4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was easy port to drive to and we wanted to celebrate my Mom’s 75th birthday on 02/26. The itinerary was round trip out of San Diego and the port stops were Cabo, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta. We stayed in a Signature Suite. There were 3 adults in our room, one of whom used a rollator to get around off ship and used a cane to get around on ship. It was my first time sailing Holland America and some of the cruise critic postings made me wonder if this was the right line/ship for us. It turns out we had a great time. We bought the Thermal Suite spa passes and spent several hours relaxing there each day. We only made it to a couple of the shows, but we entertained ourselves with many hands of pinochle, thermal spa visits, reading on the balcony, and generally relaxing. In fact, we came home, and we all agreed that we wished it had been longer and we were ready for the next cruise. Pros: The smaller ship size meant that the buffet wasn’t too crazy and we always managed to sit in the same general area. The buffet was generally good and I was worried that the fact they had to serve many dishes v self serve would slow down the process, but it didn’t bother me on the ship. We liked the pool deck layout with so much space devoted to tables instead of loungers. It made it more useful for us. Cons: Main dining room food was pretty bland. I tried ordering some spicier dishes, but they always came out barely spiced. We would sail Holland America again if the price/itinerary was right for us. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We like the convenient departure from San Diego, the port call at Puerto Vallarta and Holland America hospitality. Cabo and Mazatlán were ok but nothing special. The food quality and variety was very good in the dining room and on the ... Read More
We like the convenient departure from San Diego, the port call at Puerto Vallarta and Holland America hospitality. Cabo and Mazatlán were ok but nothing special. The food quality and variety was very good in the dining room and on the Lido deck. One should have hamburger and fries at least once in the voyage. Formal dinners were enjoyed, especially the steak and lobster. The musical entertainment in the ships showroom, Lincoln Center, BB King venue was excellent and the comedian was very funny. There was a good selection of movies available but I did miss CNN, they had MSNBC and FOX.The embarkation and disembarkation was well organized and ran smoothly. We had a midship verandah room which was comfortable and clean. The Oosterdam is a very nice vessel and this was our 8th cruise with three on Holland America. The clientele are definitely on the mature side. I did read a book but did find the ships library to be on the meager side. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, ... Read More
As a 4 star mariner (loyalty level), I was very disappointed in the small changes that have occurred to HAL over the last 5 to 10 years. I have come to expect a better experience and was just disappointed by the food quality and generally, employees that just were doing their job. There were a couple of employees that were outstanding, but overall, they had already left for the day. The food quality has decreased, even in the Pinnacle which is more expensive and has less offerings. Attempted to eat in the dining room with any time dining, but if you don't have a set reservation time on the first day. You will wait. The hydro spa was broken for 2 days, no refund. Offered a leg massage instead. I did not go on any excursions. I have found in the past that generally the ships tours are overpriced, crowded and slow. The entertainment at night has increased, but it all seems to be at the same time. Signature of excellence (last slogan) has died. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
For those that are very critical about everything, quit cruising. You will always be disappointed. This was our 164th Voyage. 10th on HAL. We took our kids and 9 month old granddaughter. Staff and Crew were very friendly and never ... Read More
For those that are very critical about everything, quit cruising. You will always be disappointed. This was our 164th Voyage. 10th on HAL. We took our kids and 9 month old granddaughter. Staff and Crew were very friendly and never did we see any one unhappy. We saw many unhappy and crabby passengers who complained about everything. We got glares from so many passengers when we were with our granddaughter. Yes, things were not perfect. But, never are. Ship needs to be updated, but clean and very nice. We had adjoining balcony cabins and were adequate. Embarkation took 10 minutes and disembarking took 20 minutes. Very well organized and quick. Thank you for all of the very negative reviews. It really made this cruise much better than expected. Lido was lacking, but tasty. Food was the usual cruise food. Some great, some so so. But, that was what we expected. Watch out for " Cruise Critic" taking the critical part way to seriously. Treat staff and crew the way you want to be treated. They work to make your cruise special and work many hours. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our ... Read More
We enjoy San Diego and had not done the Mexican Riviera before. We enjoyed the cruise but would likely not choose to do this particular one again - once was sufficient. We only did one excursion, choosing otherwise just to explore on our own. Of the 3 ports visited Puerto Vallarta was our favorite. Cabo was just too touristy, and we didn't really get a chance to see the place as we did an excursion there so there was no time to see the city. We are now rather spoiled and always choose a Neptune Suite when possible for the roominess and perks that go with them. I would say that the food is consistently good, and the portions are a sensible size. (You can always order more if you like.) We like the fixed seating option so you get to know some new friends and the wait staff get to know you. However, fixed seating seems to be becoming less and less popular. This time we requested a table for 6 (our usual choice) but there were only 4 at the table, and more often than not there were just the 2 of us there. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day ... Read More
Be prepared if you expect luxury because my comparison of this ship is that it was more like a passenger ferry than a cruise ship.--I just wrote to Holland America to explain my decision to leave the ship on day five of a seven day itinerary, A little history on me--I have done about thirty five cruises, three previously with Holland America on the Nieuw Amsterdam, Koningsdam and Eurodam--these ships were beautiful. When I booked the Oosterdam, I thought I would have a similar ship to the Eurodam (which I only did four months ago) but was shocked at the state of it: on my of my facebook postings, I stated "I am on a ship a few sailings away from the scrapyard" and it was not an exaggeration. The crew were exceptional in trying to maintain the cleanliness but there comes a point that the effort to keep up an appearance is all in vain, which was the case here, and I feel so bad for those hard working people. Unlike the other ships that had nice light, warm inviting colours, one entered into this one facing dark, drab maroon and blue--very 70s retro. As I walked down the hall to my cabin what was the most noticeable was the smell of dampness, then looking at the carpets, on most all decks, they were water stained. Not little ones here or there but the stains were making their own pattern in the carpets! The room--same drab colours, a couch that was threadbare and the arm rest black (mixed into the maroon) with dirt, the bathtub so worn that my initial reaction to all the nicks was a slight heart palpitation because I thought they were insects. The water temperature in the shower never got above luke-warm, the light fixture behind the bed was broken, about to fall off, one light needed replacing and the coffee table lever was broken so it was left in the highest position. To me it felt like the ship must be on a scheduled dry-dock sometime soon because all effort to make it look somewhat presentable was gone. Others on board seemed to enjoy it, and I am glad they could make the most of it, but with all these cruises under my belt, I felt the need to place this review for a) frequent cruisers like myself who have a certain expectation of cleanliness and a small standard of basic working order of things and b) for those who might be spending hard earned money for a first-time cruise---my advice, do another ship or wait to see if this one ever gets upgraded. In Cabos I went to the Walmart there to buy more cleaning supplies to try to get that "dirty" feeling out of my room but by Mazatlan, I knew that I could not do those last two days at sea, researched the contract, confirmed with the ship that I could depart in PV and that is what I did. I booked a hotel in PV, new flights up to my final vacation destination and set the wheels in motion. Note--if one chooses to go this option, expect a change in attitude from the front desk staff from sweet and polite to rather blunt. Further, when I first inquired as to being allowed to stay on-board until noon I was told no problem but by 7pm on the last night, a letter arrived to my room informing me that at 7:45 am the following morning I must report to the Immigration officers on-board with my luggage (normal procedure) but I had to depart the ship immediately after---there went the welcome. Too add insult to injury, they did not even communicate my departure with the security officers on Deck A so after I cleared the Mexican Customs on board, the security staff still pulled me to one side to "verify" that I was allowed to leave. I had a few choice words for them on that topic. The ports I have been to before---San Diego, to begin is a beautiful city and I will go there again. The first sea day, and on Western based cruises this is to be expected, it was freezing and wet! Cabos uses tenders so be prepared for a bit of a line-up to get on one unless you have an excursion. Coming back close to noon a very intoxicated woman sat next to me and practically passed out on my shoulder going back to the ship--I had to wonder how much she drank so early in the morning?! Mazatlan, though it did not have a tendering system because it was docked at a cargo port, meant that one still had to wait for little shuttle trolleys to take passengers from the ship to the cruise building. The town itself was lovely and I took the local bus over to the hotel zone to find a Starbucks to get a coffee and good wireless. The malecon in Mazatlan is miles long and very scenic--loved it. PV--I have been there many times on land vacations and though the ship docks close to the hotel zone and 7 peso bus ride can take anyone into the historic part in about 20 mins for each direction. Overall, I would use Holland America again, especially one of the past three ships I enjoyed, but the lesson I learned this time, even after all my cruises is that any future cruise I take, I have to research the ship more closely, in particular--the date it was built and when it was refurbished! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which ... Read More
This 7 day HAL cruise from San Diego seemed a great way to get some sunshine and warmer weather. We enjoyed all three ports. As we had visited and taken tours on a past cruise, this trip we opted for taxis and trips to the beach which worked out well and cost a lot less. The service on the ship was excellent but that’s what we have come to expect from HAL. We enjoyed the food in the Lido and main dining room and had great service with one exception where the waiter mixed up and forgot some orders. Oh well, 6/7 is pretty good. We had open dining this cruise and chose to sit at larger tables where we met a variety of interesting people. The entertainment was great and we really enjoyed the cooking shows in America’s Test Kitchen. The Oosterdam is an older ship and could do with some refurbishment but our ocean view cabin was in pretty good shape, tub and tv looked new and our cabin steward was very efficient. We were very happy with our trip and paid a deposit on a future cruise as we are definitely sailing with HAL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
I have been on a bunch of Royal Caribbean cruises, in watching Scott singer's cruises I was wanting to get back to cruising again, but wanted to try Holland America, since the port is so close to me it's a great trip to go ... Read More
I have been on a bunch of Royal Caribbean cruises, in watching Scott singer's cruises I was wanting to get back to cruising again, but wanted to try Holland America, since the port is so close to me it's a great trip to go without flying! I was very pleased on how the overall cruise was, for me this one was for just relaxing and spending to some quality time with my daughter as well. this cruise was just my daughter and myself. I must say very happy the way Holland does there cruises, the service and food it what stood out to me. yeah this this line doesn't have the rock climbing wall, wave machine etc, but it is the old style of cruising of which I cherish. Without having to fly it was easier to upgrade the room to the Signature Suite! I love the layout of these suites, having a daughter go,makesthe bathroom double sink a bigger deal than I thought! plenty of room to spread out in the bathroom, plus having a separate shower was big deal too! Balcony - I always love being out on it. tough to cruise without a balcony, so I guess that's what happens when you get upgraded you can never go back to a regular room! overall I love Holland America, will be a customer for sure! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2018
We altus loved Holland American Cruises and continued to take them because we felt they were worth the money for a wonderful7 day cruise. The Oosterdam needs updating. The outside chairs on the Promenade deck were all soiled and not ... Read More
We altus loved Holland American Cruises and continued to take them because we felt they were worth the money for a wonderful7 day cruise. The Oosterdam needs updating. The outside chairs on the Promenade deck were all soiled and not appealing to sit on. Our cabin was awful. The crew was great, the food was good and the entertainment was top notch. Dinner in the Pinnacle Grill was special and the service was excellent. We took the spa package which was worth the money and enjoyed. Having a cabin that was not in good shape for a week where we slept and got changed our clothes ruined our taste for Holland America for future cruising. We have taken this same cruise 7 times on Princess, Celebrity and Holland America and preferred Holland America until we took the Oosterdam. I have notified Holland America guest services and sent a copy to Orlando Ashford, the President of Holland America, expressing my opinion about our cruise. It will be interesting to see their reply. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with ... Read More
I'd sailed happily on the Westerdam last year 5 times to Mexico, but its sister ship was disappointing. The crew seems to be dispirited and bored, more interested in chatting with their fellow Filipinos or Indonesians instead of with passengers. The Explorations Cafe barista is downright surly, with never a smile or a thank you, something I've never seen on Holland before. After 3 cruises on Carnival in the past month, greeted in the dining room by charming hostesses from 5 different countries, it was disappointing to see nothing but male Indonesians on Holland. My image of the dining room went to zero when I went to use the restroom next to the dining room one morning, only to be chased away by security, who had a table set up stacked with urine sample bottles. There was also a line-up of miserable-looking crew waiting to be drug tested. Has anyone ever seen drug testing done in a public area of a hotel, restaurant, or any other business? Would you continue patronizing a restaurant that would display to patrons urine jars at its entrance? Well, I'm not, I cancelled the 3 other Holland cruises I had scheduled this Spring. The second big fail was having surly contractors close off sections of the promenade outside deck for the entire cruise, from 8-6, so nobody could do laps, run, or relax, without having to turn around and go the other way. Several days they closed off sections on both sides, including 10 minutes before the charity walk they do on the last sea day. There was apparently no oversight of these contractors and no attempt to balance desires of the passengers to enjoy unimpeded access to the promenade versus their maintenance needs--on other ships they saved major maintenance work for port days. Everyone on the ship acted and sounded bored, from the lifeless cruise director on down. The same singers and dancers were doing the same dull, plotless shows I saw 6 months ago on an Alaska cruise (why can't cruise lines do like Norwegian and Vegas and put on 1-hour versions of Broadway shows?) As usual on Holland, the only people who were truly friendly were the Lido servers and the room stewards, along with the jolly captain, bragging about the beautiful, elegant Oosterdam (well, other than the bottles of pee outside the dining room). It's definitely a shock going back to Holland after Carnival. Mobility carts everywhere, older couples bickering like George Costanza's parents everywhere. Despite the tattoos and trashiness of Carnival, I think I had more fun there, the crew seemed to enjoy life more, there was music everywhere (not the corporatized piano duo and classical quartet playing the same programs on every cruise), and Carnival fulfills what it promises, whereas Holland just seems to project faux elegance to gloss over its money-grabbing and upselling. The lack of crew diversity and gender equality is disappointing (if you're not a male Indonesian you can't work as a dining room server or room steward). With every activity on Holland now tied to some corporate partnership, everything is now standardized, so I'll see the same piano and classical programs, the same cooking demonstrations and Oprah/BBC lectures on every Holland cruise, so there's nothing new or original. More and more Lido and outside deck space is being closed off by cabanas that I've never seen anyone use (even the airlines aren't stupid enough to try to raise money by putting a tent cover over a seat--at least not yet). Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
Four of us sailed from San Diego on January 3, 2018 on the upgraded Oosterdam. Having sailed on her years ago, I was, with one exception, pleasantly surprised. HAL has always had good service, and on this cruise the dining room staff was ... Read More
Four of us sailed from San Diego on January 3, 2018 on the upgraded Oosterdam. Having sailed on her years ago, I was, with one exception, pleasantly surprised. HAL has always had good service, and on this cruise the dining room staff was extremely understaffed. They soldiered on but it was the slowest service I have had in 28 cruises. One of the staff told me that part of the problem was that the Oosterdam was going in to dry dock and that some of the employees had ben assigned elsewhere in anticipation. Now for the good stuff: the parts of the ship they have remodeled are just beautiful, particularly the Atrium ( don't miss happy hour by the piano,) the dining room, and the buffet area. 10 years ago the ship looked like it was decorated by a clown with garish orange, purple and red primary colors. Also, we sprung for a signature suite and it was outstanding, particularly with the large tv and on demand movies. I used to bring my own coffee and French press on board but there is no longer that need; the new coffee is quite good. The food as a whole was better than the other 5 HAL cruises I have enjoyed. A highlight was Lincoln Center at sea, where a piano quintet played a couple of times per day; the five ladies were so very talented, and the concerts were quite well attended. Also, the new Billboard on Board was terrific for those of us who love piano bars. Unlike in the old days, everyone who wanted to could find a seat; one nit is that the casino is next-door and way too loud, annoying those of us enjoying the musicians. The BBC Earth focused game shows were fun, and the MainStage video of the Arctic poles, with accompanying live music was a highlight. The ships shows were mediocre otherwise. Every morning I would take coffee up to the Crows Nest, which is so comfortable and do the NY Times crossword puzzle. It was so civilized. In summary, if the Oosterdam gets back to standard HAL service, it is a wonderful ship, and HAL should be commended for fixing most of the problems, and enhancing the experience for those of us who drifted to Celebrity and Princess simply because the old ships were ugly. I look forward to trying the other Vista Class ships once they are upgraded like the Oosterdam and Westerdam have been. Read Less
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
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
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Just got off Oct 7th (2017) Mexican Riviera cruise, and couldn't be more impressed with the updates to the Oosterdam. This is the fifth time we sailed on her, and she looks like a new build. We were in a Neptune suite, with a ... Read More
Just got off Oct 7th (2017) Mexican Riviera cruise, and couldn't be more impressed with the updates to the Oosterdam. This is the fifth time we sailed on her, and she looks like a new build. We were in a Neptune suite, with a gorgeous 55" LCD TV, tons of power outlets and USB jacks next to the bed, with updated furniture and bathroom with dual sinks and separate shower/bath combo. Embarkation went smoothly, as were let onto the ship at about 11:40. Lunch for Mariners was in the main dining room - also refurbished with nice chairs and tables. Dining: I started on a partly vegetarian kick, (eating meat only two days a week) and was pleased to see a separate vegetarian menu, as well as some very nice selections available every meal. We loved that HAL still allows us to have traditional dining, and we loved having our waiters and wine steward remember having our favorite drinks ready for us. My grand-niece (5) had to have a fruit plate every night, and our waiters made sure it was ready the moment we sat down. HAL has IMHO been cutting down the serving sizes on their meals, but as I have been getting older, it seems like I still can't finish everything. The surf and turf night is really popular, and my nephew ordered multiple lobster tails and filets. One of the best places to grab a lunch is the Dive In burger and hot dog spot near the pool. The fries are fantastic, as are the Nathan's hot dogs and the variations of burgers. Wish they were open later in the evening, FYI the burgers are available from room service 24/7. The Lido provides the usual cruise buffet choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and a limited service for late night (10:30 - midnight). Very impressed at how nice and tidy the service stations were, makes the food more appetizing. Entertainment: The showroom was also updated with a huge LED backdrop video screen and multiple moving screens, all high resolution. The new dance numbers make very effective use of the panels - better than many Las Vegas shows IMO. The comedian and the magician/comedian were pretty good, although I remember seeing the comedian before (Andrew Kennedy). The casino was also upgraded, with lots of new slot machines and new felt on all the tables with some new games like Texas holdem bonus and a new 3 card poker variation called prime. Ports: We were surprised that the Las Caletas trip in Puerto Vallarta had only 3 tickets left, so my wife and I grabbed 2. The lunch buffet at LC was one of memorable meals of our trip. I bought an up-sold scuba dive on the catamaran on the way there. The dive was not offered by HAL, but my experience with the tour helped. I'm an advanced diver so with 2 other "C" card divers we went down with a dive master to see some submerged boat wrecks about 60' down. Mazatlan was fun, as we hired a van driver for a custom 3 hour tour for $20 a person. In Cabo, we made the mistake of trying to find the glass blowing factory near the tender point that was on the ship's shopping map. It hasn't been there for several years. We ended up taking cab to the real glass shop. Despite the error, we had a good time and bought some nice drinking glasses and napkin holders. Summary: Although we recently visited the same ports in March with a different line, we love the consistent service and quality of the HAL ships. And with the recent refurbishment of the Oosterdam, this short cruise ranked as one of our favorites (after 26 overall cruises). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2011
DH and I are both in our late 60's with some mobility problems. We chose this 7-day trip as our "practice" cruise. This was DH's first cruise and my first cruise as an adult. Our cabin, VB 6080, was mid-ship and ... Read More
DH and I are both in our late 60's with some mobility problems. We chose this 7-day trip as our "practice" cruise. This was DH's first cruise and my first cruise as an adult. Our cabin, VB 6080, was mid-ship and close to the elevators. It was clean and had plenty of storage. Our stewards were friendly and accommodating. I had asked our TA to request a fan per a cruisecritic suggestion. It was in the room when we arrived and I never needed to use it. The AC and heat worked perfectly. And as everyone knows...the beds are super comfortable. We ate in the Pinnacle Grill, the Lido Buffet, the Canaletto and the Vista Dining Room where we had open-seating. The food was very good and so was the service. We always requested a table for 4 or 6 and had great visits with our variety of table-mates. Before I get labeled as a total "cheerleader"....I will report that one man had a tough piece of steak in the MDR (which he should have returned) and we will never forget our first breakfast when a lady at our table announced "it was the worst cruise ever". If I hadn't read months of pros and cons on cruisecritic....I might have take her seriously. Instead it was pretty funny...!!! I hadn't even considered signing up for any of the spa services. However, that very first day we toured thru the hydro-pool and the thermal spa room and purchased the one week program for $199, Laying in the hydro-pool was so relaxing. We also liked using the walk-in showers in the dressing rooms. Sure hope that was one-way glass....??? We watched a few shows, played bingo once, sunbathed on the observation deck, shopped in Puerto Vallarta and basically had a very nice cruise. Was every single thing perfect..?? No. I did see a worn spot in the Explorer's Lounge. Thought about taking a photo and posting it on youtube. Decided it really didn't spoil our cruise tho... The only thing I would do differently was when we were leaving the ship. They announced that wheelchair passengers should exit at another area and since we both use canes we proceeded to use the main gangway and it was really too steep. Luckily a nice HAL volunteer came to my rescue and helped me with my carry-on bag. Lesson learned. 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
Sail Date: December 2011
My husband (51) & I (47) have been on about 15 cruises and this is our 2nd HAL cruise - last being on the Zuiderdam when I turned 40. Our other cruises have been on CCL, Princess, RCI, NCL, etc. We have been to the Mexican Riviera ... Read More
My husband (51) & I (47) have been on about 15 cruises and this is our 2nd HAL cruise - last being on the Zuiderdam when I turned 40. Our other cruises have been on CCL, Princess, RCI, NCL, etc. We have been to the Mexican Riviera many times. We drove from Central Calif on Friday and stayed at the Holiday Inn Bayside about 3 miles from the ship pier. We got transfered to the pier about 1:15 and were onboard in about 30 minutes. Our VB balcony was a decent location near the aft and was a nice assignment from our VH guarantee booked just a couple of weeks before the cruise departed. The cabin was fairly clean with the exception of sand on the couch and stains on the carpet. Our room steward Rio was very nice and friendly and always remembered our names. We had towel animals most nights. I appreciated the large drawer under the bed and the two underneath the couch. We did rent two DVDs to watch and although everything in the booklet shows delivery we had to go to guest services to pick up and drop off because we were told it would be 1-2 hours and didn't want to wait. We attended the cruise critics meet & mingle on Sunday morning. We have never had open dining before and we decided to try it. The first four nights we had the SLOWEST service I have ever experienced on a cruise. These were all at different tables in different sections of the dining room. There were no smiles, no friendliness and the meals took well over 2 hours. Our tablemates complained to the maitre'd the first night and he put us all at a table by the window with a reservation the 2nd night with the same issues. We tried to get reservations at Canaletto's but couldn't until Friday night at 8pm. The 5th night we finally got a great waiter in AA from Bali and we enjoyed his fabulous service the last 3 nights when we requested his section with our reservations. Many people we spoke with had similar slow service in open seating. As we had been to these ports before we just walked around the Malecon. My husband did the hike on the first day and really enjoyed it but said it should have been rated a 4/4 in difficulty due to steepness. In Cabo we went to see the Dreams Resort as I have clients getting married there next summer. The weather was nice in both ports but a little cool in PV so we didn't go in the ocean. We enjoyed the 2 production shows and the Joel Mason Elton John show. There was a comedian one night in the smaller lounge that was very funny as was the Marriage Show. During the Marriage Show, the cruise director Michael, actually announced to the audience that he preferred men - not a surprise by the way. The other lounges played primarily music that catered to the majority over 60 crowd with the piano bar, string quartet, trio for dancing, etc. The nightclub was lightly attended but we did dance one night there when they had music from different decades from the 70's & 80's. The Explorations Cafe was nice but the books I wanted to read were considered "Reference books" and couldn't be removed from the library. We didn't use the spa or any of the cooking shows or computer classes so can't speak to those. Overall the experience was positive and I will definitely cruise HAL again but maybe in the Caribbean where the crowd will be a bit younger and maybe more lively entertainment options. 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: November 2011
I will start this review by noting that our cruise was the unfortunate cruise that followed the three passengers becoming gravely ill in Hawaii and was therefore shortened by a day. This shortened itinerary significantly impacted this ... Read More
I will start this review by noting that our cruise was the unfortunate cruise that followed the three passengers becoming gravely ill in Hawaii and was therefore shortened by a day. This shortened itinerary significantly impacted this cruise and made many aspects feel rushed but that is the worst thing I can say about this cruise. Staff Since we were both first-time cruisers we of course have nothing to compare our cruise to but the Holland America staff were nothing short of amazing! The people working on this ship were so incredibly warm and genuine smiles were abundant in every venue. They not only served us well but remembered our names and many of our preferences. Our room stewards Thofa and Sapto were like "ninjas" quietly slipping into our room when were weren't there and taking care of every last detail. For instance somehow our ice bucket was ALWAYS full no matter the time of day. You would see the same people working in the Lido Buffet in the morning and at lunch and many of them again at dinner in the main dining room. It was apparent that none of the staff sleep much! Everyone from food service to bartenders even shop staff were friendly and obviously recognized you. We kept running into this very nice young man named Adi that would just light up when he saw us and was very sweet. This kept happening everywhere we went. Anyone that says anything bad about these people needs to have their head examined. Food Venues I will start with the Lido Buffet. The food here is good and is of course abundant. With the exception of dinner the choices don't change much if at all. Once you've eaten there a couple of days you pretty much are eating the same things. If you want variety the main dining room is your best bet. Still for breakfast and lunch you can't go wrong as it is quick and you get what you want. The Lido Buffet is of course not far from the Lido Pool and the Terrace Grill. This is an excellent alternative for lunch as they serve made to order hamburgers, veggie burgers, and hot dogs. From the second day forward there was also a buffet table set up outside the Terrace Grill with Mexican themed foods such as tamales, nachos, tacos, etc. Very tasty and interestingly enough just about the only food offered that was themed to our itinerary. The Vista Dining Room (main dining room) was elegant and the service exemplary. We chose open dining as we did not want to be locked into one dining time as there is so much to do on the ships. This was an excellent choice as we met the most wonderful people on board and ended up dining with them throughout the remainder of our cruise. By the last night I think our table grew to over 9 people! The food was wonderful and as is the theme ABUNDANT. You can order as many appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, and deserts as you want and we did! We both gained over 5 lbs! Eeek! We also ate breakfast in the Vista Dining Room one time and it was excellent. The only reason we didn't eat breakfast there more often was the Lido Buffet was just quicker and more convenient for us. We had coffee and danishes delivered to our stateroom every morning. This worked out well (too well) as it became our wake up call. The food and coffee was always the right temperature and was very good. One note on this, they have you choose a time frame to have the food delivered. If we chose between 6:30 and 7:00 it would generally be delivered between 6:00 and 6:30, waking us up. While this was a nice way to ensure we were up on time it never failed they would knock on our door before our alarm went off. I certainly cannot fault them for being late! Skip the dessert extravaganza in my opinion. The desserts were just ok. In short food is abundant, generally good, and usually the correct temperature. Occasionally a dish would be a bit cold (you don't have to eat it, there is more where that came from) but overall very good. The cruise line's weak point seems to be anything made from bread. Bread and cake items tended to be hard, dry, or very dense. I suppose this is the danger from producing food at such great quantities. Entertainment Venues There are a lot of bars on this ship with an atmosphere to suit just about anyone's taste. The drinks are priced pretty much the same as land-based bars and they will make anything for you, just ask! The only venue we didn't really check out was the Piano Bar but the couple of times we poked our head in there everyone seemed to be having a great time! I highly suggest getting beverage cards as this keeps the dreaded bill you receive at the end of your cruise in check. We had a credit at the end of our cruise and this was a rare exception to the many people we spoke to. We went to 4 shows in the Vista Lounge during our cruise and enjoyed all but one. Joel Mason (I believe that was his name) did an excellent Eagles tribute the first night but when he did a comedy act on the third we found the humor tacky and not terribly funny. Many left during that performance. The Holland America singers and dancers were amazing and so entertaining. Catch as many shows with them as you can. DJ Brett kept the Northern Lights disco hopping every night with great music from all decades and was a lot of fun. He came out many times to boogie with all of us and was super funny. Truly enjoyed going here and closed it twice! Shopping This is an area that suffers a bit on this ship in my opinion. While the staff is wonderful and the products generally high quality it is a very small area and therefore selection is limited. There is a fine jewelry and watch area, a Holland America branded merchandise area, a venue that changes depending on the traveling "show" that is on that cruise (ours was colored glass jewelry), a small makeup and perfume/cologne area, and a liquor area. In addition to this there is a separate fine jewelry store the showcased different designers. While this may seem extensive they have gone to great trouble to make shopping more about the $300 and over merchandise than anything else so if you like us are shopping for souvenirs and personal items you may find the selection to be pretty limited. Also there was scarcely few items specific to our itinerary. Enrichment Classes On this shortened itinerary we couldn't attend as many of these as we would have liked. The ones we did attend were hit and miss unfortunately. My significant other attended a workshop on shopping in Puerto Vallarta that ended up being an advertisement for their diamond and tanzanite jewelry store partner in Puerto Vallarta, which he found to be a complete waste of time. We both attended a mixology class next to the Lido pool that showcased some of our bartenders making drinks in a very entertaining way and taught us how to make three of their signature drinks. This was entertaining, informative, and you get to try all three drinks they teach you how to make. For $12.50 this was very worth the money IMO. We were so enamored by our little towel animals that we attended a towel folding class the last day of our trip. While this ended up basically being a way to sell a towel folding instruction book it was fun and it was amazing watching the cabin stewards quickly make these towel animals. We bought the book for about $14 and they signed it. Makes a great souvenir. Pools The Lido Pool was a must the first day as it was cold outside and windy at the Aft Pool. The Lido Pool had a lot of children so not for someone seeking peace and quiet. Once we were further down the Mexican coast (around Cabo) the air temperature went up significantly and the Aft pool was full with adults only. We spent a great deal of time here. Speaking of Cabo we had an unscheduled stop in Cabo due to a crew member needing medical assistance. This did not impact our cruise but provided an unexpected preview to this wonderful place. We sincerely hope the crew member is ok. Cruise Stops I'm going to start this by commenting on excursions. TAKE THEM. The reason I say this is the stops are so short if you venture out on your own you could end up with a stop like we had in Puerto Vallarta. I had already been there so we opted for a cab ride to the Malecon to do some shopping and made our way down to some friends on a beach area known as "Blue Chairs". The shopping was a complete bust as was the food along the Malecon, the prices they wanted for their merchandise was ridiculous! We've had better Mexican food at taco shops in San Diego and the vendors weren't haggling at all (likely due to two cruise ships being in port). By the time we got to the blue chairs our day was more than half over and we only got a couple hours on the beach. We had a great time but since a second day that was supposed to happen at this stop was cancelled we felt like we were running to get everything in. Not at all relaxing. We took the Chilean Bar snorkeling tour in Cabo and every aspect of it was amazing. The catamaran was beautiful, the crew was wonderful, and the snorkeling was so incredible. The water here is a beautiful azure blue and the fish and reefs were so very beautiful. On the way back they served endless drinks and snacks. This was easily the highlight of our vacation and was reasonable given all that was included. Once we got back to land we went to Cabo Wabo for margaritas and lunch and shopped our way back to the ship. The food was good (if not a bit expensive) but again the shopping was a bust. Too expensive. Still because we took the excursion we felt like we accomplished something and had a wonderful day. We will definitely return to Cabo! Oosterdam Final Thoughts Many have said the ship is dated and tired. In some aspects they are correct and I guess if you look for bad things you'll see them. There was evidence of worn cushions and one of our friends had torn drapes in their cabin along with a somewhat worn couch. Our room was in better shape but our veranda room was designed for a maximum of 2 people while theirs slept up to 4 I believe. This seemed to make a difference. Our cabin 8105 was on the top cabin deck and was so conveniently located to the elevators, Lido Buffet, and Aft pool. Overall though the ship is in great repair and there was someone cleaning, painting or doing some kind of maintenance all day and all night. I would gladly cruise on her again if she wasn't leaving San Diego indefinitely next year. Someone said a cruise in what you make it and they are so right. Go aboard looking for a great vacation and I assure you the Oosterdam, Holland America, and their wonderful crew will give you just that. Go aboard looking for deficiencies and you will most certainly find them. My advice don't look for deficiencies. Have a good time, we did and booked our next cruise to the Southern Caribbean. We look forward to seeing you there! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
Oosterdam is beginning to show its age, but neither more nor less than any other ship from the early 2000's with only a single refurbishment. Cuisine choices are good to excellent, though the open seating option seems to present ... Read More
Oosterdam is beginning to show its age, but neither more nor less than any other ship from the early 2000's with only a single refurbishment. Cuisine choices are good to excellent, though the open seating option seems to present problems for both the kitchen and the waitstaff. The Canaletto option is inexpensive but good, while the Pinnacle can be either very good or superb. The hotel is once again under the direction of Mr. Deering, with whom we sailed on the same itinerary back in 2005. Our only problem was a somewhat chaotic debarkation owing to delays presented by Customs and Immigration. This ship is definitely not in direct competition with either Disney Wonder or Carnival Splendor on the same route. It is not as noisy and crowded as the Splendor or best suited to families as is the Wonder. In short, it is the only solid standard medium-priced all purpose ship for a wide variety of guests in this market. We had few problems either on board or at the two ports visited. A large contingent of physically challenged passengers was in evidence, which could have been problematic but was not. A typical senior on a walker jumped three feet into the arms of a crewman as our tender heaved upwards at Cabo. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2011
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on ... Read More
First and foremost I will start off as - no question - I had fun since went with my friends. That was my objective - spend time with close friends, sun, read, and eat lots of good food. I have been on the Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival before. Due to hurricane we were diverted to Catalina (Come on! Catalina? Seriously? Who pays for a 7 day cruise to stop in Catalina?!) The weather may not be the cruise line's fault - but for the "Holland America brand" you would think they could have picked something else - like say - stay in Cabo for 2 days? We stopped in La Paz on the other day. La Paz is the cleanest city in Mexico I have ever seen. I will probably go back there for a week on my own someday. Cabo is excellent as always! My biggest complaint about cruising to Cabo - why does it always have to be the shortest port stay??? There were 6 of us all together in our group - all age ranges. I was VERY disapointed in this cruise and Holland America. This brand isn't even remotely luxury as was expected. The food is horrible. I've sailed Carnival 3 times and their food was so much better in selections and options. And I believe people's first complaint about Carnival is the food - so that's how bad it is on this ship. While we had a few bright spots (Maha in dining room was lovely, our room steward was excellent, and another waiter in the bar where we met every night made our nightly before dinner meet for drinks very nice) the rest of the service was lacking. Especially the lido deck. My first thought was no incentive for them to even clear plates and refill drinks. And how do you have a Taco special on the deck but out of tacos? Room service is very prompt and on top of it. But that's all I can say for that - zip selection - and zip taste. My best friend (her first cruise) and I splurged and got a balcony on the Rotterdam deck. While the balcony was beautiful - you cannot help leaving with that bad taste in your mouth of such good money wasted for nothing. We could have just flown to Cabo for the week much cheaper and guaranteed good food. On our way off we talked to two guys on our floor who we never met before who were complaining about what a waste of money this cruise is, now that makes us 6 plus two more. How many more? Oh and most of all - the shower is mostly warm, lukewarm and lots of intermitant cold water in between. Had to keep turning the shower off and let it run through the bath - I did not pay for 7 days of cold/lukewarm showers. Obviously the hot water doesn't reach that high up - or it's seriously out with everyone else showering for dinner. This ship looks and acts old. It seems like a cookie cutter ship. Nothing special about it. Important for non-smokers - not a lot of spots for smokers to go - and I certainly didn't appreciate having to have that smoke in my face all day long at the adult pool. No ventilation in the casino. You can't get away from it. On your balcony or on the deck. Sorry smokers - but all cruise ships need to adopt a smoke free environment. Clean air is first and foremost when sailing in the open waters! 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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