excursion n Ketchikan as soon as we were down we had 2 go back 2 the ship we had no time to explore Ketchiken cause we only hade 4 hours to stay. Now the food in the restaurants were EXCELLENT but n the lido deck buffet u couldn't serve yourself , same food every day , when they served you they gave you little portions . Now my main concern on my list is the ENTERTAINMENT !!! To talking to some of the other passengers there was nothing 2 do. Sure they had the comedian which who was hilarious and the magician which who could of had did something more than what she did if Lance Burton is her idol. Every day u should have some kind of ENTERTAINMENT it doesn't have to be something big but just something. Hope this helps cause I will not be recommending this cruise ship 2 anyone Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies ... Read More
Introduction: We are frequent cruisers with Platinum Plus status on NCL and Black Card status on MSC. NCL was our go to company for N.A.cruises and MSC was our go to company for everywhere else in the world. Unfortunately, both companies have adopted strategies of bigger and bigger ships and more fees beyond the cruise fare. After our last cruise on the 5,700 passenger MSC Meravigilia, we decided bigger is not necessarily better. This led to our selection of a smaller ship with a new company for us: Holland America's Oosterdam to Alaska. Cabin: We selected a Neptune cabin, because we were travelling as a family of four. The cabin is spacious with a king bed, sofa bed for two and large balcony. The cabin had a large screen 55" T.V. and a bathroom with an independent shower and independent shower/tub combo. Overall a very nice cabin, and the balcony is excellent for Alaska sightseeing. Dining: We dined at the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast, the Lido market for lunch and the MDR for dinner. All meals were excellent, and better than similar offerings in NCL and MSC's buffet and MDR. Embarkation: Embarking was smooth. We arrived at 11 a.m. and walked on the ship after check-in. Disembarkation was a bit more crowded, but we were off the ship in about twenty minutes. Entertainment: We saw the comedian Tim Kaminsky twice. Very funny shows. We also went to the dance company show. Fairly typical dance fare. We missed the magician because dinner ran late one night. Overall, Kaminsky was the star of the show. Fitness Center: I used the fitness center several times. A bit smaller than the larger ships, but had similar amenities to those ships. The center was crowded in the early a.m., but wide open in the p.m. Onboard Experience: The onboard experience was where you notice the difference between big and small ships. It was much easier to get around the ship, elevators, dining room, etc. No waves of people even after shows. Definitely easier to move around the ship compared to the 4,000 to 6,000 passenger mega ships Service: Service was excellent. Our room steward figured out early in the cruise when we went to breakfast and dinner. The room was made up and turned down during those times. The ship, although older, is in excellent shape and the crew keeps it spotless. Shore Excursions: We did our own excursions. Easy to do in Alaska. We drove to the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. We took the Raptor/Bear shuttle in Sitka. We walked the Downtown area in Ketchikan which was mostly a shopping stop. Value for money: Holland's price for a Neptune suite was 50% less than a similar NCL Haven suite. NCL continues to raise it fares. Value for money is hands down in favor of Holland. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially ... Read More
My cousins had never cruised, so we picked an itinerary they were excited about. Thus, we had the chance to see this cruise through the eyes of our cousins who came with us. We found many areas in need of improvement, especially communication. There was no apparent mechanism for hearing most announcements in the room. My cousin is hard of hearing and so felt he missed a lot of information. We were unsure if we needed to be wearing life vests for the safety drill, until the very last minute when they instructed us to proceed to the muster stations. We’ve cruised a lot and have always seen this information in the instructions or heard it on the video. No guest laundry on board the Oosterdam. I told the cousins they should expect a laundry special during the week but there never was. Nor were there any internet specials, even last-minute specials to check boarding passes, etc. Stayed at HIE SEATAC which had a shuttle to the port. This service worked very well. Embarkation: Arrival around 1045 at port, and getting through all the checkpoints was a breeze. We had a 45 min or so wait but the area was pleasant enough. Lido deck was open for lunch but apparently so was a formal dining area. We were informed about only the Lido deck. Although we normally prefer the formal lunches, our travel companions had never cruised before and so having lunch on the Lido was a good introduction to the buffet. The area is nicely designed and was much quieter and less crowded than I expected, although it was starting to get crowded by the time we left. Food options were varied, interesting, and of good quality. Somehow we missed the opportunity to meet the naturalist, but we did make the sail-away party. While the venue was a bit too noisy and crowded for our companions, they enjoyed the beautiful weather and scenery, and meeting other people. Day 1, embarkation: Dinner: we managed to get a 6 pm dining slot. Service is slow. Food was quite good. I had the seafood chowder and rockfish. I could take or leave the chowder but the fish was nice. Day 2: Sea Day. Quite a few options at breakfast. Sit-down lunch was nice with a variety of options, but slow service. Since we also enjoyed high tea a short time later, we ended up skipping formal night dinner as we had early reservations and were still too full. Day 3. Juneau Breakfast. Arrived when the doors opened, asked for window so we got the table at the very rear. Apparently the wait staff find this territory dangerous. Sometime after 8:30 I asked if we could get pastries and several minutes later my oatmeal and the pastries arrived. Sometime after 9 the hot meals arrived. As for service, my oatmeal arrived on one plate, accompanied by a plate with milk and raisins on it, and a separate one with sliced banana. Finding no space to put all these plates, the waiter set them on the edge and shoved the existing plate further in. I hurriedly tried to move plates so the milk didn’t topple. Just not the way food should be served. Day 4 at sea, view of glaciers Bundle up! It’s going to be cold outside, but you’ll want to be outside for the best view. The naturalist was speaking on deck 4 but the PA system seemed to cut out frequently so we stopped trying to make out what she was saying. Just look, and be awed. Day 5. Sitka Sea Otter and Wildlife tour was amazing. We had time for this tour, a very quick bite of lunch in town at the Highliner Coffee Shop, and a little walking around before rushing back to the ship. Most restaurants are sit-down, table service places which take time, according to the Visitors’ Center staff. We wanted time for looking around. So keep in mind how limited your time is here. The ship was docked some distance from town. There is a shuttle station at the town port with free shuttle service to the ship. Although they said it ran every 20 minutes it seemed to be more frequent. Just don’t expect to end a tour in town (as most seemed to do), grab the shuttle back to the ship for lunch and make it back to town to do much of anything. The town library is about a block from the shuttle stop, and has free wi-fi. Day 6 Ketchikan A very short day, with arrival at 7:30 and departure at 12:30. We had time to walk around a little. Bars and restaurants might have free wi-fi if you make a purchase, but otherwise, don’t expect free wi-fi anywhere. We have Google Fi which has worked in some pretty obscure places in the world but not here, at least not for data. Phone worked fine. Day 7 Vancouver Arrival at 6:30 pm and time to be back on board 11:30 pm. Very odd hours, difficult to work around if you didn’t go on a tour. We ate an early dinner and decided to walk around. Disembarkation was chaotic, with the gangway stairs roped off, and most elevators not going to deck A. We got off the elevator on deck 1 to find people milling around and the cordon being removed from the stairwell, but we were there after 7, so the stairwell should have been open. There were no instructions in the Where and When as to what documents we needed to get back aboard. Turns out, just the ship’s card. Arrival in Seattle No information on breakfast hours provided the day before. We had to call and ask. Read Less
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
Sail Date September 2017
We were on the Oosterdam last October for a Mediterranean Cruise and were very happy. When we booked this Alaska Cruise, we were thrilled to be on Oosterdam again. The staff, cabin stewards, food servers were wonderful and very helpful. ... Read More
We were on the Oosterdam last October for a Mediterranean Cruise and were very happy. When we booked this Alaska Cruise, we were thrilled to be on Oosterdam again. The staff, cabin stewards, food servers were wonderful and very helpful. We enjoyed the Lido Market and all the choices. We had our eleven year old grandson with us and he loved the ship and the Lido Market and the pool. He was in awe. Our grandson went to the Kids Club. He was in the 7-12 group, however, they seemed to group together the much younger kids with the older group. Most of the time, he enjoyed it. The food in the Dining Room had very small portions... not as I remembered. Entertainment was fabulous . I did not get a chance to take advantage of most the daytime activities this time. We enjoyed the Shore excursions and would definitely cruise on Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The Good: AMAZING FOOD Pinnacle Grill The Band Art Gallery Personnel Had the Norovirus hit on the Ship and their Containment Procedures and protective processes was Great. THE BAD: > No Proactive Wait Staff > ... Read More
The Good: AMAZING FOOD Pinnacle Grill The Band Art Gallery Personnel Had the Norovirus hit on the Ship and their Containment Procedures and protective processes was Great. THE BAD: > No Proactive Wait Staff > No wait staff to keep your beverages full. I had to get up 2/3rds of my time to get refills or get served which meant I had to get in line and wait at the Bar. > No wait staff to clear dirty dishes as you visit with your family. Traveling with my niece and nephew meant teenagers who eat a ton, so we always had empty dishes piled up on our tables. Only when we asked (when we found someone) did they finally clear. > Main dining room took 3 different people to receive milk for Dinner. Had to contact supervisor to get milk. Also, my niece asked to get an extra salad and the guy stated "Not right now I'm too busy". So apparently he was the only guy working our table? I think not. > It took until the morning of the 3rd day to Meet my Cabin Steward; he was in his closet working. > Unable to reach anyone for help in our Cabin late night; around 11:00. When we finally got a live person (after 30 mins calling around different numbers and then being on hold) asked for and extension cord and they brought a powerstrip. The did this twice. In the end, No extension cord was ever received. Reminder to bring an extension cord and Powerstrip on next Cruise. > The Burger Grill Closes after Lunch, so if you're looking for a late night burger on the deck or for dinner that is not going to happen. Read Less
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
Sail Date July 2017
We're first time cruisers & went with my parents for a 3 generations cruise(6 adults + 3 teens). There were not many kids on the ship, but that was ok with us. The kids utilized the HAL kids clubs and enjoyed their time away ... Read More
We're first time cruisers & went with my parents for a 3 generations cruise(6 adults + 3 teens). There were not many kids on the ship, but that was ok with us. The kids utilized the HAL kids clubs and enjoyed their time away from the adults. Only the indoor Lido pool was for kids and it was very full, most of the time. We got kicked out of the back outdoor pool as being Adult only(even though very few people used it). Would be nice if they had some family hours for that pool too. We stayed in the brand new rooms up on the 10th floor. It was a great location being next to the Crow's Nest & just above the Lido deck. The rooms were great & being new to cruising, had plenty of space and room. The bathroom was tight but we did ok. Our daughter liked the bunk bed they put up/down each day for her(watch your heads under it). We ate at 8pm in the dining room each night and our staff got to know us & interacted with us in fun ways. We celebrated a birthday and the staff sang and brought a piece of cake. Our package included the Signature Drink deal and I tried all kinds of drinks I wouldn't have tried anywhere else(all drinks up to $9). It included coffee drinks, Vitamin Water, & Cans of Pop. We never hit the 15 drink daily limit. We did have a problem in/with the SPA. We decided our big splurge would be getting a couple's massage. They talked us into upgrading to the hot stone massage and then the 75 minute massage was really only 60 minutes + a sales pitch at the end for 15 minutes on all the products we just "had" to buy and why we needed to go to their fat camp seminar. We also saw on the spa information guide a few days later that we should have had access to their spa mineral hot tub for the rest of the day since we got a massage, but that was never offered to us. Be prepared for a hard sell & make sure you insist you get what you paid for in the SPA if you use it. We would not use it again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Our very first cruise back in August 2003 was on Holland America's Amsterdam and we've been hooked on cruising ever since. Since then, we've taken 21 more cruises on a variety of different lines with Princess being the one ... Read More
Our very first cruise back in August 2003 was on Holland America's Amsterdam and we've been hooked on cruising ever since. Since then, we've taken 21 more cruises on a variety of different lines with Princess being the one we've taken most frequently. In 2009, we took two of our grandchildren on a cruise to Alaska and they are now 20 and 17 and still remember the experience as being terrific. On this cruise, we took their two younger siblings, ages almost 13 and 11 (he had his birthday on board). First, the overall experience was an 8 out of 10. Embarkation and debarkation went smoothly. This is our second trip on the Oosterdam and the ship has been updated so that it looks lovely. There was a very nice mix of ages..from large inter-generational families with children to middle age folks still working full time to the older retired people you often see on Holland America. Second, the food was exceptional..I'd give it a 9+ out of 10. There weren't quite as many selections as you get on Princess but what was served was of very high quality and delicious! I especially liked the fact that many offerings were already plated so that it increased the liklihood of you finishing what was served and reducing the wastefulness of taking too much and then not eating it all. We loved everything that we had from the dining room, from the afternoon tea, to the Lido Market (buffet) to the Dive In on the pool deck that served scrumptuous burgers, hot dogs and fries to the Crows Nest coffee bar with tiny sandwiches and desserts, etc. Third, the Entertainment. We don't cruise for the entertainment but we do enjoy shows, comedians and magic acts all of which we had on this cruise. I would rate the entertainment 6 out of 10...in other words, it was OK but nothing too special. Fourth, the stateroom. We had an ocean view cabin on the Main Deck which our room steward made up each night for the kids. The sofa made into a bed and above the sofa, a bunk type bed came out of the wall. It was ingenious really. We were cozy since there wasn't that much space but we all made it work. Fifth. We were pleasantly surprised by the activites for the kids. Ethan went to Club Hal just once and then spent a lot of time playing basketball on the top deck. Audrey stayed close to us for the first few days and then found friends at The Loft which is fo 13-17 year olds and then we hardly saw her after that! Sixth. Shore excursions. Since this is our 6th cruise to Alaska (we live in the Seattle area), we chose excursions this time aimed at giving the kids an overview understanding of this great state without breaking the bank. So in Juneau we explored an old gold mine and panned for gold and also rode the Mt. Roberts Tram where you can see Juneau from 1800 ft. in the air and visit some raptors. In Sitka (my favorite Alaska cruise port), we visited the largest Raptor sanctuary in the state and did a rainforest walk through part of the Tongass National Forest where we saw extraordinary Totem Poles. In Ketchikan where they say it rains 375 days a year (and it rained when we were there as well), we had fun riding in an amphibious vehicle that went from riding on land to going into the bay where we saw many eagles perched on all kind of places. We also watched the Lumberjack Show which was great fun and not to be missed. All in all, Alaska is a very special place which should be on everyone's bucket list. We were happy with Holland America but we've also been there with RCL and Princess so whatever ship you choose, it;s a wonderful experience. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
My husband contacted our cruise specialist, and they set the whole thing up. Dennis had previously researched the HAL website, and knew what he wanted before booking. We had an aft-Neptune suite. Em and disembarkation were as expected. ... Read More
My husband contacted our cruise specialist, and they set the whole thing up. Dennis had previously researched the HAL website, and knew what he wanted before booking. We had an aft-Neptune suite. Em and disembarkation were as expected. Everything and everyone were so wonderful! I have low vision, and was assisted by staff and my husband. All you had to do was ask for whatever, and would be granted. Our stateroom was Upper Verandah #6177, and had the best view in the house. Activities drew our interest, especially "America's Test Kitchen" and the Naturalists slideshow presentation of the glaciers. We only went to two excursions, Mendenhall Glacier with fish hatchery and salmon bake. The food was out of this world! Of course, we did go into Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. Our tour of the Castle was so that we'd like to return again, just to see more details of the city. Ketchikan was the same way. Food aboard was totally top-notch. It gives one a chance to explore new cuisine. The ship itself was just the right size for us and our lifestyle. Not too large or small. To us, it was more personable. We had such a terrific time, and were quite impressed! Read Less
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
Sail Date May 2017
First of all, we are Cruise Noobs. Never cruised before,never thought we would like the experience. But we wanted to visit Alaska,and so we decided this would be the best way to celebrate our 28th anniversary. Our party consisted of 4 of ... Read More
First of all, we are Cruise Noobs. Never cruised before,never thought we would like the experience. But we wanted to visit Alaska,and so we decided this would be the best way to celebrate our 28th anniversary. Our party consisted of 4 of us, ,Mom,Dad, (40's) Young adult son 1,and Teen son 2. We shared an ocean view cabin,deck 1,#1008. I was a little concerned about the location when booking, but this was our best option in our budget category,so we chose it. It turned out to be a great location! So quiet,and peaceful. I spent some time that week reading my book while sitting and watching out that window. Being on deck 1 gave us a beautiful view of the water and the views out our window, I preferred the views from the lower decks to the upper decks anyway. The cabin itself was compact, but we didn't feel cramped,and had plenty of room for ourselves and our stuff onboard. The bathroom was small,but very practical,and we enjoyed everything about the setup of the room. I really liked that we were so close to the bow of the ship,with easy access to the main stage, so usually at night on our way back to the cabin,we'd stop in just to see what was happening on the mainstage,so convenient and fun! The cabin stewards were wonderful also. The ship itself seemed really big to us at first, but it was actually a nice compact size (as far as cruise ships go) for exploring around. I don't know how full our ship was, but I never felt crowded,and if one area was busy, it was easy to walk around a bit and find a place to ourselves practically. There are multiple lounges all over the ship on different decks,and they all have comfortable seating,and multiple views out the huge windows. This was a real plus,as Alaska can get cold and rainy, but no matter where we were,we always had wonderful views. I would seek out a ship just like this again for our next cruise, I think the size of the ship and amenities are just perfect. We enjoyed various shows throughout the week,America's Test Kitchen was great- Loved the BBC Alaska Live show, Live on Lincoln Stage classical was wonderful, and the BEST time on ship was the B.B. King Blues lounge. That band,those singers were FANTASTIC. Tabitha and Tim Timmons had golden voices,and the high energy shows they did multiple times nightly were the highlight of our trip! really great times hanging out in that lounge. The pools and hot tubs were nice,as was the sauna right next door. The food? Oh the food...... How to explain how wonderful,incredible the food experience is? We chose anytime dining,and it was great every night! Our deck 2 dining room always provided a great view of the water,and scenery,but wonderful servers,and the BEST food we've had in a long while! My sons have really big appetites,and certain nights they ordered and enjoyed 3-4 entrees apiece...... but it's not just the quantity of food here, it's really good food! The choices change nightly,and we had a delicious family dinner every night together. That said, let's talk about the Lido buffet. It took us a while to figure out the timing and rhythm of the offerings here,but once we discovered the breakfast,snack,lunch,snack,dinner,snack,late night timetables.....oh boy! The food had a big variety daily, and it was so much fun to be able to just stop in whenever to get a snack or a drink of tea or coffee. Everything is so clean,and sanitary. I like that most of the food stations don't allow guests to serve themselves,which goes a long way toward keeping things non-germy and clean for everyone. My sons LOVED the asian and sushi bar, they enjoyed so many different types of food here over our week. My personal favorite was the daily omelette bar, where a very skilled and quick server would make up a personalized omelette for me,and always with a big smile! We were on a pretty strict budget, and this meant we put together our own shore excursions. Yes,we could have seen more, but we really enjoyed ourselves nonetheless. In Juneau, we rented a car from the rental shack right on the pier. It was $60 for the day,which was our best budget option for 4 people. We drove to Mendenhall Glacier,and were amazed by the dozens of bald eagles we spotted along the roadway. At the glacier area, we just parked and walked in,with plans to hike and take in the scenery. It was really beautiful,we got luck with the weather,with an overcast sky, but no rain till late evening. Perfect for hiking. We walked out to Nugget Falls,walked around the edge of the lake (so many pictures to take!) Then headed out from the visitor center to hike East Glacier Trail. It was a lot steeper than we had imagined(it's not really noted on the map guides) but it was really,really beautiful in those woods! We all had a great time hiking around,and seeing so much beauty. The woods have a really cool moss that covers everything,it looks really fantastical. All told, we spent from about 1:30-6 p.m. at Mendenhall just walking and taking in the sights. In Sitka, we discovered our favorite port stop. The town itself is cute, but surrounded on all sides by gorgeous mountain scenery. We walked from the dock thru town, around the harbor. It was another beautiful day for walking. We saw so many eagles fishing there. We headed for the Historic Totem Park,and checked that out,then proceeded onward thru a pretty woods path to the Alaska Raptor Center. For $12 per person, it was a great way to view bald eagle rehabilitation,plus a lot of other native birds,like a variety of really cool owls. I like the passion of the workers for their animals. After this, we taxi'd out to the Fortress of the Bear. (about 5-6 miles away) This is NOT TO BE MISSED. For $10 per person, we spent at least two hours thoroughly enjoying the bears,the great viewing of their activities. They had 3 types of bears, plus again, dozens of bald eagles in the trees around them. Plus the hummingbirds at the feeder..... We LOVED this place! The people who work her are passionate about their animals. After this,we walked over to the nearby bus stop (just ask the workers,they'll tell you the hourly schedule) and paid $2 to head back into town. All in all,a great bargain of a day,and lots and lots of fun! In Ketchikan, we wandered the town a bit. My son wanted to shop in all the souvenir stores,and there were a LOT of them in this town. Anyway...... we also walked over to Creek Street,and Married Mans trail,and up to the Cape Fox Lodge. It was all nice, but left us wishing we had gotten out of the town a bit more to look around. We only stopped for a few hours here anyway. Glacier Bay was beautiful,and we took lots of great pics out on the bow,in the crazy wind and rain. This cruise was one of our best vacations ever! I really like how Holland America cruises,and I want to go again.My whole family agrees, it was great fun,and also relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
This our my 3rd cruise. We've gone with 2 other cruise lines in the past and loved every minute. Sadly I can't say the same about the Oosterdam. Let me start by saying our stateroom was wonderful and the crew was wonderful. ... Read More
This our my 3rd cruise. We've gone with 2 other cruise lines in the past and loved every minute. Sadly I can't say the same about the Oosterdam. Let me start by saying our stateroom was wonderful and the crew was wonderful. The lay out of the ship was not the best. The ship was lacking in entertainment. Nowhere you could really sit outside without being in the weather. Food was definitely a step down from our from our previous experiences. Quite frankly we were bored. My husband and I are in our late 50s early 60s, perhaps if we were older we would have enjoyed the ship more but sadly this experience has put us off HAL and wouldn't consider cruising with them in the future. I cringe to think that a friend is on the ship right now doing the Panama Canal for 21 days. I hope she and her husband survive the boredom. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
After my 3 day land tour and torture of the 10 hour bus ride from Denali I was looking forward to just relaxing on the ship. I was not disappointed. The cruise was everything I wished for - relaxing, good food and plenty of things to hold ... Read More
After my 3 day land tour and torture of the 10 hour bus ride from Denali I was looking forward to just relaxing on the ship. I was not disappointed. The cruise was everything I wished for - relaxing, good food and plenty of things to hold my interest. We landed in Anchorage and spent an extra day before heading to Denali. Stayed at the Hilton which was very nice. The train to Denali was wonderful- make sure you wait and eat breakfast on the train. Our guide was very entertaining. Our only issue was that my husband and brother in law booked a jeep excursion at Denali and we arrived at the hotel (Chalet) only 15 minutes before the excursion. 8 hours on the train and then a 4 hour jeep tour made a long day for them. The next morning was the 8 hour Tundra tour. Remember to order a box lunch at the lodge the night before the tour. 2 people can actually share 1 lunch as the wraps are large and filling. Sunday morning it was back on the bus for the 10 hour ride to Seward. This was torture. 10 hours with very few stops and the air conditioner in the bus died. We had no trouble getting onto the cruise ship and all our luggage was there waiting for us. After a nice meal we explored the ship then settled in for a well deserved sleep. We opted for breakfast most mornings on the Lido deck. One of the servers, GoGo became a fave. What a personality! My husband found the Exploration Lounge on the 10th deck and really enjoyed sitting there looking at the ocean while reading or doing his crossword while having a coffee or beer. I enjoyed the short films in the screening rooms on the ports in Alaska. I also enjoyed listening to the native speakers who came aboard. The casino was a fave for my in laws as well as the piano bar. We participated in a few of the games they had after dinner. What fun! The BB King band was wonderful. We did a whale watch in Juneau after seeing the Mendenhall Glacier. What a wonderful day - so many whales. We also did the Bering Sea Crab Tour in Ketchikan. That was so much fun. Our own "deadliest catch". The meals were good in the main dining room. I did find however if you do not drink wine it was sometimes quite a while to get someone to bring you an ice tea. We did the open seating making reservations each morning as we let breakfast. We never had a problem getting the time we requested. Disembarking went quickly. We were spending an extra day in Vancouver so we left the ship, went through customs and then walked across the street to get our rental car. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We had a wonderful trip. Went to Vancouver and stayed in a super hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront. They parked the ship right in front of our hotel. Boarded the Holland-America's Oosterdam on Sunday the 19th and sailed at 4pm. Next ... Read More
We had a wonderful trip. Went to Vancouver and stayed in a super hotel, the Fairmont Waterfront. They parked the ship right in front of our hotel. Boarded the Holland-America's Oosterdam on Sunday the 19th and sailed at 4pm. Next day was a sea day and Formal Night. I wore my tuxedo and went to the B B King show - the band was good. Tuesday we went to Ketchikan, AK and had Dungeness Crab Feast and Wilderness boat trip. After they pulled up the crab trap, we picked up the big, live Dungeness crabs for photos. Saw many Eagles. They lured an Eagle to the boat with a fish and he swooped down to the water right in front of us. Then we went back to the Lodge and ate as much crab we could eat. Wednesday - Juneau, AK. Went to the World Famous Red Dog Saloon. In PM we went on a whale watching boat tour with Capt. Larry of Orca. Saw eleven whales diving over and over again. They were doing "Bubble net feeding" maneuvers. (See Google for interesting explanations and videos). Skagway, AK, and went on the trip on the railroad that the 49ers built over the mountains. Spectacular scenery. The track rose 3,800 feet in 14 miles. We could actually see the trail the gold prospectors had to use to get to the mines - still 600 miles away! The food and service was excellent on the cruise! It's a beautiful ship. Capt. Bos is a superb leader. We departed to Seward, AK., and took a TEN hour bus ride. I wish we hadn't gone the 4 day trip to Denali (Mt. McKinley). Alaska is just too big to go by bus. The weather was cloudy or rainy and no way I was going up in an airplane or even see Denali. Of course, the mountain scenery all over Alaska was spectacular. The next day we took another 8 hour bus ride into the Denali National Park (same size as Massachusetts!). Saw lots of animals, but they were very far away. The next day we had a day of rest, so we went to see the amazing Jeff King, the 4 time Champion of the Iditarod dog sled race at his Husky Homestead. Very interesting place and lecture, and the we loved holding the puppies. Then a very nice 8 hour dome car train trip back to Anchorage. Our ankles were the size of tree trunks from the 27 hour bus - train "legs hanging down" caused edema. The highlight of the trip, for me, was going to the Crows Nest restaurant on the 20th floor of the Capt. Cook Hotel, in Anchorage, AK and celebrating the 50th anniversary of my trip with my Dad to Anchorage in 1965. We ate in the same place 50 years ago and I vividly remember eating my very first Alaskan King Crab Legs. The Crows Nest manager, Kristen Park, made a big deal about our visit. She made us feel like royalty. She gave us a premier table overlooking the city and mountains. This was the 50th Anniversary of the hotel itself, too, since the old one was destroyed in the big 1964 Alaska earthquake, and the hotel was brand new when Dad and I went there. Kristen gave me two actual 1965 menus! (King Crab Legs - 1965 price $5.95 - 2015 price $58) . I had lots of fun and many wonderful memories with my Dad. It was an amazing, amazing trip of a lifetime. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We enjoyed our cruise and would recommend the ship. It is older as others have mentioned but the food and service are very good. People do care about making you happy. I do have a few comments: 1. Vista fixed time seating is great ... Read More
We enjoyed our cruise and would recommend the ship. It is older as others have mentioned but the food and service are very good. People do care about making you happy. I do have a few comments: 1. Vista fixed time seating is great with great service. Open seating is less attentive. 2. HAL club really isn't for kids under 5. They have almost no toys and the activities are not that entertaining for those under 5. Also, they are very strict on the potty training so keep that in mind. Also the teenage area with video games was closed. 3. The entertainment was good. We enjoyed the Piano Man and Blues Club. 4. The Boat spends too little time in Ketchikan which is very disappointing. CELEBRITY arrived before us and left after us and still got to Vancouver before us. HOLLAND should adjust the schedule. 5. Holland does not advertise enough of the activities and excursions in the Seward area. We liked that area and Alyeska better than Denali. 6. The excursion people are not as knowledgeable as you would want. Make sure you book your excursions within the first 24 hours and adjust after that. Things fill up quickly. 7. The suites with verandah are very spacious. We loved our room. 8. As an aside the 4th of July celebration was disappointing. There really wasn't one. They could have at least had a band. Also, they were not prepared for how many people would want hamburgers. This cruise is for an older crowd but we had a great time. Alaska is beautiful. This was our second Holland cruise and I am sure we will do another one but maybe when our son is older. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
My first time on cruise.Generally satisfied but taken by surprise that had to pay for plain water even from my room fridge. Alcohol OK but water? Also charges of 15% for service in bars or to servants-low ball. HAL charges enough for ... Read More
My first time on cruise.Generally satisfied but taken by surprise that had to pay for plain water even from my room fridge. Alcohol OK but water? Also charges of 15% for service in bars or to servants-low ball. HAL charges enough for trip. Dinners also could be better, chef was slipping at work. Attention to travelers problem from designated staff, poor. Long lines to service desk. And end of trip was the summary. We had to leave room at 9 am and waited until 12.30 to board bus to Anchorage, totally wasted time. Specially that after arrival to Anchorage was to late to go anywhere. My baggage was lost on the way to hotel and nobody know what happened, they have flyer blaming road construction for delays or lost baggage.I got my bag in Denali 30 h latter. Hal need big shake-up Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been ... Read More
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been better. Could have been better, The ship, Oosterdam is old, it has been painted and varnished, updated etc., but she shows her age. It is not as clean as as newer ship, not as many neat features, etc. This is the main knock on this ship. The help on the ship isn't as friendly as we have seen in the past. I believe much of this is the culture of where the people come from. Nice enough, just not outwardly friendly, kind of quiet, keep to themselves. The boarding process was painful, the embarkation was a mess, they tried to get everyone checked in on the train, this worked well enough, but all it succeeded in doing was creating a massive traffic jam at security, where we waited for an hour anyway. Since we were traveling with my 85 year old parents, it was not a pleasant experience. We were staying in a Neptune suite and would have boarded much faster by refusing the train check in, taking the suite check in line at the port, much, much faster. As many people have noted, there is not much entertainment on this ship, but it wasn't what we were here for anyway. We were a bit disappointed that B.B. King blues club never seems to actually play any blues, the band was decent, just a bit loud. And lastly, they lack a bit of common sense, when it is raining, and it is close to all aboard time, maybe they could find a way to speed up the process? Hundreds of people standing in the rain, there has to be a better way to make sure the ship is secure, and the passengers are dry. Maybe two security check points? What we liked. The Neptune lounge, unlike the previous review, we loved Steph and Roxy, they were awesome, patient, and willing to help at any time. We had them change many of our reservations and every time they came through with a smile. One of the big advantages of being in a Neptune suite, is the lounge, food available all day, Roxy and Steph to help you, and much better coffee available here than elsewhere. A side benefit is you get to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, fresh, brought to you, excellent menu and service, we ate there almost every morning. Our waiter was Francisco and he was amazing, on the spot, always with a smile, a great way to start the day. Loved the food in the Grill, night or day, it is very good. We liked the crew in general, the Captain was very good at communicating where we were, what was going on etc. We liked our room, huge balcony, and it was nice to have 2 sinks and room to shower in the garden tub. We loved the Crows Nest lounge, up front, on top, spectacular view. We spent a great deal of time just watching Alaska go by as we sailed along. We enjoyed the main Vista dining room, two formal nights, two regular nights, food was good, true, it was not overly spiced, but they are cooking for 2000 mostly older adults, and I suspect they have learned to be easy on the spices. My parents are fussy eaters and they loved the food, we thought it was just typical for a cruise ship. The service was faster than many ships we have been on and we were thankful for that. We do not want to take 2 plus hours to eat. I have read about the south bound week having issues with fresh fruit and vegetables towards the end of the cruise, but there were no issues on this trip, plenty, right up to the day we got off. We bought most of our excursions from Holland America and they were all well managed, and we were happy with them. Getting off the ship went very well. If you are getting off or on for that matter in Vancover, the train station is right across the street, $2.75 to go to or from the airport, about 20 minutes, quick, clean trains, highly recommended. There is a luggage service at the port that will take your luggage for the day and you can then pick it up at the airport, very easy to use and to find. Summary, HAL is not the HAL of the past, particularly the food. More like NCL or Carnival, so I would not pay more to be on HAL, as you should know, it is an older crowd, quiet at night, and they can be a bit more demanding, service wise than younger passengers. Very few children on this ship, maybe 20 if that. I would recommend the Oosterdam to my friends and family, we have a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a ... Read More
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a real treat and we enjoyed having access for morning coffee and light breakfast options as well as afternoon tea and canapés. We were spoiled! The shows on the ship were good, however this was Alaska so who needs shows? We did attend a couple of the music numbers, Dancing with the Stars finale, the comedian and the illusionist show. Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto were exceptional as always. The service in Pinnacle was outstanding - we were seated at the same table each evening and really enjoyed our dining room steward. Once on land all of our accommodations were well appointed - Alyeska was magnificent and a stand out along with the Westmark Fairbanks. The Chalet at Denali is rustic but clean and nice - what you would expect in a national park lodge - it's no frills but comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with ... Read More
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with a bigger and new movie screen,the casino needs a big renovation and the dining rooms menu isn't as good as before because of menu selection and presentation. The service was excellent as usual,and adan our waiter in the dining room was superb. We hope Holland America will address these areas, so we may cruise with them again. Our cabin overall was nice except it needs a new tv. The attendants again were excellent. Our cabin was 5028. The ship itself is very classy and the crew very professional. They have a great cultural theme in regard to art auctions, and a trio playing classical music. Side courses on cooking and windows 8 computer educational courses,along with karoke and night club entertainment. The swimming pools are nice,along with the spas. In conclusion the oosterdam has a great atmosphere and people,it just needs some updates. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
4th time cruising but first HAC cruise. 3 others were Carnival. I've always heard Carnival is the worst cruise line but I have never had any complaints. Currently on Day 5 of the Oosterdam, 7 Day Alaskan Cruise and I have a long list ... Read More
4th time cruising but first HAC cruise. 3 others were Carnival. I've always heard Carnival is the worst cruise line but I have never had any complaints. Currently on Day 5 of the Oosterdam, 7 Day Alaskan Cruise and I have a long list of complaints. Going to start with the positive: -Check-in in Vancouver was much easier than past experience, quick easy and friendly -Alaska is beautiful, once ported and on land our experience has been wonderful -The excursions so far are unbeatable. (Ziplining in Ketchikan, Taku Lodge Seaplane in Juneau) -Our room host is friendly, and stays out of the way mostly -Room is standard with balcony, nice size for a ship, clean... just as expected This has been such a wonderful experience seeing Alaska for the first time, I just wish we had chosen a different way to do it. We are a family group of 12, ranging 3 generations ages 18-78, so spending time with our family of course has been great. We have cruised before as a family and the ship/staff was very accommodating because we were a large, fun group. We almost feel unwelcome here and an inconvenience to most staff members. On the first night we went into dinner in our matching "family" shirts, and some of the young adult in nice shorts, one of three wearing shorts got sent away from the dining room to change, although dress code is "smart casual". Smart casual is not defined clearly I guess. Our servers at dinner are not friendly and are very slow. Slow is fine we understand the logistics are difficult, but an attempt at friendliness would be nice. Food is not good, no flavor. We did eat at one of the other restaurants, food was better, but dinner service took 3 hours and orders were mixed up. We laugh about it, but at a restaurant other than the main dining room we expect better service I guess. Staying on the topic of food, the Lido deck buffet for breakfast and lunch is horrendous. Food is disgusting, even the "regulars" like pizza and tacos are gross. Not sure what they are doing different from the Carnival ships I've been on, but it's bad. I will only eat dinner on the ship (because we have to) for the remaining time. They also don't have the late night food options like most cruises, everything but a select few room service items are pretty much shut down by 9:30-10:00pm. Late night room service also takes an hour minimum... so be prepared to wait. They also make you feel like you are inconveniencing them by ordering from the 24 hour room service menu. Speaking of shutting down, everything is empty by like 10:00pm. Mostly due to the age of the majority of the guests on the boat we assume. That's fine, maybe our fault for choosing this cruise line, but there is a definite stigma against young adults. We ended up in the casino every night so far, mostly because that is the only activity to do. We have heard the shows are bad, comedies are not funny, other activities are just trying to sell you stuff you don't want. The casino is fine, most staff is friendly, but we also feel like they don't want to be there, as the night gets later they just want to shut down and we are again, inconveniencing the staff. Casino is done by midnight or earlier each night. Last night they didn't even open the craps table due to "lack of staff". This is so much different than previous cruises where they wanted us to stay in the casino longer than we wanted to stay. We do appreciate the friendliness of the casino staff. Once the casino shuts down there are no options, bars/clubs that claim to be open til 2am on the information sheet are closed by 10:00-11:00pm. Lastly, currently in Skagway our excursion got cancelled due to an incident the previous day. Totally understandable, obviously not the cruise lines fault. We received a notice to call by 10:00am to receive our money back for the excursion. We called at 9:30am and she gave us a hard time even though we have a paper that says call by 10:00am. This issue was resolved quickly, but still, just be friendly!! There were some other little things that I would feel bad bringing up because after all we are on a cruise ship in Alaska and we are so appreciative of that. I just feel overall, we feel like an inconvenience to the staff and that they don't want to be here. There is a negativity on the ship that is very hard to ignore. We paid a lot of money for this trip and just expect good service. We were jealous when we met another couple on the Princess Cruise Line in Juneau raving about the service and staff. Next time, yes to Alaska, and a big no to the Oosterdam and HAC.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I will start with the bottom line, one of the more expensive vacations we have taken, Holland America provided the least value of any cruise line or vacation package we have ever purchased. I fell for the pitch Holland America has been ... Read More
I will start with the bottom line, one of the more expensive vacations we have taken, Holland America provided the least value of any cruise line or vacation package we have ever purchased. I fell for the pitch Holland America has been doing Alaska package the longest in the Alaska area and were the best. They cannot stand up to Royal Caribbean or Disney Cruise Lines. We take 2 vacations a year and usually I plan each one a year in advance to ensure we can participate in the activities we are interested in. Biggest mistake, I left the planning to Holland America. One week on land, one week on the water. We travel as a family of 4, 2 teenage boys included. Won't bore you with a novel, just bullet statements to share the comedy of errors Holland America laid on us. - When arranging rooms at hotels for land package, we were separated as a family by being assigned rooms apart from each other. I booked this vacation months in advance, you think they could get a clue and notice the same last name on the reservations? -rooms had no AC. I understand we were in Alaska, but the rooms were stuffy. We were told to open the windows. One hotel, The Chalet in Delani was set up in separate building. We were in the last building in the "loop" therefore the shuttles were always filled. We had to run to make our excursion. No ironing board or iron in the room. Overall, hotel selection was average at best throughout the trip. Exception- The Alyeska Hotel and Resort, very nice. -bus driver "William" did not know how to operate the lift to assist an ADA individual, wasting close to an hour to figure it out. Then instead of allowing all to board the bus or get off the bus, William made everyone wait until he was able to service the ADA individual. Because of this, we were last in line for all activities, again, not allowing us to enjoy the activity as a family. We could not get seats together. The whole trip, Holland America drivers seemed to be last in line. Our family is up and out early to avoid these types of situations. -from transfer to transfer, new baggage tags had to be filled out with detailed information in order to get your bags to the next stop. Come on Holland America, it is 2014, pre-printed labels would be nice. A number of items in the baggage were damage during transit, worse than the airlines if you can believe it. -the stateroom my wife and I had on the cruise ship had defective or broken throughout. Reported immediately and none were ever resolved. Stateroom attendants were great, as usual. Rooms were smaller than any other ship we have been on, but yet were the most expensive. We had a verandah room, curtains were torn therefore you could not keep the light out (Alaska had 22 hours of light during the day while there). -attitude of staff on board the ship, the worst we ever experienced. they seemed angry they were working there. outside of the stateroom attendants, we found 2 bartenders that had a great attitude and were fun to be around. -food, average at best, if you get any. We are average size people who do not gorge ourselves at meals. Half way through the serving period, the servers would run out of many selections and just shut it down. I have never seen anything like it on a ship before. This included coffee! When ordering a soft drink with our meals, we never received the drink until we were completely finished with our meals. Service was terrible throughout. Servers were very slow. -ship was replacing carpet while cruising. Give me break, they only have 3-4 months to travel in this part of the country, have the ship ready. Many other flaws in other areas, ship not up kept properly. -captain never shut up. once on the speaker, he loved to hear himself talk. -laundry service, one day folded everything in a basket, the next time everything thrown in the basket leaving it totally wrinkled with no iron to press. -purchased a DVD package (3 DVD's for $65) of "our" cruise. Not quite sure what cruise we got, but wasn't ours. Just some clips of the different stops from a different time. -we had 4 hours to catch our flight after receiving our time to get off the ship. Due to the poor transfer system Holland America practices, we barely made out flight. Terrible system. Slow and unorganized. -I could go on and on. Terrible experience. When you spend a good amount of money on a vacation, you expect a bit more. Surprised people travel Holland America, they have not experienced other cruise lines that do a much better job. Extremely sorry I allowed them to coordinate the land package. Many other cruise lines in Alaska, I would try any of them in place of Holland. By the way, I completed their survey, they got back to me and told me if I wanted to discuss the concerns further, call them. That should tell you something. They should have made that call. Alaska is beautiful, go see it, just do not do it with Holland America at the helm, you will be sorry. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
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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