34 Holland America Oosterdam Romantic Cruise Reviews

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
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu ... Read More
Friends had planned their vacation and invited us along...We would go again in a heart beat. Our room was clean, we were catered to, there was plenty of food and so many choices. The staff made us feel catered to. Our cabin person PuTu was awesome!!! He brought us what ever we needed, answered our questions and kept us informed. PuTu was funny, sweet and so very accommodating. His customer services skills are golden! *We were invited on the cruise by our friends Norm and Teri, we invited my husbands brother and sister~in~law Richard and Paulette. We all had a blast! *Shore excursions we absolutely loved and had so much fun on the ConTiki. *The mini hummers were fun and educating our guide 'Johnny Depp' was fun and knowledgeable. *We went on an unplanned excursion in a young man who had a comfortable van asked us along and his prices were AWESOME! I wish I could remember his name, you wouldn't believe how much he knew. This person made us feel as if we'd been friends forever. *On our last stop we had pre-ordered a 'half shell?' with two lounge chairs. We couldn't find any available ones and the people we were instructed to look for, for guidance were no where to be seen. We just gave up and ended up not getting one because it felt like we were wasting our beach time looking for help. *(Just a thought, maybe those who pre-order get a ticket say "lounge shell #1" and tag the shells with numbers. when we get to the destination or somewhere along the way the tickets are given to the purchasers so they may just go to the preassigned shells. AND the 'half shells' are set up prior to our arrival...(I heard from some that they had to wait for someone to set things up when they got there, and they too had to follow behind a line of people and LOOK for available seats.) But the positive experiences far overweight the beach chair experience and we absolutely would love to go on another cruise. Thank you to all who made our first experience so very AWESOME! Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around ... Read More
This was out first cruise so we were not sure what to expect. We had heard from our friends that Holland America was a very elegant and relaxing cruise line... and they were right! We loved having a relaxing atmosphere. The staff around the ship was extremely friendly and polite. Our stateroom stewards would greet us by name, even when they saw us out and about on the ship! They always asked how our day was going and if there was anything they could help us with. Everything across the ship was sparkling clean, the food was amazing and a nice selection of entertainment. We preferred to go to the later evening shows, because the earlier shows filled up quite quickly. This ship definitely has a classic feel to it, and it appeared to cater towards an 'older' crowd, although all age groups were present. My husband utilized the spa services and raved about his experience. We recommend spending the little extra to get a balcony room- ours provided spectacular views and was a nice place to take a nap or enjoy a few quiet moments. We would definitely book another cruise with Holland America Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
This was our very first time on HAL and we loved it. It’s truly a laid back and relaxing atmosphere. We rented a Retreat Cabana for the week and we absolutely loved it. It was well worth the money. Our cabin Butler, Carlo, was great. He ... Read More
This was our very first time on HAL and we loved it. It’s truly a laid back and relaxing atmosphere. We rented a Retreat Cabana for the week and we absolutely loved it. It was well worth the money. Our cabin Butler, Carlo, was great. He was very attentive. We had some issues with high winds and had to skip our first port. So we had an extra day at sea which made the cabana even more worthwhile. We enjoyed dinner at Pinnacle Grill twice and Canaletto once. Our cabin was 7038 and in a great spot. One thing we did discover is they changed the explorations cafe. It’s not like the pictures. It’s much smaller and part of the crows nest bar now. So if you’re expecting a “coffee shop” it’s not. But the coffee was great. Definitely will sail on HAL again. We have already booked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam ... Read More
We chose Holland America for our first cruise experience. We are a newly retired couple who generally prefer land-based vacations. However we decided to try something different for our birthdays (just three days apart). The Oosterdam did not disappoint! Everything was awesome, from the amazing service to the great food, to the terrific verandah stateroom. We are already looking forward to booking our next cruise, with HAL. Getting on and off the ship was easy and quick. When we embarked in FLL we were on the ship within an hour of arriving at just after 11 am. The ship was beautiful, certainly not new but definitely clean and well-appointed. The Pinnacle Grill was our favourite restaurant with fantastic service and really great steak. We found the wine selection to be very good. The ship draws an older crowd but we much prefer that over a “party boat” or tons of kids in the pool area. Our cabin stewards Purr and Ono were simply fantastic, always helpful and really upbeat. An all-round awesome first cruise experience! Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
I have read reviews about the Oosterdam that she was old and worn out. I found just the opposite, we sailed on Nov. 10-17, 2018 and found the ship was Premo! the food was Premo! the crew was Premo! everything about the trip was great. We ... Read More
I have read reviews about the Oosterdam that she was old and worn out. I found just the opposite, we sailed on Nov. 10-17, 2018 and found the ship was Premo! the food was Premo! the crew was Premo! everything about the trip was great. We got upgraded to the Pinnacle Suite, that cabin was over-the-top, WOW! All in All it was a great trip. We were given a personal escort to board the ship, and again given a personal escort to disembark the ship. We had access to a Concierge and the Neptune Lounge. We enjoyed the Crows Nest, and the two piano players in the Billboard Onboard were super, Also there was no smoking in the casino which was a great Perk. I enjoy the casino but on most ships you have to cut through the smoke to play the slots. We used to cruise with RCL, but their ships have gotten way too BIG, Holland America has the right sized ships. I would sail the Oosterdam again in a heart beat. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We had an absolutely amazing cruise on Holland America Oosterdam on September 9th – the 12-night Mediterranean Tapestry We loved the service on the ship, the size of the ship and our fellow passengers. Everyone was so nice! The ... Read More
We had an absolutely amazing cruise on Holland America Oosterdam on September 9th – the 12-night Mediterranean Tapestry We loved the service on the ship, the size of the ship and our fellow passengers. Everyone was so nice! The cruise director was front and center throughout the cruise and we felt there were many activities offered although this was a very port-heavy cruise and our priority was being in port and experiencing everything that Europe has to offer. I know many people on Cruise Critic choose to take their own shore excursions, but I do have to say that EXC Tours absolutely MADE our time in port AMAZING! EXC tours were absolutely wonderful. Our tour guides were experts in each port. All of them full of enthusiasm. We were taken to the best places to see highlights of each port and, for the tours that included meals – we loved each restaurant and the food and wine offered. We were extremely happy that we booked through EXC tours because we did not have to stress about making it back to the ship on time – we could relax, enjoy and focus learning as much as we could about each port offered. We also enjoyed the ports where we just walked around and explored and sat at a café and had cappuccino that turned into cocktails and a relaxing fun day. I do agree that the ship is a bit older, but thankfully, we were there to enjoy ourselves and let little things put a damper on a fabulous European tour. I’ve read many complaints that the ship is in horrible condition and was very worried before we went, but once the cruise was underway, I had an unforgettable time and it didn’t matter! I would ignore the naysayers and form your own opinion and just ENJOY yourselves. We were very happy that we booked a Veranda cabin – we loved going on the Veranda every morning and sail away. Definitely worth the extra money! We did not purchase a beverage package. We brought two bottles of wine on board, attended a shore excursion to a winery in Nice where we were able bring on another bottle of wine onboard without the corkage fee and attended the happy hours. At happy hour, we would order a bucket of corona for around $29 plus gratuity and the next bucket was $10 plus gratuity. We also had wine at lunch with many of our shore excursions. Our bar bill at the end of a 12-day cruise was only around $200. Definitely glad we did not purchase the $1200 signature beverage package. I will say that, because this was such a port heavy cruise, heavy drinking was not a priority but we still drank and enjoyed ourselves. Who wants to be hungover when you are touring Rome? We did enjoy many glasses of wine with lunch in Rome but did not start out the day hung over from the night before bc we were trying to get our money’s worth from our beverage package, if that makes sense. The crew was very hospitable and the captain ran a very efficient and safe ship. I also appreciated the use of hand sanitizer before each embarkation. We experienced no illnesses whatsoever on the ship. We loved being waiting on in the main dining room – a highlight for my husband. Just choosing each meal and taking our time over dessert with coffee. It was such an amazing experience! I LOVE the direction of Holland America – outstanding service, port emersions, amazing EXC tours, a place for foodies and music lovers! Already booked our next cruise! As my husband said, this wasn’t a vacation – this was a TRIP! Thank you, Holland America, for the best trip of our lives!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also ... Read More
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also really liked the itinerary: a 12 day cruise starting from Rome, traveling to a variety of Greek islands, and then arriving back in Venice. The Oosterdam was a lovely ship! Everything was very clean (public spaces and cabin). We stayed in an interior room, and we thought the room had plenty of space. With such a port heavy itinerary, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pay extra for a balcony as we weren't on the ship during the day. Plus, there were plenty of sun beds available, and the Lido and the Crow's Nest were great places to relax and watch the sea. The food was good! It was easy to find something to eat for breakfast in the Lido, and we also really enjoyed ordering room service. The servers in the main dining room were also personable and provided fantastic service - we enjoyed the variety of options for dinner, especially dessert. The baristas in the Crow's Nest also made a pretty good latte. As for entertainment, we spent every night in the BB King Blue's Club. We thought the band was good, and we both love to dance, so it was perfect for us. The place was packed most nights! We did three shore excursions with Holland America (tour to Pompeii, Bus Transfer to Oia, Santorini, and Kayaking trip in Argostoli). The Pompeii and Kayaking tours were reasonably priced and we really enjoyed the experiences! The cost for the bus transfer to Oia was ridiculous, but it was the only way to enjoy Oia for a couple of hours without the insane crowds. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Overall, it was a great cruise! Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising ... Read More
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising has been in the Caribbean. The boarding process on the HAL Oosterdam at the Port of Barcelona was amazing and the best we have ever experienced. There were many agents available to process the passengers and this portion of the cruise was a breeze. Once onboard the Oosterdam, it just got better. The Lido Market food service for breakfast, lunch and dinner was outstanding. There were several days that we did not return to the ship until late. Some of the days we ate in the Main Dining, which was excellent as well, but the Lido Market was a great alternate for dinner. There were so many choices at all servings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was delicious in all areas. The stateroom staff were awesome. The food staff were awesome. Our experience was nothing but amazing with the entire staff. Always greeted with a smile and "Hello!" The entertainment in the Main Stage theater was outstanding as well as the B.B. King and Billboard areas of the ship. Super! Super! Super! The Oosterdam just came out of dry dock in April. The ship both internal and external was beautiful! HAL has earned a new customer on future sailings. Bob & Christi Houston, TX Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
My husband and I planned this cruise 11 months out and chose it for its ports and time of year. We splurged and booked a Neptune suite. The ship was in great shape, the crew were friendly and eager to please, the food was for the most part ... Read More
My husband and I planned this cruise 11 months out and chose it for its ports and time of year. We splurged and booked a Neptune suite. The ship was in great shape, the crew were friendly and eager to please, the food was for the most part delicious and the ports were good. Embarkation was a breeze, in terminal and on ship in about 20 minutes. Our cabin was an aft wrap balcony and was wonderful. We did a combination of anytime dining, Lido market, Pinnacle grill and dive in. We found varied choices, most selections quite tasty, all food presented well and good service. We had the same table and steward in the main dining room and had a good experience each night. If we did not see anything on the main menu, they always had steak, salmon and pasta. The service was the usual slow pace but we enjoyed talking to our tablemates that varied each night. The lido had a good mix of food, a great salad bar, good dessert selection and ample seating. Dive in gave you a beeper and so you could wait on pool deck or pool bar until your food was ready. They had tasty burgers, hot dogs and fries. We ate one night in the Pinnacle Grill and the food and service were outstanding. The filet melted in your mouth. We did not participate in too many shipboard activities- we did play trivia one night, saw two shows in main stage, a few performances in other venues, listened to piano player in ocean bar before dinner a couple nights and used the explorations café for research. I played slots in Casino one night and it was fun and no smoke. We found all entertainment good and the venues superb. We did two shore excursions and they were both well organized, well led and informative. For the most part we did our own thing in the ports and had no issues with this. The cruise was port intensive with 12 days and 10 stops ie only one sea day. So every day was a new place and new things to see and do. This was fun but did get a bit tiring by day 11. We would certainly choose Holland America for a future cruise. It was a top notch voyage, we found the people on board to be in the 50-70 year old age bracket (our age), mostly American, Australian, British and Canadian. The service was outstanding and it was a pleasure to be on board. We did priority disembarkation in Rome and were off the ship by 740 am, it was easy and speedy. Our Rome Cabs driver was right outside and we were off to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
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
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
We love sailing with HAL, they treat us so well, for seven days, we are treated so well, they just can';t be beat. It's sophistication, class and relaxation. If you want partying an pizazz, and pool parties, this isn't it. I ... Read More
We love sailing with HAL, they treat us so well, for seven days, we are treated so well, they just can';t be beat. It's sophistication, class and relaxation. If you want partying an pizazz, and pool parties, this isn't it. I f you wand to feel like royalty without feeling like you don't fit in, such as on Cunard or such, then this is it. Yet in the evening most everyone still dresses up, (respecting) and the entertainment is so good, then it winds down late er on so people can sleep. The food is decent, in the main dining room, is done very well. Keep in mind the buffett on lido deck is open at specified hours, if your'e not aware of this you would be frustrated, recently they've stepped up the variety there. Enjoy! They pride themselves on "a signature of excellence", the crew is what makes the cruise, they are what brings us back again and again. Shore excursions, they do a very nice job of intimacy and you feel like they did this just for you. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, ... Read More
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, Cartagena and Malaga in Spain and Madeira. We are big fans of Holland America which is why this cruise was the right fit. It did not disappoint us. We did not tour Cartagena because we had been there before but it is an historic port. The other stops were new to us so we took ship sponsored city/history/culture tours. I got to sip a little "Madeira my dear". I had read about that drink while reading many British naval novels. Onboard there were a variety of activities all day and night both in port and at sea. Our favorites included the string quartet every night before dinner, B.B. King's nightclub, the dueling piano bar after dinner, the showroom shows and the Park West Art auctions. Our inside cabin was spacious and comfortable. Dining on Holland America ships is always a highlight. We opted for the choose your time option on a daily basis. We chose to sit with four or six new dinner companions every night at 6:30 (1830). On a scale of one to ten, this was an eleven (that is not a typo error). We ate once or twice at Canaletto their extra fee Italian restaurant and once in the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfast at the Lido buffet. Lunch at the Lido or at the pool grill. We plan on more HAL cruises in the future. I have been on four dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very ... Read More
My husband and I have cruised many times, but never with Holland America. We chose them as we liked the Riviera itinerary and it certainly did not disappoint, nor did the Oosterdam. The ship has just been re-done and is stunning. Very tastefully decorated. We had a verandah room which I don't think had been re-done yet (?), however it was very nice also. It has a nice size verandah with two reclining chairs and a table. The bathroom definitely hadn't been re-done, but was acceptable. We enjoyed the choices for evening entertainment, however felt that the "Main Stage" could use some improvement. I would say 50% of the shows in the Main Stage were good and the others just "so so" compared to Celebrity for example. The dining was excellent! We never felt the need to dine in the specialty dining venues. Food was great, presentation also very nice. Quantities were on the smaller side, but easily rectified obviously since you can have as much as you want and my husband would just ask prior to ordering so that it came on one plate vs. two different meals. We thought it may have been an older crowd based on things we had read about HA. We are mid 50's and I would say most were in their 50's or early 60's. This particular ship is suitable for couples from their 40's on as there really aren't children's activities, although they do have a children's club I believe. I think we saw 4 children during out 12 days. Service was exceptional in all areas, as you would expect. This was our first HA cruise, but definitely not our last. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. Since we own 4 weeks with Marriott, we were able to use our vacation club points to choose this cruise. We booked this in the summer of 2015 and were able to ... Read More
We had wanted to take a Mediterranean cruise for our 30th wedding anniversary. Since we own 4 weeks with Marriott, we were able to use our vacation club points to choose this cruise. We booked this in the summer of 2015 and were able to get a Neptune Suite for the cruise. Our plan was to arrive early in Rome, stay several days there first, and then board the cruise. We stayed at the Boscolo Exedra in Rome and booked a car service to take us to the port, which is a good distance from the center of Rome. We arrived at the port around 230p and were promptly met by stewards to assist with tagging our luggage. We had expedited check-in and basically walked right to our room. Our luggage was brought about 1.5 hours later. After the required muster drill, we went back to unpacking and setting up for the cruise. Our Suite: We were in suite 7089 on the Rotterdam deck. Our suite gave us access to the Neptune Lounge on the same level. This was a nice perk if you wanted to grab a quick cup of coffee or tea and a snack without having to go to one of the dining rooms. The suite itself was quite spacious with plenty of room to store luggage, clothes, and personal items. There was a large screen TV with access to limited live TV, plenty of movies, music, and more. Our bath had a separate shower as well as a shower with tub. There were 2 sinks and a small vanity area to put on makeup. Dryer, magnifying mirror, iron and board were all provided. Toiletries were from Elemis, the same as the on-board spa. The electrical ports were abundant and worked for US or foreign adapters. It was also nice that each side of the bed had 2 USB connections that could be used for charging as well. We also had free laundry and dry cleaning for the cruise as a bonus for being in a Neptune Suite; this was appreciated and helped limit the amount of laundry to do once we returned. The ship was refurbished in April 2016 and is in great shape. It is a nice size - about 2000 people and 800 crew - and does not feel too big. There are 2 pools - both on the Lido deck. The one for kids is in the front and where the Dive In cafe is. The adult pool is in the back of the Lido deck and there are plenty of lounge chairs and seating chairs for use. Spa & Fitness: The spa is medium size, but they offer quite a bit of services - from massages and waxing to hair and nails to fillers. The fitness center is adequate with most folks using the treadmills or free weights. They publish a list of classes that can be taken during the cruise and sign up is easy. Dining: There are several restaurants on the ship for dining. We mainly ate at the Lido Market for the majority of meals when not on an excursion. Canaletto and the Pinnacle Grill were two of the special restaurants that have an added charge; we ate at both and thought the food and service was good. There were several mornings where we had breakfast by room service; this was a nice treat as well. Tours: We booked all our excursions prior to the cruise. All of them were very good with knowledgeable tour guides and drivers. The tours that included meals were in very nice restaurants and added to the ambiance of the visit. We were given ample time for bathroom breaks, time to eat, time to visit, and time to shop. My only complaint was that I did not think the original info was clear about final port tours; they made it seem that only those staying on the ship could book the published tours and that was not the case. (And the reason we made separate arrangements for Barcelona.) Entertainment: There is a small casino on the ship and they try to make it fun for the passengers with tournaments. Many bars are on the ship and each offers its own ambiance. With the exception of the dueling piano singers by the casino, all the entertainers were very good. The movie theater is a good size and we watched one film there during a day at sea. You can purchase internet access packages while at sea; the information is provided in the suite when you arrive. Disembarking was fairly simple. We had made prior arrangements to leave early in the morning because of a mid-morning flight so we had an expedited exit from the ship. The final bill was left for us outside our door before we left; there are kiosks on the ship on the 1st desk where you can check you bill during the trip. This is smart so that any problems with billing can be taken care of in advance and not on the day before leaving. Overall, we loved this cruise and plan to take another one in the future with HAL. The staff were all so friendly and pleasant that we really felt at home on the ship. We look forward to cruising on the Oosterdam again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam ... Read More
This was our 8th HAL cruise and second time on the Oosterdam. Perfect size ship (82K tons, 2200 passengers) and has recently been renovated (built in 2003). Never felt like we were on a crowded cruise ship. We had sailed on the Oosterdam in 2005 in Alaska, and the improvements to the common areas/cabins were excellent. HAL ships are meticulously maintained and the crew was fantastic. We had a Signature suite which was perfect for a 12 day cruise and well worth the extra cost. The food on this cruise was outstanding. High quality, excellent presentations, and portion sizes that were just right. The itinerary for this cruise Rome/Naples/Crete/Santorini/Rhodes(we lost Kusadasi, Turkey)/Athens/Olympia/Corfu/Dubrovnik/Montenegro/Venice was spectacular. The mediterranean is very calm this time of year, and although it was hot, even first time cruisers would be comfortable as the ship was very stabile and sailed mostly after 6PM, except for one sea day. HAL tours are always high quality and the variety was perfect. Can't say enough about this ship and cruise line. If you want to party like rock stars, HAL is not for you. If you want a high quality cruise, with very interesting fellow passengers, this is the one. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary, which included the Riviera, several stops in Provence, and a stop for the Alhambra (although Granada was quite a distance from Almeria, it was worth the trip). We are 2 active Americans in our 30s, no kids. We went in late May and had PERFECT weather: only a few sprinkles here and there, temperatures never above 75 F! We stayed one night in Rome fairly close to Termini station, and found the train to Civitavecchia to be very nice, although you have to walk quite far to get to the platform. Once we arrived in Civitavecchia station it was a bit confusing how to get to the ship; there's supposed to be a bus but we didn't find it. It was a bit too far to walk with luggage, but we made it. Embarkation was a breeze, and disembarkation was very nice - we really liked being able to stay in our state room until our group was called. We waited about 30min after it was called and walked right off, got our luggage, and were on to the next adventure. The ship itself is very elegant. Almost all of the staff are Indonesian, unlike other ships we've been on that had more diversity. They were all very friendly and spoke good English. The clientele of the ship was significantly older than we're used to (we've only sailed Princess and Seabourn before). We were (jokingly) asked several times if we'd wandered onto the wrong ship. I counted a grand total of 6 children onboard the entire time, and only a few other middle-aged couples like us; at least 90% of the pax were in their late 60s to 80s. Mainly Americans, but quite a few Australians too. Because of the small size of the ship (or the age of the pax?) there weren't a lot of activities onboard, but we were in port most of the time anyway. We did miss the people watching we've previously enjoyed in the Princess atrium. The overall atmosphere was very quiet and peaceful. Service was generally very friendly and helpful, except for the people in the Lido buffet who either didn't speak good English or were cranky. While I felt everything was sanitary, some details of cleanliness were less than stellar. For example, the phones and makeup mirror in our cabin had clearly not been wiped in some time, and there was crud around the edge of the bathtub that floated atop my bath every night (I easily scrubbed some of it off with a washcloth the first night, but it reappeared from somewhere to leave a brown ring around the tub every night). We were pleased with 'anytime' dining; we had a grand time dining with a big table of CC'ers we'd met through this forum! Dinner selection was good, breakfast ok, and Lido not so great (but we never like the ship buffets much). We didn't have much lunch onboard since this was a port-intensive cruise, but we did enjoy the afternoon tea service a few times. They had a crepe station one afternoon which was a nice treat. We aren't big drinkers so we just ordered a few drinks a la carte; prices are reasonable. The coffee was TERRIBLE, including the espresso, so we stuck to tea. We also brought our bottles of wine onboard (1 each), but there was no corkscrew in the cabin to open it! We had some onboard credit which we used at Pinnacle Grill one night, but we didn't think it was really worth it. I ordered the crab legs, which were also available in the MDR later in the cruise, and was served an obscene quantity (perhaps 5lbs?), half of which was overcooked. We only did one ship excursion, to the Alhambra (Granada) from the port of Almeria. The rest of our excursions we arranged with private tour guides and fellow pax from the "roll call" forum. These all turned out to be really good experiences, and we enjoyed meeting the other passengers from the forum. Livorno: we've seen the sights in Florence, so we decided to DIY to Lucca, Italy. This required 2 buses and 2 trains; while not particularly difficult, it seemed like more effort than the little town was worth. The Puccini museum was a rip-off. Monte Carlo: the seas were very choppy and we later learned we were lucky to get to shore, as they stopped the tenders completely by noon. The marvelous Michel of Revelation Tours picked us up at the dock and took us to several beautiful Provencal villages including St Tourettes sur Loup, St Paul de Vence, Eze, and Nice. Though the Grand Prix Historique was going on, we had no trouble getting in/out of MC. Michel gave us fascinating details about the history and geography of the region as we drove. In Nice I really enjoyed the Chagall museum (he's my favorite painter), while the others in the group enjoyed a tour of the city. The boardwalk in Nice is also very beautiful. Near Eze we stopped at the Fragonard factory; we probably should've skipped this, as it wasn't that interesting even to the ladies. We had planned to go back out and see the casino in the evening, but the tenders were not running and we were too tired anyway. St Tropez: Again the wonderful Michel met us at the port and took us to the villages of Grimaud, Port Grimaud (none of us liked this "Disney-esque" resort), Ramateulle, and Gassin. He also took us to a wine tasting at a winery where they make the local (excellent) rose. Again we'd planned to go out and people watch in the evening but were too tired after dinner to venture back out. Ajaccio: We didn't have a tour arranged from this port, as there weren't many good options. We walked around the markets and the boardwalk, and then along the beach for awhile. We were back on the ship in time for a late lunch, along with most of the passengers. It was pretty but not particularly interesting. Almeria: This was the only ship excursion we took. It was quite a distance (2 hour drive), but the Alhambra is worth it! However, the excursion only spent an hour at the site and then 2.5 hours on lunch - I would've much rather flipped that proportion. Ceuta: We were really at a loss as to activities here, since we weren't interested in going to Morocco. An Australian couple we'd met earlier in the cruise attempted to DIY the border crossing and were deterred by "guides" insisting on hundreds of Euros to take them across. Others we talked to later said the ship excursion was worth it, though. We just walked around the small town, had some really great coffee, and walked along the beach for quite awhile. (The beach was fairly nice, and it was sandy unlike the rocky beaches of Europe). At least we can say we've set foot on the continent of Africa now! Marseille: We had a little difficulty finding our guide (Delphine, arranged for us by Nancy McGee), since the port won't allow private tour vehicles to park very close to the ships. Delphine took us to Aix-en-Provence, which was very beautiful and clearly more wealthy than other villages we had seen so far. There were very large markets going on while we were there. Since it was a perfectly clear day, she then drove us up to the highest European cliff at Cap Canaille for a spectacular view over the Med! We were amazed to see rock climbers on the sheer face. After that we took a short boat ride from Cassis to the Calanques, which are very unusual white rock formations that fall right into the sea. People were out sunbathing on the rocks, which looked very uncomfortable to us. Back in Marseille, Delphine drove us up the hill to Notre Dame, which was very beautiful inside and enjoys beautiful views over the city. Sete: At first we were confused on how to find our private guide, but then we realized we had to take the short bus ride to the port gates, where our guide was waiting. We were back with Michel, who showed us the Versailles-like gardens and Roman ruins of Nimes. The Colisseum-like arena (later turned bullring) was very well preserved. Then he took us to Uzes, which was one of our favorite villages. However, the highlight of the trip was the visit to the old Roman aqueduct, Pont du Gard! Barcelona: We were docked overnight here, and opted to take the ship's shuttle, which was worth it - it dropped us at the maritime museum. On disembarkation day we took a taxi directly to our hotel, where we stayed a few more nights. We enjoyed all the usual sights in Barcelona via metro or on foot, and especially appreciated the much cheaper prices on food and shopping! The beach at Barceloneta is pretty and well attended (including by topless and fully nude sunbathers). We booked timed entry tickets for La Padrera, Park Guell, and the Sagrada Familia, which helped with the crowds. A highlight here was the Camp Nou Experience, which was well done even for someone like me who doesn't really care for soccer (football). Though we enjoyed our cruise, we would probably not sail with HAL again due to the vast age difference, unless the itinerary was something we couldn't find elsewhere. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge ... Read More
Always enjoy the service and accomodations on Holland America. First group to set sail after it had been in dry dock with 2 weeks of upgrades. A beautiful ship with a great transformation. The Northern Lights bar exit and the new lounge addition was awesome. Great staff in the newest bar. As always, the Pinnacle Grill and the Italian restaurant were outstanding. A very busy itinerary with only one sea day, but a lot to see and the proper amount of time in port to see the cities.Embarkation in Rome and disembarkation in Venice went flawlessly - much better that getting on and off the ships in Ft Lauderdale! Customs was a breeze. Dining in the Main Dining room was 5-star. Food portions were a little less than what I have previously experienced, but no one was ever shorted or ever refused a second helping. Dining staff and housekeeping staff were second to none. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines ... Read More
First was not going to write a review since ship is doing a transatlantic and then dry dock but after looking over some of the last reviews I thought they were unfair and totally misleading. This was our 9 cruise on five different lines and cruises are a treat and we look forward to them. We are not professional cruisers who looked for minor bad things. Ship had some worn carpet spots nothing major no worse than on our last two trips with carnival and princess. Embrakation was quick arrived at 11:00 on the ship and dropped carry on by 11:30. Did not have a lot of wheel chairs or motorized chairs or at least they were not a problem. Had a large European population so we met many people from Germany, England and the Netherlands. Service was the best of our 9 cruises Hon and Fabian were great stewards (cabin 8019), Carson asst cruise director was great in trivia and bingo. Our servers Nicole in Pinnacle and in the Italian resturants could not be better. never had to wait for table in lido help kept them clean. (There were more than 1 toaster places). Had 2nd seating table 69 great service every nigh with great new table mates. We did trivia very night with a team made up of Londoners, Americans. Tied 3 times and won once, did bingo, and spent 4 nights in BB Kings blues club. ( great band but yes it was loud but there was 6 members in a small room. It was filled every night but last one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our third Holland America cruise, our first to the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean isn’t my favorite itinerary, Holland America is DEFINITELY my favorite cruise line! We flew in a day early and stayed at the ... Read More
This was our third Holland America cruise, our first to the Caribbean. Although the Caribbean isn’t my favorite itinerary, Holland America is DEFINITELY my favorite cruise line! We flew in a day early and stayed at the "Cruise and Fly" Ramada. It was adequate but you could probably find a better value elsewhere. It did include a shuttle to the cruise dock though so that was good. Embarkation in Ft Lauderdale was crowded but organized. We were sailing on Oosterdam and we got on the ship at about 12 noon. The Oosterdam was my first and I’ve got a soft spot for her. She’s a great ship. Our stateroom (6092) was ready and our luggage was already there! We dropped off our carry-ons and headed straight for the Dive-In bistro at the forward pool. The food was great as always. In addition, the taco bar they set out next to the Dive-In is exceptional. I ate many a taco out there. After that, we went back to our cabin to unpack and settle in. We always get a Signature Suite because we like the double sinks and two showers. The balconies are great too, with four chairs and two tables, one tall and one little short one. We were traveling with another couple and instead of getting adjoining cabins, we just opened the partition between the two balconies. It worked out great and we didn’t lose the cabin space that would have otherwise been taken up with the pass-through door. Although extra perks do come with the Neptune Suites and we have been in them, we have never felt the need to upgrade to one because for just the two of us, Signature Suites have plenty of room, amenities and storage space. As always, the bed and linens were superb. The TV’s are a little on the small side and somewhat outdated but I’m sure they will be upgraded soon. The only trouble with the cabin that we did have was a strong exhaust smell one night out at sea. The crew was VERY attentive about it and it was resolved to our satisfaction. Whatever they did to fix it worked because it never came back. 6092 is a great location. Very quite and pretty convenient to mid and aft elevators. Of course, our cabin stewards were fantastic as always. The gym and spa area on the Oosterdam is very nice. I did the morning stretch class a lot and hit one of the numerous treadmills quite often. I only had to wait for a machine one time. All of the equipment was well maintained and working. There were plenty of lounge chairs available on both pool decks on most days but shade is a little tough to come by if you don’t know where to look. There was always plenty of bar staff roaming around and it was very easy to get a drink when you needed one. Our cruise fare included the Signature drink package which allowed you 15 drinks a day. That sounds like a lot and it is but you gotta remember that includes premium coffee, sodas, smothies and hot chocolate etc. I drank A LOT and still never went over the 15 but I’m sure I came close on most days. My DW on the other hand never came close to maxing out. One bone of contention though, the drinks have to be priced at $8,00 or less each and most of them are but one night we ate in the Pinnacle Grill and wouldn’t you know it, the cheapest glass of wine was $8.50! Come on now, you’re telling me that you can get a glass of wine anywhere on the ship for less than $8 bucks but in the Pinnacle the cheapest is $8.50 and therefore not eligible to go on the drink package? It is a blatant and disingenuous attempt to squeeze a few extra dollars out of someone who is ALREADY paying a premium just to eat in there. I was a little ticked at that and refused to order anything other than water. To tell you the truth, the Pinnacle was good but I don’t think I got $29.00 worth of better than the rest of the ship. The food in the Vista dining room was very good on most nights and I have to say, the soups were consistently EXCEPTIONAL. On the second gala night we were served surf and turf and the lobster was great. The steak was pretty good too. We choose anytime seating and very rarely had to wait for a table. The service in the Vista Dining Room was consistently good and efficient. One thing though, and maybe it was the itinerary, but it seems that more and more people have no qualms about showing up for dinner in shorts, sandals and tee shirts. Even in the Pinnacle Grill there were people in polo shirts and jeans. Come on people, if you don’t want to get dressed for dinner, eat in the Lido or order room service. Sheesh! The service in the Lido was very good. I personally witnessed a lady ask for a soft boiled egg and the server went in the back, brought out a boiler, scrambled around to find a place to plug it in and then proceed to give the lady what she wanted. Another server went and retrieved all the food for an elderly gentleman who had mobility problems. He even got chocolate milk! Where did they get that from? They did all this with a smile and good humor. Even the pizza was pretty good and I know that it has had some issues in the past but not this time. Well done Holland America! I went to all the main stage shows and they were very good. The Oosterdam dancers and singers were first class. The lead female has an awesome voice and the numbers were very entertaining, even a little risqué at times I might add. BB King’s Blues Band was entertaining. The lead singer was the same as we had seen last year on Eurodam but the lead female was different. This band had one less horn player than the previous one as well. I’d have to say that the band we saw on Eurodam beat this one. The piano bar entertainer (Barry from Boston) was a disappointment. Even though we had seen him on Eurodam last year I didn’t remember him being this unentertaining. Too much talking and not enough crowd participation. The piano bar was virtually deserted all cruise and this is unheard of on most ships. I gave him several tries but just couldn’t stomach it and always left quickly. On the other hand, Adagio, the piano-violin duo, was beautiful. I made it a point to catch them every day before dinner. It was wonderful. The Band (Otherwise known as the HalCats) was pretty good too. They were a five piece and every time we would walk by it seemed like they were playing a song we wanted to dance to so we would drop everything and hop on the floor for a whirl. It was a great time! I myself didn’t do many shore trips except Half Moon Cay which was nice and St. Kitts for a taxi tour we booked on the pier. $90 for just the four of us in a large air conditioned van for 3 hours. The guide was a native and very knowledgeable. It was nice tour and she got a $10 tip. My travelling companions went on several shore trips, always booking on the pier and they all said that St. Lucia was their favorite. One of the ship activities was making luggage pom-poms. This was fun and they came in handy for the trip home. Disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was pretty smooth. A lot of people but the line moved quickly. Plenty of taxis waiting to go to the airport. It was less than $20 for all four of us and lots of luggage. We had a van and it was an easy trip to the airport. Even though the Caribbean isn't my favorite itinerary, Holland America made sure I had a wonderful time. While we were onboard we booked our Panama Canal cruise! Read Less
Sail Date October 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
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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