4 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Australia & New Zealand

My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards wer fantastic and offered advice as to the best places in port for free WiFi. We ate most mornings and nights in the Vista dinning room as the food was just amazing and a different menu each night, the staff on every part of the ship worked very hard to keep it clean and fresh daily as well as always smiling and polite. The tender process was very efficient and no problems at all.embarkation and disembarkation is well organised and very quick not an issue as I thought it would be.All the ports were great and most organised a free shuttle bus with locals giving a running commentary. We only booked 1 shore excursion as most we found to expensive to book on ship but we used the port time to walk and explore the each port ourselves, we found that most of the museums were either free or only gold coin donations and were worth the time to explore them it helped get a great feel for the city and it's history, don't be afraid to use the public transport system as we used the bused to travel about often . When researching we could not find any info on the laundry costs as the Oosterdam does not have any available for passenger use but after a few days we spoke to our room stewards about this and found out that for $98 we had unlimited use just fill the bag with the form after organising it with the desk not an issue and worth it, if we had known this before the cruise it would have saved taking to many clothes. Overall it was a great experience and we enjoyed very much. Ron Read Less
Sail Date March 2014
This was our first cruise and Holland America had been recommended by my brother so we had a bit of background on what to expect. The first sighting of the ship on Sunday 8 December from our airport shuttle service coming down George ... Read More
This was our first cruise and Holland America had been recommended by my brother so we had a bit of background on what to expect. The first sighting of the ship on Sunday 8 December from our airport shuttle service coming down George Street Sydney was amazing with the ship moored at Circular Quay towering above the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. From that moment we were impressed with most aspects of the ship and life aboard the Oosterdam. Let me get the few negatives out of the way first. 1. The shore excursions were totally overpriced compared with similar options available dockside. 2. The continual sales pitch to extract extra dollars from passengers was a bit "tacky". (Photos/Artworks/Sidewalk Sales/Wine packages etc) 3. Wine was overpriced compared to beer, spirits and cocktails. 4. Coffee was very average and only tea bags - no leaf tea option was available. Thats all the "cons" I can think of as the "pros" far outweigh them and were numerous. Our cabin 5171 was excellent and could not be faulted. The cabin service was first class with friendly smiling faces each day and all special requests met promptly and efficiently. The food and service in the dining room for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner were excellent. The Lido provided a good range and quality of food and seating was always available. The entertainment was excellent with very talented singers, dancers and musicians. The officers and crew were friendly and helpfull at all times and the process for embarkation and dis embarkation were timely and very efficiently handled as was the tendering process to shore and back when required. The open dining was an excellent option for us as first time cruisers as we were able to meet a lot of very friedly people from all walks of life and from a range of countries. All in all a very pleasing first cruise experience and we will definitely have Holland America as our first choice option for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
We are still recovering from our first cruise experience! We had a wonderful time aboard the Oosterdam and found that we really had two holidays in one. We understand now why so many people do countless cruises year after year...It is a ... Read More
We are still recovering from our first cruise experience! We had a wonderful time aboard the Oosterdam and found that we really had two holidays in one. We understand now why so many people do countless cruises year after year...It is a fun and economical way to travel. I travelled with my husband, we are both in our late twenties from Melbourne, Australia. Anyway, on with my (point form) review! EMBARKATION -We arrived in Sydney around 9.30am so had time to kill. Boarding commenced at 1pm and the queue at this time was massive! I was pleased that we could drop off our suitcases, allowing us to relax by the harbour sipping wine, admiring the ship until we were ready to embark. -customs was very easy, we embarked around 3pm and there was hardly anybody else getting on so it was quick. THE SHIP -looked majestic in Sydney Harbour, sailing out was definitely a highlight (shame we didn't disembark in Circular Quay on our return) -tastefully decorated, beautiful, very elegant decor, always clean and tidy, never found it to be particularly busy in one spot and rarely had to queue for long which surprised us given there were 1,900 guests on board, -it did take a little while to spot some younger travelers (no disrespect intended!) but frankly, we loved cruising with an older crowd because they were so much fun and easy going I always felt safe on board, could leave my purse on the table with no concern of it being stolen, there were no drunk troublemakers and we could just have a fun time doing things like bingo and line dancing without anybody judging us!! :) -Only a small group of kids on board and they seemed to be well taken care of by the kids club. Aside from often taking up the pool and hot tubs, the kids were fine and not too rowdy! ACTIVITIES -a very good range of activities every hour to choose from. Particularly liked the sail away BBQ's, bingo, trivia, game shows and karaoke competitions. -well organised, Jazzy (show host) and Michael (cruise director) were especially vibrant and entertaining. -even if there were no activities of interest on, there was always a band playing somewhere or a cocktail calling our name! -only used the Lido pool once, didn't go in the Sea View pool as the wind was always unpleasant on the decks! The one time we used the pool it was quite literally standing room only. Hot tubs were very powerful! -We used the Greenhouse spa, my husband had a full body massage on his birthday and said it was great. I used the hydrotherapy whirlpool thingy and the thermal suite which was very relaxing and a nice quiet space. The staff here were very helpful. SERVICE -Majority of the staff are from Indonesia and the Phillippines, very sweet natured, gentle and welcoming, always remembered our names and did a great job servicing our room. No complaints! PORTS/SHORE EXCURSIONS -I noticed that next year, HAL will no longer be tendering at Gisbourne and going to Picton instead. Wise choice as we were back on the ship within an hour in Gisbourne, not much to do here. Otherwise, happy with the ports of call although for first timers to NZ, I think a campervan type holiday would have been better to see inland and particularly more of the south island. -we did not book any excursions with the ship as found them very overpriced and not of interest to us. We pre-booked just 2 tours with private companies in Akaroa and Napier and also hired a car to drive around Rotorua/Hobbiton. Both tours were custom designed for cruise ship passengers, picking us up at the dock and getting us back with plenty of time to spare. -we were very impressed with how quickly the ship gets all the passengers on and off especially when tendered, communication was great and the ships shuttle buses were plentiful once in town. CABIN -verandah suite, very comfortable bed, quiet, spacious, shower temperature always perfect, balcony was great especially for cruising the Fjordland whilst enjoying our breakfast. -TV had basic channels, only news was CNN, sport and movie channels, movies very repetitive. Would have liked a channel with talk shows/sitcoms etc as we actually did spend a lot of time in our room. There was a catalogue of free DVDs to borrow but we didn't do this. -I found I would wake up most nights shivering and there were no spare blankets in the room, resorted to covering myself with the robe! DINING -we only visited the dining room once, had any time dining and didn't realise we would be sharing with others at a table. Specialty dining booked out very quickly so we had a combination of room service and lunch at the Terrace Grill, but had most of our meals at the Lido buffet. -a friend recently cruised with Carnival and said that room service was not complimentary and I know that with P&O, you have to pay for some food after 4pm. -Breakfast was always delicious and filling, loved the salad bar and pizza/pasta station. Very good quality food overall and room service was very good too! -We liked the convenience of grabbing a burger by the pool and the mexican buffet was really nice! -We had our fair share of cocktails on board, all reasonably priced compared to other lines and delicious! My favourites were Fashionista, Tropical Cable Car and Ultra Strawberry Lemonade. -Found ourselves at the Ocean Bar and Crows Nest most nights, having a drink and listening to great live music. -Only suggestion would be more drink service in the Lido buffet as we often struggled to find a waitress while we were eating. Service was abundant by the pools. Perhaps a soda fountain would be good too with free drinks just during dining hours?!? Hmm...not sure if that will ever happen! ENTERTAINMENT -Fantastic!!!! 10/10!!! Shows in the Vista lounge every night at 8pm and again at 10pm. Filled up very quickly so we would try to arrive at least 15 mins early to get a booth at the front. -The "HAL Cats" band was great, as I said earlier there was always some form of entertainment happening on the ship. The game shows, "Dancing with the Stars" competition and karaoke were thoroughly entertaining. -Only critique, I purchased a DVD of the entertainment expecting full length recordings of each show but was disappointed with a "highlights" compilation. If I'd known the shows weren't recorded, I would have done so myself! Would love to watch them all again :( -In regards to internet connection: it was very slow as expected, especially in our cabin. At every port, there were "Free WiFi" stickers everywhere so in hindsight, I wouldn't have purchased an internet plan on board. DISEMBARKATION -Again, very easy, well organised process. We were off the ship and in a taxi within 30 minutes. -Had to leave our suitcases outside our cabin by midnight the night before so had to think ahead regarding clothes and supplies for the next morning. -Was expecting to go through customs/metal detectors in the terminal but literally grabbed our cases, handed over our immigration card and walked out! SUMMARY -We absolutely loved our first cruising experience with HAL! Would definitely sail with them again, would love to try their other ships. -Beautiful ship, a bounty of activities and entertainment for every age group and service with a smile! -I think that cruise holidays are something you either love or hate. I did heaps of research before booking our trip, read A LOT of reviews/forums to find out if it was for us. My advice for first time cruisers is do your research and make sure you get the most for your money. -We were not disappointed with Holland America and the best thing for me personally was that I felt safe and relaxed surrounded by an older crowd. I hope you enjoyed my review and find it helpful! Thanks for reading :) Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
On March 3, 2013, our day of departure, we arrived early at Barangaroo Wharf 5 in order to beat the crowds. Once there, we had an orderly check-in and then were asked to assemble with a group of about forty people. Apparently the ... Read More
On March 3, 2013, our day of departure, we arrived early at Barangaroo Wharf 5 in order to beat the crowds. Once there, we had an orderly check-in and then were asked to assemble with a group of about forty people. Apparently the passengers from the previous cruise were still disembarking, so HAL decided to treat us to a two-hour bus tour of Sydney while we were waiting. We had a nice tour around town and a stop-over at Bondi Beach. Once back at the Oosterdam, we were shown to our cabins without further ado. We were so pleasantly surprised by our stateroom; it was on the Navigation deck (8079), starboard center, with a gigantic verandah. The room itself was spacious and had ample luggage and storage room. Our two cabin stewards, Indra and Sutarno, were outstanding in every way. We got to know them quite well while on our twenty-seven day journey on the ocean waves. I would describe the Oosterdam as an elegant ship, neither dazzling nor garish. She was more cozy and comfy, with some nice artsy touches. Everything seemed to be spotless, which is, as they say, next to godliness. I noticed the profusion of hand-cleansing dispensers scattered around the ship. This gave me a clear impression that the management was dead serious about stopping the spread of bacteria and viruses through unwashed hands. Good for them! The food in the Lido Lounge was, um, average-to-slightly above-average most days. The best meals in the Lido, I think, were the breakfast omelets, Panini sandwiches, pasta bar, and dessert bar. The entrees could be hit or miss, depending on the day. There was also a little hamburger station at the Lido pool which served great burgers and hot dogs. A "Mexican" station was also set up by the Lido pool, and I hear the best item was the shrimp/guacamole/mandarin salad. We only dined in the Vista Lounge twice, and both times our steaks were as tough as a cadaver. With almost a month on board one gets a good feel for the ship's milieu. The Oosterdam was no exception, as we became settled into a routine on sea days. I know my husband complained a little about there not being much activity on board, and a slight insouciance by the athletic staff to organize sports activities during the day, especially table tennis. It would also be safe to say that there was very little activity for young children or teenagers onboard, as the Oosterdam is geared mostly for mature adults, although, ironically, the adults we spoke to all said that there should be more sports activities around the Lido pool area for adults. One of the more enjoyable aspects of the Oosterdam was the Crow's Nest, a lovely atrium-like area with great views and a nice little library and computer area. Each day the Cruise Director would host a Team Trivia game, and this proved to be a big hit. There was also Happy Hour at the Crow's Next bar and the Queen's Lounge, where passengers could buy their second drink for $1. I won't go into detail about ports visited, except to say that the process was very smooth indeed, even when we had to use the ship's tenders. One memorable occasion was when our tender was halfway between the ship and the Akaroa dock when the engine stopped. We floated for a good fifteen minutes and then, voila, the engines started up again. I'm glad they did, because Akaroa was a beautiful little town in a most picturesque and sheltered bay. There were many highlights of our cruise on the Oosterdam, not the least of which was our good fortune to meet some lovely people from Australia. These folks made our trip so memorable, along with the excellent Oosterdam Captain Arjen Van der Loo and his outstanding crew. All in all, it was a terrific experience and one I won't soon forget. Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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