10 Holland America Oosterdam Holiday Cruise Reviews

A little about us first, my husband is in his sixties and I am 55, we have cruised over 20 times on numerous lines from the 320 passenger Paul Gaugian to the Queen Mary. We cruise two to three times a year departing from different ports ... Read More
A little about us first, my husband is in his sixties and I am 55, we have cruised over 20 times on numerous lines from the 320 passenger Paul Gaugian to the Queen Mary. We cruise two to three times a year departing from different ports around the world, our cruises range from 12-22 days. This was our second cruise with HAL, our first being on the Volendam. We had booked an SY guarantee and were lucky enough to get an up-sell to a SA suite. EMBARKATION/SUITE Our embarkation point was originally to be the overseas passenger terminal in Sydney but because of issues related to the Australia Day Celebrations the ship docked in the Darling Harbour area. Passengers were informed that due to the later arrival of the Oosterdam boarding would not commence until 1.00pm. We arrived at the wharf just after 11.00am and handed in our suitcases. We were one of the first to check in as we had priority boarding however the process was delayed due to a breakdown with the computer system, once checked in it was suggested that we go for a walk and have a look at the local area and return after 1.00pm. We decided to wait it out and were allowed to board at 12.30pm, we were met with smiles as we boarded and given directions to out suite. In the past we have normally had verandah cabins and this was our third experience in a suite. Dennis and I were very impressed with our room, en suite with double basins, separate shower and jacuzzi, we fell in love with our large balcony and spent a lot of time out there. Opposite our cabin was the Neptune Lounge which became our second home over the next 11 days, the Neptune lounge is exclusively for the use of Penthouse and Deluxe veranda suite guests,we would drop in for cold drinks, coffee, tea and nibbles throughout the day and were looked after by the fabulous Diane and Essay who were always so welcoming and remembered our names from the first day! We availed ourselves of the light lunch most days and canapes in the afternoon to get us through to dinner. On our previous cruises we have not really taken advantage of room service however with the larger balcony most nights we ordered dinner from the Main Dining room menu and ate on our balcony as the sun set! It was truly magical. Room service normally quoted a wait of 45 minutes but in reality it was never more than a 30 minute wait, the food always arrived hot and very well presented. Suite guests also have the benefit of enjoying breakfast in the Pinnacle grill, a very refined and soothing experience, staff were great and always remembered our names and beverage preferences, some mornings we just enjoyed room service and ate on the balcony. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night and the food, ambiance and service were surreal, it was our 20th wedding anniversary and one we will always remember. ENTERTAINMENT We attended a couple of shows and really enjoyed them, we found the venue to be well laid out and never had any problems seeing the stage from the circle, drink service was very efficient. STAFF From our arrival until that sad final walk down the gangway we found the staff to be excellent, always willing to chat and ask how our day in port had been, our room stewards Ary and Bagus were excellent and took very good care of us. THE SHIP we loved the Oosterdam, loved the bright colours, art work, lamps and everything else about her, we liked that there were many little bars and no large atrium where crowds tend to gather. Thinking back the only thing I think I would change would be the lounge/cafe/library/computer room/bar at the top front of the ship, just make it a lounge with bar and move the cafe, library and computes elsewhere. We found the Oosterdam to be sparkling clean and there always seemed to be staff cleaning, yes she could do with some minor updates but we love her as she is. THE FOOD We really enjoyed the food as previously mentioned, our couple of visits to the MDR were not disappointing, we were on select dining but never had to wait for more than 10 minutes. I cannot comment on the buffet lunches as we would normally eat in the Neptune Lounge. PORTS We had six ports, we missed one due to weather, two of the ports were tender and three docked. Tender process was not a problem for us as we had priority tendering. Our favourite port was the Ile de Pins in New Caledonia, a superb beach and the softest sand. We did not do any of the ships excursions, this cruise was about lying on beautiful beaches and relaxing. THE END With heavy hearts we left the Oosterdam with promises to return, this has been one of our favourite cruises and one we will not forget. There is something about the Oosterdam that endears her to us, can't put a finger on it but we will return again for her to work her magic on us. Marina and Dennis Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
My husband and I have just returned from our Sydney-New Zealand cruise. Holland American Line were very professional and provided excellent service. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship that offered dining in the Vista (either open dining or ... Read More
My husband and I have just returned from our Sydney-New Zealand cruise. Holland American Line were very professional and provided excellent service. The Oosterdam is a beautiful ship that offered dining in the Vista (either open dining or fixed seating), an italian restaurant and the Pinnacle. All offered excellent meals and a great choice of meals. We really looked forward to the Christmas meal however it was a bit disappointing. However they excelled on News Years Eve. I would recommend prepurchasing the drinks package. We found the Navigator Package with 7 bottles of wine lasted the 14 nights. Staff will store your wine for the next night if you don't drink it all. We knew the Holland American Line would have an older demographic, however we were surprised how many elderly people were on board. All with their walkers etc, which did slow things down at times. For the family Christmas cruise there were 152 children on board - I think I saw a total of 8 children - they were occupied in the HAL children's club. Entertainment was excellent and there were so many activities on ship that we couldn't do them all. Would strongly recommend purchasing the verdandah rooms on the Port side to enjoy entering each Port when going from Sydney - New Zealand. Think about which direction your ship sails so that you can enjoy the land views as you enter each harbour. Very informative staff on each port with a lot of information provided. However do your research as you may still pick up better deals on line rather than through the cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Beware this is is my long day by day review of our Christmas cruise on the Oosterdam from Sydney -- New Zealand. We're a family of 5 from Australia, son aged 17 and daughters 15 & 12 years. This was our 3rd family cruise, have ... Read More
Beware this is is my long day by day review of our Christmas cruise on the Oosterdam from Sydney -- New Zealand. We're a family of 5 from Australia, son aged 17 and daughters 15 & 12 years. This was our 3rd family cruise, have previously done the Caribbean with Carnival and the Mediterranean with Costa. We were in interior connecting cabins 1059 & 1063. Was a wonderful cruise, especially being onboard for New Year's Eve. Days 1/2/3 Wednesday 19 -- Friday 21 December Boarding was smooth and easy, we were onboard by lunchtime and soon enjoying the first of MANY meals courtesy of Holland America. Only snag was one of our 5 bags not making it to the stateroom. Eventually we found out that it had been quarantined as we were carrying "contraband" -- ie a travel iron. There were dozens of bags lined up for a similar offense. We had to leave the iron with them, and were able to collect it on the last day. I was very happy though that we were able to bring bottles of wine onboard in our luggage, was nice to be able to have a glass in our room. The Oosterdam is a smaller ship than we've travelled on before with a capacity of 1900 passengers. On this sailing over 1400 are Aussies, which is also a very different experience. There's 300 Americans/Canadians and the rest a cross section of nationalities. An early highlight was the trip out through the Sydney Heads. The kids couldn't understand why hubby and I were so excited about it, particularly when we had to forego dessert to be up on deck when we went through them. Through the whipping wind both made quick calls to our parents making the most of the last rays of mobile coverage as we left the Harbour. 15 & 17yo are having a great time at the Teens Club, our son hasn't got to bed till after 12.30am both nights (we only find out when he tells us in the morning, we're fast asleep by then!) Daughter calls it quits a bit earlier. They're enjoying playing all types of games and sharing travel stories with the other teens, many of whom are extremely well travelled. 12yo has not fared as well with kids club. She's in the 5-12 year group and being at the top end of the age range finds some of the activities not so interesting. We did laugh when she told us some of the kids were too "psycho/out there" -- and given those are terms occasionally applied to her behaviour, we thought they must have been really extreme! She has still been popping in there a few times each day to check it out, and then leaves once she gets bored. She's realised you can't turn back the clock, 7 is obviously the optimal age for ship kids club (the age she was on our American Carnival cruise, her perfect cruising measure). She was ecstatic though yesterday when she borrowed a dvd from the front desk (they have a huge collection, free to borrow which is great). She came in to tell me "this is the highlight of my cruise -- they asked me to sign a receipt. I signed a receipt!!!" In fact, she repeated it the rest of the afternoon, and thought she'd done such a good job of her signature that she should be famous and sign autographs on request. Hubby has continued his favourite cruising pastime, playing Bridge with the oldies. Our son is desperate to find a pair they can play 500 with, but in lieu of that he's joined Dad for morning bridge sessions. Both their heads are spinning by the end of it with the intricacies of the game. The bridge players seem to be mainly Americans and hubby said they're disappointed that HAL don't hold bridge tournaments on this cruise, just announces bridge sessions at 10am and 2pm each day in the card room for people to make up their own groups and play. My main activity seems to be perfecting the art of the nap. The benefit of an inside cabin is that there's no sun peeking through to wake you up, so you can sleep at any time. I'm still sleeping fine at night, but on our first sea day I had 3 naps. The girls reckon the constant gentle rocking of the ship makes you dopey. Everytime I sat down to read I'd end up giving up and lying down to sleep. So far today has been only a single nap day, so hopefully I'll kick the habit soon. We have lost an hour each night to get us to NZ time ready for our arrival tomorrow. It's a good way to do it, a more gentle adjustment than in 1 hit. Hubby and I have been good and gone to the gym each morning so far. He's been doing some exercise classes with our 15yo daughter and I do an hour on the treadmill. After almost 2 days straight we're still surrounded by nothing but water. We're sitting in a lounge at the front of the ship looking out at grey blue seas and a smattering of tiny white tipped waves. After fairly constant cloud cover since departing, we now have mainly blue skies. The crew are telling us this is one of the smoothest Tasman Sea crossings they've had, hope we're as lucky on the New Year's return sailing. Day 4 -- Saturday 22 December Hubby, 15yo and I were up at 6am to head to the gym and watch our passage into Milford Sound. After 2 days walking on the treadmill looking at nothing but ocean, it was such a treat to be surrounded by craggy ranges, glistening waterfalls and snow capped peaks. It was actually not conducive to raising my heart rate, as I'd walk for 10mins then have to pause the machine and duck out to the decking in front of us to get some shots without glass in front of me. Coming into the Sound initially was disconcerting. We came into a large cove and for a few minutes it looked as if we were sailing straight for the rock face, and then eventually around the left a passage opened up where the ship could enter. The weather was unbelievable, Milford Sound is usually renowned for its grey skies and drizzle but we got the most beautiful blue sky and calm water, it was glorious. I gave up on the gym and went back to other kids out of bed, so we wandered the deck taking in more of the view. A lady walked past me at lunch today and I glanced at her and thought she had hair like Pauline Hansen. Turns out she had pretty much everything like Pauline Hansen -- yes, our first bit of celebrity spotting onboard! (note for non-Aussie readers, she is a well known ex politician). The rest of the day was spent sailing round the south of the island and through some more Sounds, including Doubtful & Dusky. The clouds had come in by the afternoon, so we were lucky to have the blue skies for Milford in the morning. All were beautiful with plenty of photo opportunities, we had fun zipping around the ship to find the best vantage points, one of my favourites was lying on deck chairs at the very top front of the ship, where you could see both sides at once. They've been advertising "family bingo" at Club Hal (kids club) this afternoon since we boarded and 12yo had been hanging out to play. It was fun and I did manage once to be first to stand up (with one to go), but no cries of "bingo" for any of us. There's half price internet for 2 hours this afternoon so I've logged on for the first time to send this. We plan to watch Lord of the Rings in the onboard cinema tonight, will be good preparation for our visit to "Hobbiton" next week. Tomorrow we'll finally get off the ship in Dunedin. Day 5 -- Sunday 23 December - Dunedin (refer my port review for details of our trip on the Taieri Railway) Had our usual fab dinner and watched an Aussie comedian Sam McCool for the main show tonight (apparently he's a "global success", would love to know how that's determined!) His best joke was about cricket -- "a game the English invented so they could not lose over 5 days". 12yo has got more into the Kids Club lately and was actually the last one home tonight. The late nights caught up with the older 2, and given that we dock at 7am tomorrow they were back by 9pm in readiness. It was quite funny to have big kids all tucked up in bed and 12yo not scoot in the door till 9.30pm. Something else that's caught up with 17yo today were his physical excesses at teens club. 2 nights ago they had a limbo competition (which he won) -- apparently he's quite a star at it, but is yet to give us a demo. Yesterday he was groaning at regular intervals about his sore limbo abs, which were then made even worse by his participation in a "planking" competition last night....you should have heard the moans escaping him today Day 6 -- Monday 24 December - Christchurch/Akaroa (refer my port review for details) Dinner tonight was our second formal night (although this one wasn't compulsory). We flew back in from the tender and changed in 10mins flat to make it to dinner (almost) on time. We were excited to have an English roast complete with Yorkshire pudding on the menu tonight, only to have hubby try the pudding first and say it was nowhere near as good as his Mum's. Hubby & my treat tonight was a port & chocolate tasting session (cost $15pp), very yummy. At 11pm there was a "Sounds of Christmas concert" which featured choirs of various nationalities singing their own carols. The kids ditched us straight after dinner to head to kids/teens club and we've promised them their Christmas present tomorrow will be us not waking them up. Day 7 -- Tuesday 25 December Merry Christmas! We managed a Christmas sleep in till 7am. I enjoyed a few laps of the deck taking in the lovely views of "Cloudy Bay" right at the top of the South Island where we anchored for the day. Santa arrived onboard mid morning, they had filmed a video that was shown on the big screen while we waited in the theatre. They'd filmed he and the elves climbing down the ship's funnel, then using most of the facilities -- shooting hoops on the basketball court, eating in the restaurant, singing with the band, and our favourite -- having his beard set with hot rollers in the salon, it was quite entertaining. Then of course he actually arrived in the theatre and every child and eventually adults as well if they so desired lined up for a photo with him and received a gift. Kids spent pretty much all day in Club Hal/Teens club. Hubby and I lazed around, I finished my second book for the trip on a lounge chair on the top deck this afternoon ...what a life. Tonight was our 3rd formal night, we had some more photos taken on our way to dinner. Dinner was delicious as usual, most had turkey but our favourite was the "Chocolate Mousse Snowman" for dessert. As hubby said "great meal, and I didn't peel, cook, serve or wash up any of it". The show tonight was Broadway Hits, was quite good but they don't seem to have the same wow factor as we've seen on bigger cruises. Day 8 -- Wednesday 26 December - Wellington (refer my port review for details) The show tonight was billed as part acrobat/part vaudeville "Mr Fish" from a guy who used to be in Cirque du Soleil. Hubby was keen to have a front row seat, so we got there early to secure one -- which is something I'll never do again. We'd manage to sit in his prime audience participation spot and during the evening he spurted water all over us, came down took my sandal, smelt it, licked it then balanced it on his nose (ugh!!!!), and for his finale, popped over to pick up our wine glasses and sprayed the contents over us -- definitely not our favourite night. Day 9 -- Thursday 27 December - Napier(refer my port review for details) We set sail by 2pm, which is a pretty short time in port, but it at least gives us a relaxing afternoon onboard before our final 3 full on port days. The show tonight featured the Oosterdam Singers & Dancers in "Stage & Screen", enjoyable enough, but missing some of the wow factor I've seen on cruises with a larger dance company. Day 10 -- Friday 28 December - Tauranga (refer my port review for details) Day 11 -- Saturday 29 December - Auckland (refer my port review for details) The sailaway from Auckland at 5pm was glorious. Hubby & 15yo went to the gym for an Ab class (such dedication), while I poured myself a glass of wine and went to deck 10 to enjoy the view. We're really enjoying the cinema on board, only seats about 30 but has nice comfy seats and a decent sized screen. We've watched a couple of the Lord of the Rings films and tonight saw "The Cup". It's been on my to watch list for ages, so was pleased to finally see it. Was a bit sadder than I imagined, but a good story. We went straight from there to the late session of the main show, ventriloquist Patrick with his puppet Matilda (a feisty gal from Jamaica). I wasn't that excited at the thought (and was definitely not sitting anywhere near the front row!), but Hubby and girls were going so I joined them. Of course he turned out to be very good, we laughed a lot. Day 12 -- Sunday 30 December Our final port day was another 7am tendered start in the Bay of Islands. After such glorious weather in Auckland it was a shock to be back to rain. We'd hired a car again, this time from Rent-a-Dent bayofislands@rentadent.co.nz it was meant to be an Odyssey but it had apparently been in an accident so we had a replacement waiting for us. I wasn't too worried by the rain as our first stop was to explore the Kawiti glow worm caves a 40min drive from port. We arrived at the 8.30am opening time to see a sign on the front gate "Closed due to flooding" -- now that wasn't on the schedule! The rest of the day was to be visiting a few wineries and waterfalls, but the earliness of the hour and the driving rain wasn't conducive to either activity! So we pottered along the country roads up to Kerikeri, visited a very pricey chocolate factory and a few other shops, wandered round some markets in the drizzle and photographed NZ's oldest building "The Stone Store" from the car as it was too wet to get out! Thankfully the rain did stop long enough for us to see Haruru Falls, New Zealand's famous horseshoe falls. The similarity to Niagara is in shape only, Haruru is like a bonsai copy of Niagara -- but they were still fun to see. The benefit of all the rain is that there was plenty of water flowing. We ended up then returning the hire car early and being back onboard in time for a late lunch and lazy afternoon of reading and relaxing. I had thought that the benefit of being on a ship tour to the glow worm caves would at least be that they'd be informed it was closed, so you'd have time to organise something else, but apparently not. My 17yo son had friends from the Teens Club on the ships tour bus, they sat on the bus at the dock for an hour, supposedly waiting for a passenger who hadn't turned up. They eventually left, didn't go to the caves but just drove around the region. They were never told why they didn't go to the caves (which sounds odd to me!), but the kids didn't know they were closed for flooding until my son told them that night. Last he heard, their parents were chasing up with a ship excursion team for a refund on the tour. After being somewhat down on the quality of the shows earlier, we were again impressed with tonight's performance. It was an Australian pianist, Paul Cincotto who played a great selection of pop and classics, really enjoyed it. Hubby and I finished the night watching Lord of the Rings -- the Return of the King in the cinema. Just as well Aragorn was worth the time investment as it meant we missed the chocolate dessert extravaganza late that night. The girls did check it out and assured me that while the chocolate fountains were good, the rest of the food wasn't that impressive (but perhaps they were just consoling me as I missed it!) Day 13 -- Monday 31 December We were well and truly ready for this sea day, made even better by getting an extra hours sleep as we started the adjustment back to Australian time. I had intended to watch the movie "South Solitary" but arrived just before the 11am session to a packed house. Next session wasn't till 4pm, so we went down to the front desk and asked if they could add another, which they did at 1.30pm. Only I went in to watch it (from our family that is), but I got lots of teasing from others sitting near me as first my 15yo came in with a huge slab of raspberry chocolate cake they'd ordered from room service for me to eat, then 20min later hubby pops in with a glass of wine for me...not since Gold Class has there been such a good way to watch a movie! Spent the rest of the day reading and writing, then started preening the girls for our last formal night. We'd bought a set of hot rollers for the trip so we played hairdresser together to get some curls happening. There were fun Happy New Year hats, headbands, whistles and noisemakers on our table for dinner, which kicked off the party atmosphere. Too many choices of fantastic desserts, but we all settled on the New Year's special of berry mousse in a huge amount of chocolate casing. The show tonight was a magician. His grand finale didn't quite go to plan, he was onstage on a motorbike, then "disappeared" and reappeared in a side audience entrance and was meant to zoom along on his bike through the centre aisle and ride down to the stage. Unfortunately a lady in a wheelchair had taken up a position in the aisle which blocked his path, so he had to dump the bike and run along instead, not quite the grand entrance he'd planned. The grand finale for the year was a party in the main showroom from 11pm. The music and atmosphere were fantastic. 12yo and her friend were dancing enthusiastically on stage, 17 & 15yo were on the dance floor with the teens, it was fun to be able to watch them all having a great time. I ordered a glass of champagne about 11.40pm just before they brought out trays of free ones. Not to be deterred I quickly downed that and hubby nabbed another 2 for us. We all yelled out the countdown, the captain came out to ring the ship's bell on stage at midnight, balloons and streamers were flying, just a brilliant time. It was so good I told hubby my new year's resolution is to have Christmas at home and be at sea each new year's!! We danced for another 30 or so minutes and left the kids to it. The girls weren't far behind us, when I peeked in just before 1am 17yo was still out partying. Just before falling asleep, hubby says "I'm very worried about your new year's resolution...." Day 14 -- Tuesday 1 January 2013 Another extra hours sleep in, and now we're back on Aussie time. You could not get better timing to bring the new year in than that! Very sad that this is our last full day onboard, quite a few people booked the 24 day option and will continue from Sydney for 10 days round the South Pacific -- wouldn't that be nice? They really pushed that at least one person per cabin should go to the Vista Lounge this morning for info on how to "transition from ship to shore tomorrow" . Turned out to be a waste of time, was pretty much a 30min spiel from Cruise Director Drew on how to be generous when filling in their survey sheet as it's such an important part of their measurement system. 12yo kids club had a talent show this afternoon, she and a few of the other girls performed a play and a couple of skits. We also went to another session with the magician, where he performed and explained how to do a few of his tricks, was very good. Spent the rest of the afternoon packing our bags, which had to be in the hallway by midnight. The final show was a variety performance featuring guitar player Bob Howe, Ventriloquist Matilda & Patrick and pianist Paul Cincotta. Day 15 -- Wednesday 2 January 2013 -- DEPARTURE Hubby and I wanted to see our entry into Sydney Heads so we committed the sacrilege of setting an alarm for 6am on our final day of holiday. It was lovely and peaceful wandering around the ship at that hour though and enjoying the view. We watched the sunrise as we were just in the harbour, then too quickly we were approaching Fort Denison. Hubby ran down to wake the kids, and we all watched as she squeezed under the bridge to berth at Darling Harbour. We had an early breakfast in the buffet for what we thought would be our last waffles of the trip. We'd selected the later of the departure options (9.30am) and happily ended up with time to indulge our inner hobbit and squeeze in 2nd breakfast just before disembarking. Some other random memories from our time; Hubby has loved the chance to reconnect with US TV, in all its glory. He's been checking out a few of the gridiron games, and the ultra tacky ads in particular are a highlight for him. 12yo said the other day that when she gets home she'll have forgotten how to push her own chair in under the dinner table to sit down, as the waiter here always does it for her. All in all, a simply wonderful holiday. Cruising is so relaxing and easy (especially the sea days), and has something for every age group. I'm really tempted with another cruise HAL is doing in Asia next January, will dive back into the research and budget calculations on our return. As first time HAL passengers we enjoyed their product. We've been on larger ships before and enjoy the bigger wow factor of those ships in both facilities and show performances, but I did love that there were no hassles getting off the ship with HAL. We have been forced with other lines to wait before ship excursions to get off the ship in other ports, but with HAL we were often in the first group ashore. Also loved that we were allowed to bring bottles of wine and soft drink onboard in any of the ports. They announce at each port that no food from the ship is allowed to be brought into NZ, but on our first port as we left the ship staff checking bags at the gangway said "cookies and muffins were fine" -- so each night we'd order choc chip cookies from room service to take onboard for morning tea, which helped with the budget when feeding ever hungry teens! HAL also offer a program for 18-25 year olds, which I think it quite rare. While I was at the front desk one day a guy in that age group came up wanting them to register his thanks for the program and said they're an age bracket ignored by most cruise lines. Given that next year we'll have an 18yo it makes future HAL cruises more tempting. Sorry for the massive length, hope it's been of use to anyone who took the time to wade through! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our ... Read More
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our stuff and headed for the Lido deck. The food was ready and waiting for us. My luggage was in the cabin when we returned from lunch, but my companion had to wait until 4:45 p.m. for hers. The cruise to Hawaii took four days and was relaxing except that we did not receive any water in our stateroom the first three days. We thought that they didn't provide it in the stateroom anymore, until there was two bottles in the room on the fourth day along with a receipt for three bottles that we never received. I couldn't find the cabin steward so I returned the water to the front desk and requested that no more be left in the stateroom for the rest of the cruise. The next day we returned to the stateroom to find a bottle of water with a receipt for two more bottles. Once again I took the water to the front desk and requested our bill be corrected, which it was. When I returned to the cabin I left the cabin steward a note requesting the removal of all items in the mini bar so we were not charged for anything else. He complied. As I stated, the cruise to Hawaii was relaxing, but on the cruise back it seemed as though the number of children doubled in size. I was told by another passenger that most of them were children of the crew, which I could not substantiate. I certainly hope that Holland America does not risk the loss of paying customers in this way. The unsupervised children took over the pool and all three of the hot tubs. At one time there was an elderly person with a noodle in the deep end of the pool and the kids were jumping in the water on both sides of him. Another time a child in the hot tub was splashing people as they practiced line dancing. The aft pool is for adults only, but it is outside and the air temperature stayed in the 50's and 60's. The aft pool should be for the children; it is even decorated for them. The shore excursions were organized and informative. The food in open seating was excellent on some nights, but bad on other nights. Service after the first night was excellent. We had Gede as our server after the first night and we requested him every night until the end of the cruise. We took a cruise to the Panama Canal a couple of years ago on the Zuiderdam and was very impressed with the food. I guess your can't judge by cruise lines, you have to judge each ship on it's own merit. The shows were good, especially the Oosterdam singers and dancers. I would have liked to see more of them. We were scheduled for disembarkation between 9:50 and 10:00 a.m. but were called around 9:10 and went directly off the ship. Easiest disembarkation ever. When I returned home I checked my credit card account online and was again charged $12.03 for the mini bar, that was empty since day four. Never again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
Embarkation: San Diego was smooth, parked at airport parking lot about 1 mile from cruise terminal free shuttle to terminal. Cabin: We had a veranda balcony room seemed somewhat smaller than we had on the Maasdam. Limited storage space ... Read More
Embarkation: San Diego was smooth, parked at airport parking lot about 1 mile from cruise terminal free shuttle to terminal. Cabin: We had a veranda balcony room seemed somewhat smaller than we had on the Maasdam. Limited storage space for 14 day cruise. Service was very good and timely. Entertainment: Production shows OK but music is getting stale. Would be better if newer music was introduced into productions. Movies were provided in the "Screening Room" daily which proved to be useless with only 30 seats available. Considering that this cruise occurred during the Holiday Season and to Hawaii was amazed at the lack of Christmas and Hawaiian music or Hawaiian themed activities. Thankfully HAL did have Kaimoa who represented the Hawaiian culture and provided a lot of good information on Hawaii. Without his presence there were few if any Hawaiian activities. Needed more activities on ocean days and more interaction from cruise director. Food: We had open seating and overall the food seemed better than we have had in the past. Pinnacle Grill excellent and well worth the extra charge. Should continue to offer flavored coffee in Lido. Ports: All very good, was surprised how crowed and cosmopolitan Waikiki had become. Would skip in future. Debarkation: Slow Read Less
Sail Date December 2011
We recently booked a cruise aboard the Oosterdam traveling from Vancouver to San Diego - a 4 day re-positioning cruise. It was our first cruise celebrating our anniversary. From the moment we boarded the Oosterdam to the time we ... Read More
We recently booked a cruise aboard the Oosterdam traveling from Vancouver to San Diego - a 4 day re-positioning cruise. It was our first cruise celebrating our anniversary. From the moment we boarded the Oosterdam to the time we departed in San Diego we met with the friendliest, hospitable, dynamic and outgoing staff who gave 100% to making sure we were comfortable and well looked after. It was hard to believe that they were dealing with close to 2000 passengers, we rarely had to wait for service and given the mix of passengers they dealt with everyone with the same attentiveness and courtesy. The only issue we had was with some of the self-centered, self-important passengers -â€" yet the staff was non-plussed and went out of their way to please. The stateroom was impeccably made up, our luggage on our bed when we arrived, chocolates and towel animals nightly. The balcony unit where we stayed gave us a wonderful view of the sunsets at sea (make sure you book on the starboard side heading south). The food in the Vista was extraordinary - they had three chefs and the menu changed each night -â€" with gourmet 5 course meals. The service equally remarkable given the numbers, they were extremely well staffed. The entertainment was as good as any Vegas show we've seen, comedian, a dance troupe who did a retrospect of music from the 40's to contemporary with dance styles in keeping with each era and a magic show we missed. They had music in different clubs to address everyone's taste but in doing so they seem to water down repertoire (quazi jazz group -â€" more like pop trio, a string quartet playing standard repertoire and some trite classical standards, the pop group was quite good however as was Mark the pianist. I don't know how he played so well, the piano he was using was deplorable piece of equipment for a grand piano with a broken string -â€" he must have keyed all his pieces to avoid the note because I didn't hear it during his act. The Discotheque was hosted by Brett Rudolf - this guy has boundless energy, a fun-loving extremely personable human being who loves life and loves people. He befriends all his guests showing his new steps and tries to make everyone feel comfortable -â€" even those of us who have two left feet. Last day of our cruise my wife and I met him to thank him for making our stay so enjoyable, we told him of our anniversary in passing -â€" he disappeared and came back with bottle of champagne on his own tab. He would make wonderful cruise director if Holland America notices his gifts. The actual cruise director we had, Dave was excellent, his organizational skills kept things completely on track throughout the trip. The flawless disembarkation was largely due to Dave's thoughtful processing -â€" arranging customs and leaving by deck number so that there would be a minimum of waiting. All said it was a remarkable experience for us -â€" a true 5 star rating for this cruise ship, its staff and the wonderful attitude and genuine hospitality they provide. Read Less
Sail Date October 2011
This was our first Holland America sailing and we were impressed. We were worried that the ship would be crowded, being both a holiday cruise and knowing that many of the Carnival Splendor passengers were probably re-booked onto our ship. ... Read More
This was our first Holland America sailing and we were impressed. We were worried that the ship would be crowded, being both a holiday cruise and knowing that many of the Carnival Splendor passengers were probably re-booked onto our ship. But we were surprised in how uncrowded it actually felt. The San Diego Port was nice. Check in was relatively efficient. We arrived early and we were whisked directly to the Lido with our luggage. It was crowded, but we found a table for five in relatively short order. About 12:30, we were cleared to enter our cabins. Our cabin was very nice. It was clean, relatively roomy for a ship, and even had a bathtub in our balcony room. We enjoyed a nice afternoon in San Diego on our balcany. The sail away was relatively uneventful...no big fanfare. This is not a real party cruise line, catering to a more sophisticated, if not a more 'mature' crowd. The ship was wonderful. Very clean and always well kept. The public rooms are relatively small, and the atrium is unimpressive. However, we got used to the choppy feel of the ship, as it provided a number of intimate spaces with many entertainment choices. We especially loved the string quartet in the Ocean Lounge while waiting for dinner. We also like the Jazz band. The shows in the main theatre were good, but a little cheesy. The kids loved the teenager programs. We were traveling with a 14 and 17 year old. We hardly saw them and it was a negotiation every night for the curfew. They had a wonderful time and enjoyed their counselors and new-found friends. The food was among the best we have experienced on a ship. We dined twice in the Pinnacle Grill, which is worth the extra $20. The flaming kabobs and the baked Alaska were wonderful. The food in the Lido was also very nice with many choices. We did have a complaint about the limited hours at the Lido...they were quick to shut it down at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., even if there were lines down the hall. If you like afternoon tea, don't expect much on Holland America. It is a long wait to get to a buffet when you enter, and good luck getting your tea water re-filled. The gym was huge and we never had to wait for any equipment. The cruise is focused more on enrichment classes (i.e., computer classes and cooking demonstrations) and there are very few cruise director-led activities. In fact, we rarely saw the cruise director JT, and I am not sure that he had a staff (just the DJ). All in all, this was a fabulous cruise. There were some minuses and it is definitely not a cruise for the partying set. However, the ship was quiet and clean, the food above average, a good time for the kids, and great excursions. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
We've just completed our third cruise and our first with HAL. The previous two cruises were with Princess. At first I was going to approach this review as a comparison between the two lines. On further reflection, I thought this was ... Read More
We've just completed our third cruise and our first with HAL. The previous two cruises were with Princess. At first I was going to approach this review as a comparison between the two lines. On further reflection, I thought this was unfair since both companies offer a very good product and I believe that each company can stand on its' own merits. We arrived in San Diego one day early since winter-time air travel can be problematic. We stayed at the Holiday Inn across from the cruise port which was very convenient for embarkation the next day. The hotel is OK (nothing special) but my one suggestion would be to request a room overlooking the bay. That way, you can see the ship when you wake up the next day and it may reduce some of the noise (train whistles) from the Amtrak station on the east side of the hotel. Embarkation: We left the hotel just before noon and walked across to the cruise port. We were directed to the side for our luggage (see the notes at the end of this review regarding luggage). From here we got in line (moderate in length at this point), completed our registration and received our card key etc. Proceeded onto the ship and we were onboard within 20 - 25 minutes from the time of our arrival at the entrance. Very efficient. We had an invitation for lunch in the Vista dining room so we decided to go there for lunch and avoid the buffet line-ups. At 1:00 pm, the overhead announcement let us know that the staterooms were ready. Dropped off our carry-ons and went to explore the ship while waiting for our luggage to be delivered. Luggage delivery was a bit slow as we received it just before departure at 5:00 pm. Stateroom: Originally, we had booked a standard verandah room. About three weeks before departure, we received an email from HAL offering us an upgrade to a Superior Suite for a very reasonable price, so we took advantage of this. It has probably spoiled us for our cruising life. The room was very nice with lots of room. Good closet space and more cupboards than we knew what to do with. Bathroom had both a whirlpool bath and a stand up shower along with double sinks. The balcony was the entire width of the room and had lots of space. We met our room stewards (Agung & Agus) just before departure. Both were excellent throughout the cruise with the room always cleaned by noon and the bed turned down in the evening. Public Spaces: Our favourite area on the ship was the Explorer's Cafe and Crow's Nest Lounge. HAL certainly got this right as the combination of the library, internet terminals and a relaxing lounge with wrap around panoramic windows providing a very relaxing atmosphere to watch the world go by. In the evening, the Piano Bar was our venue of choice. During the day, the pool areas were busy but never felt too crowded. We were always able to find good locations for the sun. Dining: Breakfast and lunch were generally at the buffet. Overall the food was good with only a few misses. I would like to see more variety as it did become repetitive by the end of the week. All the dinners were in the Vista dining room (except one). The food was quite good and well presented. There was a different theme each evening with a few standard offerings throughout the week. Christmas Eve and Christmas day menus were very good. We had anytime dining and most evenings there was no more than a 10 to 15 minute wait. The only problem with the anytime dining is that we never seemed to have the same table two nights in a row so we were never able to build a good rapport with the wait staff since they were different each evening. Service was generally very good although there were a few hiccups with some of the basics. One evening it took more than 20 minutes to clear the plates after we had finished eating and on another occasion it took about 30 minutes for the coffee to be delivered. The dessert had been sitting there for 20 minutes already. Small things, but these are table service basics and should be handled better. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it is well worth the surcharge. Formal Nights: This was a big disappointment throughout the cruise. There were two formal nights and participation was dismal. Considering HAL's upscale reputation we expected to see a large number of people dressed up (Tux's, suits, etc.) for the evening. We would estimate that less than 20% of the people were dressed for a formal evening. This was quite different from our Princess cruises where a majority (> 60%) of the guests dressed up for the formal evenings. Disembarkation: Overall, this process went very well with the only problem being the luggage (see below). The customs check-in was handled very well in the new Broadway Pier building. Luggage: This is an area of concern. On check-in we were directed to the side area to drop off our luggage. Unfortunately, there were no porters there at the time to tell us what we should be doing next. Do we put the luggage on the racks ourselves? or is that supposed to be done by the porters only? After waiting several minutes with no help in sight we decided to put our suitcases on the racks ourselves. Trust me...there was quite a bit of stress when it was 4:45 pm and the luggage had not been delivered to our room yet...did we put it in the correct place? For disembarkation, HAL uses a color system much like most of the other cruise lines. We were 'Yellow 5'. This is a fairly simple system and is tough to screw up. After clearing customs, we went downstairs to claim our luggage. We arrived at the 'yellow' section (according to the sign on the wall), but guess what...the only luggage there had 'pink' tags on it. We found someone with a clipboard and he went searching. Soon he called us down to the 'lime' area and lo and behold, all the yellow tagged luggage was there (no idea where the 'lime' luggage was). Either the luggage porters are color blind or they're drunk...it is not a difficult system. Overall: We had a great cruise and will certainly be back on a HAL ship within the next few years. Read Less
Sail Date December 2010
This was our 8th cruise but first one in 13 years. We really enjoyed Holland America and the Oosterdam. Embarcation in San Diego was a breeze. Our cabins were ready by 1:00 so we quickly left our carry one and then headed to the Lido ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise but first one in 13 years. We really enjoyed Holland America and the Oosterdam. Embarcation in San Diego was a breeze. Our cabins were ready by 1:00 so we quickly left our carry one and then headed to the Lido buffet. We found the food on board to be very tasty and lots of variety. We chose the as you wish dining and we had no problem walking up and getting a table whenever we wished. We were willing to sit at any size table so I think that helped. We also ate at the Italian and then Pinnacle Grill. The Pinnacle was awesome and very worth the money. Service was great and food was yummy. Being a cruise critic member helped get aquainted with some very nice people. We took in the Webcam wave and then the meet and greet on the first morning at sea. Our cabin was awesome, it's the first time we had a balcony and that was nice to go outside from your cabin. We enjoyed that many times especially coming into and leaving ports. There's so much storage space in cabins now, we actually had drawers that we didn't use. We liked the elevated beds as that was a great place to store our luggage. We used room service serveral times. We found them easy to reach and very prompt. We used the breakfast card serveral mornings and the food arrived on time and alwaYS HOT. The entertainment on board was top notch. We especially enjoyed the strings quartet. We tried to listen to them each evening. The Ship planned a very nice Christmas morning with Santa and everything. That was a big hit with the kids. We enjoyed the 3 ports. The only negative I could list is the photos onboard the ship are very expensive and possibly people would purchase more if they offered smaller packages. We purchased 2 photos and only wanted one photo of each, the rest were wasted. We also believe the onboard tours are very expensive. With the internet you can purchase tours from local guides for alot less money. The local guides know all the ships scedules and they make sure you're back on board in plenty of time. This was a great trip and a really fun way to spend Christmas. Read Less
Sail Date December 2009
My DH and I are in the mid 40's-50's and as a Christmas present to each other decided to take this cruise because for the first time in years we didn't have any relatives coming to our house for the holidays. We arrived in ... Read More
My DH and I are in the mid 40's-50's and as a Christmas present to each other decided to take this cruise because for the first time in years we didn't have any relatives coming to our house for the holidays. We arrived in San Diego after a huge freak snowstorm nearly stranded us in the desert! San Diego was sunny but a bit chilly. We used the Park and Go lot which wasn't right at the dock but they had good shuttles and for only 10 bucks a day was well worth it for those who drive to SD. Embarkation was very fast and orderly. Everyone seemed to be in high spirits. We had a nice lunch in the Lido and were in our cabin by 1:30. Well, we had a great view of the LIFEBOAT. When they say fully obstructed view I guess you have to take them seriously. I could see a bit of the promenade deck. Hubby (who is 6'1") said he could see just fine but I think he was just rubbing it in because I am short. During the lifeboat drill, as we were chatting a nice lady said to my husband, "Are you Lapidary Lady?" "Um, no but I think that is my wife's screen name on Cruise Critic," he replied. We had run into RuthandJohn who were absolutely WONDERFUL companions to us throughout the cruise! (Not to mention they are top-drawer trivia players!) It was fun to run into other people from the Rollcall right away, and then again when we had a meet and greet up in the Crow's Nest on the second day. We hadn't been paying attention to our dining and ended up with the As You Wish dining. It was okay. You had the option of dining by yourselves at a table for two, or with others if a large table was being seated. We met some nice people, but didn't develop any good friendships as it was all very transitory. We ended up the second half of the cruise eating with RuthandJohn at the eary sitting. Big thanks to the manager of the Vista Dining room for accommodating us! The ship had beautiful decorations, including a whole gingerbread town that smelled wonderful each time we walked by it. It was constructed in the Explorations Cafe by the pastry chefs...it even had a train! Our cruise director Cory was nice but seemed kind of, well, inexperienced. Maybe he is new, but he seemed a bit stilted and flustered at times. Whomever he had "announcing" Santa's arrival needs to take some serious lessons in how to sound convincing. There were probably at least 100 retired school teachers on board who could have done a more enthusiastic job. The crew and stewards really did their best to be friendly and helpful....A++ for their efforts. We had a nice whale watching cruise with free drinks, chips and salsa for our Cabo San Lucas excursion.(and actually SAW some whales!Not just a tiny spout far off in the distance.) Cabo seems very new and a happy place to visit. The tenders over were a grown-up version of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, ( Or would that be Senor Frog's?) They were very rough, and we kept bashing into the platform while waiting to load more passengers. We eventually got away and things improved....it was a picture perfect beautiful day. Saw some interesting sights, like a huge green iguana wearing a Santa hat that was available for pictures, (for a price) and heavily armed policia walking around with automatic rifles, (whom I doubt would be available for posing for pictures, but then again, I didn't ask.) The "Bargains" weren't that much of a bargain. T-shirts were $11.00,(almost Free said the sign,)the vanilla extract I bought was rather pricey and the eelskin leather belt was right up there in price with what I would have paid for the same thing in the mall back home. Mazatlan was hot and humid. They did have a shopping trolly to safely transport shoppers from the dock to the shops. There was huge mariachi statues with a real life sized mariachi band serenading us as we disembarked, but as it got hotter everyone seemed to disappear. My hubby enjoyed the sea kayaking but they were done in a few hours, and spent the rest of the time (another 2 hours)standing around fending off rather aggressive street vendors instead of being allowed to return to the ship. The next day was Puerto Vallarta. Hubby had a blast doing the zipline throughout the jungle. He highly recommends this excursion! I stayed onboard and enjoyed the ambiance of the ship (...and the airconditioning). There was a lady on the dock with a beautiful Macaw to pose for pictures with, and a Walmart and a Sam's Club right across the street for those people who interested in seeing the same stuff offered for sale at home in a foreign land! (Actually, people getting gifts said they had better prices on the same touristy stuff than the street vendors did.) The two sea days home were nicesaw lots of dolphins and whales when we passed by Cabo again. The last night we had some rough seas...had to excuse myself from the Mariner's brunch rather hastily when I unfortunately caught sight of the horizon doing wild things. The lady at the medical dispensary gave me some Bonine tablets that fixed me up but soon we saw wooden trays holding seasick bags conveniently placed near the elevators so I knew I wasn't the only one. I recovered so quickly I was able to enjoy the Chef's Dinner with the Baked Alaska that night. We got really cute little glowsticks to wave around during the show. We were really sad to say goodbye at the end of the cruise especially to our new dear friends. We became such good friends they decided to book the 15 day Hawaiian cruise with us for next year! This was truly a wonderful cruise and a great way to spend Christmas Thank You HAL!!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2008
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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