5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Itinerary was great. 12 days was my longest cruise thus far but the best way to see a good number of the Greek islands and tick off Rome Athens and Venice as well. Shore excursions were generally expensive and I would recommend you pre ... Read More
Itinerary was great. 12 days was my longest cruise thus far but the best way to see a good number of the Greek islands and tick off Rome Athens and Venice as well. Shore excursions were generally expensive and I would recommend you pre book online directly as they generally weren’t value for money. Be prepared to be a little bit adventurous here otherwise you will get caught up with the organised crowds and waste time queuing rather than actually seeing things. We were a couple in our 50’s however soon realised this cruise was an over 60’s with the average age probably at 70. Very few younger than us and only saw 4 children. Great if you wanted a quiet relaxed ship with everything closed by midnight. A bit sedate for my liking. Very little variety in entertainment. Narrow choice of music and dancing. Couldn’t fault the service. Food was average to good. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are a couple in our early fifties and this was our third cruise our first on Holland and America. We have previously cruised once with Celebrity and once with Oceania and probably the similarities were more than the differences . The ... Read More
We are a couple in our early fifties and this was our third cruise our first on Holland and America. We have previously cruised once with Celebrity and once with Oceania and probably the similarities were more than the differences . The Ship- The Oosterdam was a lovely Ship . The public spaces were always spotlessly clean . There were usually sun beds available although sometimes it was necessary to move them into the shade. We didn’t experience any chair hogging only once seeing sun beds saved with clips and not used. The pool was very busy with children in the late afternoon but the rest of the time the pool wasn’t usually busy. The crows nest was a great place to watch the sea when there was no shade on the balcony and was only busy during the sale away from Kotor and sale into Venice. Our favourite bar was the Ocean bar which was rarely busy. The ship in general although full rarely seemed busy save for on gala nights in the dining room and on arrival at Santorini when everyone on the ship appeared to be going in the same direction either to queue for tender tickets or go to the theatre for a tour. The crew were always friendly and smiling . The service was invariably good everywhere although maybe a bit frantic in the Lido. Cabin was a signature suite 6074 really spacious and more storage than we could use.Balcony chairs which reclined with footstools. I thought the bed was comfortable. My husband found it firm .It was not as good as the bed on our previous cruises but was more than adequate. Our Steward kept the room immaculately and was the best we have experienced. The bathroom was lovely with a bath ,shower and two sinks.The only issue we had was the air con .The room was just too hot especially at night when it was impossible to sleep with more than a sheet. This was our only disappointment with the cruise .My husband mentioned it to Guest Servces day 2 and nothing was done.He mentioned it again on the mid cruise survey and someone did come a day or two later and test the flow which was insufficient and made an adjustment but it was close to the end of the cruise by then and the difference was marginal. Dining. The lido good choice of food ,often busy but always possible to get a seat . We ate there for breakfast most days and the choice was good. Lunch choices were diverse and it was easy to make a healthy choice as the salad bar was excellent and hygienic as the staff served the food. We only dined there once in the evening but found it a little frantic for an evening meal although again there was lots of choice and it was nice to have a simple pasta dish.The MDR We breakfasted there twice good choice ,food nice but appeared a little disorganised. In the evening we loved the MDR we always had a table for two,never made a reservation dined at variable times the earliest 6.45 the latest 8 .15 and except on the second gala night never waited more than a couple of minutes for a table. The night we waited it was about 20 minutes but not a problem as we were given a bleeper and we were on a cruise ship with loads of nice places to wait. The food was mostly good with a few misses and a few particularly good dishes. We didn’t find the gala night food better than the other nights and in fact the first gala night was easily the most disappointing meal.The beef was generally excellent the fish a little disappointing.The bread was particularly good with a bread basket containing 3 different breads each night . The meal took between an hour and an hour and a half generally. Entertainment We loved Lincoln Centre. They were excellent and very talented. BB kings we went once and enjoyed it. Billboard very very cheesy and male singer not as good as female. I quite liked it but my husband hated it and I had to agree with him that although I enjoyed singing along the quality wasn’t great. Main stage the singers were excellent the dancers not so good . One cast show we attended was great the other we left.We left during the magician and the comedian neither of whom were to our taste and didn’t attend any other shows. We didn’t attend any activities .This was a port intensive cruise anyway but the computer classes didn’t interest us and the only Cooking demo we might have attended clashed with the sale out of Kotor which we preferred to watch. The ship does have a good choice of films although we only found time to watch a couple. Our preference when not off the ship is to use the pool or sit on the balcony. Embarkation. We didnt arrive until three as our flight delayed . No queue straight on the ship .Disembarkation also a breeze. Ports. Naples.We have had land based holidays in this area so have already visited Pompey,Capri etc.We decided to stay in Naples and walked to the archeological museum and the catacombs. Very easy and no need to book in advance Santorini tender port as we had expected another ship in port we booked a ships tour Oia on your own .It was worth it as it meant we were tendered off quickly .Tender then bus to Oia .Beautiful and enough time then bus to Fira and provided with tickets for the cable car. We didn’t use them as we decided to walk down the steps for the views. Easy enough provided you have proper shoes . Rhodes, we did on our own easy to do as ship docks close to old town .Beaches ,museums restaurants etc all in walking distance. No need to book anything in advance, Crete.We did ships tour to Knossos .We did this because thought would be a quick way to get there before too hot .It was a good tour and guides have own shorter queue for tickets . Knossos was excellent but was long queue for throne room . Iraklion itself bit grubby. Athens Had a great day in Athens This was highlight of the trip booked a private taxi tour in advance with George’s Taxis.Demetrius (hope I spelt it correctly)was the driver and he couldn’t have been better. He was waiting for us when we got off the boat at 8.15 and took us straight to the Acropolis . I had read this was a demanding walk up but unless you have mobility problems it’s fine .This was amazing ,no queue for tickets just walked up to the kiosk and although we obviously weren’t the only people there it was really quiet . We were up there over an hour and the difference when we were leaving was incredible .There was a mass of people in front of the Parthenon and hundreds of people coming up the stairs. This included several groups from our cruise ship. The trip to the acropolis alone and being the there early made the private taxi tour worth it. Demetrius also gave great advice about buying a combined ticket. Demetrius gave us loads of information on the trip there and in the taxi in the car park and that together with a guide book made a professional guide unnecessary. We then went to the original modern Olympic stadium and Demetrius again gave excellent advice about getting great views without buying a ticket. He dropped us right outside as he did either temple of Zeus which was close by (and included in the combined ticket).He was excellent at knowing how long we would need at each attraction. He also took us to the changing of the guard dropping us off at exactly the right spot at exactly the right time. We the went to the ancient Agrora (again included in the combined ticket ) and he judged just the right time for us to see it and have lunch. We lunched where he recommended delicious and extremely good value . After lunch he asked what we wanted to do and as we have zero interest in shopping recommended the acropolis museum a great choice particularly as by then it was really hot and the museum is both impressive and air conditioned. Throughout the day Demetrius was interesting and engaging and incredibly knowledgeable . He also drove and talked brilliantly We would rate this one of the best day trips ever and cannot recommend George’s taxis and Demetrius in particular enough. Naphlio Tender port we did a ships tout to Mycenae and Palamidi Castle good tour price not unreasonable . Guide went on a bit so we tended to wander off so could see more as she tended to provide loads of information in one place..At Mycenae could still hear her. Whispa system excellent .At Palamidi had to sacrifice information to have sufficient time to climb to the top of the castle .Both sites worthy of more time but probably better to see the best of ieach rather than miss one. Argostoli Beautful port. Just got off walked around had lunch on seafront . Fed bread to the fishes sounds strange but fun,Saw the giant sea turtles. It was a nice change after all the culture. Corfu I had holidayed on Corfu some years before booked ships tour best of Corfu tour as appeared to go to places not seen . This tour although not an absolute disaster was a mistake .It started ok first photo stop beautiful beach ,second basically snack bar and shops. The monastery was really just a small church we didn’t see anything else. The palace was interesting but was too crowded and slow with a tour and we ended up wandering off so that we had time to see it all. The next stop was lunch in a modern hotel with a view of the airport! Lunch was a buffet with very few Greek specialties. The trip then finished in Corfu town which would have been a much better lunch venue .Corfu town was lovely and two hours there and get your own lunch would have been much better. I could not recommend this tour. Kotor. We have been before and just walked round the old town. Well worth doing unfortunately we got soaked in a thunderstorm but from our previous visit unless you have a long port day walking around 5he town and walking tfhe walls will fill your time. Venice we took the Alilaguna direct to St Marks 8 euros just walk off the boat and you can pick it up .We visited St Marks basilica free don’t bother with the audio guide I did waste of 5 euros..we tthe walked back to the ship stopping for lunch wandering the streets and visiting another Basillica and square top tens in our guide book .We the took the people mover 1.5 euros from piazza Roma to the cruise port. We have visited Venice before and highley recommend taking the ACTV down the grand canal and also visiting the Doges Palace (book online ) .in my view there is no need to book ships tours unless you want to or you are on a very tight time scale as it is easy to do by yourself and Alilaguna offer trips to the Lido,Murano etc cheaper than the ship Overall it was a great cruise . One thing must mentioned is unlimited laundry and pressing 108 dollars for the whole cruise .This was amazing . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I had a fantastic cruise on Holland America, the Greek Odyssey 16 August - 27 August 2018. The embarkation, sailing and disembarkation was amazingly perfect.The crew and ship were amazing. We would like to thank the ... Read More
My husband and I had a fantastic cruise on Holland America, the Greek Odyssey 16 August - 27 August 2018. The embarkation, sailing and disembarkation was amazingly perfect.The crew and ship were amazing. We would like to thank the following crew for their exceptional customer service - Puput from Lido, Su Mantra, Gusti and Jonathan at level 2 fine dining for table 61 and our exceptional cabin crew of Andy and Astrid. They all go well above and beyond the call of duty and made our holiday very special. The entertainment was really great as well and filled our holiday with fun and enjoyment. We would definitely go again with Holland America. The selected ports were perfect and the opportunity to sail into them was breath taking. The shore excursions organised from the ship were by absolute precision and made our holiday that much easier and special. Everything went smoothly. Thanks so much Holland and America and your amazing dedicated crew. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose the Rome to Venice Twelve day itinerary for the ports of call in Greece. Boarding and departure were handled very well with lots of directions and assistance. Food was very good but the main dining room was dark, chilly and quite ... Read More
We chose the Rome to Venice Twelve day itinerary for the ports of call in Greece. Boarding and departure were handled very well with lots of directions and assistance. Food was very good but the main dining room was dark, chilly and quite noisy. We preferred the buffet on the Lido deck with lovely views from the window tables or the after deck open air tables. The servers here were very helpful and down to earth friendly. Our Upper Veranda Deck cabin was not as clean as we would have liked and we got house keeping in to redo. Major dissatisfaction with ship sponsored Exc Tours. Not enough information available shipboard and very limited access to staff. Much more information on each port and tour could be provided on the room’s TV. If you take these tours, do your research in depth ahead of time. Which leads to the second major problem, shipboard WiFi. No where in their sales information do they disclose the ridiculous slow speeds that can be expected AND they sell this to you by the amount of time connected, not by the amount of data downloaded. I measured download speeds throughout the ship and it averaged about 1.6 mps. That’s worse than your crowded coffee shop. Unless you also have enough money to shovel over the side, don’t bother with ship’s WiFi. Get a roaming package for your cell and do your surfing when linked to shore towers. Shipboard main stage entertainment was pretty sketchy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights accomodation in Rome and transfers. In saying that after flying for 32 hours from Australia our HA transfer failed to meet us at Rome airport. On reflection we would choose Celebrity over HA. I must say our suite was divine accomodating our teenage daughter, my husband and I and it was very comfortable and large and our room attendants were both fastidious and fantastic but that’s where it stops. The food was very average and the wine we selected mostly was sold out! We like to drink champagne and this was either sold out or you could only purchase at the Restaurant when dining for dinner if it was in stock. Leo our sommelier was always very helpful and patient in making recommendations but HA should be accountable for ensuring stock is available. Activities were almost non existent or of no interest and the entertainment ( in house) was very average. Thankfully our ports of destination were beautiful and I could cruise the medditereanean over and over but not with HA. We have cruised with Celebrity, Carnival and RC and would choose these cruise lines before HA. We cruised RC 2 years ago from Barcelona to Cittavechia and that cruise was approx $7500 cheaper than our recent HA cruise at the same period and quite honestly with the exception of our beautiful cabin on HA I can’t justify the difference. All I can say is explore options and reviews before booking your cruise with HA if you really want to ruise with them. I think the icing on the cake for me was we were in the middle of Europe and HA chose not to telecast the World Cup which was very disappointing for many guests!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also ... Read More
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also really liked the itinerary: a 12 day cruise starting from Rome, traveling to a variety of Greek islands, and then arriving back in Venice. The Oosterdam was a lovely ship! Everything was very clean (public spaces and cabin). We stayed in an interior room, and we thought the room had plenty of space. With such a port heavy itinerary, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pay extra for a balcony as we weren't on the ship during the day. Plus, there were plenty of sun beds available, and the Lido and the Crow's Nest were great places to relax and watch the sea. The food was good! It was easy to find something to eat for breakfast in the Lido, and we also really enjoyed ordering room service. The servers in the main dining room were also personable and provided fantastic service - we enjoyed the variety of options for dinner, especially dessert. The baristas in the Crow's Nest also made a pretty good latte. As for entertainment, we spent every night in the BB King Blue's Club. We thought the band was good, and we both love to dance, so it was perfect for us. The place was packed most nights! We did three shore excursions with Holland America (tour to Pompeii, Bus Transfer to Oia, Santorini, and Kayaking trip in Argostoli). The Pompeii and Kayaking tours were reasonably priced and we really enjoyed the experiences! The cost for the bus transfer to Oia was ridiculous, but it was the only way to enjoy Oia for a couple of hours without the insane crowds. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Overall, it was a great cruise! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and ... Read More
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and furnishings excellent. Before dinner we looked for a nice comfortable bar to have a drink but found there were none. The Crows Nest bar, normally a feature was terrible and looked just a kids play area. A couple of other bars badly furnished with hard timber floors. Restaurant menu very limited and food very average. Specialty restaurants very expensive. USD49.50 pp too much for us. Shows in the main theater were excellent but the Cruise Director almost non existent. Itinerary to the Greek Islands excellent but ship's Shore Excursions way too expensive. Did one and it was so badly handled and expensive we cancelled all others. Ship lacks personality. Hardly saw and ships officers. Cruise Director a disaster. Never again on Holland America. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Holland America’s greatest flaw is not providing enough accurate information. This is not a new problem. We have observed this on all our HAL cruises. Celebrity does a much better job. There are so many ways that the information services ... Read More
Holland America’s greatest flaw is not providing enough accurate information. This is not a new problem. We have observed this on all our HAL cruises. Celebrity does a much better job. There are so many ways that the information services could be improved. For example: •Put the port talks on the TV like you used to. We can’t always attend in person. •If you list port information on the TV, give real information and not just photos. And show all the ports, not just a few. •If an excursion is only for back-to-back cruisers, say so in the description. Don’t make me go to the desk and stand in line to find that out. •The maps in the brochure and the interactive maps didn’t always agree! Good grief. •There should be a way to hear the announcements in the room. It is very hard to hear them otherwise. We have to run to the door and open it when we think we hear an announcement, and we often miss it. Other cruise lines have a switch with an option to hear in the room or not. •There are others.... can’t list them all. The food on the ship was OK, but I only had one meal that I thought was excellent. On the positive side, the bed in our cabin was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in! The cabin attendants and waiters were superb. And I love the soap and shampoo with their nice fragrance and tingle. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This cruise where specially choosen becuase of a promise from our agent and the cruise liner, it should have been a nice, comfortable and entertaining tour for a transatlantic travel from Rome to Tampa in Florida. Our experiences from ... Read More
This cruise where specially choosen becuase of a promise from our agent and the cruise liner, it should have been a nice, comfortable and entertaining tour for a transatlantic travel from Rome to Tampa in Florida. Our experiences from those 15 days onboard are following; - our veranda cabin on the Navigator deck (8) was very nice - the service staff for the cabin where ok - the service staff in the main restaurant in the Lido deck where nearly unexperienced in there duties against guests and give not full attention to guests - the service staff in the dining room where not giving the guests full attention, a remarkable to be served raw meat as medium rare and get a sever stomach and illness afterwards - the only thing the service staff in the first place want to do was selling beer, wine and drinks as so many as possible - service desk did not accepted my wifes credit card and therefor sent her a very nasty letter instead of contact her for a straight talks - the entertainment where very poor and dance only nearly midnight - our very first journey with this ship and cruise liner, will be our last one - we are used to be respected onboard other cruise liners and have a very communication with service staff as guests Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
I booked this one at last minute, price was too good to pass up. Originally booked Oceanview HH, got a deal on upgrade to VA 2 days before departure. The first part of the cruise we visited ports in spain and funchal, portugal. Each ... Read More
I booked this one at last minute, price was too good to pass up. Originally booked Oceanview HH, got a deal on upgrade to VA 2 days before departure. The first part of the cruise we visited ports in spain and funchal, portugal. Each one on the shore excursions were winners. The caves tour in Mallorca were fantastic...ended with a classic music quartet playing in dim lights on a boat in a large underground lake. Next tour we went from Cartagena to Elche, spain, beautiful walking tour of classic old town. Third tour at Malagda was to a private owned auto and clothing museum, truly unbelievable collections of antique autos and ladies clothing. Fourth tour at Funchal, rode the cable car to the top and took a LONG "sled" ride down. Great fun. Rest of trip was cross Atlantic. Captain said near the end that in his 23 years, this wwas the smoothest crossing he had ever experienced. Holland had upgraded their entertainment. Main stage shows were all great, and between BB KIngs, the new Dual Pianos lounge singing all the classics, and the new Lincoln center all were great. This was my 23rd cruise, several different lines, heavily Holland, but we seemed like novices on this cruise. I've never had the pleasure of talking with so many 4 and 5 star mariners and round-the-world cruisers. Great fun. Unfortunately, the ship had a small noro virus incidence, so we had to deal with all the special precautions and limitations that come with that. In convenient, but it worked well, they kept the infections small and I'd rather be inconvenienced that sick. As a result, we ate almost exclusively in the main dining room, which made for lots of good traveler interactions. Service was sometimes a little slow, but we all knew the crew was diminished everywhere so they could scrub and keep everything extra clean. Overall I believe Holland did a great job. We are booked again for 28 days leaving Hong Kong in January. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
We were visiting family in Italy and decided that it was a good value and more fun to take a repositioning cruise back to the states. We looked at the repositioning cruises in Oct/Nov time frame and this one met our schedules. We ... Read More
We were visiting family in Italy and decided that it was a good value and more fun to take a repositioning cruise back to the states. We looked at the repositioning cruises in Oct/Nov time frame and this one met our schedules. We have taken many cruises -- Regent, Princess, Celebrity and HAL. Probably more on HAL because we like the smaller ships. Even though we thought we were experienced cruises there were others on the ship with much more experience and we learned a few important tips. Tip number one -- watch for the rotating happy hours on the ship. The 2 for 1 pricing on pre-dinner cocktails helps stretch the budget. Tip number two -- if a couple is cruising have one order a cocktail that both enjoy because you actually get two identical drinks for the price of one. Have the other person order wine -- you get two glasses. Save the wine and carry them to the MDR for dinner. What an idea. We didn't catch on to this savvy savings until day 3 of the 15 day cruise. Tip number three -- take lysol wipes with you when you travel and clean, clean, clean your room. There was a large contingent of Swedes onboard -- many take this cruise every year. "Skal" to our Swedish friends. They are fun to travel with. We also enjoyed traveling with more Europeans and Brits. It made for interesting conversations. This was a norovirus cruise and we give HAL credit for early detection and swift action. HAL flew a rep from the CDC and from corporate to the last port before the crossing to oversee the ship decontamination. We were IMPRESSED. The cleaning was 24/7. Noticible changes in the lido -- all the food was sealed from the passengers. I wish it were always this way. I read complaints regarding slow service on the buffets when you could not serve yourself, but really, wouldn't you rather wait a half-second longer than eat food that people have pawed over? Think about how many people have used that set of tongs that you now touch, or have sat in the food that you now eat? I didn't think about it much until this cruise. Other things the crew of the Osterdam did was remove salt and pepper shakers and any thing that might be handled by other passengers from the table in the MDR. All the spices were brought to the table in packets by the wait staff. All the crew cleaned the boat, deck chairs were sprayed with disinfectants every day, tables AND chairs on the pool deck were cleaned and disinfected as soon as the diners departed. All the work paid off because by the middle of the crossing there were no more new inections. All the other lines should study what HAL did on this cruise. The food was very good. We enjoyed the lunch selections in the lido, especially the asian and curry dishes. Salads were also great. The food in the MDR was very good. The selections on the menu always had choices that were very good. I like a cup of hot tea wih my dessert and after the first night I did not have to ask -- it was there. Bless you. We ate at the Pinnacle Grill one night and enjoyed the steaks and wonderful service. The enrichment activities were good. We liked the daily briefings from the ship's bridge crew which took place each sea day in a lounge. Also, new to HAL and much appreciated by the passengers was a Port Expert who was not there to sell excursions, or tell us where to shop for diamonds, but gave us a non-comercial overview of each port of call. I hope HAL makes this a permanent feature on all ships. HAL has stepped up their entertainment. We were inpressed with the diversity and quality of the performances. The stage shows had excellent performers. OK, I'll get to something that impressed me the most -- the TV. I know, you would think that I should have better things to do, but this was a crossing with multiple sea days. The up-graded on-demand programs and movies that HAL offers are wonderful. I became addicted to watching Downton Abby - as I never saw it before. There are movies and shows for all ages with plenty of childrens shows for family viewing. The service in the lounges was very slow. HAL could make more money if they would step it up here. We had to wait for the lounge staff to come around and then wait longer for the drinks to arrive. God forbid you ask for some peanuts -- you're in for another 30 min. wait. I believe that they were short-handed and should add more staff in these areas. We did not take any shore excursions, chosing to explore on our own and we had a great time doing just that. It made for some relaxing exploration and we loved discovering what was around the next corner. All in all it was a great cruise and we will definitely travel with HAL again as we are signed up for the November South America trip. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
Food was excellent. Service as usual on HAL wonderful. Entertainment great. Absolutely no negative comments! Enjoyed the guest lectures. Loved the BB king music and dancing Billboard piano's and music selections excellent ... Read More
Food was excellent. Service as usual on HAL wonderful. Entertainment great. Absolutely no negative comments! Enjoyed the guest lectures. Loved the BB king music and dancing Billboard piano's and music selections excellent The best hamburgers I've eaten in along time served on deck "dive-in" The greenhouse spa and thermal suite is a must on any transatlantic even though we had warm weather and smooth sailing all the way. I did not eat at the specialty restaurants because the food in the dining room and the lido was wonderful Cannot say enough about the friendliness of the staff and their dedication to making the guest feel like number 1. The shows in the evening were great with lots of variety. Loved the dancers and singers and the production. Cruise critic is definitely a great site to use . I met people to share excursions with and share a ride from the airport to the cruisers hotel Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
I just returned from a 15 Transatlantic cruise on The Oosterdam.. There was nothing about the ship that I didn't like. The food, staff, entertainment and overall appearance of the ship was outstanding. It was my first time on a ... Read More
I just returned from a 15 Transatlantic cruise on The Oosterdam.. There was nothing about the ship that I didn't like. The food, staff, entertainment and overall appearance of the ship was outstanding. It was my first time on a HAL ship. I suspect it won't be the last. The staff were very genuine whenever they greeted me. Microsoft had a person to teach all of the Microsoft programs. She was excellent and the classes were always over full. The food in the Lido dining area was exceptional. We ate there frequently even in the evenings. The food was fresh. Many times the cooks were cooking things like pork chops while they were serving so the chops didn't sit on the steam table very long. Ice cream was available almost all day long. It was good stuff. Two nights a sirloin roast was served. Both times it was excellent. Great cruise. I was very impressed. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, ... Read More
It was for my wife's 75th birthday. We started looking at cruises and worked backwards. We ended up with 15 days in Prague, Vienna, Venice, Florence and Rome before our cruise. On the cruise we visited Las Palmas in Mallorca, Cartagena and Malaga in Spain and Madeira. We are big fans of Holland America which is why this cruise was the right fit. It did not disappoint us. We did not tour Cartagena because we had been there before but it is an historic port. The other stops were new to us so we took ship sponsored city/history/culture tours. I got to sip a little "Madeira my dear". I had read about that drink while reading many British naval novels. Onboard there were a variety of activities all day and night both in port and at sea. Our favorites included the string quartet every night before dinner, B.B. King's nightclub, the dueling piano bar after dinner, the showroom shows and the Park West Art auctions. Our inside cabin was spacious and comfortable. Dining on Holland America ships is always a highlight. We opted for the choose your time option on a daily basis. We chose to sit with four or six new dinner companions every night at 6:30 (1830). On a scale of one to ten, this was an eleven (that is not a typo error). We ate once or twice at Canaletto their extra fee Italian restaurant and once in the Pinnacle Grill. Breakfast at the Lido buffet. Lunch at the Lido or at the pool grill. We plan on more HAL cruises in the future. I have been on four dating back to the 1950s and 1960s. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2016
We wanted a cruise coming back to the USA with Tampa as the final port for us as we live in central Florida. Little did we expect the whole ship to be under restrictions because many passengers had a virus - this really puts a burden on ... Read More
We wanted a cruise coming back to the USA with Tampa as the final port for us as we live in central Florida. Little did we expect the whole ship to be under restrictions because many passengers had a virus - this really puts a burden on the staff especially at meal time. Everywhere you went people were coughing and not always into a tissue! IMHO the filters should be replaced before every cruise for all cabins and public gathering areas. The cruise itself was as smooth as glass - didn't feel like we were on a ship. As far as the ship is concerned, the carpeting, on floors where cabins are located, is very rumpled which could lead to a safety issue for the many "older" folks who take HAL cruises (me included!). We had an obstructed view cabin looking out over a couple of tenders and I wondered, with all the rust and frayed cables whether they'd be in shape should there be a need to use them. Sorry HAL, but this ship is tired even though the crew was excellent. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
The old joke says HAL cruises are the ones on which senior citizens take their parents. But both groups are dying off, one by one, and the company can’t seem to define its replacement audience. I rate this cruise a B-plus, but only ... Read More
The old joke says HAL cruises are the ones on which senior citizens take their parents. But both groups are dying off, one by one, and the company can’t seem to define its replacement audience. I rate this cruise a B-plus, but only just. We purchased a low-cost upgrade to a Signature Suite, which gave us the best cabin we’ve had on a cruise ship in many years, including the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on. What else was praiseworthy? The service, in almost every area. HAL’s Filipino and Indonesian staff are still the best at sea. Our cabin steward was a gem, ditto our waiters in the dining room. The send-out 48-hour laundry service worked just fine. We sent out four bags ($30 each): two were returned within 12 hours and all the clothes were perfectly washed. The main dining room was excellent. I found too few creative main courses on the menu, and too many repeats, but the array of appetizers and tasty desserts made up for it; often, we would have three appetizers plus dessert and be fully satisfied. Holland America has cut back portion sizes but that’s no problem for us; in fact, gigantic American-style entrees are a turn-off so their absence is no loss. We spent much more on ship’s shore excursions than we normally do, trying (successfully) to spend the US$1,674 in onboard credits our suite deal gave us. The excursions were off-puttingly overpriced ($199.95 to go to Seville, for example) but, with a couple of exceptions, the quality was good. The shorex manager was highly informed and most helpful. In more than half the 18 ports we did our own thing, often using hop-on buses to get around and see the highlights. Some passengers made use of the excellent European train systems to reach shoreside attractions (often a long way from the port) and save lots of money. The Front Desk was mostly efficient and responsive, unusual for almost any cruise line these days. My room-service breakfast showed up on or before time every day, although, typically, the ship ran out of Raisin Bran. The ship’s photographers – employees, not contractors – were laudably respectful of passenger privacy: to them, “no thanks” actually meant no thanks. The cruise line’s air program worked fine; transfers, embarkation and disembarkation were generally smooth with an occasional glitch. But there were too many negatives. The Lido Market tops the list. Some passengers liked it; we certainly didn’t. In an effort to save money by cutting back food consumption, HAL has eliminated trays, forcing passengers to juggle plates of food. Plates, cups and glasses are smaller and most portions are doled out by crew members, which means you seldom get the amount you want. The alternative is to pick up pre-packaged food, like sandwiches which taste like cardboard. I actually lost weight on this cruise, thanks to the Lido and the Dive-In hamburger place, where the meat was overwhelmed by huge and boring buns. And what kind of cruise line runs out of lemonade? This cruise offered big discounts on cabin fares, so the line has to make it up somewhere. Bar and wine prices seemed sorely inflated. There was no longer a Captain’s Toast or welcome party, replaced by a Q&A with the boss-man. Unfortunately, when asked about Holland America’s vision for the future he rattled on about the next new ship at the builder’s yard. That’s not a vision, needless to say. The entertainment was mediocre, not a big surprise except that the line has been touting improvements of late. The ship’s orchestra was outstanding, but the song-and-dance troupe reached only a college-level standard of performance. Featured performers were by no means noteworthy, no comedian appeared during 24 days, and four nights were devoted to movies and documentaries. The Mainstage Theatre itself is very badly designed: lousy sightlines, too many pillars, uncomfortable seats and an audience sequestered far from the stage. HAL has added three nightclubs – B.B. King’s, the Lincoln Center Stage and the Billboard twin singer-pianists. The classical musicians were talented and popular, but the overall impact was unimpressive. The Oosterdam was pretty dead after 10 p.m. It was also pretty quiet in daylight, even on the four at-sea days: very few attractive events but an emphasis on anything which increased revenue for Holland America. Little wonder we spent lots of time in our cabin! Three more things, none unimportant when you’re aboard for 24 days. There were far too many PA announcements, most of them intended for crew only and therefore an annoyance to passengers. The Cruise Director, Hamish Davies, talked exclusively in cliches and affected a sophomoric enthusiasm. The Voyage App on the in-cabin TV was close to useless, lacking most of the data of the system it replaced. And, last, I was shocked by the lifeboat drill, a very serious business and long a Holland America strength. We were rushed through it, there was no officer present; crew members on hand seemed only to care that they’d scanned your cabin keycard to prove you were there. The safety information provided was disjointed and disorganized; one shivers to think what chaos might occur in the event of a real emergency. So, a B+ for this cruise. We hope HAL decides what kind of cruise line it wants to be; in the meantime, we’ll be back only with a great itinerary plus a significant upgrade and a big discount. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
On the Oosterdam...everyone was friendly and happy. Many employees (of all levels of employment) ate in the buffet area and got along with each other and the passengers. The stateroom (aft, end stateroom) was large and quiet. The room ... Read More
On the Oosterdam...everyone was friendly and happy. Many employees (of all levels of employment) ate in the buffet area and got along with each other and the passengers. The stateroom (aft, end stateroom) was large and quiet. The room stewards were a hoot, it seemed everyone loved working there! The breakfast buffet was spread out and varied menus offered as was the case for lunches and dinners. The entertainment was good and the bars offered a Happy Hour where you buy one and get one for a dollar...we hit all three most days. The stops were not all that interesting and the shore excursions were expensive and not very interesting either,(tour office people were rather short with passengers and were seldom available) but I was prepared and we made our own excursions and had a good time! ( I have an entire portfolio of port information if anyone needs anything.) They celebrated our anniversary and my birthday was a big deal! I even got a bottle of champagne for it! Halloween was festive and fun! We made a lot of friends on board and settled into a favorite bar for the evening Happy Hours. We had a SMALL problem with the toilet and were sent a bottle of wine as an apology, I made a positive comment about the staff to the front desk and was rewarded with a bottle of wine....everything was just wonderful! I would HIGHLY recommend this ship! This ship had some T Shirt sales and inexpensive things for sale. The menu's at dinner were always new and exciting. There were many rotations on this cruise...people getting off and on at different locations, but the dinning room did not repeat any menu's. Service was classy and friendly. Some nights I did not care for much on the menu so I was told to order what I felt like eating and it was served quickly! (As a background, we had just left the Queen Victoria and that ship was such a disappointment. This ship was a breath of fresh air!) Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because we like Holland America and we liked the itinerary. We are more interested in exploring ports than ship-board activities and Holland America suits us for this purpose. We do not, for the most part, do ship ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we like Holland America and we liked the itinerary. We are more interested in exploring ports than ship-board activities and Holland America suits us for this purpose. We do not, for the most part, do ship excursions, preferring to participate in smaller group tours. This worked well for us on this voyage. Service was up to HA standards, We had cheerful and helpful cabin stewards and dining room staff. We choose fixed seating for dining as it gives an opportunity to get to know the staff and your dining companions. The ship had to cancel one stop due to expected bad weather. High winds would have made tendering a problem in St. Tropez. The good news was that the ship was able to organize an alternative stop in Genoa that day. We were impressed with the ease of the adjustment by the company. All in all a nice selection of ports and a most enjoyable cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We had a great stateroom, wonderful staff and above average food. Our stateroom was part of a refurbishment effort that installed a series of suites and verandahs in the stern.. Highly recommended. The staff was wonderful. Our cabin ... Read More
We had a great stateroom, wonderful staff and above average food. Our stateroom was part of a refurbishment effort that installed a series of suites and verandahs in the stern.. Highly recommended. The staff was wonderful. Our cabin attendant Eko was kind, attentive and eager to make sure we were happy. A stand-out was a table steward in the dining room - Nur. He is one of the kindest individuals we have ever met. Something happened that will make us reluctant to come back to Holland America. The ships operate at such low profit margins that passengers are constantly bombarded by excursions, jewelry sales, etc. We stopped in Ajaccio for a day and we decided to walk to the islands legendary beaches. About two miles into the walk were hit with the worst land squall of our lives. We were initially pelted with dirt, small rocks, vegetation followed by torrential rain, hail and flash lightening. After being stuck in a bus stop for over an hour, we ran through the storm to a hotel where they gave us blankets and warm drinks. Everyone in the hotel knew about the weather. In fact, the whole island had been alerted by the news. The storm was so bad it caused the collapse of a theatre in town and injured a wide variety of people. The captain had this information and yet we didn't hear any warnings about dangerous weather. We even have screen shots of the weather. We were quite lucky. We got back safely. But, our experience of Holland America was severely impacted. This was my third cruise with Holland America. We are going to be taking a break with the company. We believe it is time to spend more money on a cruise or to go back to more independent travel. At least we will not have to rely on others for our well-being. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2016
The ship is very smart, plenty of room and facilities for allService first class - all crew always spoke with a pleasant greeting no matter what they were doing. Cabin (1123) excellent. We have been on cruises before,and always had an ... Read More
The ship is very smart, plenty of room and facilities for allService first class - all crew always spoke with a pleasant greeting no matter what they were doing. Cabin (1123) excellent. We have been on cruises before,and always had an outside cabin .We decided that we had rarely if ever used the balcony,and on one trip the view was mostly of the side of a lifeboat. We did not even notice that we did not have an outside view. Our steward cannot be praised enough,His towel sculptures were superb,I Photographed some, one in particular amused my grandson so much that it has been shown all round his school. Food as good as it gets, The Beef in particular was mind boggling,(whatever the cut,whatever the recipe, the beef was always very tender and cooked as you like it. On the minus side,drinks are very overpriced. Entertainment, very wide choice of top quality shows. Service faultless excursions very much overpriced, Would we go again - Yes Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the ... Read More
We often take a year-end cruise in the Mediterranean and enjoy visiting various ports along the way. This cruise focussed on the western Mediterranean and then crossed the Atlantic, ending up in Tampa. In all, we spent 39 days on the Oosterdam (two 12-day collector cruises and a 15-day transAtlantic cruise). Although we were supposed to join the ship in Civitavecchia, our Alitalia flight from Toronto was delayed four hours and this meant our arrival time was set for 5:00 pm - the ship was sailing at 6! Luckily we had booked our flight with Holland America and, once we phoned to alert them, they arranged for us to fly on from Rome to near Florence where we were put up in a hotel overnight and driven to the ship in Livorno the next day. Full marks to Tom in HAL's Seattle Office on this one for arranging everything - on arrival we found a bottle of sparkling wine in our cabin and $50 credit each for our meals. Having sailed with Holland America several times since 2007, we have noticed that while service levels from the Indonesian cabin stewards and waiters remain excellent, the rest of the experience is slowly being devalued. The first thing we noticed was that under normal circumstances, it's very difficult to get a seat in the Lido for breakfast or indeed lunch. This is thanks to the extra passenger capacity added since the ship was built. Another sign of decline is that the latest re-fit has almost done away with the Library which is now part of the Explorer Cafe and Crow's Nest. There is no librarian, you simply take the books that you want away with you (they must stay on the ship). If you like the quiet atmosphere of the library and a place to use your laptop on other ships, you'll hate this arrangement as both the noise of the cafe, art and Crow's Nest activities invade this small corner making it difficult to focus. Food is still generally good but decline is creeping in - for example, the only milk available for your cereal is UHT milk (with its distinctive taste) and it comes only in Tetra Paks meaning that you have to insert the straw and squeeze the carton repeatedly (think milking the cow) in order to pour your milk. Full fat plain yogurt is not available. In terms of sanitation, for the last leg of our trip, we noted that many passengers had no idea how to keep their hands off the food and plates. They would touch food or dishes / cutlery etc and return it. One gentleman was seen picking just the fruit he liked off individual fruit plates and putting them on his own. There should have been better supervision to deal with people like this. The last few days were spent in 'Code Red' thanks to an inevitable Norovirus outbreak. As always, an excellent room service menu is available with prompt and cheerful service and we found it to be a good alternative to the Lido crowds at breakfast. We had fixed seating for dinner in the main dining room and our waiters were excellent although they seem to have to work harder than ever before. One thing in large supply is wine stewards but we don't usually bother with wine since wine prices are high and the quality low. Our cabin stewards were excellent and worked around our schedule. Entertainment: there was a fair amount of entertainment but we generally like early nights. I took part in the quizzes but entertainment staff often repeat the same old questions making it a memory rather than a knowledge competition. Some staff tend to drone on about themselves or the many money-making activities on the ship. We didn't use the gym - the spa is very expensive. I find that keeping off the elevators and walking a mile on sea days helps keep the pounds off. We became 4-Star mariners by the Transatlantic portion and though we were entitled to 4-Star privileges, we had to pester front office staff several times to expedite this and missed out on our free wine-tasting. Not a big deal but if they're offering this, passengers shouldn't have to chase it down. It was nice having free laundry privileges. Speaking of Front Office Staff, we found a great variation in their levels of willingness to help. Often we would report a problem and find that we would have to explain everything all over again the next day since the original person failed to make notes. One was outright rude and accused us of being freeloaders when we asked about a wine package that HAL had given us. Lastly, we paid HAL for a transfer from the ship to Tampa Airport. The process was a total shambles with porters holding people to ransom inside the terminal and total chaos getting onto the bus organized by HAL. A sign indicating where to catch the bus would have helped. Once we had scrambled onto the bus, we had to get off to check that our luggage had been loaded. Adding to the fun, the air conditioner apparently couldn't operate if the bus wasn't moving so we sat and sweltered through the loading and checking process. Hint: take a taxi - they're cheaper, cooler and you won't worry about your luggage. In summary, we find that we're outgrowing Holland America - the quality of the experience is going down. They seem to be moving towards being a budget cruise line and attempting to extract money from passengers once they're aboard. We'll be looking elsewhere for our next cruise. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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