15 Holland America Oosterdam Fitness Cruise Reviews

2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our ... Read More
2018_11 Holland America Oosterdam Caribbean cruise Our first cruise and we were excited in the weeks before but once we boarded, we were awed way beyond expectations by the ship and our cabin. Everything was fantastic ! I think our Signature Suite 8055, which was way larger than we expected, was largely responsible. There was *nothing* wrong with this cabin - wonderful air conditioning around the clock, the most comfortable beds ever, 3 lockers, a shower and jet tub in the bathroom, and a generous balcony - it was fantastic and we loved every minute of it. I guess the one issue was - we were under the pool deck (I think) and there was a lot of sound from lounge chairs being setup in the morning - but it did not bother us - and I am someone who is sensitive to sound. The fitness center was fantastic - large with lots of machines and great views over the bow. I stuck to dumbbells and the Precor upright bikes which offered lots of resistance. The $20 "fill a bag" laundry service was fantastic - I thought they would just wash and fold - but they pressed - and well! Pinnacle Grill was great - beautiful decor and great food although my steak was a wee bit overcooked. Lovely service. Cannaletto - the other premium restaurant - seemed like it was just a money grab. It's merely a carved out section of the Lido Market - not a separate restaurant - and TBH I think they're serving the same food you'd get in the Market. Get a salad and a build-your-own-pasta from Lido Grill instead - there I just saved you $15. Speaking of Lido Market - we thought it was pretty good generally but there were some real misses such as the filet mignon which was quite a disappointment, and the soups which never were that good. The salad bar was great, the "build your own pasta" was great, the asian section was great. Here's the thing tho - HAL mentions "legendary service" on their website. When it comes to the eating and drinking areas, I'd call it "questionable service". We were served water/tea only about 30% of the time in the Lido Grill. The bartenders were noticeably not pleasant - not angry or anything - just sort of procedural. In the 'fancy' dining room, I watched waiters traverse back and forth by our table for 15 minutes before I raised my arms to get one to stop for a bread refill. (Apart from that, we did enjoy The Dining Room on 3 different nights including Thanksgiving dinner which was quite good). Our cabin stewards were delightful and never failed to greet us by name from the moment we boarded. If all of the mandatory daily tip went to them, I would be ok with that. We didn't attend much on-board entertainment - we were too tired by 9pm! The trivia games were fun, and the casino, tho small, was enjoyable. The lounges / bars / common areas were mostly gorgeous. The Lincoln Center venue was good, tho small, and there were only brief performances here and there. The Digital presentations were pretty good - good instructor. The "Onshore Shopping" presentation was merely a diamond sales pitch, I'm willing to bet by employees of the diamon sellers. The shops were meh. The pool areas always seemed to have chairs and pool space available. I thought they would be chock-full but they weren't. We bought the thermal suite 7-day pass for $219/couple (we paid $250 in advance but they reversed the charge to $219 altho as I think about it they may have double-charged us - need to check). Thermal pool is great but wish it was a degree or two hotter. Never crowded. We enjoyed the Thermal Suite altho we used it only 4 or 5 times so next time, maybe just pay the daily fee. Couple gripes I have with their Navigator smartphone app. Missing/Incorrect information is a pet peeve of mine, especially when it is so easy to get it right, to everyone's benefit. - it says there are no ATMs onboard. This is wrong. There is one adjacent to customer service. Which I learned after waiting in line at customer service. BTW customer service charges 3% for cash advance, the ATM is flat $6. - I had to go to Infirmary one day. Navigator says *nothing* about infirmary. Turns out, it is open only certain hours, and you have to go to the *front* of the ship to get there. Navigator offers all sorts of ways to buy dining and excursions, but zero about a possible necessity like the infirmary. Disembarkation was annoying (is it ever not?) - the printed instructions were not clear - and we did not appreciate seeing a HAL employee bark at everyone, roll his eyes and shake his head at guests (who were paying his salary), when they failed to follow the routine, quite likely due to the poor/incomplete printed instructions. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Our third cruise, but the first with Holland America Line. Boarding as the usual stressful super heated mayhem. I wish cruise lines could learn something from Middle Eastern air carriers such as Emirates in that respect. The ship was clean ... Read More
Our third cruise, but the first with Holland America Line. Boarding as the usual stressful super heated mayhem. I wish cruise lines could learn something from Middle Eastern air carriers such as Emirates in that respect. The ship was clean and well managed. That it was a Dutch boat showed by the fact that they had LGBT single parties. We (traditional married couple) booked a suite and our 'butlers' were great. Overall staff appeared to be happy and well taken care of. That's not the impression we had on a MSC ship. Ok, the good: - Entertainment (TV) system was airline style and great. - Super nice staff - Well maintained ship - Airline style PAs by the captain - Beautiful stateroom The not so good: - Complexity of beverage packages and their price. - A ton of flyers promoting extra cost stuff in your cabin every day. - The thermal suite package (not worth it) - The food was big corporation canteen style at best. We gave up on it and had great meals in every port. Still, overall happy and would book the same cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Pros: cabins, food and crews were great, loved being at sea. Experienced ships officers inspired confidence in ship handling. Plenty of things to do to keep busy. Entertainment was generally adequate. Enjoyed meeting fellow passengers. ... Read More
Pros: cabins, food and crews were great, loved being at sea. Experienced ships officers inspired confidence in ship handling. Plenty of things to do to keep busy. Entertainment was generally adequate. Enjoyed meeting fellow passengers. Mario was fabulous as compere of various activities. Relaxing way to travel. Professionally managed and efficient staff overall. Cabin was excellent, comfortable and sufficient room and storage. Very well serviced. Only one problem: We had to tape up three sides of the air conditioner vent due to cold, dry air dropping straight onto the bed and causing us breathing congestion the first night aboard. We could see traces of where thisnhad been done before by others. We did not appreciate the unhelpful Front Desk female staff who initially dismissed this problem and was stiffly reluctant to assist - when we asked to borrow gaffer tape, they made us sign a $40 deposit to ensure we returned it. The day after we returned tape, she rang to complain my husband had not responded to a phone message she left (he had given feedback to the desk staff direct) so clearly some inefficiency occurs at Front Desk. Cons: Totally inadequate seating in the cinema. Difficult getting a seat for theatre shows and computer lessons unless you turn up half an hour earlier. Not long enough time ashore (due to port fees?) and what possessed captain to bring ship through marvellous Sydney harbour heads when most passengers are still asleep! Frequent sales pitches for future cruises and tours are acceptable (though the tours are grossly overpriced) but we felt irritated that some of the seminars were disguised sales pitches for dubious and exorbitantly overpriced products and services. Before boarding I selected a spa offering, a one hour session for 'body composition' assessment and advice on nutrition and exercise to get me off to a good start on the ship - on arrival for my appointment at the gym I was asked what I wanted - when I said 'what the online advert offered' I was then told this session would be, in fact, three hours and a lot more expensive. After some confusion and poor management of the situation by the gym manager, I was given an hour as booked .... but the first 25 minutes turned out to be a sales pitch for their detox pills (see elsewhere on this site for negative reviews)! The body composition involved a bio electric impedance machine with no other physical or health status assessment other than brief questionnaire. (http://consensus.nih.gov/1994/1994bioelectricimpedancebodyta015html.htm). The rest of the hour involved a cursory run through gym equipment - at my request, as staff did not have a session structure as advertised online! Not good value and false advertising for this service. Read Less
Sail Date November 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 January 2013
OUR TRIP ON THE OOSTERDAM TO HAWAII Before deciding on the Oosterdam, San Diego to Hawaii cruise, we looked at various tours of the islands but they all required that we fly to Honolulu and back. I hate flying today. And really, ... Read More
OUR TRIP ON THE OOSTERDAM TO HAWAII Before deciding on the Oosterdam, San Diego to Hawaii cruise, we looked at various tours of the islands but they all required that we fly to Honolulu and back. I hate flying today. And really, what's wrong with ten days back and forth on the Pacific? We had done two East to West TransAtlantics in years past and enjoyed them immensely. We had also done one cruise with HAL, the Veendam from NYC to Bermuda. We flew directly into San Diego and met pouring rain getting to and from the bus to the passenger terminal. This was something of a portent for our trip. Finally through Security, we boarded and went to find our cabin, Deck 7, Portside, Forward. We were greeted in the appropriate hallway by Mus and Wayan who introduced themselves as our stewards and welcomed us to our spotlessly-prepared verandah cabin. (We are aware that not all Ccers were so fortunate as to be taken care of in this manner, but we were delighted). Once we found more drawers available under the end of the bed, we were able to store everything. Anyway, after a cold and rainy lifeboat drill (seemingly more important now after the Costa Concordia), we shoved off at 5 PM. We dined in the Vista Dining Room with Ali, our headwaiter, and it was an excellent experience. Not only did he explain the use of the Vegan-Vegetarian Menu to my wife, who prefers such things, but from that night on, the appropriate teas and decaf coffee automatically appeared at the end of the meal without our asking. The food during our VDR experience was varied, very tasty, and well prepared. Not being pressed for time, we utilized the VDR for lunches, as well and they were equally good. Since we were still on Eastern time and had been up quite a while, we went to bed around 8:30 (11:30 EDT) and fell asleep in our exceptionally comfortable bed, only to waken sometime later to a howling wind and an actively moving ship. If memory serves, the Captain described 60+ mph winds and 25+ seas, not as much as we experienced on the Atlantic one time, but the larger Oosterdam handled it well and we slept on. However, given the average age and impaired mobility of many of our fellow passengers, if they weren't safely in their cabins, they might have had a difficult time getting there. Some did, apparently, have issues as several passengers sported oversized bandages on their thumbs the next few days, the reason for Captain's warning about doors, fingers, and doorframes repeatedly broadcast. Awake before 6 AM (!), the prospect of waiting for the VDR to open at 8 AM was too daunting so we decided to go to the Lido and forage for food. Not our favorite food venue due to crowds, lines, and searching for open, clean tables, we think we have 'cracked the code' for the Lido breakfast and subsequently ate there most mornings, particularly as we kept getting up before 6 AM as we went from Pacific time to Hawaiian time (- 3 more hrs). Coffee and tea were available when we got to the Lido and, around 6:30, the Continental Breakfast opened with yogurt, fresh berries, and melon. Finally, we could see when the omelette chef opened where we could obtain the best made-to-order omelettes I have ever had! After this, we would return to our cabin, which had already been made up. Thank you, Mus and Wayan. During the cruise, we would spend time in the Crow's Nest with our lap-top attempting to annoy our children with wifi emails. Not always successful, due to the dial-up (or worse) speeds, we soldiered on, hoping that the islands would re-invigorate our cell phones so we could text our children so they would not forget us! :} We attended interesting port lectures by Nancy, the excursion director, and a great guest lecturer, Dr Charlie Urbanowicz, an anthropologist who lived several years with his wife on South Pacific islands. He did an excellent job talking about WWII in the Pacific, which generated good crowds, and the South Pacific cultures and history. We only wish he had been scheduled for more lectures. THE BIG ISLAND Upon docking at Hilo, we disembarked smoothly and met the Enterprise shuttle which took us directly to their office. Our plan was to drive to Volcano's National Park 30 miles away, and it was helpful that their office was located on the same road as the park. After a 45 minute drive, we were in the Visitor's Center and shortly after on the road around Kilauea Crater, which was smokin' and so part of the road around the caldera was closed due to sulfurous gasses. We got out at an overlook for the crater and saw a trail to the Jagger Museum so off we walked. Bad choice. It began to blow and rain heavily, so by the time we reached the museum, where we could have driven to and parked, we were soaked. Blame it on the trip planner (me!) But I wasn't through. I also parked at the first lot for the Thurston Lava Tube, walked 15 or so minutes through the drizzle to get to...another lot, right at the entrance to the tube. The time spent at the Park was worthwhile, but, due to the unattractive weather, our thoughts turned to lunch at the Kilauea Lodge and Restaurant in the little town of Volcano, just a few minutes from the Park. Owned by a former makeup artist on Hawaii 5-0 and set in an older building, the menu was varied and the food excellent (antelope burgers, anyone?) While returning to the ship, we stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory outside Hilo and bought some nutty souvenirs (sorry) for friends at home. Fresh? The trees were across the street! Prices? The best we saw in the islands. OAHU While I had been in Oahu in 1974, my wife had never been there so when our choice of excursions was cancelled for lack of interest, we signed up for the 3 ½ hr Little Circle Tour of Oahu. Past Diamondhead to Hanauma Bay and the Blowhole, then continuing up to the Pali Lookout. It really reacquainted me to the area and my wife got to see some of the interesting backcountry of Oahu. We had hoped to be dropped off at Waikiki after the tour, but the drive was going back another route. When we asked, he said we could use Hilo Hattie's free shuttle to get there so we got off at the huge store. The Hilo Hattie shuttle driver apparently was practicing to be a stand-up comedian and was funny and informative. When I asked him where to get off for Duke's Restaurant, he dropped us at a hotel door and told us to just walk through the lobby and turn right! And there it was. Nice lunch, virtually on the beach, followed by the largest dessert I have ever shared-- Duke's Hula Pie. Since I was on Waikiki 38 years earlier, it seems that they have built three times as many hotels and the beach has shrunk! We were headed for Ft. DeRussy near which there was supposed to be a place called Parrot-Dise where you could have your picture taken with various exotic birds. My wife grew up with a brilliant parrot, who lived more than 50 years, so Parrot-Dise was a dream for her. (We found it in a Cruise Critic review posted in the Hawaii Port thread). When I told Dino, the proprietor, that my wife had traveled 5000 miles to see his birds, he went to work and soon we had pictures of her with 2, 4, and finally 6 birds, the last one with two patiently lying on their backs in her hands! Between Duke's and Parrot-Dise, we had a great day on Waikiki. The ship planned a bar-b-que for the aft pool area and the Lido as we weren't scheduled to leave Oahu until 11 PM. Unfortunately, the wind and sporadic rain were unplanned visitors, but the food was good anyway and the staff did their best given the conditions. KAUAI Kauai was the next stop and we had reservations at Blue Hawaiian Helicopters for an aerial tour. It turns out that their office where we would check-in could be seen from the ship and was a less than 10 minute walk. The helicopter ride was spectacular and even though I was not at a window seat, the views from the newer Eco-Star copter were great. You just needed to be aware of reflections on the window when taking photos. We had lunch after the flight at The Feral Pig, a nice, informal restaurant located in the same mini-mall as Blue Hawaiian. MAUI The last stop was Maui, where we had signed up for an 8 hr tour to the Haleakala Crater and 'Iao Needle State Park. Unfortunately, the crater was overcast (at 10,000 ft) and filled with clouds. It was, however, an interesting bus trip around Maui and the 'Iao Needle was a compelling spot. The only minor drawback, besides the clouds, was our very genial guide/driver who ran out of information at about the 5 ½ hr mark and resorted to singing us Hawaiian songs. Great if you like Hawaiian music. Maui was our only tendering port which was one of the reasons we chose to take a ship's excursion--priority disembarking. I can say it was uneventful although the re-tendering process was annoying: "Sir, may I look under your hat?" They also checked ID's at both ends of the pier raising the question of how did I get to the end of the pier if I didn't have an ID? Did I swim? If you have kept up with this long review, you know we had a great time and HAL was a big part of it. We have been on Regent and Oceania five times and were worried as to how we'd like a much bigger ship. Well, we liked it so much that we signed up onboard for a similar trip next March on the smaller Zaandam. By the way, if you're thinking about a trip to the Hawaiian Islands, you can't do better for research than the Hawaii (Maui, Kauai, Oahu) Revealed series by Wizard Publications available at Amazon. Much of what we saw and enjoyed in the islands came from these books. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We are a couple in our mid to late 40s and have cruised several times before on various cruise lines. We own 100 CCL shares and once the cruise was paid in full, we faxed the required information to HAL and the $250 OBC for a plus 14 day ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid to late 40s and have cruised several times before on various cruise lines. We own 100 CCL shares and once the cruise was paid in full, we faxed the required information to HAL and the $250 OBC for a plus 14 day cruise was posted immediately to our account. Our Mexican Riviera and Hawaii B2B cruise on 11/05/2011 and 11/12/2011 cruise was wonderful. The start of the first leg of our B2B cruise was delayed by one day due to medical emergencies of passengers on the cruise prior to ours. HAL informed us and credited our account $150/pp, which was great for us as we toured and spent an extra day in San Diego. HAL also gave us a 25% rebate on our next HAL cruise which will amount to almost $700. We flew in to San Diego the day before our cruise was supposed to start. We stayed at the Embassy Suites which includes a manager's reception and breakfast. It is nicely located a few blocks away from the cruise pier and relatively close to all amenities. Post cruise we stayed at the Holiday Inn that is located just across the street from the pier. The embarkation process was very easy as the terminal in San Diego is relatively small. Our room #1836 was wonderful. An aft balcony room, always fresh fruit daily, soft robes, a LCD monitor with DVD. It was clean, adequate and somewhat quiet. The room stewards always greeted us with a smile and our rooms were always meticulously maintained. We found the service and dining onboard to be 5 stars. The dining room stewards and wine stewards were a highlight of the cruise. The menu was always tempting. We usually don't enjoy buffets, with the crowds, so we try to stay away from them as much as possible. With that being said, the food choices were excellent and the overall lay out of the buffet was good. On two occasions we dined in the Pinnacle with mixed feelings about the experience. With great service and menus in the MDR our first experience in the Pinnacle left us wondering why we bothered. The second experience was a Cellar Masters Dinner and it was wonderful. We booked the Thermal Suites and daily enjoyed the use of the steam sauna, dry sauna, ceramic hot beds and hydro pool. This was one of the reasons we booked on the Oosterdam. We were always in the gym daily. But found the facility small and overcrowded. We also enjoyed the full promenade deck to walk or jog. The few evening shows we attended were at par with what we had experienced in the past on other cruises. The evenings were mostly spent dancing at the various venues or socializing with our new cruise critic friends that we met at a well attended and organized meeting. The cruise director attended our CC meeting and made a point to talk to everyone. He offered his assistance should anyone have any special requests during the cruise. In Puerto Vallarta we used the ships excursion. The "Outdoor Adventure Tour" with zip lines, rappelling, donkey ride and speed boat was simply "Funtastic". The extra stop at the Tequila "factory" for taste testing was great. The stop in Cabo San Lucas was disappointing as we were stood up by the private tour we booked through "bestontravelnetwork dot com". We toured the town on our own and visited the beach, but weren't impressed. Had the pleasure of going on a private tour in Hilo with cruise critic friends and Ainatours dot com. We stopped by Rainbow Falls, Volcano National Park and a few other places of interest. The last stop was at OneKahaKaha Beach Park which was very close to the pier for some good snorkelling. We rented a black Ford Mustang convertible through Thrifty Blue Chip in Oahu then proceeded to explore the eastern side of the island and the north shore. In the evening we walked through downtown Honolulu discovering the historical sites. It was a wonderful day. The open door helicopter tour was fantastic that we had the pleasure to do with Jack Harter Helicopter Tours in Nawilwili, Kauai. It is a must do for sure. The rest of the day we played in the surf at the nearby beach. The ship excursion of Catamarans, sail and snorkel in Lahainia, Maui was not very impressive and expensive. The town is full of little shops and very touristy if you like that kind of thing. The quick stop in Ensenada was fun. We took the shuttle into town and bargained for souvenirs. Summary - We loved this cruise. The reason we booked this cruise was to relax and enjoy the many sea days. The extra amenities of the Thermal Suite made for a really wonderful vacation. The great service from the Maitre d', to the wait staff, room stewards, to all of the staff members, really made for a pleasant experience. On several occasions the cruise director personally wanted to know if there was anything that he might be able to do to make the cruise a wonderful experience, also there were comment cards in our room on several occasions. Our only complaints are with the bad behaviour and rudeness from some of the "entitled" guests. Read Less
Sail Date November 2011
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay??? There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship. While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste. My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food. On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner. This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it. Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was a great trip overall the port selection is perfect & everyone should go on this venture - just maybe with another cruiseline. Glacier Bay Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan & and very brief stop in Victoria. Oosterdam was just OK ... Read More
This was a great trip overall the port selection is perfect & everyone should go on this venture - just maybe with another cruiseline. Glacier Bay Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan & and very brief stop in Victoria. Oosterdam was just OK - Checkin and departure - very very fast and organized. Food service and dining a major let down - so we ate off ship a good amount of the time. The rooms (5139) was very nice and a good size for two people, both closets are good size and we are over packers. First the good things clean, gym huge, walking desks and outdoor time perfect. Pool choices & lounges are many and fun & there was not the "saved" lounges we see so much - plenty of space. Casino was fun as well. So off to the bad & I am not one that spends lots of time on the dining but this just never worked for us. We had the open seating which was either full or changed for that night, we tried the extra fee "grill" and it was 1 hour to get salads started and 3 hours to finish dinner - got our $20.00 per person refunded, the buffet never seemed to be in full service - one area here and there were open (could have been our timing) but only two hot entrees at 7:30 to pick from - a bit weird. Enjoyed the Canneloni (sp?) reservation but no $$ dining very small and enjoyable. The shopping was terrible on board including the art shows (I guess I just love Princess & how they organize this) The gym and spa was very nice & they ran some great specials all days - wait until day 3 to book the spa - better deals.Arrived in Seattle a day early to explore (very fun) stayed at the Marriott Waterfront AAA rates were $205.00 - very easy for getting around the city (pikes market 5 min, space needle 30 min walk) and also a $7.00 shuttle to the ship which is out on Pier 91 - nice treat again.Overall we will do this again within 2 years just will move back to Princess or NCL. Do not miss this experience in Alaska Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
This was our second trip to Alaska -- the first being on Princess, so we were anxious to compare the two, as we enjoyed Princess very much. We were a bit worried because it seemed to have rained for a couple of weeks before our ... Read More
This was our second trip to Alaska -- the first being on Princess, so we were anxious to compare the two, as we enjoyed Princess very much. We were a bit worried because it seemed to have rained for a couple of weeks before our sail, but we ended up with beautiful weather at every single port, even Ketchikan, where not one drop of rain fell! We even wore short sleeves in Juneau so our helicopter ride over the glaciers was money well spent! Our cruise through Glacier Bay was one of the highlights of our trip. It was chilly, but we braved the chill and stood out on the bow for almost the entire time. The ship stopped in front of the glacier for a long time. We saw it calve two or three times. We returned to our room and sat on the balcony for the rest of the time, as our side of the ship faced the glacier. Perhaps it was the time of year, but we saw a lot of whales from the ship, including a whale that breached right in front of the rail where we were standing! The service was perfect. Every person working there who we interacted with was friendly and appeared to sincerely care that we were having a good time. Our room stewards were wonderful and a person who seemed to be the manager of the Lido never failed to stop by our table to ask how things were going. The only slight irritation was the food service (not the actual food -- which was very acceptable). Although it was said that the food in the Lido would not be self serve for the first 48 hours, in reality, the hot food was never self serve (you could serve your own salads, drinks, breads and desserts). I would not have had a problem with being served, but it slowed the lines down to almost a crawl. The servers couldn't hear what people were saying, you ended up trying to point at what you wanted, they didn't know how much to serve. At one point, it seemed the line for pasta never moved and I gave up. There were large sections of the restaurant that were closed or limited at what seemed to me to be busy times. That didn't seem to be a problem at breakfast which always ended up to be a very relaxing way to start the day. I've read reviews of how old and worn everything is. The ship did looked used, because it was, but I don't think anything looked so bad that it ruined the ambiance. I thought it was very pretty. Our room was always spotless, the bed was very comfortable (unlike Princess' beds which were very hard) and there was a lot of storage space in the three closets and under the bed. We did spend $35 on the cruise DVD because we so enjoyed the one from the Princess cruise, but I would say DON'T waste the money. Although we were led to believe it was from our cruise, only a very small portion was. Most of it seemed to be recorded from a Mexican cruise! It didn't capture the uniqueness of our cruise at all. It was disappointing and a waste of money. All in all, it was wonderful and we would certainly sail again on HAL! Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
We have been busy cruising in the last 12 months. We have sailed on RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and now HAL. I have previously sailed on HAL, but it has been about 12 years. We booked this cruise for a cheap getaway (no airfare) ... Read More
We have been busy cruising in the last 12 months. We have sailed on RCCL, Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and now HAL. I have previously sailed on HAL, but it has been about 12 years. We booked this cruise for a cheap getaway (no airfare) and to unwind, relax, and not think about work for a week. While we did manage thoughts of Coronas, sun, and cerviche instead of computers and customers, HAL turned out to be a somewhat disappointing experience. What we loved... In general, just about everything we ate we enjoyed. Desserts were very good. We dined at Pinnacle Grill on 2 nights and had enjoyed it immensely. Dining room food was all very good. Loved the Make to order items in the Buffet during the day and the waffles and omelets were worth having every day. I did have a few issues with the overcooking of fish, but all in all a fine dining experience. We booked an SZ guarantee and were upgraded to SY (6102). The room was spacious, balcony large and a great deal for the price we paid. We spent a lot of time in our room due to how comfortable it was. The weather was perfect... which is odd for this itinerary. It was sunny and warm all but Day 7. Our days in Cabo and PV. With nothing at all planned we were able to just walk until we found something that interested us. What we liked... We liked the lack of announcements and the fact that the captain came on hourly on Friday to update the ship of potential tsunami. While many were aware of the safety, the entourage of calls I received on Saturday let me know that many did not. The DVD players in every room and huge variety of movies you can borrow. The Piano bar and Randall were entertaining. Plus there are 2 for 1 drinks in there at night. The price of alcohol was the least expensive we have seen on board a ship. You are able to bring on board your favorite wines for in room and dining room consumption. There was a large number of GLBT on this cruise and the crew was very friendly to us. What we did not like... The formal nights and the plethora of costumes. Men are forced to wear jackets, but let in passengers with jeans. The temperature in the dining room makes this whole evening very uncomfortable. If there are so many restrictions on what men can wear, why can women get away with short dresses, flip flops, etc. They need to either be all in or all out on the formal discussion. The long lines in the Lido buffet. As much as we enjoyed the make to order items, they certainly caused longer lines. In general, the whole area is poorly designed. It did not help that they were serving us food for 4 days due to the 48 hour rule in place on HAL and then a heightened number of GI issues after those 48 hours. While I appreciate HAL taking precautions, they really need to teach their staff a little lesson on cross contamination when they are wearing gloves and how they should changing them when making contact with another person. The better idea is to have someone stationed outside dining areas requiring people to use the sanitation OR people should be responsible enough to just wash their hands. The ship design and dEcor. The interiors are so dark and the lighting so poor throughout that I always felt so enclosed that I never wanted to be in the area. Also, with the sliding roof over the Lido pool taking up much of the deck above it, much of the open deck space is wasted. We did like the open aft pool area and its views. We also like the Crow's nest, though it was always very busy. The vegetarian options on the main menu were not labeled vegetarian. It is pretty standard to have a V or some sort of recognition for those that choose to be a vegetarian. What was appalling... Service in general was a huge disappointment. Our room steward did the bare necessities of daily cleaning. He acted more as someone who turns down beds and replaces towels. We ordered room service late one evening, were told that it would be an hour. It never came. In the Piano bar during "happy hour" Jimmi had ordered a drink and it was made with the wrong alcohol (whiskey instead of Captain Morgan). When he told the server about this he assured Jimmi that it was made with the right alcohol and walked away. It was obvious that the server had accidentally mixed up the drinks, but never took ownership of his mistake. The constant reminder to give high scores on the survey at the end of the cruise is annoying. Simple fact is that if you provide a level of service that is a 9, you will receive a 9. If you do not, you will not. Suggesting what score I should give you after giving me poor service will not change this fact. The general condition of the ship - The Oosterdam looked aged. There were a lot of ripped cushions, broken tiles, torn lounge chairs, etc. Having been on a Princess ship roughly the same age less than a year ago, you can really tell the difference. Not sure when the last dry dock was, but she could use it again. That HAL continued stopping at Mazatlan as long as they did. Our decision was made easy to stay on the ship as we watched the Federali helicopter circling and 25 hummer type armed and manned with 4-5 men lined up across the street from the port. It is a shame that there is so much violence here, it was just astonishing to me that HAL took their chances. I am happy that changes were made to upcoming cruises. I guess you can judge my final opinion of HAL on the fact that I did not buy a future cruise credit as I do on almost every cruise. While I would consider them for another cruise, we are much better suited on Celebrity, Princess or Royal Caribbean. Read Less
Sail Date March 2011
Embarkment was a mix, one person telling to go here another telling to go there I have a mobility issue and I don't think they could make up their mind. We waited with rest of people. Rest of embarkment went ok. We usually travel ... Read More
Embarkment was a mix, one person telling to go here another telling to go there I have a mobility issue and I don't think they could make up their mind. We waited with rest of people. Rest of embarkment went ok. We usually travel Celebrity, they offer you a drink and escort you to your room ,missed this on Holland. Room and cabin staff were excellent. Balcony was fab, best ever. Food was very good. But As you Wish Dining wasn't what we expected. The waiters seem to be rushed, went 4 nights, took 1 1/2 hours plus each time. Time between courses was long. When questioned they just shrugged it off. Lido buffet with an elderly couple was better choice. Breakfast room service was the best, always on time and hot (had to wait for the eggs to cool down one morning). I'm going to miss it Biggest complaint was with the hydrotherapy pool, $199.00 to use it, on Celebrity Free. Main swimming pool with 4 working hot tubs was made into kids pool. Adult pool(small)was at back of ship with 1 working tub. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
This was a great cruise and we really enjoyed the Oosterdam. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America and it certainly won't be our last. We booked this cruise last May while we were on the Maasdam's repositioning cruise to ... Read More
This was a great cruise and we really enjoyed the Oosterdam. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America and it certainly won't be our last. We booked this cruise last May while we were on the Maasdam's repositioning cruise to Canada. We not only received a $100 room credit from Holland, but then moved our reservation, at Holland's suggestion, to Vacationstogo and received their $150 room credit. We treated ourselves to a superior veranda suite which was well worth the extra $100. The room was spacious with loads of storage, dual sinks, a jacuzzi tub as well as a shower. The balcony was also great with a large table. The oosterdam is beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the food on this cruise. It was the best we've experienced on HAL. The Pinnacle Grill was also wonderful, as always. Canaletto was ok, but the candy cotton they gave everyone at the end of the meal was somewhat strange, but tasty! The ports were typically full of shops with the usual "stuff" that could easily be passed over. In Puerto Vallarta I went on the Day with the Dolphin Trainer excursion which was wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to spend more time with the dolphins. The bonus was that we also spent time with the sea lions. The spa is great particularly if you take advantage of the "in port" specials. Otherwise I think it's over priced. I wish they wouldn't try to push their products quite so much. All in all, I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
I really appreciate reading reviews of other people and figured it was my turn to give back. I hope this helps someone else as they are deciding to have reasonable expectations and thus a good experience. We had semi-high hopes when we ... Read More
I really appreciate reading reviews of other people and figured it was my turn to give back. I hope this helps someone else as they are deciding to have reasonable expectations and thus a good experience. We had semi-high hopes when we read that Holland America is considered "luxury cruising", so this review is an attempt to see if they lived up to that billing. We sailed from San Diego to the traditional Mexican Riviera on Jan 9, '10. Embarkation was fairly quick and an easy process. I don't think the ship was full. We were pleased with the lunch buffet when we first arrived on board. We purchased a "guaranteed veranda" and the HA agent promised we would be "upgraded". I'd hate to see what we would have gotten if we did not have that promise! The room was pretty small but it was not as small as other ships we have been on of the same category. The bathroom was a good size with a very nice shower set up. There was plenty of creative storage for 7 days. All around it would have been good except for one issue...our room was terribly dirty, grimy with smudges and diry finger prints everywhere. The bathroom floor was even dirty! Knowing how busy the first day can be, I took a wash cloth with some hand sanitizer and spent 20 minutes wiping everything down, including the bathroom floor. I could not believe the amount of dirt that I was able to clean up with just some wiping. Everything cleaned up fairly easily so it was not just that the cabin was "old", which it is! It was just plain dirty. Later, I heard another person say they actually called to have their room cleaned before they settled in. We went down later that day to tell the first desk how we found the room and she mentioned that others had complained about our area too. But it didn't seem to make any difference throughout the cruise! The cleaning of the room, the timelyness, the mirrors and floor was the worst job I have every seen, except for some old cheap motels I used to stay in while in college! :( Then to top it off, we did not get our room made up the first a.m. until I finally called to request it at about 1:00pm. The 2nd day I had to call again, this time at 11am. Throughout the week we had streaks on the mirrors and the windows never did get cleaned on the inside! We never did actually mneet our cabin staff & it was the first time I wanted to withhold a tip but my husband is too nice to do that! Instead I wrote a detailed report to turn in on the questionnaire, which I had to go ask for twice because it was never delivered, as it was supposed to be the last day. Now to the rest of the cruise...The entertainment was OK. The singer-dancers were satisfactory but there were several other programs that were very good such as magic and comedy acts. The schedule was full with lots of things to do, such as short classes. The food was decent for 7 days but I would have tired of it for anything more than a week. There was a lot of variety on the buffet and the dining service was OK. (Our waiter spilled a dish on one of the guests the first night and the 2nd night mixed up our dishes!) The staff was a mixed level of friendliness. Some were great, pleasant, smiling, chatty. Some did not make eye contact and turned away at times they could have been helpful & engaging. One thing I really appreciated... they did not push drinks, shore excursions, shopping, etc. There was an area "expert" and those talks were helpful to us! There were two walking paths and lots of walkers. The pools were too cool to swim and the thermal pool was way too expensive for most people. I saw only two people using that pool ever! The steam sauna was broken with no promise as to when it would be repaired. The gym was modern and well equipped. They had a nice movie theater with very comfortable chairs but it was small and filled quickly. The afternoon tea was nice, although not well advertised. This is an old ship that needs refurbishing. There are a few small areas that have been redone and they are lovely, such as the computer classroom area. I took one class and it was very good. But in general the ship, especially the cabins need to be rehabbed. If you want a quick (7 day) relaxing trip, this is probably a good options but go with expectations of "luxury cruising" at a very low level and you will probably be satisfied! Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
San Diego was incredibly convenient as an embarkation city. The proximity of the airport and the cruise terminal and the wide range of transportation options made it a breeze to get from airport to ship. We arrived the afternoon before ... Read More
San Diego was incredibly convenient as an embarkation city. The proximity of the airport and the cruise terminal and the wide range of transportation options made it a breeze to get from airport to ship. We arrived the afternoon before our cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn right across from the cruise terminal - highly recommended. We wished we would have arrived earlier in the day to enjoy all that the San Diego wharf front has to offer - the USS Midway, maritime museum, etc are all right there in easy walking distance. The elephant and castle bar at the hotel was worth the visit and had a nice assortment of beers on tap. Embarkation was reasonably efficient. We had pre-registered on line and it took approximately 40 minutes from our initial arrival at noon to when we boarded the ship. We chose the late dinner seating(8pm)in the Vista lounge and were seated with 4 new friends who we enjoyed getting to know for the rest of the cruise. The food was above average, as was the service. The soups were excellent - and we are not really big soup fans. We had 2 servers for our table that we shared with several other tables. Those guys worked hard every evening to get it right for their diners. By day 2 they had our names down which was nice to be called by name. Since we had the late seating, we'd slip by the Lido buffet around 6PM every evening for a sneak (snack) preview of the dinner entrees and soups. Entertainment - we don't cruise for the shows but we did enjoy Derrick the comic and Charlie at the Piano Bar. Both very talented and crowd friendly. Derrick had some very funny material and connected extremely well with the wide range of people in the audience. Charlie was a lot of fun also, great on the piano and had everyone involved. We also joined in for the last wine tasting event. The Master Somm, Randall was very knowledgeable and we enjoyed learning some new wines we would not have tried on our own. The gym and fitness center was well equipped. We attended the seminar on body detox and diet. It was worth the time and we learned a lot. Tyrone and Hevin are two of the trainers - both will work you just as hard a you want and were great additions to the gym - good job, HAL in hiring these guys - they make your gym! We also signed up for the Thermal Spa which had to be closed on day 3 after the break out of the N Virus. The thermal spa was ok, not sure it was worth the price unless you are really a spa person. We enjoyed the thermal pool for the 2 days it was open but would have preferred to have had a fully functioning steam room, hot tub and dry sauna. They seemed to struggle slightly here in keeping these rooms up and working at the right temperature. Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
My wife and I used the Northern Kentucky Airport(CVG) to fly nonstop to San Diego, CA for our 31 January 2009 sailing on the Oosterdam. We left one day early to avoid winter travel problems and made it to the gate with only about ten ... Read More
My wife and I used the Northern Kentucky Airport(CVG) to fly nonstop to San Diego, CA for our 31 January 2009 sailing on the Oosterdam. We left one day early to avoid winter travel problems and made it to the gate with only about ten minutes extra icy weather, from that point on the trip was a joy. We stayed one night at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. We had a 17th floor balcony room overlooking the bay and Coronado. The hotel was beautiful and lunch and breakfast there were very good.Saturday morning (predawn) we walked the waterfront for exercise and watched the Oosterdam arrive in port. We took a taxi($11.00) from hotel ship (5 blocks). Total time From getting out of taxi to finishing the check in was less than 15 minutes. Ten minutes more and we were in our cabin(6099). Our cabin was roomy with 3 cushion couch 3 chairs desk separate balcony door and another window. Bathroom had 2 sinks full tub w/water jets and a separate shower. Dressing area. We stayed on the extra large balcony a lot, no need to leave the room. Our shipmates were overall a friendly and slow-paced group. We are 50 and felt like young children compared to the others. The average age on this cruise seemed to be far older than on our other 8 cruises. We choose early fixed seating for a change and loved it. All week the food and service were great. We ate dinner in the main room every night . Specialty venues stayed mostly empty. We never saw a crowd at the Lido breakfast and lunch was easy, no hunt for a seat. We thought entertainment was not very good at night. The Ocean bar dance and music area was elevator music, no vocals. Most of the chairs stayed empty when they played and the musicians looked very bored. Other little shows were not much either. The Vista lounge show on the 2nd formal night was very good. Each port day we booked a tour online from home with Johann an Sandra Tours. They were very easy to deal with over the phone and online. We had no problems finding or using the tour in port. Same tours offered by HAL ,but, much cheaper. In Mazatlan we took the Blue Agave tour. About five hours in and out of town in a half empty 15 passenger van(6 tourists on board). We went to rural tequila farm and then to small town at least 20 miles from a main road. Lovely. The town was about three blocks square and managed to have traffic blockage, 5 cars behind us someone kept blowing the car horn. It was the Mexican version of police. Instead of getting out they blew the horn then turned around and drove away. It was Federal government cash hand out day for seniors and the town center was full, 15-20 police with machine guns watching everywhere, Interesting. In PV we took a city tour. 5 hours in out of town on and off a large bus a lot, still easy about 11 people on full size coach. A bit to many stops at targeted stores, we walked around instead of being herded into them. Cabo San Lucas was a stop we did not like all. Took a 6 hour tour to a town called Todos Santos(Hotel California)4 people in van with one driver,1.5 hours each way passing cactus. The small town was interesting for 1.5 hour guided tour part, but, the 2 hours "to eat lunch" was boring, then complete silence from the driver on the return. Disembarkation, no crowd at the Lido grill, nearly empty at 7 am, nice. When the call to leave came at about 8 am it took about 5 minutes to get off ship and onto the bus buying the no touch luggage handling we picked it off the rack at CVG .Problem: airport bus loaders and drivers standing around talking to each other(wearing jackets that completely covered all ID marking making them look like part of the crowd) allowed for much confusion to many passengers and created a 30 minute sit and wait period after getting on the bus. We had a fine cruise with great service and food. Seeing the Mexican Riviera one time was enough ,will not go back on land or sea! Read Less
Sail Date February 2009
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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