69 Tampa Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise because we love to end up at home, no travel day at the end. We had been on ship in January and you can view my rave review on this site. We loved the whole experience. It was an eye opener, all the changes in a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love to end up at home, no travel day at the end. We had been on ship in January and you can view my rave review on this site. We loved the whole experience. It was an eye opener, all the changes in a couple of months and not is a happy way. The positives: The staff, the service, the cabin attendants, the food, and the entertainment all wonderful. Professional, attentive, and appropriate to audience. After that you may think, what more is there on a cruise that's important - well fed and entertained by genuinely engaged people. The issues: The se Asian/Dutch colonial culture has suddenly gone. The differentiation from other midstream carnival lines has gone away. Good food, good entertainment - princess or celebrity, or royal Caribbean. Holland has always had a little Dutch colonial kind of niche but it has gone. Since January! No more, are there curries or Indonesian entrees on the dinner menu, yes some times available at lunch on lido but ... no Indonesian or Phillip into crew shows., no modified chongsams on lady servers. No Indonesian lunch. Apart from the cultural shift - the activities - well, new "when and where" except it has a daily insert which really/sort of tell you what's going on- but it's not dated so if it gets mixed with the other paper you receive daily, who knows what's going on. The majority of activities were cash driven. Never seen so many sidewalk junk sales, spa seminars, jewelry eminars, slot tournaments, wine tastings and art auctions . But minimal enrichment, BBC earth was great, but no engineer or about the Panama Canal before transit?! No bridge, no crafts, no photo contest, not much of anything. There seemed to be midmanagement problems starting with cruise director, no culinary arts person, no mariner hostess. Cruise director - very personable but ... if holland still has gala nights, maybe the cruise director should have a tux to respect the passengers who like to dress up?, maybe he should announce when the ship is cleared instead of telling us to sit tight , maybe his staff should not be loud and rude in the show lounge during performances. In San Diego, the senior management including the CEO got on - one would expect a kick up in the ambience on board - not so much. Not one of them ever communicated with the guests - as a group they were loud, obnoxious and drunk in public. Next time go to Vegas where no one knows you! However that would align the significant cultural change, Botoom line, we are 4 star mariners and are wondering why choose holland as all lines have good food, good entertainment, and good service. It's the differentiators that make it unique. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival ... Read More
Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. My spouse and I are 50. This would have and should have been a 5 star cruise...if not for the malfunctioning/ nonfunctioning stateroom toilet. Flew into Tampa the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City/Downtown Tampa. 5 stars for the Hampton Inn and would highly recommend. Clean, super friendly and helpful staff, a decent hot breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. Great location right at the end of 7th Ave where all the bars and restaurants are. A quirky area where we felt completely safe. Check out The Florida Cane Distillery for free samples of various flavored vodkas. Tasty! We bought some to bring home. Had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant which was very good, highly recommend. If we cruise out of Tampa again, we'll stay here again. Took the free hotel shuttle to the port at around 1100. Took approximately an hour to get onboard after going thru security and checking in. Stateroom was ready, clean and had a decent balcony with foot stools for each chair and a small table. Toilet worked at this time. Had second seating dining which we did four nights. Good service and good food. As mentioned in previous reviews and boards, the wine selection for a glass under $9 is minimal. Did the Pinnacle Grill the first night at around 8:00 and the place was near empty. Good service and good food. I had the halibut and my wife had a filet. The filet was cooked perfectly but under seasoned. Great crab cakes. Brunch everyday at the Lido. Decent food, great salad bar and usually not a problem finding a table. 2nd formal night was with another couple we befriended. They made us a reservation for anytime dining in the Main Dinning Room. All of us had the lobster tail and filet which was very good. Was the birthday for one of them and the wait staff brought out a piece of birthday cake and enthusiastically sang a song. Very fun. Did the Lido buffet the last night for dinner, decent. Spent a lot of time relaxing and reading by the Sea View pool at the aft of the ship. Always easy to find a place to sit or lay out. Bar service staff was lacking. Seemed like if you were more than ten feet away from the pool, they rarely came around. There were dozens of passengers that were ignored as they would repeatedly approach passengers near the pool that would decline drinks. Was almost like there was an invisible fence they could not cross. Did trivia several times which was fun. Checked out the BB King's Blues Club several times which was good as well as the Billboard Onboard which was also good. BEST bartender on the ship was Elwood at the Billboard bar. Great chocolate martini's, friendly and fun to talk too. He gets our vote for best employee. Unfortunately for any of you hoping to meet him on the Oosterdam, his contract is up at the end of the month. You'll have to look for him on the Westerdam in a few months. Casino was decent, won $300 at the Black Jack tables. Didn't do any excursions on this cruise. At Key West we walked around and took in the sights with some bar hopping and lunch. At Roatan we just walked along the beach and checked out the shops in the cruise port . At Santo de Tomas de Castilla we checked out the tourist center, watched a local band and made a few purchases before returning to the ship for a couples massage in the Spa. Unfortunately the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled at the last minute due to damage at one of the docks and the Mexican authorities reassigning our dock to another ship. Disembarkation was a breeze. Waited in our stateroom until called. Took about ten minutes to get off the ship from our stateroom and another ten to fifteen to retrieve our luggage and make it thru Immigration and Customs. Now for the bad. Five of the seven days our stateroom toilet did not work properly or not at all. It started Sat night into Sun morning, again Mon morning, Tues morning, Tues evening into Wed morning, Wed afternoon and finally DID NOT WORK AT ALL from 900 Thurs morning until we left the ship at 900 Fri morning. There was an issue with the vacuum system at the aft of the ship...which we weren't told until Wed afternoon. We weren't the only stateroom having problems. Repeated calls and visits to the front desk and the issue would only be fixed temporarily. Sometimes the toilet would flush partially, sometimes an hour or two later, and sometimes overflow. Luckily there's a floor drain right next to it. Extremely frustrating and a major inconvenience when you have to walk up or down several flights of stairs to find a functioning public toilet. Annoyed that it took so long and a meeting with the Front Desk manager to be told the truth about the vacuum system problem. At first we were accused of clogging the toilet and one front desk employee stated that "hundreds of guests" were flushing toilets at the same time in the morning causing the problem. We knew that was BS as we've been on eight previous cruises. We were provided a letter and a $300 shipboard credit for the "plumbing challenges" and "as a gesture of goodwill". That covered approximately 10% of what we paid for the cruise....nice gesture but not enough to counteract how this issue tainted our cruise experience. Will we cruise HAL again? Probably. We will have some reservation due to the toilet issue though. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose Holland American because we like the size of the ship as well as the departure port. This was our first voyage on Holland American (we have cruised more than 15 times on various lines. We booked a Neptune Suite and we must say ... Read More
We chose Holland American because we like the size of the ship as well as the departure port. This was our first voyage on Holland American (we have cruised more than 15 times on various lines. We booked a Neptune Suite and we must say it was wonderful. Lots of storage space for our luggage and clothing. The room was very spacious and comfortable. Our cabin steward provided excellent service - quickly learned our names and was always friendly; inquiring about our day and answered questions that we had. We ate all but one evening in the dining room. The waiters, wine stewards and all others were friendly, food was good and if you wanted something that was not on the menu they tried to accommodate your request. Wine selection ample. We have had better but overall they had a nice selection of reds, whites, etc. One evening we dined in the Pinnacle Dining Room and it was outstanding. Both my husband and I ordered steak and it was prepared to perfection. If you can do try to visit the Pinnacle if you are on the ship. It's worth the extra $. The only negative was the activities and casino on the ship. During the day very few activities were offered (especially on sea days). The casino almost seems like an afterthought. It is small and not nearly enough slot machines available. The average age of the guests on the ship probably was about 75 but they were having a good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first cruise as a newly married couple. We chose this cruise line over its competition because of its excellent reviews. The service was exemplary, the food was impressive in quality, quantity and diversity. The ship was ... Read More
This was our first cruise as a newly married couple. We chose this cruise line over its competition because of its excellent reviews. The service was exemplary, the food was impressive in quality, quantity and diversity. The ship was beautiful and stately and there was always plentiful entertainment options throughout the day. In particular we enjoyed the main stage performances and the string quartet. Our favourite spots on the ship were the eagle's nest library and lounge in the evenings and strolling along the promenade during the day. The excursions were very well organized and extremely enjoyable. It was our first time snorkeling and this proved to be a highlight of the week. There were lots of great options and it was difficult deciding which to choose. It was a great experience all around and we look forward to our next cruise aboard Holland America. Thanks to your team for making possible so many great memories! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it leaves from Tampa (live in the area) and because of the unique itinerary to Central America and Key West. We were pleasantly surprised with how nice and how clean the ship is. The crew was "friendly ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it leaves from Tampa (live in the area) and because of the unique itinerary to Central America and Key West. We were pleasantly surprised with how nice and how clean the ship is. The crew was "friendly enough" in that they provided good customer service but certainly did not bombard you with greetings or asking if you needed anything. Have to admit that I was a little surprised after just sailing with Princess two months earlier that crew members walked right by me without a smile or eye contact or anything - other passengers were more friendly than the HAL staff. I got used to it the second day. Room was average size (small) but the balcony was huge! At first I thought there was no place for our stuff because there was no traditional dresser space but the room is loaded with storage opportunities - look under the bed for the drawers and a place to stash luggage. Also, the loveseat has drawers for storage, both night stands, and 3 closets where I has shelves, one hanging, and one can convert between the two. I was expecting to be disappointed in food because we've taken several Princess cruises but we were not at all. I would say the food was as good or better than Princess which is known for good food. The only comment I have about it is the availability and assortment. My husband felt the variety was good but he can eat the same thing everyday. He also felt there was always something to eat, which there was, but very limited between standard meal times. This just meant we had to plan well. The Lido dining room for the buffet is beautiful; stunning really. Every table has an orchid. The views from the main dining room (Vista?) were fabulous no matter where we were seated. Tea was nice and I liked the casual foods available on pool deck (taco bar & dive in). We were about to be really disappointed with the entertainment (especially after having a blast on the Carnival Paradise last November) when on night three we discovered the BB King Blues Club and were able to coordinate times to attend Lincoln Center concerts. We never went to the Main Stage again - it was just too carnival- like for our taste (the circus type, not cruise line type).Both of these venues had awesome performers. The size of the ship was good but we still got turned around. I've become accustomed to a central open plaza to navigate the ship and this ship is a bit more closed in. The folks at the excursion desk were very nice and helpful and we really enjoyed both our excursion, I also felt the price was fair. We never could catch the future cruise desk open which is their loss because we were in the mood to book and did so on our return home but with RC. I was intrigued by the Microsoft Digital Workshop but because we had early dining each of the classes I wanted bumped into my dress for dinner time. I did visit the screening room twice and it's very comfortable. Once to see a new movie and once a documentary. I commend them for including documentaries and not just box office type movies. The only thing I bought at a shop was mascara because I forgot mine. The stores were not that appealing to me and the jewelry was super overpriced in my opinion. Overall, it is a beautiful and well maintained ship and I would gladly go on it again. You will need to plan our your dining and activities because there are limited opportunities for many of them. I almost forgot the pool. Nice large pool which I did not go in but I did go in the adjoining hot tub. There were not many kids on the ship but they all seemed to congregate at the pool when I was there. I did not see an adults only area/pool. My husband used the fitness center a couple times, It was small but had everything you typically see in a gym. It was never crowded. Finally, we missed our last port of call in Mexico due to high winds but honestly I didn't miss it at all. We had three port calls and were busy and enjoyed the two sea days. Not disappointing at all. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
For my wife and me (in our 60’s), this was our 22nd cruise (our 8th cruise on HA and our 2nd on Oosterdam). Our first cruise on Oosterdam was a year ago (before its recent renovation). The most notable improvements have been in the ... Read More
For my wife and me (in our 60’s), this was our 22nd cruise (our 8th cruise on HA and our 2nd on Oosterdam). Our first cruise on Oosterdam was a year ago (before its recent renovation). The most notable improvements have been in the cabins --- especially with the big flat screen wall-mounted interactive TV. Otherwise, everything seemed about the same --- but fresh and newer. The best thing about this cruise was the crew. Everyone was cheerful, engaging, and attentive. The worst things about this cruise was the itinerary (i.e. ports visited) and the performance of the people in guest services. In a review of critiques, we first look for the negative comments to see if they are shared by others and if the conditions would be tolerable by us. So, let me first list the “cons” for us: 1. Except for Key West, the other three ports for this cruise are poor choices. The best of the "others" (a port which we had visited on a previous cruise) was Costa Maya. But, we did not even stop there. The port authorities gave the dock location reserved for our ship to another ship, and the other only dock was one that the captain felt too dangerous to use. At Roatan, Honduras, the nice cruise-line built area that borders the dock resembles the surrounding dock area at Grand Turk (Turks and Caicos) with its stores (about 15) and a couple of small places to eat. But, there is little else which Roatan offers, and the excursions at Roatan are mediocre. We went on the Easy Island tour with a variety of stops --- the last stop being the beach at Las Palmas. The private islands of any cruise line we have visited are much better than that beach area. The poverty in many places is unfortunate and “not pretty to see”. At Santo Tomas, Guatamala, there was only a long warehouse next to the dock with stalls where t-shirts and local crafts were sold. 2. The “Guest Services” department has a lot to be desired. Twice I tried to book a room for a function with other family members with us. Each time I was told that they would check into it and “get back to me”. They never did. When the stop at Costa Maya was cancelled, we were supposed to get a credit for our pre-booked shore excursions. We had booked an excursion for us and other family members (charged to us for everyone). They would not give us a credit on our charge account until the other family members who we were “treating” went to the front desk to approve our credit. Then, after such approvals, Guest Services assured us that they would give us the credit. They did not do this without multiple reminders. The opposite also occurred. We tried to pay for things for other family members, and the other family members were nevertheless mistakenly billed. 3. I rely upon wi-fi service for business purposes. HA needs to do better with this feature. Last November, we took a Royal Caribbean cruise on Brilliance of the Seas, and the wi-fi service was excellent and less costly. HA’s wi-fi service was slower, less reliable and more costly. Its sign-on is also not exactly user friendly. BUT, here are the positives that made the overall cruise enjoyable: a. The retractable roof over the pool lets you enjoy the pool in just about any weather. b. The signature suites are a special bargain with their size and with special bathroom features (with a large vanity with two sinks, also with a separate stand-up shower and a whirlpool tub/ shower, also with brightly lit huge mirrors, also with automatic night light that comes on when lights are shut off, etc.). The beds were especially comfortable. There are a lot of drawers and room for storage. THERE ARE MULTIPLE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS AND USB CHARGING PORTS. There are nice reading lights on each side of the bed, but we did not find them for a couple of nights because you need to pull them out of the wall mounted base before you can even see what they are. We still like staying in the middle of the ship (at least 2 floors below the pool deck and at least 4 cabins away from elevators) for the best cruise ride and the least noise. The port side cabins seem better since that is the side where ships seem to dock, which gives you a better view of where you will be going once you leave the ship. c. Food quality is about the best of the cruise lines that we have used. d. Embarkation and disembarkation were extremely smooth. e. The age of passengers (normally pretty “senior” on HA) was younger than we expected --- although this was only a 7 night cruise which seems to attract more of a younger crowd anyway. f. The crew’s service and friendliness was A+ --- about the best of all of our cruises. g. There was more of a “sedate” atmosphere that suited we “seniors” a little better. My observation is that Carnival ships are best for the party life of the 20 and 30 year olds. Royal Caribbean and Princess are best for those in their 30’s and 40’s. HA is better for those over 50 --- although there definitely were some young families on this cruise, and the young children certainly seemed to enjoy themselves. h. Although this is not one of the “mega-ships” it rode smoothly even in rough seas; and its medium size and lesser passenger count made it more manageable (both physically for us and with lesser “waiting to take your turn”). One exception to this lack of waiting was with the popular “Dive-In” food facility with its juicy hamburgers and waistline enhancing crispy fries. But, this was worth the wait and the weight. i. On deck there were comfortable lounge chairs, and they always had whatever number of quality towels you needed. j. The show with the comedian/ventriloquist was great. The crowd was especially in awe with his ventriloquist skills. He was far beyond what you would ever expect. While on board, we booked another cruise with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was a fine cruise. I went solo, but met many people and had a good time. I am a faithful Holland American fan, and this cruise affirmed my affection for HAL. Why? The ship had good food, good service and a traditional style of ... Read More
This was a fine cruise. I went solo, but met many people and had a good time. I am a faithful Holland American fan, and this cruise affirmed my affection for HAL. Why? The ship had good food, good service and a traditional style of cruising...no rock walls, zip lines, or other gimmicks. I got a good price (the Casino rate) on an oceanview stateroom on deck one. The room was close to the elevators and to the Vista Dining Room, one deck up. Speaking of the Casino, congrats and endless thank yous to HAL for FINALLY ending smoking in the Casino! I've been on a five-year campaign to get this to happen, and I probably had plenty of help. The Oosterdam is ship-shape and is the perfect size for me. It's been updated with the addition of "Music Walk", which include Lincoln Center Stage, BillBoard OnBoard, and BB King's Jazz Club. All were excellent! I especially liked the fact that BillBoard was next to the Casino. Excellent planning. The food in the Vista Dining Room, the Lido Market Place, and Dive-In was outstanding. I had lobster, filet, a lamb shank, rack of lamb, pork belly, foie gras, prime rib, tiramisu, Baked Alaska, etc. I saw no need to dine in the specialty restaurants, the Pinnacle Grill and Canaletto, because I've experienced both several times before. They are always excellent! Room service was also excellent...on time and hot. The Filippino and Indonesian crew members on all HAL ships are ALWAYS the best...fun, charming and dedicated to making passengers happy. I can't praise them enough! Okay. Now, here are some picky negatives, offered as constructive criticism: 1. Broth soups: too much salt and broth and not enough vegetables, meat or whatever should be in that particular soup. Example: The "Les Halles" signature French Onion Soup had all broth and bread and very few, if any, onions and cheese. The creamed soups were excellent. 2. Vista Dining Room: bedlam on the first night at the maitre d's station, and the situation only improved gradually. I've never been on a HAL cruise where this was a problem. My theory is that there were too many "As You Wish" diners, but still...come on HAL, you're supposed to be five star! Straighten this out! This cost you a rating star! :) 3. My room stewards were just okay. They tried hard, but they are obviously rookies. They didn't handle my handicap scooter situation well at all. 4. Drink prices seem to be higher. Mine averaged almost $10 each, including the mandatory tip. 5. I did NOT like the Main Stage entertainment. I'm a retired theater director. I wish I could devise shows for HAL that had tap-dancing, classic music, known songs, etc. My shows would have been far more favorably received by HAL's audiences. (Sigh.) I'm home now, but I wish I were still on board the good ship Oosterdam! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We love Holland America. This was our 3rd cruise with them, second time on Oosterdam. First time was on Eurodam. We are not big party people and like the smaller size of the ship. We enjoy the shows and the ship. This is the first ... Read More
We love Holland America. This was our 3rd cruise with them, second time on Oosterdam. First time was on Eurodam. We are not big party people and like the smaller size of the ship. We enjoy the shows and the ship. This is the first time that we did anything in the spa. The first day on ship they offered a full cruise access pass for $199. I loved the ceramic beds-so relaxing and the water pool in the spa. I also used the steam rooms. I liked having the larger showers available in the spa. It is something I will use in future cruises. The cabin tubs/showers are tight for someone who is a little claustrophobic. I didn't book all my shore excursions thru the ship. I have found more exciting ones that are available through other websites. We did ziplining in Roatan that allowed us to do more that the ship ones did and had a blast. It was our first time and definitely not our last. It was fun seeing Key West on the Trolley. We got off several places and explored. We did a tour in Guatamala thru the ship and enjoyed it. Our stop in Mexico was cancelled because the Mexican government gave away our berth and the captain put our safety first and chose not to take us in where they gave us. I had booked another shore excursion there that wasn't thru the ship and that company had already refunded our money to our credit card by the time we got home. I spend hours reading reviews before I book shore excursions to make sure we will be safe. Can't wait to cruise with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We enjoy the service on the Holland America cruise lines. Yes, it is an older crowd but we like to chill and rest. Ports were not the best but enjoyed West Bay, Infinity Bay in Honduras. We were able to snag day passes and the resort ... Read More
We enjoy the service on the Holland America cruise lines. Yes, it is an older crowd but we like to chill and rest. Ports were not the best but enjoyed West Bay, Infinity Bay in Honduras. We were able to snag day passes and the resort arranged transportation for us. Bummed out we were unable to dock at Costa Maya. Had been looking forward to our day planned at Maya Chan. Food was delicious and our first time at Pinnacle Grill. Filet was just as delicious as Ruth Chris. Breakfast room service was accurate. Menu options changed but we wrote in special requests and they were honored. No issues. Cabin nice with flat screen TV. We stay in our room resting and sitting on the balcony. Nice to have some TV options. Weather channel would have been nice since some active weather at home. Again, service is what sets them apart. We are in our mid fifties so we're not looking for wave pools, slides, rock climbing, etc. Enjoy mid size ships! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained ... Read More
I have been cruising Holland America for many years and have watched the service and food go down hill to what I would say was second rate.On this last cruise I had no hot water for 12 out of the 14 days of the cruise. Others complained that their toilets would not flush for days . This was just the starter. The food was mainly institutional quality, cold and portions small. Service was limited to the crew reductions. The pools had slim on the walls becasue no one was checking the PH levels. The deck in on spot outside the Lido was bubbled up and waiting for someone to fall. There was next to no deck entertainment and the stage shows were one man. Out of 14 nights the Hal Dancers only preformed on night! I feel that the cruise director needs to learn his job. FUN!!! There was no Sail Way Parties, the music that was piped to the areas did not match the age group on board. They would provide a tour of the ship for $150. and the Culinary Arts Class you couldn't taste the food! Having been through the islands I took one overpriced 3 hour tour $59.00 to a place called Nelsons Shipyards in Antigua. We spent most of the time riding through the poverty stricken sections of Antigua and when we got to the Dockyards we spent 20 minute in what now was a high end marina. Saw a few buildings (you can't go into because they re now businesses and three capstans.. Other tours that people where offers were $39.00 to a free beach???? Not the best days for Holland America since the new management took over. Charge for everything..Hawk Hawk Hawk Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Having been on the Koningsdam last Fall, I was prepared to be disappointed in the Oosterdam since it is an older ship. I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice she was. The refurbishing that took place in 2015 showed in all of the ... Read More
Having been on the Koningsdam last Fall, I was prepared to be disappointed in the Oosterdam since it is an older ship. I was very pleasantly surprised at how nice she was. The refurbishing that took place in 2015 showed in all of the public areas and in our balcony cabin. Another great surprise was the quality of the music in Billboard Online (dueling pianos with singalong) and in the BB King lounge. We were onboard during spring break so maybe that was the reason there were such lively audiences, but both venues were hopping! The shows were also very good though we did miss two of the seven offered. The food was wonderful, but the soups were not as good as we remembered them being. We didn't go to either of the specialty restaurants. As usual, the Indonesian and Filipino crew were wonderful though they were probably overworked! Our room steward was so efficient and remembered every one of our special requests. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and ... Read More
We have taken a Holland America cruise in the past, in January 2016 on Nieuw Amsterdam to be specific, for the 'Dancing with the Stars' theme cruise early that month. We were impressed by the quality of the line back then and knew we had to take another cruise with them in the future. Mom and I chose this cruise as it aligned with Syracuse University's spring break dates for March 2017. The Oosterdam was a ship in super condition since the refurbishment done in Spring 2016. Oosterdam's Crows' nest, Queen's lounge, MDR, pool areas (main and sea view), Casino and Billboard Onboard, Lincoln Center Stage, and MainStage were all kept in beautiful condition throughout the voyage. After a enjoying a relaxing day either in port or at sea, we would settle into our nightly routine. This routine included pre-dinner drinks at the Crows' nest, followed by dinner which was always good and served our needs, then head to either B.B Kings' Blues Club or Billboard Onboard for entertainment, and then hit up the casino to try our luck. One night we did try the Pinnacle Grill and must say it was spectacular. The steak offerings and the baked Alaska desert alone are worth the cover charge for the specialty restaurant. Entertainment options at night got an upgrade since we first went on Holland. Billboard Onboard was always full of life and energy at night, and the two pianist/singers there kept the crowd's attention and got some to sing along! B.B King's was amazing as always and is a staple for many at night, got the crowd going, got floor dancing to start, along with audience participation. Our issues with the casino were that it has horrible odds of winning and that there are far too many cruisers for machines in this sector of Oosterdam. The itinerary for our 7-day leg of the 21-day voyage included stops at: Cozumel, Mexico; Roatan Isle of Honduras, Santo Tomas de Castilla in Guatemala, and Costa Maya, Mexico. Our favorite stop was easily Mahogany Bay, Roatan Isle. Beautiful beach, great ocean- very calm and inviting for a swim, and nice little restaurant off the beach area where we grabbed Jerk Chickens and local Honduran beer to enjoy for lunch. Helpful hint: absolutely do a tour in Santo Tomas, you will not regret it. Guatemala is a developing country that will hopefully one day have much to offer tourists in the way of things to see. We booked a shorex through the shipboard offerings called "A Tale of Two Towns", where you got to see Puerto Barrios, Santo Tomas, and Amantique Bay Resort. I definitely recommend getting off the ship this day to both experience this location in Central America, and educate yourself on a new port stop. Overall, Holland America delivered another excellent cruise and we have found our "regular" line to take, so to say. Holland America Line has a classy and memorable atmosphere, with activities going on throughout the day, good food and drinks, crew who may remember you from the past, and fun port stops. The Oosterdam is a lovely ship with a nice crowd of people from all over the United States and Europe looking for a quick or lengthy getaway, depending if you took the 7 or 21-day voyage. The week we took this voyage, the Northeastern United States got hit with a Nor'Easter delivering 20 or more inches of snow in certain regions- no better time to be in the Caribbean! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This was our first cruise, we chose it because the dates met our schedule and the itinerary went to some of the less popular western Caribbean ports. We had heard that Holland America was known for catering to an older clientele but as ... Read More
This was our first cruise, we chose it because the dates met our schedule and the itinerary went to some of the less popular western Caribbean ports. We had heard that Holland America was known for catering to an older clientele but as we're in our early 50's we figured we fit. We were surprised, though, that the average age was still 20-25 years our senior. Had it not been spring break we may have been the youngest couple on board! Some notes: Dining - the food was ok but the dining room portions seemed a bit small to me. We used the in-room dining service for breakfast quite often and it was fantastic. Delivery was never more than 5 minutes after the beginning of the time slot we requested. My biggest complaint about the dining were the 2 formal gala nights. I expected, as this was supposed to be a formal affair, that the entire evening would be several notches above the normal dining room experience but the only difference was the expected attire. They should either drop the attire requirements or significantly change the experience, there was nothing formal about it and definitely no gala. We enjoyed the Lido deck buffets for lunch and really enjoyed their cheese plates. Lastly, I expected late night dining and deserts and found none. Ports and excursions - we enjoyed all 4 ports visited and went on an excursion every day, 3 booked with Holland in advance, one booked individually on the day of the visit. We did not enjoy the constant requests for tips from the guides and I found that the description of the excursions in the Holland guides to be a bit vague or misleading compared to the excursion we actually received, especially the Dune Buggy/Snorkel tour in Cozumel and the Jaguar Bus in Costa Maya. The zip lines in Roatan were a hoot, but be aware that there are two tour operators involved, a bus service and the zip line service. The zip line service itself was fantastic and the guides truly love their jobs, they have as much fun as the customers. The transport provider, is just that, a tiny bus that takes you to and from the tour, requests tips, and leaves to get other groups while you're on the tour. It would be much nicer if the zip line service provided transport. On board entertainment - Daniel and Anderson in the billboard lounge was standing room only for every show for good reason. They were incredible. We were disappointed with the BB King blues lounge, they really didn't play any blues and not a single BB King song. If you go to the main theater and don't arrive early enough to get floor seats, plan on an obstructed view. I would say at least 50% of the seats are obstructed by pillars through both the main floor and the balcony. It was very frustrating. The acts we saw in the theater were good, albeit rather short. Outside of the three main evening activities, there really was not much to do on board, especially in the evening. On our first night at sea we found ourselves wandering around the entire ship wondering where everybody was. I think that is a direct result of the clientele that Holland caters to. We also found ourselves pretty bored on the last day at sea. Other than sitting at the pool on a chilly day with the roof closed, there really wasn't much to do. Service - those that serviced our cabin and those in food service were outstanding but I was disappointed in guest services. We visited them nearly daily because one of our key cards always seemed to fail to open our cabin door. Outside of the key card issue, they were not very helpful when we questioned them about airport transportation during disembarkation. We ended up not using the bus transport to the airport because the last transport was at 10am and our flight wasn't until 7:40pm. Not wanting to sit at the airport all day, we cancelled, but they refused to refund the $22 each (Cab Fare is a flat $25 BTW) because we had paid for it in advance of the cruise. Lastly, if you need to purchase personal items or sundries, we found that they were only sold in the Shops, that don't open until 5pm. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I booked this cruise last minute for my daughter's spring break from college. I have been on over 25 cruises including Holland, Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal, Disney and Carnival. Each experience is different and this happened to be one ... Read More
I booked this cruise last minute for my daughter's spring break from college. I have been on over 25 cruises including Holland, Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal, Disney and Carnival. Each experience is different and this happened to be one of the best cruises I have ever taken. I was a little hesitant when booking because the passengers on Holland America are typically older as I am in my mid forties and my daughter is a 20 year old college student. My daughter has been on many cruises, but we have always gone as a full or extended family so this cruise was going to be much different experience being just the two of us. Now don't get me wrong, I love my daughter but at home we don't always see eye to eye. My husband just hoped that after his wife and daughter had spent a week together in less than 200 sq ft, that we would both come home alive. The fact is, we came back and he was surprised to hear that we had the best time of our lives. Ship - The boarding process was one of the quickest and efficient I have experienced. The port of Tampa is nice because it is small and uncongested. The ship is mid-sized, well designed and easy to navigate. The rooms are spacious and well laid out with a bathtub in oceanview and above. The ship offers many dining options and the buffet is spacious and bright. The open spaces and decks are clean and this ship is traditional in décor. Cabin - The balcony cabin was a decent size with a small sofa, table and vanity. The closet had three doors with two sections of hanging racks and one shelf unit with safe. The bathroom was spacious with a bathtub, toilet and ample storage space including a medicine cabinet. The cabin steward was excellent always tidying our room as soon as we left. Dining - We had anytime dining which I do not prefer. The late booking did not give us the option of traditional seating so we had to make reservations. This posed somewhat of a problem because unless you wanted to eat with others our choices for dining were 5 p.m. or 9 p.m. We don't mind being seating with others and had some wonderful dinner guests but a few times we didn't have much in common with our tablemates. We did eat at the Italian restaurant one evening and the steak restaurant another evening and in both venues we got 7 p.m. seating for 2 with no problem. Both of the specialty restaurants were excellent with the steak place being superb. All the meals in the main dining were also outstanding in taste, temperature and quality. Entertainment and Activities - The entertainment venues were outstanding. We loved music row with the Blues Club being by far our favorite! The piano players were talented, entertaining and played different sets each evening. The Lincoln center venue was also entertaining with upscale stringed musicians playing nightly. The main shows were also some of the best I have seen on cruise lines. The productions shows were visually appealing and had amazing costumes and lighting details. The guest performers were also entertaining and we enjoyed the variety. Service - Since this is a mid-size ship you get more individualized service and attention which is the uniqueness of a cruise vacation. We were on a first name basis with many of the wonderful staff on board. I can not say enough about the hard work and tireless effort of the crew. Ports and Shore excursions Cozumel, Mexico - We got off the ship and booked a private tour with a taxi company. I have been to this port numerous times and since my daughter hadn't been since she was little I thought it would be interesting for her to see the island. We spent three hours exploring highlights, shopping and stopping for beach time. We stopped at this port on a Sunday and we were the only ship in port so the town was a little desolate but I found this much more enjoyable than the last time I was there with seven other ships and 20,000 people. Roatan, Honduras- I have also been to this port and booked an independent tour through Expedia. I booked a private vehicle for the day and researched the places I wanted to visit. We went to Daniel Johnson's Monkey and Sloth hangout which was an experience of a lifetime and then we went to Jungle Top Zipline and swung through the trees on a fabulous adventure. We also had an extensive tour of the island and made time for the beautiful waters and beach. We ended up enjoying all these adventures for a third of the price by booking in advance through Expedia. Santo Tomas, Guatemala - We booked a ship tour to the Village of Ak- Tenamit. This is a boat ride to a boarding school in the middle of the jungle. This tour was the highlight of our trip. I have read varying options of this port. You have to understand, I researched this port before I went and was well aware that it is a container port in a third world country and to experience this part of the world you need to book a tour. In my research, I came across information that the students at this school were very poor and in need of any type of school supplies. I went to the dollar store before I left and filled my suitcase with varying supplies and brought them along when I went on the excursion. There are no words to describe the gratitude and pure joy the students expressed when we walked into the small one room classroom where they were learning. They wanted my daughter to talk to them in Spanish and translate. My daughter and I will never forget the wonderful experience we had in this remote part of the country and we are appreciative of Holland America to offer this experience. Costa Maya - We stayed at the dock and shopped and had a few drinks at this port. It is a good stop for relaxing and enjoying the lovely weather. Overall - We had a wonderful cruise and had experiences we will never forget. We met wonderful people, young and old and will not hesitate to take another Holland America Adventure! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I am a youthful 52 year old single woman who took this cruise "solo". I have only been on one other cruise and it was on Carnival. I will say that Holland America was definitely an "older" crowd. The vast majority of ... Read More
I am a youthful 52 year old single woman who took this cruise "solo". I have only been on one other cruise and it was on Carnival. I will say that Holland America was definitely an "older" crowd. The vast majority of people on the cruise were 65+ and retired and quite a few had health problems (walkers, wheelchairs, oxygen systems, etc.). Of course, there is nothing wrong with that and I greatly respect people being active and "young at heart" but the reality is that many of the activities and general vibe of the cruise was geared towards older folks. That said, people were very friendly, accommodating of this single lady and the cruise itself was lovely. The ship is older but was definitely in good shape. Everything was clean, public restrooms were plentiful, elevators worked well, etc. I had a balcony cabin which was very nice. It was roomy (by cruise ship standards), the bed was comfortable, the bathroom was functional with both a shower and tub, flat screen tv worked well, plenty of storage space and quiet without a lot of movement. The ship has 2 pools and both of them were nice. They had pool chairs and then plenty of tables/chairs as well for people who wanted to eat by the pool, play cards, etc. My spa experience was just "ok". The massage therapist was nearly a half hour late for my appointment, she promised me an "extra 25 minutes" which I didn't get and she was extremely pushy, trying to sell me unneeded products after the massage and getting hostile when I said "no". She did a great job on the massage itself but the "hard sell" afterwards completely infuriated me and ruined any relaxation I had experienced. I did not go back. I did purchase a week-long pass for the Thermal Suite and used it daily. It was heaven-lay down whirlpool, steam room, sauna, thermal chairs overlooking the ocean (I fell asleep multiple times) and it was great to get rid of aches and pains after the day's excursions. I have read complaints about the entertainment on Holland but I loved it. They had a good mix on the Main Stage of singers, dancers, an orchestra and other acts like a comedian, pianist and even an Oriental show put on by staff members. I thought they were all top knotch. I also enjoyed the "clubs" on what they call Music Row but that entertainment was all sort of similar...I would trade out one of the music clubs for a comedy club. Food was also very good. I ate in the buffett most of the time since I was alone and really enjoyed it. Good selection, food was fresh and warm and they had a salad bar to die for. I ordered room service from the start restaurant The Pinnacle Grill one night and it was a delicious filet mignon and cheese cake. I also had a burger by the pool at the Dive In and it was also great. They had the typical cruise ship shops with jewelry, souvenirs, etc. and an art gallery. Nothing special but ok. Staff was all good (except the massage therapist). My cabin was taken care of very well with nightly turn down service. Everyone was friendly and helpful. I also bought 4 excursions through Holland and enjoyed all of them. Most of the onboard "activties" were really just sales pitches trying to get you to buy things.The only complaint I have is that the Disembark process was rather confusing...the cruise line didn't give a lot of guidance and it was hard to know where to go to get off. Nobody was in the halls and there were no signs with directions. I just followed other people and we found our way off. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
Embarkation was the fastest we have ever experienced. We were pleasantly surprised to find our cabin ready when we boarded. The cabin and bathroom was clean. Staff pleasant and helpful. Didn't care for the old world decorations.. ... Read More
Embarkation was the fastest we have ever experienced. We were pleasantly surprised to find our cabin ready when we boarded. The cabin and bathroom was clean. Staff pleasant and helpful. Didn't care for the old world decorations.. We enjoyed the excursions. Casa Bacardi and Old San Juan. Very interesting and of course a taste of rum. Made in Curacao was educational. Our guide gave us information on the culture as well. I really enjoyed the Fort James Segway Adventure. They made sure we could operate the segaways safely and off we went.... In the dining room our waiter was great. He had a wonderful sense of humour. The food at dinner, I found too gourmet for me. Disappointed in lack of vegetables. The food on the Lido Deck was good. Liked the huge salad bowls at lunch. The usual problem of finding a seat and the food going cold...but near the end of the cruise more people were willing to share tables. Went to the theatre, once. Most of the entertainment did appeal to me. Enjoyed the piano players with the sing a long. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
This ship has been refurbished and is well maintained, but overall a bit too dark for my taste. The clientel tends to be older. Entertainment is overall mediocre with 2 exceptions; B B King Jazz club and the Lincoln center. Departure ... Read More
This ship has been refurbished and is well maintained, but overall a bit too dark for my taste. The clientel tends to be older. Entertainment is overall mediocre with 2 exceptions; B B King Jazz club and the Lincoln center. Departure was very smooth as was disembarkation. The billing dept. goes to the extreme by posting large charges to your credit card from day 1. Several pending charges to my account amounted to over $1800 and my final bill was $709 for on board charges. When I called to complain I was informed that this was the way they operate and I just had to accept. Finally the last charge posted at $713.54, $4.54 more than my final invoice; no explanation offered. We took advantage of 2 of the tours offered, one in Honduras that visited a local forest and butterfly enclosure which was interesting. One in Guatemala that went to the village of Ak-Tenamit. This tour was poorly described in the ship's brochure as moderate; it is not! First a challenging small boat ride on a very rough ocean for 30 minutes to the river then an hour on the river; then a steep climb to reach the village which we never got to enter because we were held up by several people that had mobility issues. I am sure they never thought they would have to climb this steep hill. We did get lunch, the choice was chicken or a local fish, both cooked over an open fire with local vegetables and a glass of punch made with local berries of some kind. Some people wore flip flops when hiking shoes would be more appropriate for this tour. Bathroom facilities were very crude and located up another steep climb. Amenities for suite guests on this ship are minimal to say the least. The Neptune lounge is very small for the number of suite guests and services from the concierge are limited. I have previously sailed with Holland America but this will be my last one. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to ... Read More
My daughter, surprisingly chose to do her senior spring break trip with me - her mom. She said she wanted to go where she hasn't been before. I proposed 4 different cruises and she chose the Oosterdam. We had a lovely itinerary to Cozumel, Honduras, Guatemala, & Costa Maya. I had booked an inside room, but my husband upgraded us to a balcony and then we rented a cabana on the top deck, which was overkill. I would take the Cabana anytime. They spoil you rotten! We also booked the spa pass for the week, so we were very pampered. And I purchased the drink package which really made everything wonderful for me. The boarding in Tampa was a breeze and so was disembarkation. The food was excellent and plentiful. I really enjoyed reading my news sheet in the mornings while breakfast was being set up on the Lido. Apparently, another 20 or so early risers like myself did too! We loved Guatemala. Holland America did a great job. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
The following are some of our experiences on the Oosterdam 3/10 sailing out of Tampa Florida. The itinerary included the ports of Cozumel, Roatan Honduras, Santo Tomas Guatemala and Costa Maya. We have about 26 cruises under our belt and ... Read More
The following are some of our experiences on the Oosterdam 3/10 sailing out of Tampa Florida. The itinerary included the ports of Cozumel, Roatan Honduras, Santo Tomas Guatemala and Costa Maya. We have about 26 cruises under our belt and chose this particular voyage because it included 3 new ports for us and also gave us the opportunity see family and friends living in the area prior to departure. Admittedly, we weren’t too excited about this trip as the sailing date approached. We were very underwhelmed by our last HAL cruise - September 2014 on the Maasdam and totally “wowed” by our last 3 Celebrity cruises in a row. Pre-cruise: we stayed at the Double Tree, Rocky Point. I wouldn’t recommend this property if you don’t have a car, there is nothing within walking distance. And even with a car, it is still a poor value – it is an old property in need of updating. While it might be OK for business travelers, it didn’t seem appealing to vacation travel. Embarkation/disembarkation: We arrived at the port about 1:30 PM – a short line for security and then suite passenger expedited check-in got us on board in less than 5 minutes. Luggage was delivered about 2 hours later – very efficient. Neptune Suite #7079: this room is in a great location, convenient to both mid-ship elevators and the Neptune Lounge. The room was nicely appointed as always and in very nice condition. The 2 concierges in the Neptune Lounge couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful and professional. We appreciate consistent, good quality service and HAL offers it with a well-trained, committed staff. Food/Dinning: this is always a subjective topic but in our opinion, Oosterdam knocked it out of the park. While Celebrity offers exclusive dining options and venues for suite passengers, HAL does not; but it doesn’t need too. The Oosterdam MDR dining experience is absolutely wonderful. Food nicely presented, delicious and always presented at the right temperature. The menu is creative and offers very nice choices that should appeal to most conventional tastes. The service was prompt and courses were paced very nicely; we never felt rushed at any meal. This is important to us and the sign of a well-trained and observant wait staff. We chose open seating and there was never a wait for a table for two; we had a different team each night and they were all equally good. Sommeliers were equally professional, fun and very attentive. Other dinning venues we tried on this cruise included the Pinnacle Grill for breakfast and lunch (excellent service and great food), room service for breakfast (served hot and on time), Lido for an occasional slice of pizza or piece of fried chicken (always hit the spot) and the Dive-In for a Paddle Dog once in a while (again, very good). Finally, Neptune Lounge offers some nice refreshments and snack choices that they changes out several times a day. If you are a smoked salmon fan, this is the place to score big time! Oosterdam offers lots of choices and in our opinion, the ones we tried were all good to excellent. Service: again and as always, HAL really shines. Service everywhere on the ship was very good to outstanding. Room attendants, although appearing very over-worked and under-staffed, always greeted guests warmly and cheerfully. Our team did an excellent job maintaining our room and responding to our modest requests. Elsewhere on the ship, service staff was usually very polite, seemed efficient and normally engaging. Entertainment: this is where HAL really stood out when compared to our recent Celebrity cruises. Oosterdam offered terrific entertainment venues – absolutely first rate. Although we didn’t see them all, the ones we did experience were great. For starters for those who have seen Danny and Anderson in the Billboard venue, you know what I am talking about. These two singer/piano players are unbelievably good and immensely talented performers. Although they perform 3 times a night, there shows are all different; there is the occasional repeat of a song but for the most part, every set is different. We attended about 2 shows a night and thoroughly enjoyed them all. We can honestly say that these two talented, engaging guys were the best nightly entertainment we have seen on any cruise. They left the ship at the conclusion of our cruise; hopefully their replacements will be equally as talented. The new piano configuration in our opinion is far superior to the previous small (smokey), cramped venue of the past. There was plenty of room for everyone and these guys usually played to a full house. A few other acts we saw were a talented virtuoso piano player/singer Juan Pablo; we really liked this guy who was somewhat old school but very entertaining and had a great Latin flair. A talented comedian Rich Aronovitch did an amazingly funny and creative show; I thought he was hilarious and he kept in moderately clean which is always appreciated. Although we only stopped for an occasional listen, the performances at Lincoln Center and the BB King Club were always well attended and seemed to hit the mark for fans of each venue. OK, now to the things that really misfired for us. Wine by the glass: we are not wine snobs by any stretch but we do enjoy a decent Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or nice California Pinot Noir. But the choices by the glass (Simi, Formation and Meridian respectively) were fairly low end and lacking. And at $9.50 a glass, they also seemed overpriced. We wouldn’t mind paying more if we could get something decent. However there were some decent choices available in the dining room by the bottle. Casino: the dealers were good – well trained and fun. But the problem was the tightest slots and video poker machines we’ve ever seen, anywhere. Yes I know everyone who plays machines has the same complaint but these things never paid enough to keep you engaged at all, honestly. And what kind of casino only has 4 quarter slot machines? Ports: this is totally my fault for not doing my homework. Although we normally love Cozumel, the first port and have been there many times, it is a much different place on Sunday. Most of the things we enjoy and the places we normally go to were closed or scaled back. I am fairly certain that Oosterdam was the only ship in port, so there was also no incentive for many places to be open anyway. The second port, Roatan, was probably nice if you wanted a beach day but there wasn’t much else in the immediate port area to do. The third port, Santo Tomas, was really, really lacking. Unfortunately I realized this only after I booked this cruise; there was almost no information about the place on CC or Trip Advisor. It is a container port with a big shed set up at one end were merchants are packed together all selling the same stuff. There are bus and boat tours available; but reviews I read and people we talked to that went on them were not particularly favorable. But it’s all pretty subjective and some may enjoy what is available. Finally, we had a nice day in Costa Maya. I thought the port was nicely developed with nice shops and a few decent restaurants. We took the shuttle into town but there wasn’t much to see at all. In summary, except for the few topics we were disappointed with, this was a great cruise and in many ways, HAL hit it out of the park. Thank you to the wonderful staff and officers of the Oosterdam for all your hard work, great humor and total commitment to the passengers. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I ... Read More
We took this cruise out of Tampa, Fla thirty minutes from our winter residence...We had never used Holland America before... Our cabin #8098 located on the eigth floor in a great place for pool, dinner and lido deck for buffet foods. I saw a lot of really old people using scooters and walkers and wheel chairs...Never saw the entertainment director at the pool.The pool two of them had a 10 person compacity, very small. Lots of smokers surrounding the pool area. The cabin was a good size,BUT mold in several places on the shower curtain, the refrig ottom and the glass in the deck... The food the first night in Main dining seating, sent the steak, so touff could not cut with the knife, Chose chicken instead and it was OK. Lido deck for breakfast,eggs always cold,sausge and potatoes too. The only get a good breakfast was to wait on line for a omelet. Coffee machines worked sometimes same with the ice tea machine,always being worked on.. The third night we were all awaken by a alarm, that was put off by mistake,followed a 3 minute via loud speaker speech from the Ship Captain. We went o Mexico Cuzamel nice port, Honduras,not so nice port,Guatemala and Costa Maya Mexico. Excursion were informative and fun, again lots of really old people..Remember I am 70 they were OLD !!!!!! The shows mid ship were great the shows in maintheater were terrible. The Movie theater was great.. The ship needs to be put in for repair and spruced up...This is our eleven ships and can pretty much can compare.This ship needed help. the crew were great. The digatal workshop was superior Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it embarks out of Tampa and we live 30 miles from Tampa. Double bonus for us is that Tampa cannot handle the mega ships because of bridge clearance so size of ship was just what we like - about 1900 passengers. This size ship makes for more manageable group functions like dining, pool usage and seating, as well as shore excursions. Only exception to this was first stop in Key West which was only half a day in port so everybody queued up to disembark and got backed up because shuttle trams off ship couldn't keep up to the numbers of people. You have to shuttle from ship through a Navy Yard to get into town. We are a senior couple and we traveled with two other couples from our neighborhood so we all got same level of suites (Neptune Suites) and were located all together on starboard side. Neptune suites have a private lounge where we could get snacks, read, play cards, watch TV, and was staffed with concierge type employees who could coordinate any special requests we might have (shore excursions, specialty dining, anything requiring appointments, and could print out itemized account info so we could see how much we might be spending). Neptune suite residents also could eat breakfast in one of the specialty restaurants (Piccadilly) at no extra cost. Suites were large and roomy, along with bathroom (double vanity, whirlpool tub, shower stall, marble counter tops), couch and chairs, dressing area, extra closets, and large balcony. Room attendants courteous and efficient; not as personable as we're used to on Celebrity cruises but still pleasant to deal with. They just stayed out of sight for the most part. Dining in the main dining room was used each night. The first night we expressed wish for better table location to assistant manager and starting following night were given a much better (more scenic) table. Dining steward was efficient, friendly and very personable. He earned the extra gratuity we gave him and made dining a very pleasurable experience. Wine steward was almost as good but had to coordinate ordering drinks via a note pad that he could swipe with room or beverage card. This was kind of a long and involved process (but got quicker as days went by) but the system meant, for example, three drinks ordered were delivered by three different orderlies at three different times. Half a minute between drink orders could result in five minute separation of delivery to the table. Entertainment was exceptional. Stage productions combining dance, song, and electronic scenery was above any other cruise experience we had. Comedian was very good, a concert pianist played Spanish themed program very well, and on last night they combined their performances into one gig. A string quartet was available in a small lounge each evening between main stage show times and was excellent. There was also a lounge called B.B. King's Blues Club which had excellent musicians and vocalists but was a little too loud for our taste. Key West was Key West. Been there before but played tourist again anyway just for kicks. Disembarkation frustrating as mentioned above. Signed up for Hop On Hop Off tram ride. Name is misleading. You ride for 1.5 hours and stop for a break and for rest of the day you can catch one you can hop on or off of. First part you are just riding about town. Probably okay for anyone on first time visit but for us it was kind of boring. In Roatan we did city tour/beach. Took us to a mountain top lookout offering majestic views of the water and reefs but you had to maneuver your way around the local shell and bead merchants to see anything. Kind of pesty with a sales pitch to make you touch their "hand-made" bracelets and necklaces and very tiresome after just of few minutes. Beach portion was nice but mundane. Belize went to Mayan ruins of Altun Ha after a bus tour of Belize city. City tour was sort of boring but gave you a perspective of how one person's luxury is another person's slums. Typical Caribbean island mix of 4 story high rises, half built or abandoned construction, trash everywhere, and places we wouldn't walk through at night without an armed guard. Altun Ha was exquisite. Absolutely fascinating. Can't say enough about it or the bus/tour guides who explained everything to us. The whole thing was less than 5 hours duration and worked out just right. Also got to visit the Iguana farm and feed large and small iguanas.Belize has no docks for ships to tie up to so took tenders from boat to shore and back. Kind of choppy with good sized swells that slowed disembarkation some but not too bad. Tender rides were hold on for rock and roll. Cozumel did the chocolate and wine pairing trip. Never thought the two were good with each other but turned out very interesting and very tasty. Overall, cruising on Holland America's Oosterdam to Western Caribbean was a very pleasant trip. If we had the money and were offered the chance to turn around and go right back out, we would. We've gone numerous cruises and have always enjoyed Celebrity the most but now we are placing Holland America right up there on the same pedestal. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We love the port of Tampa for easy access and boarding and have taken the Ryndam twice and a RCCL ship also. The Oosterdam was very similar to the Westerdam we took last year and we like the layout of the ship and most common areas on the ... Read More
We love the port of Tampa for easy access and boarding and have taken the Ryndam twice and a RCCL ship also. The Oosterdam was very similar to the Westerdam we took last year and we like the layout of the ship and most common areas on the ship have been refurbished and in very nice shape. We did notice the cabins on Verandah Deck 5 could use some refurbishment as the bathtub was badly pitted and broken handle on a cabinet... nothing major though. The food was outstanding at all places and hours. We tried the Pinnacle one night and although the service could have been better (a lot of diners!), the outstanding food was worth the wait! Breakfast on Lido Deck has everything from crepes to a bagel station and the coffee is excellent for a cruise ship. We were pleasantly surprised with a major improvement in entertainment and each night was very enjoyable. We were also surprised that both pools had fresh water in them! However, the hot tubs with the exception of one are very small and only accomodate 4 people. The crew is very friendly and helpful on this ship!!! We were only on the 1 week cruise and dined with a Canadian couple who took the full 3 weeks and they loved the entire Carribean experience. We did not take any ship side trips but took a private trip on Roatan to Little French Key which was a highlight of our trip! Beautiful little island with crystal clear water for great snorkeling. We had a wonderful cruise and we highly recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We were traveling with a small group of 19. We live in the Tampa Bay area, so access to the ship was smooth and easy. We hired Barracuda Travel for transport our group from our community clubhouse and it worked perfectly. A helpful ... Read More
We were traveling with a small group of 19. We live in the Tampa Bay area, so access to the ship was smooth and easy. We hired Barracuda Travel for transport our group from our community clubhouse and it worked perfectly. A helpful porter, Larry Hemmingway, suggested we put some identifying item on our luggage and then we returned, he had pulled our luggage and grouped them together. So very easy! Embarkation was smooth. Debarkation was a bit slower but I venture to say no one on the ship missed their flight home. The ship was beautiful! We have previously enjoyed several Holland America cruises: this was the best so far! The combination of excellent dining and entertainment, friendly staff, great service plus wonderful weather made the trip perfect. I hope this doesn't sound like an infomercial for Holland, but after this cruise, the bar has been set high for my future cruises. We had a Signature Suite, cabin 6108, which was a accessible cabin. The layout of the bathroom, with the toilet in the roll in shower area was a little strange and storage for toiletries non existent. We did have an issue with wet carpeting which I reported. The staff worked hard to resolve the problem and they even gave me on-board ship credit for the inconvenience voluntarily and without us even asking or suggesting it! We really enjoyed the Lincoln Stage performances, but the highlight for me was the BBC Planet Earth film of the Arctic and Antarctic with the musical score set to live music. The main stage shows were very good also. You had to get to the theater early to get a good seat...at least a seat that wasn't behind the dreaded support poles in the theater. We hired private excursions in Roatan and Guatemala. Mahogany Bay (Roatan) was a fairly steep walk to get out to the taxi area and the expensive "Disney like" shops in the port area. Highlight shore excursion was "Go with Gus" Humanitarian tour in Guatemala. Our group had know in advance to bring school supplies etc. for the school kids and it was an enriching experience. I enjoy the size of the Holland ships. The mid size of the ships allow a good variety of entertainment without the 4000 plus guest experience. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
My qualification for writing this is that I am a four star member of the HAL Mariners group. That is I have accumulated over 250 days on some 25 different cruises. I have also cruised quite a bit with Princess. A few years ago, I had an ... Read More
My qualification for writing this is that I am a four star member of the HAL Mariners group. That is I have accumulated over 250 days on some 25 different cruises. I have also cruised quite a bit with Princess. A few years ago, I had an article in Cruise Critic comparing the two lines. One finding was that Princess has better perks. I would be eligible for some free internet on Princess, something that is much harder to get on HAL. I could spend a whole year on a HAL ship and still not even be eligible for discounted internet. I noted that the libraries on HAL where much superior to the comparatively small Princess Libraries with fewer books and no librarian. HAL had much bigger libraries with many books, selected by the NY times in a deck ten Explorations Café, with a librarian who knew something about the computers there, and a lot of DVDs, with players in every cabin. That, alas, has changed, changed utterly. On a recent Oosterdam cruise, the library had far fewer books, some paper backs left by other passengers, but no librarian, no DVDs, and no one who knew anything about computers. Front desk person said HAL has abandoned libraries on other ships as well. A major loss. A number of other changes have occurred on HAL, quite a few that seem aimed at saving or making money. They “push” alcohol. In almost every public event, some crew member circulates with a glass of wine or some other alcoholic beverage. They were kind enough to call a gathering of veterans. They used to offer us a free drink; now we pay for it. Although there is an AA meeting on board, it is not a safe environment for anyone with alcohol problems. What used to be free wine tastings, now have a charge. The dining staff work hard for long hours, but there seem to be fewer of them than there used to be, so service is slower. Music is a different matter. Princess has an occasional good music group. HAL, however, has a history of excellent music. Used to have a string quartet on most ships, though that changed over the years to a piano and cello or a piano and violin duo. This year, however, the Oosterdam had a piano quintet assembled by Lincoln Center (New York) that provided excellent concerts for two hours most nights. Plus another “B-B band and two-piano duo on a “Music Walk.” I have heard that the Eurodam and new Konigsdam have similar groups. Some compensation for the lack of a library. HAL still has a troublesome pattern of docking at places remote from the place listed on the itinerary, and failing to provide shuttle service to the place where taxis are available, or to the listed port. They fail to do much, even for the very old or wheel chair people. Princess is not much different on these issues. Both still offer good cruises. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Had family going on this trip and tagged along. First impression of the public spaces was that they were clean and freshly done over. My cousins suite on deck 7 was lovely. Completely redone with a stunning bathroom and large deck. My ... Read More
Had family going on this trip and tagged along. First impression of the public spaces was that they were clean and freshly done over. My cousins suite on deck 7 was lovely. Completely redone with a stunning bathroom and large deck. My room on deck 6 had not been touched and was tired and shabby by comparison. Cracks in the toilet, chips here and there with worn carpet and a tired little sofa. Because I was alone, I paid double for my room so I was doubly disappointed. The best thing was the large screen TV opposite the bed which came in handy since I caught cold immediately upon getting onboard. Very limited selection of channels but a new movie every day. A large number of people on the ship came down with the flu and since the ship had an outbreak in October, I don't think it's gotten over it yet. Many people were quarantined in their rooms for a great deal of the 2 week trip. As it was, anyone who had been sick was not allowed to debark in Grand Cayman Island. To their credit, the staff in the Medical Facility were quite competent and prepared for most anything. They were thorough and professional, calling to see how I was doing after my visit. The rest of the staff were also caring and professional and the food quite good. We ate a number of times in Pinnacle Grill which was excellent and enjoyed BB King's show. The Lincoln Center quartet were quite good even though they wound up being a trio when one of the musicians hurt his finger. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
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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