42 Venice Holland America Oosterdam Cruise Reviews

We selected this cruise to celebrate my husband's retirement. The combination of ports and transatlantic cruise was the perfect fit and the time of year was just what we were hoping for. We flew into Venice a couple of days prior to ... Read More
We selected this cruise to celebrate my husband's retirement. The combination of ports and transatlantic cruise was the perfect fit and the time of year was just what we were hoping for. We flew into Venice a couple of days prior to sailing and enjoyed checking out the city. The problems started once we arrived in our cabin and discovered the toilet did not operate. Nor did it work the next day, or the day after that, or the day after that.....7 days of our cruise. No operating toilet. We had a pool of disgusting sewage liquid on the floor of the bathroom on one day AFTER the plumbers left. After reporting the problems to Customer Service, we learned the problem was a continuation from the prior cruise. But we were the problem because we were not able to move to another cabin (my parents were next door and we were unable to leave them). For our "trouble", we were given $250. Seriously. The $250 "compensation" for 28% of our cruise being impacted was unacceptable. I would strongly encourage others to avoid HAL and the Oosterdam in particular. We have cruised both HAL and the Oosterdam in the past and had chosen this cruise over several others. We spent hours with customer service staff, plumbers and not doing what we wanted to do--but hey, we got pretty good finding the "public toilets" around the ship....as this was what customer service told us to do when we needed to do our "business". Yep, couldn't use our cabin's most basic facilities. Needless to say, this overshadowed our entire cruise and has changed our views of HAL. Additionally, there were challenges with the wine stewart. We were charged for wine we didn't drink. We were charged for a chard. ($62/bottle) when we drank a reisling ($32/bottle). Who knows who else he was stealing from. As much trouble as we had with the above, we enjoyed the entertainment, the special speakers and the America's Test Kitchen. Our cabin steward was a trooper in having to perform his usual duties and then also clean up from the mess the plumbers left. The ports and excursions we amazing. One challenge we did have with the excursions is that the descriptions regarding strenuousness and the passengers abilities often did not mesh. So those passengers who were more "agile" were held back by those could not keep up with the guides. Look beyond HAL to another cruise line before booking. Or be prepared for anything to go wrong. And then be prepared to be placated by the customer service staff "I'm so sorry Mrs. ***". These individuals are left to try to clean up problems across the ship without any information on what is causing the issues. We felt sorry for them. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We enjoyed a very nice 12 day cruise on the Oosterdam. We took a water taxi direct from our Venice hotel to the ship, so easy. Embarkation was a snap. Our aft cabin was clean and spacious and our cabin stewards Edy and Oman were very ... Read More
We enjoyed a very nice 12 day cruise on the Oosterdam. We took a water taxi direct from our Venice hotel to the ship, so easy. Embarkation was a snap. Our aft cabin was clean and spacious and our cabin stewards Edy and Oman were very gracious and helpful. We would have liked a Tamarind on board for a 12 day voyage so we dined at Pinnnacle Grill five nights. Katalin was our server for three nights and she made a huge difference. The MDR food and service was actually pretty good. One night we dined in Canaletto and it was just ok. The Lido and room service breakfasts were very good. Entertainment was decent with B.B. Kings and a couple shows. HAL still lags behind the competition in this department. Overall service was outstanding. Everyone was always ready to help and always greeted us with a warm smile. You can really feel the genuine and sincere hospitality from top to bottom on this ship. We enjoyed all ports visited but unfortunately we missed Mykonos due to a rare hurricane in the Mediterranean. We had some rough seas for a couple days getting away from the storm. All in all, it was another enjoyable cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We loved pretty much everything about the cruise, despite being caught in bad weather (like, hurricane level bad weather) that made us miss one port and bounced us around for a few days. The crew was amazing, the food was excellent, the ... Read More
We loved pretty much everything about the cruise, despite being caught in bad weather (like, hurricane level bad weather) that made us miss one port and bounced us around for a few days. The crew was amazing, the food was excellent, the ports were better than I could hae ever imagined, embarkation and disembarkation was a breeze, even the shopping surpassed our expectations. My only real complaint is the spa. I went for a polish change (very reasonable cost to do this), ended up getting an upgrade to polish that would last longer but I was assured would come off easily once I was home. Well,l it didn't. I'm now trying to grow it off because it is too damaging to get off in a salon. Also, the entire manicure experience was an up-sell session. My advice would be to skip the spa. Just a money grab. We also had a bit of trouble getting our dining table sorted but that was a bit of live and learn experience. In future I would do anytime dining if you want interesting conversation. I would definitely cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the extended time in Malta. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly as did the process for boarding tenders in ports that required them. The crew was fabulous- the ship not so much- ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the extended time in Malta. The embarkation and disembarkation went very smoothly as did the process for boarding tenders in ports that required them. The crew was fabulous- the ship not so much- disappointing really- badly in need of updating- carpet worn in public areas, many lights out on the observation deck, bathtubs should be removed as ours was so scratched it appeared to be filthy although it was not dirt. Our cabin stewards worked non-stop doing their best, but you can only do so much with what you have. The staff in the dining area also were attentive and courteous- unfortunately the food looked amazing but was tasteless for the most part- very disappointing when you consider how much food matters when on a cruise. We did find the entertainment to be excellent- nice variety of comedy as well as classical musicians and Broadway worthy entertainers. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Our group booked this cruise because of the great Ports of Call. This was our second cruise departing from Venice, so we arrived ready to explore Murano, Burano & Tarcello and the Doges Palace which were must sees for this trip. Our ... Read More
Our group booked this cruise because of the great Ports of Call. This was our second cruise departing from Venice, so we arrived ready to explore Murano, Burano & Tarcello and the Doges Palace which were must sees for this trip. Our hotel ordered a water taxis to take us to the pier and embarkation was fast and easy. On our first night aboard we had a magnificent dinner at the Pinnacle Grill, a highlight of the cruise. We have sailed with Holland in the past and were disappointed with the lack of activities, especially on the sea day. Lincoln Center Stage was a daily treat before dinner. This was the first cruise that we booked shore excursions on our own, thank you Cruise Critic for giving us the great tips. We used Via Tour, Shore Fox and Luca Zoppo for Naples, Sorrento and Pompeii. We did our research and found shore excursions that included sites we were interested in. Disembarkation ran smoothly with a transfer to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took the Venice to Barcelona itinerary in Aug/Sep 2018 and we loved this ship! The size was perfect for us. It was easy to get from one end to the other and the ship was in great shape. The food in the main dining room was the best ... Read More
We took the Venice to Barcelona itinerary in Aug/Sep 2018 and we loved this ship! The size was perfect for us. It was easy to get from one end to the other and the ship was in great shape. The food in the main dining room was the best we’ve had on any Holland America ship. The filets were nice and thick and cooked to perfection and the variety each evening was wonderful. And as on all our HAL cruises, the service was impeccable! Even though this ship was smaller than our favorites, the Koningsdam and Nieuw Amsterdam, we really enjoyed every aspect of it. We definitely recommend this ship if you’re looking for a midsize, well appointed ship. Our only disappointment was the changes made to the Crows Nest. It just isn’t as inviting as it used to be and the Explorers Cafe only had a few, very limited, options for danish. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in ... Read More
My husband wanted to go on this cruise to go back to many of the spots we had visited while he was in the army. We have sailed on several different cruise lines, but have always preferred Holland America. This cruise offered 2 days in Venice before embarkation. These were very successful. We accidently found out that some tours were offered besides the evening cocktail party at a Venetian Palace. That was also very enjoyable with Bellini’s and heavy appetizers. I told a couple we met who had never sailed on Holland America how they would be impressed as it was a classic cruise line. I was embarrassed as we boarded the ship. There were no wheelchairs, which I needed at embarkation. There was a 300 foot walk. All elevators in the ship had scars and small tears on the walls. There were several broken windows around the public areas. Some windows also were clouded and did not give a clear view. The dining room was half empty when we would eat at the early dinner hour; the food was fine, but seemed to be better in the Lido which offered the same as the ding room with many more additional items. One excursion was changed from moderate to strenuous, and we were graciously refunded our money for that We were given a complementary dinner in the Canaletto because of my husband’s complaints about no wheelchairs at embarkation and a huge lack of help and care for handicapped cruisers during the lifeboat drill. One crew member said they were there for only emergencies. We had an early flight home. One wheelchair was available for debarkation, so another couple let me take it. At the airport we were just left with the piles of baggage in the terminal and there seemed to be no directions on how to find your airline. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
Before the cruise, we had the 2 day package in Venice that came with being in a Signature Suite. On my own, I’m not sure I would have chosen the Bonvecchiati Hotel, but its location was perfect and the room was fine. Transfers were ... Read More
Before the cruise, we had the 2 day package in Venice that came with being in a Signature Suite. On my own, I’m not sure I would have chosen the Bonvecchiati Hotel, but its location was perfect and the room was fine. Transfers were handled by HAL and went off without a hitch. Embarkation was very fast with priority Mariner status. We liked the ship a lot. Our cabin was great but it had a lot of noise from people walking on the pool deck above, carts being pushed, chairs scraping, people dropping things, etc. It didn’t keep us awake at night but it was fairly constant. Our neighbors were smoking on their balcony despite the smoking ban. The cabin and the balcony were large, the bathroom was big with a bathtub and a separate shower and 2 sinks. I loved the nightlight in the bathroom. Our stewards were excellent and were able to quickly fix a blocked drain. You can stream movies on the TV but you can’t check your cabin account, order room service or order shore excursions (you have to use the app). AC worked well and there was good storage space. There was norovirus on the ship but not many people got it. The crew seemed to do a really good job of keeping it from spreading. This might be the best cruise ship buffet I’ve seen. The variety was good and the food was actually hot. Don’t miss the nights they do the giant antipasto spread and the international desserts – gorgeous displays with tons of choices. I was not impressed with Dive In. The food takes a long time, isn’t particularly hot, and is it's just average grill food. Also, the hot dogs are too salty. Service in the DR was excellent and the food was very good, although they are pretty skimpy with the vegetables. If the menu says your protein comes with Brussels sprouts and sweet potatoes, expect one Brussels sprout and one bite of potato. Entertainment on this ship was excellent. The production shows were terrific and the singers had good voices. The dueling piano players were great. BB Kings All Stars were terrific and really talented, but the volume was so loud I couldn’t sit in the lounge. If they had turned it down, I would have gone every night, but it was painfully loud. We went to a few of the lectures, which we enjoyed, but didn’t take part in other daytime activities. Shore excursions were very expensive but well run. Twice our tender pilots didn’t seem to know where the pier was. Disembarkation was very fast (we got off early with our suitcases). Overall, we loved the ship, had a great (if somewhat noisy) cabin, and thought the crew were great. The food, entertainment and service were all excellent. Good job, HAL! Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
This was my 15th or 16th cruise and 2nd on HAL. Flying into Venice was amazing, It was like a picture coming to life. The ship picked up a group from the airport and loaded us on to a bus and took us to the ship. Embarkation was very ... Read More
This was my 15th or 16th cruise and 2nd on HAL. Flying into Venice was amazing, It was like a picture coming to life. The ship picked up a group from the airport and loaded us on to a bus and took us to the ship. Embarkation was very easy! The rooms were ready when we arrived (approx. 11 am) and the room and bathroom were fantastic. A full bathroom inc. a bath! And this was for a regular cabin!! Immediately headed into Venice to explore and go shopping. The Water Bus (not the water taxi as that's a lot more money!) was easy to get to and dropped you off right in front of St Marks Square. about 15 Euros for a round trip. Lots of shops and tourists so venture out a bit throughout the alleys and explore! Back to the boat for the life drill and then back into the city via the People mover (3-4 Euros round trip.) - The people mover drops you off on the other side of the island and it's a long but fascinating walk to St Marks Square - make sure you look for hidden churches and beautiful sculptured windows and door knockers/doors. You'll see many famous bridges by taking the people mover but will do a lot more walking!! Summer is VERY hot and humid too, so be prepared!!! Croatia - took the shuttle (16 E) to town and did the fort tour (again, lots of walking up steps!) for an amazing view. Lots to see in Dubrovnik! Albania - walked along the "beach" which was mostly pebbles - and down a couple of streets - we heard the tours were fascinating esp the Blue Eye lagoon. Katakalon/Olympia Greece - amazing ruins - we opted for the 3D tour but I would not do that again as the pad you carry around does not match up with the direction you are facing so it's a bit annoying - very hot so dress accordingly and the area is bumpy so wheelchairs had a difficult time. However, its someplace everyone should visit at least once. Amazing!! Then on to a store where many items were made with olive oil. The Baklava is the best ever !!! very crowded as all the buses tend to stop there at the same time!! lots of stuff to buy!!! teft lhen on to another little shopping area nearby. We got left behind so make sure you ALWAYS understand what time the bus is leaving. After several of us on different tours got left behind, they started giving us phone numbers of who to contact in case that occurred again. (Ship was awesome, reimbursed us for the cab back to the port and for part of the excursion, even tho apparently it was our fault.) Then 3 days in Italy - Pompeii is a must but again, very hot! so interesting and awesome!! Sorrento was gorgeous. I heard the pizza in Napoli (Naples) was great but we were too hot after our excursion to go back into the city. Etruscan Necropolis was interesting and the drive through the Italian countryside was beautiful. Cinque Terra was lovely to see also. Monaco - friend did the 4 mile walking tour of the Formula 1 Race path and loved it. I did the Hop On Hop Off which showed much of the country and was perfect. France - did the Hyeres tour, that was a lot of walking and hot, but fascinating and lovely. Toulon has a little train shuttle to show you the city which is nice if you are too tired to do a tour Barcelona- amazing city. If you love Antoni Gaudi make sure you schedule reservations for Park Guell and la Sagrada Familia if you wish to go there. In the summer the tours are crazy and it will take hours to get in. We did the Hop On Hop Off and went to La Pedrera/Casa Mila and Montjuic which was very interesting. You can see much of the city on the HoHo so take advantage of it. We stayed an extra 2 days. The cab drivers went on strike while we were there but they have buses that go directly to the airport. Ship - it was a lovely ship and the food was delicious but compared to other ships, this one did not have a lot of activities to do during the day. 2 small pools worked for the amount of people but there were minimal exercise classes except for the morning stretch...no dance classes, painting classes, etc. A couple of demos from America's Test Kitchen cooking show but no samples for the audience. A few times I was bored which has never happened before!! Fun entertainment at night. I wish there were more things to do on board esp for sea days. Food - very good, try the fries at the Dive-In - YUMMY! (and don't forget their special sauce!) -- great desserts and the meals In the dining room were very good. Great omelets and the pasta bar was delicious!! great burgers and handmade salads!! and you can grab a sandwich for the next day if you want! Cabins- worked well for us, large for 2 people and the cabin stewards Heri and Hilman were awesome!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner ... Read More
We choose cruise based on ports of call. Entertainment was very poor as to compared to other cruises i have been on (over 80). The activities on board were similar most days. The computer classes were scheduled the same time as dinner 5:30, Test Kitchen sessions were great and so was the BB Kings show times. The ship did have a wonderful in room selection of movies to watch in the evenings, since there was poor shows. The cruise director was average at best. Food in the dining room and lido was great. Service was wonderful. Purser office staff were average. Ship captain and staff were wonderful. I have never had a Captain think of passenger safety during a thunderstorm and advised guests to stay indoors and safe. He also backed the ship up from several islands and i have never seen this before. He was a great Captain. The ports of call for the 24 days were GREAT, that was reason we choose this ship. We were unable to go to Gozo due to rough seas for tendering. Venice, Croatia, Albania, Montenegro, Katakalon, Greece; Athens, Greece; Rhodes, Santorini, Mykonos, Herakilon, Crete; Chania, Crete; Malta, Naples, Sicily, Civitechia (Rome). 21 stops in 24 days and each stop was wonderful. The ship tours were very expensive and we choose to do on shore excursions on our own. Hop on Hop Off buses were in most cities at around 20 Euro to 25. City tours were plentiful in taxis and minibuses. anywhere from 10 to 15 Euro. We did take one ship tour in Corfu to 3 cities and is was average and we felt rushed during this trip. I would have rather found a local tour person and done it on our own. Be prepared in each city you visit to walk on uneven, cobblestone streets and cracked pavements, so a good walking shoe is necessary as well as a good hat to shade you from the sun. Staying hydrated is very necessary while walking in the cites and restrooms are far and few and they charge a Euro or more to use, but they are clean. So the cities are wonderful, beaches great and seas beautiful. It was the ship that i found to be average at best. The Med. is beautiful place filled with ruins, history and beautiful scenery. Enjoy the Med just think twice choosing Oosterdam. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
Pre cruise/departure city we enjoyed 3 days in Venice on our own. We wanted to cruise over our wedding anniversary - so a mid June sail date; itinerary we loved, and sailing on a different HAL ship. Cut backs at time noticeable but the ... Read More
Pre cruise/departure city we enjoyed 3 days in Venice on our own. We wanted to cruise over our wedding anniversary - so a mid June sail date; itinerary we loved, and sailing on a different HAL ship. Cut backs at time noticeable but the staff continue to show their warmth, friendliness and aim to please. We had the Elite drink package and while early in the cruise one of our favorite wines was no longer available beverage staff offered a good substitute. The Beverage team also managed to move the wine to the bars we most frequented. People's taste in music and entertainment vary so I won't address that. We would like more dance venues then the BB King's. Do not like what is apparently a fleet wide change to the Crows Nest. Dined at the Pinnacle Grill once super meal, attentive and knowledgable wait staff. Suggest to HAL to expand wine list - too many Washington State wines and many do not go well with the menu there. The Oosterdam Singers and dancers very good (especially the dancers) orchestra good not great. We did just one shore excursion and it was excellent. Did not attend enrichment activities. Did go to most of the entertainment (some very good guest entertainers). We did the 12 day segment of this cruise. While we would not do this same cruise again I would recommend it and have already to friends. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
I chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports offered and because I had previously cruised with Holland and been quite pleased. It was a mistake. . .. a horrible mistake, The ship is in great disrepair aesthetically. From chipped ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the wonderful ports offered and because I had previously cruised with Holland and been quite pleased. It was a mistake. . .. a horrible mistake, The ship is in great disrepair aesthetically. From chipped and peeling paint, to dirty mats and peeling closet rods. The Oosterdam needs to be placed in service and cleaned. Other cruisers were similarly complaining about the food, the dirt, the lack of service etc. . . I learned that the cruise director was leaving the ship at the end of our cruise which may have accounted for her lack of involvement ( unless it was hanging out drinking with other cruise line personnel), but must comment about the lack of activities ( or rote nature of same). While the Oosterdam " strives to offer activities for every age range and nationality," there were very few choices and the entertainment quality was bad. The exception was the BB King band, which was quite good. In addition to the state of the ship, the food offered was poor ( except the one excellent meal enjoyed at the specialty restaurant). Otherwise, the stations close at 9pm, and have old ( as in expired cream cheese, old (smelly) seafood, etc) food options . Pizza however is available pretty much 24/7. Positives: The cabin stewards work tirelessly. The assistant cruise director was great, my spa appointments were reasonably priced and quite good. One concern to note was that we had an overnight in Malta. We docked at Valletta and were due to depart from Gozo the following day. My son and I notified the ship ( and filled out paperwork and provided contact information) to inform them that we would exit the ship from Valletta and meet the ship in Gozo. Because of weather, the Captain decided not to go to Gozo and changed the aboard time in Valletta. WE WERE NEVER CONTACTED, Had it not been for a fellow passenger texting me about the change, we would never have known and missed the ship's departing from Valletta. I tried to let the ship know of this error and my other concerns. The only response I received was when the manager of the Lido deck hunted me down at the fine dining establishment were I had reserved the following night to inquire about my comments about the curdled milk offered for coffee drinkers on the Lido in the mornings. No one from HA addressed the issue of failing to inform us of the port change. Scary. I will never ever cruise HA again and the biggest reason for that decision is that they did not address my concerns. There are numerous fellow passengers who felt the same way. All told, this cruise cost over $10,000.00. I expected a lot more. Don't waste your money on poor service, poor food, and dirty accommodations. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We wanted the ports and we loved everyone of them. Three women between the ages of 58 and 64 stayed in the cabin. Beds were comfortable and even the couch was fine. Word of advice is to bring one of those portable lights with you and also ... Read More
We wanted the ports and we loved everyone of them. Three women between the ages of 58 and 64 stayed in the cabin. Beds were comfortable and even the couch was fine. Word of advice is to bring one of those portable lights with you and also an extension cord to use your hairdryer in the other room because its extremely dark in front of the mirror and in front of the last closet. It took 3 days of hounding customer service and the room steward to get the head of house keeping to look at the room and remove a light fixture and give us a mini flash light. The ship had two bars near the pool but only one of them had the happy hour special at 4:00 to 5:00 pm every day so we had to keep walking back to the other one. Seemed rather stupid that both pool bars didn't have the same specials. Food was very good. Extremely boring at night as the ship had no comedians and broad way shows as other cruise lines offer. You did get your refined cello and violin performances and art auctions or quiet wine bars. The BB King lounge had an excellent band but after a week it was over kill. Gala nights were are real disappointment We dressed up expecting to have appetizers, meet the captain, have champagne and instead it was just the regular dinner in the main dining room. Also, the ship had workmen installing rugs on some of the floors so we had to keep walking around to another stair case. Excursions were not very good so we were glad that we hired private tour guides seen on Trip Advisor for some of them. . In fact, the excursion desk people were always rather rude at the desk whenever we waited for at least 40 minutes to check about one tour that was wait listed. When we asked at customer relations what time the excursion desk employees would be back, we were informed no need to keep going to the desk for wait list status, you can go to the kiosk and do that or book tours. Wish we knew that in advance. We did book one tour in 2 minutes by the kiosk but it was cancelled due to rough seas. The spa was okay. They do pressure you to book more treatments. My first day I spent almost $200 for the same thing they offered for $149 at the end of the trip. Two of the travels had charges that were improperly charged and it took several calls to fix the bill. We have all had way better customer service on other cruise lines and the disembarkation process was extremely disorganized. People were standing in the halls for over an hour and quite a few were complaining. I felt sorry for the elderly ones. However, the ship is mostly seniors over 75 years old. Read Less
Sail Date June 2018
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We've never been to Europe and thought this was a great way to see major cities and sites. We were not disappointed in any way! First off, Explorations Central rocks! There's actual ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its itinerary. We've never been to Europe and thought this was a great way to see major cities and sites. We were not disappointed in any way! First off, Explorations Central rocks! There's actual people who know their business that you can talk to about exploring on your own as well as asking about the excursions. If you find yourself on board with Tom and Dorene, or one or the other, take advantage of their super-friendly and practical advice. Plus, the interactive huge maps are really helpful. Our cabin was kept meticulously clean; our stewards made a towel animal for us each night. We used the "bag-it-yourself" laundry service which impressed us with the speed of turnaround, the pressing, folding and hanging. This service was super for us because we traveled for 21 days total with only a carry-on apiece and a day bag. We didn't take suits for Gala Night and it didn't matter as we fit in just fine with collared shirts and lightweight trousers in the dining room. Don't miss the show where HAL partners with BBC Earth and all the on board musicians play a custom score. You're truly transported by the visuals and sound. Speaking of sound, Daniel did a tremendous job at all the shows we saw. We have to give a shout-out to the team at the Sea View bar and to all the great new friends we met there. A lot of people ask about smoking, and we found the Sea View bar area totally accommodating. Plus, having our cabin just one deck directly below was super convenient. We took the Olympus excursion from Katakolon and were so lucky to have the guide we did. She not only knew the area, but being an archaeologist and historian she shared legend and emotive history that brought the place to life. We took the excursion bus to Florence, which was also guided by a knowledgeable and friendly guide. When in Florence, look for the Pinocchio shop in the old town. As our bus guide told us, Pinocchio is made from Pino (pine) trees, and you see them all around. We took off for Rome on our own, by train. It was utterly fortuitous that we hailed a cab to get to the station for our return. Had we taken the underground instead, we would have missed the ship's departure. We took off to Nice from Monte Carlo too. Nice is so captivating that we realized quite late that we had 55 minutes to return to Monte Carlo to catch the last tender. Dorene had mentioned in a talk that if you find yourself in a pickle, just ask a local if they will use their phone and offer a couple of Euro coin. We did, and ended up having Bruno ride with us on the fast and worrisome cab ride back. His ability to translate the urgency of making the ship in time really helped! Whew! We were a couple of minutes late and were met by HAL staff, who pulled up all the tender equipment and took us, the last ones aboard, back to the ship. Of course the whole adventure made for a funny story to tell friends on board and to remember for years to come. We recommend HAL to everyone, and surely for this tremendous trip from Venice to Barcelona. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We love this ship. We did the Panama Canal on this ship in November and booked the same room for this trip (Venice to Barcelona). In between trips, they did a dry dock and destroyed the Crow's Nest! On the Panama trip, the ... Read More
We love this ship. We did the Panama Canal on this ship in November and booked the same room for this trip (Venice to Barcelona). In between trips, they did a dry dock and destroyed the Crow's Nest! On the Panama trip, the Crow's Nest was THE place to be, especially for Happy Hour. Now, it is just a coffee bar, and the Shore Excursion staff have taken over most of the space. What a waste of great views! Most of the rest of the ship was great, as we remembered. Noticed some of the upgrades - new carpets and other modifications. Not sure why the removed the stairs in the atrium. Loved the BB King group! Dining was great in the Pinnacle Grill, OK in the dining room and Lido, Fair in Canaletto, Good in DiveIn. In suite breakfast with Mimosas was a good way to start the day. Excursions were a mixed bag. Wine tasting in Dubrovnik was fun. Rome was disappointing. Florence had a lot of walking just to do some shopping. Sagrada Familia in Barcelona was a highlight! Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose this cruise for its itinerary which began in Venice where we arrived 5 days early for a Venice experience. Cruise is 12 days with 9 additional ports and extra night aboard ship in Barcelona. We stayed an extra 4 nights in ... Read More
We choose this cruise for its itinerary which began in Venice where we arrived 5 days early for a Venice experience. Cruise is 12 days with 9 additional ports and extra night aboard ship in Barcelona. We stayed an extra 4 nights in Barcelona on Las Ramblas to explore and experience Barcelona. During our cruise, we took 2 excursions through the ship, 2 through Smart Cruise Tours and, otherwise, went on self guided adventures. HAL Oosterdam was the right size for us and we enjoyed the many amenities provided. Staff is wonderful. Dining rooms are lovely and serve great quality food and drink, including the Lido buffet. Ship has a variety of very talented entertainers and brings on one night specialty acts. We took advantage of the Digital Workshops and learned some cooking tips at America's Test Kitchen. There is a nice selection of in room movies and TV viewing that is available on demand. We would relive every minute of this adventure in a heartbeat. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We decided to sail on Holland America for a second time after a cruise from Montreal to Boston a couple of years ago. In between we sailed Oceania through the Baltic, Russia and Scandinavia, which we also enjoyed. The same cruise from ... Read More
We decided to sail on Holland America for a second time after a cruise from Montreal to Boston a couple of years ago. In between we sailed Oceania through the Baltic, Russia and Scandinavia, which we also enjoyed. The same cruise from Venice to Barcelona was significantly more expensive on Oceana; so we opted for HA. I had read a review of our ship, the Oosterdam, which led me to have doubts about the ship's and cabin's condition, but the reviewer was misleading: the ship was great. We booked a Veranda on Deck 7, and it was quiet with a great view on the balcony. For the 10-day voyage, we were quite busy with only a single day 'At Sea.' Departing from Venice we stopped in Croatia, Albania, and Greece, then sailed around the boot of Italy and through the Straits of Messina to Naples. There we took the HA tour of Pompeii and then to Rome with a panoramic tour there, and on up to Livorno with a tour to Florence. The final two ports before terminating in Barcelona were Monaco and Toulon. We toured Monaco and went to Nice. At Toulon, we just stayed on the ship for some R&R. The debarkation in Barcelona was easy and well-organized. We booked three tours with a non-HA tour company, Shore Excursions Group, because they had better tours for what we wanted. The HA tours were longer and generally took all day, with the exception of the Pompeii one which we booked. The SEG tours were shorter and we were better able to see just what we wanted. We got a free HA tour of Monaco / Nice because an exhausted passenger and his wife were at the end of their tether and gave us their tickets. My wife and I walked 5k a day for months prior to the cruise so that we would be able to keep up with the excursions (and for good health), and I would recommend getting in 'cruise excursion' shape for anyone taking this cruise. We didn't do much in Albania or Greece, but they were nice to have a relaxing day. (I also had a cold that kicked in on departing Venice; so I didn't want to overdo.) Others who took excursions reported having great times. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
12-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona. Although the ship was supposedly upgraded, we noticed immediately that almost all of the interior elevators had torn, peeling, scratched, damaged wallpaper. Service in Main DR and by cabin stewards ... Read More
12-day cruise from Venice to Barcelona. Although the ship was supposedly upgraded, we noticed immediately that almost all of the interior elevators had torn, peeling, scratched, damaged wallpaper. Service in Main DR and by cabin stewards excellent as always. Lido deck stewards a little slow, and the Taco bar was frequently out of items. We had reserved a second seating, table for 8, but were seated at a table for 8 with only one other couple, of a significantly different age group. Not conducive to making conversation. Pinnacle was excellent; hot stone massage was great. Cruise director and assistant were fun and engaging. Dealers in the casino, on the other hand, were flat and mechanical, as were the pianists in the piano bar- flat and mechanical. BB King group was phenomenal. BBC Live show was also fantastic. Pianist Chris Hamilton wonderful. Embarkation and Disembark were quick and efficient ( we left the ship at 7 AM, and had our luggage checked in at the airport in Barcelona by 7:45). Pre-cruise package in Venice was nice, except that the hotel had no air conditioning the first night, and the windows were not to be opened because of insects in Venice. As usual, HAL excursions were overpriced, and they don't filter out guests by activity tolerance- we went on a walking tour in Dubrovnik (Old City Walls) and they allowed guests with walkers and 2 crutches- this significantly slowed us down and limited what we could see (this was a listed as a strenuous activity). We used Tours by locals in Naples and Florence, and a private guide in Rome. Similar costs, but only 2 people, no bus (Mercedes minivan transport). Very nice cruise, great ports (although Sarande could have been skipped). This was our1 2the cruise, #8 with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
We choose this cruise for the itinerary of several Greek islands and the Med, and also the 24 day duration, and Venice as the start/finish point. We liked the port-intensive trip. Holland America service feels quite welcoming and helpful. ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary of several Greek islands and the Med, and also the 24 day duration, and Venice as the start/finish point. We liked the port-intensive trip. Holland America service feels quite welcoming and helpful. The food was good, but menus were a bit too complicated in the dining room for my taste. If you were a picky or ‘simple’ eater it would be hard to find something plain especially for this many nights. Meal size was unpredictable, so it was not safe to order a half portion every night and waiters were not helpful in this regard. Vegetables were a bit scarce. The entertainment varied from mediocre to awful for the most part, saved only by local folkloric dancers, BBKings Blues Club, and some of the classical music. No great vocalists, no group activities, and poorly timed talks/enrichment activities. Lots of cards /board games / jigsaws for the elderly and sedentary, but not what I would consider ‘entertainment’ worthy. It felt like the entertainment budget had been scalped. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
My husband and I planned this cruise 11 months out and chose it for its ports and time of year. We splurged and booked a Neptune suite. The ship was in great shape, the crew were friendly and eager to please, the food was for the most part ... Read More
My husband and I planned this cruise 11 months out and chose it for its ports and time of year. We splurged and booked a Neptune suite. The ship was in great shape, the crew were friendly and eager to please, the food was for the most part delicious and the ports were good. Embarkation was a breeze, in terminal and on ship in about 20 minutes. Our cabin was an aft wrap balcony and was wonderful. We did a combination of anytime dining, Lido market, Pinnacle grill and dive in. We found varied choices, most selections quite tasty, all food presented well and good service. We had the same table and steward in the main dining room and had a good experience each night. If we did not see anything on the main menu, they always had steak, salmon and pasta. The service was the usual slow pace but we enjoyed talking to our tablemates that varied each night. The lido had a good mix of food, a great salad bar, good dessert selection and ample seating. Dive in gave you a beeper and so you could wait on pool deck or pool bar until your food was ready. They had tasty burgers, hot dogs and fries. We ate one night in the Pinnacle Grill and the food and service were outstanding. The filet melted in your mouth. We did not participate in too many shipboard activities- we did play trivia one night, saw two shows in main stage, a few performances in other venues, listened to piano player in ocean bar before dinner a couple nights and used the explorations café for research. I played slots in Casino one night and it was fun and no smoke. We found all entertainment good and the venues superb. We did two shore excursions and they were both well organized, well led and informative. For the most part we did our own thing in the ports and had no issues with this. The cruise was port intensive with 12 days and 10 stops ie only one sea day. So every day was a new place and new things to see and do. This was fun but did get a bit tiring by day 11. We would certainly choose Holland America for a future cruise. It was a top notch voyage, we found the people on board to be in the 50-70 year old age bracket (our age), mostly American, Australian, British and Canadian. The service was outstanding and it was a pleasure to be on board. We did priority disembarkation in Rome and were off the ship by 740 am, it was easy and speedy. Our Rome Cabs driver was right outside and we were off to the airport. Read Less
Sail Date April 2018
After an excellent short Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Zuiderdam a couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to choose HA for a 12 day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise in April | May this year. The voyage route and port ... Read More
After an excellent short Alaskan cruise on Holland America's Zuiderdam a couple of years ago, my wife and I decided to choose HA for a 12 day Mediterranean and Adriatic cruise in April | May this year. The voyage route and port stopovers from Venice to Rome were fine, but the cruise itself was a letdown. The Oosterdam is a tired ship, badly in need of a serious facelift. While some of the more visible public areas appear to have been fairly recently upgraded, the passageways are dull and gloomy, paint is peeling off the walls in the elevator cars, and in several instances we found bar and restaurant furnishings sagging, uncomfortable and desperately in need of replacement. Our stateroom was pretty glum as well. Badly scratched and chipped bath and flooring, depressing furnishings and colours. Not at all the kind of uplifting feeling we had experienced in the USA and were expecting. Some of the staff were excellent but others (particularly in the main restaurant) just clearly didn't want to be there and made that abundantly clear. The Captain's Lunch (for returning voyagers) was a complete joke. One tiny glass of wine, awful food and lousy service, and they couldn't get us out of the restaurant fast enough. So here's the message on that one, guys: if you're really not interested in your customers then don't pretend you are. That just makes it more disrespectful. Apart from that the food was okay ... but not particularly exciting either. As we left Venice we were attracted by the invitation to join fellow passengers on the deck for a Sunset Drink... Nice idea, we thought... until we found out the objective of this exercise was to get everyone to pay US$9.95 for some crappy bright pink drink. Needless to say we left, as most everyone else did also, leaving hundreds of unsold cocktails languishing on the bar tables. You really wonder whether these people understand anything about hospitality let alone sales psychology. Then there was the travel advice team up in the Explorer Lounge who really weren't interested in providing any destination advice unless it related to your buying a clip-the-ticket Holland America tour. It wasn't a complete disaster but we were certainly left with the feeling that Holland America's only objective is to try and wring the very last dollar out of their ships and their passengers by minimizind maintenance, cutting standards and quality (and probably wages) with no genuine concern for their reputation or brand. There were other issues as well. All pretty minor, admittedly, but they all add up to a lasting impression and it's not a good one. So would we travel on Holland America again.... No thanks! You've lost us. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at ... Read More
I was so excited to take my friend with me to see Greece, especially the islands. I am 72 and my friend is 70 and has claustrophobia so we decided to spend some extra money and get a Neptune Suite. We were so excited until we arrived at our room. I couldn't believe it was a Neptune Suite it was so much smaller because about a fourth of the room was taken up with a handicapped bathroom. It had a shower you for wheelchair person to sit and be hosed down, and lets the water get on the floor-slippery, dangerous to us. The bathtub was so deep we had to hang onto the handicapped rails to actually climb into it. We both almost fell a few times, made this a problem for us as well. The curtains were on electric button so you had to keep them either closed all the way or open all the way. With the sun beating down it made the room too hot when open during the day, and the view was basically tunnel vision so you could watch the water move from the engine. The cruise itself was good but the room was a nightmare for us. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
A comprehensive review of OUR HAL EXPERIENCE on the 09/28/16 Oosterdam 12nt Mediterranean Dreams cruise follows. Summary: With the exception of the two very negative experiences, our overall HAL cruise experience was nothing out of the ... Read More
A comprehensive review of OUR HAL EXPERIENCE on the 09/28/16 Oosterdam 12nt Mediterranean Dreams cruise follows. Summary: With the exception of the two very negative experiences, our overall HAL cruise experience was nothing out of the ordinary. I highly recommend reading through all of our experiences listed, while paying special attention to the deal breaking experiences detailed at the end of this review. This was our 34th cruise, 7th and LAST on HAL. The people, both staff and guests were a good bunch, we met new people and made some new friends. The itinerary was decent and the aspects of some ports, as well as this cruise experience, were better than others. For those who are concerned only with QOS (quality of service) and food, this cruise was par for the course with HAL. Due to our belief in the HAL brand, we paid a small premium, a bit more than we usually would, to go on this cruise. Unfortunately, the faith and trust which had been built over years in the HAL brand, was quickly obliterated in a matter of three weeks (one post cruise). In essence, terrible decision making by HAL ship side management and shore side executive management, ruined our cruise experience and earned (the hard way) a trifecta of terrible ratings in Overall Rating, Onboard Experience and Value for Money. If I could give a negative rating in these experiences, I would. Embarkation: Poor and mismanaged - slow, long queues. Service: On par for HAL, friendly and excellent. In particular the cabin stewards, bar and lido staff. Food: The Dive-In burgers, all beef hot dogs and taco bar were a nice alternative. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner: In the Lido Buffet was very good; the staff and management were most accommodating to our needs. Port day lunch included a pasta bar, tasty sushi rolls and Asian dishes. Main Dining - never bothered due to queues and the variety and quality of the food being literally identical in the Lido. Entertainment: Average at best - The BAND is gone? BBKing and the Ventriloquist Magician were excellent; New dueling pianos, meh. Sing around single pianist was better; Shows, not very good. Enrichment Activities: Average, the computer classes were a nice touch. Family and Children: Not applicable Fitness and Recreation: Clean and average; pools, jacuzzis, free men and womens locker shower, gym and dry sauna. Public Rooms: Average - On average, a mostly orderly ship. Ports: Average - see detailed review below Shore Excursions: Not applicable Disembarkation: Poor - swift and merciless. Fastest we have ever been given the bums rush. Hundreds were awaiting buses, shuttles and cabs, many with reservations for a hour or two later. Cabin Review: Excellent, see details in optional review below. Port Reviews Venice: Romantic, but expensive. Buy a vaporetto pass and validate it before riding. Visit Venice, stay and eat on the Lido. Sarande (Albania): Quaint beachfront esplanade. The best and least expensive "greek" food (15E for two) on this cruise. Kerkira (Corfu): Scenic historic city center and park walks await. Katakolon (Greece): Waterfront, two streets, four blocks of shops. Olympia ruins and Giorgio's Bike Bar ride await. Nafplion: Trendy beach front, downtown and exhausting bay fortress walk await. Athens: Best Duty Free, Parthenon and Acropolis ruins await. It's a big city. Mykonos: Quaint is now over commercialized, Big money bought out the independent's. Iraklion (Crete): Historic city center now glorified brand name outlet mall. Knossos Palace ruins await, big AM queues, empty after 1PM. Santorini: Take the funicular, beware of queues, avoid donkeys. Overrun with small shops. Naples: Capri, Sorrento, train to Pompeii, Herculaneum ruins await. You must be cautious, a young couple was victimized. Do not get on a bus or train without a validated ticket and announce the fact. You will be legitimately fined or caught in the typical Napoletano "we are the police" scam. Pick pockets, purse, phone, camera and jewelry snatchers galore. If you value it don't bring it ashore. As for your bank card and getting cash, do not use the ATM's. Theft of cash, identity, card eating ATM's and non dispensation of cash, while debiting your account are common here. Rome: Nice beach at port of Civitavecchia. Take train to Termini station, see the Colosseum first. Like Naples, it's the big city, beware. Negative experience #1: The Petri Dish Experiment We gave ample monetary consideration in the form of time off, airfare, transfers, excursions and the cruise itself, only to be subjected to a lack of hygienic common sense or a virus known as stupidity on the part of HAL ship side management. To be clear, in 34 cruises taken over a 50 year span, I have never been exposed to such unsanitary conditions and unhygienic practices. In 34 cruises, 31 ships, 9 lines, 122 ports, this was the first time I have contracted any type of illness on a cruise. Many were afflicted as witnessed by multiple conversations with passengers and crew who were impacted and aware of the situation. Aside from the "hacking" going on all over the ship, outbreaks of diarrhea and influenza were brought to my attention by several crew and passengers in the know. Two passengers made the unsolicited comment which I cannot take credit for, "this ship is a floating petri dish". Some of HAL's guests suffered, my wife and I to the tune of 14 days of downtime, misery and inconvenience from influenza (including the last 6 days of the cruise, hence impacting our overall rating and onboard experience). Whether HAL violated CDC health regs is beside the point, as their wanton lack of common sense, ultimately violated their guests trust. The cause? In the prior 33 cruises, I have never seen beverages or ice dispensed in such a haphazard fashion. From the beginning of the cruise, the non touch ice beverage dispensers in the Lido buffet were occasionally non functional, i.e. did not dispense ice or water. When they were functional, unprotected pitchers were often positioned on the drip tray blocking their usage, forcing unnecessary manual usage of make shift ice chests and pitchers. Rather than no touch, the process required a minimum of eight full hand to surface contacts on three different surfaces; chest lid; ice scoop; pitcher. In addition, the ice chest was compromised by the complete insertion of a hand during the scooping process. These conditions were mysteriously allowed to persist for the duration of the 12 night cruise. An email to the Office of the CEO and President at HAL, solicited the following response. "Interestingly enough we had our public health specialist on board this cruise. Non-touch beverage/ice machines were functional during the cruise and not disabled as suggested. There was no outbreak of influenza or diarrhea as suggested. We are not in a position to provide you with a monetary refund." The above response from HAL's Office of the CEO and President (Stein Kruse and Orlando Ashford) shot a clear message across my bow regarding the complaint. Their "Special Advisors" denied all circumstances and issued a complete refutation of my on board experience. The response which in essence called me a liar is so many words, left my family feeling cheated, deceived and lacking any future trust in the HAL brand. We also copied Arnold Donald the CEO of Carnival (Kruse and Ashfords boss), and never received any response. If you think that's the end of this story, sadly it only gets worse. I thought paying to unsuspectingly participate in a covert infectious disease or immunization program, was hitting rock bottom for HAL. Not even close, after reading below, plunging to new depths with U-boat Captain Lehmann-Willenbrock (Das Boot) will seem like a step up from HAL. Negative experience # 2: Terrorizing The Guests We had the extreme displeasure of witnessing a family of six with toddler, having their twelve night vacation completely ruined by HAL's front office and immigration administration. Some one in HAL's shipboard administrative office spotted a clerical error on a Visa, measured in mere hours and decided to flex their authoritative muscle in threatening to throw the mother of the toddler off the ship. Shortly into the cruise, HAL staff informed the family that the mother must debark the ship, a night prior to the cruises termination in Rome. HAL claimed that the mothers Schengen zone visa would terminate during the family's privately arranged post cruise transit to the Rome airport. The following day, HAL claimed the administrative error or visa oversight had been resolved. The next day, HAL staff reversed course again and like Schettino's Costa Concordia ran aground, insisting that the mother would have to debark in Naples. The husband made continued attempts to appeal to common sense. After a long weekend, the husband finally put his foot down and informed HAL staff that they would have to "physically remove" the whole family from the ship, along with their possessions. Magically, HAL staff finally "resolved" the administrative "problem" with "port authorities" and said all was well. The emotionally wrought disruption of this families vacation by HAL was unconscionable. Worse yet, for nine out of twelve nights, we watched this poor family being held hostage and terrorized by HAL's administrative Yo-Yo's (not ok, ok, not ok, ok) as they whimsically waved the sword of Damocle's over this poor families heads. Sailing with distemperate Captain Queeg (The Caine Mutiny) would be a step up from HAL. HAL administrative staff exhibited a complete lack of common sense and misguided application of policy and authority. Paying to be a guest, then being held emotional hostage, replete with psychological torture, redefines hospitality and service as well as taking it to new depths. This is how HAL treat their paying guests? Perhaps HAL should change their name to SSC or Stockholm Syndrome Cruises? Being Christian Fletcher and suffering the harsh punishment, criticism and abuse of Captain Bligh (Mutiny on the Bounty) would be a better fate. At the end of the day, apparently no one in HAL management ship or shore side has ever read Conrad Hilton's BE MY GUEST. In hospitality and service, misrepresentation should not be rife, with "caveat emptor" as the maxim of the day. HAL sure seems to have taken this to heart, as they apparently have forgotten about their most important resource, the customer. HAL is in the hospitality service business, at least that is the rumor which their hygienic practices, shipboard administration and post cruise customer service rapidly dispels. HAL's shore side upper management attitude and lack of customer satisfaction in problem resolution has left this formerly satisfied customer feeling like, sailing with Capt. Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean), would be an upgrade from HAL. In an effort to deny reality and just recompense, I shudder to imagine what HAL's professional deflection tactics and denial system aka "wall of non stick voodoo teflon" at the Office of The President and CEO, might cook up and attempt to serve future victims. Because of late, that is exactly what the HAL experience left us feeling like. Caveat Emptor. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
I was not going to write a review of this trip until I saw another review and wondered were we on the same ship! Oosterdam was in excellent condition after her recent refit. Our stateroom was in good condition and ready for us as soon ... Read More
I was not going to write a review of this trip until I saw another review and wondered were we on the same ship! Oosterdam was in excellent condition after her recent refit. Our stateroom was in good condition and ready for us as soon as we boarded in Venice, so it was drop the carry on bags in the room and up to Lido for lunch. After lunch and a glass of wine we returned to our room and our suitcases were waiting for us. We didn't see the stateroom attendants until the next day, however our room was always tidied and cleaned when we returned. Throughout the cruise top marks to our two attendants who always kept our room clean and tidy and re-towelled and also stopped for a quick chat when we were heading ashore or to dinner. Food/Dining - we always ordered breakfast in the stateroom and it was delivered on time and hot. Items were always correct and included the 'extras' we requested that were not on the order form, but which we had handwritten in. Lunch - we always had lunch in Lido so that I could access the supply of Bread Pudding. mmmmmmm! The individually made salads were great, as I could pick exactly what ingredients I wanted in my salad. Mains were ok, but most days we went to the Asian station and had great choice of tasty food. Dinner - We ate 4 times in MDR and a further 2 times in MDR on Gala nights. the other 6 nights we ate in the Lido. Food in MDR was ok, but not fantastic. Choices are much less than they used to be and portion size is smaller (though you can still request 'seconds'). Lido food for dinner was adequate - it was good to be able to mix and match rather than take the regular items. I had ordered a 7 bottle wine package on first night in MDR, but had no problem in getting a new bottle or a 'saved' unfinished bottle brought to the Lido for dinner or lunch. Entertainment - I really don't 'do' stage shows, but the Welsh woodwind player Ollie was very good. Most nights we were in BB King blues club for at least two of the three 45 minute sets. This band were great! Playing Motown/Stax/Volt/Blues/RnB etc. They really were top class. We passed by the Lincoln centre a few times and there was excellent classical music being played, however the location wasn't great as diners passing from the MDR were inclined to be chatting and disturbed the ambience. As for the Billboard On Board, I only went there for the happy hour drinks as one of the pianist was absolutely dire. We really appreciated the lack of use of the PA. Apart from the Cruise Director's morning 'Hello' and the Captain's midday update on position and weather, it was very peaceful. (and even these announcements are not heard in your stateroom!). No hard selling and no nickel and diming, unless you want to....! Ports - I will only mention a few of them...... Sarande, Albania - we were supposed to go to Kusadasi, but it was replaced with Sarande. We just walked around the town. A bit oppressed looking, reminded me of Prague in the mid 1970's. People friendly and if you bought with euros they were delighted - obviously the black market is still thriving. Katakolon - this is the port for Olympia, but we stayed in town and visited the Museum of Ancient Greek Technology. €2 admission! very interesting. The young curator (who also collected the admission money) demonstrated how some of the machines and devices worked. Would recommend a visit here. We also visited a shop on the main street with some wonderful Christmas decorations :) We really enjoyed this cruise. Staff were very good and very friendly. We booked a future cruise while on board to take advantage of the extra OBC on offer. All in All a great cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Food was ever better than previous HAL cruises and we have done many (almost 5 star). Service was excellent and as delightful as ever. I understand that sometimes the 'open dining tables had slower than usual service, but during the ... Read More
Food was ever better than previous HAL cruises and we have done many (almost 5 star). Service was excellent and as delightful as ever. I understand that sometimes the 'open dining tables had slower than usual service, but during the set dining the service was excellent. The Oosterdam has been partly reno'ed (I understand the suites, although we did not stay in one), the Lido was super and so were the many lounges and bars: all new furniture and fixtures. The cabins all now have wall-mounted flat screen tv's and the range of free movies, news, music, etc. was very good. Lido hours extended which was nice when returning from shore for a late lunch. A new addition which was a GREAT hit, was the new salad bar and they serve you in very large salad bowls with an amazing array of choices. What many cruisers don't know, but we do, if there is something that you fancy that is not being served, you can order it and they will make it specially for you. We found the entertainment good to very good and very varied. We have never liked and including this cruise, the shows with the singers and dancers. They are far too loud and we dislike the high-pitched female singers in particular. I did ask for the pre-show music to be turned down and they finally did that. Yes, the crowd is older on HAL but with or without hearing aids, the music doe NOT have to be deafening. My only only negative comment would be the choice of music. When reading unstairs in the Crow's Nest and where the reading room is now located adjacent to the Explorers Cafe, the music is annoying. Sometimes the young 'teckkies' see to think that cruisers enjoy rap music, but I can assure you most do not. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
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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