2 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Repositioning Cruises to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean

I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) ... Read More
I am writing this review to let others know what actually happened to "me" alone, on the Trans-Atlantic Crossing of Holland America's "Oosterdam". I took Holland America this time, (my 23rd Tans-Atlantic) because my usual line, "Celebrity", had become less than acceptable. I must say that Celebrity gives me tremendous "Frequent Cruiser Benefits". Much, much , much better than Holland America! MUCH BETTER! But, Celebrity has gotten much worse over the last few years. Their food, which was once fantastic, has changed to the worse. Don't know why, but they did. I had received an amazing offer from Holland America's Casino, for Caribbean cruises last Fall and realizing that I couldn't possibly cruise for 1 week for what they were offering me, I took 2 cruises, one in "January", on the " Westerdam "and one in "February" on the "Nieuw Amsterdam". They were both fantastic. Yes truly excellent. It was because of that, that I booked the "Eurodam" for April to Barcelona, from Ft. Lauderdale. With a 100% charge, plus 60% surcharge for a single occupancy in an ocean view cabin, I decided it was a wonderful deal and started getting ready for it. (sad, that I had to pay a 160% surcharge, but it is what it is) I found out later that several friends were going on the Oosterdam in March and I changed to that cruise. They were able to offer me a balcony cabin for only $25.00 total upsell, for the 13 day cruise. I should have smelled a rat, shouldn't I? Yes, I most certainly should have. But alas I did not. This is where my story actually begins; I actually met quite a few people that were more than charming on this crossing. They were a rather interesting group. Mostly we met at Trivia. On Celebrity we got trivia 4 times a day. On Holland America, only 2 times. And the 2nd one was during dinner hour. 1st one at 1300 hours. 2nd one at 1900 hours. (1PM and 7PM). I think it was the most popular activity for the entire crowd. When I played on Seabourn, it was attended by 50% of the entire ship. Trivia is extremely popular. Regardless of that, I was able to meet most of the people at Trivia and again at "Happy Hour". Holland America has a "Happy Hour" every day, between 1600 hours and 1700 hours. They are only held at the "Ocean Bar", and the "Crow's Nest". If you don't know about it, then you're out of luck. Now you know about it! I would like to say at this time that the bartenders at the "Crow's Nest", Santos and Bong, were amazing. If you see them, please say hello to them for me, Howard. The entire bar staff at the "Crow's Nest" were truly terrific. The problem with the Crow's Nest was that at exactly 1700 hours, the "Harry James Orchestra", which was mostly comprised of horns and was 16 players strong. If you've ever been in the Crow's Nest on the Oosterdam, then you know what I am talking about. If you haven't , then I'll explain. It's a rather small-ish room with 9 foot ceilings. Totally wrong for this venue. Once cocktail hour ended, all conversation came to a close. There was a very lovely elderly couple that took to the floor every night and showed everyone how to dance Ballroom Style. The choices of food was to say the least, tedious. Yes, this was a low cost cruise and as such, not expected to be able to offer caviar, but in actuality they offered much less. No one could find Tuna Salad, Chicken Salad, now Egg Salad. One day I noticed the Executive Chef speaking with one of the Matre' D's and asked him why these Salads weren't available on the "Salad Bar" and he told me, and I quote, "They Cheapen The Display" on the Salad Bar. I told him that I and many other Americans like "Tuna Salad", and he said that I could easily make it myself by combining the "Ahi Tuna Flakes" with Mayo and make my own, and me telling him that I didn't come on board this ship to make my own Tuna Salad. Having owned my own restaurant, many years ago, I would have given him his walking papers. One should never tell a customer to make his own , anything! I ate every meal in the Dining Room. Why? I like being served, when I am away. Plus, I get to meet many interesting people. I love meeting people. I have more friends this way than I could any other way. I would rate the dining room very good for breakfast and lunch. Dinner was mediocre at best. But, at least I had great company. AND, great service and excellent wine Stewards. I can't say enough about the service personnel in Cabin and Dining and Lido Deck. Bravo Gentlemen. I usually never go to the shows. But on this cruise there were some fabulous singers. Especially the "FLY BOYS. WOW what a great group of guys. Think A CAPELLE with music. Sensational. There were also some not so great players. I won't say, not I won't mention the string duet, no, I won't so don't ask again. Why do cruise lines not tell their passengers that there is a free "Shuttle", from the pier to the City Center? WHY? Telling me that they never heard of such a thing is inexcusable. Even us neophytes know more than this. Come on People. If the entire "Tour Department" is changed every week, it should be still in the computer. Oh and the Computors were abysmal in every possible way. seriously dreadful. My toilet overflowed 4 times. Yup, 4 times. I called and called the front desk and got nowhere. Zip, Nada, nothing. I asked for a meeting with the Hotel Director, so sorry, says Ms. Guest Relations , Annie. Not happening. The buck stops here. Seriously? Yup, and there was so so much more. I lost my I-Phone somewhere between the UBER car and the Checkin Desk. Like what a WOW I give to the ladies at Check in. They bent over backwards to help me re-unite me with my phone. I owe you ladies big time. I got it by the way. It took 1 week but I did find out that I got it back before I did. That was lucky because I also found out that my bank froze my account even though I did tell them that I was going on a cruise. Quelle Dommage. There were workmen on board the ship from the moment we left Port Everglades. There were even more workmen when we got to Funchal, home to a free shuttle bus from the pier to the city center, for all cruise lines. We received more and more workers and when we got to Rome about 2,000 more got on. It would have been impossible not to notice them during the cruise. Those passengers that didn't notice them were quite blind to everything. Do not get on any ship that is going into or coming from "Drydock". It doesn't matter how much you pay for a cruise if you're going to be interrupted with dangling cables and missing ceiling tiles and closed decks and missing infrastructure. I'm sorry, I did not pay you for this. If you're giving it to me for free, well then, OK. If I'm paying anything, no, not so nice. My friends and I went to the specialty restaurant called, "Pinnacle" , supposedly a NW Steak and Fish House. I say supposedly because if a chef in a steak house doesn't know how to cook steak properly, they should not be working in a steak house. Not too hard to understand. When I call over the Matre' D', I expect him to know what I mean by overcooked. Is that too much to expect? Is it? no, it isn't . I had an amazing round of luck in the casino. Thanks guys. You're all deserving of many accolades. I paid for my cruise basically. Which is a good thing. Because if I had not, I would have been a very unhappy camper. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like ... Read More
BACKGROUND INFORMATION: My cruising history - this was my 16th cruise (1-Carnival/1-Celebrity/3-Norwegian/11-Royal Caribbean). I decided to try HAL because I was looking for a little "step up" from RCL for things like service, food, entertainment, etc. I believe I have found it. My biggest concern was that I've always heard that HAL tends to be a older crowd (I've heard it referred to as the "Q-Tip Cruise Line") and while I found it to be true - there were many more "younger" people than I expected (I'm 55). I was traveling alone on this cruise (as I am finding that's the way I want to cruise more and more these days). I was happy to see that HAL tends to be less on the single supplement than most others which certainly helped my buying decision (and will help future buying decisions). SHIP INFORMATION: I will start by saying that I know this ship was going straight into dry dock after this cruise so I won't spend any time on how it needs to be refreshed. I was pleased with the layout of the ship. Everything was easily accessible and laid out nicely. While I have sailed the larger mega ships, I tend to like the mid-sized ships better and this was no exception. Things like the teak wood flooring on the promenades/pool deck and upgraded furniture outdoors was a nice surprise. The decor choices are certainly reminiscent of the time it was built, but I feel sure that this will change with the facelift. One thing I noticed that there is much less "open" space on this ship compared to some of the newer ships. Many of the passage ways (halls) from one part of the ship to the others felt dark and claustrophobic as opposed to open and bright. Overall, it is a lovely ship and the down sides did not get in the way of enjoying the ship that much. ACTIVITIES: There were many activities available on the ship and I took part in some of them but not all. The things that were a highlight for me were 1.) The Screening Room 2.) The Destination lectures 2.) The Fitness facility 3.) The sauna was nice (I wanted to purchase the Thermal Suites but they only sell 40 per cruise and I waited to long [day 2] to purchase it and they were sold out) 4.) I got a haircut in the salon and it was great and well priced ($25). I didn't try any of the cooking activities but heard they were great. SERVICE: This was one of the things I was hoping would be great and it was. I have sailed on so many other lines where crew members have a hard time doing something as simple as saying hello when they pass you, but overall, this crew gets it! Service across the board is better than on any other cruise line I have sailed. It's not just about DOING your job, but being genuine while doing it. I felt like I was special more times than not because of good service. Not every line can say that. My cabin stewards were the best Ive ever had on any line (Putu and Kadek). PORTS & SHORE EXCURSIONS: I loved each of these ports but did not do any shore excursions. I tend to like to just get off the ship and explore myself. Each of these ports allowed me to do that. EMBARKATION PORT: Since this was my first HAL cruise and I don't have "frequent floater" status with them like I do with RCL, I was concerned about the board process. I have to say that my worries were unfounded. The process of being in GROUPS to board was incredibly easy and I only waited about 30 minutes to get on board once arriving. I loved it! CABIN: I traveled alone on this cruise and had an inside room (6075) and loved it. The layout of this room was more "square" than long and skinny and it offered much more space. I think it was a Large Inside (Category I). The closet space, the bathroom, the bed position - everything felt oversized. The quality of the linens was wonderful and the bed was very comfortable. The room had a DVD player under the TV which was nice. There were 4 electrical ports on the desk (2 for U.S. and 2 for European). I brought 2 currency converters so I ended up having all the plugs I needed (4 U.S.). The only thing that would have been more perfect was if there were outlets by my bed. I liked the fact that my cabin steward brought ice into my room each day without me asking for it. I also loved the complimentary shoe shine service from my cabin. DINING: I ate in ALL of the outlets and loved everything. The quality of food, the presentation of it and the choices were very good. There seemed to be lots of option, even for vegetarians and folks who need gluten-free. There were plenty of sugar-free options and I even tried some of them and they were good. I had read in previous reviews about the "pre-packaged" sandwiches and how people didn't like them. I tried them and found them perfectly fine. Overall, the food in all the outlets I tried was quite good (Vista Dining Room, Dine-IN, Lido Buffet, In Room Dining, Caneletto, LeCirque, Pinnacle Grill). CHILDREN'S CLUBS: I didn't see them, but I met some folks who had kids (3 & 5) and they loved every aspect of the service they got for their kids. The kids wanted to spend more time in the Club than they did with their parents!!! ENTERTAINMENT: I found the entertainment to be equal to or better than any other line I've sailed. Shout out to the FLYBOYS - a group brought on board for this cruise. They were 4 guys from the UK who took contemporary songs and laid a decidedly 30s-40s feeling on top of them. There was also a special orchestra on board for this cruise called the Harry James Orchestra which was a 16-piece band that were AMAZING! The only down side to this group was their female singer. Being a trained musician myself, I tend to be a little hard on entertainers and she was flat most of the time and struggled to stay on pitch most of the time. You could tell she knew her stuff, but was just having a hard time (every time I heard her). The ship's singers were amazing - some of the best Ive ever heard. I liked the variety of entertainment around the ship. There could have been a little more entertainment, but overall, what was there was good. DISEMBARKATION: Very easy. I liked being asked to wait in my stateroom instead of some public lounge until my number was called. I didn't have to wait long at all once I made it to the embarkation deck. Overall, I loved it. OVERALL: I was very happy with HAL since this was my first cruise on them. I look forward to cruising them again and would highly recommend this line to anyone who is used to the level of service and quality found on RCL or NCL. HAL takes it up a notch and made it work. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
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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