2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues ... Read More
This was a our first cruise on a HAL ship and longest itinerary of the 10 previous cruises we have taken. Overall the Oosterdam was quietly average, but disappointing for several reasons: 1. Guests demographics and mobility issues were a big surprise. We knew HAL drew older guests, but had no idea this would feel like are floating "retirement home". We are active 65-67 year olds yet we felt like "spring chickens". A majority of the guests appeared to be 75+. A large number were unsteady on their feet, used wheelchairs, canes and mortorized scooters which made it a challenge at times to move about the ship. 2. Electronics were horrible. The Navigator Intranet site is a good idead poorly executed. Our devices would not stay connected for more than a couple of minutes... extremely frustrating. TV channels were not always available... tended to come and go. Glad we didn't buy the internet package... heard from another cruiser it was the worst he had ever experienced. 3. Though the Oosterdam had recently been in dry dock for refurbishment recently, the pool deck furniture was awful. The sling lounges were stretched, worn, ripped and extremely uncomfortable. On the good side cabins were good size and well serviced by the cabin stewards. All service was friendly and for the most part efficient. The food in the Main Dining was good with a large and varied selection. Both the Pinnacle and Canelleto specialty restaurants were very good with excellent service. I do not recommend the Hawaii itinerary during this time of year if you are looking for sun. Of the 18 days we had maybe 5 good days. We had monsoon type rains in Hilo... our best day was Ensenda, Mexico. Overall a very average cruise with disappointing weather and guest atmosphere resulting in a low value vacation. Heading back to the Caribbean on Celebrity next year. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or ... Read More
I chose this 25 day trip to Mexico and Hawaii because though Costco Travel, it was a chance for fun in the sun during January and less expensive than booking a hotel for the same period of time. The ship was not as nice as Celebrity or Norwegian ships I had been on. San Diego has a lovely harbor location. It was cold everywhere and even though many complained, the ship remained cold in public areas. Mainstage evening performances were not good! Out of about 18 performances I attended, I counted 3 worth seeing. Lincoln stage was outstanding! And fortunately they often performed 3 times a day. I had requested diabetic menu before departure, but when I went to Dining Room first night, was told by attendant I just should order vegetarian. My daughter was on a Disney cruise the month before and requested Vegan and had the best meals ever night after night by their Indian Chef who was happy to accommodate their request. I did not receive that courtesy. Food was inconsistent. I saw Tiramisu prepared 3 different ways. But the dining room crew members were superior! They just served the food, didn’t prepare it. I used the fitness room daily, but the treadmill rarely had internet access. The fitness instructor gave the same speech for every class it seemed! Our Lahaina harbor embarkation experience was a nightmare. Stood in line in the harbor for 1 and 1/2 hours and treated poorly by American Guard Security. The Captain never said a word about it. All passengers who disembarked were affected. And everyone was outraged. This was a ship with predominately seniors with wheel chairs and walkers and canes. Most conversations after that experience were in relation to how the captain never apologized or offered an explanation. Overall, this was the worst cruise I had ever been on and that seemed to be the general consensus amongst passengers when visiting with them. But I liked being with friends and making new ones and getting some sunshine! I want to give a big shout out to Jose Rosales Housekeeping Director and Dining Room crew for 210; Agus and Willy for superior service. And for Angga for such kindness! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the perks offered (OBC, free gratuities). We cruised with friends and we've all been on the Mexico route many times. My major negative is the loss of the music on the ship, especially in the evening on the way to dinner A pianist on deck 3 doesn't reach those of us on deck 2. The Adagio Strings was lovely. We always enjoyed having music on the Crow's Next in the evening but now it's just a big meeting area. Still, you can't discount the views. The MDR was hit and miss as far as service went. There were major areas where people were being served promptly and others received tepid food, as we did one of our three times. We were not alone - other table groups were experiencing the same thing. We requested coffee with our dessert one night and dessert came but coffee never did and our waiter didn't check back. The food itself was very good. Perhaps they had a new group of waiters? Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members ... Read More
I've been on a lot of cruises and this was my first Holland America cruise. I had heard such great things that I was really expecting an amazing experience. I was seriously disappointed. Our cabin staff and a few other staff members were very nice but we also encountered a lot of rude employees. Every other cruise I've taken I've always been so surprised at how kind everyone is. People make an effort to get to know you and what you like. I can honestly say no one made that effort on this ship. I even had a few members roll their eyes at me after making simple requests. I ordered a drink and got the wrong one. I wasn't mad, it was a simple mistake and when I tried to kindly tell him I had gotten the wrong drink he was really rude to me. Taylor the cruise director was THE WORST! I spoke to several other people on the ship and no one had anything good to say about him. He's rude and very bossy. He took his games very seriously and often scolded people for talking while he was talking. One time people went up front to get papers to play a game and he scolded them for being late and told them to sit down and listen to the rules. I was shocked. I honestly couldn't believe this guy has a job. The assistant cruise directors were much kinder. Overall service was really subpar. It took us over 45 minutes to get burgers at the drive-in. The shows were just ok. The comedy show was HORRIBLE. We walked out, as did many others. The ship seemed like it needed some updating. The carpets were tearing on the stairs. There were a lot of areas that just seemed dated. The club with DJ was open only for 30 minutes every night, what's the point of that? Some positives: The food was amazing, I really enjoyed dinner every night. I also like learning dances from the Mexican Ambassadors, they were great. The cooking shows were fun too. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - ... Read More
Ratings Guide: A - Awesome B - Good C - Adequate D - Should not happen F - OMG! Awful Factors reviewed (comments below): 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Embarkation - F - 2-ship effect - F - San Diego Port - F - Luggage Damage - F - Disembarkation - A (see why below) 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin: - Availability - A - Cleanliness - B - Size - B - Storage - B - Bathroom - B 4. Food: - Main Dining Room - D - Lido market - C - Canaletto - A - Pinnacle Grill - B - Exploration Café - A 5. Entertainment: - Singers/Dancers - C - BB King - A - Billboard Onboard - B - Productions - D - Xmas Celebration - D - Main Stage Design - D 6. Staff: - Cabin Stewards - A - Guest Services - A - Wait Staff - A - Luggage Damage Handling - A - Captain Involvement - A - All ship staff - A Group Ratings: 1. Embarkation - F 2. Ship - C 3. Cabin - B 4. Food - C 5. Entertainment - C 6. Staff - A Overall Cruise Rating - C Comments Some background - I believe that all reviews should be placed in proper perspective so that the reader can better understand the comments. My wife and I are mid-60s. We are not drinkers (sorry, no reviews of bars) and we are not heavy party folks. We do not mind kids or enjoyment going on around us so that is not a factor in these evaluations. We have cruised before on NCL, Royal Caribbean, Princess. The general age of folks on this cruise trended more toward seniors rather than youngsters. 1. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation, in a word, was a NIGHTMARE. There is no other way to describe the situation. We were unlucky enough to experience the dreaded "2-ship" effect. Every HAL employee we encountered in the process was very quick to blame the whole thing on that. The 2-ship effect - basically, the Oosterdam & the Amsterdam (both HAL ships, in case you don't get it) scheduled to depart from the same small port at EXACTLY the same time on the same day. Really!!! The narrow pier between the 2 ships was a sea of passengers, luggage, shuttle buses, tour buses etc.. There were no HAL employees in sight to direct the passengers to the correct luggage drop off line - which, by the way, was endless in both directions. The luggage handlers were rough. From the long luggage line, we went to the longer security line. More on the 2-ship effect - the Amsterdam was on a 15-day Panama Canal Holiday sailing. The 2 ships sailed together for 2 days, reached Cabo San Lucas at the same time. Passengers tendered off the 2-ships at the same time and the nightmare continued. I do not think that the San Diego port is meant to handle this kind of traffic. One hopes that HAL addresses this situation instead of continuing to schedule to, what one assumes, is their convenience. Our luggage was delivered ripped apart. However, in fairness, HAL did rectify the problem - more on that later in the Staff comments. Disembarkation was a breeze because we elected to carry our own luggage off the ship. That is not optimum for 2 seniors but, hey, it was infinitely preferable to what may have been. 2. Ship - the Oosterdam is a dated ship. It is not horrible by a long shot. It is a decent ship but it does not sparkle. My wife and I were comfortable enough. But, if you are looking for a dazzling, new ship experience, obviously, you need to look elsewhere. 3. Cabin: We were very pleased with the cabin - clean, good size, good storage, cabin safe for valuables, good size bathroom, excellent shower. It was available when we boarded - and that was quite a few hours before departure. Cabin 6001 is at the very front of the ship looking to the front. That was a unique experience for us and we enjoyed it. 4. Food Generally, food was a disappointment. Without a doubt, it was less enjoyable than any of the other dozen or so cruises we have taken on NCL, RCCL, Princess. It was not so much that it was consistently bad but that it was INCONSISTENT - some times, quite enjoyable, and then pretty bad. Main Dining Room - was the main culprit of the inconsistency. It is telling that, later in the cruise, we were more apt to go for the mediocre buffet food in the Lido than go for this promised "5-course gourmet dining experience" in the main dining room. The Lido Market - as mentioned, not brilliant food but not bad. Great range of choices and, for the most part, well prepared. The ice cream station, the Dive-n burger joint, the taco bar are welcome additions. It is very busy so finding seating was problematic. Canaletto - a "specialty" Italian restaurant. You pay $15/person. This could be one of the best, if not the best, restaurant we have dined in. Absolutely superb! Food excellent. our waitress was beyond compare. Her knowledge of the offerings, her service, her personality were top-notch. Truly enjoyable experience. Pinnacle Grill - another "specialty" steak restaurant. You pay $25/person. It is worth it. The steak & the dessert were stupendous. The rest was so-so. The seating was atrocious. In an empty restaurant with proper tables available, we were seated in this side room with low sofa-style seating. I was not quick enough to recognize the situation when we went in but, if I had seen the regular seating, I would have demanded a table. The Exploration Café - of course, you pay but the setting is very, very nice. Overall, you will not go hungry, of course, but the food left us clamoring for more. In the interest of full disclosure, we dined with another couple and they enjoyed the food. So, take my comments with a pinch of salt - which (the salt I mean) would have helped some of the preparation. :) Just kidding. 5. Entertainment - a disappointment. The Oosterdam singers/dancers group was enjoyable in one show, disappointing in another. The B B King group was excellent as were the pianist duo at the Billboard Onboard venue. The main stage productions simply cannot compare to what we have seen on other lines. For a "Christmas" cruise, the Christmas celebration was distinctly understated. And, I cannot believe the main stage design on this ship. Multiple pillars throughout the theatre totally block the line of sight from quite a few seats. 6. Staff - by far, the best strength of HAL. We were very impressed with the courtesy, friendliness, effectiveness of EVERYONE on the ship's staff. Well done, HAL! The Captain, Rens van Eerten, is very personable. He was visible and he stays involved with the passengers. Our cabin stewards were excellent. The wait staff in the dining venues is well trained. The Guest Services desk was very courteous and effective. They arranged for our damaged luggage to be stitched back into shape. Really, all HAL employees whom we came in contact with were impressive. A beef - the "communication" (Internet/Wi-Fi) costs are exorbitant - but, then, every line is the same. It just leaves an unnecessary bad taste in the mouth. Finishing up - overall, the experience was okay but nothing extraordinary. Would I do it again? Yes, one more on HAL but JUST out of fairness. Perhaps, this was not a typical HAL experience. It certainly was the most disappointing of all of the cruises we have done. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual ... Read More
Embarkation was perhaps a clue of what was to come after we were checked in as we joined several hundred fellow cruisers to wait and wait and wait while a problem was resolved so we could actually board. We chose this for our annual December cruise to enjoy the voyage to and from the Hawaiian Island destinations. It was a much smaller ship that we have been traveling in the past few years but had some very nice entertaining and learning opportunities that compensated somewhat the frustrations of getting used to poor dining room organization, and indoor temperatures that were so very cold it required most passengers to wear coats throughout the days and evening onboard --- even the men were wearing jackets! From the first evening the dining room experience was chaos and remained so for 3 days. We had requested a table for two, and that seemed to be a real problem for some reason. We were shifted from one section to another, unlike all past cruises where we had the same waiter, same table, and our wine bottles were waiting for us when we arrived. Not so on the Oosterdam. The dining room manager was a very unpleasant man to work with. We nicknamed him Mr. Smiley face since he never was seen without a scowl. On the 3rd day we finally had a regular table and waiter. However, we felt very sorry for the wait staff as they were terribly overworked and understaffed for the number of people being served at the same seating. The top 3 things on the ship included: 1) An amazing string quartet that played 3-4 times most days. They packed the room for all performances and each member was outstanding! 2) The Microsoft Workshop was hosted by Frank Barcelona who presented 3-5 sessions daily about using Outlook and Cortana. He was outstanding, patient, and provided good solid support for computer and phone users to sync their instruments to the Outlook utilities. 3) The America's Test Kitchen presentations were great! The presentation room was well designed with overhead monitors for everyone to see the chef as she demonstrated wonderful recipes in a very entertaining way. The port stops were enjoyable, especially Lahaina and Kauai. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and it was amazing considering it was built so many years ago, and there are few changes. However, the ports left much to be desired. Most were industrial so you had to take a shuttle bus, or ... Read More
We always wanted to see the Panama Canal, and it was amazing considering it was built so many years ago, and there are few changes. However, the ports left much to be desired. Most were industrial so you had to take a shuttle bus, or walk a distance to get out of the industrial area. I walked into Nicaragua and walked three blocks and returned to the ship. It is dirty port with more street vendors then you can imagine. Cartagena is all grown up, but very crowded. The ship is tired..but clean, and the housekeeping service is wonderful. They kept it clean, and were available for all needs. The food is only average. Canaletto has some of the most gregarious staff, and the food was good. We did not go to Pinnacle this time as we have done it other times, and it is good, but over priced in my opinion. They have a hamburger/hot dog bar that is great with the best french fries! The food in the dining room was good, and the staff was excellent. A wine steward made wonderful origami for me after each meal. Would I take a trip again with this many days at sea? No, but I am a sightseer. We did enjoy our trip from Boston to Montreal, and the Alaska cruise. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
First cruise with Holland America. Previously I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Carribbean and Princess. To be honest, I wasn't super impressed with the cruise or the ship. Doesn't mean I didn't have fun and enjoy myself ( ... Read More
First cruise with Holland America. Previously I have cruised with Carnival, Royal Carribbean and Princess. To be honest, I wasn't super impressed with the cruise or the ship. Doesn't mean I didn't have fun and enjoy myself ( I always do !) but compared to other ships and cruise lines. The food was OK. Selection in the buffet was poor. Other ships I have been on had so many choices to choose from. Food was never very hot or tasty. Dining room food was fairly good. Didn't always like the choices, but always found something. We had a balcony room which was nice. It was clean and had a fair amount of storage. Bed was fairly comfortable but pillow were lumpy. Room stewards did a good job cleaning room and supplying us ice. Casino was tiny and machines tight. Entertainment was ok. Miss entertainment during the day at the pools. The magician was kinda pathetic, comedian was fairly funny. Ship itself was small. I knew how many passengers but didn't realize there's basically no shopping onboard. Last ship I was on was the Oasis of the Seas so not really fair to compare. After being on this cruise I realize I really prefer the big boats. Everything is bigger :) Definitely love the Mexican Riveria but would probably go with Carnival next time for that itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2012
The Captain kept referring to the "Beautiful Oosterdam". Well he should have walked around to see it more closely. So let me tell you about this ship: Threadbare furniture, cracked leather seating, filthy chairs you ... Read More
The Captain kept referring to the "Beautiful Oosterdam". Well he should have walked around to see it more closely. So let me tell you about this ship: Threadbare furniture, cracked leather seating, filthy chairs you wouldn't want to sit in, lampshades in dining room scotch taped together, restrooms that either smelled of urine or were not working, 3 out 8 treadmills dysfunctional and our bathroom drain was broken and had to be used manually to get rid of the water. The Lido Buffet was a Chinese fire drill - you had to run all over the place to get your meal. The food was cold and the selection boring. The drinks were served in juice glasses so you had to fill them up several times. And there was absolutely no logic to the layout......none! And you couldn't help yourself to anything it all had to be served. The cabin stewards were magnificent but the waitstaff was unhelpful. Whatever you asked them the answer was "I don't know".......unless they sent for their supervisor. My guess was they didn't speak English. On the plus side: the restaurant food was tasty, well presented and superior to other Carnival lines; the entertainment was professional and the disembarkation procedure was phenomenal. Unfortunately this was my first - and probably last - Holland America Cruise as it did not meet by a long shot my expectations. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Cruise Critic Review of the Oosterdam Hawaii Trip Feb 25, 2012 First let me start with the positives. The service staff on this ship are great. The room stewards work hard to keep their assigned rooms clean and neat. The bar staff ... Read More
Cruise Critic Review of the Oosterdam Hawaii Trip Feb 25, 2012 First let me start with the positives. The service staff on this ship are great. The room stewards work hard to keep their assigned rooms clean and neat. The bar staff are friendly and courteous - special shout out to the Ocean Bar staff (Eddie et al). We ate all our meals in Lido and were impressed both with the service and the quality of food. The Captain was approachable, informative and friendly. On our entry into the Hawaiian Islands, there was a pod of hump back whales that we could watch frolicking in the sea. That was really the highlight of the journey! Kudos to Holland America for being not just handicap accessible but handicap friendly. there were many seniors on this cruise that needed assistance and it was provided with a friendly smile. We had 2 medical emergencies on board that were handled in an expedited fashion, showing that the customer truly does come first when it comes to health issues. A captain that sends out for medication to be delivered by air drop from the US Coast Guard out of San Francisco and stops the ship to retrieve said medications shows a great respect for his medical staff and their patent and should be commended for his handling of the situation. The negatives: No one's fault but the weather just didn't' cooperate. Can't blame Holland America but 10 days at sea with wind, cloud cover, cool and rainy to say nothing of when in Hawaii itself tended to colour the whole trip in a negative light. The first couple of days at sea were rough with moderate swells for much of the journey. This wasn't an issue for myself or hubbie but I think a lot people were battling sea sickness for the first while. Our room was intruded on at 1030 PM by someone who only identified himself when my husband called out to ask if I was ok - the intruder was in our washroom and Hubbie thought it was me. When he called out, a male voice responded that he was maintenance checking our toilet. We did complain to the front desk staff about this and they said they would address the appropriate department. We did get an apology but both feel that everyone was busy covering their you know whats and no one would explain or take responsibility for this frightening intrusion. The Oosterdam is not that old a ship and I understand that it has recently been refitted. However, everywhere there are signs of wear and tear in this ship. The carpets are worn, the furniture is worn and there is often a musty smell in some areas. While the ship claims that the casino is smoke free with only designated areas to smoke in - That's a bit of an oxymoron. If you allow smoking, it drifts and all are exposed. It was nice that the eating areas were all non-smoking and would have been nicer if the casino was non smoking. Designated smoking areas need to be walled off and have a good air return so others are not exposed to the second hand smoke. Even to get to the shows, one had to run the gauntlet of stale smoke. Also the musty smell was predominate in the area just outside the Queen's Lounge. In summary, if what you want is a relaxing holiday with not much to see for most of the vacation, then this is the trip for you. If, like me you like to watch the shorelines and ships pass by, pass this one up. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside ... Read More
This cruise was our third cruise in the past 3 years to Hawaii on 3 different cruise lines, our second HAL cruise on a Vista Class Ship, and our fifth cruise in the last 3 years. Our other HAL cruise was on the Zuiderdam doing the inside passage to Alaska. We booked VA5185 cabin, a stern veranda cabin. We always have a wonderful time on our cruises and this cruise was no exception. Lin was excited before we left to be cruising on HAL and was anticipating that this would end up being our cruise line of choice for future cruises. Let me start by saying that the crew on the Oosterdam were the happiest (genuinely happy, not corporate mandated happy) crew we have ever sailed with. We saw behavior of some passengers that was absolutely atrocious and the crew handled themselves with a dignity and respect that made the offending passengers look like idiots. Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived early and when we were allowed to board, were one of the first people on-board. This was actually the easiest embarkation we have ever had on a cruise, even compared to two previous cruises where we were in suites. We did not have a cabin steward on this cruise, we had a cabin elf. Everything was always magically done and any request was met with a smile and was accomplished promptly. Our cabin elf was named Harry and we left a "Let Us Know" card praising his work at the front desk. We purchased the Thermal Suite package for the cruise beforehand knowing that the price would be cheaper on embarkation day. Upon embarking the ship we went to the spa and verified our reservation and they told us that since the special was $200 less than what we paid beforehand they would only charge our on-board account for the special price, in effect giving us another $200 of on-board credit. We absolutely love the Thermal Suite and made good use of it during the cruise. Our cabin was a little larger than I thought it would be and our veranda was huge compared to regular veranda cabins. It was about 15 or 16 feet deep. It was outfitted with two of the faux-wicker loungers and two faux-wicker chairs and the obligatory small table. This was our first time ever having a fully covered veranda and we found it to be perfect. You can find more details and photos in our blog at: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/our...osterdam-2012/ We love the promenade deck on the Vista Class ships as you can walk completely around the ship on one deck unlike some other ships that require you to go up and down stairs at either end of the ship to make a complete lap. The first night out of San Diego we had 30 foot seas and 20 foot seas the first full day at sea. Neither of us are bothered with motion sickness and slept like babies with the rocking motion. Many others were not so lucky and the bags and medication were readily available for those who needed it. This is the first time that I have ever seen a formal night canceled and rescheduled due to rough seas. We don't do formal nights and had made reservations for the Canaletto Restaurant for those nights so on the rescheduled night we ate in the Lido instead. The food on this cruise was good overall, probably better than we expected based on previous cruises. The shows were hit and miss, as expected. We always sit near an exit so we can escape if need be and we did that several times. We don't do Bingo, Karaoke, or Trivia, although we will sit in occasionally on Trivia or Karaoke to have a good laugh. We felt the cultural program left a lot to be desired. We attended the first one and left when the "expert" was basically reading a script. We don't do ships excursions because they are generally overpriced and we aren't sheep and don't like to be herded. We had arranged our own things to do while in Hawaii and enjoyed them immensely. It was nice to see that the muster drill had a little more importance placed on it although HAL needs to tweak it some. Roll was taken, under threat of not being able to sail if you weren't there. That is a good thing. However, to have everyone meet at their muster station and have a crew member try to show everyone how they should put on their life jacket when only the people in the front row could see them is rather silly, especially for first time cruisers. Our first stop was in Lahaina, Maui. This is a tender port (thankfully the only one on this cruise) and the tendering process was absolutely horrible. We have been here on two other cruises, on different lines, and HAL really screwed this up. They put 5 tenders in the water and found that two of them were broken down. REALLY! SERIOUSLY! Rather than putting in two others to replace the broken down ones, they decided that they would work on them in the water to fix them. Maybe they thought the other eleven on the ship were broken down also. These are the life boats that would be used in an emergency and they weren't working properly. So much for the enhanced muster drill procedures. From the time we got our tender tickets (#10) it took us 2 ½ hours to be put on a tender. I feel sorry for the people who showed up for their tickets 45 minutes later and had ticket #36. On our other cruises we never had more than a 20 minute wait after getting our tickets. Returning to the ship was excruciating also. We stood on the dock for over an hour for a tender to show up to take us back to the ship. There was no traffic in the harbor and the seas were calm. The tendering process was ridiculous. HAL definitely dropped the ball on this one. We did our own things on the other islands and getting off the ship was easy since all HAL had to do was make sure the gangway was secure. Unfortunately a huge storm pretty much canceled anything on Kauai. Roads were washed out and torrential rain dominated the agenda. Amazingly, some passengers were absolutely incensed that their tours were canceled and blamed HAL for it. More childish, spoiled, entitled people! Disembarkation in San Diego was a breeze. Unusual to be sure, so we'll take it and enjoy it for a change. Now for something new in my reviews. Ahhh! To Dream. IF I WERE KING: (and I had unlimited funds) I understand some of these thoughts are not possible, some are funny and some could be put into service. 1) Make it so that you could view your on board account on your stateroom television. 2) Make the atrium large enough to feel like a destination of it's own. 3) Make the Vista Showroom large enough to accommodate everyone that would like to attend a show there so you don't have to show up 45 minutes early to get a seat. 4) Have muster roll call taken with hand held mobile scanners that they use when you disembark the ship. 5) Hold muster drills inside (requires more seating in the Vista Lounge, etc) so that elderly people aren't standing for long periods of time while roll is taken. Everyone might be able to see the life vest demo that way also. 6) Make sure all tenders (life boats) are operational prior to needing them. 7) Use more tenders to get people ashore in a reasonable amount of time. 8) Install a button to turn on the T-Pool jets that can be reached while IN the T-Pool. 9) Install sensors in the Thermal Suite that will sense when someone on the tile loungers is snoring that will drop down a "Cone Of Silence" (remember Maxwell Smart) around them so others don't have to listen to them snoring. 10) Install a human wash (similar to an automatic car wash) at the entrance to all hot tubs, pools, and T-Pools so that everyone has to take a soapy shower before entering the public pools. 11) Cappuccino Bomb would be on the dessert menu every night. Prior to our cruise we saw posts from people on Cruise Critic that have sailed on the Oosterdam who said they were disappointed with the condition of parts of the ship. These people, some of whom are long time cruisers and posters to CC, were vilified, attacked, and called trolls from other boards because they dared to say something was "wrong" with the "O". We heard many comments while on-board from people who were upset about the condition of some sections of the ship. So we did a little investigation while on-board to see for ourselves. Feel free to yell at me now for what I am about to post. There are areas of the "O" that are in need of repair. Should they ruin someone's vacation? I don't think so, but everyone needs to decide for themselves. It's very easy to attack someone you don't know when it is your word against theirs, so I decided to take pictures to support what I found and people can make their own judgments. The "O" underwent a dry dock a few months ago so I expected her to be in pretty good shape throughout. Yet, some items were not addressed during the dry dock, but someone had to make the decision that these conditions were acceptable for HAL's standards. You can view the photos and what the complaints were that we heard about while on board at the following link: http://thegeomonkeys.com/2012/03/hol...am-march-2012/ The offensive, obstinate, self-righteous, arrogant, demanding, holier than thou passengers were in greater numbers on this cruise than on any other we have taken. The only cruise we have taken that had similar clientele was on the Zuiderdam. The standards that HAL has for what is acceptable in public areas for furnishings also surprised us. While it didn't ruin our cruise we found much higher standards on Princess and Celebrity. Therefore, we will not sail on HAL again, not because of the crew but because of the clientele. __________________ Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We expected a much better experience than we had. This was our first time on this line and this ship. Food was good, but dining room service terrible. We complained about cold food and time between servings and were told there was only ... Read More
We expected a much better experience than we had. This was our first time on this line and this ship. Food was good, but dining room service terrible. We complained about cold food and time between servings and were told there was only 1 waiter per five tables which could mean 30 plus guests to serve. Open seating was disorganized and had long lines for early seating. We ended up ordering breakfast in room and going for sit down dining for lunch and endured the terrible service at dinner. We could not find a lot we wanted to do on the ship. The staff that does activities is subcontracted and minimal. Might as well forget Internet access. Tried to log on to Gmail and message came up that their software does not support Google. Could not open email and they refused to adjust the package I had bought to the tune of $100. It would not support tablets either. This department is also subcontracted. On last day of cruise people were offering others money to print boarding passes. Under cabin I have listed all the problems we had with it. The crow's nest was supposed to be library and reading room? Too many other activities there to be a good place to read and relax. Even a cruise critic meeting that got real loud. Other venues for activities are small. Lido buffet is cut up and disorganized and no trays so you could collect your food before you sat down. Had a burger on deck was dry and tasteless. Early on in the cruise I smelled mold around the Greenhouse Spa which seemed to be corrected later on. Upholstery on chairs in Crow's nest had holes on the arms and one glass top table had water and dirt under the glass. Buttons missing from the leather seats there also. Daily movies were offered in a screening room with seating for only 25-30 people. People were continually disappointed. Entertainment was just average. Seems like a lot of activities are offered to sell something, like spa treatments, etc. Art department is very small. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our ... Read More
We arrived at the port in San Diego at around 11:30 a.m. and though there was a line we were aboard the Oosterdam in good time. We didn't have to wait for our cabin like on other ships. We went straight to our cabin, dropped off our stuff and headed for the Lido deck. The food was ready and waiting for us. My luggage was in the cabin when we returned from lunch, but my companion had to wait until 4:45 p.m. for hers. The cruise to Hawaii took four days and was relaxing except that we did not receive any water in our stateroom the first three days. We thought that they didn't provide it in the stateroom anymore, until there was two bottles in the room on the fourth day along with a receipt for three bottles that we never received. I couldn't find the cabin steward so I returned the water to the front desk and requested that no more be left in the stateroom for the rest of the cruise. The next day we returned to the stateroom to find a bottle of water with a receipt for two more bottles. Once again I took the water to the front desk and requested our bill be corrected, which it was. When I returned to the cabin I left the cabin steward a note requesting the removal of all items in the mini bar so we were not charged for anything else. He complied. As I stated, the cruise to Hawaii was relaxing, but on the cruise back it seemed as though the number of children doubled in size. I was told by another passenger that most of them were children of the crew, which I could not substantiate. I certainly hope that Holland America does not risk the loss of paying customers in this way. The unsupervised children took over the pool and all three of the hot tubs. At one time there was an elderly person with a noodle in the deep end of the pool and the kids were jumping in the water on both sides of him. Another time a child in the hot tub was splashing people as they practiced line dancing. The aft pool is for adults only, but it is outside and the air temperature stayed in the 50's and 60's. The aft pool should be for the children; it is even decorated for them. The shore excursions were organized and informative. The food in open seating was excellent on some nights, but bad on other nights. Service after the first night was excellent. We had Gede as our server after the first night and we requested him every night until the end of the cruise. We took a cruise to the Panama Canal a couple of years ago on the Zuiderdam and was very impressed with the food. I guess your can't judge by cruise lines, you have to judge each ship on it's own merit. The shows were good, especially the Oosterdam singers and dancers. I would have liked to see more of them. We were scheduled for disembarkation between 9:50 and 10:00 a.m. but were called around 9:10 and went directly off the ship. Easiest disembarkation ever. When I returned home I checked my credit card account online and was again charged $12.03 for the mini bar, that was empty since day four. Never again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2011
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and ... Read More
After some 15 cruises with Princess we have recently become unhappy with some of the changes be made by them and decided we would reach out to HAL and see if we could find a new home with them. We thought that they catered to an older and perhaps a more sophisticated demographic which we found to be quite incorrect. We looked forward to our Chirstmas cruise on the Oosterdam but unfortunately we left the ship quite disappointed. Likes: Friendly officers & crew Well trained and friendly PSD staff Easy Check in Meals generally tasty Breakfast dishes excellent Good buffet lines Complimentary after dinner specialty coffees albeit not brewed Linen hand towels in public restrooms Gents being handed jackets on formal nights Santa Gifts for children on Christmas Balcony furniture Table fully set in MDR Size and shape of coffee cups in MDR Brewed coffee in MDR and throughout the ship....free No steward carts in hallways Very comfortable beds Towel animals on bed each evening Full hot breakfast available from room service Wine stewards in MDR Not being hustled for drinks around pool areas Scooped ice-cream available free Juice available free in buffet Fully tiled cabin bathrooms Medicine chest in bathroom Glass holders in bathroom Adjustable table in cabin Coffee, tea, cookies set out for bridge players and CC meeting Dislikes: Tables in outdoor bars and buffet areas left un-bused and dirty for long periods Unexciting production shows Lack luster entertainment No Laundromat Closing of MDR on sea day for Mariner's luncheon MDR closed on port day, no help for H/C person in Lido buffet Very crowded MDR for dinner Dinner service extremely slow; dinners took full two hours each night Number of out of order fixtures in public restrooms bathroom Small atrium No refund of FCC after 4 years Very small accessible cabins No onboard wheel chairs for disabled; must rent at cost of $200 for 7 days Very limited shops and boutiques Crow's-nest Lounge used for too many activities...coffee bar, library, dance classes, trivia contests, internet lounge, meeting room...... Large columns blocking views in Vista Theatre Glasses and bottles in pool area Poor condition of Lido poolside lounges. Very limited cabin closet space Bath soap, shampoo and conditioner in dispensers Limited drawer space Very small ice buckets....ice melted before happy hour Cabin fridge used for mini-bar Wines more expensive than other lines Running out of pool towels in late afternoon Dinners often cool Meat often tough Smoking including cigars permitted Onboard activities poorly organized and equipped No note paper in cabin Dirty glasses not removed from cabin in evening. San Diego is such a poor terminal non US Citizens, including Canadians MUST report to USINS at 0645 with passports, not withstanding HAL and INS having passport and NEXUS information months ahead. Gentlemen allowed in MDR at diner in shorts and t-shirts. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2011
Detailed reviews in some areas, need some time to read... This was a family vacation during Christmas week for our family while the kids were off school. We sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean before. Of course, we ... Read More
Detailed reviews in some areas, need some time to read... This was a family vacation during Christmas week for our family while the kids were off school. We sailed with Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean before. Of course, we could not expect "perfect" in any of the cruise lines when comparing them in different ways like food, service, cabin, activities, ship's design & condition, etc... Every passenger enjoys different things and has different opinions. For our purpose of cruising, we are looking for family fun and fine food. So, my review about this cruise is based on a family with kids. When the kids are happy, the parents are happy. I have heard this cruise line has more elderly than any other cruise lines before choosing this cruise. But I realized that HAL has added the kid's programs and since it was a Holiday cruise, there should be more kids on-board than usual. Besides, I watched HAL's on-line video, it offers kid's hands-on culinary classes, which is rare to see in other cruise lines, so there must be something unique to go for - just one more reason I picked HAL. However, in all 7 days during the cruise, none of the culinary classes were offered for kids. There was a day on the schedule that the kids can play dodgeball, but there was no dodgeball on the ship, the kids were sooo disappointed. There was no rock-climbing wall, no mini-golf... For adults, there was no "hairy leg" competition or pool deck challeges. Most of the games for adults were trivias, where I learned some educational facts, but too many of one game became boring. Dance classes were held in a tiny place, where could not even fit 20 people, and there were only 2 dancing classes in all 7 days. 4 out of 6 shows were just boring. There was no show at all in the last night. As compared to Norwegian Star we sailed the Christmas in 2010, the show in the last night was the grand one, which combined all performers to produce a never-forgetting grand show with a mix of magic, ballets, modern dance, and stage special effects. Norwegian Star hired professional performers from Las Vegas to throw in different shows every night. The very first night already offered a show (not a welcome show), Band on the Run. Then, there were Duo Acrobatique, Extreme Vegas, Comedy Hypnotist, The Second City (comedy), a musical show, and the grand show Elements! On the Christmas Eve, the cruise director guided his cruise team members to line up along the beautiful attrium stairs to sing Christmas Carols along with the passengers...have not even mentioned how involved the cruise director was in the cruise, we saw him everywhere organizing games and activities. He was even in one of the shows himself! That were what Norwegain Star offered. Well, get back to HAL...after all, there was not many things to do in Oosterdam. I saw people reading their books everywhere. Even HAL tried to run kids programs, but there are still a lot more rooms for improvements if HAL really wants to attract families with kids. When kids don't like it, we don't like it because it was a FAMILY vacation. There was a problem with the ship's keying system. We booked 2 cabins and we needed to have extra room keys for each family member. It took the front desk 3 times before the extra keys could work. It was just a nightmare, it wasted us 90 minutes to get extra room keys that will work, plus we did not know the keys worked or not until we went up to our cabin to try out, then went back down to front desk to line-up for reporting the problem, it was repeated 3 times! Every time we needed to go to the back of the line... Good things about this ship are that the overall food is the best out of the rest of the cruises we sailed before. The breakfast menu in the dining rooms has more choices than any other ships: Dutch Breakfast, Japanese Breakfast, English Breakfast, Full American Breakfast, Scandinavian Breakfast, etc. Juice choices during breakfast include tomato juce, V-8, grapefruit juice, pineapple juice, grape juice, cranberry juice, prune juice, apple juice, and of course orange juice. The best of all is that juices can be ordered during lunch or dinner, too. Other cruise lines already cut back on juices that there was extra charge for ordering. Oh, forgot to mention that we had free soda in the captain toast and the champagne brunch. It is not an expensive item but none of the other cruise lines we sailed before gave out free soda. Also, cappuccino and expresso were also free to order during lunch and dinner at the dining rooms besides coffee. There is a good feature at the buffet that it offers 80% of the dining room's dinner menus at the buffet. If passengers just wanted to grab a quick bite at the buffet, they won't miss out too much of the fine food from the dining rooms. It was the first time I tasted Duck Pate with Black Truffles in cruising, 8-oz Lobster Tails, and the finest cut of Filet Mignon. The afternoon tea was still offered in HAL, which is a traditional feature for cruising. None of my other past cruises offered this. However, the dining room was not open for every lunch, it only opened for 2 days for all passengers, 2 extra days for past passengers. The passengers were stuck with buffets on the days the dining rooms were not open. Even the past passengers have privilege to enjoy 2 more lunches at the dining rooms, however, the food choices were just like cafe...nothing as special as HAL reserving that 2 days especially for past passengers. One of the lunch dishes was that cheap swai fillet, I couldn't believe it is being served in a cruise. If you know where the swai was raised from, you dare not to eat it. Speaking of negative reviews on dining room dishes. There were 2 port days that the dining dish choices were the worst, nothing look good or exciting. We rather had hamburgers by the pool deck... I can feel that the cruise director tried to make the ship to be kids-friendly. He threw-in a Santa's Arrival party in the lounge on the Christmas day. It worths lots of time and efforts to organize this event. Kids and other passengers were delighted in that event. But you can only see this on Christmas day. Without this, the cruise is even more boring... The captain, cruise director, and all cruise team members were very polite. The services were excellent. Food was better than other ships which we sailed before (some areas mentioned need to be improved). If HAL can pay more attention to the kids programs, adult activities, and shows, then this will be my #1 choice of cruise line. However, there is no such thing as "perfect" cruise since everyone expects different things. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more ... Read More
This was our second time cruising with HAL. Our first time was 1998 Hawaii and back, and was the standard by which we judged all other cruises since; the service was great. Wanted to try HAL again now that we are older and making more money and see if it was worth building loyalty points. Also our 20th anniversary. The suite service and concierge level was the only thing that saved the cruise, and that we were willing to pay extra for the fine dining. The restaurant staff and service was what we had in the dining room those many years ago, it was great! And the food was several times better than Princess' Sabatino's. As another cruiser said, the dining room was abysmal. No smiles, no wine list, I was told I could only get the house wine. The Lido food was merely OK and the servers there were harried and showed it. I was expecting greater things from the hype about their Chef-retooled cuisine, it should have gone to all levels of dining. Room service took hours and the sandwich I ordered off the room service menu was great and perfect the first time and the second made completely wrong. We could have waited another couple of hours for them to make it right, I guess. The room was great, very spacious. The bed was wonderful and we have ordered one from HAL, they sell them. The concierge service was great. We went prepared to spend most of our $ on liquor and tips, which we did. Also, even though the SA is a suite, the embarkation people made me get in the regular line, saying it was Superior only. After winding through the line to where I could reach the expediter, she said the same thing the looked at the room number and expedited us. HAL did not win our loyalty. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was quick and efficient...I had a walker so was directed to another entrance since the elevator was not working and was disappointed that we missed out on the boarding picture.The cabin was nice and spacious and the steward was very accommodating but disappointed that our room had a fully obstructed view. Unable to switch room due to the fact that the ship was at full capacity. The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food quality and presentation were lack luster and boring. The staff were very attentive & helpful. Enjoyed our evening at Le Cirque in the Pinnacle Room...the food was delicious and the service superb. Met Marco the owner of Le Cirque and he was a gracious host. Entertainment was great...the comedian and Peter Peterkin were outstanding. Most of the venues & poolside were over crowded and had a hard time finding a seat. Tried several nights to attend Karaoke...but never was able to get in the door.We feel the ship needs some TLC...carpet & seats torn in several areas...ship feels claustrophobic at times..low ceilings and dark colors. We have been on Royal Caribbean and Carnival,so comparing them, we would say the Oosterdam is the Motel 6 of cruises. We don't think we will go another HAL cruise again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2011
I was very particular about booking our second cruise and did lots of research and this is what I came up with after cruising on the HAL for the last 7 days:HAL terminated the port to Mazatlan..good thingTold us 2 days in Cabo but ended up ... Read More
I was very particular about booking our second cruise and did lots of research and this is what I came up with after cruising on the HAL for the last 7 days:HAL terminated the port to Mazatlan..good thingTold us 2 days in Cabo but ended up 2 days in Puerto Vallarte. Was disappointed in the change in itinerary since did not like Puerto Vallarte as much as Cabo. Many military and police around but we always felt safe on the ports. We did not do any of the excursions but went to downtown in PV and then did jet skiing in Cabo,the teens enjoyed both. Very many vendors in town and on beach, crowded with spring breakers as well but festive.On the HAL itself, excellent cruise for the family or over 50 crowd. The teens were a bit bored, very limited teen program. The pool was a real disappointment as they only had one for the kids and was no larger than a motel 6 pool. The other pool was for adults only. The spa can not be accessed unless over 18 or part of teen spa program. The SS8048 Cabin we were in was spacious but very noisy. I asked our TA if being uder pool we would hear noise, they said no. This is untrue, you can hear everything, you can hear chairs moving, kids running, drinks clinking, all hours of the day. Do not stay below pool area, I will be writing Expedia Travel to let them know of my dismay regarding this suite. But the best thing on the HAL by far is the service, bar none, the staff is excellent, attentive and warm. The food is also very good but limited. Only three restaraunts inclusive, the Lido Terrace has limited food service times or rotate the same type of food all day, pizza, ice cream, burger etc. No sodas but plenty of Juice. The entertainment was good but sometimes advisable to let families know some of the humor was a bit adult or inappropriate. The casino was fine, a casino. The movie theater was small, only 30 people could fit in the theater. There were cute programs like name that tune or family BINGO, but I felt they could expand on the daily programs since we were at sea 4 out of the 7 days. The standouts in service are Andi (Undeee)pronounced in his language, a waiter in the Vista Dining Room and Erwin the chef in the Lido Terrace. They were wonderful and made the cruise a wonderful experience. I think the HAL is great for an older demographic and is clean, well attended and great food, but we will most likely choose a Carnival or Disney Cruise to spend that kind of money next time. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2011
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was poor...no porters at taxis, and lackluster efforts.The embarkation line is long and slow. Our party boarded via wheelchair and even that was a bit slow.The cabin was good and spacious ... Read More
Embarked in San Diego and initial baggage handling was poor...no porters at taxis, and lackluster efforts.The embarkation line is long and slow. Our party boarded via wheelchair and even that was a bit slow.The cabin was good and spacious and the steward was very accommodating (though shampooing carpet underway is a bit much!)The Lido menu was the same day after day. The glasses for tea and drinks small (4 ounces?) The food was good, just the same each time.Worst part? No real info on the cruise each day, just a very generic bulletin with too many ads and little useful info. We were scheduled for PV, Mazatlan and Cabo....Mazatlan was canceled, yet we were never informed at all...anywhere! Had we arranged any business, reunion, meeting folks in Mazatlan, the4 trip would have been a disaster and waste of money. For that reason alone, I would not recommend HAL! I expected three ports and got two....not good! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2011
We arrived at the terminal at about 3:00 after driving from the Phoenix area. Except for a minor problem with the new to us car, it was an uneventful trip across IS 8. Since most of the passengers were on board embarkation was quick and ... Read More
We arrived at the terminal at about 3:00 after driving from the Phoenix area. Except for a minor problem with the new to us car, it was an uneventful trip across IS 8. Since most of the passengers were on board embarkation was quick and easy. The first intimation that HAL was losing it's class was the lack of a reception party to give directions to our cabin. Having more than twenty cruises under our belt, this gave us no problem, but one can imagine the confusion for the first timer. Since we were late, our cabin was ready for us. We dropped our carry-ons and proceeded to the Lido for something to eat. The ship was operating under high sanitation procedures so all buffet food had to be served by the staff. Chaos is the best description one can give it. We immediately found that many of our travel "companions" had little concept of manners or respect. Crowding and line jumping were rampant. Too make matters worse, the food was basically inedible. The meat was tough, the vegetables were cold, the drink dispensers were slow, and there was insufficient table space. We avoided the buffet as much as possible for the rest of the cruise. All-in-all, a bad start.Back at the cabin we found our luggage had been delivered. This was pleasant surprise given our late arrival. We found the cabin to be clean and in good condition, but a trifle smaller than we expected. Storage and closet space were very good. Quite surprisingly, we did not see our steward on the first day or for the rest of the cruise, except for the last day as we were leaving the cabin. He did, however, do a good job of keeping the room and bathroom clean and tidy.Back to the food issues. Meals in the main dining room tended to be mediocre and uninspired. Service for breakfast and lunch tended to be slow and erratic. This was a far cry from our previous experience on this ship five years previous. We ate two meals in the Pinnacle room where we found the food and service to be very good, however the Le Cirque experience was somewhat overpriced. Our meal in the Canaletto did little to inspire us since we could have obtained the same food in the buffet. Service was good, but not great.The only entertainment we attended was the Adagio Strings in the Explorer Lounge. This group of talented musicians from Romania provided a pleasant diversion. We did not attend any of the shows.Since we have been in both of the ports we visited, we spent little time ashore and took no excursions. The stop scheduled for Mazatlan was cancelled due to dangerous conditions there. In addition, one day of cruising was shortened to allow our ship to hurry to Puerto Vallarta to assist another ship there with engine problems.FYI. The casino is rather small for a ship of this size. We spent little time there since smoking is allowed. Note that you can now use your cruise card to play the machines (and the table games I surmise) This looks like a great way for the unwary to get into a lot of trouble. We did not see a lot of activity in this area.Make-up of the passengers seemed to be evenly spread from young families to senior couples. The timing of spring break, the relatively low cost, and the itinerary seems to have attracted significant numbers of passengers unaccustomed to cruising and social exposure. Rude behavior in the buffet, loud and inappropriate conversations, failure to make even the most perfunctory acknowledgment of dress "codes" all served to make activity in the public areas less than pleasant. As with all mass cruise lines, HAL is attempting to offset low initial cruise cost with nickel and diming on every thing from specialty coffees to overpriced photos. Disembarkation was well done and seemed to be one of the best organized activities of the week. I seriously doubt any future cruises on HAL for us. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so ... Read More
We arrived at the dock at approx. 12:00 to find a line around the entire pier. Come to find out the ship had arrived 2 hours late. The taxi driver took us to the front of the line. The cruise personnel directed to the back of the line so we drug our bags all the way to the rear of the line. 2 hours later as we slowly moved forward we saw other taxi's dropping people off at the front of the line and the people went right on to drop their luggage and on into the building for check in, NOT GOOD! We had pre-printed our luggage tags as requested to do so on the online check-in. We were instructed to staple the tags on our bags but never got a chance to do that before hand. As the line was moving we asked the personnel available if they had a stapler and they instructed us that they would have have one when we dropped our luggage off ahead. When we reach this point and asked the baggage attendant for a stapler he said and I quote "I ain't got no stapler, if I had one it would've never got back to me anyway".... So he then instructed us to fill out bag tags manually and attach them to our bags, we did so and left our bags with the attendant and continued to move ahead with the rest of the cattle. AT this point we were only about 1/2 way there, ugh. The lines continued on and we finally got on-board about 2:30 pm and the ship was set to sail at 5 pm. We made our way to our stateroom then decided to check out the Lido Buffet. What a mistake that was. There were excessive lines, and they were running out of food at every station. My fiancee waited in the Asian food line to only be asked if he would like white or brown rice as that was all they had available when he got to the front of the line. Also, having been on several cruises by 4 cruise lines we have never seen the buffet food being served by the staff in small individual portions. After a couple of days they loosened up and let us serve ourselves but that was really strange. After that fiasco we went back to our room to find that our luggage had not been delivered yet. We went down to the front desk to inquire and after finding yet another lengthy line and waiting our turn we were taken to a room to see if our luggage was in there as unidentified. We did find one of our bags with identification attached, they then changed the story and said they were holding it for security purposes. They stated that they had found a knife in our bag. When we told them there was no knife in it they released the bag to us but we didn't want to haul it up to our room without knowing where our other bag was and they couldn't seem to produce it. After trying to get them to call our room steward to see if our other bag was in our room they kept saying we needed to go up to our room to check for ourselves. We finally took our bag and went to our room and found our other bag there. During all of this the ship set sail and we missed the chance to see the ship leave port and all off the festivities. That is how the first 5 hours of this cruise went. We will just try to give you the pros and cons from here on in. PROS: Entertainment was somewhat enjoyable. The food in the Vista Dining Room at dinner was good and the choices were many. The Pinnacle Grill was AWESOME to say the least. Well worth the extra 20 bucks each. The room steward was punctual and entertaining and the room was very well kept. The towel animals were always interesting. CONS: Entertainment shows were not timed so the people at the late dinner could get there and get a seat before the shows started and the theatre is very small. The portions in the Vista Dining Room were the smallest we have ever seen on any cruise we have been on. The server didn't seem to ever ask you if you wanted anything to drink. The Lido Buffet variety was slim and the quality of the food was poor. It was very difficult to find a beverage person to bring you a soda, etc. The hours that the Lido was open was not conducive to most passengers needs. So make sure to check their schedules before you head down there because you might not be able to get anything to eat at all. We ordered room service twice and they got the order wrong both times. We ordered from the 24 hr room service once and they were out of one item and then wouldn't allow us to use our drink card for room service when they delivered the food. We asked the room steward to keep our ice bucket filled and that was very hit and miss. One night they had a so called "Chocolate Extravaganza" and it was anything but that. The chocolate in the chocolate fountain was like water and the deserts we really nothing special. Also, it took place on the Lido deck by the pool and there was NO lighting there. They brought out portable flood lights so you could hardly see what you were eating. Again there was a scheduling issue with this event. The evening show was still going on when the extravaganza started. Very poor event scheduling. In the room the TV is very small and has a horrible picture. Even in the Screening room the quality of the picture was not up to standard. Should at least HD. The Superbowl was shown in the Vista Lounge where all the evening shows take place and the quality of the picture for that major event was poor and not HD either. That ends our Pros and Cons section. As far as disembarkation went, it was pretty smooth but we didn't turn in our luggage after our earlier experience and carrying them out ourselves was no problem. After all the cruises we have been on we have never ran into a more confused, uninformed and inconsiderate group of passengers. The ship is staffed by mostly Indonesians so the cultural issues are very prominent lead to what we would perceive as inefficiency. Holland America's attraction is price but the money you save isn't necessarily worth it. When we cruise again we will select another cruise line. 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: March 2010
This was my second experience on the Oosterdam and my husband's first. The Oosterdam is a well maintained ship and the Indonesian service crew appear to work very hard to keep it that way. I will talk about the positives before ... Read More
This was my second experience on the Oosterdam and my husband's first. The Oosterdam is a well maintained ship and the Indonesian service crew appear to work very hard to keep it that way. I will talk about the positives before getting to the negatives. First dining, the food was exceptional, even more so than on my previous trip 4 years ago. I could not fault it in any way. The Chef and kitchen have raised the bar VERY HIGH, and I could not imagine it being any better anywhere! It was fabulous. I give them a 5+ here! The food was excellent in the main dining room, and also very good in the Lido. We had any time dining and since we like to dine early, we made reservations in the Vista and never had to wait. Generally, we sat at a table for two, close enough to chat to adjoining tables if we wished, but not close enough that one had to carry on a conversation if one didn't want to.(Tables 104,106 108) The dining staff was all very good from the dining steward to the assistant to the wine steward (Buche, Andrew & Jel). Really, in this area Oosterdam absolutely shone! - The other positive was that the generally Indonesian service staff, room, vista and lido staff, were all extremely friendly and nice, always greeted us in passing in the hall whether they knew us or not. These were the highlights. The negatives, and they are pretty important 1) lack of DAY activities,they had 3 people planning the activities that I could tell and perhaps more,the party planner, the dj, and the cruise director. Considering the activities they managed to come up with, I think it shouldn't have taken more than one person working part-time to plan the activities that were presented to us. A highlight of one of the few activities on the last sea day, was: are you ready?...... towel folding. A number of activities were at an extra fee, activities that were free on princess for example (mixology). As for their digital workshop, well what a disappointment that was. Holland America advertises this as one of their services in describing their cruises, well it appears the person who runs the digital workshop classes did not show up, missed the boat, (I only found this out when enquiring from a crew member) and Holland America did not replace this person, nor they did not join the ship on our first port of call, they simply kept the digital workshop very quietly locked up for the week with no explanation or apology. I guess they figured no one would notice. Nor did they fill this missing activity with new activaties, adding to the scarcity of day activities that already existed. They did have a couple of cooking demonstrations with the chef that were interesting, though on one of them, the party planner seemed to be trying to one-up the chef in her cooking knowledge, that part really didnt come across well. . One evening they had a game planned for the queen's lounge, and because there was a private function in the queens lounge that "ran over time" they did not change the venue they simply cancelled at the very last second, with no other substitutions offered, and rebooked on a different night -talk about poor planning. When I sailed Oosterdam the first time in 2006 they had an Oosterdam (Karaoke) idol competition, that was very well advertised, well run, tons of fun, and the queen's lounge was filled to overflowing every night. They tried the same here, but it was poorly advertised, poorly run, and placed in odd time slots. This was very disappointing and so unnecessary. No reason it couldn't have been run as well as the one in 2006.(I will note that the evening production shows of which there were three plus the magician and comedian were all very good and I am not speaking of them here nor including them ,in my overal negative rating of entertainment and enrichment as a 2. I give it a 2 for the reasons mentioned above. Finally, 2) disembarkation, a complete disaster if you were on expedited or disembarking early. This was the final straw, and the reason we will not sail with Holland America next time. Coming back into the port of San Diego all non us-citizens have to present themselves at he Vista lounge at 630 am sharp! with their passports green cards , etc. to be seen by US customs.( Well I remember doing this in 2006 on my first trip and although it was early it was done promptly,leaving time for breakfastand we then disembarked with little difficulty. My how things have changed! We arrived at 630 to be explicitly directed by a staff member (Irvan)to our specific seating in 2 sections in the vista lounge, we were at the top of section one, then they filled up section 2 completely, and even a few in section 3. US customs did not arrive until 7:10 and did not start seeing passengers until 7:15 at the earliest. At that time the staff member (Irvan) who sat everyone, started allowing people out of rows to go through customs, and NOT in the order in which he sat them! People who arrived well after us were being seen first, and our section was in fact the last to be seen. I did complain to him about it while it was going on as did a number of others. Only excuses were given, and no action taken by him to correct this. i.e. "I can't stop people from going in this order". Really?!, he never even tried! -yet he firmly directed people on where to sit when they were arriving. Meanwhile when I complained to the other crew officer (Dew) about being unimpressed with how things had transpired here . Her response " I don't blame you"(totally unhelpful and indifferent) Anyway, we were there for over an hour and a half, which meant when we finally returned to our room at 8:05, there was only time left to close the case and leave for our expedited departure at 8:15 (forget breakfast!). Well we arrive down near the gangway to see that ¾ of the ships passengers must be also down there, lining up both sides of the ship almost all the way to the vista lounge on one side and vista dining room on the other. Just a mess. Expedited passengers mixed with passengers leaving at different times. ZERO crew members to be found, just security staff who were absolutely useless -and that's being kind. Their comment was they must keep the gangway area clear, well there was nobody in that area anyway, and the cruise director came over the PA (from some distant location in the ship -probably his bed ), advising us twice to keep the gangway clear, and that was it for announcements.( The gangway was always clear! -so dont know the point of his announcement) SO when it finally came time to disembark everybody disembarked higgly piggly altogether, expedited and non expedited, security staff didn't check, as it didn't matter to them (I think the only reason they have an "expedited" class is so you handle your own luggage and their staff don't have to do it during the previous night-because you certainly don't leave any earlier) regular early middle etc disembarkation all getting off at the same time. No one checking when they scanned your cruise card to see if it was the right time for you. The impression left was now that HA Oosterdam had your money, the cruise was over and they simply did not care. Too bad there is no rating for disembarkation (from 630am on) I would give it a minus 10! It left an extremely bad finishing note to a cruise that had activities run in a mediocre fashion to start with. It's too bad, because the food and the Indonesian service crew were truly exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle ... Read More
We went on this cruise as a part of a group that my mom put together and being native to San Diego it was easy for us to fit into our schedule. We took a shuttle to the terminal instead of parking and it was well worth it. The shuttle takes you directly to the terminal doors and a porter was waiting to take our luggage; we didn't see our luggage again until we got to the room. Getting on the ship took all of 20 minutes. We got to the lido deck for lunch and that was a bit of a nightmare since there were so many people rushing to the food as though it was about to disappear. Around 1:00 the announcement came that we could go to our cabins and we arrived about 5 minutes before our luggage which made it easy for me to snap a few pics of a clean & tidy cabin. We sailed away around 5:30 and it was beautiful to see downtown San Diego lit up in the dusk...something I don't get to see very often. It reminded me of why I live in this great city! We stayed in cabin #5058 which was on the veranda deck towards the front of the ship very close to the elevators. When we first walked in we thought it was really small, but once we unpacked and found how much of our stuff fit into the cabinets we were pleased. The closets had plenty of hanging space and could convert into shelving if needed. There was a safe in one of the closets too. The veranda had a good view but I would have chosen to be about 5 cabins further back because we were right next to a portion of the ship that jutted out and blocked our view. We spent a lot of our time in the Crow's Nest Lounge & library which was directly above our cabin so it was quite convenient to go between the two with our laptop and books. The only drawback to this cabin was that the shower drained very slow and our feet were in about 4 inches of water at all times.Overall, the ship was nice and service was what we expected; it didn't seem to matter what time of day it was, but I always saw someone polishing a stair bannister. We thought the food was mediocre no matter where we ate and we got really tired of eating after about the third day. Even in the dining room, we felt that the food was comparable to any regular buffet so we felt a bit let down. Much of the food came out of giant cans and even the juices were often times watered down (FYI...tea, juice, coffee & milk are the only free drinks on the ship; you have to pay for soda). Afternoon tea and cakes was served everyday in the dining room, but once again it was mediocre; however it was nice to take a few minutes out of the day and have a bit of sophistication ... even if it was in our flip-flops. One night there was a party on the lido deck with chocolate fountains and fruit for dipping and that was very nice. The nightly entertainment was sub-par overall and unfortunately you couldn't get away from it. In the evening there was a musical group playing in every corner of the ship and it was never good. The shows were also excessively cheesy. There was one musician, a classical and acoustic guitarist named Taylor Brown, who was excellent and played often throughout the day; we made sure to catch one of his performances daily. We knew going in to this that we would be in a small demographic of "young" people and in general there wasn't a whole lot for us to do. There were ping-pong tables but they always seemed to be put away or missing the paddles. There was shuffle board, but there were only a few pucks so only one game could occur at a time. The gym was nice but you had to pay extra if you wanted to do any of the classes like yoga, pilates or spin...I was disappointed to have to pay extra for something that I expected to have been part of my booking costs. The explorations cafe was "activity central" with daily sudokus/crosswords and several puzzles for people to be occupied by. We learned on our last day that there was a closet full of board games that you could check out. We spent quite a bit of our time in here since our weather was quite chilly & windy...we enjoyed this portion of the ship. This is also where there were numerous computers and a fairly large library. There were two pools and 5 hot tubs but they were all covered up by 9pm everynight. With so much to do during the day we always seemed to have time to hit the hot tubs by about 10pm so it was disappointing to not be able to benefit from the tubs. Overall, we were somewhat let down by the cruise, but we still were able to relax. I don't think we'll be cruising on Holland America again until we're in their demographic which will be in about 30-40 years. This ship and or cruise line really caters to senior citizens and though we weren't looking for a party cruise, we wanted a tad bit more energy. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2009
OK, I have never written a review for anything, but felt so strongly to write about our cruise on the Oosterdam. We just got home last night from a 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise. I have always heard such great things about Holland America ... Read More
OK, I have never written a review for anything, but felt so strongly to write about our cruise on the Oosterdam. We just got home last night from a 7 day Mexican Riviera Cruise. I have always heard such great things about Holland America and have never sailed this line. I expected wonderful service, but not on this ship! We booked a suite, since the price was so good. The room was great. We really enjoyed the large bathroom with a jacuzzi tub and the large veranda, but that is about all. Once aboard, we met our room steward and also a room with leftover food from the last passengers. Not a great way to start. Our room was never cleaned before 2:00pm every day of the cruise. The day the cruise started was also our son's 16th birthday. We wanted to celebrate at dinner with a cake. Well, we told the maitre de and the waiter and we never got a cake. The food was slow in coming and the waiters didn't seem to care about you at all. The second night was a formal night, so we all got dressed for dinner. We were in open seating because no other seating was available at the time we booked the cruise. We arrived at the dining room to a long line and after an hour wait to be seated, we almost left. As we went through the dining room, we noticed several open tables. The people we were seated with had cruised Holland America before, even on the same ship and were outraged at how we were all being treated at the dining room. If they are going to have open seating, they need to figure out a way to accommodate everyone somehow. No drinks or appetizers were offered to anyone while we waited. Again, we told the waiter about our son's birthday and after reminding him twice, we did receive a birthday cake. Not much fun! From then on until the last night, we ate on the Lido deck. The food was just as good and the lines were much shorter. I also decided to try my luck at the casino. I didn't really understand the way that you have to use your room card to put money on it and how to transfer it, etc. I just pulled out my card from the machine and thought the money was just automatically put on your card, but it is not. The next person that used the machine I was on, received my money to play with. I asked the Casino manager and he said that there was nothing they could do even though they track everything through your card. I went and spoke to the front desk and they tried to help, but the casino is a separate part of the ship. On the last night of the cruise, I was passing through the casino and they flagged me down to give me my money back. They said they had called me, but I never received any message. The way they treated me was not right even though I received my money back. I could keep going on and on about different things that happened on the ship, but I would be writing for a long time. Many of the people on the ship were first time cruisers and I am sorry that their experience was not better. Holland America needs to check into all these problems and do something about it. 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

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