3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary (through the Panama Canal) and the fact we love HAL and prefer the smaller ships.We had done the Canal once before in 1996. We had the signature suite 8094, which was good size. Bathroom had ... Read More
We chose the cruise because of the itinerary (through the Panama Canal) and the fact we love HAL and prefer the smaller ships.We had done the Canal once before in 1996. We had the signature suite 8094, which was good size. Bathroom had a whirlpool tub and shower plus another free standing shower and two sinks. Large balcony. We ate breakfast daily in the Lido, usually at the omelet station, made to order. Food was always excellent. We had lunch either in the Lido or the Dive Inn hotdog, hamburger cafe outside. A lot of time they had "tapas" in the Lido which sufficed for lunch. Also made to order salads. We really didn't notice any wear and tear on the ship because we were having too much fun. Maybe some paint missing in the elevators was about it. Many raved about the Pinnacle Restaurant, which was an added charge. I didn't think it was worth the extra and the menu doesn't change. The Vista, Main dining room, was great and of course, the menu changed daily. We got a meal in the Cannaletto given to us by my travel agent. It was an added charge restaurant and although it was nice, we won't do it again. We had the signature beverage package so no worry about added charges at the end. Our favorite part of the trip was the staff we met in the bars around the ship. They were above awesome. I would take this ship again whatever the itinerary just for the same people. We became very close to them. We loved the Lido Bar, BB King bar, the Pinnacle Bar and Billboard Bar.We loved the Trivia games and Bingo. We used the spa more than previously. I had some acupuncture sessions for knee pain that were amazing. My daughter and sis had several facials and manicures they were very happy with. I used the fitness center daily which was quite adequate. The Crow's Nest was great for watching the ocean go by and reading or internet. Unfortunately the internet availability was awful. i would never have spent the money if I knew it would just be wasted. Their reason for bad internet might be because we were in the middle of nowhere. Last year we cruised Princess, a sister ship, around South America and had much better reception so middle of nowhere is no excuse. I didn't take any of the ship's excursions but my kids did and were happy with all. Maybe we should have, especially in Corinto, Nicaragua, because there was nothing to do at the port. Probably my favorite cruise of all time!!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
This was our 3rd Winter in a row to sail the Oosterdam for our COLD weather get away. We weren't disappointed. Having never sailed from San Diego, we didn't know what to expect. We stayed the night before at Springhill Suites, ... Read More
This was our 3rd Winter in a row to sail the Oosterdam for our COLD weather get away. We weren't disappointed. Having never sailed from San Diego, we didn't know what to expect. We stayed the night before at Springhill Suites, right across the street from the pier. We easily walked across the street about 1045 the morning of the cruise. There was a long line in the terminal, but it moved quickly. We are 4 star mariners, so we got through the priority check in and were seated in the priority boarding area within 20 minutes. They started boarding by 1130 and we were quickly to our room. Our signature suite was remodeled a few years ago, but it was in great shape. Our cabin steward came to check our room right after we arrived. Both stewards were very friendly and efficient. Any requests we made were taken care of with a smile. The ship had a few more bangs and worn edges than it did last year, but it was still in good shape. It was going in for a 2 week dry dock after our cruise, so I imagine some carpet and upholstery will be changed. The crows nest, library area, and Explorations Coffee cafe upstairs was still nice. I understand that's all going to get the new "remodeling " to change it to the EXC area. We always ask for fixed main dining, table for 6. That's what we got and we enjoyed our evening meal. The dining room certainly wasn't full on any night. Our stewards were always happy and very attentive to our wants. We found the selections to be very good most nights and the food was very tasty except for 1 dry chicken dish. We thought 1 bad entree out of 16 night's chioices was pretty good. The lobster, shrimp, and fish dishes were all very tasty. We ate all breakfasts and lunches in the lido. There were plenty of choices and ( except for the final morning) the workers were always quick with clearing tables and offering you drinks. We favor the Asian or salad bar for lunch most days. There was an occasional Dive burger. The evening entertainment met our wants. We don't really care for the production shows, but really enjoyed the comedians and impressionist singer. Each evening we attended the Billboard piano entertainment. We really enjoy the sing along ( although some may not enjoy OUR sing along). We took 2 ship tours which were very enjoyable and they were as stated in the brochure. Our ports were Puerta Vallarta, Hutalco, Guatemala, Nicauragua, Costa Rica, through the Panama Canal, Aruba, and Half Moon Cay. All of these had a quality of their own and were enjoyed. Half Moon was shared with Koningsdam, so it got VERY CROWDED by noon. We chose Luggage Direct, so disembarkation in Ft. Lauderdale was very quick. We were the second group called off, so we left our cabin about 7:35 and were through and to a cab by 8:05. The crew, seas, weather, and ports were all better that we had hoped for. ALL of this made for a WONDERFUL 16 days on the oosterdam. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed in a Signature Suite. There were 3 adults in our room, one of whom used a rollator to get around off ship and used a cane to get around on ship. It was my first time sailing Holland America and some of the cruise critic postings made me wonder if this was the right line/ship for us. It turns out we had a great time. We bought the Thermal Suite spa passes and spent several hours relaxing there each day. We only made it to a couple of the shows, but we entertained ourselves with many hands of pinochle, thermal spa visits, reading on the balcony, and generally relaxing. In fact, we came home, and we all agreed that we wished it had been longer and we were ready for the next cruise. Pros: The smaller ship size meant that the buffet wasn’t too crazy and we always managed to sit in the same general area. The buffet was generally good and I was worried that the fact they had to serve many dishes v self serve would slow down the process, but it didn’t bother me on the ship. We liked the pool deck layout with so much space devoted to tables instead of loungers. It made it more useful for us. Cons: Main dining room food was pretty bland. I tried ordering some spicier dishes, but they always came out barely spiced. We would sail Holland America again if the price/itinerary was right for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We like the convenient departure from San Diego, the port call at Puerto Vallarta and Holland America hospitality. Cabo and Mazatlán were ok but nothing special. The food quality and variety was very good in the dining room and on the ... Read More
We like the convenient departure from San Diego, the port call at Puerto Vallarta and Holland America hospitality. Cabo and Mazatlán were ok but nothing special. The food quality and variety was very good in the dining room and on the Lido deck. One should have hamburger and fries at least once in the voyage. Formal dinners were enjoyed, especially the steak and lobster. The musical entertainment in the ships showroom, Lincoln Center, BB King venue was excellent and the comedian was very funny. There was a good selection of movies available but I did miss CNN, they had MSNBC and FOX.The embarkation and disembarkation was well organized and ran smoothly. We had a midship verandah room which was comfortable and clean. The Oosterdam is a very nice vessel and this was our 8th cruise with three on Holland America. The clientele are definitely on the mature side. I did read a book but did find the ships library to be on the meager side. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, ... Read More
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, employees that just were doing their job. There were a couple of employees that were outstanding, but overall, they had already left for the day. The food quality has decreased, even in the Pinnacle which is more expensive and has less offerings. Attempted to eat in the dining room with any time dining, but if you don't have a set reservation time on the first day. You will wait. The hydro spa was broken for 2 days, no refund. Offered a leg massage instead. I did not go on any excursions. I have found in the past that generally the ships tours are overpriced, crowded and slow. The entertainment at night has increased, but it all seems to be at the same time. Signature of excellence (last slogan) has died. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
For those that are very critical about everything, quit cruising. You will always be disappointed. This was our 164th Voyage. 10th on HAL. We took our kids and 9 month old granddaughter. Staff and Crew were very friendly and never ... Read More
For those that are very critical about everything, quit cruising. You will always be disappointed. This was our 164th Voyage. 10th on HAL. We took our kids and 9 month old granddaughter. Staff and Crew were very friendly and never did we see any one unhappy. We saw many unhappy and crabby passengers who complained about everything. We got glares from so many passengers when we were with our granddaughter. Yes, things were not perfect. But, never are. Ship needs to be updated, but clean and very nice. We had adjoining balcony cabins and were adequate. Embarkation took 10 minutes and disembarking took 20 minutes. Very well organized and quick. Thank you for all of the very negative reviews. It really made this cruise much better than expected. Lido was lacking, but tasty. Food was the usual cruise food. Some great, some so so. But, that was what we expected. Watch out for " Cruise Critic" taking the critical part way to seriously. Treat staff and crew the way you want to be treated. They work to make your cruise special and work many hours. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our ... Read More
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our own. Of the 3 ports visited Puerto Vallarta was our favorite. Cabo was just too touristy, and we didn't really get a chance to see the place as we did an excursion there so there was no time to see the city. We are now rather spoiled and always choose a Neptune Suite when possible for the roominess and perks that go with them. I would say that the food is consistently good, and the portions are a sensible size. (You can always order more if you like.) We like the fixed seating option so you get to know some new friends and the wait staff get to know you. However, fixed seating seems to be becoming less and less popular. This time we requested a table for 6 (our usual choice) but there were only 4 at the table, and more often than not there were just the 2 of us there. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day ... Read More
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day itinerary, A little history on me--I have done about thirty five cruises, three previously with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Eurodam--these ships were beautiful. When I booked the Oosterdam, I thought I would have a similar ship to the Eurodam (which I only did four months ago) but was shocked at the state of it: on my of my facebook postings, I stated "I am on a ship a few sailings away from the scrapyard" and it was not an exaggeration. The crew were exceptional in trying to maintain the cleanliness but there comes a point that the effort to keep up an appearance is all in vain, which was the case here, and I feel so bad for those hard working people. Unlike the other ships that had nice light, warm inviting colours, one entered into this one facing dark, drab maroon and blue--very 70s retro. As I walked down the hall to my cabin what was the most noticeable was the smell of dampness, then looking at the carpets, on most all decks, they were water stained. Not little ones here or there but the stains were making their own pattern in the carpets! The room--same drab colours, a couch that was threadbare and the arm rest black (mixed into the maroon) with dirt, the bathtub so worn that my initial reaction to all the nicks was a slight heart palpitation because I thought they were insects. The water temperature in the shower never got above luke-warm, the light fixture behind the bed was broken, about to fall off, one light needed replacing and the coffee table lever was broken so it was left in the highest position. To me it felt like the ship must be on a scheduled dry-dock sometime soon because all effort to make it look somewhat presentable was gone. Others on board seemed to enjoy it, and I am glad they could make the most of it, but with all these cruises under my belt, I felt the need to place this review for a) frequent cruisers like myself who have a certain expectation of cleanliness and a small standard of basic working order of things and b) for those who might be spending hard earned money for a first-time cruise---my advice, do another ship or wait to see if this one ever gets upgraded. In Cabos I went to the Walmart there to buy more cleaning supplies to try to get that "dirty" feeling out of my room but by Mazatlan, I knew that I could not do those last two days at sea, researched the contract, confirmed with the ship that I could depart in PV and that is what I did. I booked a hotel in PV, new flights up to my final vacation destination and set the wheels in motion. Note--if one chooses to go this option, expect a change in attitude from the front desk staff from sweet and polite to rather blunt. Further, when I first inquired as to being allowed to stay on-board until noon I was told no problem but by 7pm on the last night, a letter arrived to my room informing me that at 7:45 am the following morning I must report to the Immigration officers on-board with my luggage (normal procedure) but I had to depart the ship immediately after---there went the welcome. Too add insult to injury, they did not even communicate my departure with the security officers on Deck A so after I cleared the Mexican Customs on board, the security staff still pulled me to one side to "verify" that I was allowed to leave. I had a few choice words for them on that topic. The ports I have been to before---San Diego, to begin is a beautiful city and I will go there again. The first sea day, and on Western based cruises this is to be expected, it was freezing and wet! Cabos uses tenders so be prepared for a bit of a line-up to get on one unless you have an excursion. Coming back close to noon a very intoxicated woman sat next to me and practically passed out on my shoulder going back to the ship--I had to wonder how much she drank so early in the morning?! Mazatlan, though it did not have a tendering system because it was docked at a cargo port, meant that one still had to wait for little shuttle trolleys to take passengers from the ship to the cruise building. The town itself was lovely and I took the local bus over to the hotel zone to find a Starbucks to get a coffee and good wireless. The malecon in Mazatlan is miles long and very scenic--loved it. PV--I have been there many times on land vacations and though the ship docks close to the hotel zone and 7 peso bus ride can take anyone into the historic part in about 20 mins for each direction. Overall, I would use Holland America again, especially one of the past three ships I enjoyed, but the lesson I learned this time, even after all my cruises is that any future cruise I take, I have to research the ship more closely, in particular--the date it was built and when it was refurbished! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which ... Read More
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which worked out well and cost a lot less. The service on the ship was excellent but that’s what we have come to expect from HAL. We enjoyed the food in the Lido and main dining room and had great service with one exception where the waiter mixed up and forgot some orders. Oh well, 6/7 is pretty good. We had open dining this cruise and chose to sit at larger tables where we met a variety of interesting people. The entertainment was great and we really enjoyed the cooking shows in America’s Test Kitchen. The Oosterdam is an older ship and could do with some refurbishment but our ocean view cabin was in pretty good shape, tub and tv looked new and our cabin steward was very efficient. We were very happy with our trip and paid a deposit on a future cruise as we are definitely sailing with HAL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I have been on a bunch of Royal Caribbean cruises, in watching Scott singer's cruises I was wanting to get back to cruising again, but wanted to try Holland America, since the port is so close to me it's a great trip to go ... Read More
I have been on a bunch of Royal Caribbean cruises, in watching Scott singer's cruises I was wanting to get back to cruising again, but wanted to try Holland America, since the port is so close to me it's a great trip to go without flying! I was very pleased on how the overall cruise was, for me this one was for just relaxing and spending to some quality time with my daughter as well. this cruise was just my daughter and myself. I must say very happy the way Holland does there cruises, the service and food it what stood out to me. yeah this this line doesn't have the rock climbing wall, wave machine etc, but it is the old style of cruising of which I cherish. Without having to fly it was easier to upgrade the room to the Signature Suite! I love the layout of these suites, having a daughter go,makesthe bathroom double sink a bigger deal than I thought! plenty of room to spread out in the bathroom, plus having a separate shower was big deal too! Balcony - I always love being out on it. tough to cruise without a balcony, so I guess that's what happens when you get upgraded you can never go back to a regular room! overall I love Holland America, will be a customer for sure! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We altus loved Holland American Cruises and continued to take them because we felt they were worth the money for a wonderful7 day cruise. The Oosterdam needs updating. The outside chairs on the Promenade deck were all soiled and not ... Read More
We altus loved Holland American Cruises and continued to take them because we felt they were worth the money for a wonderful7 day cruise. The Oosterdam needs updating. The outside chairs on the Promenade deck were all soiled and not appealing to sit on. Our cabin was awful. The crew was great, the food was good and the entertainment was top notch. Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was special and the service was excellent. We took the spa package which was worth the money and enjoyed. Having a cabin that was not in good shape for a week where we slept and got changed our clothes ruined our taste for Holland America for future cruising. We have taken this same cruise 7 times on Princess, Celebrity and Holland America and preferred Holland America until we took the Oosterdam. I have notified Holland America guest services and sent a copy to Orlando Ashford, the President of Holland America, expressing my opinion about our cruise. It will be interesting to see their reply. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference ... Read More
This was our 4th HAL cruise and about our 40th cruise overall. We have been fortunate to have done of the worlds best cruises itineraries all over the world. We started cruising in our 40s and have done as many as two a year. For reference most of our cruises have been on Celebrity, but our more recent cruises on Azamara (4), Celebrity (2), Oceania (1) HAL (2) and Crystal (1).. This last cruise was the 18 day San Diego - Hawaii departing in January 2018. Overall this cruise was a major disappointment and joined the unenviable list of the other (1) cruise when i could not wait to exit the gangway and go home. Only our 3 week trip on the QEII (2006) was worse taken the year before it was decommissioned and Cunard's maintenance had stopped completely and the crew was ready to split. Overall headlines of my review - HAL manages to the dollar not to customer satisfaction. Every aspect of the cruise had been subject to clear value engineering to provide the minimum possible - While most visible areas (save one) were well maintained, cabin decks showed serious neglect and were shabby and under-maintained. - Staff were courteous but had minimal training and management - Chef clearly had no interest in how food tasted Ship The ship info claimed that it had been refit in 2016. Its clear that that is meant to mean "some areas". Main areas looked fairly fresh and some very fresh, but it was also easy to find ripped carpets on stairs, major dings, scrapes and significant and visible defacement in elevators. My sleeping deck was dingy, had marred up walls and stained carpets. Major odors were present and attendants continually spayed deodorizer. The ship was full and apparently with the additions of more cabins always felt crowded. The most obvious and in your face issue was the condition of the exterior deck chairs. Decrepit, stained, torn and broken..... any Hotel Manager or Ship Captain who saw this should have been ashamed. Ratty, torn, broken dirty. No self respecting Holiday Inn would have put these out. So dirty we had to cover them with towels. Disgusting. Cabin Our cabin 1007 was on the Main deck. The room was satisfactory. Bedding was of good quality and we slept well, room was quiet. Entertainment system featured many very good moves (free) and was well past expectation (a blessing on this cruise). Walls were dirty in some places and appeared to need heavy scrubbing. Water in sink would often run only hot (scalding) from the COLD water side? Metal baseboard trip near bed was missing and sharp edge cut my wife's foot. Dining Lido and main dining room food was 75% tasteless and ranged from horrible to good (on occasion). Lido lunch was repetitive and tasteless. Pizza was below the level of frozen from the Safeway. Highlights were fresh made omelettes were great and Dive in burgers were very good. Dining room served me a piece of prime (?) rib that was perhaps the worst piece of meat I had ever encountered. It was not cut-able and looked like something that should have become hamburger. Any food service professional should have deemed this best for the trash can. Highlight was dinner at the extra cost Italian restaurant where the food was very good to terrific. It is well worth the modest fee of $15 (discounted for loyalty classes). Really good and competitive with more expensive cruise lines. We did not try Pinnacle as the $35 surcharge was too high for my expectations of value. Mixed drinks were measured to the drop and I judged them as a poor value. Beers at about $7 ++ are over priced. We found that their supply of keg beer was never delivered at the onset of the cruise (hard to believe) so advertised draft been was unavailable. Likewise 20% of the wine choices in the mid-level wine package were unavailable even at the onset. Entertaiment Main stage was fine, but had many seats with impaired visibility (posts). Only some seats had a table if you buy a drink or bring one. Dance shows were very good quality and I applaud HAL for not doing yet another "salute to Broadway". Very enjoyable. Other entertainment was bad to good. Comedian doing simplistic and worn fat cruise ship jokes and grade school puns got me heading out the door. Another asking "have you ever seen someone make a dog out of balloon" left me also running for the door. Variety pianist was talented and entertaining as was the Sax player. Enrichment speaker was presenting a standard presentation and was not an expert. She simply learned a presentation. Highlights were the Lincoln Center stings which put on superb classical and popular concerts curated for HAL. This was terrific quality. however the room was uncomfortable and always crowded. Passengers sometimes came in an hour early and slept in the chairs to hold seats. Chairs were uncomfortable at best. It seemed at odds with all the minimal things HAL put forward on this ship to see something of such over the top quality. Kudos to HAL for getting something very, very right. Cruise Director was amateur level and added no value. Service HAL's people displayed good attitudes and were always friendly. Find a good waiter in the DR and you will get good service for a cruise at this price point, but quality varies greatly. Maitre D's were very good, learned our names and tried to get us to the waiter we preferred. Generally though service staff for meals had minimal skills and training. Dishes often not collected, had to beg for coffee and many times we would see them chatting with their peers and not working. On more than one occasion I was given morning OJ that had clearly set out for a very long time and was room temperature. What are they thinking? Ports and Shore excursions Hawaiian ports were routine. Major problems occurred at Lahaina on Maui where the re boarding of the ship via tender took nearly 1 1/2 hours. We heard via rumor that it was due to the local Harbor Master but the ship never explained nor did they take the opportunity to set any expectation before we boarded the tenders to go ashore that the re-boading was going to be problematic due to local procedures. HAL is not a premium or luxury line and had no expectations that it was. But the obvious cost cutting, deferred maintenance and fair service were below their advertised value proposition. This will be my last cruise on Holland America. You can get more for the money from Celebrity and probably several others. This is the last HAL for me. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Booking - Direct with HAL. Price similar to other agents. Boarding – We boarded in San Diego. Nowadays, the detail work is done online from home so the process was quick. About an hour after arriving at the terminal we were in our ... Read More
Booking - Direct with HAL. Price similar to other agents. Boarding – We boarded in San Diego. Nowadays, the detail work is done online from home so the process was quick. About an hour after arriving at the terminal we were in our stateroom. Gone was the typical crowding into the upper deck cafeteria while awaiting stateroom to be prepped. The ship – Oosterdam is showing its age despite a 2016 refurb. The passageways were full of scratches and dents from luggage. I saw places where the walls had drip marks at the bottom, like someone sprayed surface cleaner and allowed it to run. Ten minutes out of San Diego, the ship began a steady rocking motion which intensified through the night. The next morning I expected to see white caps but the sea was calm. This is my tenth cruise (not counting two years on an aircraft carrier) and I've never been bounced around this much. Many veteran cruisers agreed. The Lido deck has two pools separated by the casual dining area. One has a retractable cover. Only 46 lounge chairs surround the main pool; around them are perhaps 60 or so 4-seat tables. Initially, I thought this to be insufficient but was proved wrong. Of the 8-10 I came to the pool, I always found an available lounger. Stateroom - Our cabin was a typical veranda class. It mirrored the wear & tear of the ship in general. Rather than a typical shower, there's a 4' tub. Gouges in the sink & tub were through the melamine surface exposing the base material. I sat on a wooden chair at the desk and it cracked and broke. I admit to being overweight but 250# shouldn't have done that. Cabin staff was helpful and attentive. Cabin staff was excellent. Any requests were met quickly and cheerfully. Dining - The food was quite good. We enjoyed a good selection of well prepared dishes. There were half a dozen varied entrees each night plus the standard fare (NY strip, grilled salmon or chicken) The breakfast choices were especially diverse. I never knew there were three varieties of Eggs Benedict. If anything, the food might have been a bit too chic. I couldn't pronounce 30% of the menu items. By the end of the cruise, I was ready for a trip to Cracker Barrel. The Lido deck cafeteria was a pleasant surprise with a nice variety that often mirrored the dining room menu. The tables were all set up with place-mats, napkins and flatware. Bus boys bring you iced tea, water or lemonade. Forgot to get ketchup or tartar sauce? Just ask. The dining arrangements were a different story. I had “Open seating” so I called to make a 6pm reservation. No go. They don't take Open Seating reservations for anytime between 5:30 – 7:30 but I could come down w/o a reservation and wait in line. Turns out the wait can be up to 30 min. The next day I called for a 5:30 seating. They told me that the only thing available was after 7:30 and that would be the case for the next several days. Something seemed amiss. Eventually I spoke with the senior waiter. He was very nice and seemed genuinely embarrassed to confess that a computer glitch had jumbled many seating times and table numbers. This poor fellow was forced to do hundreds of seating changes by hand. He quickly resolved my issue and sent a complementary plate of chocolate covered strawberries to our stateroom. A poolside hot dog & burger bar also offers taco fixin's. The food was very good, the fries were outstanding. There are three specialty restaurants with premiums of $15 to $49. I did not visit any of them. Entertainment – Less than stellar. The few evening shows we attended were pretty Ho-Hum. I’ve seen much better talent on Celebrity. About the third day however, we discovered a neat little gem. One of the lounges featured a concert pianist and string quartet. They were amazing. You needed to get there 30 min early to get a seat. Farther forward was a lounge that featured a couple guys playing twin pianos. They were outstanding. Every night 80 – 100 people would crowd in to watch them. It was next to the casino and people would turn chairs from the slot machines to watch the show. I’ve gotta believe the casino manager wasn't thrilled by this. Excursions – Like most cruise lines, these were expensive. We’ve found it’s often cheaper to book your own trips from the non-affiliated companies at the end of the pier. Disembarkation – Very well coordinated and easy. Everybody gets luggage tags and a time slot. We had relatives picking us up so there was no need to rush. We waited in our cabin until 9:30am then spend 20 min in a lounge. When they called our number, the crowd was gone and our luggage was easy to find. Summary – HAL is an attractive choice for older folks. I doubt there were even a dozen school-age passengers. I’d estimate the median age at 70. If you’re in this age group or if you’re comfortable being around older folks, HAL is a good bet. Things are quiet and refined. If you prefer a younger crowd, try Princess or RCCL. If you want a floating fraternity house, consider Carnival. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues ... Read More
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues were a big surprise. We knew HAL drew older guests, but had no idea this would feel like are floating "retirement home". We are active 65-67 year olds yet we felt like "spring chickens". A majority of the guests appeared to be 75+. A large number were unsteady on their feet, used wheelchairs, canes and mortorized scooters which made it a challenge at times to move about the ship. 2. Electronics were horrible. The Navigator Intranet site is a good idead poorly executed. Our devices would not stay connected for more than a couple of minutes... extremely frustrating. TV channels were not always available... tended to come and go. Glad we didn't buy the internet package... heard from another cruiser it was the worst he had ever experienced. 3. Though the Oosterdam had recently been in dry dock for refurbishment recently, the pool deck furniture was awful. The sling lounges were stretched, worn, ripped and extremely uncomfortable. On the good side cabins were good size and well serviced by the cabin stewards. All service was friendly and for the most part efficient. The food in the Main Dining was good with a large and varied selection. Both the Pinnacle and Canelleto specialty restaurants were very good with excellent service. I do not recommend the Hawaii itinerary during this time of year if you are looking for sun. Of the 18 days we had maybe 5 good days. We had monsoon type rains in Hilo... our best day was Ensenda, Mexico. Overall a very average cruise with disappointing weather and guest atmosphere resulting in a low value vacation. Heading back to the Caribbean on Celebrity next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or ... Read More
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or Norwegian ships I had been on. San Diego has a lovely harbor location. It was cold everywhere and even though many complained, the ship remained cold in public areas. Mainstage evening performances were not good! Out of about 18 performances I attended, I counted 3 worth seeing. Lincoln stage was outstanding! And fortunately they often performed 3 times a day. I had requested diabetic menu before departure, but when I went to Dining Room first night, was told by attendant I just should order vegetarian. My daughter was on a Disney cruise the month before and requested Vegan and had the best meals ever night after night by their Indian Chef who was happy to accommodate their request. I did not receive that courtesy. Food was inconsistent. I saw Tiramisu prepared 3 different ways. But the dining room crew members were superior! They just served the food, didn’t prepare it. I used the fitness room daily, but the treadmill rarely had internet access. The fitness instructor gave the same speech for every class it seemed! Our Lahaina harbor embarkation experience was a nightmare. Stood in line in the harbor for 1 and 1/2 hours and treated poorly by American Guard Security. The Captain never said a word about it. All passengers who disembarked were affected. And everyone was outraged. This was a ship with predominately seniors with wheel chairs and walkers and canes. Most conversations after that experience were in relation to how the captain never apologized or offered an explanation. Overall, this was the worst cruise I had ever been on and that seemed to be the general consensus amongst passengers when visiting with them. But I liked being with friends and making new ones and getting some sunshine! I want to give a big shout out to Jose Rosales Housekeeping Director and Dining Room crew for 210; Agus and Willy for superior service. And for Angga for such kindness! Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I frequently cruise the San Diego to Mexican Riviera cruise when I find a good price. I have sailed only HAL the past few years. I was on this ship before and since my last trip they have gone into dry dock and added the Lincoln Center ... Read More
I frequently cruise the San Diego to Mexican Riviera cruise when I find a good price. I have sailed only HAL the past few years. I was on this ship before and since my last trip they have gone into dry dock and added the Lincoln Center concert area, expanded the showroom, added more top deck outside veranda cabins, some cabanas and squeezed in more inside cabins by making them smaller. I was told that the ship was due to go into dry dock again in a couple of months and it needs it. Several areas are looking worn and in need of upgrade. Overall I enjoyed my cruise very much. I think the dining food is very good for a mid price ship. Service is not a ubiquitous as it has been in the past but it was OK. Embarcation and disembarkation procedures have been streamlined which is an improvement. Because I return to these ports I choose not to go ashore in Cabo and do my own thing walking in Mazatlan while taking the PV city bus (7 pesos) to the beach area and downtown. So, I cannot comment on the excursions. They do appear overpriced to me. I purchased a future cruise deposit which is a $100. cost but will pay my next cruise deposit not requiring any further expense until 90 days before when the cost is due in full. By doing that I also receive a $25. cruise credit on my account for that upcoming cruise. The other thing I do that might not be as well known is to purchase 100 shares of Carnival stock, which owns HAL as well as several other cruise lines. As a shareholder I can request a $100 credit on my account for each cruise I book and more $$ for longer cruises. Plus the stock pays a dividend as well. I was glad someone told me about this several years ago. Happy cruising everyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the evening on the way to dinner A pianist on deck 3 doesn't reach those of us on deck 2. The Adagio Strings was lovely. We always enjoyed having music on the Crow's Next in the evening but now it's just a big meeting area. Still, you can't discount the views. The MDR was hit and miss as far as service went. There were major areas where people were being served promptly and others received tepid food, as we did one of our three times. We were not alone - other table groups were experiencing the same thing. We requested coffee with our dessert one night and dessert came but coffee never did and our waiter didn't check back. The food itself was very good. Perhaps they had a new group of waiters? Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with ... Read More
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with passengers. The Explorations Cafe barista is downright surly, with never a smile or a thank you, something I've never seen on Holland before. After 3 cruises on Carnival in the past month, greeted in the dining room by charming hostesses from 5 different countries, it was disappointing to see nothing but male Indonesians on Holland. My image of the dining room went to zero when I went to use the restroom next to the dining room one morning, only to be chased away by security, who had a table set up stacked with urine sample bottles. There was also a line-up of miserable-looking crew waiting to be drug tested. Has anyone ever seen drug testing done in a public area of a hotel, restaurant, or any other business? Would you continue patronizing a restaurant that would display to patrons urine jars at its entrance? Well, I'm not, I cancelled the 3 other Holland cruises I had scheduled this Spring. The second big fail was having surly contractors close off sections of the promenade outside deck for the entire cruise, from 8-6, so nobody could do laps, run, or relax, without having to turn around and go the other way. Several days they closed off sections on both sides, including 10 minutes before the charity walk they do on the last sea day. There was apparently no oversight of these contractors and no attempt to balance desires of the passengers to enjoy unimpeded access to the promenade versus their maintenance needs--on other ships they saved major maintenance work for port days. Everyone on the ship acted and sounded bored, from the lifeless cruise director on down. The same singers and dancers were doing the same dull, plotless shows I saw 6 months ago on an Alaska cruise (why can't cruise lines do like Norwegian and Vegas and put on 1-hour versions of Broadway shows?) As usual on Holland, the only people who were truly friendly were the Lido servers and the room stewards, along with the jolly captain, bragging about the beautiful, elegant Oosterdam (well, other than the bottles of pee outside the dining room). It's definitely a shock going back to Holland after Carnival. Mobility carts everywhere, older couples bickering like George Costanza's parents everywhere. Despite the tattoos and trashiness of Carnival, I think I had more fun there, the crew seemed to enjoy life more, there was music everywhere (not the corporatized piano duo and classical quartet playing the same programs on every cruise), and Carnival fulfills what it promises, whereas Holland just seems to project faux elegance to gloss over its money-grabbing and upselling. The lack of crew diversity and gender equality is disappointing (if you're not a male Indonesian you can't work as a dining room server or room steward). With every activity on Holland now tied to some corporate partnership, everything is now standardized, so I'll see the same piano and classical programs, the same cooking demonstrations and Oprah/BBC lectures on every Holland cruise, so there's nothing new or original. More and more Lido and outside deck space is being closed off by cabanas that I've never seen anyone use (even the airlines aren't stupid enough to try to raise money by putting a tent cover over a seat--at least not yet). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Four of us sailed from San Diego on January 3, 2018 on the upgraded Oosterdam. Having sailed on her years ago, I was, with one exception, pleasantly surprised. HAL has always had good service, and on this cruise the dining room staff was ... Read More
Four of us sailed from San Diego on January 3, 2018 on the upgraded Oosterdam. Having sailed on her years ago, I was, with one exception, pleasantly surprised. HAL has always had good service, and on this cruise the dining room staff was extremely understaffed. They soldiered on but it was the slowest service I have had in 28 cruises. One of the staff told me that part of the problem was that the Oosterdam was going in to dry dock and that some of the employees had ben assigned elsewhere in anticipation. Now for the good stuff: the parts of the ship they have remodeled are just beautiful, particularly the Atrium ( don't miss happy hour by the piano,) the dining room, and the buffet area. 10 years ago the ship looked like it was decorated by a clown with garish orange, purple and red primary colors. Also, we sprung for a signature suite and it was outstanding, particularly with the large tv and on demand movies. I used to bring my own coffee and French press on board but there is no longer that need; the new coffee is quite good. The food as a whole was better than the other 5 HAL cruises I have enjoyed. A highlight was Lincoln Center at sea, where a piano quintet played a couple of times per day; the five ladies were so very talented, and the concerts were quite well attended. Also, the new Billboard on Board was terrific for those of us who love piano bars. Unlike in the old days, everyone who wanted to could find a seat; one nit is that the casino is next-door and way too loud, annoying those of us enjoying the musicians. The BBC Earth focused game shows were fun, and the MainStage video of the Arctic poles, with accompanying live music was a highlight. The ships shows were mediocre otherwise. Every morning I would take coffee up to the Crows Nest, which is so comfortable and do the NY Times crossword puzzle. It was so civilized. In summary, if the Oosterdam gets back to standard HAL service, it is a wonderful ship, and HAL should be commended for fixing most of the problems, and enhancing the experience for those of us who drifted to Celebrity and Princess simply because the old ships were ugly. I look forward to trying the other Vista Class ships once they are upgraded like the Oosterdam and Westerdam have been. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members ... Read More
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members were very nice but we also encountered a lot of rude employees. Every other cruise I've taken I've always been so surprised at how kind everyone is. People make an effort to get to know you and what you like. I can honestly say no one made that effort on this ship. I even had a few members roll their eyes at me after making simple requests. I ordered a drink and got the wrong one. I wasn't mad, it was a simple mistake and when I tried to kindly tell him I had gotten the wrong drink he was really rude to me. Taylor the cruise director was THE WORST! I spoke to several other people on the ship and no one had anything good to say about him. He's rude and very bossy. He took his games very seriously and often scolded people for talking while he was talking. One time people went up front to get papers to play a game and he scolded them for being late and told them to sit down and listen to the rules. I was shocked. I honestly couldn't believe this guy has a job. The assistant cruise directors were much kinder. Overall service was really subpar. It took us over 45 minutes to get burgers at the drive-in. The shows were just ok. The comedy show was HORRIBLE. We walked out, as did many others. The ship seemed like it needed some updating. The carpets were tearing on the stairs. There were a lot of areas that just seemed dated. The club with DJ was open only for 30 minutes every night, what's the point of that? Some positives: The food was amazing, I really enjoyed dinner every night. I also like learning dances from the Mexican Ambassadors, they were great. The cooking shows were fun too. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - ... Read More
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - F - Luggage Damage - F - Disembarkation - A (see why below) 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin: - Availability - A - Cleanliness - B - Size - B - Storage - B - Bathroom - B 4. Food: - Main Dining Room - D - Lido market - C - Canaletto - A - Pinnacle Grill - B - Exploration Café - A 5. Entertainment: - Singers/Dancers - C - BB King - A - Billboard Onboard - B - Productions - D - Xmas Celebration - D - Main Stage Design - D 6. Staff: - Cabin Stewards - A - Guest Services - A - Wait Staff - A - Luggage Damage Handling - A - Captain Involvement - A - All ship staff - A Group Ratings: 1. Embarkation - F 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin - B 4. Food - C 5. Entertainment - C 6. Staff - A Overall Cruise Rating - C Comments Some background - I believe that all reviews should be placed in proper perspective so that the reader can better understand the comments. My wife and I are mid-60s. We are not drinkers (sorry, no reviews of bars) and we are not heavy party folks. We do not mind kids or enjoyment going on around us so that is not a factor in these evaluations. We have cruised before on NCL, Royal Caribbean, Princess. The general age of folks on this cruise trended more toward seniors rather than youngsters. 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation, in a word, was a NIGHTMARE. There is no other way to describe the situation. We were unlucky enough to experience the dreaded "2-ship" effect. Every HAL employee we encountered in the process was very quick to blame the whole thing on that. The 2-ship effect - basically, the Oosterdam & the Amsterdam (both HAL ships, in case you don't get it) scheduled to depart from the same small port at EXACTLY the same time on the same day. Really!!! The narrow pier between the 2 ships was a sea of passengers, luggage, shuttle buses, tour buses etc.. There were no HAL employees in sight to direct the passengers to the correct luggage drop off line - which, by the way, was endless in both directions. The luggage handlers were rough. From the long luggage line, we went to the longer security line. More on the 2-ship effect - the Amsterdam was on a 15-day Panama Canal Holiday sailing. The 2 ships sailed together for 2 days, reached Cabo San Lucas at the same time. Passengers tendered off the 2-ships at the same time and the nightmare continued. I do not think that the San Diego port is meant to handle this kind of traffic. One hopes that HAL addresses this situation instead of continuing to schedule to, what one assumes, is their convenience. Our luggage was delivered ripped apart. However, in fairness, HAL did rectify the problem - more on that later in the Staff comments. Disembarkation was a breeze because we elected to carry our own luggage off the ship. That is not optimum for 2 seniors but, hey, it was infinitely preferable to what may have been. 2. Ship - the Oosterdam is a dated ship. It is not horrible by a long shot. It is a decent ship but it does not sparkle. My wife and I were comfortable enough. But, if you are looking for a dazzling, new ship experience, obviously, you need to look elsewhere. 3. Cabin: We were very pleased with the cabin - clean, good size, good storage, cabin safe for valuables, good size bathroom, excellent shower. It was available when we boarded - and that was quite a few hours before departure. Cabin 6001 is at the very front of the ship looking to the front. That was a unique experience for us and we enjoyed it. 4. Food Generally, food was a disappointment. Without a doubt, it was less enjoyable than any of the other dozen or so cruises we have taken on NCL, RCCL, Princess. It was not so much that it was consistently bad but that it was INCONSISTENT - some times, quite enjoyable, and then pretty bad. Main Dining Room - was the main culprit of the inconsistency. It is telling that, later in the cruise, we were more apt to go for the mediocre buffet food in the Lido than go for this promised "5-course gourmet dining experience" in the main dining room. The Lido Market - as mentioned, not brilliant food but not bad. Great range of choices and, for the most part, well prepared. The ice cream station, the Dive-n burger joint, the taco bar are welcome additions. It is very busy so finding seating was problematic. Canaletto - a "specialty" Italian restaurant. You pay $15/person. This could be one of the best, if not the best, restaurant we have dined in. Absolutely superb! Food excellent. our waitress was beyond compare. Her knowledge of the offerings, her service, her personality were top-notch. Truly enjoyable experience. Pinnacle Grill - another "specialty" steak restaurant. You pay $25/person. It is worth it. The steak & the dessert were stupendous. The rest was so-so. The seating was atrocious. In an empty restaurant with proper tables available, we were seated in this side room with low sofa-style seating. I was not quick enough to recognize the situation when we went in but, if I had seen the regular seating, I would have demanded a table. The Exploration Café - of course, you pay but the setting is very, very nice. Overall, you will not go hungry, of course, but the food left us clamoring for more. In the interest of full disclosure, we dined with another couple and they enjoyed the food. So, take my comments with a pinch of salt - which (the salt I mean) would have helped some of the preparation. :) Just kidding. 5. Entertainment - a disappointment. The Oosterdam singers/dancers group was enjoyable in one show, disappointing in another. The B B King group was excellent as were the pianist duo at the Billboard Onboard venue. The main stage productions simply cannot compare to what we have seen on other lines. For a "Christmas" cruise, the Christmas celebration was distinctly understated. And, I cannot believe the main stage design on this ship. Multiple pillars throughout the theatre totally block the line of sight from quite a few seats. 6. Staff - by far, the best strength of HAL. We were very impressed with the courtesy, friendliness, effectiveness of EVERYONE on the ship's staff. Well done, HAL! The Captain, Rens van Eerten, is very personable. He was visible and he stays involved with the passengers. Our cabin stewards were excellent. The wait staff in the dining venues is well trained. The Guest Services desk was very courteous and effective. They arranged for our damaged luggage to be stitched back into shape. Really, all HAL employees whom we came in contact with were impressive. A beef - the "communication" (Internet/Wi-Fi) costs are exorbitant - but, then, every line is the same. It just leaves an unnecessary bad taste in the mouth. Finishing up - overall, the experience was okay but nothing extraordinary. Would I do it again? Yes, one more on HAL but JUST out of fairness. Perhaps, this was not a typical HAL experience. It certainly was the most disappointing of all of the cruises we have done. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual ... Read More
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual December cruise to enjoy the voyage to and from the Hawaiian Island destinations. It was a much smaller ship that we have been traveling in the past few years but had some very nice entertaining and learning opportunities that compensated somewhat the frustrations of getting used to poor dining room organization, and indoor temperatures that were so very cold it required most passengers to wear coats throughout the days and evening onboard --- even the men were wearing jackets! From the first evening the dining room experience was chaos and remained so for 3 days. We had requested a table for two, and that seemed to be a real problem for some reason. We were shifted from one section to another, unlike all past cruises where we had the same waiter, same table, and our wine bottles were waiting for us when we arrived. Not so on the Oosterdam. The dining room manager was a very unpleasant man to work with. We nicknamed him Mr. Smiley face since he never was seen without a scowl. On the 3rd day we finally had a regular table and waiter. However, we felt very sorry for the wait staff as they were terribly overworked and understaffed for the number of people being served at the same seating. The top 3 things on the ship included: 1) An amazing string quartet that played 3-4 times most days. They packed the room for all performances and each member was outstanding! 2) The Microsoft Workshop was hosted by Frank Barcelona who presented 3-5 sessions daily about using Outlook and Cortana. He was outstanding, patient, and provided good solid support for computer and phone users to sync their instruments to the Outlook utilities. 3) The America's Test Kitchen presentations were great! The presentation room was well designed with overhead monitors for everyone to see the chef as she demonstrated wonderful recipes in a very entertaining way. The port stops were enjoyable, especially Lahaina and Kauai. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
I normally don't write reviews anymore, but having just read two reviews rating their Panama Canal cruises as average, I feel I need to give my opinion to help bring the average up to where it belongs. The ship is not ... Read More
I normally don't write reviews anymore, but having just read two reviews rating their Panama Canal cruises as average, I feel I need to give my opinion to help bring the average up to where it belongs. The ship is not "tired" as one reviewer said, in my opinion of course. The ship is in great shape. The food is "good but not excellent" one reviewer said. That can be said about almost every cruise and cruise line. This was my 37th cruise so I do have many with which to compare. There were many activities on board to keep one involved during the days and evenings. During the evening there was a quartet playing classical music, a couple at two pianos playing and singing popular music as well as the main shows, movies and the casino. The enrichment speaker and the Panama Canal movies were excellent. The cruise director, TJ, and his assistant Francisco were excellent, friendly and good humored. They were the only cruise director staff on this cruise so they had a lot to do. The trivia games were well attended and varied, being competitive and fun. The evening main shows were the best I have encountered on recent cruises. The ports were not very exciting to me but that is to be expected traveling from San Diego to Fort Lauderdale. we did take a tour to San Jose, Costa Rica, and tour old town Cartagena, Columbia. It was the transit of the Panama Canal that was the feature of the cruise. We were well informed before entering the canal by the enrichment speakers and movies so we were prepared to see the highlights. There was a running narration as we progressed through the canal which also helped. Overall it was a wonderful cruise on a great ship. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and it was amazing considering it was built so many years ago, and there are few changes. However, the ports left much to be desired. Most were industrial so you had to take a shuttle bus, or ... Read More
We always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and it was amazing considering it was built so many years ago, and there are few changes. However, the ports left much to be desired. Most were industrial so you had to take a shuttle bus, or walk a distance to get out of the industrial area. I walked into Nicaragua and walked three blocks and returned to the ship. It is dirty port with more street vendors then you can imagine. Cartagena is all grown up, but very crowded. The ship is tired..but clean, and the housekeeping service is wonderful. They kept it clean, and were available for all needs. The food is only average. Canaletto has some of the most gregarious staff, and the food was good. We did not go to Pinnacle this time as we have done it other times, and it is good, but over priced in my opinion. They have a hamburger/hot dog bar that is great with the best french fries! The food in the dining room was good, and the staff was excellent. A wine steward made wonderful origami for me after each meal. Would I take a trip again with this many days at sea? No, but I am a sightseer. We did enjoy our trip from Boston to Montreal, and the Alaska cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
First cruise with Holland America. Previously I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Carribbean and Princess. To be honest, I wasn't super impressed with the cruise or the ship. Doesn't mean I didn't have fun and enjoy myself ( ... Read More
First cruise with Holland America. Previously I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Carribbean and Princess. To be honest, I wasn't super impressed with the cruise or the ship. Doesn't mean I didn't have fun and enjoy myself ( I always do !) but compared to other ships and cruise lines. The food was OK. Selection in the buffet was poor. Other ships I have been on had so many choices to choose from. Food was never very hot or tasty. Dining room food was fairly good. Didn't always like the choices, but always found something. We had a balcony room which was nice. It was clean and had a fair amount of storage. Bed was fairly comfortable but pillow were lumpy. Room stewards did a good job cleaning room and supplying us ice. Casino was tiny and machines tight. Entertainment was ok. Miss entertainment during the day at the pools. The magician was kinda pathetic, comedian was fairly funny. Ship itself was small. I knew how many passengers but didn't realize there's basically no shopping onboard. Last ship I was on was the Oasis of the Seas so not really fair to compare. After being on this cruise I realize I really prefer the big boats. Everything is bigger :) Definitely love the Mexican Riveria but would probably go with Carnival next time for that itinerary. 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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