24 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Alaska

This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side ... Read More
This was a great, low key trip to Alaska on the Oosterdam. We had cabin 4006. The cabin is at the front of the ship. It was clean and a nice size cabin. No bath tub but we didn't miss the tub at all. The cabin is near the side thruster, external door, and main stage. It was generally quiet, but there were times when engines, entertainment, or door drop were very noticable. Food was good across the board, although room service had warm cold items and cold warm items for breakfast. Entertainment was great with the Lincoln Center Stage being wonderful. The BB King Blues Club and Billboard groups were fun as well. If you fly in, make sure to check out the Port of Seattle program for luggage coming and going. Also, we suggest not buying any drinks until you are out of the Washington state area...otherwise you will have to pay 10% sales tax on things like sodas, wine, beer. The staff is quite friendly and helpful. We also suggest using the Navigator phone application so you can see daily events and check your bill. We had a great server in the Lido named Yasmeen. The Pinnacle Grill food was excellent. It is a great first night dinner as you cruise out the Puget Sound. We also picked the night at Victoria for the Pinnacle as the time is quite short in port. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I ... Read More
Sailed HAL for 10 of 12 cruises. Last cruise 34 years ago. First vacation in 8 years and first vacation with wife in 28 years (never had honeymoon and always had kids)?? Basically, the shore system didn’t match the onboard system. I bought 4 indulgences and packages and none were ready for us. We never received the excursion tickets or most of the Add-ons without multiple trips to Guest services. They never notified us of Port Valet services or shopping specials that were supposed to be delivered to room. HAL completely missed our anniversary. They were quick with ‘I’m so sorry’ but slow on resolutions. Missed several onboard events while waiting in line at Guest Services. They don’t answer the phone so don’t bother. MDR was nice but if you share a table, they may make you wait 30 minutes until the table is full. Lincoln Center Stage was the best. I wish they would let me throat punch the drunks and obnoxious passengers that walked by and disrupted the performance. Weather was rough 1 day (18’ swells) and passengers felt the need to vomit on the common area carpets instead of staying in their cabins. Everything is an add on. Better meals in MDR ($25+ extra), candid photos ($20 each or 5 for $60). Portraits at Gala, $40 each or $160 for 5). Bingo was about $40 plus the $2.50 dauber. Staff was always pushing drinks, pictures, spa treatments, etc. Had 2 of 8 days without problems and trying to get what we paid for. Well possibly travel on HAL again if they fix their problems. I’m a 3 star Mariner and have a long way until 4 stars. Read Less
Sail Date June 2019
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) ... Read More
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) and wanted to repeat it. For this cruise, we got a good price with discounted airfare. We were even able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a fraction of the difference. Before the cruise, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. We had a fantastic time visiting the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park! This is a very walkable area, and it's tucked away from the downtown tourists. Also, it was a short drive to Pier 91. My feelings for this cruise were mixed, so I will divide my thoughts between pros and cons. PROS ~ There is only one designated smoking area, and it is located outside at the back of deck 9. For a nonsmoker, this was truly a breath of fresh air! ~ Our room was wonderful, and our stewards were excellent. ~ The fresh floral arrangements found throughout the ship are gorgeous. ~ We absolutely loved Lincoln Center Stage! On our previous cruise, we went to a few concerts. The musicians on the Oosterdam were even better. Besides being talented, they had a special chemistry that made their concerts extra special. ~ We enjoyed the food. There was decent variety, and waiters were able to accommodate special requests. For some meals, we pre-ordered from the vegetarian menu. The fruit selection in the buffet was great for a cruise (apples, bananas, oranges, plums, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, berries). ~ Each evening, there were a variety of drink specials (BOGO for $2, $5 wines, $4 cocktail samples). These are definitely a good value. ~ Each morning, we had room service breakfast. Unlike many other major cruise lines, HAL still offers hot breakfast items on their complimentary menu. Also, we would request other items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. Orders arrived on time, and it was relaxing to start each morning with breakfast in our room. ~ We did have one small issue with room service. One morning, the wrong omelet was delivered, and we did not discover the mistake until after the waiter left. I quickly fixed the situation by running up to the buffet and getting a new omelet. Later that day, I told guest services about what happened because I wanted to ensure future orders would be correct. To my surprise, we were sent a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries. This was a small mistake, and HAL did a great job making up for it. Kudos for great customer service! ~ The Promenade deck was a nice place for walking. Even on rainy or misty days, we were able to enjoy long walks outside. ~ We liked the daily newspapers and puzzles provided each day on deck 1. CONS ~ Entertainment was lacking. Each evening, we would find ourselves wandering around after dinner without anything to do. We don't go to the main shows in the theater. We prefer listening to bands in lounges and dancing. Lincoln Center Stage ends rather early. BB King has talented musicians, but their venue is small and has a poor layout. It felt more like a concert than a dance club. Most nights, very few dancers came out on the floor. There was very little energy and excitement at night. ~ The atrium is tiny and dull. For me, the atrium should be the heart of the ship, but this area is lackluster and often deserted. ~ This is a small ship. When the weather was cold, the ship felt even smaller. There were very few public areas and most of them were clustered together. ~ During the day, there are not many scheduled activities. Computer workshops and cooking demos don't interest me. I prefer more active things, such as dance classes. ~ We did freestyle dining, and we usually went to the dining room between 7 and 8pm. I was surprised at the first set dining time. 5pm seems entirely too early. Since so many people were eating during the cocktail hour, it made time before dinner dull too. ~ The dress code is not enforced at dinner. On Gala Night, I saw people in t-shirts and guys wearing baseball caps. ~ The ports were wonderful, and Hubbard Glacier was awesome! However, the timing in most of the ports is odd. The all aboard for Ketchikan was 12:30pm, and we weren't allowed off the ship in Victoria until after 6:30pm. These short stops make it difficult to fully enjoy these ports. ~ The excursion prices are ridiculously expensive. We planned ahead and did our own thing in each port. If the excursions had been more reasonably prices, we might have gone on one or two. Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the ports are beautiful and interesting. Shipboard life, on the other hand, proved a little too boring for us. We would consider HAL again if the itinerary is port intensive. If we do an Alaskan cruise again, we will try another line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We enjoyed our Oosterdam cruise in April very much. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. We expected there would be many people waiting to board but we literally walked in, checked in, and boarded in less about 15 minutes. Upon ... Read More
We enjoyed our Oosterdam cruise in April very much. The Ship: Embarkation was a breeze. We expected there would be many people waiting to board but we literally walked in, checked in, and boarded in less about 15 minutes. Upon boarding, we headed to the Lido deck for lunch and by the time we went to our room, the luggage was already there. We immediately began hanging our clothes in the three closets. In addition to hanging rods in two closets, one closet had shelves for clothes that did not need hanging. The storage space in the cabin was ample and easily accessible. There are drawers in the desk/vanity in the room and drawers under the bed. There were ample outlets in the room and a small fridge. We enjoyed being able to keep drinks cold and fruit refrigerated while in our room. We stayed in an aft balcony room and liked this location. It was convenient to get to the dining rooms, pools, and bars. Our room was located at the back of the ship on the portside and we did not experience any additional turbulence or rocking due to the location. The balcony room provided us the opportunity to lie in bed and watch the ocean or to sit on the nice sized balcony. The bathroom had a tub which I enjoyed as I do enjoy a bath rather than a shower sometimes. The storage in the bathroom was adequate. Overall, the room met all of our expectations with a large screen tv placed on the wall in front of the bed. It was a nice room. The ship is an older ship but I did not see any big problems and I could see that somethings had been updated. The dining rooms were beautiful and the theatre was easy to navigate and had plenty of seating. Overall, we were pleased with the condition of the ship. It has been well-maintained and the staff were constantly cleaning all areas of the ship. In addition, the pool areas were well-kept and seating was plentiful. We never had a problem on ship days finding a place to lounge by the pools. Debarkation was quick and we were at the airport by 9am on our last day Dining Room Service: We did enjoy ordering room service a few times and service was excellent and on time each time we ordered by phone or by placing a card on our door at night. Lido Deck Dining: We enjoyed the food we were served on the Lido Deck. Choices were varied and service was never slow. Usually, there were no more than two to four people in any one line at a time. The servers were all polite and welcoming. I, particularly, enjoyed the Pasta station and the Omelet station. The taco station was also a favorite. The diversity in the food choices made it easy to find something to eat. At times, the table area was crowded but we always found some place to sit and enjoy our meals. I felt the food was more sanitary by having the staff serve our food at the buffet. The wait staff kept our drinks filled and cleaned tables quickly upon someone leaving the dining area. Overall, I would rate the food excellent and the service outstanding on the Lido Deck Dining. Formal Dining Room: The dining room was beautiful and the service was outstanding. We never had to wait long for any of our order to arrive. After the first night, our drinks were on the table when we arrived. The wait staff were very friendly and exuded happiness each night. We enjoyed our evening meal and a couple of lunches in the dining room. We could not ask for better service than we experienced on the Oosterdam. My favorite foods were the lobster, the soups, and the desserts. Entertainment: We love to dance and the B.B. Blues Club was a perfect venue for that. The band played music that people could dance to and enjoy listening to as they relaxed with a beverage. The only thing I would change is that the band play longer. Beverage service was excellent in this club. We did enjoy the Piano Bar music on a couple of evenings but there was no area to dance. The shows in the theatre needed more singing and dancing type shows. Also, I think the theatre should have a show on the first night of the cruise to welcome guests and set the tone for the trip. Fitness & Recreation: The fitness center offered a variety of equipment and classes for those who wanted to work out. The Spa offers diversity in services as well. Enrichment Activities: There were opportunities to join in enrichment activities each day. We chose to relax and enjoy the pool area rather than attend classes offered. Service: I cannot say enough good things about our room stewards and the services they provided. They cleaned the room at least twice a day and always responded positively to any requests. They placed fresh fruit in the room daily and intentionally interacted with us daily to see if we had any requests or concerns. I requested a fan and a mattress topper and both were provided promptly. I could not ask for more from our room stewards. The wait staff in the dining room and on the Lido dining area were friendly and provided outstanding service to us. Around the ship, we always saw crew members cleaning and replenishing supplies as needed. This is an area where this ship excels--providing outstanding service. Shore Excursions: Turks & Caicos: We took a bus tour of the island and enjoyed seeing the entire island in addition to visiting a small market area. There had been some storm damage from the hurricane but one could tell that progress was being made in the clean-up and rebuilding. The guide provided us with an extensive history of the island which was interesting. Key West: The trolley car excursion provided us with a good overview of the history and sights of Key West. After the tour, we walked around the town and enjoyed mingling with the locals. Dominican Republic: I took a bus tour that took us into Puerta Plata where we shopped and visited a beautiful church. In addition, the tour guide provided us with a history of the island. We did not visit Haiti. My boyfriend did the excursion to the water falls and he had a wonderful time. He hiked through the jungle and then slid down about four waterfalls which he said was an exhilarating experience. Due to my health, I could not experience the waterfall excursion but I did enjoy the tour. Half Moon Cay: This island is beautiful with sand as white as snow. There are many activities available such as horse back riding, jet skiing, sailing, and a waterpark that would be great for children to enjoy. Just swimming and enjoying the beauty was what we chose to do. The ship provides a lunch on the island for those who do not want to return to the ship to eat. The bar area is convenient and easy to procure drinks. Cabanas are available for rent. We chose to sit on the beach in one of the many lounge chairs provided. It was a wonderful and relaxing day. Next time we sail in November, we plan to rent a small sail boat and enjoy this experience. In conclusion, I would like to say that even though the Oosterdam is an older ship, it is beautiful and well-kept. The service on the ship is outstanding and the food is excellent. I highly recommend sailing on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We were recommended by a friend who lived in Canada. It was our golden wedding so we wanted an unforgettable trip. It was amazing, we had glorious weather and saw glaciers,bears,whales etc. BUT Ship was cold, only place we were ... Read More
We were recommended by a friend who lived in Canada. It was our golden wedding so we wanted an unforgettable trip. It was amazing, we had glorious weather and saw glaciers,bears,whales etc. BUT Ship was cold, only place we were warm was our cabin where we could turn heating up. Theatre, CrowsNest ,all public areas, you needed your coat. First 2 nights awake all night due to constant banging, reception said it was the waves, never had that on any previous cruise even if weather bad. After an unfortunate encounter with “man in grey suit” at first breakfast, where i was told breakfast was closed, despite me holding my plate with eggs on it,waiting for toast, we ate breakfast every day in our cabin. Buffet and dining room, queue for everything, food bland, always cold and unless you liked salmon or Japanese cuisine you were in trouble. Lived on fried chicken and pizza. Gala night a joke, no one wore smart clothes, one fellow diner even kept his cap on. Staff very random, always smiled but did not always deliver. We apparently had 2 cabin stewards, never met them, cabin clean but nothing exceptional. Excursions expensive but very good. Cruising to the glacier stunning but surprised to have to pay $9 each for mug in which to drink our Free hot chocolate. We wanted a photo but pushed to buy a package at end of cruise, needless to say we did not bother. Entertainment poor , singers were flat. B.B. king club good , no activities during the day. Never saw Cruise director around the Ship, obviously very busy in the office. Embarkation and disembarkation excellent, best we have ever had. Daily gratuities expensive considering service etc, we adjusted it to Nil, but reception staff made it very difficult and were quite condescending, attempting to explain to me how gratuities worked. After 16 plus cruises I think I know and this is the first time I have ever refused to pay it. The destination, weather and sites made the distance travelled worthwhile ( we flew from London) but Holland America Oosterdam - forget it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We are regular cruisers with HAL. Our Cruise Consultant is excellent! She keeps notes, always remembers special details about us and our preferences. That makes a big difference - if you like to sleep in, stay up late, etc. These ... Read More
We are regular cruisers with HAL. Our Cruise Consultant is excellent! She keeps notes, always remembers special details about us and our preferences. That makes a big difference - if you like to sleep in, stay up late, etc. These little things are what make your trip. Our recent trip on Oosterdam was just amazing. The staff was outstanding, the food was excellent, the dining room at lunch allowed you to enjoy quick OR long lunches. The dining room was impeccable. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb Shank, and much more. The service was impeccable. Our servers were Ari & Aji. They are a great team. We love the easy, relaxing pace of this cruise. You can have action packed days at port and enjoy the much needed pampering at sea. Our room steward was amazing (Tegru). He kept our room immaculate, but we rarely saw him. This cruise has a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
The food was amazing! We were thrilled with the quality of the dining room food. They served LARGE scallops. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb ... Read More
The food was amazing! We were thrilled with the quality of the dining room food. They served LARGE scallops. Each night was excellent: Snapper, Halibut, Steak, LARGE Shrimp, Lobster, more Steak, Rack of Lamb, 8 hour slow roasted Lamb Shank, and much more. The service was impeccable. Our servers were Ari & Aji. They are a great team. I was so sad on our last night. They spoiled us! The ship is older, but very clean. Our room attendant Tegru was outstanding. He kept our room perfect and left extras before we even asked. HAL has always been our favorite, but they have made some improvements that have considered the guests in every way. I loved the Lido - they have 4 stations for salad bar. Yes, they are manned and not self-serve, but I love this - it is CLEAN and they have about 50 items at each station and the server gives you exactly what you want! I had a lovely salad (different each day) and they were amazing. They also serve a hot meal, Asian, Carving Station, tapas plates and for those on the go - sandwiches. It was very organized and there was something for everyone. Ice cream was available pretty much all the time. Also, I loved the America's Test Kitchen - he was very entertaining and the little 30 minute segments were always fun. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
There are several things to like about the Oosterdam - the decor is fantastic, I really enjoyed the co-branding with America's Test Kitchen. Their on-board enterainment system (free) had a better collection of movies that I have on ... Read More
There are several things to like about the Oosterdam - the decor is fantastic, I really enjoyed the co-branding with America's Test Kitchen. Their on-board enterainment system (free) had a better collection of movies that I have on with Netflix & Amazon. The staff was friendly room was nice. However, there is a major issue - the ship shuts down at 11:30PM sharp. I've gone to Alaska with Princess, NCL, Celebrity and now Holland America. I've never seen a ship where all the bars, all the clubs (1 club turned off music at 12:30 but services closed at 11:30) ALL the food - even the "late Night Buffet" closed at 11:30 sharp. The ship claimed room service was open after mid-night, however room service choose to disagree. This I felt was in line with the very limited hours on facilities. Dining is a good example - breakfast opened somewhere between 6-7:30 (it changed daily?!) and generally was open for 2 hours before going into limited operation usually at 9am. I expect this from the main dining facilities but not the buffet. Lastly, I wanted to mention the cuisine. The line cooking staff was primarily Indonesian. I was hoping for some quality local dishes, sadly I didn't find a single Indonesian item on the menu. The staff was good at cooking French or Continental Cuisine. However, once they got out of their wheelhouse (example Indian, Asian or Caribbean) I honestly believe their chefs are blindly following recipies they've never tasted. This narrorowness of focus is best illustrated when I had to explain to the chefs why I might want rice with the "Chicken Korma" they were serving. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My husband contacted our cruise specialist, and they set the whole thing up. Dennis had previously researched the HAL website, and knew what he wanted before booking. We had an aft-Neptune suite. Em and disembarkation were as expected. ... Read More
My husband contacted our cruise specialist, and they set the whole thing up. Dennis had previously researched the HAL website, and knew what he wanted before booking. We had an aft-Neptune suite. Em and disembarkation were as expected. Everything and everyone were so wonderful! I have low vision, and was assisted by staff and my husband. All you had to do was ask for whatever, and would be granted. Our stateroom was Upper Verandah #6177, and had the best view in the house. Activities drew our interest, especially "America's Test Kitchen" and the Naturalists slideshow presentation of the glaciers. We only went to two excursions, Mendenhall Glacier with fish hatchery and salmon bake. The food was out of this world! Of course, we did go into Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan and Victoria. Our tour of the Castle was so that we'd like to return again, just to see more details of the city. Ketchikan was the same way. Food aboard was totally top-notch. It gives one a chance to explore new cuisine. The ship itself was just the right size for us and our lifestyle. Not too large or small. To us, it was more personable. We had such a terrific time, and were quite impressed! Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The inhospitable environment created by the leadership of the Oosterdam ruined our Holland America cruise experience! We were sold a drink package that was difficult to use. DO NOT buy the Signature Drink Package. This ship only ... Read More
The inhospitable environment created by the leadership of the Oosterdam ruined our Holland America cruise experience! We were sold a drink package that was difficult to use. DO NOT buy the Signature Drink Package. This ship only accommodates people that rise early and are in bed by 11pm. Although every night the bars we were socializing in still had patrons, the staff were instructed to close. (First night the last bar on the ship closed at 12:15am; there were still 10-15 people in the lounge). My husband and I met interesting people from all over the world and had every evening cut short because the managers instructed their staff to close. I do not go to bed at midnight. Nowhere in the WORLD do bars close at that time. I lodged numerous complaints, finally meeting with the food and beverage manager to no satisfaction. We were left unattended in the lounges every night and felt vulnerable to other (sketchy) guests who were also left unattended. A reasonable concession would have been to keep a common area open and staffed. Perhaps even a coffee shop for those who choose not to retire early. Breakfast was shut down early some days and when we arrived at 10 am the food was not replenished. They started pulling down breakfast before the posted close of 10:30 am. Our state room was run down and inadequately furnished. It was located on Floor 1 above the anchor which woke us early each morning (metal on metal for about 2 hours) while we docked. We could also hear the music from crew parties somewhere below us late at night. The serving staff were friendly and hospitable. In contrast, the front office and leadership we encountered were accusatory (how it is our fault that our room key quits working almost EVERY day? NO! It is not next to my cell phone or any magnets!) They were rude, unaccommodating, and condescending. My husband and I will NEVER cruise Holland America again. This is NOT a 5* cruise. It is not enough to say you have 5* amenities, you actually have to provide them. I have never felt so disrespected on a vacation, we felt like we were cattle being herded. In contrast, the serving staff (bartenders, hostess, & wait staff) were really excellent! Special mention should go to Mabel, TJ, Davis, Achmad, and Joel they absolutely made every attempt to create a wonderful experience for our vacation. The bartender at the sports bar in the evenings was difficult and did not accommodate us on numerous occasions (likely because I challenged him on shutting down so early on the first night). Our issue was more with the officers, they were very defensive, inhospitable, and disrespectful. I walked onto the deck with a drink the first day and I was abruptly told to go inside (other patrons had drinks but my group was targeted; I’m sure my age had nothing to do with it!). My husband set our food tray in the hallway after we finished breakfast one day (like you would do in any hotel). An officer knocked on our door the next morning to explain that this was unacceptable. My husband apologized for not knowing the policy to which she abruptly lectured him reiterating over and over that this was not acceptable. A kind, simple directive would have been suffice and made us feel like value guests instead of criminals being interrogated. It was a food tray, relax! The front desk staff were adequate at answering questions but if we were to complain the dialogue shifted to disinterested and dismissive. They were not interested in fielding complaints and concerns. We gave them every opportunity to rectify these issues while we were on the ship; instead they chose to disregard our concerns. I think it’s interesting that I received the request for feedback via email before I even returned home. It has been 1 week since I submitted the feedback survey yet, I have heard nothing. Holland America do you really care about feedback? Listen to your guests when we are on the actual ship! Our wonderful experiences on Royal Caribbean and Disney proved that Holland America is only capable of catering to one demographic. If you are under the age of 65, you will not be accommodated; instead treated with discrimination and suspicion. For the record I am 38, and my husband is 42, we have a lot of cruising ahead of us. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Stayed in aft cabin 4176 on a surprise for DW's 60th. Had only cruised with Celebrity before this, but this cruise worked out best timing wise. I want to make a disclaimer with an overarching point: If you can't be happy and ... Read More
Stayed in aft cabin 4176 on a surprise for DW's 60th. Had only cruised with Celebrity before this, but this cruise worked out best timing wise. I want to make a disclaimer with an overarching point: If you can't be happy and enjoy yourself on a cruise, you just ain't trying. This is an awesome way to travel and a privilege to be able to do so. I really appreciate all the planing and work that went into making a cruise like this possible. The criticisms that make their way into my points below are just quibbles. I get it that I have just been treated very well and am very blessed. ALASKA. A+ It is huge and vast, the largest US state by far, yet only about 1% is privately owned land, so it is the least densely populated US state. Of all the actual countries in the world, only 18 are larger than this US state. It is the northernmost point in US, westernmost point in US, and even the easternmost point in US (the Aleutian islands cross the international date line). There are a double digit number of mountains taller than the highest point in the lower 48. It is bold, raw, and a place of extremes and simplicity mixed together. Many places people were people live here are inaccessible by roads, including the capital city of Juneau. One can see the planet actively being shaped and recently having been shaped. Seeing all this made me feel small and humble and yet also elevated by having been made to feel so. Even now in early sumner, the weather varied a lot. We were lucky to have had sunny days permitting far away views, and mostly warm temperatures (60s and 70s), sometimes enough that I was sweaty with just a t shirt. But we had fog and rain too and at one point we had chills enough that I needed several layers with my winter hat and earmuffs and gloves. Most of the time the sun set well after 9 PM and often after 10 PM , usually light starting outside well before 5 AM. Alaska for a cruise was very beautiful. Having grown up Oregon, the types of trees and some of the terrain reminded me a lot of home in some ways, especially Vancouver BC to Ketchikan. The Inside Passage had always sounded underwhelming to me compared to the "real" Alaska interior to the north. That was a wrong perception. There is nothing minimalist about the Inside Passage. It is easy to see and there is so much nature, culture, and diversity in terms of how to see it. While excursions offer profound experiences, one could also see a lot by the sailing itself and then do stuff on your own in each town, easily rewarding a car rental and/or some advance planing, and a willingness to seek out small town life. A bonus in the Inside Passage is just sailing from place to place. The water journey itself is almost constantly exposed to scenery so there is almost no time you are not seeing good stuff. And although we had profoundly lucky sunny and warm weather most of the time, the times we had rain and fog and cold did not change any of the above. I do think that this means the Vancouver departures/arrivals have an advantage because the part between Vancouver BC and southern Alaska is mostly nonstop scenery whereas Seattle has a day at sea between it and southern Alaska (tempered, sometimes, by a stop in Victoria, but even then the sailing route is mostly just open sea). I would consider Seattle though because the cost would be less both for the cruise and the airfare from the US 48. Still want a way to come in the winter to see northern lights (obviously a cruise would not be the way to get here in December or January!). I really loved it here and hope to return often, like a song you can enjoy over. HAL VS. CELEBRITY wait for it ... SEATTLE - VANCOUVER HAL SHUTTLE B Worked well, it was easy, and I'd do it again. But a bus ride is a bus ride so this can only get so good. I must say I would have liked to spend some time in Vancouver so next time might just go there first. I liked that the coach was arranged with HAL so if there had been a snafu, the ship would have waited and would have taken care of us. Made me feel less stress as soon as I got on the bus, and kinda felt like the cruise had started. EMBARKATION (VANCOUVER) B- Took under an hour, fairly efficient, but again, how "good" can something like this be? Also, would have liked a more dramatic place to step onto the ship with, a grand foyer or something to feel that "not in Kansas anymore feeling." Quibbling points to be sure. DISEMBARKATION (SEWARD) C+ A bit chaotic. Long cues, not clear where to go at times. All worked out in the end. The coach arranged for us through HAL was a bit too close in time to the fight arranged for us through HAL, but, again, all worked out in the end, and we were at our gate and waiting in a very nice Anchorage airport terminal by 10:30 AM for our 11:35 departure. AFT CABIN LOCATION A+ We had cabin 4176. Maybe best thing about this cruise, other than Alaska itself. I had read complaints that the engine would be too loud or the vibrations too much. Not so (though could hear and feel it sometimes). Remember that the dining room is in this area too, and lower and closer to the engine that the cabins are, and the dining room is OK with respect to these issues. Some feel that this end of the ship rocks too much. Though I have a tendency to sea sickness (and carry scopolamine patches with me for this reason), I felt fine compared to walking around rest of ship (and never needed my patches). I had read that soot gets on balcony. Yeah, some, but not enough to matter. The view of the wake and the 270 degree view of both port and starboard were super. And, the sound and changing waves of the wake was like sitting on a beach and experiencing the changing sight and sound of waves; became mesmerizing, sitting before a log fire. Sitting on our veranda with same view the historic sea captains of old would have had from their quarters gave the feeling that the cruise was somehow privately here for us. In fact, a channel on the in room TV gave exactly this view 24/7. I'm totally hooked. (and, ruined -- these are hard to get!) CABIN ITSELF A- Comfortable beds and big comfortable pillows. Lots of space and appreciate several things about layout. The metallic walls allowed magnets to hang things up. Art on the walls was a nice touch. Layout of lighting was good and effective and liked having switches by bed. Extra chair and fold out couch gave good sitting room. Small desk was adequate. TV worked, few channels to choose from, and did not care. Veranda had two comfortable chairs one with stool, a small table, and a recliner. Storage was abundant and very well conceived. My wife and I are one bag each travelers so we did not need a lot, but nice to have had it. Even the stool for the desk is hollow with a top that lifts to use the inside space for storage. Can store several bags under bed. Three standing closets, one with lots of shelves and a locking safe, and the others for hanging clothes each have larger shelves that can fold down or not as you wish. One even had a rack for belts and ties. Several shelves in bathroom too, for toiletries. Shower with good water pressure, massage head, and was a tub-shower mix. Clothes line for drying clothes over tub. Cannisters of self serve shampoo, conditioner, soap in shower worked well. Room decor and materials a bit dated and worn, but everything very clean and working well. FOOD B Not the high point, which saddened me, but some was outstanding, especially Le Cirque, and I would pay for that again. Most food at MDR was good to very good. Pinnacle grill was very good but not the first rate special meal I was expecting and do not think I'd pay for the experience again. I found buffet sometimes disappointing in both variety and quality, but choosing wisely allowed me to stay with options that were good. I'd more or less skip the buffet next time if I could. Room service was efficient though missed items were not rare. Still it became our preferred mode for daily breakfast and was a great option for us, always on time after ordering in advance the night before. Also, room service for dinner one night was a great experience, ordered off the MDR menu (though in part it was a great experience because of our veranda and the view that night)). On the whole, the entire food experience was decidedly above average, but not best most special category, and so a solid and appreciated "B." ENTERTAINMENT A Went to one show which was illusionist and fine. But really enjoyed classical music every night, a pianist and violinist duo self named "Adagio," played several hours each night, in Explorer's Lounge. Became popular and packed. Though this is highly subjective, that one venue and these performers made evenings a real joy each day for us. Stayed till they finished at 10 each night (usually still light out, because .... it's Alaska!). There did not seem to be a lot going on when we returned to our room after that but really was not looking. I do not know if others would have found as many options as they might have wanted. For me, though, this was excellent. Some of the other offerings good too, such as the live cooking demos, but missed most of these because we were out seeing Alaska! PUBLIC SPACES A- The ship goes to dry dock next year and I assume it will have a face lift. The vessel looks older than the super duper new sips coming out in recent years, well used but clean, in good repair, and just fine. It looks used and loved, not used and abused. But, it looks used, and used hard in some places, with some fabrics and furnishings worn, some styles dated. The spaces are very well attended to, and clean. I like the deep blue or warm earth tone colors that felt calm and welcoming. The ship has many pleasant public spaces to spend time. I especially liked the flow from one space to another, and in particular the use of curved and rounded passages and rooms, giving the illusion of more space and not one rectilinear box overall. I especially liked the look of the dining room which felt more like a nice restaurant than a cafeteria. INSIDE PASSAGE, VANCOUVER --> KETCHIKAN A Captain chose a more inland route and the wall of forested greenery on either side of ship was sublime. Sat out on deck all day. Felt like time had stopped. KETCHIKAN, WILD WOLF TOURS EXCURSION A- Competent though unspectacular private tour made better by excellent guide Tracy, whose personal stories of growing up here and her native family heritage made this much more special. Enjoyed spending time in town, especially lunch and view from Cape Fox Lodge. JUNEAU, TRACY ARM FJORD HAL EXCURSION A+ A town with a bit of size has some more to offer. Enjoyed walking into town and meeting people. Some very good food near the pier. HAL excursion from here into Tracy Arm fjord was best of trip and a huge life long remembrance. I think this is the best port of the trip with the most options. If you re going to splurge on n excursion, here is the place to do it. SKAGWAY, FRONTIER ADVENTURES YUKONER EXCURSION A Deceptively substantial town for its very small size, walkable with some good food, a few nice excursions possible. Would rent a car next time and go up into Yukon. GLACIER BAY NATIONAL PARK A Stunning commanding beauty. Another world feeling. History and geology and scenery conjoin. Liked having the forest rangers' input and that of the Tinglit native -- gave it a very special feel. Glaciers were not as impressive as the small boat experience at Tracy Arm but still very imressive. SERVICE, STAFF A- Very well trained. I appreciated their uniformly hard work. Friendly, but in a politely restrained way. Even if formulaic, everyone said and did all the right things. The theme seemed to be to make me feel warmly welcomed and taken care of when I asked, else not intruded upon. The result was a nice balance. Very little of the more intrusive effort to sell drinks, photos, etc such as on Celebrity. To some the style might seem so laid back as to give a sedate and hands off feel, but I felt this was instead a contentment to let me have a good time but still remain open and ready to serve me. A tough balance. Smiles and friendliness whenever I passed ANYONE. Often saw workers carefully cleaning public areas each day. Stateroom cleaned and resupplied daily and reliably. I would summarize the theme as hospitality rather than sophistication, and it makes for a serene and relaxing feeling that marks the experience better than any one single other element. HAL vs. CELEBRITY I have liked Celebrity a lot, and did not intend to consider other mass market lines before this. My initial feeling on this ship was a bit disappointed, seemed less luxurious, less exciting, food less good. While I think those impressions were true to some degree, I warmed to HAL each day, and I would now temper my initial feelings. The HAL experience is more like going to a hotel in the US National Register of Historic Places than a modern glass and shiny new hotel. I appreciated the feeling created on ship. I would sail HAL again if I can. I will still like Celebrity too. Much has been written about the smoking policy. I did smell smoke from cigarettes and some pipe / cigar on our deck from time to time. I would have preferred that it were not so. I prefer Celebrity's more restrictive policy. That said, this was not a major theme of the trip. Which line is better? I think the question is unanswerable. While I can see some people having a clear preference, I think it's more correct to say that they are both good in somewhat different ways. Just as an apple and an orange are good foods, or New York and Chicago are good cities to visit, I don't think one can say one is objectively better than the other. There are so that hate apples or Chicago, most would find plenty of merit in all these choices. Celebrity I think had better food, and feels more shiny, splashy, and HAL feels nice, calm, relaxing, warm, contented. I'm glad to have extended to be in the HAL family now. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a ... Read More
We did a 14 day cruise tour to Alaska and as usual Holland did not disappoint us. We stayed in a Neptune Suite and the service and accommodations were outstanding. Our room was beautiful, very clean, spacious - the Neptune Lounge was a real treat and we enjoyed having access for morning coffee and light breakfast options as well as afternoon tea and canapés. We were spoiled! The shows on the ship were good, however this was Alaska so who needs shows? We did attend a couple of the music numbers, Dancing with the Stars finale, the comedian and the illusionist show. Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto were exceptional as always. The service in Pinnacle was outstanding - we were seated at the same table each evening and really enjoyed our dining room steward. Once on land all of our accommodations were well appointed - Alyeska was magnificent and a stand out along with the Westmark Fairbanks. The Chalet at Denali is rustic but clean and nice - what you would expect in a national park lodge - it's no frills but comfortable. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise (June 9-16) Holland American America service was outstanding. This was our second cruise to Alaska the other previous cruise being nine years ago. On our previous cruise it rained ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from a wonderful cruise (June 9-16) Holland American America service was outstanding. This was our second cruise to Alaska the other previous cruise being nine years ago. On our previous cruise it rained every day, on this cruise we had beautiful beautiful weather and much warmer than expected. I am somewhat spoiled since our last three cruises have been on Oceania, which we enjoyed. Cabin - We booked the largest inside cabin 8041 since space meant more to us than a balcony. We did not ask for a free upgrade and were very happy with our cabin selection. It looked just like the picture on the website with a sofa a room to move around Dining - We ate most meals in the dining room and found most of the food to be tasty, hot and well prepared. The best part was Tedi our waiter on most nights. Portions for the entree are very small but most of the time we didn't mind since there are so many courses. I was upset when I ordered veal which was delicious but my portion was so much smaller than I saw other being served (3bites). If I asked, I am sure they would have brought more but I wanted to get to the show. Dinner didn't take an unreasonable amount of time and the dining room was open for lunch everyday except for one.I did not like the Mariners brunch. Only a few choices. I did like a salmon roast on deck and the salmon was good. I found a good variety of choices on most menus including several types of fish. I loved the soups available in the dining room much better than Oceania since most of their soups are cream based. I also loved their baked Alaska.We loved the specialty restaurants. My husband celebrated his birthday at the Pinnacle Grill. They surprised him with a cake and the food was comparable to an Oceania specialty restaurant?Ports - Tracy Arm was beautiful. Similar to Millford Sound in New Zealand but a lot closer to visit.Juneau - we had a beautiful day so Roberts tramway up the mountain was great no problem buying tickets when you get off the ships. 2 movies on top which we enjoyed. The views since it was a clear day made it well worth it.Sitka - Birds, Bears, Barnacles. Seeing bald eagles up close was fantastic, the bears were interesting. I didn't, care much for the Barnacle part of the tour since it was the wrong time of year for the salmon eqq process. We were glad overall that we did this tour.Ketchikan - just walked around town since we only had 4 hours and had been here before.Victoria - took Holland excursion Craigdarroch castle and city tour. We were disappointed. It's not really a castle like you see in Europe. Just an historical home. We didn't get to see the harbor until it was almost dark and the bus didn't even slow down for pictures. We would have been much better off going on our own directly to the harbor and china town which looked so interesting.Entertainment - it was fine. We enjoyed the shows. It's not Broadway but great after a nice dinner.The cooking demonstrations on the ship were great. As good as watching Julia Child. Informative and humorous. We had no problem with disembarkation and catching a cab to our Seattle hotel. Enjoyed Pikes market, gold rush museum (free from national park service), and the Chihuly garden and glass .We were glad that we selected Holland America. If you have reasonable expectations, I believe that they will be exceeded. Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
Background: We have never cruised with HAL, but had been on 2 Princess, 2 Carnival and 1 RC. We are 40 something's on a cruise with some good friends. We had been to Alaska before, back in 1997 on Princess. We flew in the day ... Read More
Background: We have never cruised with HAL, but had been on 2 Princess, 2 Carnival and 1 RC. We are 40 something's on a cruise with some good friends. We had been to Alaska before, back in 1997 on Princess. We flew in the day before, stayed at one of the hotels near the port and took their shuttle to the pier on day of departure. We were traveling together as 2 couples. We picked up my husbands scooter at the terminal. They had it ready for him. This was the first time it was not delivered to the cruise ship stateroom. As we proceeded through to embark, hubby and I were able to breeze through, but our friends had to go through as usual. I do not remember an embarkation taking so long as this one. We waited for them to get through the line and I believe we waited close to 2 hours. The line curved on forever. They did not have enough help to check people in. This was literally the worst thing on the entire cruise. Once they got through, we boarded and let the fun begin. Services: I enjoy going to the spa when on a cruise and this time was no exception. I really enjoyed the massage. I went on a port day and had no trouble getting into the time slot I wanted. The pool was very nice. Sat by that and caught some rays. A waiter was readily available should I need anything. Art Auction: My husband and I like going to the art auctions, but for some reason, this gallery and staff turned us off. One of the male auctioneers gave me the impression that he was too busy to stop and talk with me. Too bad for him, as we have purchased art before from other cruises. It is usually our reminder of the cruise and the good time we had. Instead, this trip I bought a Phillip Stein watch. Food: We ate in the main dining room at the anytime dining. We really enjoy that. 5 of the 7 nights we ate with our friends at a table for four. Food was excellent. In fact this is the best food we have had in a long time on a cruise. Only draw back was they kept seating us way in the back when my husband had his scooter. It was OK when we would go in because tables were empty going back, but when we would come out, the restaurant was packed and people had to get up and move their chairs in so he could get by. We suggested they seat us up front, but they always said no no no, it is no problem. We just nodded and said OK. Activities: Went to the Newlywed game- it was a blast. We haven't laughed that much in a long time. It was fun because the crowd was really into it also. We spent time up in the Crow's nest Lounge. We would play cards up there, have some cocktails and play trivia. Always a great way to spend a day at sea - great views!! Casino: Very nice Casino! Not too smoky. Huibby had a good time playing blackjack and even won a little. Casino staff very helpful. We enjoyed the slot tournaments they had. Disembarkation; Went very smooth. Much better than getting on. Little wait time. We were sad to be getting off. Wanted to stay another 7 days! Summary: We went to Alaska before with Princess Cruises in 1997. It was a different time and cruising was different. Food quality was so much better and this was our very first cruise and I think you always remember your first cruise. Having said that, I feel HAL was an excellent cruse to Alaska and I think the ports have improved since we were there. For seeing glaciers and the scenic shoreline, HAL was better! Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, ... Read More
I had read several reviews about cruising Holland America as well as the ship Oosterdam, I do not know what ship they were sailing on, but it could not have been the same. On a positive note, the crew were very friendly, always smiling, and so helpful. Sometimes the language barrier was a little frustrating, but I would not trade that in as the crew was wonderful. That being said, lets start with the ship. It seems to be older, basically clean as long as you stay out of the casino, but there was not much to do unless you want to pay a couple thousand dollars just to get on the ship and spend several hundred more on shopping and activities. Everything seemed to cost. Internet usage was expensive, deoderant(my husband forgot his) was almost $8, every turn someone was trying to sell low quality wine at a price that would suggest robbery. I was excited about the movies, but there is only room for maybe 30 people-keeping in mind the ship holds around 2,000! And help you if you are caught saving a seat for your spouse, I thought one of the families who was saving a seat for her inlaws was going to have to walk the plank! Seating is cutthroat so go early if it is a decent movie that you really want to see. I went to an activity called "make a candy box", Ok there was no candy, and it involved a prefolded HAL box that took all of 15 minutes. * Ok now the room. I had the VA, which is delux verandah. I don't know what was delux about it. I always heard HAL rooms were bigger than other cruiselines-this room was no bigger than any other cruise I have been on, and our toilent did not work the first 4 days. We were constantly calling for someone to unclog it-keep in mind my rule is always flush twice, once before the paper and once after to prevent clogging. It was never less than 2 hours to get the toilet unclogged. Half the time it wouldn't even flush-you never knew when the toilet would work. Beds weren't bad, and the one thing I can say was great was the run of free movies in the room, especially since the screening room was always full. * The ship performances were low rate, say if you visited the old part of Branson Missouri, they were better performers. Even if you wanted to see the shows, there was no room. The only explanation I have for the tiny spaces, is they must have been trying to fit as many staterooms as possible, and no room for other spaces. The fitness center just plane sucked (sorry). It was one tiny room with a few treadmills and weights-people hovered trying to get a treadmill. My husband and I took to running the flights of stairs since working out was not working out in the fitness center. * The ports were great. Alaska is wonderful-but I would not take HAL to visit again. Careful with the excursions. We did the zipline and it was great-all we expected. The second excursion was not very active, and I did not realize that. It was the Wilderness Crab feast. The food was great, but it is more suited for a 70 year old than a 30 year old. We did meet a couple who found their own excursions in Juneau and Sitka. They went to a glacier on foot and kayaked-we were jelous. Their excursion turned out great and they made it to port in plenty of time. Yes, the boat will leave you if you do not make it in time, but don't let that scare you from a wonderful excursion, just do your homework. * Now I saved the best for last-the food. It was for the most part terrible. The positives- the fresh fruit is great, breakfast was just fine. It is hard to mess up 2 fried eggs and french toast, but that is where the good news ends. There were a couple exceptions. I had escargot and it was actually very tender and flavorful. That same night I had a salad with mushrooms and gorgonzolla cheese that was great. The rest of the food is typical buffet food. Tough beef-stay away from the prime rib, it is a sad waste of a cow's life, unless you like boot leather. Vegetables were super salty and full of butter, pizza was comparable to cardboard, I was given a salad that had bloated raisens and soggy apples-it was terrible. The desserts were awful, no flavor at all. We stopped eating in the dining room because it was the same food that was served on deck, and it took forever to get the food. We heard everyone say that the restaurants you pay extra for were great-but I already paid almost $3000, I should have great food. The better food on the boat is the in room dining. You are very limited on your choices, but the quality seemed a little better, and you didn't have lines of people. Oh, and you have a place to sit in your room. The buffet restaurant, you spend most your time fighting for a place to sit and eat before your food gets cold. * I am sorry this review is so negative, but both my husband and I were very disappointed. We are not first time cruisers, but may be last time cruisers. We were not the only passengers with this opinion, we spoke with several others who were disappointed. Yes there were people who were thoroughly enjoying themselves, but I suspect those are the same people happy with the golden coral special. If you like chicken stuffed with prunes, bloated raisens in your salad, the excitement of not knowing if you commode will work, and fighting to the death for a theater seat, this is the cruise for you, otherwise, I would look elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise but the first time we had ever sailed with HAL and while none of it was horrible it just wasn't anything special either. The food was ok in the Vista restaurant nicely prepared and served, the food ... Read More
This was our 2nd Alaska cruise but the first time we had ever sailed with HAL and while none of it was horrible it just wasn't anything special either. The food was ok in the Vista restaurant nicely prepared and served, the food in the Pinnacle was great excellent quality, taste and service, well worth the extra charge. The food in the Lido was just not good, mostly cold, not enough options and the hours of operation not very accommodating. The only station open through out the day was pizza and pasta and it never changed. The place is always a little trashy too, lots of table left with dishes too long, food on the floor not picked up just not well taken care of. The room steward was great but too often in other areas of the ship the service was spotty at best and downright sullen at times. The ship is older and definitely showing its age, chipped and cracked, needing paint little wobbles here and there, our door would not shut tight so we had to put up with a wind noise even after they "fixed" it. On the other hand the bed was the best we have ever had on any cruise and the bathroom while old and tacky was well laid out and had a great shower, too bad the tub didn't drain while you showered. The on board shops are very limited in selection and prices seemed high even for a cruise. The smoking area is not well ventilated so there is a very strong odor all around on that floor. The daily activities were very repetitive and not that interesting. The show lounge had some very good singers and dancers and they put on some nice shows, there were also 2 comics on the ship. They were not to my taste but I must say that everyone around me seemed to be loving them. The acts in the bars and other lounges were uniformly weak and not worth wasting your time. Two things that really bothered me the most is the ports of call and the time allotted to you in each of them. We spent all day in Tracy arm and then didn't see the glacier a real waste of time. We had a reasonable time in Juneau and Sitka but only about 4 hours in Ketchikan and then the biggest disappointment of all was getting into Victoria 3 hours late and having just about 2.5 hours to try to see one of the best walking and shopping cities in the world, and it was late at night. I found it very interesting that the NCL Pearl was still tied up at the dock when we left Ketchikan and yet was already tied up at the dock when we got to Victoria. I don't know whether they got lost or were trying to save on fuel. The second thing is kind of related to the first and that is that there are no comfortable chairs anywhere on this ship. Because of the itinerary we spent a lot of time on the ship, in fact I finished 3 books from the library, but could not find a chair or couch anywhere to sit more than an hour or so.I guess that is not entirely true, the ship has a nice small movie theater and the seats there were pretty good, they got a lot of use from the movie goers. Getting on and off the ship during the ports of call was very slow, but embarkation and disembarkation was handled very well, quick and smooth. If a friend asked me to recommend this cruise I would tell them all of the things to expect but probably still suggest they go if they got a great price. I think as long as you understood what this ship experience is you would be all right. Most of our cruises have been on Celebrity and they are just a better more polished experience. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
We took our cruise on July 8th and we got back on July 15th, this was our 1st on Holland America. I had all high hopes and good thoughts for this cruise because I have wanted to go to ALASKA my whole life and was finally going. So I am ... Read More
We took our cruise on July 8th and we got back on July 15th, this was our 1st on Holland America. I had all high hopes and good thoughts for this cruise because I have wanted to go to ALASKA my whole life and was finally going. So I am going to do this review in groups and cover all that I can and I am going to be totally honest, don't want to make anyone mad or think all I am going to talk about is the bad stuff... here goes....Carla and Blue's trip to ALASKA on the OOSTERDAM..... Embark Day---- we arrived in Seattle about 11:30 and was picked up by the shuttle around 12:30 we arrived at the pier at 1:00 and got in line at 1:10 we were on the ship by 2, yes it took a while but there was alot of people there. I think it went pretty smooth a little slow but once we got to the counter it was fast from then on.... Cabin----- we went to our room 1st to put down our carry on's and our luggage was already in the room.. I was very shocked about this and happy because I was worried (there was another ship in port) that it would take a while, very happy.. we checked out our room, HAL assigned us a handicap room which we didn't ask for and it was a very good size, I loved our bathroom, No tub but the easy of just pulling a shower curtain and having all that room. Our sink was a little small but it did just fine. I loved the shampoo and hair conditioner and I liked the shower gel but my husband didn't he said it was to strong smelling. Our bed was GREAT!!!!! I Don't think I have ever slept so good and sound (even with all the doors slamming and kids running in the hall). We loved our balcony It just adds so much to the room and the beauty of the Mountains views..Food----- this is 1 subject that has so many different views but for us, we were pleased with the food. Breakfast was our favorite we got room service every morning but 1 we love the peace of having it brought to the room and not having to fight all the people so early in the morning. We ate most of our meals in the Lido and had No real complaints the food was always hot same with room service always hot BUT---- I was disappointed with the hours they had. And the dessert could have been a little more sweeter, LOVED THE ICE CREAM..We loved the black forrest raspberry cake... Tracy Arms---THIS RIGHT HERE IS WHAT GOT ME SO UPSET!!!!! THE mtns. was great with snow on them but we only saw one glacier far away and that was it!!! I know they have to be careful and it is our safety they put first but I just had in my mind that we would be up close and see alot of glaciers and icebergs and some sea life and animals (at the airport on the way home a woman who was on the Princes showed me some of her pictures of Tracy Arms and they got right on top of the glaciers and she said they stayed there a long time). So I don't know what happened made some of the other people on the ship with us knows but I was really disappointed, I asked 1 man at the front desk and he said you have to take a small boat out to see it up close... SO I DON'T KNOW. I didn't see any whales either I guess it just wasn't my time for Alaska I was expecting to much and I know this isn't HAL's fought but I did feel like they could have done better with the glaciers...Ok on to something else. We didn't pay for any extra tours or site seeing, we live on a very tight budget so going to Alaska was all we could do this time, BUT don't get me wrong Tracy ARMS was beautiful I was expecting more.. THE SHIP--- the ship was beautiful, the shops on board were priced good I thought and we got a few drinks in the evening buy one get the second for a dollar, I think they make good mixed drinks... But I was a little disappointed in how small I thought the ship was, there is not alot of outside space and not a lot to do on sea days... WORKER ON BOARD--- I LOVED OUR STEWARDS, I LOVED THE PEOPLE WORKING ON BOARD, THE PEOPLE AT THE FRONT DEST, EVERYONE WAS SO NICE AND HELPFUL AND ALWAYS WANTED TO SPEAK AND TALK WITH YOU. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We took the 7-day Alaskan Explorer Cruise on the Holland America Oosterdam from June 17 to 24. This was our seventh cruise and our third cruise to Alaska and they have all been on Holland America cruise ships. We enjoy the size of the ... Read More
We took the 7-day Alaskan Explorer Cruise on the Holland America Oosterdam from June 17 to 24. This was our seventh cruise and our third cruise to Alaska and they have all been on Holland America cruise ships. We enjoy the size of the ships, the friendliness and attention, and the wonderful cuisine and service. We flew nonstop to Seattle via SW Airlines. We had transfers to the Hilton Seattle Airport Hotel, but it would have been just as easy without the transfers, as the Hotel Shuttle was our transfer. The hotel was very nice, but next time, we will make our own hotel reservations and stay closer to the downtown area. We ate dinner in the hotel at Spencer's Steak & Chop Restaurant and it was excellent. We also had transfers to Pier 91, but the HAL bus was not leaving the hotel until 11:30 a.m. so we had the concierge get us a town car. This allowed us to get to the pier early and board the ship earlier. The embarkation process at the pier was run very efficiently. Upon boarding, we went to see the dining room maitre de in the Explorer's Lounge as we had Open Seating and wanted to reserve a table for two at 5:15 p.m. This allowed us to sit at the same table each evening and get to know our waiters and wine steward. It is very comparable to fixed seating which always seems to be closed when we make our reservations. Our cabin was 5109 on the Verandah Deck with a balcony ocean view. We had never experienced a balcony before, but now I don't know if I want to cruise without one. We enjoyed it immensely. Our cabin was ready when we arrived which was so nice. We went to the Mariner's Luncheon, signed up for Internet usage, and purchased a 7-day wine package. When we returned to our cabin, our luggage had arrived, so we unpacked. We set sail at 4:12 p.m. after the mandatory emergency drill. After dinner, we listened to the Adagio Duo in the Explorer's Lounge. The duo was a pianist and a violinist from Hungary. We were used to hearing a string quartet on the other cruises, so at first we were disappointed. That feeling lasted about two minutes as these two men were outstanding. We listened to them every evening. We then went to the Vista Lounge and were entertained with a show to meet the Oosterdam singers and dancers as well as a comedy routine by Julie Barr -- very funny. We attended every show in the Vista Lounge. Julie Barr was hilarious and the comedian-ventriloquist, Mike Robinson was also great. The other shows were with the Oosterdam singers and dancers. We enjoyed the "Stage & Screen" production better than the "Garage Band" production. The singers and dancers did an outstanding job, but the Garage Band was a bit overpowering. Our day-to-day schedule was pretty routine. My husband and I do not do many excursions as we cruise to enjoy the relaxation of the ship. We like to read, attend the lectures and demonstrations, walk on the deck, go to wine tastings, play trivia, meet new people, eat, go to the shows, and watch the ocean. The first day out we experienced rough seas and there many passengers who stayed in their cabins that day; but then it was smooth sailing!! We cruised Tracy Arm and our ports of call were Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, Canada with disembarkation in Seattle. The week went entirely too fast. We used the Express Checkout so we didn't see our luggage until we arrived back in Kansas City. The only negative was that one piece of my luggage wound up at LAX and not MCI! Luckily, we picked it up at the airport the next day. I'm not sure if I would use Express Checkout again, but it was very convenient not to lug the suitcases around at the airport. We have never been disappointed with the Holland American Cruise Line and can't wait until our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
My girl friend and I have cruised several times, with our favorite being Royal Caribbean, and least favorite Carnival. However Holland American now takes the top spot. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise to Alaska via the Oosterdam in late ... Read More
My girl friend and I have cruised several times, with our favorite being Royal Caribbean, and least favorite Carnival. However Holland American now takes the top spot. We thoroughly enjoyed our cruise to Alaska via the Oosterdam in late May. But to be honest, it didn't start the best. We had booked the transportation option from SeaTac Airport thru Holland America. We liked the idea of simply checking our luggage with HAL at the Seattle Airport and not having to worry about it after that. Luggage check in was a breeze, but then we had to wait outside for almost an hour for a bus to bring us to the pier. Although the waiting area was covered, it was still a cold blustery morning and the hour wait was unpleasant. Once on the bus, the driver lost her way, missed the entrance to the turnpike, so we had to circle around back to the airport via side streets in order to find the entrance. I felt we were lucky to have arrived mid morning, because combined with the hour wait for a shuttle bus, then the driver getting lost, we did not arrive at the pier until near 1:00. Still plenty of time to get boarded, but we had envisioned a leisurely morning, instead of waiting in the cold, then taking the long route to the pier. Boarding the ship was handled quickly. It took us about 20 minutes to work thru the security, get our HAL cards, and allowed to board. We were told our room was ready...which was a pleasant surprise. We had a balcony room on the eight deck, near the rear elevator. Our stateroom exceeded our expectations. We had read previous reviews on the condition of the ship and that the ship was a bit worn, but our room was clean, a good size, more than enough closet and storage space. The bed was very comfortable. We easily had room to hang all of our clothes and we had alot, and still completely store our suitcases (4) beneath the bed. We had not cruised Alaska before, so we brought along quite a bit in case we had cold wet weather instead of mild weather. By way, we brought way too much...but now we know better. We thoroughly enjoyed the ship, especially the Thermal Suite (well worth the extra $199 for a couple). You can sign up for once on board which I wholeheartedly recommend. It was wonderful to have unlimited access to this amenity all week long. I only wish it was open until midnight. We do a lot of dancing in the evening and it would have been nice to unwind here. We had signed up for the open dining, but we found ourselves eating mostly in the Lido buffet. The menu was the same as the Dining Room and it was so much more convenient to eat on our schedule. We did eat one evening in the Dining Room..and the service and food were fine, but it was the same quality as the Lido Buffet. I noticed on our cruise that the Lido Dining seemed more popular than the Dining Room option. Often times during the evening, we would walk several miles on the outside deck, which passed the Dining Room windows, and very rarely did we see the Dining Room full. Perhaps more travelers, like ourselves, liked the freedom to dress casually and eat without making a reservation. There was a good assortment from which to select, and the wait staff was superb! Since we are creatures of habit, we had a tendency to eat on the same side of the ship, and we got to know the wait staff. They recognized us quite quickly, and were always willing to make sure we were happy with the food and service. On our previous cruises, we only experienced this type of service in the main Dining Room...kudos to HAL for the staff in the Lido! We didn't participate in a lot of the cruise activities or the HAL excursions. I had gone on the Internet and had the Visitor's Guide for our ports sent to us via snail mail...so we had a good handle on what to do and where to go..without spending a ton on excursions. We did Zip line in Ketchikan, and enjoyed that..otherwise we hiked and explored on our own. We went to most of the evening shows....loved Barnaby (comedian and juggler). Show quality was average for a cruise, but enjoyable. We hated to leave the ship. I still have sore fingers as they had to pry my hands off the railing to disembark. But as far as disembarkation goes, HAL has it figured out. Seamless, smooth, no waiting in large group in a lounge. Instead we had a nice breakfast on the Lido deck, then waited in our room until called to disembark. Easily the best disembarkation we have experienced! We love the cruise, the ports, and the staff on the Oosterdam. It was a great week...we plan on taking another Alaska cruise with HAL next May. Read Less
Sail Date May 2012
After reading the review just posted about the Holland Oosterdam, I must also express my disappoint with our recent cruise on September 4th. I also am in the hospitality/restaurant business and I believe that customer service is the most ... Read More
After reading the review just posted about the Holland Oosterdam, I must also express my disappoint with our recent cruise on September 4th. I also am in the hospitality/restaurant business and I believe that customer service is the most important element to anyone's vacation. We have been on over 20 cruises, with only a very few bad experiences. But this one was bad from the beginning. At the airport, the Holland bus was there to pick up our group of 12. My mother-in-law is in a scooter, so a bus with ADA lift was needed. The lift did not work and after an hour we were finally on our way. At port check in, my wife's parents were told that a military ID was not valid, after checking with our agent prior to leaving. That took more time and delays to get that approved. Once on board, all buffets were served by the crew, more delays. We were told that this was their policy for the first 48 hours. Come to find out from some crew members, the sickness that we had on board that was mentioned by the prior review, actually started the week before. And since they were not sure if it was gone, they served all buffets for 48 hours. Then they let people serve themselves by Tuesday, but on Tuesday night many people were sick and at the medical clinic. 7 of our 12 became sick. Now for food and service. Since I am in this business, I too watch this very closely. Both food and service were very poor. We had two large tables, some would get their salads, others that appetizers, then others would get salads a few minutes later, etc. There was no organization to meal service, very frustrating. Example of food quality. I order Surf and Turf, a filet mignon and lobster tail. Sounds good right. The lobster was not cooked completely, had an interesting smell, and my filet mignon, well it was about a 1/2 inch thick, tough and looked like a piece of flank steak. I told the waiter that is is not filet mignon and he said yes it was. I did neat not eat my meal. The head waiter then came over, I explained myself again, and he returned from the kitchen with the exact same poor quality dish. I said no thank you, and they literally tried to force the plate in front of me. There are many other stories of poor food, poor presentation, and poor service. Due to the sickness, they did not put anything on the tables. No butter, no bread, no salt/pepper, nothing. You had to ask then wait. One last comment on food. My wife wanted a vegetarian meal the first night, nothing on the menu. The waiter said that you have to order that 24 hours before you meal time. What????? I have never heard of this on a cruise ship, ever. How do you know 24 hours before your dinner what dish that you might be in the mood for???? In the spa, they had no drinking water before, during or after a treatment. They blamed this on the sickness and said they could not provide drinking water. After any spa treatment, the first thing you want is water. The answer was NO. Even if they could not provide a glass of water from a pitcher, the least they could do is provide a small bottle water after you paid $250 for a treatment. That is not too much to ask, is it?? We have sailed on Holland America in the past, many years ago. We were very happy then, not happy with our most recent trip. Where has the quailty gone? Read Less
Sail Date September 2011
We loved our stateroom and our steward, Simon. The staff onboard were wonderful. The food was only okay, mostly overcooked and under-flavored, with few choices. I think they serve mediocre food so you'll pay extra for the specialty ... Read More
We loved our stateroom and our steward, Simon. The staff onboard were wonderful. The food was only okay, mostly overcooked and under-flavored, with few choices. I think they serve mediocre food so you'll pay extra for the specialty restaurants, which we didn't try because it cost more. We sometimes ate on the Lido deck because the food was about the same there, but oftentimes there were no clean tables to sit at and tables with dirty dishes and half-eaten food sat uncleaned.We saw lots of whales and seagulls while on board. One of the best expeditions was an independent one with a young man with a small boat who took 6 of us out in the bay. We saw lots of sea otters, many mothers holding little babies and one group of them with at least 50 otters. We saw a grey whale with lots of barnacles so close we could have touched it and it swam under our boat, rolled over underneath the boat and came out the other side. Amazing! My husband booked an independent fishing expedition and caught 4 salmon, now fileted and in our freezer. But...the itinerary for Sitka said that we would be there at 9 o'clock so we paid for reservations for the small boat cruise for 10. However, unless you had booked your expedition through Holland America (at a very premium price), because Sitka is a tender situation, you were not allowed off the ship until 10:30. So we had to cancel that reservation and quickly make another with someone we weren't familiar with. There was a couple onboard that had family waiting and they were not allowed to disembark early either. Holland America should explain about the tender and furnish the time you are actually going to be on land.We brought our laptop, believing we could keep in touch with our family by emails. We paid over $50 for 100 minutes - no free wifi anywhere on board - at least not for those of us that paid only for verandahs and not suites. The first time we tried to get online, it took about 5 minutes to get to the web and we spent about 5 more minutes checking emails. When we logged off, we had been charged for far more than 10 minutes. Most of the time we could not even get online in our stateroom. The woman in the computer area on the ship said that nothing was guaranteed. She, of course, didn't tell me that until after I paid and complained, but she used that phrase, "it is not guaranteed" a total of 12 times when I did complain. She said that I could use the computers in the computer area, but they were just as slow and used up minutes quickly. For over $50, we got to send 2 emails and receive 3. Holland America should suggest that you not bring a laptop - a total waste of time - and that if you must bring one, they should tell you which staterooms actually get service. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
Just got home from 7-day cruise on the Oosterdam. Wish I was still on the ship. I have only had one experience cruising and it was on the Carnival Holiday about 12 years ago. That was a much smaller and older ship. The Oosterdam was much, ... Read More
Just got home from 7-day cruise on the Oosterdam. Wish I was still on the ship. I have only had one experience cruising and it was on the Carnival Holiday about 12 years ago. That was a much smaller and older ship. The Oosterdam was much, much better. Transportation to Pier 91: We took link light rail from airport and transferred to bus for about $5 each. Bus dropped us off on a bridge and we had to climb down a number of stairs with all the baggage, which was a challenge, but we were not sorry because we got to see some of the streets of Seattle and bus driver and light rail employees were friendly. On the return, we thought we would take taxi, but the organization of the taxi system at the pier was horrible. We finally decided to go with Shuttle Express back to the airport at $18 per person. We just went outside the ship terminal and they were very friendly. We originally thought we would go with taxi to the light rail, but there was a long line and taxis were picking up people that were way at the back of the line, as they just wanted to grab passengers and not wait on the line to do it in the order they arrived. Taxi to airport could be from $45 to beyond $60. The sign on the cabs say, "airport $32 from downtown", but Pier 90 is further away, so don't be fooled. Encountered two separate hostile taxi drivers and the way they were picking up people was not properly organized, unfair, and chaotic. Both the Oosterdam and Princess Sapphire unloaded passengers at the same time. Why, why, why? Why does the authority at the Pier 91 allow this? There really should be a difference of at least 2 hours between the disembarkation of cruise ship passengers. It had a ripple effect, as the security line at the airport was an absolute mess and very, very long and the competition of airfare made the airfare prices way higher than otherwise. On my next trip, I will surely check that my cruise ship doesn't return anywhere near the time of another cruise ship. Ship Very friendly service on the Oosterdam. Employees greeted us and smiled every time we passed. We enjoyed Rollis, a waiter in the Vista Lounge, and above all we were soooo happy to have met a gentleman employee in the Lido Deck dining area, whose name is Ngakan (pronounced "Knock-on"). One night, in the Vista Dining room, all the staff danced around the room on three occasions. The shops seems like a waste of space. I liked the Karaokee in the Queen's lounge. DJ Bret made sure to get the crowd to cheer on every volunteer singer and singers were backed up by a live band. There were some contests where they only gave out an Oosterdam pin if you won. There were Trivia contests where you were encouraged to team up with people, but then they gave the team (sometimes of strangers) one bottle of champagne to share. My guy doesn't drink, so it wasn't much incentive. The captain of the ship is actually a funny guy. Our cabin steward Daniel always greeted us in the hallway. I think the employees are under a tremendous strain of getting ready for the next bunch of passengers, so it was very unfortunate that some workers knocked on our door three times wanting to enter to change linens or check the stock in the fridge before our assigned departure window of time had come. It made the last half hour stressful, as I was doing my best to be sure that I had packed last minute items. There were cleaners out on the balconies cleaning at around 9:15am, so be forewarned to close curtains if you are changing outside the bathroom. I participated in Jackpot Bingo twice, but not third time, as I think that real numbered bingo balls, like in the old times, should be used instead of having the numbers called up on the computer. Ship had three bingo games with a chance to win $40K, $60K, and $100K if you got bingo on the entire card in under 46 calls. Each bingo card had identification numbers on them. It seems that a programmed computer can know what numbers NOT to call, which may be the very reason why no one has ever one. It was nice to have breakfast on the ship before disembarking. That was a treat and employees at the Lido Deck dining area were still pleasant right 'til the end. Shows Ventriloquist was fun, as was the magician. Some of the group dancing was good, but in between the dance routines were solos or duets (singing only), that were way too cheesy, and I left to do something else. So much more to write about! I would consider Holland America again, as they do try to keep prices lower than competitors, and I spoke to different cruisers who said that the friendliness of the staff is what stands out about the Oosterdam/Holland America. Juneau Took free tour of the capitol building. $1.50 city bus to 2 miles from Mendenhall Glacier. Walked a straight level sidewalk the rest of the way. (took around 1.5 hours) Took the $8 Glacier Express bus back (took less than 20 minutes. Ketchikan There was two guys at the port that offered us to ride the seaplane for $175/person, but we still didn't go ahead with it. Sitka Sweet town. Went to Raptor center. Victoria Took $7.50 RT/pp bus to Empress Hotel. May have done better with blue taxis that seemed to be picking up at lightning speed even though line was long. I think I heard that that was $14 for a careful, but don't quote me. Parliament building is lit up like Christmas at night. Cabin We booked a VH cabin guarantee and found out our room number 10 days before trip: we were given a VB cabin on deck 6 near elevator towards front of the ship. I was happy with cabin and location. Cabin appears larger in the photos online, but I would have been happy to live in the cabin. Nice hot water, great water pressure, shampoo, conditioner, and bath gel pumps in the shower. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our first experience with Holland America and our second trip to Alaska. My wife and I have been on three other cruises, two with Princess and one with Carnival. I blame myself for the initial stress I experienced since I ... Read More
This was our first experience with Holland America and our second trip to Alaska. My wife and I have been on three other cruises, two with Princess and one with Carnival. I blame myself for the initial stress I experienced since I didn't realize my wife's passport had expired and I was concerned that a driver's license and birth certificate wouldn't be enough for her to fly and cruise with. After some phone calls and web research I was assured we would be fine since we were sailing round trip from Seattle but I couldn't relax until we were on the ship. As it turned out, everything went smooth as silk, even when entering Canada, and I was able to enjoy the trip. I booked my own plane tickets out of Detroit and opted out of the HA transfer to the pier hoping to save a little money. A little research after the fact showed that a cab ride was about six or eight bucks less and you had to handle your own bags at the pier. When we got to Seattle we went to the HA desk, bought transfers, handed them our luggage and got on the bus. Worked out just fine. Not only was it worth a few bucks more to forget about the bags until after we got on the boat, the HA people made sure you got to where you needed to be with minimal hassle. There was a HA and a Princess boat at the pier loading at the same time. There were a lot of people being moved through the pier but the lines moved quickly and efficiently and we were on the Oosterdam in no time. At 4pm we were on our way to Glacier Bay. The second day was a full day at sea. This was a great opportunity to get acquainted with the ship and research shore excursions since we didn't have an opportunity to do so before we left. Excursions were easily purchased at the excursions desk or at one of the automated touch screen kiosks around the ship. The Oosterdam is an attractive, nicely appointed vessel though, as others have commented, may be starting to show her age particularly along the waterline. The captain reminded us that the ship was due for dry-dock soon and I'm sure she'll be good as new in no time. The interior of the ship was very clean and well maintained. Being able to close the roof over the pool was a nice touch that kept the pool area usable the entire trip. They push the spa facilities pretty hard and the spa looked well equipped. We are not spa people so we never used it. My wife found it very handy to be able to use her "keycard" in the casino machines in addition to cash. Day three in Glacier Bay was as we remembered it from our last visit 15 years ago, spectacular! We had a beautiful sunny day and the mountain views and glaciers did not disappoint. Day four was another beautiful sunny day spent in Juneau. Like all the cities visited, downtown Juneau was the usual collection of shops selling overpriced jewelry and cheesy souvenirs. We purchased a shore excursion to go whale watching and visit Mendenhall Glacier. The whales were very active and put on a great show. Mendenhall Glacier was awesome though we wish we had a little more time there. Sitka was next. A drizzly, cloudy day but hey, it's Alaska. You've got to expect it. Weather never keeps things from happening though. The port doesn't accommodate cruise ships so we tendered to shore. A well organized, relatively quick process. Weather cleared nicely by the time we got to shore but Sitka was a bit of a disappointment for us. We didn't buy a shore excursion and the city attractions were mostly cultural and centered around a church in the middle of town, Zzzzzzz. Other than that was the usual souvenir shops selling the same stuff every other city has. We highly recommend a shore excursion here. I'm sure we would have benefited from one. Day six was spent in Ketchikan. Once again the weather cleared as we exited the ship. We remembered Ketchikan as a good place to see the salmon running but I guess we were a little too early in the season this time and there wasn't much to see in the way of fish this time around. There were four cruise ships docked so the city was really busy. We took in the lumberjack show which was quite entertaining. We had to be back on the boat by 12:30p in order to make Victoria, BC by the next day. Wouldn't have minded a little more time in Ketchikan though. Victoria was a little odd. Travelling at full steam from Ketchikan we didn't get to Victoria until 7pm the next day. Then it was all aboard by 11:30pm. Victoria was a big modern city and was worthy of a little more time to explore. The short amount of time spent there almost felt like an afterthought. I'm sure the schedule is based on port availability as there are many cruise ships making this run this time of year. There was almost always another ship visible from ours while at sea and every port but Sitka had at least three cruise ships at their docks. Still, it was a very pretty city and I would like to go back and stay a while some time. Between the flat rate, pre-billed tipping and the smooth, well organized disembarkation in Seattle, Holland America made the end of the trip easier to deal with than any previous cruise we had been on. When I was researching cruise lines one of the standout complaints about Holland America was the poor food quality. Unfortunately, I would have to agree. One of the standout memories from our two Princess cruises was the incredible food. Large portions and very high quality. We never felt that way with the meals on the Oosterdam. Although we never walked away from the main dining room hungry, we also never found ourselves saying, "that was a great meal!" Any of the meats served were tough and grizzly and didn't seem to be of very high quality. Perhaps the better cuts of meat were saved for the other, added cost, reservation only restaurants. Appetizers were bland and forgettable. Soups and salads were just OK. I'm not saying the food was bad, it just wasn't great. I wont even bother commenting on the buffet. Certainly nothing special but how special should a buffet be? It served its purpose as a handy, reliable source of tolerable sustenance. Price was the main decision maker in giving Holland America a try. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the trip we are going to think twice next time based strictly on the uninspiring food. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
This was our honeymoon cruise and first ever for DH. I have cruised on several lines including RCCL and NCL, but HAL is my hands down favorite. I have previously been on the Zuiderdam and the Eurodam. We decided to get married in May and ... Read More
This was our honeymoon cruise and first ever for DH. I have cruised on several lines including RCCL and NCL, but HAL is my hands down favorite. I have previously been on the Zuiderdam and the Eurodam. We decided to get married in May and booked this trip online in March so not much time for me to plan as I am a big time planner. We flew to Seattle the day before and stayed at the Edgewater Hotel. What a unique property right on the water and just a few blocks away from Pike Place Market which we had to see. We are both Starbucks junkies so of course we had to see if the latte's are better in the "original"..they weren't. LOL. Back to the hotel....I ususally don't spend too much on a hotel to save more money for the cruise, but since our honeymoon I made an exception. It is a unique mix of modern and eclectic with a fireplace in the room and teddy bears on the bed. The bathroom was gorgeous with stone and granite. The lobby had trees in it and comfy furniture with a great view of the harbor. We got to watch our ship come in with the sun rising...DH got some great pics. Embarkation was pretty quick although we did have to wait for about 30 minutes after getting our checkin...not too bad but DH is not very patient. Having sailed on other HAL ships in this class I found my way around pretty quickly and found the ship to be in good condition. I loved the colors of the ship although some of the artwork and benches etc...were very strange...a blue merman bench?? We chose open dining as we don't like to be scheduled. I made reservations for Canaletto the first night and hubby liked it so much we ate there 3 times. The antipasta platter is worth the trip alone not to mention the yummy cotton candy. Something about eating cotton candy on china with a glass of wine is so cool. We ate 2 nites in the Lido and twice in the Pinnacle Grill. Although I have sailed HAL before this was my first time to dine there and it was delicious. I had the veal chop and he had the 18oz bone in ribeye both were cooked perfectly and service was impeccable. The second nite there he got the ribeye again as he loved so much and I had Steak Diane. The filet was cooked and broght tableside where the sauce was flamed with congnac. So good, but I couldn't eat it all as I saved room for the chocolate cake...the reviews on this were right on....totally fabulous. We did not eat in the MDR at all and didn't miss it. Glacier Bay- totally beautiful and saw some calving while there. Loved being out on deck for viewing. Juneau- did the Photo Safari offered through the cruiseline. Had a great guide and learned how to better use my new SLR camera. Great tour for photo amateurs like me though DH didn't learn anything new. Saw lots of humpbacks and sea lions and so many bald eagles we lost count. Our guide said we were lucky as many only see one or two on this tour. Stopped at Mendenhall Glacier and did a short hike to the lake. WOW what a beautiful place. We had time to take more pics and the guide got some great ones of DH and I in front of the glacier. Back to the cruise dock boarded the ship had quick lunch and spent afternoon going through shops. Found a great coffee shop with free WIFI and sent emails home to the family. Sitka- We were supposed to to the Ocean Raft and 4x4 excursion, but it was cancelled at the last minute as we were told the boat was broke down. We tendered to town and walked to the Raptor Center which was way cool. The bald eagles and other birds of prey there were great. Did not find the shops very good and bought nothing. Back on the ship pretty early. This was our least favorite port though that might have been different if we had gotten to enjoy our excusion. Ketchikan- Misty Fjords flightseeing with Island Wings. Had an amazing trip and the weather was beautiful. Landed on a little island on an alpine lake for 30 minutes and took pictures. The pilot Michelle was great and took pictures of us in front of the plane...some of the best from our trip. We went back to town after our great flight and did a great deal of shopping. There were many stores near the dock and bought gifts for Christmas for the family. Wanted to do Creek Street, but not enough time. We loved Ketchikan and would have liked to stay longer (7am-1pm) Victoria- We were so tired and not feeling good that day so we stayed on th boat, but had fun watching all the people get off the 3 cruise ships there from our balcony. Cabin- We had a balcony toward the front of the ship and loved it. My first time to have one and now spoiled forever. We used it extensively during this trip and found the extra room to be very nice. Our cabin steward did a fine job and took care of everything we needed. He was always smiling and speaking to us. I actualy saw him more than usual on a cruise which was nice,. I found the service to be good in all areas of the ship. I booked the thermal suite for the week and used it every day. I have only gotten day passes in the caribbean, but really loved the pool and heated loungers after chilly days in port. I got to see an orca while laying in the heated loungers and it was really close to the ship. That very quiet room got quite animated to say the least. It is a bit pricey for the two of us at $250, but I used it and loved it. We did not go see any of the shows but watched a movie in the screening room every day. Great comfy chairs and popcorn is a nice touch. It would be nice if they offerred drink service there as popcorn makes you thirsty. We had a fantastic cruise and hubby is hooked on cruising and loves HAL as much as I do. I keep thinking of trying other lines, but why leave something that works for you. We are booked on the Westerdam next spring and can't wait. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
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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