Sail Date: January 2011
very good time was had on this trip as we live close to san diego---this is a no-brainer--- embarkation the fastest ever for me- luggage drop off to lunch in dining room- like 20 minutes !!! great----cabin and ship in good clean ... Read More
very good time was had on this trip as we live close to san diego---this is a no-brainer--- embarkation the fastest ever for me- luggage drop off to lunch in dining room- like 20 minutes !!! great----cabin and ship in good clean condition--good whale watching--- saw 6 at different times--- ate in the Pinnicle grill---best waiter ever---"Rocky--" food great as expected--- dining room a little iffy at breakfast time---slow and lukewarm at best---all workers very friendly-always a smile and eye contact--- only glitch was final night dinner--a special presentation--- sorta a fixed menu--- it was o.k. BUT , the blaring, way- too- loud music and the silliest parade of waiters dancing around trying to throw our napkins in our laps--- needless to say on the table, in the butter, etc.--- well a little too much memory for the final nites gala remembrance---- otherwise a very enjoyable time was had!!!!!! PLEASE STOP THE SMOKING ON VERANDAS-------WE WILL CONSIDER THIS IN FUTURE PLANS Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We had an SC guarantee and got upgraded to an SA, which we have had before so no surprises there. We got to the pier at 12:15, parked and was on the ship and in the Lido by 12:45, very smooth boarding. The use of the Neptune Lounge is ... Read More
We had an SC guarantee and got upgraded to an SA, which we have had before so no surprises there. We got to the pier at 12:15, parked and was on the ship and in the Lido by 12:45, very smooth boarding. The use of the Neptune Lounge is always a treat; if you need any paperwork completed, print out of stateroom charges, change of money, etc. they are there for you. Also, the disembarkation was a breeze. I will start with the negatives first (not many). I have sailed on this ship 3 times previously. The ship is very worn; carpets, furniture, towels. My sheets (in a suite) had holes in them and I requested they be changed which they were right away. Ali was a very good room steward. The food up in the Lido was not up to Hollands standards at all, no changes daily, same food every day, with the exception of whatever roast they were serving; not much flavor with any of the food. They did not serve any Mexican food other than the taco bar out by the pool. That was the only negatives I experiences on this voyage. On the positive side, the crew still goes out of their way to accommodate you and tries to remember everyone's name. The food in the dining room was good with a large variety on the menu and our dining room attendants, Usman and his assistant were fabu. They tried to anticipate our every need prior to us asking after the first night. I was a little apprehensive going to Mexico, but did not notice anything different from 2009, other than a lot of Police carry machine guns around town. I will sail with Holland again; however, I think I will avoid the Oosterdam until they decide to refurbish her which she is need of. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Pre-Cruise: We flew to San Diego on Friday morning January 21st and the hotel picked us up at the airport at 8:30am. We stood at the Courtyard by Marriot San Diego Old Towne in San Diego. The hotel allowed me to check in early as I ... Read More
Pre-Cruise: We flew to San Diego on Friday morning January 21st and the hotel picked us up at the airport at 8:30am. We stood at the Courtyard by Marriot San Diego Old Towne in San Diego. The hotel allowed me to check in early as I called in advance. The Hotel was nice, the staff where excellent however the rooms were older looking and need some remodeling. We went to the San Diego ZOO and the Hotel's shuttle drops off guests at 9:30am and picks them up at the ZOO at 4:30pm. Nice perk because I didn't have to rent a car!! This was plenty of time because it allowed my husband and I enough time to walk through the entire zoo. The Baby Panda was our favorite. The shuttle then picked us up right at 4:30pm and brought us back to the hotel. There are so many restaurants within a 5 minute walking period. We decided to eat at Cafe Coyote's; it's a nice Mexican restaurant. They had happy hour when we arrived which was nice. The next morning we decided to have the breakfast buffet at the hotel and then they shuttled us to the Cruise Port by 10:45am. The cruise begins: We arrived at the San Diego Cruise Port and not many passengers where there, we were guided right into the building and walked right up to the luggage porter who was so pleasant; he took our bags and instructed us where to go. We then were able to check in, the lines where short and then we sat for a while (30 minutes) by this time it was about 11:30am. I was handed a special luncheon invitation for the main dining room at NOON which was a first for us. This is our 3rd Holland America cruise so I was already excited about cruising again, this just made my day because I was not really looking forward to eating lunch on the LIDO as most do on embarkation day. They called our grouping number; we took our standard photo and began to board the ship. Absolutely seamless, we then stopped at the front desk to order the "Unlimited Laundry" package. The best investment anyone can make for $49.00 for the entire week of laundry. We then stopped at the Maitre D's area right outside the dining room and confirmed our seating for two (1st seating) and made reservations to eat at the "Canaletto" restaurant (which is complimentary) that evening and then the "Pinnacle Grille" ($20.00 PP) on Monday evening. The Maitre D was our Dining room Maitre D, his name was Osman he is from Turkey a very pleasant person always went out of his way to say hello whenever he saw us. After we made our reservations we headed into the dining room to eat a nice lunch and some fresh rolls. I almost forgot how good and fresh they are YUM. After lunch we headed to our cabin which was 6035 Upper Verandah Balcony, it was a nice location as it was very close to stairs and elevators. We used the stairs quite a bit so we can walk off all those dinner rolls ? On deck 9 was the Lido; SPA; GYM and deck 10 the Cafe Promenade and library. After we dropped off some carryon luggage we walked around a bit and then attended the life vest drill at 4:15pm. Something new that we experienced was that we no longer had to wear the life vest to the drill which was a pleasant surprise. Our luggage soon arrived and we were able to unpack our clothes and then go to dinner at Canaletto for 5:30pm. The Canaletto restaurant is located on the LIDO deck they have a small section blocked off. The atmosphere was pretty nice however I was a bit disappointed with the food. I think I was expecting the quality of Italian food found at Sabatini's Italian restaurant on Princess Cruises. The food was a bit bland and lacked flavor. Hubby ordered Lasagna and he was not impressed, I ordered the Linguini Fruitti Di Mare which is a pasta dish with seafood. It lacked spices and tasted more like a jar white sauce. If I had to pay to eat here I would have been really disappointed so I'm glad it was complimentary. At least we can say we tried it. We decided not to see a show this evening as we were tired and called it a night. Sunday through Friday we made it a goal to hit the gym from 6am-7:30 we needed to make sure to get our exercise in as we knew we would be eating good food the entire week. The gym is a good size with about 8-10 treadmills some elliptical and bikes and a few stair master climbers and two Cybex machines. They also had several cable machines to lift weights as well as a section where you can use free weights. It suited our needs for the entire week and was clean. Our wait staff in the dining room was good; our waiters were Suby and Lilik two young men who worked very hard. Service was a little slow the first few nights but they seemed to have a lot of tables to wait on compared to others. So we were patient and gave them the benefit of the doubt. After the 2nd evening it picked up and the service was very good the rest of the week. As you exit the dining room if you would like one of those small mints or dried fruit, the young man name Jetro is glad to hand you some as long as you sing with him. He was funny and it didn't matter whether you could hold a tune or not. The first formal night was Sunday 1/23 and we noticed an 8x11 sign posted outside the dining room. It said for formal attire men MUST wear a jacket otherwise they will not be permitted to enter. I was a bit nervous because this was the one cruise I decided to ease up on our dress code. In the previous 7 cruises hubby always wears a Tux and I wear a gown. I have seen many couples wear nice business casual attire such as dress slacks and a dress shirt for men and a pants suit for woman so I decided let me dress down a bit on this cruise. . I have read on previous posts that some have decided to dress down a bit during formal night this is why I thought I would try it - Big Mistake. I approached our Maitre D Osmon during lunch on Sunday and informed him of my concern as I did not want to be turned away at the door. He said "don't worry about it I have extra jackets". As we entered the dining room that evening we were stopped and informed "sir you need a jacket to eat in the dining room tonight" and thank goodness Osmon was right there with a spare jacket for hubby to wear. As we sat down for dinner I noticed a handful of other men that did not have a jacket. I wondered where they stopped at the door, they were allowed in, where they embarrassed at the door? I can tell you I was and it taught me a lesson that I will always bring a jacket for hubby on future cruises no matter what. Back to the positives: Our cabin stewards were Mo and Jam Jam - these two guys are like Ninja's. We never saw them; they knew our routine perfectly while we were at breakfast they would make up our room and when we were at dinner they would make up the room again. EXCELLENT SERVICE from these two. Every day I left a bag of laundry with the slip and many times it would be returned the same evening or very next morning folded and shirts; pants on hangers neatly pressed. The paperwork states it may take up to 48 hrs to get your clothes back but the turnaround time here was at times 12 hours which was fantastic. It was worth every single penny for this service. Again thanks to reading blogs on cruise critics I would have not known how good this service was. Every morning hubby and I would eat breakfast in the dining room as we really don't care for the Lido buffet. I noticed a big difference in the breakfast menu where Holland has such a great variety this time around. The menu is the same every day but they added so many options to choose from such as the Dutch breakfast; Japanese breakfast; English breakfast etc. They were all very good and we were served timely and the food was never cold. Several days we ordered the fresh fruit parfait which has Greek yogurt in case anyone is wondering. We ate lunch in the LIDO twice during two port days (Cabo and Puerto Vallarta) because they closed the Dining Room. I was disappointed in this because the variety at lunch was not very good, an example is the outdoor grill the burgers they serve are overcooked and the fries where not tasty. If anyone from HAL is reading this please allow sit down lunches for port days in the dining room. On Sunday we received an announcement during lunch from our Captain stating that we WILL NOT port in Mazatlan due to the increased violence there. Holland America has decided to remove that port off their itinerary and replace it with Manzanillo. I was not upset about the change cause I'd rather be safe than sorry. I appreciated the fact that HAL is taking precautions for their passengers. On the port days we stood on the ship as this is my 4th time to the Mexican Riviera we have gone on the islands many times and decided to just relax which we had a wonderful restful week doing. We read several good books and found many great locations to read quietly. The Crows Nest is a great place to go, the Promenade Cafe is a bit small but nice to grab a cup of coffee. We did purchase a few coffees during the week but truthfully the coffee in the dining room is the same if not better. The coffee in the LIDO is not good as its instant and weak coffee which we don't like. We also found that during the day the Explorers Lounge is a great place to sit and read. On one of the days they had High Tea in the Explorers lounge at 3pm. Not many showed up but the tea, scones and cream/jelly where delicious. We attended another High tea earlier in the week and that was in the Main Dining room they served small sandwiches, lots of unique pastries and many varieties of tea. Another nice improvement I noticed on this 3rd time on HAL was that the entertainment has gotten much better. The HAL singers and dancers where all very good and they put on a great performance on the two nights we saw them. The illusionist "Joseph Tran" was very funny and cracked us up as he added a lot of comedy to his show. He also gave us a treat and had a matinee show later in the week. They had an Elton John impersonator his name is John Mason and he dressed up in different costume attire and sang very well. He was a riot as he kept many of us laughing during his show. He deserves two thumbs up as he was truly excellent - he received a standing ovation. Prior to cruising on this ship again I read up on the changes the Oosterdam had from my previous cruise almost 3 years ago to Alaska. They now have a beverage card you can purchase for $90.00 and its worth $100.00. This is truly worth it because we were able to use this during Happy Hour which is 4:30-5:30pm Sunday-Friday in the Ocean Bar. They also give you complimentary appetizers with your beverage. I not talking about just peanuts but good appetizers you don't even get in the dining room such as Chinese Egg rolls with sauce, sweet mushroom in a flaky puff; teriyaki beef on a skewer. The Happy Hour special is 2 for 1 so if you buy two Margarita's they only charge your card for one drink. We also noticed a room called the "Screening Room" this is a really nice movie theatre, it has about 20 leather chairs but they are really big and comfortable and they actually lean back quite a bit. There is plenty of room to put a beverage down as each chair has a little table attached to it and they also make fresh popcorn for every movie. They have little popcorn baggies you can grab and eat while watching the movie. They had a lot of movies that just came out on Video such as SALT; Wall Street Money Never Sleeps; Inception; Oceans and many others. We took the opportunity to see Oceans and Money never sleeps. We ate dinner at the Pinnacle Grille on Monday evening and our waiter was Rocky he was excellent. Hubby had the Rib Eye which he said melted in his mouth. I had a few bites and it was really good. I ordered the Lobster with butter. For our soups we both had the lobster bisque which was very good and loaded with real lobster chunks. The breadsticks; flatbread and rolls where all fresh and delicious. As you read this review you can tell we love bread...thus the reason for exercising every day ? . We were allowed to bring in our beverages we just purchased from the Happy Hour and bring them into the Pinnacle Grille which was nice. For desert we ordered the Crème Brule, the only downside is that you can't just have the vanilla it comes with coffee; vanilla and chocolate which I don't really care for. We walked away stuffed but indeed satisfied. Well worth the $20.00 per person. On Thursday we were invited to attend the Luncheon for past mariners in the Main dining room. They had a set menu that had several options you could choose from for your salad/soup and entrEe. The Captain thanked all of us for sailing HAL and reviewed how the Mariner Program works and what you receive for cruising so many number of days. They offered complimentary Red and White wine to go with our lunch. Nice touch HAL - at the end of lunch when we left the dining room we all received a little gift and it was another Tile (coaster) which I will add to my collection. That was a nice surprise as I previously read in one of the cruise critic posts that they had done away with the tiles. That is not the case because they are still giving them out on the Oosterdam. The dinners in the dining room where good some evenings and excellent others. We found that on Wednesday night the evening before the second formal night they had King Crab legs on the menu. Can you say "I'd like two orders please" We indeed ordered two servings as we knew the portion size would be small. It was very good and tasty. They were not salty and it had the right spices added to the broth with potatoes. Deserts were pretty good, I felt that HAL lacked here a bit here compared to previous cruises. The standard deserts like your ice cream parfaits are good but the watermelon pie with a dark chocolate crust was not good at all. The Crème Brule in the dining room was mushy and the sugar crust was watery. There was no comparison between the dining room Crème Brule and the Pinnacle Grille Crème Brule. With that said on the last evening when they had baked Alaska, that was delicious and well worth the wait. The only issue I had on this cruise was how HAL handles disembarkation for their passengers. This process really lacks structure and it is not fair to make 1500+ passengers wait to leave the ship until all Non-US Citizens go to the Vista Lounge and go thru Customs. They must have called the same 5 people over the intercom to please come to the Vista Lounge and check in. Because these passengers did not pay attention to specific instructions to be in the Lido at 7am they inconvenienced almost the entire ship of passengers. We were delayed 45 minutes from disembarking the ship. They really need to change their policy and procedures on this. We were so nervous we were going to miss our flight home because I had planned for early disembarkation at 8:30am but we didn't get off till 9:15am. Thankfully we were able to breeze through customs and grab a cab ride for $10.00 to the airport and arrived within 10 minutes so we were good. Overall this 7 day cruise was very good and we will continue to sail HAL in the future. We had a well rested week and where able to come home refreshed. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Overall, this was a relaxing cruise and we enjoyed ourselves. We had only cruised on Princess prior to this, but decided to give HA a try. However, we are not sure if HA is our "style" and overall prefer Princess. Hits ... Read More
Overall, this was a relaxing cruise and we enjoyed ourselves. We had only cruised on Princess prior to this, but decided to give HA a try. However, we are not sure if HA is our "style" and overall prefer Princess. Hits Once inside the terminal building, embarkation was quick and efficient. Disembarkation was orderly. Evening entertainment was good. We especially liked the HAL singers and dancers who showed a lot of professionalism, and the quality of the choreography was very good. Food in the dining room for the most part was excellent, and service very good. Food was cooked well, nice presentation, and good variety. Loved the library and internet facilities. Dining room and cabin staff were warm and friendly. We had no difficulty getting lounge chairs in the sun, perhaps since most of the ship's activities are held in the interior of the ship. Misses Embarkation baggage. On the dock, we were not advised that we were responsible for throwing our bags ourselves into the tubs going to the ship, resulting in a large crowd milling around unsure of what to do. On board, the elevator lobby areas were scenes of chaos as the room stewards tried to sort through piles of luggage to deliver them to cabins. Lido dining room. This was a huge source of frustration. The Lido reminded us of a shopping mall food court with all the stations clustered back to back in the middle. At breakfast you might join the throngs, walk around the entire area to check out each station to see what appeals to you. (Since they don't change the menu, you only need to do this for a couple of days) You decide on eggs, toast, fruit and coffee. You stand in line for fruit, then search out a table. Since you don't have a tray, leave the fruit on the table while you go for the next course. Stand in line for toast, then stand in the eggs line, take your food back to the table. Then stand in line for coffee and juice. Back you go to your table, only to discover that either your food is now cold, or they've cleared the table thinking you had abandoned your food. Yes, you can eat in the Vista dining room, but we tried that once and waited almost an hour for a simple lukewarm breakfast to be served in an almost empty dining room. Perhaps room service is the best option. Having been on Princess a couple of times, we have to say we strongly prefer the Princess delivery of buffet food which serves in a more accessible area, with serving staff providing coffee and juice. The buffet food on both is good, but not outstanding. No self laundry or ironing facilities. I'll think twice about booking on a ship without self laundry and the ability to do a quick press of the formal gear. Location of the closets in the cabin. The closets are in the hallway right inside the door, across from the bathroom. You can't enter the cabin, go in and out of the bathroom, or have more than one person in the closet area. Princess locates the closet at right angles to the hallway which makes it much more accessible. The ship has many small intimate lounges which can be nice. However, the downside is that the interior space felt cramped and crowded, and at times we felt like cattle being herded down the shoots. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Let me begin by saying I am fairly easy to please and really don't like negativity. That being said, I have to say I started my cruise in the latter state!! Upon entering the room it had a slightly musty smell. I discovered the shower ... Read More
Let me begin by saying I am fairly easy to please and really don't like negativity. That being said, I have to say I started my cruise in the latter state!! Upon entering the room it had a slightly musty smell. I discovered the shower curtains were a little mildewy. I located our cabin steward and within MINUTES our curtain were changed. Wow! Great way to start the cruise. This was our second cruise with Holland America. If you are looking for a young crowd of fellow travelers, this one isn't for you. I would guess the average age is about 55+. That is one reason we love sailing with Holland. We don't have to dodge a million children or deal with young adults that drink too much! There are the same activities offered as on all cruises so you're not missing out on a thing. The Oosterdam is an older ship Holland has. It has been well maintained. The staff on board was great. Extremely friendly all the time. Loved it. The food was just what you would expect on a cruise ship. There was a good variety of things and it was tasty. I highly recommend eating at The Pinnacle Grill one evening. The $20 per person charge is well worth it. I had a 10 oz. fillet that melted in my mouth. Yummy! The Canneletto restaurant is good, too. There is no additional charge for that but I would suggest making reservations for all your extra dining times early, even before boarding, if possible. The same with shore excursions. We walked around Cabo San Lucas and took in the sites. We got off the beaten path and ate at Loco Miguel's for lunch. Great food and wonderful margaritas! In Puerto Vallarta we took the Whale Watching tour through Vallarta Adventures. It was fantastic. We saw many whales, dolphins, and manta rays. I wouldn't recommend the snorkeling part unless you know before entering the water that the water will be clear! The food and drink offered on the way back to shore was good and the dancing was fun. If you have time in Puerto Vallarta ask the cab driver to take you to the Marina restaurant row. There are several restaurants there that are tasty.....Mr. Jack's (Mexican food) and a seafood restaurant right next door to that. I can't remember the name, but there is a blue awning over it! Also, Andolade and El Dorado restaurants in downtown Puerto Vallarta are wonderful. Manzanillo found us walking the downtown area. It is a very poor town, but the people were friendly. I can't say enough nice things about Holland America. We love them, look forward to sailing with them again, and highly recommend them to all of our friends. I hope this helps you as you make your decision to cruise. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask!! Bon Voyage!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2011
Embarkation couldn't have been easier. Less than 10 minutes from parking lot to room. Room was spacious enough with a large window. We had an issue with the bathroom that took too long to fix. Once management was involved they ... Read More
Embarkation couldn't have been easier. Less than 10 minutes from parking lot to room. Room was spacious enough with a large window. We had an issue with the bathroom that took too long to fix. Once management was involved they rectified and handled it appropriately. Being close to casinos and lounge was a concern but we did not hear noise at all from either. Worst noise were the kids that were on board. Presidents week so more than usual. Not an annoyance as we are grandparents and understand. I felt the mix of young and old was fine. Food was better than other cruises I have been on. I would like to see them spice it up a bit more. We missed making reservations the last night and had to buffet it. One of the best meals we had. Go figure! I read in a previous review that the crew seemed a bit detached. I tend to agree. Alcohol policy good and prices on board were better than others. In summary I would use Holland again depending on itinerary and price. Less days at sea the better. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
We sailed Jan 15-22,2011...our fourth with HAL, and 18th overall. We flew into San Diego the night before and stayed at the Bay Club Hotel & Marina. We chose it mainly because it had comp. air & cruise shuttles, however the ... Read More
We sailed Jan 15-22,2011...our fourth with HAL, and 18th overall. We flew into San Diego the night before and stayed at the Bay Club Hotel & Marina. We chose it mainly because it had comp. air & cruise shuttles, however the airport shuttle stops at 11pm so we missed it by 5 min. The breakfast buffet was included and very nice, and they did take us personally to the cruise terminal the next morning. We arrived at B St. pier at 10:40am and gave our luggage directly to the porters. The pier staff were very helpful and friendly, and it was suggested we check in right away as there was absolutely no line up. So we got our cruise cards and headed out to enjoy a little of San Diego before we boarded. An easy walk next to the ship is the Maritime Museum which we thoroughly enjoyed. We picked up some wine then boarded about 1:45pm, again no lineup at all. We went directly to our stateroom, superior veranda suite, beautiful mid-ship location and easy walk to elevators etc. Nice big veranda with a table,two chairs, and two wicker lounge chairs with a foot rest to share. Everything was in great shape and loads of storage for three people. The double sinks in the bathroom and separate shower/jetted tub were a nice treat and the Elemis bath products. The wine and beer we had ordered online was waiting for us, however there was no bottle opener and it took several days of asking everyone possible to get one. So if you want to enjoy your wine on your balcony, remember your bottle opener! Our wonderful cabin steward ended up loaning us his own personal one. You would think HAL would have a case load of dollar store cork screws for guests who order wine from them? Just a heads up for you there folks...the one and only hiccup we experienced. We found the ship had many small, intimate lounges which made it not feel so big. The staff was always smiling and friendly. The food was awesome in the main dining room which made us not so impressed by the Pinnacle Grill the one night we ate there. We enjoyed the Canaletto which seemed like one of the best kept secrets on board, you have to try it at least once! I liked the set up at the Lido restaurant with the different stations, line ups never got very long at all, pizza was good and the taco bar by the pool. The pool at the back of the ship is adult only and never got too full, fresh towels were always available but did notice a lot of used towels lying around on the chairs etc. We went to several shows in the main show lounge. The singers and dancers were just your generic song & dance shows,not too thrilling. The guitarist/Eagles impressionist was very good. We were happy with all the ports, Mazatlan and Cabo were our favorites. Puerto Vallarta seemed very busy with traffic/pollution etc. We were so happy that HAL has got their tender boat process down to an art, we didn't have to wait even 10 minutes to tender to shore in Cabo. Some ships we've been on have been over 2.5 hour wait to catch a tender boat, so hats off to the Oosterdam there! In Mazatlan we took a taxi to the Hotel Playa Mazatlan for the day, $20 per person to use their facilities and it goes towards your food & drink.Our daughter enjoyed the ceramics and we found it so clean and friendly! In Cabo we took a whale watching boat tour with Pez Gato out past the arches etc. which was really fun, and we saw three whales pretty close. Overall, we had a very relaxing, enjoyable cruise, wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone, nice variety of ages on board too. Loved our balcony breakfasts, one morning we were scenic cruising at Bahia Magdalena, when four dolphins skipped past us and whales were spouting along the shore...one of those unforgettable moments! Will definitely sail with Holland America again! Had a great time meeting everyone at our Cruise Critic meeting! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This was on 2nd cruise, first on HAL. I'll review the cruise in sections below. Embarkation Got to the port about 11:00 on Saturday. Showed our boarding passes and IDs a few times, dropped our bags and sat down on benches ... Read More
This was on 2nd cruise, first on HAL. I'll review the cruise in sections below. Embarkation Got to the port about 11:00 on Saturday. Showed our boarding passes and IDs a few times, dropped our bags and sat down on benches to wait. Very quick process. About 11:30 they started calling the groups. We were Group 2. Went to the Lido to wait until rooms were ready. We were surprised that they announced rooms were ready at about 12:15. Public Rooms To me, the public rooms' decor seems dated and tacky. Cabin We had an aft deluxe verandah. Room was ok, but also old and dated. Bed was comfortable, until you roll over to the middle crack. Bathroom was small, but sufficient. Balcony was usually wet. Limited viewing options on the tv. Refrigerator in the room was nice for drinks. We would hear the chairs being moved a little, but not a big deal. Fitness and Recreation Tried to go to the gym a few times, but it was always busy at the times we went in the morning. Probably an off time you would be able to use the equipment. We bought the spa package for the week, which we used a lot. It was quiet and peaceful there. A few things that were annoying were how the pool would turn off in 15 minutes and you had to get out of the pool to turn it on. Also, walking from the pool to the heated chairs/steam room was awkward. And of course, there could be some chair hogs and there are only 6 chairs. But we were definitely glad to have a nice place to relax and unwind. Enrichment N/A Rates I work for an airline, so we got a good deal. $399 pp for the verandah. Dining Lido gets old after a bit. Breakfast best option for me was the omlette bar and the fresh fruit. People definitely fill their plates here with lots of mediocre food. I liked the salad bar for lunch. We ate in MDR only on the first night. Service was abysmal. Got room service a few nights. We would get a few options so that way you could try different things and find something that you liked. I didn't have a good piece of fish all week. We went to Pinnacle Grille for lunch, pretty good. Canalleto was a little disappointing. And my husband got sick from something he ate on Friday. Entertainment We didn't go to the shows, they do not interest us. Saw a bit of the crew show on TV, I'm sorry but that was painful to watch. We tried to go to the movie theatre a few times but it was always full. Get there early if you want to get a seat. Service In my experience, a lot of the staff seemed kind of indifferent and uninterested. I did not seem to get excellent, personalized service. I had to leave a note for the cabin steward to clean off some bird poop off the deck rail after it had been there for 3 days. Never did get wine glasses for the room, had to drink out of a regular glass. Shore Excursions We did not purchase shore excursions from HAL or had them reserved prior on our own. PV-Just wandered around a bit, went to an internet cafe nearby ($1/hour compared to 75 cents/minute on board was great) Mazatlan-Went to Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay for the day Cabo-Walked along the port, went on a whale watching tour. It was really cool to see the whales that close. Value for the Money We got a really good deal and went to relax, so a good value for us. Disembarkation Disembarkation was late because of a delay in Cabo and high winds coming back to San Diego. We had expedited disembarkation. Was not able to get off until about 10:30. Got the the taxi about 10:45, got the airport about 11:00, and managed to get on a 11:30 flight. They called many times for a certain non-American passenger. Overall I thought the Oosterdam was just OK. I don't think I will cruise on HAL again. I think we prefer the larger ships. The last few nights the seas were very rough. The outside decks were closed due to the high winds. I felt a little 'cabin fever' on the smaller ship. There was a variety of age groups on board. But the Oosterdam just seems old and tired to me. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
First let me say this for those of you that want a quick review: FABULOUS!!! Okay, now let me see if I can come up with some details for you all. We flew Southwest on the morning of the cruise. Something we never do but there ... Read More
First let me say this for those of you that want a quick review: FABULOUS!!! Okay, now let me see if I can come up with some details for you all. We flew Southwest on the morning of the cruise. Something we never do but there were 6 flights after ours that would have gotten us to the ship on time. We arrived at the Oakland, CA airport, boarded the plane and found there were a whooping 31 folks flying to San Diego. Heaven right at the beginning of the trip. We arrived at the airport in San Diego at 8:00 am. We are pleased to let you know that there are many places to eat breakfast outside of the security area. That had been a concern. We had a very leisurely breakfast and then grabbed a taxi to the Cruiseport. The taxi was $10 with tip. By 10am all our paperwork was completed and we waited in the terminal until 11:30am for embarkation. We received an invitation to the Mariner's Lunch at check in. While in the terminal, there were folks signing passengers up for wine packages and dinner at Le Cirque. We were able to go to our cabins as soon as we boarded the Oosterdam. We dropped off our carry on bags and went to the dining room for lunch. We had Cabin 7145, which is a stern cabin on the Rotterdam deck. It was nothing short of lovely. Yes, there is some soot and the carpet is stained from walking in and out of the verandah but it wasn't enough to bother us at all. We did not experience any thing being tossed off the top decks onto our verandah. It is wonderful to be sheltered from the wind. When we arrived in our cabin, we found a letter from the Hotel Manager. It stated they knew that we had a few problems during our last cruise and they hoped this cruise addressed those issues. Really? I can't even remember what I said on the questionnaire but know they are read!! After lunch, we tracked down the banner, got the doors unlocked and had the Banner Wave as planned! It was nice meeting our CC Roll Call folks. Our stewards were quick, efficient and very pleasant. Our cabin was made up almost the minute we left the room every morning. We saw our stewards throughout the day and they always had a kind word and a smile for us. We loved the new breakfast menu in the MDR. We don't eat in the Lido, so I can't help you out there. We thought the dinner menus were all over the place. That being said we found something we enjoyed every evening. We went to an "Evening at Le Cirque" on Wednesday 1/26 for DH's 65th birthday. Dinner was marvelous. We loved all the food especially the halibut which was the best we ever tasted. I think the problem with "Le Cirque" is HAL oversold the atmosphere, etc. Yes, there was charming dinnerware and orange orchids on the table but other than that it was the Pinnacle Grill. However, the meal is worth every penny, IOHO!! Everyone has different tastes. One other issue with Le Cirque is this. If you go to the Culinary Demonstration they use an entire LARGE lobster tail to show you how they make the Lobster Salad. They don't say they use an APPETIZER version for the actual dinner. Which was more than enough for us considering it is a starter. As far as the grapefruit goes, it is two tiny slices that are placed on the side of your plate. I don't see how that could be a problem for anyone. Don't eat them By now you all know our itinerary was changed. We have been to Manzanillo before and love the port. We were there on DH's birthday. It was a joy to have breakfast on the verandah and watch the whales in the bay. They were out there all day and it was stunning! We didn't take any shore excursions on this cruise. Cruising into Cabo San Lucas there were so many whales, dolphins and turtles you didn't know where to look first!! We did take a taxi to the water front in Puerto Vallarta. Walked along enjoying the beautiful sculptures and sand castles. We also did some tequila tasting. In Manzanillo there is now a pier where you walk directly into town. Last time we were here we docked amongst the containers and had to take a shuttle. We love the old time Mexican feel of this port. The Hotel Colonial is a wonderful place to have a drink or lunch. The interior is just beautiful. We enjoyed Happy Hour at the Ocean Bar almost every day. I loved the Cucumber Lime smash! We never had to ask for appetizers, they were presented every day. Our bartenders were Albert and Gabriel. They were outstanding and added to the enjoyment of our cruise. We had beautiful weather almost every day. Our stern verandah was great on the way back to San Diego since we were shielded from the wind. It actually got almost too warm to sit outside. We ate dinner at the Pinnacle Grill on the last night of the cruise with a couple we met on the ship. I had lobster everything It was good but not as good as the Le Cirque dinner. Our waiter actually recognized me from a Princess Cruise we took in 2004. Wonders will never cease! We don't go to any of the entertainment, so once again, I am no help there. Hopefully, I will have my photos up within the next week. I actually took tons of ship photos keeping all you CC'ers in mind!!! Disembarkation was the most organized we have ever seen. We got off the ship at 9:15 and we were at the airport at 9:45. Taxi was $12 with tip on the way back. More traffic and lights. Hope this answers some of your questions about the Oosterdam. We love the Vista ships. Cheers, Denise Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I booked our cruise in November 2010 when Holland was advertising a low rate. I reviewed all the offers online and decided to call Holland directly to book. We paid less for the 7 day Mexico cruise than any other cruise we have ever taken ... Read More
I booked our cruise in November 2010 when Holland was advertising a low rate. I reviewed all the offers online and decided to call Holland directly to book. We paid less for the 7 day Mexico cruise than any other cruise we have ever taken and the reservation clerk was helpful and the experience pleasant. I paid for the least expensive room and one week prior to sailing received an offer to upgrade to a better room. We took the upgrade and felt the total amount paid extremely reasonable. Our arrival in San Diego was uneventful (we booked our own air) and the shuttle to the port side Sheraton was provided by a Sheraton Shuttle. There isn't much to do at this Sheraton but it was very convenient to the ship. The dining was limited and somewhat expensive but the quick shuttle to the ship was a plus. Directly across the street from the dock is a Holiday Inn which is within walking distance for any person who is able to do any easy walk. So if you need a hotel prior to sailing I would suggest either the Sheraton or the Holiday Inn for convenience. The boarding was somewhat slow. We waited about an hour to get on board and we managed to duck out of the photo taking which also slows up the boarding process. I wish the cruise lines would stop pushing those picture taking "moments". Anyway, as repeat guests on Holland America we went immediately to the Vista Dining Room for a Mariner's lunch. It was a nice touch and a good way to begin the cruise while we waited for our cabin to be made available. Our room was adequate although this ship is not as new as some we have cruised on -- our bathtub drain was clogged and never fixed (I called the first day for a fix) and the rug in this room needs a good cleaning. The furniture is worn and the sheets and towels have been laundered so many times that they are quite thin. It's time for Holland to refurb the Oosterdam. At the top of this post I mentioned how happy we were with the price of the cruise -- well the thin towels and worn linen is probably the result of offering one too many good "deals" to passengers. It is a trade off that's for sure. The food was good. We had no complaints and most of the passengers seemed to enjoy their dining experience as well. Kudos to Holland America for having very fresh salads and good veggies at dinner time. Lastly, our itinerary was changed by Holland due to continued gang violence in Mexico. We felt safe in the ports but it might be a concern for some. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
This cruise was Nov 24-Dec 4, 2010. This was our 6th cruise, 2nd with Holland America. M/D have done several world cruises, prefer smaller ships. We stayed with in-laws prior to cruise and got dropped off, Mom and Dad stayed at Hotel ... Read More
This cruise was Nov 24-Dec 4, 2010. This was our 6th cruise, 2nd with Holland America. M/D have done several world cruises, prefer smaller ships. We stayed with in-laws prior to cruise and got dropped off, Mom and Dad stayed at Hotel Circle Inn, where they could park for the week and get shuttled to/from cruise terminal. We arrived around 11:30am and were through security, check-in and on-board at noon. ATTENTION You CAN take lots of wine on-board with no penalty or charge. We saw individuals with boxes containing 6 bottles each. We brought 2 bottles and M/D brought 4. Met M/D at 1pm on the Lido deck. Vista DR was packed with returning pax which made the Lido less busy with plenty of seating. Staterooms were ready around 1:30pm. Lifeboat drill was held at 4:15pm. Our stateroom, SZ6052 was very nice. Because of the location, this cabin and veranda is larger than SY staterooms. King bed (w/2 larger drawers under one side and suitcase storage under the other), 5 outlets, 3 full closets, 3 sitting chairs, sofa-bed, desk and vanity, lcd tv, dvd, plenty of drawers (12), veranda large enough for 2 tables and 4 chairs. Plenty of lighting and lighting combinations. Bathroom had 2 sinks, 2 outlets, jacuzzi tub, full-size glass shower. Cabin stewards kept the room well maintained and for the most part seemed invisible. Fresh flowers daily, nightly chocolates and towel animals. M/D had a balcony on the same deck. They were very happy with their accommodations and stewards. Dining was wonderful. We ate in the MDR several nights and enjoyed our table-mates, food and service. We also did the anytime dining with the folks and that worked out just fine. Lido had good food all week. Did not mind the personal service for the first few days, then they allowed self-service. Captain's Brunch was very nice and included wine. Ordered room service for late night snacks (2am) and delivery was prompt and the food was good. Had RS for all five of us in our suite on the morning of departure. Asked for 7am delivery and at 7am the trays arrived. A superb breakfast with hot, fresh omelets, pancakes, waffles, fruits, coffee, juices, croissants, etc. What a way to get ready to disembark. Activities/Entertainment - Plenty enough to keep my parents entertained as well as ourselves and our 18 yr old. The magician and comedian were quite good. There was a string quartet playing every evening, guitar soloist till 9pm, disco til 2 or 3am, bingo, movie theater, trivia, Microsoft classes (get there early, very popular), cooking demonstrations, etc. No hairy chest stuff on this cruise. Quiet moments in the Crow's Nest, read a book, NY Times, specialty coffee. Internet is nearby. Fantastic view. Ports of Call - This was out 3rd MexRiv cruise but M/D hadn't been to Mexico in years. Read port reviews for each location. Overall the ship is well maintained. Every crew-member we interacted with was pleasant and helpful. We had no issues with our cabin, dinning, or charges. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
In the past, we have cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, but this was our first HAL adventure. Overall, the experience was good, but there were a few issues along the way. Many people had told us prior to our voyage that HAL ... Read More
In the past, we have cruised on Princess, Royal Caribbean and Carnival, but this was our first HAL adventure. Overall, the experience was good, but there were a few issues along the way. Many people had told us prior to our voyage that HAL would be quite a luxurious experience compared to the other three lines we have traveled. In fact, there was quite an emphasis from most that the service and the food would excel above the others. Perhaps it was that our expectations were too high due to what we had been told, however we were surprised to find that it wasn't quite the case. Don't get the wrong impression, the stewards and wait staff were very friendly, however it seemed that they were understaffed. Our visits to the Vista Dining Room were what surprised us the most. The first night at the dining room, our meals came out cold. The next morning, my wife commented that the food was closer to a Vegas Buffet than she expected; mind you, we rarely visit gourmet restaurants so we really are not food critics, but I have to admit that the food quality was below what I have had at some Denny's restaurants. After that, all of our breakfast and lunches were at the Lido Restaurant. We continued to have dinner in the Vista, with the exception of two nights at the Pinnacle Grill, which was fantastic by the way. On another evening, the food for our two children was served a good half hour before my wife and my meals came out. On the second to last evening, I had asked for my water to be refilled when our appetizers were served as it had sat empty for quite some time and despite being served dinner and dessert and multiple more requests I never did get it refilled, which was disappointing (my wife and I do not drink and our kids don't really like soda, so we drank water the entire trip). My wife ordered "Land and Sea" one night which was prawns and fillet mignon, however the steak, although cooked to the correct temperature, was a very tough cut and really seemed too chewy to be fillet. The wait staff were very friendly, but pretty scarce; it would take them quite a bit of time to reach the table to welcome us and then once the orders were in they were MIA until it was time to order dessert. The wine stewards were at our table in a flash, but as we don't drink and our kids don't like sodas we really did not utilize their services. Club HAL was awesome for our 7 year old daughter and our 4 year old son. As they were in the same age group for Club HAL, it worked out well as our son is shy and our daughter is very outgoing. With the two of them together in the same group, they had a blast. In fact, they wanted to go there constantly. Which was quite a blessing as with two young children it was a rare opportunity for my wife and I to spend some time together alone. Our stateroom was always clean and our steward was very helpful. The only problem that we found is that there were four of us in the room, but on three of the four days, we were only provided with 3 towels. In the end, it was not a big deal as my 4 year old could handle a hand towel without issue, however it would have been nice to be able to have a larger towel for him. The only other problem we had was our missing breakfast. We had filled out the card for a morning breakfast to be delivered to our room on the day of our first port. We had asked for a 7:00am to 7:30am delivery window. However by 8:00am, we called to find out why it had not been delivered. The voice on the other end stated that they didn't have an order for our room. They offered to have us give them the order over the phone, however it just seemed easier at that point to go the Lido buffet since all of us were dressed by then and ready to go to port. I do want to point out that we really did enjoy the cruise overall. All of the staff were very friendly. There was plenty of information regarding the ports and where to go. Being in our early forties we were one of the younger couples on board, which was a great change to the "party" atmosphere of a younger crowd on a Carnival ship. I hold CCL stock in my IRA, so receiving the $100.00 ship credit for being a shareholder on a 7 day cruise was a nice bonus and covered the extra cost of the Pinnacle Grill without issue. Having the opportunity to have DVDs delivered to the room was awesome with two kids. Although there were some disappointments, we attribute most of it to having expectations that were too high. Overall, we had a great time, the kids were happy and my wife and I still were able to have alone time on a family vacation. We will sail again with HAL, but now we will have more realistic expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Administration seems to be missing or in need of a tune up in handling some of the most basic elements on a cruise ship. Only one, two person hot tub at the adult only pool was functioning. It remained that way from the beginning to the ... Read More
Administration seems to be missing or in need of a tune up in handling some of the most basic elements on a cruise ship. Only one, two person hot tub at the adult only pool was functioning. It remained that way from the beginning to the end of the cruise. Most any of the very capable crew could have repaired the problem, by getting a part at the next port of call in the event administration did not see to it that there were spare parts on board. Think about it, eight days on a cruise ship off Mexico with one Two person hot tub. Oh it gets better........the kiddies pool had three functioning hot tubs including one much larger one. What sense does that make when the use by children is cautionary and most of the clientele are adults? We get into a nice deep sleep only to be awoken at 4 am to the smell of cooking in our cabin! We sit up in bed thinking one of us has left something in the oven overnight; problem being we are not at home and nothing appears to be burning in the cabin. We inform the cabin steward but he does not seem to be too surprised. Someone must have then closed a hatch etc., as it ceased. There were some exceptionally well behaved wonderful children on the ship. There were also too many that weren't. GRANDMA, take your kids on Carnival brand, NCL or Disney, where they won't be bored or restless running around the ship bothering everyone but you! HAL's attempt to reinvent itself into a kid friendly cruise conflicts with expectations of it's traditional passenger marketing. HAL has successfully created a relaxing holiday atmosphere for adults seeking a travel experience for ADULTS OF ALL AGES. I would encourage HAL to maintain it's past standards or lose to RCL, who would gladly take advantage of this large niche Holland America needs more tables for two. Evey time we came into the dinning room people were asking and it seemed to be a problem. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was a great cruise and we really enjoyed the Oosterdam. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America and it certainly won't be our last. We booked this cruise last May while we were on the Maasdam's repositioning cruise to ... Read More
This was a great cruise and we really enjoyed the Oosterdam. This was our 4th cruise with Holland America and it certainly won't be our last. We booked this cruise last May while we were on the Maasdam's repositioning cruise to Canada. We not only received a $100 room credit from Holland, but then moved our reservation, at Holland's suggestion, to Vacationstogo and received their $150 room credit. We treated ourselves to a superior veranda suite which was well worth the extra $100. The room was spacious with loads of storage, dual sinks, a jacuzzi tub as well as a shower. The balcony was also great with a large table. The oosterdam is beautiful and we thoroughly enjoyed the food on this cruise. It was the best we've experienced on HAL. The Pinnacle Grill was also wonderful, as always. Canaletto was ok, but the candy cotton they gave everyone at the end of the meal was somewhat strange, but tasty! The ports were typically full of shops with the usual "stuff" that could easily be passed over. In Puerto Vallarta I went on the Day with the Dolphin Trainer excursion which was wonderful and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to spend more time with the dolphins. The bonus was that we also spent time with the sea lions. The spa is great particularly if you take advantage of the "in port" specials. Otherwise I think it's over priced. I wish they wouldn't try to push their products quite so much. All in all, I would highly recommend this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2010
My wife and I took our sixth HA cruise, our first onboard the MS Oosterdam (7 day Mexican Riviera). From the San Diego airport, it is about a $10 cab ride to the ship. I asked a Holland America rep, at the airport, how much HA charges ... Read More
My wife and I took our sixth HA cruise, our first onboard the MS Oosterdam (7 day Mexican Riviera). From the San Diego airport, it is about a $10 cab ride to the ship. I asked a Holland America rep, at the airport, how much HA charges and was told $17 per person (and advised to use a taxi - thanks HA). Our embarkation was quick and fairly efficient. We shuffled quickly past the photographers (this is the first cruise that we had no pictures taken - thanks again, HA) and queued up to board. It is amazing how many people pack away their boarding passes before they get onboard the ship. This causes lengthy queues. Having "Mariner's Status", we were invited to a special lunch in the Vista dining room. We walked left from the entrance and queued up for a table. The table service was good to a certain point and then disappeared. I had a burger which was cold. I would like to have said something, at the time (and hoped to get some water) but no one came by. Cabin Our incredibly quiet room (4032) was ready at around 1:30. (Our room picked up all the evening entertainment music but was otherwise dead quiet.) The room was a fairly standard size, also had a balcony (which was about three feet deeper than the verandas above). Unfortunately there appeared to be almost no drawer space. Four days into the voyage, we found two more good sized drawers, under the sofa! Too little, too late (for this cruise) but if you get a similar room, have a look. There were the basic three closets (adjustable shelving/hanger rod), two small bed size tables and a tiny storage area beside the mini bar. By the way, our shower was fantastic! The adjustable head was high enough for my six foot height. The pressure would make most hotels and new homes jealous. There was bottled water above the mini bar. However, no price list existed (so, was it free?). We called and had a price list delivered (it wasn't free). We met our room steward. He was a nice young man who had been on the ship about three months. I asked him if we could get some ice and in no time at all he was at the door with an ice bucket full (but no tongs). Later that evening, we called several times to have more ice delivered. It finally came after an hour and a half. Our room was cleaned up, when we had gone for dinner but there were still used glasses on the desk and garbage in the room basket. The next morning it was about five hours before the room was made up. We found that leaving the "Service" card in the lock expedited things. Also, the toilet started being temperamental. It, for most attempts, would not flush. We reported this but for the rest of the cruise, it was still acting up. Dining For the first time ever, we had open seating. On our first night we had reservations for 7:15 (note - make these three days in advance, or you could be disappointed with your allotted times) and were seated at a table for two. The waiter came back to reconfirm my entrEe order. When he returned with our orders, one was hot and one wasn't (food was cold for most of the seven days). We ate in the Vista dining room, all but one dinner and most breakfasts and lunches. The menu selection was second to none (in our 15 or so, cruises). The presentation and imagination of the food, was wonderful. The service was friendly but could be more efficient. For whatever reason, there seemed to be a lack of wine stewards. The Pinnacle Grill was a nice change from the Vista dining room. The service was attentive and friendly. I love not having to pour my own wine. When I am paying 15%, I expect it to be poured for me and it was, in the Pinnacle. The food was well presented. The entrEe portions of steaks could feed a family of six. However, as was the case everywhere on this ship, the food can be cold. (Our feeling is that they put hot food on cold plates. However, I heard that the salads in the Lido, were served on hot plates. So, go figure.) Having sent four of our six side dishes back (by the way, our waiter was shocked that they were cold), we were pleased to have them reheated and served at a proper temperature. The deserts were a nice size and excellent. The Pinnacle is a step back to how Holland America (and other lines) ran all their dining rooms, in the eighties (when we first went on a cruise). We ate two lunches (as the Vista was closed) in the Lido Restaurant. The food could be a bit more imaginative. We generally were not pleased. Pizza was not good, which helped keep my weight down. Lounges and entertainment Early Happy Hour is from 4:30 until 5:30 (in two lunges). This is way too early for late sitting (or open sitting). The Crow's nest is a nice lounge (needs some furniture repairs). Before our first dinner, we enjoyed a drink and a few appetizers here. The Explorer's lounge was a great before and after dinner stop off. The Adagio Strings (three violins and a cello) were wonderful. Very professional and very talented. On this note, the HAL cats were pretty good (some didn't like the lead singer). Gerard (guitar soloist) was worth avoiding at any cost. His talent obviously lies in another field. The Piano Bar's Eric, was not very entertaining (although much better than Gerard) and needs voice lessons. People Most cruisers that we met were interesting, fun and expanded our knowledge of people, in general. What a real cross section of people and dress. We have never been on a cruise were "Formal Night" is simply, just a suggestion. Except for the Pinnacle, no one would be turned away for wearing shorts and/or t-shirts to the Vista dining room. Informal nights meant anything goes (and it did). Perhaps we are just getting old. Speaking of which, it was our 30th anniversary during this cruise. We let HA know about this in advance (what the heck, it only happens once). It was nice to be recognized the day after, with a letter talking about this special occasion on our Alaskan Cruise (we were in Mexico). We also received a generic card from the Captain, wishing us a generic "best on this special occasion". Ship, in general How a ship is decorated is not really that important to us. However, we are really confused at the who, what and why of the interior decor. To say the least (and this is all I will state), it is the most bizarre interior of any ship that we have been on (sort of J. Garcia, psychedelic, disco, meets 1970's business office). It seems to change intention every few metres. The interior elevators' outside doors, are a work of art (the inside, a work of something else that I don't understand). The glass elevators are great and fast (although they don't reach the top). If you start on the lower decks, you get a view of the fishes. The lifts are not used very much. I suppose that some people don't like to see the ocean disappearing below. The third floor promenade is excellent for walking off meals (three laps equals 1.6 kms or one mile). It has plenty of water fountains. It also has many benches to rest on, if needed. With continuously changing views, walking (or jogging) is a pleasure. It is however, perpetually full of puddles (most from the overhead life boats). I am not sure why they don't address this as a safety concern (it is perhaps why they give free shoe shines, which is also a nice touch). In the past, we had spent time in all the ports. Therefore, we were not too keyed up about getting off at any. Overall, this was a pretty good cruise on a nice ship. If HA could figure out how to get hot food to the tables, we would say that it was one of our nicer cruises. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
This was our first Holland America sailing and we were impressed. We were worried that the ship would be crowded, being both a holiday cruise and knowing that many of the Carnival Splendor passengers were probably re-booked onto our ship. ... Read More
This was our first Holland America sailing and we were impressed. We were worried that the ship would be crowded, being both a holiday cruise and knowing that many of the Carnival Splendor passengers were probably re-booked onto our ship. But we were surprised in how uncrowded it actually felt. The San Diego Port was nice. Check in was relatively efficient. We arrived early and we were whisked directly to the Lido with our luggage. It was crowded, but we found a table for five in relatively short order. About 12:30, we were cleared to enter our cabins. Our cabin was very nice. It was clean, relatively roomy for a ship, and even had a bathtub in our balcony room. We enjoyed a nice afternoon in San Diego on our balcany. The sail away was relatively uneventful...no big fanfare. This is not a real party cruise line, catering to a more sophisticated, if not a more 'mature' crowd. The ship was wonderful. Very clean and always well kept. The public rooms are relatively small, and the atrium is unimpressive. However, we got used to the choppy feel of the ship, as it provided a number of intimate spaces with many entertainment choices. We especially loved the string quartet in the Ocean Lounge while waiting for dinner. We also like the Jazz band. The shows in the main theatre were good, but a little cheesy. The kids loved the teenager programs. We were traveling with a 14 and 17 year old. We hardly saw them and it was a negotiation every night for the curfew. They had a wonderful time and enjoyed their counselors and new-found friends. The food was among the best we have experienced on a ship. We dined twice in the Pinnacle Grill, which is worth the extra $20. The flaming kabobs and the baked Alaska were wonderful. The food in the Lido was also very nice with many choices. We did have a complaint about the limited hours at the Lido...they were quick to shut it down at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., even if there were lines down the hall. If you like afternoon tea, don't expect much on Holland America. It is a long wait to get to a buffet when you enter, and good luck getting your tea water re-filled. The gym was huge and we never had to wait for any equipment. The cruise is focused more on enrichment classes (i.e., computer classes and cooking demonstrations) and there are very few cruise director-led activities. In fact, we rarely saw the cruise director JT, and I am not sure that he had a staff (just the DJ). All in all, this was a fabulous cruise. There were some minuses and it is definitely not a cruise for the partying set. However, the ship was quiet and clean, the food above average, a good time for the kids, and great excursions. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We've just completed our third cruise and our first with HAL. The previous two cruises were with Princess. At first I was going to approach this review as a comparison between the two lines. On further reflection, I thought this was ... Read More
We've just completed our third cruise and our first with HAL. The previous two cruises were with Princess. At first I was going to approach this review as a comparison between the two lines. On further reflection, I thought this was unfair since both companies offer a very good product and I believe that each company can stand on its' own merits. We arrived in San Diego one day early since winter-time air travel can be problematic. We stayed at the Holiday Inn across from the cruise port which was very convenient for embarkation the next day. The hotel is OK (nothing special) but my one suggestion would be to request a room overlooking the bay. That way, you can see the ship when you wake up the next day and it may reduce some of the noise (train whistles) from the Amtrak station on the east side of the hotel. Embarkation: We left the hotel just before noon and walked across to the cruise port. We were directed to the side for our luggage (see the notes at the end of this review regarding luggage). From here we got in line (moderate in length at this point), completed our registration and received our card key etc. Proceeded onto the ship and we were onboard within 20 - 25 minutes from the time of our arrival at the entrance. Very efficient. We had an invitation for lunch in the Vista dining room so we decided to go there for lunch and avoid the buffet line-ups. At 1:00 pm, the overhead announcement let us know that the staterooms were ready. Dropped off our carry-ons and went to explore the ship while waiting for our luggage to be delivered. Luggage delivery was a bit slow as we received it just before departure at 5:00 pm. Stateroom: Originally, we had booked a standard verandah room. About three weeks before departure, we received an email from HAL offering us an upgrade to a Superior Suite for a very reasonable price, so we took advantage of this. It has probably spoiled us for our cruising life. The room was very nice with lots of room. Good closet space and more cupboards than we knew what to do with. Bathroom had both a whirlpool bath and a stand up shower along with double sinks. The balcony was the entire width of the room and had lots of space. We met our room stewards (Agung & Agus) just before departure. Both were excellent throughout the cruise with the room always cleaned by noon and the bed turned down in the evening. Public Spaces: Our favourite area on the ship was the Explorer's Cafe and Crow's Nest Lounge. HAL certainly got this right as the combination of the library, internet terminals and a relaxing lounge with wrap around panoramic windows providing a very relaxing atmosphere to watch the world go by. In the evening, the Piano Bar was our venue of choice. During the day, the pool areas were busy but never felt too crowded. We were always able to find good locations for the sun. Dining: Breakfast and lunch were generally at the buffet. Overall the food was good with only a few misses. I would like to see more variety as it did become repetitive by the end of the week. All the dinners were in the Vista dining room (except one). The food was quite good and well presented. There was a different theme each evening with a few standard offerings throughout the week. Christmas Eve and Christmas day menus were very good. We had anytime dining and most evenings there was no more than a 10 to 15 minute wait. The only problem with the anytime dining is that we never seemed to have the same table two nights in a row so we were never able to build a good rapport with the wait staff since they were different each evening. Service was generally very good although there were a few hiccups with some of the basics. One evening it took more than 20 minutes to clear the plates after we had finished eating and on another occasion it took about 30 minutes for the coffee to be delivered. The dessert had been sitting there for 20 minutes already. Small things, but these are table service basics and should be handled better. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it is well worth the surcharge. Formal Nights: This was a big disappointment throughout the cruise. There were two formal nights and participation was dismal. Considering HAL's upscale reputation we expected to see a large number of people dressed up (Tux's, suits, etc.) for the evening. We would estimate that less than 20% of the people were dressed for a formal evening. This was quite different from our Princess cruises where a majority (> 60%) of the guests dressed up for the formal evenings. Disembarkation: Overall, this process went very well with the only problem being the luggage (see below). The customs check-in was handled very well in the new Broadway Pier building. Luggage: This is an area of concern. On check-in we were directed to the side area to drop off our luggage. Unfortunately, there were no porters there at the time to tell us what we should be doing next. Do we put the luggage on the racks ourselves? or is that supposed to be done by the porters only? After waiting several minutes with no help in sight we decided to put our suitcases on the racks ourselves. Trust me...there was quite a bit of stress when it was 4:45 pm and the luggage had not been delivered to our room yet...did we put it in the correct place? For disembarkation, HAL uses a color system much like most of the other cruise lines. We were 'Yellow 5'. This is a fairly simple system and is tough to screw up. After clearing customs, we went downstairs to claim our luggage. We arrived at the 'yellow' section (according to the sign on the wall), but guess what...the only luggage there had 'pink' tags on it. We found someone with a clipboard and he went searching. Soon he called us down to the 'lime' area and lo and behold, all the yellow tagged luggage was there (no idea where the 'lime' luggage was). Either the luggage porters are color blind or they're drunk...it is not a difficult system. Overall: We had a great cruise and will certainly be back on a HAL ship within the next few years. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
The cruise itself was great. The food, hospitality, and the state rooms were great along with the events. Overall...if we did not have any incidents...this was a great cruise... However, this was not the case. In the few occaisions ... Read More
The cruise itself was great. The food, hospitality, and the state rooms were great along with the events. Overall...if we did not have any incidents...this was a great cruise... However, this was not the case. In the few occaisions that we needed to discuss an issue with the Oosterdam front-desk agents or customer service we were severely disappointed. Three instances showed this to us: 1) We complained that an even that we had paid for did not meet our expectations. The front-desk agent took our notes and then called the manager for us. We were told that the the manager (seemingly hiding behind the front-desk clerk) did not agree with our complaints but was too busy to meet with us that day. We came back the next morning for our booked appointment to find out that the manager was too busy with another appointment. Only after complaining did he finally leave his work and meet with us. 2) We received an incorrect medical bill. The front-desk manager refused to do anything about it but tell us to talk to the infirmirary. We talked to the infirmirary who resolved this issue but we were incensed that the bill only arrived on our final day and was not discussed with us when it was incurred. Also, that the front-desk managers were not willing to discuss this with us. 3) We lost our car/apartment keys on the boat. After leaving, we found that we could not talk to anyone from HAL on a Sunday who could help us since their offices were only open from M-F. Also, the HAL office did not have a contact for the Oosterdam. I could not believe that this! In most of the cases, I would not fault the individuals who seemed to want to help us. It seemed that the they were not empowered to help us or to look into our issues. In most cases, if the front desk agents were allowed to make decisions or judgment calls on their own then we believe that the management making decisions would not need to hide behind them. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
We have cruised Royal Carribean twice in the past on the same cruise 7 nights Mexican Rivera, same ports, Cabo, Puerta Vallarta, and Mazatlan-albeit in a different order this time. The children really liked RCL because of the rock ... Read More
We have cruised Royal Carribean twice in the past on the same cruise 7 nights Mexican Rivera, same ports, Cabo, Puerta Vallarta, and Mazatlan-albeit in a different order this time. The children really liked RCL because of the rock climbing, roller-blading and ice skating. They also liked the ocean club at RCL. Why did we switch this year? We went on Vision in 2008 and Mariner in 2009. We were going to book Mariner in 2010 but they their prices went up (stop discounting) and so we saved over 2000 dollars by booking Holland America. My wife and I also wanted a slower pace and wanted to try the reputation of HA for better food. They didn't disappoint. The MS Oosterdam was big enough for my crew of six children. We got two cabins one inside and one ocean view. Both were quad. What we liked about the MS Oosterdam and Holland America... 1) Superior food in all venues. RCL was good, HA better. 2) Fresh water swimming pools. Children did not like RCL pools because they had salt water in them. 3) Ping Pong tables superior on Oosterdam. Four tables compared to RCL having only 2 or 3. RCL tables on Vision and Mariner were very beat up. Oosterdam's tables were very good. We played alot of ping pong. However the competition on RCL was MUCH MUCH MUCH better in all age groups. Oosterdam lacked any competition. 4) Desserts were better on HA than RCL. 5) Theatre for movies was much better on HA than on RCL. Big problem: HA seating is limited in theatre (bigger than RCL) so you have to get there 30 min early or more to guarantee a seat. 6) Movie selection was much better on HA than RCL. All in theatre movies. 7) Superior library. 8) Much better BOARD GAME selection and great chess sets. 9) Calmer atmosphere and more sophisticated crowd on Oosterdam and HA. 10) Cooking demonstrations were interesting. 11) String quartet was very enjoyable throughout cruise. We like classical and tire of the RCL's steel drums...very repetitive and low-brow. 12) Much better cabins on Oosterday with beds being much more comfortable than RCL. Also flat screen TV's and dvd players in room. Both lacking in RCL. The children liked RCL's club a little bit better than HA's, but there were some up-sides to HA's HAL program. Adults can stick around if they want. Not too many children. We liked our cruise. Here is a summary of port experiences: 1) Mazatlan - Did Stone Island horseback riding, saved 50% by booking on internet rather than cruise line. Same exact tour operators. Avoid stone island, their horse back riding is painful and not fun. Instead do GINGER's horsebacking riding...about the same money much more comfortable and enjoyable, sign up via internet. We did it in 2009 it was better. Walked/ran mazatlan with two older children in the afternoon, about 2 miles roundtrip to church in old Mazatlan and back to port. Exciting. Don't linger could be dangerous. 2) Puerta Vallarta - best place for shopping for Mexican stuff at Wal-Mart good prices and selection. Then took local bus about 90 cents to town and back. Nothing to rave about here. 3) Cabo San Lucas - We snorkel annually at the public beach (hidden) for the locals which is very short walking distance from the terminal. Great view of fish. Very fun. Can see ships from beach and are actually at the same area as lessons for scuba diving so the fish are really good. And its free. Afternoon we walked around Cabo. Safe. All in all we liked Holland America. Children missed rock-climbing but other than that we really enjoyed the Oosterdam and will definitely cruise again if the price is right. My children are 13,12,10,7,5,3. Three boys and three girls. They enjoy cruising because of the food, activities and most of all time with parents on vacation. We don't do much apart from the children so can't comment on some aspects of the ship. We don't gamble, drink, or dance. It was alot of non-stop eating, ping-pong, chess, walk/running, snorkeling, swimming, movies etc. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
Observations and opinions. The Oosterdam is a perfect size. 3 laps around the promenade deck equaled one mile. Walking on this teak deck was a joy. The ship is in generally good condition, very clean with lovely lounges, bars, ... Read More
Observations and opinions. The Oosterdam is a perfect size. 3 laps around the promenade deck equaled one mile. Walking on this teak deck was a joy. The ship is in generally good condition, very clean with lovely lounges, bars, coffee shop, theater,and main dining room. The Lido pool deck area seemed in need of some updating and the red carpet on the spiral staircase in the Atrium needs to be replaced immediately, but overall the ship is lovely. My husband and I loved our verandah cabin. It was small, a little worn, but very efficiently laid out with good storage and a fantastically comfortable bed and of course the fabulous verandah. I had booked a VH guarantee with HAL, so was quite pleased with the location we were assigned, Deck 7, #7032. I thought the food was mostly very good, though opinions really varied about this among the passengers we met. Some thought it was very average to awful! We enjoyed the shows in the Vista Lounge. The lead singers of the production shows ( there were 3 of these shows,) a young married couple were amazingly good and the dancers were excellent. The sound system at times was too loud for me and I heard others also complain about this. My husband and I like to dance, ballroom and West Coast swing, and were able to do so every evening we wanted to in the Neptune Lounge. There were other couples who knew how to dance so we were not alone on the dance floor. The service workers work so hard and were usually gracious and friendly. At times there did not seem to be adequate staffing in the MDR and service was slow. I recommend making reservations for the As You Wish Dining if you don't want to wait for a table. There were rough seas from the time we left Cabo San Lucas on Thursday evening until we docked in San Diego Saturday morning. The ship was rocking and rolling. I did not like this constant motion. Luckily neither my husband nor I got seasick but we heard of others who did. Despite rough seas, a little worn carpeting etc., we had a wonderful time and appreciate how very fortunate we were to be able to spend a week on the MS Oosterdam!!! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2010
I'll try to keep it simple by listing all the significant positives and negatives of HAL. Hits: - excellent service from the room stewards. They are amazing. - Barnaby, the comedian Kevin Jordan and the magician Joseph ... Read More
I'll try to keep it simple by listing all the significant positives and negatives of HAL. Hits: - excellent service from the room stewards. They are amazing. - Barnaby, the comedian Kevin Jordan and the magician Joseph Tran were all great to watch, with a special mention to Barnaby for being very, very entertaining - great selection of food in the lido and the main dining room - very good enrichment programs in the form of culinary demonstrations, computer skills classes, and lifestyle classes - good selection of movies that can be delivered straight to your room for free Misses: - the dancers/swingers were painful to watch. The shows were much too repetitive, lacking storylines and they made up the bulk of the showtime entertainment unfortunately. - strange rotten egg smell in random parts of the ship at random times - the ship creaked relentlessly. Not very confidence inspiring. Also, it was a smaller ship so the swaying was quite uncomfortable for a while. - one of two hot tub pools in the adult pool area didn't function the entire cruise. The three hot tubs in the family pool area worked and were frequently occupied by kids splashing water at each other. Fun. - movies sometimes took too long to be delivered. - movie screening room was too small. It was often full 15 minutes before the movie started. - food was horrible. Bland and soft describes it all. The lobster was mush. All the steak were way too soft and bland. Ugh. Lido food wasn't bad. - food servers in the lido don't listen to you. You can ask for 1 strip of bacon and consistently get 4 on your plate instead. - ping pong tables were in disrepair by the end of the cruise. I blame the kids. They were also set up on the outside deck for half the cruise, making playing actually impossible due to wind. They smartened up and put two near the lido pool later. - some scheduled activities were cancelled unexpectedly without announcement either. No ice sculpting or adult pool games. Thanks for the headsup JT. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Here are highlights and a quick review. Boarding is spread out over 4 or 5 hours so it is never crowded. We boarded at about 12:30 and the process took about 15 minutes. Docked right next to us was the Carnival Splendor [dead in the ... Read More
Here are highlights and a quick review. Boarding is spread out over 4 or 5 hours so it is never crowded. We boarded at about 12:30 and the process took about 15 minutes. Docked right next to us was the Carnival Splendor [dead in the water]. Later towed to SFO for major repairs. HAL allows guests to bring aboard their own wine and booze..sooo...we did. No problem...and added some from P.V. on the stop. Mazatlan isn't much. At ship side there is a small terminal with vans and drivers for city tours..$25 per passenger. AC with water. Enjoyable with a stop at very clean restaurant right on a very clean beach near the newer hotels area. In terminal is a small tourist shopping area with a charming courtyard with music and dancing.....arriving from our tour, just before we left at about 4:30 the dance floor was crowded with the power drinkers fully loaded with Tequila. Cheap entertainment. Next stop P. V. our favorite. Took shuttle bus $3 pp into downtown...shopped and walked along seawall..very quaint....taxi to beach just south of D.town about 10 blks.//beach front restaurants....relaxed and watched the para sailing....did that once..thank you...that's enough...then taxi back to the small creek that runs thru downtown to River Cafe..ck website....very nice lunch beside the babbling creek. Ship docks North of town...not much around there. very safe in town.. Cabo next....walked around small downtown and took water taxi to beachfront restaurants either on the sand or balconies overlooking the beach and out to the mother ship. Had to tender here...no problem. Food on ship was better than expected. no complaints..did not use Pinnacle restaurant on board as there is a $40 charge per couple....WHAT??? Shows were really exceptional. Dancing and costumes were every bit as good as T.V. or Vegas...2 nights the illusionist [magician] entertained with exceptional shows. I mentioned that if that show had cost $100 each I would have been satisfied. Dining..we started off with open seating...lower level..dining is on 2 levels. We were 3 couples so we decided to reserve same table each night. table 218...only table that is in middle and open to level above. Also has the spiral staircase winding down next to table. Best table on the ship. Due to Nov. cruise, window seats in rear couldn't really enjoy the view due to darkness at dinner. For lunch have a table at back and watch the wake trail the ship. Ship had the normal activities...buffets were quite adequate...oh, room service was excellent.....the only morning they were late was the morning that I forgot to set my watch back, so 7 was really 6.Just complained for an hour...went to buffet...called the room and was told how nice the service was and how dumb I am. Very nice cruise...leaving the ship ran very smoothly...quicker than times assigned...be ready to roll. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
First a bit of history. My wife and I have about 25 cruises under our belt. Celebrity is our fave but not by a huge margin. This was our first with HAL. We found the best deal which was a Superior Veranda for a little over $100 ... Read More
First a bit of history. My wife and I have about 25 cruises under our belt. Celebrity is our fave but not by a huge margin. This was our first with HAL. We found the best deal which was a Superior Veranda for a little over $100 p/p per day. Embarkation was very smooth, we took a cab from the airport but had the driver stop at a Ralph's where we went in and loaded up on wine and bottled water. HAL allows you to bring as much wine and champagne as you want which is very nice. Their $18 corkage fee is pretty steep and does not make it worthwhile to bring wine to dinner unless you're bringing very expansive wine so we ha d glass before dinner on the veranda. We were on deck 8, midship, port side. The room was terrific, the largest we've ever had. There was a bathtub, twin sinks and a separate shower. The veranda was huge. It had a table and two chairs suitable for eating at which we did for most breakfasts and two other more comfortable chairs for lounging about. The bed was really comfortable, there was lots of storage space. The a/c control worked very well the only thing, and this applies to every stateroom on every ship (that we have been on) I wish you could turn off the fan. Because of the size of our stateroom there were two ceiling outlets and therefore twice as noisy. Need to mention that we never ever heard anyone in the cabins on either side of us. The soundproofing was great. The ship is nicely decorated, clean and just the right size. Service was impeccable. Never saw the stateroom attendant after day one but the room was always clean and stocked. Special mention for the maitre d' who bent over backwards to make us happy. Waiter were standard i.e.: great Probably the biggest surprise was the quality and selection of food. For dinner there were 7 entrees to choose from on top of the items that are available every night. We did not have one meal that was not either very good or excellent. The lobster tail was not rubbery for once! Someone here mentioned that the desserts on HAL were a weak point. We certainly did not find that, they were great. The entertainment was a cut above as well. The singers and dancers we find are good on every cruise but they were especially good on the Oosterdam. Leo Ward the illusionist and Kevin Jordan the comedian were terrific. Ports of call really have nothing to do with HAL or the ship so I won't bother. It's Mexico and it was warm. Because of the size of the ship finding a spot by the pool was never an issue. Beer was on special all week by the pools (2 for 1) That helped keep the bar bill down! Easy to find wine in the dining room for under $30 as well. It was our first HAL experience but won't be our last. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
Our perspective is skewed to a moderate lifestyle so if you enjoy late night activities and bars, we aren't very informative. Retired since early 2002, we are both 58 and our idea of a good time is to go to the gym, attend an ... Read More
Our perspective is skewed to a moderate lifestyle so if you enjoy late night activities and bars, we aren't very informative. Retired since early 2002, we are both 58 and our idea of a good time is to go to the gym, attend an occasional show and be asleep by 10:00PM. Boring, as our kids would say. By way of comparison, 47 of our tribe were on the Norwegian Dawn in June. Last December we sailed the Celebrity Millennium. Just prior to that we were on the Emerald Princess. We can state unequivocally that the Oosterdam has the best food. The Celebrity is close and Princess is a little behind and of course, NCL is dead last or you wouldn't be reading a Holland America review anyway. But if you want to take a bunch of your kids and grandkids, NCL is the right cruise line. Wouldn't consider inflicting my grandkids on the Celebrity or Holland America crowd, we'd be a wreck trying to control them where as they fit in nicely with NCL. This may also be true for Carnival but I'll pass on finding that out. In my attempt to be truthful, I am sounding snobbish--sorry about that. This was our 5th trip down the Mexican Rivera and 4th on Holland America. They are top notch and cater to an older crowd. Their crew is well trained and a delight to interact with. We rate their food as the best we have experienced. The Italian specialty restaurant was very good but has a limited menu. Definitely try it. We chose to dine at Le Cirque the one night that it was available. They substitute their menu one night at the Pinnacle Grill and it was extremely good. The menu wasn't large, but a great experience. Entertainment consisted of a magician and comedian--both excellent! The magician was the best I've seen on a cruise ship. All other nights were what I like to call the ship's productions. They were very good but would have preferred another night or two of imported talent. Holland America is a nice crowd. There will always be an obnoxious jerk or two on board ship but less of a chance of encountering such behavior on Holland or Celebrity. We sat next to a California principle and a social worker in the MDR for early dinning. They may have thought I was a jerk because they got it out of me that I'm a partisan member of that other party. After being barraged with the liberal whine, in a moment of weakness asked how a state could elect Governor Moonbeam, who was governor back when I was in ROTC at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and elect him again 30 years later? If that wasn't mean spirited enough, I asked them how their proposition legalizing marijuana failed. A forgiving bunch, the blond put her hand on my thigh under the table the last night of the cruise only later to discover that she had balanced her card with contact information on it. Rather than shake hands or hug, this may be how they do it now in California or at sea. In an attempt to impress some of you, I'll admit that I gave the card to my wife; others may be disappointed. Holland America's smoking policy is behind the times. If the balcony next to you has a smoker, you probably won't use your balcony. My wife says she won't be sailing Holland again because of that. I was in line to get my room key fixed at the front desk. Two of us were waiting in line and the lady in front of me asked if I smoked. I admitted to less than libertarian leanings in regards to smoker rights, she said good and let it rip with the poor front desk clerk. Claimed she was in a cabin with triple the normal sized balcony, based upon dress, bearing and jewlry--I don't doubt it. Said if she ever booked Holland again it would be an inside cabin to get away from all the smoking on verandas. Holland needs to change their smoking policy. I'm told that 75% of the ships officers smoke and of course the owners are Europeans. This means to me that not much will change. They could make it a 100% smoking ship. Expand the casino and open more bars and perhaps make more money. I prefer that they adopt Celebrity's policy. We only got off in Puerto Vallarta. Mexico is way to dangerous at this time. Other than their smoking issue, they are a fine line. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2010
This was my 5th cruise and the 1st on Holland America. The others have been on NCL, Royal and Celebrity. The biggest difference I noticed between this cruise and the others I've taken is that on this cruise the average age of the ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise and the 1st on Holland America. The others have been on NCL, Royal and Celebrity. The biggest difference I noticed between this cruise and the others I've taken is that on this cruise the average age of the guests seemed much higher. After I booked my cruise, I heard that Holland caters more to older clientele, which appears to be true. The ship itself seemed just a little worn out in appearance. It's hard to really define why, but I didn't like the layout of this ship as much as the others I've cruised on. But to be be fair, other people we met on the ship loved the layout. Overall, the food was excellent. Except for one piece of meat in the main dining room that wasn't very good, everything else was excellent: -- LIDO (buffet): Always had a wide selection of good food and helpful staff running all over. -- CANALETTO: Other than its odd placement in a corner of the Lido buffet, the Canaletto Italian restaurant was very good, both food and service. And it's FREE! They really should expand this area or give it its own room so they can seat more people. (No shorts allowed here here.) -- PINNACLE: This steakhouse was excellent, everything about it. We ate there twice. There is a $20 charge per person for dinner and I think $10 for lunch, which some people may complain about. But you're getting a meal that would cost you many times more off the ship. (No jeans allowed here.) -- VISTA (main dining room): Only ate there once, but friends from the ship ate there every day and loved it. All of the staff on the ship were helpful and polite, especially the staff servicing the cabins, the bar staff and the dining room staff (which may be 95% of people you see). Overall, I would recommend this cruise to others. Just keep in mind you may not see the "party" atmosphere you see on other cruise lines, which some people may not want anyway. Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.6
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.5 3.6
Service 4.0 4.3
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find an Oosterdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise