3 Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to South Pacific from Sydney (Australia)

Emabarkation Late embarkation due to previous cruise being a charter but as we arrived early we were on board before it got too busy. Leaving from temporary terminal at Barangaroo was not perfect but did the job. Our Cabin Our verandah ... Read More
Emabarkation Late embarkation due to previous cruise being a charter but as we arrived early we were on board before it got too busy. Leaving from temporary terminal at Barangaroo was not perfect but did the job. Our Cabin Our verandah was one of the smaller ones and did overlook the lifeboats if you looked straight down but this did not worry us. The room was comfortable, clean, tidy, plenty of storage space and in reasonably good condition considering they are occupied 365 days of the year. Suitcases arrived within a couple of hours of boarding. One of our Stewards, Ibrahim introduced himself and along with our other Steward, Yadi, were fantastic throughout our cruise, always friendly and eager to assist and kept our room in tip top shape. The Ship We don't have any other cruise to compare but we really liked the ship. We were not after the glitzy, resort style ship holding 3,000 + passengers, we wanted a more intimate shipboard feel and the Oosterdam delivered this. Yes in some spots the carpet was a little worn and some of the furniture looked as if it had been well used but overall she was in good condition and had a relaxed atmosphere. I really liked the ambience and style of the ship but occasionally you would look at a bit of art work or a piece of furniture and ask yourself 'what were they thinking', however this quirkiness only added to the whole experience. Dining Good to very good food keeping in mind the quantities required. No trouble getting a table for 2 in the MDR but personally preferred lunch in the MDR and dinner in the LIDO when it was much quieter. Breakfast was excellent, however very busy unless you were up early, but we never had problems finding a table. Service was good to excellent and always friendly. No problems getting service anywhere on the ship. Coffee For our next cruise we are already working out a way to take coffee bags on board and just using the hot water. Even in the Explorations Cafe my DH needed a triple shot latte to get something approximating a cup of coffee that was strong enough for our Australian coffee culture taste, but I think this is a cruise ship problem that is not restricted to HAL. Crew Lovely friendly people, never experienced a grumpy moment and I have to commend them, some of the passengers were AWFUL. The women (and men) at the front desk especially need commendation for their patience -- I would not have been so understanding. The Captain and staff were all around the ship. I commend the Captain for being approachable when it was found we had to miss our last port and race the cyclone, he kept us up to date and even held a Q&A in the Vista Lounge and took the hard questions from the people that were very unhappy (putting it mildly) at missing ports. However the majority of passengers present at the briefing IMO endorsed the Captain's decision to put safety before anything else. Ports Isle of Pines -- A beautiful spot, we basically disembarked went to the area for snorkelling and swam for most of the day. The beaches and island are truly lovely. Easau Lifou --We had to miss this port due to high winds. It is in a conservation area and they have a small patch in which to anchor next to a reef and if the winds are too high the Oosterdam could run aground on the reef and damage it. It was a beach stop which would have been nice. Port Vila, Vanuatu -- Very lush island and friendly people. This is a nation that struggles with poverty and as such welcomes cruise ships and tourism to assist with their economy. We took the ship sponsored round the island tour and it was a jam packed day. Suva -- Unfortunately we were there on a Sunday and a lot of the town was closed, I am sure if you had organised a tour outside the township you would have been fine. Dravuni Island -- This is a lovely slice of Paradise; the island only has 200 residents and lovely long beaches. You could walk around the pathways or sit on the beach and swim in the lovely clear waters (we chose the latter). We had arrived early but also had to depart early as the Captain had to leave at a certain time to start our run away from Cyclone Sandra. It was a lovely day. Sydney -- Our unexpected port due to arriving early ahead of the cyclone, we did not get off the ship as we wanted to enjoy our last day aboard but looking from all the ship vantage points over the lovely harbour of Sydney was a treat. For dinner that night we took our meal out onto the back pool deck as it was a balmy temperature and had the best seat in the house, the view was superb. Entertainment We are not party animals but noticed when we finished watching the late show in the Vista Lounge that there were still plenty of people wandering around. Overall we found the entertainment excellent; Shelly White the pianist was very entertaining. We saw most of the shows and the Oosterdam singers and dancers did a good job, a little cheesy at times but a lot of fun. The lead male singer especially had a great voice. Vivienne and the Hal Cats did an excellent job around the ship, I never heard them being too loud or screechy. Didn't have a chance to listen to Adagio but when we passed them by several times the area they were in was always full. Never went to the Piano Bar but that was because when we peeked in it was packed and no room for more, so he must have been okay. Passengers Mostly Australians and New Zealanders with a good sprinkling of Americans and Canadians. Quite a big group of Japanese and some from Europe. On the whole a friendly laid back lot, mainly mid 50's and up but still a good representation from the younger age groups who seemed to be enjoying themselves. Beverages (other than coffee) We found the ability to take on board as much wine as we liked fantastic. We had an excellent selection of what we like and in some cases drank it in our cabin or paid the $18 corkage, either way it was the best way for us to do our wine. Cocktails and beer were very well priced by Australian standards and I enjoyed my daily cocktail. The drinks waiters were all very friendly and always on hand if needed. Debarkation We opted for the later debarkation, relatively easy and quick. Went downstairs at our assigned time, small line up, checked off the ship and through customs in about 15 minutes. Overall Experience Loved it, one of the best holidays we have had, certainly the most relaxing even when running ahead of a cyclone. Have already booked on the Oosterdam again in October for the New Zealand trip. As we have only done one cruise we are not faithful to any one cruise line yet and looked at Celebrity and Princess for this trip, but the Oosterdam's itinerary is what sold us on going on her again and after enjoying this trip we have no problem with repeating our shipboard experience.   Read Less
Sail Date March 2013
We were an extended family group which included 6 children between 3 - 11 and 8 Adults 35 - 65, across 5 cabins. Oh yes - and we were all on our first cruise! The other members of our party were in cabins that had a window looking out ... Read More
We were an extended family group which included 6 children between 3 - 11 and 8 Adults 35 - 65, across 5 cabins. Oh yes - and we were all on our first cruise! The other members of our party were in cabins that had a window looking out to the sea, but my partner and I decided we wanted a bit of luxury and booked ourselves a balcony suite , which was absolute heaven! The Oosterdam was fantastic - particularly for the children who spent most of their time in the kids club , which they absolutely loved. We only ever really saw the children at meal times. Meal times in the formal dining room were fantastic - the waiters went out of their way to look after the kids and entertain them , they were sensational. The food was out of this world and catered so well to my partner's diabetes , he couldn't believe they made sensational deserts just for diabetics like him. We discovered an entire fridge of diabetic deserts up in the Lido dining area! Talking of the Lido , great food, from breakfast to supper. The French Onion Soup is to die for , and it is available every night in the main dining room (if you must have it every night). The Pinnacle Grill impressed my partner so very much , he said he had never tasted a better lobster tail in his life. Our cabin was 6069 on the Upper Veranda Deck. It was lovely having the veranda to go out and sit and watch the waves go by, or have a couple of other family member pop up and join us for a drink. The beds were sensational , extremely comfortable, and we were rocked to sleep every night. There was loads of cupboard space to fit all of our stuff, and the bathroom was a pretty good size too. The guys who looked after our cabin were fantastic and treated us to a different towel critter every night. I had expected to experience a little sea-sickness but didn't have any at all, which was pretty amazing given that we spent at least some of the cruise dodging cyclones. The only thing I would criticise is the coffee , it was dreadful. Even in the Explorations Lounge where you pay extra for it, it was horrible. We're going to take our own instant next time we go , yep it's THAT bad! Wow what a fantastic cruise, what a great crew, great food, extraordinarily relaxing, lovely friendly service staff and great cabins. I can't wait until December 2013. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
We had a lovely first time cruise with our disabled daughter on the Oosterdam. But like any holiday there were problems that we were unprepared for. The help that we received from most of the staff was exceptional. We managed to get a ... Read More
We had a lovely first time cruise with our disabled daughter on the Oosterdam. But like any holiday there were problems that we were unprepared for. The help that we received from most of the staff was exceptional. We managed to get a great deal of help to get her and the wheelchair onto a tender to go to the Isle of Pines and also off the ship at Vanuatu and Noumea. But what we couldn't get was information about the islands that we visited.We had no idea that the Isle of Pines had a sealed road for example. In Noumea the ship docked at the container wharf. We were told that shuttles would takes us to the city as we couldn't walk through the wharf. But the shuttle buses had 4 steps to get on board. Too bad if you are old or disabled. I had to enlist some strong passengers to lift her on the bus - everyone was helpful except the tour director in charge.She told me to ask the driver of the bus for help. The disabled stateroom was spacious and the bathroom had a walk-in shower. But the door to the room was heavy.The bed was lovely but quite high for transfer without lifting. The ship had great dining facilities and there was space to walk with a wheelchair inside and out. The pools were not accessible and the lovely spa pool in the brochures was not part of the "free pools". We did manage to use a spa pool that had two steps up - not an easy task. Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
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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