23 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for Senior Cruises to Alaska

This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl ... Read More
This was the best cruise ever! The staff was friendly and very helpful as well as cheerful. The food was delicious and plentiful.Every evening it was arranged with care and lovely.Our dining staff was wonderful, especially our wine girl (Miraki(Sp?)-from Japan but living in Manilla). Our room was beautiful and the gentlemen that serviced it were quick and efficient. The ship was clean and everything was top notch. The entertainment was great! I can't rave about it enough. The spa package was awesome. Seaweed wrap a must. The girls in the spa were lovely and informative. Mary our morning dining room person was so nice and helpful. She helped us start our day with JOY! The BBKing review was great. We enjoyed the special music provided by WayFM every night. The wine tastings we attended were very informative. Everyone was fabulous! A TRIP FOR THE MEMORIES!!! I am recommending Holland-America to everyone I tell about our trip and I will book again.*** Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago ... Read More
Just returned from the 7 day Alaska cruise. This was the first time on HAL but have over 12 cruises on other lines. It been several years since our last cruise so the comparison is from over time. Last cruised Alaska about 8 years ago Everything very clean- including cabin- no complaints about ship or cabin. Very satisfied there. Thankful we had great weather- no rain at any port and saw Hubbard Glacier fairly close. Main issues were food and entertainment. Poor entertainment....very little to do during the "at sea" days unless you watched a movie...surprisingly they had a good selection but why pay hundreds of dollars to watch a movie when it can be had for $10 at home. I walked every deck for exercise at night...by 10 o"clock the ship was deserted. Some people in Casino, BB King and listening to twin pianos but all combined maybe 50-75 people out of 2,000 passengers. This is a seniors ship...( note: we are seniors in our 80's but still full of life.) Food was blah. Many of the selections did not appeal to me and you were given small portions. Buffet had same food and if you are into desserts--FORGET IT. Had ice cream scooped for you and 3-4 cake selections and that was it. No great broadway-type entertainment...no steak at all at main meal...no midnight buffet...no tables full of various desserts..no joy of cruising. The 'good old days of cruising" not available here. Probably gone from other cruise lines too. Will go back to Las Vegas where you pay the same or less but get more bang for your buck. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation ... Read More
We are back, mostly unpacked and exhausted. We have been on cruises to Alaska 4 other times, 3 of them on HAL. We picked this one since it docked in Sitka where most others do not, preferring Skagway. It was well worth it. Embarkation was the easiest we have ever experienced. It all went smoothly and we were on the ship much earlier than the time we had been assigned (since we transferred from a hotel). We went right to our cabin where we found the scooter and oxygen concentrator I had ordered already in the cabin. There was more than enough room for the rented scooter, my own scooter and walking around. The Lido beckoned and lunch was good. Then, there was one hitch...the drink card I had ordered was nowhere to be found. Down to Guest Services where I was promised it would be delivered in 9-10 minutes. It wasn't. It took 2 more contacts with Guest Services before they printed it for me at the desk. The only other problem was, one evening while trying to watch a movie in the cabin, there was a pop and the electricity on one side of the room was out. There was a maintenance man at the cabin in 15 minutes and it was fixed. Probably a breaker needed to be thrown. We ate in the dining room most of the time since my husband has trouble walking and the Lido is hard on him. I found, however, that the selection was not as good as on past cruises. The food was good, just the selection was poor. The main dining room was very good although, here as well, the selection wasn't up to previous cruises. The table staff and hosts were wonderful. Adi (host) and Von (wine steward) were especially wonderful. We had open seating and had the same table every evening with different companions, all fantastic people. We are not night people and only attended one show. The ports were wonderful. We only did one excursion (since we'd done this so many times before) and it was good. There was some confusion as to an ADA bus, but that got cleared up pretty quickly. The rest of the time we just wandered around...exactly what I wanted to do. There was one particular shop on Creek Street in Ketchikan (Perfect Partners) that I wanted to visit and it had just opened. I was thrilled. Disembarkation was as smooth as glass. We were on the bus before the time we were scheduled to leave the ship. Then there was the airport..... This may be our last cruise due to medical reasons. It was a wonderful week. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to ... Read More
In August 2017 my wife suffered a fully-detached retina. If you don't know, rehab from surgery requires no change in air pressure for at least 90 days. Well, that meant no flying and our Mediterranean Cruise in September 2017 had to be cancelled. Thankfully we had trip insurance so all non-refundable expenses were reimbursed. Six weeks later, we were in the doctor's office for another check-up. Since the eye was healing on schedule, we asked, "Can we take a vacation on a ship?" We live in Seattle so the doctor said, "Absolutely, yes"". A quick call to our AAA travel agent and, 9 days later, we left on a 7 day round-trip to Alaska on HA's Oosterdam. We selected this cruise because we'd previously been to Skagway and the Oosterdam's itinerary included Sitka (instead of Skagway) plus Hubbard Glacier (instead of Tracy Arm). We were so happy with our substitute cruise...while it wasn't Venice and the Adriatic, we had a wonderful time on the Oosterdam, with its emphasis on European Art and Holland America's partnerhsip with America's Test Kitchen. Sitka is a great city to visit...so much Russian and Native Northwest Indian history; we'd love to go back for a few days! If you every get to book a cruise that visits Hubbard Glacier, you'll be very impressed with the immensity of this glacier. Sailing up Tracy Arm provides spectacular scenary but Hubbard Glacier is so huge. Our ship's naturalist said our sunny, 45 degree day was the best weather of the entire 2017 cruising season to Alaska. What's not to love about that? We'd heard a few stories that HA caters to an older cruise clientele. From our first experience, this is probably true, at least compared to our other cruise experiences with Celebrity and Royal Caribbean. There were families with small kids and grandparents with grandchildren, just not as many as on other cruise lines. (Our cruise was in late September, well after the school year started, so that was probably a contributing factor.) We're nearly 70 and had a great time. We really loved the emphasis on classical art and music. Once again, the best part was meeting interesting travelers, which is true on every cruise anywhere. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Got a great deal on cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam so we took it. Since we live near the west coast and are seniors on a limited budget, but love cruising. We shop for cruise deals primarily from the west coast which limits us pretty ... Read More
Got a great deal on cruise to Alaska on the Oosterdam so we took it. Since we live near the west coast and are seniors on a limited budget, but love cruising. We shop for cruise deals primarily from the west coast which limits us pretty much to Alaska and Mexico as destinations. This was our 16th cruise and second on HAL. In addition to HAL we have cruised Celebrity, Princess, Carnival Norwegian, and RCCL. We almost always get an oceanview (picture window, no balcony) room. We booked a fully obstructed view as we have been to Alaska twice before, both times with balconies. We have booked fully obstructed rooms before only to be given partially obstructed or non obstructed rooms when we got on board but this room was FULLY obstructed. No complaints. That is what we paid for and that is what we got. Embarkation at Seattle was super fast. Also our luggage was outside the door of our room before we got back from lunch. That was a first for us. Usually we are lucky if we get it right after dinner. HAL seems to have embarkation down really well. The room was a moderate size room for that category cabin compared to other ships we had been on. Not the smallest and not the largest. The bed, however, was the most comfortable of any bed I have had on any cruise ship anywhere. Both my wife and I tended to sleep in very late as we did not want to get out of that bed. It was wonderful. The ship itself is an older ship and that is evident but it is kept clean and functional. The food is very, very good in my opinion. I know people have particular and sometimes very different taste in food and what one person finds terrific, another finds horrible. I am very much a simple meat and potatoes type guy. I like my hot food hot, my cold food cold and tasty. I want the food to taste good enough that I would love to come back and have the same thing again. I am not an adventurous eater. I know what I like and am not particularly interested in trying new things. I really liked the food on both HAL ships I have been on. I always found something that appealed to me and it always tasted like I expected it to taste and good. Except for the pizza. The first evening I got a piece of plain cheese pizza. It was the worst pizza I have ever had on any cruise ship ever! I would swear to you that there was not a drop of tomato sauce underneath the cheese on the pizza. I could not see or taste any but when we questioned the staff they said there was. That was the only piece of pizza I had for the entire trip. It was BAAAD. Food in the main dining room was exceptional. Food in the buffet was above average for cruise buffet food. The desserts merit special praise. The Dive In next to the pool had great hamburgers and hot dogs. I found the main showroom entertainment disappointing. The were only two production shows and while the singers and dancers were certainly talented enough, they could only work with the material they had. I found the first show just OK and the second show very disappointing because of the choice of material,staging, production values as a whole. This was more than made up for by the entertainment provided by Jordan Wolf and Justin Lacey at Billboard in the small lounge across from the casino. These two young men played duet pianos across from each other and sang. They were amazing!!! People passing through on their way to the main stage show or elsewhere would stop, stand there and listen for the rest of the show. Their shows were standing room only. They became a nightly must see for us, as well as many others. The regulars got there early and got seats. The last night of the cruise, at the last show, those of us that were seated stood and gave them a standing ovation at the conclusion which spontaneously lasted for 10 minutes or more. If they were the only entertainment we saw on the cruise, we would have been more than satisfied. In addition to the production shows in the main theater, they had a comedian who I did not find particularly funny who spent part of his act talking about his autistic daughter, her development and accomplishments, which evoked pathos, but was not what I considered to be an evenings entertainment on a cruise ship. It was not, in my opinion, an appropriate venue for that discussion. There was also a comedian/magician who I thought was very good and very entertaining. Two things I have high standards for are entertainment and pizza. A third is hamburgers and hot dogs. I am not going to discuss the ports or Alaska, as we do not do excursions. Suffice it to say Alaska is beautiful. I could see it 20 times, it would still be beautiful. The ports are in Alaska. Enough said. When we go on cruises, we go on cruises to be on the ship. That is what we like. In Mexico, we do not even get off to see the ports much of the time. We have already seen them a whole bunch and they pretty much all the look the same to us. So I don't review ports. Could not tell you what to not miss and what to be sure and miss. The library on the ship, located in Explorations Cafe, is well stocked. The crows nest is great for looking out the windows and observing provided you can get a seat, which is a bit of a challenge. Did not go in the pool which others said was cold but did go in the hot tub which was more of a warm tub, which actually was okay by me. I could stay in longer. Service on the ship was very good and the staff were exceptional. They always smiled and greeted you warmly. Each staff member encountered would do whatever they could to help you, solve any problems and make your cruise enjoyable. Unfortunately, guest services has long lines and limited personnel to handle the amount of people needing assistance. Part of the problem, in my opinion, lies with that fact that HAL does not have an interactive account listing on your TV screen like other cruise lines do. Instead you have to go to guest services and either get a printout from one of two kiosks, if they are working, or speak with a guest services person after waiting in line forever. If you want to keep track of how much you are spending, being charged, your onboard credit, etc., expect to spend a lot of time at or near the guest services desk. Disembarkation was not quite as smooth as embarkation. We utilized the valet service which allows you to check your bags through to your final destination and get your airline boarding passes while still on the ship. We received written notice that we were in port valet group C and would be called to disembark at 8:15 am. The ship was scheduled to dock at 7 am. Our experience on cruise ships has been that usually we are called at the disembarkation time or later. We went up to eat breakfast at 7 am. At 7:15 our group was called for disembarkation. We rushed back to the room to get our carry-ons and disembark, barely having had anything to eat. I hope I conveyed that the pluses on this ship and this line far outweighed the minuses and I would take this cruise again in a New York minute. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
Having set sails with RCCL, NCL, and Celebrity, I tried not to set my standard too high because I know that HAL is going to be different and more traditional. After spending a week on Oosterdam, I can break it down and say things that I ... Read More
Having set sails with RCCL, NCL, and Celebrity, I tried not to set my standard too high because I know that HAL is going to be different and more traditional. After spending a week on Oosterdam, I can break it down and say things that I like and dislike. Things I like, 1. the relaxing nature of this cruise. It's very laid back and be as lazy as I wanted. 2. Food quality was superb. I like that I didn't notice anything artificial like food coloring. 3. A lot of healthy food options; from no sugar added items to seafood. 4. Drink pricing was reasonable. For example, Cappuccino was $2.25. 5. Everyone seems friendly and very efficient in their own area. 6. Educational events and shows, especially with BBC 7. Elevators were fast and efficient. i particularly loved the scenic elevators with glass panels facing out of the ship. 8. Refurbishment could be seen and easily noticed, especially at the Lido Market. 9. Lot of movies playing, especially in cabin. 10. Getting on and off the ship was super easy. Things I dislike 1. The relaxing nature of this cruise. It gets boring at some point on a week long cruise. 2. Crew members were friendly but restrained. I felt like they were trained to say so much and that's it. 3. The use of public areas could be improved. I ran out of things to explore. 4. The lack of energy. There wasn't much going on at all. Bars were dead and filled with people taking a nap or knitting. 5. Shows were educational and informative. Not exciting and energetic at all. 6. Comedies were good but PG-13 7. The ship could use more seating area, especially at the Lido Market. 8. The lack of food venues to help breaking up the crowd. 9. Duration at ports could have been better. Ketchikan 7am-1pm was silly. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
My wife and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 11am. Were met and welcomed by a HAL rep who arranged for a cab to the Pan Pacific. The Pan Pacific allowed us to check in immediately and our luggage was taken to our room. Nice ... Read More
My wife and I arrived at the Vancouver Airport at 11am. Were met and welcomed by a HAL rep who arranged for a cab to the Pan Pacific. The Pan Pacific allowed us to check in immediately and our luggage was taken to our room. Nice accommodations and we had the afternoon to explore Vancouver and Stanley Park. Enjoyed a dinner and drinks overlooking the Lions Gate Bridge and Bay. The next morning we headed to Victoria BC and two nights at the Empress Hotel. Great location and they provided a complimentary larger room on the 2nd floor. Buchart Gardens, Dragon Boat Festival, Harbor, Irish Pubs, BC Museum, and Fisherman's Wharf made for a great weekend in Victoria. Arrived back in Vancouver about noon on the 16th and boarding was painless and fast. Some folks seemed confused going through customs, etc. but HAL reps were there to assist. Found our luggage in our cabin, explored the ship and found a lounge for a relaxing drink while everyone else seemed to head immediately to the Lido deck for lunch. We were very impressed with the friendliness and helpfulness of the HAL staff. The organization of the trip and receiving a packet with keys, etc. was perfect throughout our two week trip. The variety of entertainment venues and activities on the cruise provided for just about any interest. We enjoyed a few shows in the Vista Lounge especially the Marriage Game where the Cruise Director and an elderly couple celebrating 64 yrs. of marriage provided a very inspirational show for all in attendance. Alaska speaks for itself. While on the cruise portion of our trip we enjoyed the Navigation Deck, the Pinnacle Lounge and the Piano Bar where three talented fellow travelers provided some wonderful music with the pianist. Enjoyed dining in the Vista Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill and room service. Also enjoyed a Salmon Bake on the Lido Deck. Open dining allowed us to meet and dine with fellow travelers from around the world. The coach trip to Denali was long as we had expected but well worth the trip. Some great stops along the way to see Beluga Whales, Iditarod Headquarters and the Veteran's Memorial broke up the long trip. Enjoyed Denali Tundra Tour and our stay at the McKinley Chalet in the Cottonwood. We had purchased meal vouchers as part of the land / cruise package and enjoyed the McKinley Chalet restaurants and the McKinley Explorer. Ended our trip at the Anchorage Hilton which was ok for Anchorage but when we went to the Hilton's restaurant we were given a Holland America Voucher Menu that was a lunch type menu. Luckily we had a very good waitress who spoke with her manager and we were then given a Dinner Menu. When I purchased the dinner package HAL assured me there were no menu restrictions. I expect fellow travelers found this to be an issue and would suggest HAL speak with Anchorage Hilton management. Other than this small issue we had great weather and a excellent trip to BC / Alaska. Also, the Alaskan Summer Ale was superb. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been ... Read More
Wow, After reading some of the recent reviews, we were a bit concerned. But no need. Has cruising changed in 20 years, absolutely, is it for the better? Mostly not, so let me tell you what we liked and what we feel could have been better. Could have been better, The ship, Oosterdam is old, it has been painted and varnished, updated etc., but she shows her age. It is not as clean as as newer ship, not as many neat features, etc. This is the main knock on this ship. The help on the ship isn't as friendly as we have seen in the past. I believe much of this is the culture of where the people come from. Nice enough, just not outwardly friendly, kind of quiet, keep to themselves. The boarding process was painful, the embarkation was a mess, they tried to get everyone checked in on the train, this worked well enough, but all it succeeded in doing was creating a massive traffic jam at security, where we waited for an hour anyway. Since we were traveling with my 85 year old parents, it was not a pleasant experience. We were staying in a Neptune suite and would have boarded much faster by refusing the train check in, taking the suite check in line at the port, much, much faster. As many people have noted, there is not much entertainment on this ship, but it wasn't what we were here for anyway. We were a bit disappointed that B.B. King blues club never seems to actually play any blues, the band was decent, just a bit loud. And lastly, they lack a bit of common sense, when it is raining, and it is close to all aboard time, maybe they could find a way to speed up the process? Hundreds of people standing in the rain, there has to be a better way to make sure the ship is secure, and the passengers are dry. Maybe two security check points? What we liked. The Neptune lounge, unlike the previous review, we loved Steph and Roxy, they were awesome, patient, and willing to help at any time. We had them change many of our reservations and every time they came through with a smile. One of the big advantages of being in a Neptune suite, is the lounge, food available all day, Roxy and Steph to help you, and much better coffee available here than elsewhere. A side benefit is you get to eat breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill, fresh, brought to you, excellent menu and service, we ate there almost every morning. Our waiter was Francisco and he was amazing, on the spot, always with a smile, a great way to start the day. Loved the food in the Grill, night or day, it is very good. We liked the crew in general, the Captain was very good at communicating where we were, what was going on etc. We liked our room, huge balcony, and it was nice to have 2 sinks and room to shower in the garden tub. We loved the Crows Nest lounge, up front, on top, spectacular view. We spent a great deal of time just watching Alaska go by as we sailed along. We enjoyed the main Vista dining room, two formal nights, two regular nights, food was good, true, it was not overly spiced, but they are cooking for 2000 mostly older adults, and I suspect they have learned to be easy on the spices. My parents are fussy eaters and they loved the food, we thought it was just typical for a cruise ship. The service was faster than many ships we have been on and we were thankful for that. We do not want to take 2 plus hours to eat. I have read about the south bound week having issues with fresh fruit and vegetables towards the end of the cruise, but there were no issues on this trip, plenty, right up to the day we got off. We bought most of our excursions from Holland America and they were all well managed, and we were happy with them. Getting off the ship went very well. If you are getting off or on for that matter in Vancover, the train station is right across the street, $2.75 to go to or from the airport, about 20 minutes, quick, clean trains, highly recommended. There is a luggage service at the port that will take your luggage for the day and you can then pick it up at the airport, very easy to use and to find. Summary, HAL is not the HAL of the past, particularly the food. More like NCL or Carnival, so I would not pay more to be on HAL, as you should know, it is an older crowd, quiet at night, and they can be a bit more demanding, service wise than younger passengers. Very few children on this ship, maybe 20 if that. I would recommend the Oosterdam to my friends and family, we have a wonderful time. Read Less
Sail Date June 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
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with ... Read More
We have sailed many times with Holland America,and enjoyed the cruises very much. This last trip to alaska was disappointing in that we saw a big downgrading in the vista shows,the movie rooms screen is very old and should be replaced with a bigger and new movie screen,the casino needs a big renovation and the dining rooms menu isn't as good as before because of menu selection and presentation. The service was excellent as usual,and adan our waiter in the dining room was superb. We hope Holland America will address these areas, so we may cruise with them again. Our cabin overall was nice except it needs a new tv. The attendants again were excellent. Our cabin was 5028. The ship itself is very classy and the crew very professional. They have a great cultural theme in regard to art auctions, and a trio playing classical music. Side courses on cooking and windows 8 computer educational courses,along with karoke and night club entertainment. The swimming pools are nice,along with the spas. In conclusion the oosterdam has a great atmosphere and people,it just needs some updates. Read Less
Sail Date September 2014
First, allow me to say that my wife and I have been huge fans of HAL and the Oosterdam since our first cruise in 2006 with HAL! This cruise started with a three night land portion to Denali National Park! It was overall excellent ... Read More
First, allow me to say that my wife and I have been huge fans of HAL and the Oosterdam since our first cruise in 2006 with HAL! This cruise started with a three night land portion to Denali National Park! It was overall excellent beginning with our one night in Anchorage at the beautiful Hotel Captain Cook! The next day we were transported by bus to the McKinley Explorer Train (owned by HAL), had a beautiful escorted train trip to Denali with great service and hosts onboard. Even the food on the train was great for a tourist attraction. our luggage was picked up at the hotel by truck arriving at the Princess Denali Lodge and in our room before we were. Our keys and directions were all given to us aboard the train! I was surprised how well coordinated it was. the Lodge and grounds were very pretty and well maintained. both nights we chose to dine in the Hard Tack Lounge. Our server, Tyler from Ct. by way of Denver, was excellent and friendly. The food was good and priced as you would expect in a resort in Alaska. The tundra tour was very good, and we saw moose, caribou and eagles! We also did a tour of Jeff King's Alaskan Huffy Kennels and training facility. He has won the Iditarod five times! On the very nice motor coach trip to Seward, we had several photo stops with spectacular views of Mt McKinley, apparently a rare treat for only about 30% of the visitors to the region. The lunch stop a sandwich/salad buffet was very nice in a beautiful area of Wasilla. From the arrival in Seward to disembarkation in Vancouver the following Sunday, things went downhill! This was our fourth Oosterdam cruise since 2006! The Seward cruise port building is a steel warehouse building! Check in was like a rat's maze with several busses arriving in close proximity. There were probably 800 to 1,000 people trying to get checked in and to board after 5pm! It was a real "cluster", poorly managed and all boarding the Oosterdam.!!! From this point forward the sales pitches started from photography, wine, shore excursions, art work, etc.! Our baggage had all arrived in our cabin by an hour after boarding. The biggest changes were in the quality of food and service in the Lido buffet, the Main Dining Room and the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfasts in the Lido were as always crowded, but the rudeness of line servers and the quality and selection was the worst. Scrambled eggs looked like slop; bacon was almost raw and the lines were usually closed early and were running out of some items! never before seen on HAL. At our table #69 in the MDR, the service was okay, but the girl wine steward was not knowledgeable about all the wines and only interested in hurrying to sell more bottles. Dinners in the MDR were more often disappointing because of the selection, quality or quantity in some items. My escargot were overcooked and only offered once! On the final night, the usual and fun parade of servers with baked Alaska was deleted! There was no more "chocolate extravaganza" around the pool as usual before one evening. The Pinnacle Grill cover charge formerly $20is now $29/person. That nearly 30% increase would be okay, but they eliminated lobster tails from the entrée choices and put an additional $20/person upcharge for King Crab legs! I ordered a 10oz filet mignon, medium rare, and it arrived well done. Reorder came medium well but ate it anyway! The manager seemed to make reservations difficult, but there were always a few empty tables! The singers and dancers were live and good especially Angela, the light haired male singer and the piano player, Mario in the Halcats band. the magician was mediocre and not friendly to guests off the stage and around the ship with his four dogs, child and wife. the comedian, Julie Barr was funny and entertaining. Our cabin stewards did a good job except when our fruit was ripe and ready to eat, they removed it and left not so ripe. Finally, disembarkation was another "cluster" and absolutely horrible regardless of what you had put on your form regarding post cruise travel arrangements, etc. We were supposed to disembark between 8:15 and 8:30am, but it ended up being about 9:15am? If these issues are not fleet wide, they may be related to the new Captain Bos since such problems run downhill! In conclusion, if we don't hear anything positive from HAL and not token, this will be our last HAL cruise! One final comment regarding ports on this cruise concerns the port of Haines! It is very disappointing, and must be free of any port charges to HAL. Only one shuttle bus was running to town because the other had broken down a few days before! Skip Haines and do Skagway! In summation, enjoy Alaska and Denali; but don't sail the Oosterdam, and maybe choose another cruise line! Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We are seasoned cruisers with 20+ cruises under our respective belts, both in our mid-50's. We traveled as a party of eight with our adult children aged 24 to 41 years. This is the fifth time we've visited Alaska, third time ... Read More
We are seasoned cruisers with 20+ cruises under our respective belts, both in our mid-50's. We traveled as a party of eight with our adult children aged 24 to 41 years. This is the fifth time we've visited Alaska, third time we've sailed with HAL, and second time on the Oosterdam. The train from Anchorage to Seward was spectacular, with good food and comfortable seating. We missed the track wash-out by one day, thankfully. The ship is very pretty and well designed in her layout with an incredible amount of intriguing art. We never had a problem getting around and found all public spaces quite easily. The demographics onboard this particular sailing veered towards the over-70 crowd. There were very few young people and virtually no small children sailing this third week of June. We were a bit surprised by this as we typically have seen more families on cruise ships in Alaska. Surprisingly there were only two cruise directors onboard and a very limited number of activities day and night. There were daily trivia games, two karaoke hours for the week, some dancing, one hour of disco each night, a few production shows, and a VERY old and tired out piano bar set-up. We were (jokingly) asked to leave when we requested something a bit more rock-and-roll. We did leave. This ship tidied up and shut down by 10:30 or 11pm each evening. Oh, the magician and comedian were both excellent. If you're looking for night life... you won't find it here. That being said - the food was absolutely delicious, the service in the MDR was gracious, and our cabin steward was phenomenal. One food regret for me was the Pinnacle Grill. I had so looked forward to this and my steak was chalky and dry. Yuck. The chocolate dessert was an oily bowl of soup with no consistency. Very out of character. I also had a bit of trouble in Explorations Cafe. They just couldn't get the hot chocolate right and told me they were out of chocolate syrup. We found staff for the most part to be accommodating, friendly, and vivacious in most areas. Check out the Pinnacle Bar and Ocean Bar for some light-hearted fun with the bar staff. We didn't shop or use the computer at all so I can't comment to those areas. The spa was gloriously serene and the Thermal Suite/Therapy Pool areas were pure bliss. Passenger services were on top of the few issues we had and Captain Boss kept us well informed throughout the voyage. The aft balcony cabins we booked were amazing with very little jiggle.  We had four aft cabins on Deck 7 and loved them. The balcony doors were opened the entire time so we could visit and relax together. The bed was very comfortable and there was plenty of room with a smallish sofa, table, and extra storage seat. Our verandah had two wicker sitting chairs and one chaise lounge. There was plenty of hanging closet space and storage for everything we brought. We could easily have stored a few weeks' worth of clothes, shoes, etc. in this cabin. You may think there'd be noise in the back, but inside the cabin it was silent. The sound of the ocean and ship's wake were only heard on the balcony. Loved the bathtub/shower combination too - you won't find that on many other cruise lines in a lower category balcony cabin. Weather at this time of year was a bit rainy out of Anchorage, but the sun came out most every afternoon. Passing through Seymour Narrows at midnight was very cool. Would I book HAL again? Maybe for the food and service, but if I wanted to have a little more fun in the evenings, I might check out one of my other favorite cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
After very busy few days in Denali, we were really looking forward to boarding the ship for a little slower pace and some R and R.. After a long bus trip to Seward from Denali we were greeted by a long line waiting to obtain the necessary ... Read More
After very busy few days in Denali, we were really looking forward to boarding the ship for a little slower pace and some R and R.. After a long bus trip to Seward from Denali we were greeted by a long line waiting to obtain the necessary ship cards This took almost an hour and a half but then were able to embark and go to our cabin-- by this time it was after 5 We quickly went to the Lido for something to eat and then waited to play sardines for the much anticipated boat drill. Then we were finally able to take a deep breathe and enjoy the next six days. We had the most amazing room steward by the name of Komang, who couldn't do enough for us with the biggest smile. The Oosterdam has one of the nicest crews that we have had the pleasure of sailing with on the "dam"ships. The ship was extremely clean and well-maintained and easy to find your way around. There were numerous activities available and always something of interest to do. We especially like the computer and digital picture presentations. We had plenty of time in each port to experience at least one shore excursion or even two and time to shop. The transfer from the ship to the airport was well organized and went very smoothly. Just wish United Airlines was as organized! All in all we were pleased as usual with our Holland America experience---just tired when we reached home-and lots of laundry--and yes, nobody picked up the dirty towels on the bathroom floor so I had to do it! Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
I'm an old Navy salt. My wonderful wife of 30 years finally talked me into a cruise after MANY years of telling me we would have fun. I finally relented and we booked a 7 day Alaska cruise on Holland America. i ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! ... Read More
I'm an old Navy salt. My wonderful wife of 30 years finally talked me into a cruise after MANY years of telling me we would have fun. I finally relented and we booked a 7 day Alaska cruise on Holland America. i ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! Embarkation lines in Seattle were long but fast and efficient. We upgraded to a Signature Suite from a regular verandah suite for $100 more each. It was definitely worth the extra money. Plenty of space and the two sinks and showers were very convenient although the bathtub did drain a little slowly, We will not settle for less from now on. Cabin stewards were perfect, learning our names and preferences almost immediately. The towel animals were a real hoot and we anxiously waited every night to see what was next. Jason out cruise director was really good and quite the comedian. The classical piano/violin duo we listened to at night before dinner was wonderful as was the piano bar entertainer-he really got people to sing along instead of just putting on his own show like some do. I did the beer tasting event one day and really enjoyed it. It was alot of fun and I actually learned some things! The food in the MDR was always good. Plenty of choices, great dessert and coffee but plan on about a two hour experience, although it never seemed to be that long it always was. The staff knew we were celebrating our anniversary and several times brought us a little special cake to celebrate, it was always nice and a good conversation piece with our dining mates. Getting a seat at the 8 o’clock show can be a challenge if you get seated in the MDR after six. We usually just planned on attending the 10 o‘clock show, seats were always available. Cruising up into Tracy Arm was a magnificent experience. I can't commend the Captain more for the expert job he did in that narrow gorge. Awesome! The gym was top notch and I always went to "morning stretch" although one time I think the instructor was getting bored because he turned it into "morning calisthenics"! I felt like I was back in boot camp, but I kept up! The crew on this ship is so nice, cheerful and pleasant that we ended up giving several people personal tips at the end of the week in addition to the daily "service charge" that is tacked on to the bill already. Disembarkation back in Seattle was a breeze. I love cruising, I love Holland America and we are already planning our next one. Carry on.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
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
We had a perfect time on this trip - was our second time with Holland and will return. Was upgraded to a suite (7080) and it was beyond any cabin we have had in the past, was a last minute past passenger rate for $199.00 will always say ... Read More
We had a perfect time on this trip - was our second time with Holland and will return. Was upgraded to a suite (7080) and it was beyond any cabin we have had in the past, was a last minute past passenger rate for $199.00 will always say yes to this in the future - express checkin and lots of extra's came with the suite (even daily laundry). The service team was wonderful, great wine steward (Elmer) and room attend - suites come with a special lounge which was very nice before dinner and little treats throughout the day. Dinners were good but not excellent - was expecting more pacific coast seafood choices. Fitness area was good and lots to do on the ship. Was nice to bring our wine on board and enjoy it in our room. Not great for entertainment but ok - checked out the movies one afternoon. Beautiful trip and a solid full day down to Tracy Arms - great from the crows nest or your balcony - go up and back the same way so each side get the full experience. Did whale watching in Juneau was amazing a great place to walk around - on the dock is the Twisted Fish great for lunch. Then on to Sitka - did the Birds/Bears/Barnacle (sp) super fun kind of the non-profit experience and it was excellent - lunch at the crab shack I believe - excellent. Final stop was Ketchikan - do the Duck Tour is a great "local" experience. Overall a solid A. Checkout the Canaletto for dinner they have changed the menu and service - it was excellent. Great Service and variety - will return (and the weather was amazing). Read Less
Sail Date June 2013
I took advice from other HAL and Oosterdam reviews with a "grain of salt". Our loss. Our experience of one week, has left us vowing to never cruise on anything related to HAL or CCL again. They have cut the food budgets so badly ... Read More
I took advice from other HAL and Oosterdam reviews with a "grain of salt". Our loss. Our experience of one week, has left us vowing to never cruise on anything related to HAL or CCL again. They have cut the food budgets so badly that the Alfredo Sauce, for instance, is only flour and water. That is only a tiny example of a much bigger problem. We are not "Foodies" but what we found available after the morning meal was just awful. Only fifteen minutes into the 3-hour dinner window, they were out of some of the items posted on the menu. The staff said you have to get there sooner if you want the posted items. Sooner?? We found our way to a back-deck grill that was cooking excellent cheeseburgers and fries and that became our fall-back meal several times. The room was another failure. There are two 14 inch in diameter and three five inch diameter cut-outs in the floor covered by carpet at the foot of the bed. They are about an inch deep and make getting around the room very difficult especially if the seas are rough. The rest of the open floor area seemed to be buckled up and was just terrible. The front office said boat was full and they were sorry we didn't like the room but there was nothing to be done for it. This should be a broom closet not a stateroom. The banging of the movable panels from the wind on the balcony were so bad that I jammed folded paper between them to stop the banging at night. There was no fix for the howling of the wind on the balcony glass door, however. The room attendants and most of the staff were very courteous and helpful but I have a problem when the crew, on a limited-time meal break, are dropped in the middle of cruisers who are in no hurry. Both sides get annoyed. Read Less
Sail Date May 2013
It appeared as though there were different centers of activity or business that operate almost autonomously. I say that because of the tremendous difference in quality that I noticed. Some things were great; others were deplorable. I ... Read More
It appeared as though there were different centers of activity or business that operate almost autonomously. I say that because of the tremendous difference in quality that I noticed. Some things were great; others were deplorable. I certainly feel that HAL should make money from their passengers; but their passengers should also have an enjoyable experience. On our last cruise, some of the business centers focused solely on making money and ignored our experience. In other cases service was impeccable. For example, check-in was flawless, fast and smooth. Room service, the same. Dining in the Italian restaurant was a pleasure, as was the buffet. But the food in the main dining room was just so-so at best, and the much-touted high-end La Cirque (extra charge) had great food but terrible service. We sat with empty plates on our table for 20 minutes, missed the show as a result, and complained to the manager who apologised but didn't do anything about it. He said he was short-staffed, but that was a revenue-generating decision to pack as many people in as possible who were paying extra fees (over $150 a couple). We paid for an upgrade from a balcony cabin to a luxury suite, but the furniture in our "luxury suite" was broken and stained (we had them remove some of it). In fairness, the beds were the most comfortable of any on any ship I have been on. But maintenance was deplorable. The ship is showing lack of attention. The owners seem to be milking it without putting back what is needed to keep it up. I would rate some of the elements of our cruise an A+, the excursions we chose also an A+, the ship itself a C- mostly due to maintenance, service and food issues. Most of the staff were helpful and friendly beyond normal expectation. A few were stupid and intrusive. One was downright ugly. Worse experience was in the health spa: we signed up for the hydro spa, a gigantic hi-tech hot tub, for a charge of $195 for the entire cruise. They claimed it was 100 degrees but it was actually much hotter. Many people complained but they insisted their equipment measured it correctly. Well, we have a spa at home set at 100 and we know the difference. We both have high blood pressure and cannot take very hot water. This was at least 105. They refused to check with a manual thermometer or refund our fee. A second spa incident: they called to reschedule my wife's massage because they were overbooked. We refused to do it because they wanted to schedule it very early. The next morning she was not feeling well and cancelled the massage, knowing there was a waiting list, but they refused a refund. So we wound up paying for things we never used. They will attempt to squeeze every dollar they can from you, often without regard for your experience. While some things were great, some were just so-so, and some really sucked. If we had avoided the spa entirely, and eaten more in the Italian restaurant and buffet, we would have been much happier with this cruise. Regarding the views and the excursions, only one word: spectacular!! Well maybe two: unbelievable!! The voyage down Tracy Arm was worth the price of the cruise all by itself. But that separates Nature from the ship. What we saw of Nature was just wonderful: the fjords, glaciers, the whales, eagles, etc. And the ship got us there comfortably and safely. So kudos to the captain and crew. That's why I title this "some good, some really bad." Perhaps a different ship on the same itinerary would have been better. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
We took the 7-day Alaskan Explorer Cruise on the Holland America Oosterdam from June 17 to 24. This was our seventh cruise and our third cruise to Alaska and they have all been on Holland America cruise ships. We enjoy the size of the ... Read More
We took the 7-day Alaskan Explorer Cruise on the Holland America Oosterdam from June 17 to 24. This was our seventh cruise and our third cruise to Alaska and they have all been on Holland America cruise ships. We enjoy the size of the ships, the friendliness and attention, and the wonderful cuisine and service. We flew nonstop to Seattle via SW Airlines. We had transfers to the Hilton Seattle Airport Hotel, but it would have been just as easy without the transfers, as the Hotel Shuttle was our transfer. The hotel was very nice, but next time, we will make our own hotel reservations and stay closer to the downtown area. We ate dinner in the hotel at Spencer's Steak & Chop Restaurant and it was excellent. We also had transfers to Pier 91, but the HAL bus was not leaving the hotel until 11:30 a.m. so we had the concierge get us a town car. This allowed us to get to the pier early and board the ship earlier. The embarkation process at the pier was run very efficiently. Upon boarding, we went to see the dining room maitre de in the Explorer's Lounge as we had Open Seating and wanted to reserve a table for two at 5:15 p.m. This allowed us to sit at the same table each evening and get to know our waiters and wine steward. It is very comparable to fixed seating which always seems to be closed when we make our reservations. Our cabin was 5109 on the Verandah Deck with a balcony ocean view. We had never experienced a balcony before, but now I don't know if I want to cruise without one. We enjoyed it immensely. Our cabin was ready when we arrived which was so nice. We went to the Mariner's Luncheon, signed up for Internet usage, and purchased a 7-day wine package. When we returned to our cabin, our luggage had arrived, so we unpacked. We set sail at 4:12 p.m. after the mandatory emergency drill. After dinner, we listened to the Adagio Duo in the Explorer's Lounge. The duo was a pianist and a violinist from Hungary. We were used to hearing a string quartet on the other cruises, so at first we were disappointed. That feeling lasted about two minutes as these two men were outstanding. We listened to them every evening. We then went to the Vista Lounge and were entertained with a show to meet the Oosterdam singers and dancers as well as a comedy routine by Julie Barr -- very funny. We attended every show in the Vista Lounge. Julie Barr was hilarious and the comedian-ventriloquist, Mike Robinson was also great. The other shows were with the Oosterdam singers and dancers. We enjoyed the "Stage & Screen" production better than the "Garage Band" production. The singers and dancers did an outstanding job, but the Garage Band was a bit overpowering. Our day-to-day schedule was pretty routine. My husband and I do not do many excursions as we cruise to enjoy the relaxation of the ship. We like to read, attend the lectures and demonstrations, walk on the deck, go to wine tastings, play trivia, meet new people, eat, go to the shows, and watch the ocean. The first day out we experienced rough seas and there many passengers who stayed in their cabins that day; but then it was smooth sailing!! We cruised Tracy Arm and our ports of call were Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria, Canada with disembarkation in Seattle. The week went entirely too fast. We used the Express Checkout so we didn't see our luggage until we arrived back in Kansas City. The only negative was that one piece of my luggage wound up at LAX and not MCI! Luckily, we picked it up at the airport the next day. I'm not sure if I would use Express Checkout again, but it was very convenient not to lug the suitcases around at the airport. We have never been disappointed with the Holland American Cruise Line and can't wait until our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We arrived in Seattle to meet 2 other couples, which were close family members. We met in the Airport Radisson. Lovely accommodations that were dated and slightly aged, but clean. We brought 4 pieces of luggage which were hard for us ... Read More
We arrived in Seattle to meet 2 other couples, which were close family members. We met in the Airport Radisson. Lovely accommodations that were dated and slightly aged, but clean. We brought 4 pieces of luggage which were hard for us seniors to negotiate to the airport shuttle area, but we did it! Our excitement was very high as 2 of the couple had never "cruised" before. We had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel (quite expensive and not worth it, IMO). The hotel shuttled us back to airport where we found our HAL group for the shuttle to Pier 91. We deposited our carry ons and we were off without a hitch. We could not believe the size of the ship at our first glimpse of it!! The trek into the terminal wasn't too forbidding and there was help all along the way for us "newbies". We checked in and had a little "wait" time but not too long. The embarkation pictures is what hinders the progress but it was one of our favorite of the cruise. They got all 6 of us in a very flattering pose and the quality of pictures are terrific....don't neglect to take the pictures. We went right to our cabins, took pictures, left our belongings and went to the Lido deck for lunch. It was a little crowded but we found seats together, ate our lunch and just enjoyed the fact that we were finally, after all the planning and excitement, on board!! After reading all the reviews of the Oosterdam, I was very intent on looking at all the furniture, carpeting, flooring, to check for wear and tear. I saw very little! It's soon to be dry docked for routine maintenance but really, it was in terrific shape, again IMHO. The cabin stewards introduced themselves after lunch and soon thereafter our luggage arrived. We put everything away and thanks to CC boards, I knew about the space underneath the bed for our empty luggage. There was plenty of storage space, in fact, we didn't even use it all. Unbelievable, because we really over packed, since we didn't really know what to expect. We meandered around the ship, looking it over and planned for our dinner that evening in the Main Dining Room. We were very impressed with the staff, waiters and ambiance in the MDR. The first time or two we had to show our cabin cards but after a day or two they remembered us and we were allowed to just walk in to our fixed seating table. Very lovely appointments at the tables, just like a nice, elegant restaurant. The food was generally very good, with a few exceptions. The quail was ordered one night, expecting a white meat type such as we have in the states, but it was a dark meated type that was not edible. The Lobster bisque was not tolerable either. With those few exceptions the quality was good, presented very nicely, small portions, but with the many courses you can hardly hold it all. Our menfolk ordered multiple entrees of things with no problem. We didn't go to many of the shows but the illusionist was good!!!! There were a few "off-color" innuendos that we didn't appreciate, but I'm sure we were in the minority. We left when the girls came in and began to show their "stuff". We ladies attended a cooking demonstration and flower arranging show. We also went to the illusionist's show to explain some of his "magic" tricks, and how they're done. That was interesting and fun. The ports were nice after so many days at sea. Juneau by far the best! We took an independent tour of the Mendenhall Glacier and a nature center and thoroughly enjoyed that excursion. The price was much better than the HAL offerings. We would have enjoyed Victoria for all day!! As it was, we enjoyed the Empress Hotel shopping and the flowers on the grounds. Amazing!! The embarkation show was informative, especially for our newbies and we followed the instructions and there was not a hitch at all. We were at the airport, got to check in curbside where the shuttle let us off and all without one problem for us! All in all, we had a terrific time. We celebrated our 50th anniversary and DH's 70th BD while on the ship. What a memorable time we had! Read Less
Sail Date August 2011
We decided on a family cruise to Alaska since it also give us a chance to visit relatives in Seattle. Based on experience with HA a number of years ago we picked them. Although we waited to get to the ship so that we would not wait in ... Read More
We decided on a family cruise to Alaska since it also give us a chance to visit relatives in Seattle. Based on experience with HA a number of years ago we picked them. Although we waited to get to the ship so that we would not wait in line, we still waited over 30 minutes to board the ship since baggage scanning equipment kept breaking down. Since we were in a deluxe suite, we were supposed to get priority boarding but that did not happen. The suite was great with plenty of room inside and out and the steward was totally helpful. There was plenty of storage space for 3 people including the wine and water we brought on-board. HA has great policy compared to most other lines since they allow unlimited quantities of wine. We bought mostly Washington state wines from wine tasting trip 2 days before the cruise. We paid the corkage when we had the wine at dinner. A good deal for all parties. Generally we had breakfast in the room but went to the Lido a few times since they had smoked salmon which was not on the room service menu. We alternated between the Lido and Vista for lunch. Although other reviewers were critical of the Lido, I generally found a good variety and the food was tasty. The Vista experience was less satisfying for lunch and dinner. For lunch the main courses and even the hamburgers were not tasty. Only one of the three dinners in the Vista was really good and it was the first night. We opted for the Pinnacle Grill 3 times and twice it was excellent and really a great meal. the third night was their special Le Cirque night where they have a special menu and a higher cover charge. The quality was poorer and certainly not worth the extra $$$. Skip it! The worse meal of the cruise was at Canelleto which is separate area off the Lido. The pasta was overcooked and the veal dish was like breaded cutlet. In addition to the food there was a noisy large group at the table next to us. The management refused to ask them to be lower the volume but was willing to move us. Upon seeing that happen, I got the impression that they raised the volume to compensate for the distance. DO NOT TRY THEIR FOOD. The Entertainment was ok and was a poor Las Vegas act. A couple of the food demonstrations were fine and gave us some recipes to try. The Casino was small and low key except for one issue. A family member was winning a reasonable amount of money at Blackjack and they asked her to leave the casino for a short break. The fitness center was small and the first few days it was crowded and you had to wait for access to the equipment even at 630 in the morning. By the end of the week, it was almost empty. The Spa was fine but it books up early. The excursions at several ports were interesting. In Juneau, I booked the tours directly with the tour company. It was about 25% cheaper than the ship price for the small tour. We also booked a few excursions on the ship and these were fine except that the excursion department booked one of the events twice at different times and called early in the morning(6 am) to see why we were not at the meeting point. We found our tickets and they said 8 am on them. Finally DO NOT go on an Alaska cruise that does not stop at Glacier Bay. It was the highlight of the trip. Read Less
Sail Date July 2011
I had the opportunity to cruise direct from Seattle (I live nearby) on HA's 7-day Alaska itinerary, which included Glacier Bay cruising, port calls at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. The first two-and-half days are spent on board ... Read More
I had the opportunity to cruise direct from Seattle (I live nearby) on HA's 7-day Alaska itinerary, which included Glacier Bay cruising, port calls at Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. The first two-and-half days are spent on board ship--after embarking at 4 pm, a nice cruise to the north through the Puget Sound and a day northbound in open ocean, then another day aboard ship seeing the magnificent scenery in Glacier Bay. This is a plus to those who wish to spend time unwinding and recreating in beautiful outside surroundings. But be warned--the ship is quite ordinary, both in decor and food. Meals both in the main dining room or in the Lido tended to be overcooked, lukewarm and either too bland or spiced inappropriately. There are several attractive bars, such as the Oceans Bar on the 3rd level, with tall windows and a string quartet in the afternoons. However, the Crow's Nest, which is on Deck 10, is difficult to access (you must find the elevator aft, then go through the spa area; no other elevator goes all the way to deck 10). This is also the library and internet area, leaving little space for enjoying the view and visiting with friends while enjoying a drink or two. Bar service was less attentive than in the other bars, and most of the area was closed one afternoon for a private function. Everyone already there had to relocate over to the internet area--very cramped. All in all, I give HA and the Oosterdam points for efficiency. Fewer points for layout, decor, and even fewer for their "cuisine." I rate it below Celebrity, RCCL and especially Oceania if you are looking for a pleasant buffet and outstanding dining room. I would cruise with them again at the right price and interesting ports-of-call, but would choose the other cruise lines mentioned when looking for an outstanding on-board experience. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Seeing the sites from our balcony gave us the feeling we were really there. Unbelievable views. Felt like we could touch the glacier in Glacier Bay. Nice views of everything throughout the trip. We saw fish jumping and pretty sure two ... Read More
Seeing the sites from our balcony gave us the feeling we were really there. Unbelievable views. Felt like we could touch the glacier in Glacier Bay. Nice views of everything throughout the trip. We saw fish jumping and pretty sure two dolphins swimming by. Four days of stops might mean there was a little less offered than on our previous trips on HAL. We luckily had fabulous weather as we were told it rains daily in our ports but the sun was shining everywhere. We did a lot of walking in Alaska. The Sheldon Jackson Museum in Sitka is a 15 minute walk from the ship and is more than worth the $4.00 entrance fee. Be sure and open the drawers. We did not do the extra excursions. We have visited Victoria and Seattle before and both are fabulous cities to visit. If you go to the Pike Market in Seattle, be sure and start at the top. HAL has the tips on the final bill, not to worry, the service was great!! Our room was always clean and all our servers in their various capacities were pleasant and helpful. Some of the ship does need refurbishing like the chairs in the Queen's Lounge and the seating in the Vista Lounge. We ate in the Vista dining, the Lido, on the patio, the Italian dining room, and the Pinnacle. Overall, I give the food a seven on a ten point scale. We had open seating and found it easy to choose the time as long as we called in early and booked several days ahead of time. And, of course, with so much food, we could eat aweigh. The comedian Ward was excellent. He is also an illusionist/magician and he performed a few times. The HAL singers and dancers were very entertaining. We would do HAL again just for the cruise if we could leave from our home area - San Diego. Leaving from our home port is at least a $500.00 savings. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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