7 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Fitness Cruises to Mexican Riviera

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
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 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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