14 Holland America Oosterdam Romantic Cruise Reviews

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 chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it started in Ft. Lauderdale and ended 21 days later in Seattle plus we got a very large stateroom #8140 w a wrap-around deck on the stern. The first day for embarkation we felt the cruise line was not organized and although our luggage was labeled "priority" it was the very last on - not that it mattered but what did is we kept wondering if it would show up at all. But note that the disembarkation was very well organized and fast. Holland America has figured out how to make money - we paid $150 for water, $300 for internet (it is just $150 if you stick to social media only) and they must have saved a lot by purchasing low quality food. The Gala Dinner with filet mignon and crab béarnaise was the worst with crab nearly too spoiled to serve a piece of meat that was not filet mignon but some grass-fed animal's "surprise." Some meals were good but spaced well apart and the Lido food began to taste the same no matter what you took. The crew was very well-trained and friendly. Our Neptune suite was ok but I do not believe this ship was updated in 2017 or 2018 as it was worn pretty well including our suite. The ports of call were good and although many were shipping ports, I understand it is hard to find dock space for a ship sized like Oosterdam. The people we encountered onshore were very friendly. We will use another cruise line for our next cruise maybe we just expected better like we got on the Ruby Princess last year. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual ... Read More
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual December cruise to enjoy the voyage to and from the Hawaiian Island destinations. It was a much smaller ship that we have been traveling in the past few years but had some very nice entertaining and learning opportunities that compensated somewhat the frustrations of getting used to poor dining room organization, and indoor temperatures that were so very cold it required most passengers to wear coats throughout the days and evening onboard --- even the men were wearing jackets! From the first evening the dining room experience was chaos and remained so for 3 days. We had requested a table for two, and that seemed to be a real problem for some reason. We were shifted from one section to another, unlike all past cruises where we had the same waiter, same table, and our wine bottles were waiting for us when we arrived. Not so on the Oosterdam. The dining room manager was a very unpleasant man to work with. We nicknamed him Mr. Smiley face since he never was seen without a scowl. On the 3rd day we finally had a regular table and waiter. However, we felt very sorry for the wait staff as they were terribly overworked and understaffed for the number of people being served at the same seating. The top 3 things on the ship included: 1) An amazing string quartet that played 3-4 times most days. They packed the room for all performances and each member was outstanding! 2) The Microsoft Workshop was hosted by Frank Barcelona who presented 3-5 sessions daily about using Outlook and Cortana. He was outstanding, patient, and provided good solid support for computer and phone users to sync their instruments to the Outlook utilities. 3) The America's Test Kitchen presentations were great! The presentation room was well designed with overhead monitors for everyone to see the chef as she demonstrated wonderful recipes in a very entertaining way. The port stops were enjoyable, especially Lahaina and Kauai. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
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
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
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival ... Read More
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. My spouse and I are 50. This would have and should have been a 5 star cruise...if not for the malfunctioning/ nonfunctioning stateroom toilet. Flew into Tampa the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City/Downtown Tampa. 5 stars for the Hampton Inn and would highly recommend. Clean, super friendly and helpful staff, a decent hot breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. Great location right at the end of 7th Ave where all the bars and restaurants are. A quirky area where we felt completely safe. Check out The Florida Cane Distillery for free samples of various flavored vodkas. Tasty! We bought some to bring home. Had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant which was very good, highly recommend. If we cruise out of Tampa again, we'll stay here again. Took the free hotel shuttle to the port at around 1100. Took approximately an hour to get onboard after going thru security and checking in. Stateroom was ready, clean and had a decent balcony with foot stools for each chair and a small table. Toilet worked at this time. Had second seating dining which we did four nights. Good service and good food. As mentioned in previous reviews and boards, the wine selection for a glass under $9 is minimal. Did the Pinnacle Grill the first night at around 8:00 and the place was near empty. Good service and good food. I had the halibut and my wife had a filet. The filet was cooked perfectly but under seasoned. Great crab cakes. Brunch everyday at the Lido. Decent food, great salad bar and usually not a problem finding a table. 2nd formal night was with another couple we befriended. They made us a reservation for anytime dining in the Main Dinning Room. All of us had the lobster tail and filet which was very good. Was the birthday for one of them and the wait staff brought out a piece of birthday cake and enthusiastically sang a song. Very fun. Did the Lido buffet the last night for dinner, decent. Spent a lot of time relaxing and reading by the Sea View pool at the aft of the ship. Always easy to find a place to sit or lay out. Bar service staff was lacking. Seemed like if you were more than ten feet away from the pool, they rarely came around. There were dozens of passengers that were ignored as they would repeatedly approach passengers near the pool that would decline drinks. Was almost like there was an invisible fence they could not cross. Did trivia several times which was fun. Checked out the BB King's Blues Club several times which was good as well as the Billboard Onboard which was also good. BEST bartender on the ship was Elwood at the Billboard bar. Great chocolate martini's, friendly and fun to talk too. He gets our vote for best employee. Unfortunately for any of you hoping to meet him on the Oosterdam, his contract is up at the end of the month. You'll have to look for him on the Westerdam in a few months. Casino was decent, won $300 at the Black Jack tables. Didn't do any excursions on this cruise. At Key West we walked around and took in the sights with some bar hopping and lunch. At Roatan we just walked along the beach and checked out the shops in the cruise port . At Santo de Tomas de Castilla we checked out the tourist center, watched a local band and made a few purchases before returning to the ship for a couples massage in the Spa. Unfortunately the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled at the last minute due to damage at one of the docks and the Mexican authorities reassigning our dock to another ship. Disembarkation was a breeze. Waited in our stateroom until called. Took about ten minutes to get off the ship from our stateroom and another ten to fifteen to retrieve our luggage and make it thru Immigration and Customs. Now for the bad. Five of the seven days our stateroom toilet did not work properly or not at all. It started Sat night into Sun morning, again Mon morning, Tues morning, Tues evening into Wed morning, Wed afternoon and finally DID NOT WORK AT ALL from 900 Thurs morning until we left the ship at 900 Fri morning. There was an issue with the vacuum system at the aft of the ship...which we weren't told until Wed afternoon. We weren't the only stateroom having problems. Repeated calls and visits to the front desk and the issue would only be fixed temporarily. Sometimes the toilet would flush partially, sometimes an hour or two later, and sometimes overflow. Luckily there's a floor drain right next to it. Extremely frustrating and a major inconvenience when you have to walk up or down several flights of stairs to find a functioning public toilet. Annoyed that it took so long and a meeting with the Front Desk manager to be told the truth about the vacuum system problem. At first we were accused of clogging the toilet and one front desk employee stated that "hundreds of guests" were flushing toilets at the same time in the morning causing the problem. We knew that was BS as we've been on eight previous cruises. We were provided a letter and a $300 shipboard credit for the "plumbing challenges" and "as a gesture of goodwill". That covered approximately 10% of what we paid for the cruise....nice gesture but not enough to counteract how this issue tainted our cruise experience. Will we cruise HAL again? Probably. We will have some reservation due to the toilet issue though. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on ... Read More
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on deck one , near the bow, but the cabin was ok. We were on anytime dining, the food was not great, there was only 3 nights out of 14 that we could say we really enjoyed our meal. The choice was limited, with only a couple of new items on each night, mostly the same options night after night. Service was not that good, we did eat in the lido each morning, some staff were very good, most were indifferent, not bothered. Same with the bars, some staff were excellent, especially Josef in the pinnacle bar, but some were poor. There was a 15% surcharge on all bar bills, disgusting when you consider the charge of $23 per day gratuities, we refused to pay that and opted to pay half, although wish now that we had not paid anything at all. Entertainment was not great, most of the acts were mediocre, did a couple of quizzes, the piano bar was quite good for a couple of nights but repetitive after that. The excursion charges were extremely high, not good value for money. it was very easy to arrange excursions from the ports, the information centres were very good, helpful and a lot cheaper than the ship prices. We particularly enjoyed Napier and Picton in New Zealand. We did a tour in Rotorua with Mount Tours, booked on the dockside, that was brilliant. All in all a disappointing experience with Holland America and would not sail with them again. Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
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
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside ... Read More
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside passage to Alaska. We booked VA5185 cabin, a stern veranda cabin. We always have a wonderful time on our cruises and this cruise was no exception. Lin was excited before we left to be cruising on HAL and was anticipating that this would end up being our cruise line of choice for future cruises. Let me start by saying that the crew on the Oosterdam were the happiest (genuinely happy, not corporate mandated happy) crew we have ever sailed with. We saw behavior of some passengers that was absolutely atrocious and the crew handled themselves with a dignity and respect that made the offending passengers look like idiots. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived early and when we were allowed to board, were one of the first people on-board. This was actually the easiest embarkation we have ever had on a cruise, even compared to two previous cruises where we were in suites. We did not have a cabin steward on this cruise, we had a cabin elf. Everything was always magically done and any request was met with a smile and was accomplished promptly. Our cabin elf was named Harry and we left a "Let Us Know" card praising his work at the front desk. We purchased the Thermal Suite package for the cruise beforehand knowing that the price would be cheaper on embarkation day. Upon embarking the ship we went to the spa and verified our reservation and they told us that since the special was $200 less than what we paid beforehand they would only charge our on-board account for the special price, in effect giving us another $200 of on-board credit. We absolutely love the Thermal Suite and made good use of it during the cruise. Our cabin was a little larger than I thought it would be and our veranda was huge compared to regular veranda cabins. It was about 15 or 16 feet deep. It was outfitted with two of the faux-wicker loungers and two faux-wicker chairs and the obligatory small table. This was our first time ever having a fully covered veranda and we found it to be perfect. You can find more details and photos in our blog at: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/our...osterdam-2012/ We love the promenade deck on the Vista Class ships as you can walk completely around the ship on one deck unlike some other ships that require you to go up and down stairs at either end of the ship to make a complete lap. The first night out of San Diego we had 30 foot seas and 20 foot seas the first full day at sea. Neither of us are bothered with motion sickness and slept like babies with the rocking motion. Many others were not so lucky and the bags and medication were readily available for those who needed it. This is the first time that I have ever seen a formal night canceled and rescheduled due to rough seas. We don't do formal nights and had made reservations for the Canaletto Restaurant for those nights so on the rescheduled night we ate in the Lido instead. The food on this cruise was good overall, probably better than we expected based on previous cruises. The shows were hit and miss, as expected. We always sit near an exit so we can escape if need be and we did that several times. We don't do Bingo, Karaoke, or Trivia, although we will sit in occasionally on Trivia or Karaoke to have a good laugh. We felt the cultural program left a lot to be desired. We attended the first one and left when the "expert" was basically reading a script. We don't do ships excursions because they are generally overpriced and we aren't sheep and don't like to be herded. We had arranged our own things to do while in Hawaii and enjoyed them immensely. It was nice to see that the muster drill had a little more importance placed on it although HAL needs to tweak it some. Roll was taken, under threat of not being able to sail if you weren't there. That is a good thing. However, to have everyone meet at their muster station and have a crew member try to show everyone how they should put on their life jacket when only the people in the front row could see them is rather silly, especially for first time cruisers. Our first stop was in Lahaina, Maui. This is a tender port (thankfully the only one on this cruise) and the tendering process was absolutely horrible. We have been here on two other cruises, on different lines, and HAL really screwed this up. They put 5 tenders in the water and found that two of them were broken down. REALLY! SERIOUSLY! Rather than putting in two others to replace the broken down ones, they decided that they would work on them in the water to fix them. Maybe they thought the other eleven on the ship were broken down also. These are the life boats that would be used in an emergency and they weren't working properly. So much for the enhanced muster drill procedures. From the time we got our tender tickets (#10) it took us 2 ½ hours to be put on a tender. I feel sorry for the people who showed up for their tickets 45 minutes later and had ticket #36. On our other cruises we never had more than a 20 minute wait after getting our tickets. Returning to the ship was excruciating also. We stood on the dock for over an hour for a tender to show up to take us back to the ship. There was no traffic in the harbor and the seas were calm. The tendering process was ridiculous. HAL definitely dropped the ball on this one. We did our own things on the other islands and getting off the ship was easy since all HAL had to do was make sure the gangway was secure. Unfortunately a huge storm pretty much canceled anything on Kauai. Roads were washed out and torrential rain dominated the agenda. Amazingly, some passengers were absolutely incensed that their tours were canceled and blamed HAL for it. More childish, spoiled, entitled people! Disembarkation in San Diego was a breeze. Unusual to be sure, so we'll take it and enjoy it for a change. Now for something new in my reviews. Ahhh! To Dream. IF I WERE KING: (and I had unlimited funds) I understand some of these thoughts are not possible, some are funny and some could be put into service. 1) Make it so that you could view your on board account on your stateroom television. 2) Make the atrium large enough to feel like a destination of it's own. 3) Make the Vista Showroom large enough to accommodate everyone that would like to attend a show there so you don't have to show up 45 minutes early to get a seat. 4) Have muster roll call taken with hand held mobile scanners that they use when you disembark the ship. 5) Hold muster drills inside (requires more seating in the Vista Lounge, etc) so that elderly people aren't standing for long periods of time while roll is taken. Everyone might be able to see the life vest demo that way also. 6) Make sure all tenders (life boats) are operational prior to needing them. 7) Use more tenders to get people ashore in a reasonable amount of time. 8) Install a button to turn on the T-Pool jets that can be reached while IN the T-Pool. 9) Install sensors in the Thermal Suite that will sense when someone on the tile loungers is snoring that will drop down a "Cone Of Silence" (remember Maxwell Smart) around them so others don't have to listen to them snoring. 10) Install a human wash (similar to an automatic car wash) at the entrance to all hot tubs, pools, and T-Pools so that everyone has to take a soapy shower before entering the public pools. 11) Cappuccino Bomb would be on the dessert menu every night. Prior to our cruise we saw posts from people on Cruise Critic that have sailed on the Oosterdam who said they were disappointed with the condition of parts of the ship. These people, some of whom are long time cruisers and posters to CC, were vilified, attacked, and called trolls from other boards because they dared to say something was "wrong" with the "O". We heard many comments while on-board from people who were upset about the condition of some sections of the ship. So we did a little investigation while on-board to see for ourselves. Feel free to yell at me now for what I am about to post. There are areas of the "O" that are in need of repair. Should they ruin someone's vacation? I don't think so, but everyone needs to decide for themselves. It's very easy to attack someone you don't know when it is your word against theirs, so I decided to take pictures to support what I found and people can make their own judgments. The "O" underwent a dry dock a few months ago so I expected her to be in pretty good shape throughout. Yet, some items were not addressed during the dry dock, but someone had to make the decision that these conditions were acceptable for HAL's standards. You can view the photos and what the complaints were that we heard about while on board at the following link: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/hol...am-march-2012/ The offensive, obstinate, self-righteous, arrogant, demanding, holier than thou passengers were in greater numbers on this cruise than on any other we have taken. The only cruise we have taken that had similar clientele was on the Zuiderdam. The standards that HAL has for what is acceptable in public areas for furnishings also surprised us. While it didn't ruin our cruise we found much higher standards on Princess and Celebrity. Therefore, we will not sail on HAL again, not because of the crew but because of the clientele. __________________ Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more money and see if it was worth building loyalty points. Also our 20th anniversary. The suite service and concierge level was the only thing that saved the cruise, and that we were willing to pay extra for the fine dining. The restaurant staff and service was what we had in the dining room those many years ago, it was great! And the food was several times better than Princess' Sabatino's. As another cruiser said, the dining room was abysmal. No smiles, no wine list, I was told I could only get the house wine. The Lido food was merely OK and the servers there were harried and showed it. I was expecting greater things from the hype about their Chef-retooled cuisine, it should have gone to all levels of dining. Room service took hours and the sandwich I ordered off the room service menu was great and perfect the first time and the second made completely wrong. We could have waited another couple of hours for them to make it right, I guess. The room was great, very spacious. The bed was wonderful and we have ordered one from HAL, they sell them. The concierge service was great. We went prepared to spend most of our $ on liquor and tips, which we did. Also, even though the SA is a suite, the embarkation people made me get in the regular line, saying it was Superior only. After winding through the line to where I could reach the expediter, she said the same thing the looked at the room number and expedited us. HAL did not win our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date November 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
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin was nice and spacious and the steward was very accommodating but disappointed that our room had a fully obstructed view. Unable to switch room due to the fact that the ship was at full capacity. The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food quality and presentation were lack luster and boring. The staff were very attentive & helpful. Enjoyed our evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Room...the food was delicious and the service superb. Met Marco the owner of Le Cirque and he was a gracious host. Entertainment was great...the comedian and Peter Peterkin were outstanding. Most of the venues & poolside were over crowded and had a hard time finding a seat. Tried several nights to attend Karaoke...but never was able to get in the door.We feel the ship needs some TLC...carpet & seats torn in several areas...ship feels claustrophobic at times..low ceilings and dark colors. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Carnival,so comparing them, we would say the Oosterdam is the Motel 6 of cruises. We don't think we will go another HAL cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so ... Read More
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so we drug our bags all the way to the rear of the line. 2 hours later as we slowly moved forward we saw other taxi's dropping people off at the front of the line and the people went right on to drop their luggage and on into the building for check in, NOT GOOD! We had pre-printed our luggage tags as requested to do so on the online check-in. We were instructed to staple the tags on our bags but never got a chance to do that before hand. As the line was moving we asked the personnel available if they had a stapler and they instructed us that they would have have one when we dropped our luggage off ahead. When we reach this point and asked the baggage attendant for a stapler he said and I quote "I ain't got no stapler, if I had one it would've never got back to me anyway".... So he then instructed us to fill out bag tags manually and attach them to our bags, we did so and left our bags with the attendant and continued to move ahead with the rest of the cattle. AT this point we were only about 1/2 way there, ugh. The lines continued on and we finally got on-board about 2:30 pm and the ship was set to sail at 5 pm. We made our way to our stateroom then decided to check out the Lido Buffet. What a mistake that was. There were excessive lines, and they were running out of food at every station. My fiancee waited in the Asian food line to only be asked if he would like white or brown rice as that was all they had available when he got to the front of the line. Also, having been on several cruises by 4 cruise lines we have never seen the buffet food being served by the staff in small individual portions. After a couple of days they loosened up and let us serve ourselves but that was really strange. After that fiasco we went back to our room to find that our luggage had not been delivered yet. We went down to the front desk to inquire and after finding yet another lengthy line and waiting our turn we were taken to a room to see if our luggage was in there as unidentified. We did find one of our bags with identification attached, they then changed the story and said they were holding it for security purposes. They stated that they had found a knife in our bag. When we told them there was no knife in it they released the bag to us but we didn't want to haul it up to our room without knowing where our other bag was and they couldn't seem to produce it. After trying to get them to call our room steward to see if our other bag was in our room they kept saying we needed to go up to our room to check for ourselves. We finally took our bag and went to our room and found our other bag there. During all of this the ship set sail and we missed the chance to see the ship leave port and all off the festivities. That is how the first 5 hours of this cruise went. We will just try to give you the pros and cons from here on in. PROS: Entertainment was somewhat enjoyable. The food in the Vista Dining Room at dinner was good and the choices were many. The Pinnacle Grill was AWESOME to say the least. Well worth the extra 20 bucks each. The room steward was punctual and entertaining and the room was very well kept. The towel animals were always interesting. CONS: Entertainment shows were not timed so the people at the late dinner could get there and get a seat before the shows started and the theatre is very small. The portions in the Vista Dining Room were the smallest we have ever seen on any cruise we have been on. The server didn't seem to ever ask you if you wanted anything to drink. The Lido Buffet variety was slim and the quality of the food was poor. It was very difficult to find a beverage person to bring you a soda, etc. The hours that the Lido was open was not conducive to most passengers needs. So make sure to check their schedules before you head down there because you might not be able to get anything to eat at all. We ordered room service twice and they got the order wrong both times. We ordered from the 24 hr room service once and they were out of one item and then wouldn't allow us to use our drink card for room service when they delivered the food. We asked the room steward to keep our ice bucket filled and that was very hit and miss. One night they had a so called "Chocolate Extravaganza" and it was anything but that. The chocolate in the chocolate fountain was like water and the deserts we really nothing special. Also, it took place on the Lido deck by the pool and there was NO lighting there. They brought out portable flood lights so you could hardly see what you were eating. Again there was a scheduling issue with this event. The evening show was still going on when the extravaganza started. Very poor event scheduling. In the room the TV is very small and has a horrible picture. Even in the Screening room the quality of the picture was not up to standard. Should at least HD. The Superbowl was shown in the Vista Lounge where all the evening shows take place and the quality of the picture for that major event was poor and not HD either. That ends our Pros and Cons section. As far as disembarkation went, it was pretty smooth but we didn't turn in our luggage after our earlier experience and carrying them out ourselves was no problem. After all the cruises we have been on we have never ran into a more confused, uninformed and inconsiderate group of passengers. The ship is staffed by mostly Indonesians so the cultural issues are very prominent lead to what we would perceive as inefficiency. Holland America's attraction is price but the money you save isn't necessarily worth it. When we cruise again we will select another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle takes you directly to the terminal doors and a porter was waiting to take our luggage; we didn't see our luggage again until we got to the room. Getting on the ship took all of 20 minutes. We got to the lido deck for lunch and that was a bit of a nightmare since there were so many people rushing to the food as though it was about to disappear. Around 1:00 the announcement came that we could go to our cabins and we arrived about 5 minutes before our luggage which made it easy for me to snap a few pics of a clean & tidy cabin. We sailed away around 5:30 and it was beautiful to see downtown San Diego lit up in the dusk...something I don't get to see very often. It reminded me of why I live in this great city! We stayed in cabin #5058 which was on the veranda deck towards the front of the ship very close to the elevators. When we first walked in we thought it was really small, but once we unpacked and found how much of our stuff fit into the cabinets we were pleased. The closets had plenty of hanging space and could convert into shelving if needed. There was a safe in one of the closets too. The veranda had a good view but I would have chosen to be about 5 cabins further back because we were right next to a portion of the ship that jutted out and blocked our view. We spent a lot of our time in the Crow's Nest Lounge & library which was directly above our cabin so it was quite convenient to go between the two with our laptop and books. The only drawback to this cabin was that the shower drained very slow and our feet were in about 4 inches of water at all times.Overall, the ship was nice and service was what we expected; it didn't seem to matter what time of day it was, but I always saw someone polishing a stair bannister. We thought the food was mediocre no matter where we ate and we got really tired of eating after about the third day. Even in the dining room, we felt that the food was comparable to any regular buffet so we felt a bit let down. Much of the food came out of giant cans and even the juices were often times watered down (FYI...tea, juice, coffee & milk are the only free drinks on the ship; you have to pay for soda). Afternoon tea and cakes was served everyday in the dining room, but once again it was mediocre; however it was nice to take a few minutes out of the day and have a bit of sophistication ... even if it was in our flip-flops. One night there was a party on the lido deck with chocolate fountains and fruit for dipping and that was very nice. The nightly entertainment was sub-par overall and unfortunately you couldn't get away from it. In the evening there was a musical group playing in every corner of the ship and it was never good. The shows were also excessively cheesy. There was one musician, a classical and acoustic guitarist named Taylor Brown, who was excellent and played often throughout the day; we made sure to catch one of his performances daily. We knew going in to this that we would be in a small demographic of "young" people and in general there wasn't a whole lot for us to do. There were ping-pong tables but they always seemed to be put away or missing the paddles. There was shuffle board, but there were only a few pucks so only one game could occur at a time. The gym was nice but you had to pay extra if you wanted to do any of the classes like yoga, pilates or spin...I was disappointed to have to pay extra for something that I expected to have been part of my booking costs. The explorations cafe was "activity central" with daily sudokus/crosswords and several puzzles for people to be occupied by. We learned on our last day that there was a closet full of board games that you could check out. We spent quite a bit of our time in here since our weather was quite chilly & windy...we enjoyed this portion of the ship. This is also where there were numerous computers and a fairly large library. There were two pools and 5 hot tubs but they were all covered up by 9pm everynight. With so much to do during the day we always seemed to have time to hit the hot tubs by about 10pm so it was disappointing to not be able to benefit from the tubs. Overall, we were somewhat let down by the cruise, but we still were able to relax. I don't think we'll be cruising on Holland America again until we're in their demographic which will be in about 30-40 years. This ship and or cruise line really caters to senior citizens and though we weren't looking for a party cruise, we wanted a tad bit more energy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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