7 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Romantic Cruises to Europe - Western Mediterranean

We are 37 and 38 years old and have been on 22 cruises so far. We cruise with Celebrity, Azamara, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. This was our 3rd cruise with HAL and will be our last one. We are easy and always treat people with respect. ... Read More
We are 37 and 38 years old and have been on 22 cruises so far. We cruise with Celebrity, Azamara, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. This was our 3rd cruise with HAL and will be our last one. We are easy and always treat people with respect. Embarkation: I don't know if it's HALs 'fault' but this is the 3rd embarkation with the HAL were it took almost 1,5-2 hours to check in. Reason: Too few check in counters staffed. Cabin: The suite was refurbished earlier this year but several things were broken, missing and dirty (blood stains on the chair, loose curtains, broken lights. The stateroom was not clean. the stateroom attendant told us that they have to clean 24 staterooms with just 2 people. We saw 1 time during our 13 days cruise a vacuüm cleaner. Dining: Main Dining Room: The food was mediocre, the taste was bland and the presentation was too simple. In some cases it was a joke, even at the gala evenings my fish looked like a schnitzel. The vegetables were the same each night. I should be ashamed as waiter and chef to serve this to customers. It was worse than the food in the restaurant at my work. The waiters did a great job to make the best of it. Canneletto: The food was good and tasteful. There was no background music so the ambiance was minimal. The waiters were very nice, no complaints whatsoever. Entertainment: The production shows were OK, nothing special. We've seen better, but this is not important for us. It was a MED cruise and a lot of people enjoyed the sun at the aft pooldeck. The perfect place for some live music, but no, the ship was quit. No live music at the outer decks, no band, nothing. Too bad for the atmosphere and too boring to drink a nice glass of wine during sail away. A missed oppertunity. Service: Hit and miss. The friendliest people on the ship were the stateroom attendants, cleaners and the waiters. We were one of the youngest people on the ship and apparently we were totally not interesting for the head waiter. He ignored us completely. Miscommunication / Rude staf There were several situations onboard were passengers were treated like they were crew members on a cargo ship. Example: We were supposed to leave the ship on Deck A midship (port of Toulon). The securtiy crew sent us back to Deck 2 Forward. So we walked to the theater with other people. We asked a lady from the shore excursion staff where we can leave the ship. She told us to leave the room because it was for shore excursions only. We asked her several times where we can leave the ship because security on Deck A was sending more and more people to Deck 2. She refused to listen and started to shout that we have to leave and go back to Deck A. I asked her politely to contact Deck A about this but she ignored me completely. We were all amazed, is this really a 5 star cruiseline? Excursions: Sometimes we book ship excursions when we don't want to run the risk of missing the ship. The tour prices HAL charges are ridiculous. Other cruiselines charge half of the price for exactly the same tour. Ship: The ships exterior is at this moment in good condition. The maintenance however is poor. The ship is not kept clean. Carpets are dirty, tables are not clean and especially on the pooldecks it's a mess. Waiters don't clean up empty glasses and food plates, sunbeds are covered with used towels for hours. It's the third HAL cruise we experienced such a mess on a ship. The chairs on the pooldecks got dirty because of the soot coming out the funnels. The chairs never got cleaned so people complained about dirty clothes. My new trousers got black spots so I told the officer (he walked on the deck) to clean the chairs more often. He said to me to cover the chair with a pooltowel. In other words, he didn't care and ignored my dirty trousers. This is a cruise ship, not a cargo ship. Ports: All ports were great, no complaints. HAL does not deliver. The overall experience is poor. Definitely not in the same league as Celebrity Cruises. And definitely not a 5 star cruiseline. We paid a premium price for a poor product. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Last minute choice. Rather overpriced but it did tick the boxes and I enjoyed it greatly, would consider using HAL again if a cheaper alternative did not include the ports I wanted to see. Always managed to find a sun lounger, even on ... Read More
Last minute choice. Rather overpriced but it did tick the boxes and I enjoyed it greatly, would consider using HAL again if a cheaper alternative did not include the ports I wanted to see. Always managed to find a sun lounger, even on sea days, though sometimes had to hunt for one. Staff mostly excellent and did not pester to buy drinks. Fruit juice available at mealtimes. Never had a long wait for a table at mealtimes with open dining. No noisy kids running round. ( Sorry, had my share of that). If I wanted to be picky: Wine vastly overpriced, even by restaurant standards. Don't like the standard service charge thing and had it removed, tipping those who provided better than average service directly. What's with charging for shuttle bus in ports where it was too far to walk into town ? HAL need to do a deal with port operators, the ships bring much trade to towns. Gibraltar. I've visited many times and they are getting very greedy and rather off hand with tourists, taxi drivers telling porkies to get trade etc. Heard some snide remarks in Spanish, (which I speak too). Hope I don't hear them complaining about Brexit or they will get an earful. Food repetitive ( but good quality) in Lido and all started to fall off towards the end as things ran out. Entertainment poor, even Thomson do much better. A bit of real music in the Lido area would help, got sick of the same canned tape. Excursions hugely overpriced, even walking tours. Around 2-3 time the cost of locally organised ones. On board staff seem reluctant to provide any information that may result in guests doing their own thing. Internet, as always on ships, a complete waste of time and money, too slow, too expensive to use. Is it technical or just greed ? How come the little train in Mallorca can manage high speed free internet and the cruise lines can't, even in port ? This is 2016, not 1990. Don't be put off by the moans, it was a good cruise and an elegant ship with the right number of guests. It's no party boat but that was just fine. If you can get a good deal, go for it ! Read Less
Sail Date September 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
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
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we ... Read More
Nothing really negative to say about this cruise.We got on and off without any problems,the cabin was was great and the service thruout the ship was the best. We toured each and every port and had a great time in each.The only thing we found not to our liking was the Food.This was our 31st cruise and I would say the selection and quality of the food was poor. We ate more food in ports then ever before,the meat and pork on the ship were overcooked.One night they had brisket that was like shoe leather. By the way the BB King band was the Best!!!! New policy -No Smoking in the Casino-Saved me a lot of money cause my wife wouldn't gamble .Be advised that as the fleet goes in for updates(which were good) there will be a no smoking policy enforced in those casinos. Last fall we were on the Niew Amsterdam and the food was to die for,maybe they should hire their cooks Read Less
Sail Date April 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
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click