Sail Date: March 2019
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the ... Read More
My wife and I are 3* HAL loyalists. We have gone a winter Caribbean cruise every year for the last 25 years or so. Over the last 15 years we have only sailed on HAL as we enjoy the traditional cruising style of HAL as opposed to the mega-ship vibe. We chose the Oosterdam western cruise this year. Have not been on the Oosterdam previously but have been on Zuiderdam and most classes of HAL ships over the years. For the first time we were disappointed in HAL. We were on the March 2 sailing. We splurged for a Neptune Suite. Embarkation was a breeze. It was probably 15 minutes from Lyft ride to boarding the ship. The ship itself was impeccable. Our suite was in perfect condition. Here is a list of our disappointments: 1. Food - we had fixed dining 2nd seating. As always the service was great. I have always defended HAL's food quality over the years - but not this time. Examples included a pepper pot soup that consisted of over cooked bits of yesterdays short ribs covered by a dilute beef broth. A cat fish fillet that you could find in your Krogers frozen food section in a box and the fillet part of my "surf and turf" was an embarrassment - must have 3 oz and a hamburger patty would have been more flavorful. 2. $10 surcharge - My wife wanted the veal chop the night of the surf and turf but asked for a lobster tail to go with it. We were charged $10 for an "extra entree". Really? Felt like a slap in the face. 3. Promenade deck - we enjoy our walks around the deck. 90% of the time it was closed off for some maintenance such that you could not circle it completely. 4. Food - back to food: no chilled soups, no smoke fish, no baked Alaska. HAL food seems to be becoming very homogenized and bland 5. Shore excursions: overpriced as usual. The one we took in MoBay included being jammed into a small minibus to the point where I had to sit on a jump seat for an hour. The advertised 4 hour trip to a plantation house took us 6 hours. 6. Ports of call: why do they stop at Montego Bay anyway? Absolutely nothing to do there that did not involve and excursion. Cayman was cancelled. Cozumel - tourist trap. 7. Entertainment: there was no mainstage entertainment the first night out. No production shows. On the plus side, the crew and waitstaff were as friendly and gracious as always. The ship was in impeccable condition. The Lincoln Center shows and BB King were excellent. The America's Test Kitchen was great HAL seems to be getting rid of the things that made them different. With declining food quality and never ending surcharges, we are thinking about doing something different next year rather than a HAL cruise. And we are sad about that. Read Less
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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Oosterdam Review My wife and I had sailed on the Oosterdam about 10 years ago and were not hesitant about booking another vacation aboard her. The cruise was acceptable but I was a little disappointed with some things that Holland ... Read More
Oosterdam Review My wife and I had sailed on the Oosterdam about 10 years ago and were not hesitant about booking another vacation aboard her. The cruise was acceptable but I was a little disappointed with some things that Holland America had decided to economize on. I want to be fair with this review. There were some really good things on this ship and cruise, I just seemed to notice what had changed and not for the better of the cruising experience. The embarkation was fantastic. I have been through this terminal umpteen times before and this time we just timed it perfectly. From curb to cabin in under 15 minutes. Awsome. The ship has just had a refit recently. I was hoping that they had improved the buffet experience. Previously the ship had a normal layout for the buffet, but had instituted a policy to have the staff serve you (when the Norovirus first started getting headlines). This just didn't work and caused long backups during meal times. The revamped buffet now has the staff behind the counter serving, but the layout is terrible and no china is provided till you get to where the staff is working. This would be fine if it weren’t for the fact that some food is self serve before you get there, which causes you to either hold the food in your hand or backtrack and barge into the line to retrieve whatever you wanted. Not optimal. The new water/ice dispensers are a disaster. They employ a no touch proximity sensor to activate them that just doesn't work. The comedian/magician even added it into his act derisively. The buffet also closes at 8:30 and doesn't reopen till 10:30, well past having a snack after the show. This wasn't a huge deal for me as I really don't use the buffet if I can help it. What I found really chincy on this cruise was that they wanted 10 dollars if you ordered a second entre in the dining room on gala nights. Now some might say that “you don't need it.” Well I would like to reply that when you are on a vacation where you paid for your all inclusive food, I expect that if you want to try two different entrees or have an extra lobster tail, then you should be able to. No questions asked. It just was something that left a bad taste in my mouth. The do provide a decent “free" room service if you have an urge for something late at night or breakfast in the cabin. My wife really lamented the disappearance of the Library. That is the first place she always goes to when we board. The movie theater is now not part of the ship, not sure if it was popular with the general crowd, but my wife loved it. The entertainment is definitely not as extravagant any more. This cruise had the prerequisite comedian, magician (a very small show), a former Olympic gymnast and a BBC Earth2 presentation. I will emphatically state that the BBC Earth2 show was absolutely fantastic. That doesn't take away from the fact that it didn't cost Holland America much to stage. If you like the singers and dancers on the main stage, you are out of luck. The rest of the cruise was more than fine, I enjoyed my vacation as usual but next time I will go back to their corporate cousins Princess. Much better rewards program, the daily tips are not $14.50 per day and you can still order what you want (for now) in the dining room. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Embarkation and disembarkation were amazingly quick and efficient. This ship was beautiful, classic and tasteful in every way. We really enjoyed the thermal spa and fitness center, Lincoln Center, B.B. King, back outside deck on Lido ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were amazingly quick and efficient. This ship was beautiful, classic and tasteful in every way. We really enjoyed the thermal spa and fitness center, Lincoln Center, B.B. King, back outside deck on Lido Deck, and Promenade decks. The Main dining room was beautiful and service was great. The Cafe was also wonderful. We were able to get specialty coffees there.. Excursions were well priced and we loved the trip we took to Trunk Ba on St. John. Service everywhere was impeccable. Cabin Stewards were very attentive and helpful. Our Signature Suite (6105) was incredibly roomy and very comfortable. We loved the huge balcony, whirlpool tub and great selection of in-room movies. This is definitely a quieter ship which was great for us. We loved Holland America and will very likely choose this line when we cruise again Ports: We went snorkeling and on a tram in Turks and Caicos. Both were great. We loved the private island. It was gorgeous and the water was crystal clear. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up ... Read More
This is a review of the Oosterdam's 2/2/19 Tropical Caribbean cruise. We chose this cruise for the itinerary, four ports in the Caribbean that we had not previously visited, as well as the competitive cost that allowed us to step up to a Signature Suite, when we typically purchase a balcony stateroom. We, a 50ish married couple, are experienced cruisers who have sailed on Celebrity, NCL, Carnival, RCCL and Princess in the past, but this was our first with HAL. While I am only giving 3 stars, please note that I am a rather picky reviewer and this is really a 3.5 star review with the positives definitely outweighing the negatives. Embarkation was flawless, very quick and painless despite showing up right around the 1PM start time when I thought it would be crowded. Our bags were brought to our stateroom quickly. First impressions were that the ship is clearly older, but in generally good repair. The ship is classy and traditional. It was much nicer than the RCCL Jewel of the Seas that is of a similar vintage, on which we took a somewhat disappointing cruise a couple of years back. What stood out from a design perspective right off was that the ship lacked a bit of drama due to no central atrium as most ships seem to have these days, but I liked the rear dining and bar area where we spent sail away; larger than is typical in my experience. I strongly prefer ships with wraparound promenade decks and the Oosterdam's traditional teak one did not disappoint. The cabin was quite nice, while it was renovated last year there was a lack of information on just how far the renovations had gone. I would say that perhaps 50% of the cabin was updated with significant original elements left intact. So, there was a mix of the older light-colored wood and the newer darker wood. The shower and tub seemed original but the hardware appeared new. The couch seemed new but was already showing some wear, and the carpet was new and in good condition. The toilet was new, but the flush control mounted on the wall was old and cracked. There was some visible rust in the balcony area, but not too much and overall the balcony was great. The bed was very comfortable and the TV the largest I've experienced at sea. The separate shower would not drain properly so we just used the tub which also had a shower. The toilet stopped working briefly but was fixed promptly. All in all the cabin was a plus, and good value, and I would book it again without hesitation One positive thing that really stood out, I think as a mixture of calm weather, the cabin's central location and perhaps the ship itself, but this was the smoothest and quietest cruise in memory when in the stateroom. Very little motion overall until post-Grand Turk when the ship hit the Atlantic unless one was up in the EXC lounge or far astern, and even then while noticeable it was minimal compared to many past cruises. We did not attend any shows in the main hall, as they were not to our tastes. We did attend two shows at BB KIng's and two at Lincoln Center and found them to be above average to very good. We also enjoyed the daily trivia games in one of the bars, and some of the available games as well. A thing I absolutely hated about Oosterdam was the horrible piped in music in the common areas. Just awful, probably heard 2-3 decent songs all week. I don't know who they think they catering too, but it's neither their older clientele nor anyone of any age with any discerning taste whatsoever. This is typically a weak point of cruises, but Oosterdam took it to a new low. Dining was the big negative for us on this cruise. I would put the Oosterdam, despite its top 10 ranking among mid-sized ships in this area per CC, as below average. The buffet was slow, and I think the fact that they serve you vs. you serving yourself on many items is a big culprit there. The buffet staff often seemed overwhelmed, frequently running out of coffee cups and being MIA for drink orders. The buffet offered a relatively meager variety of food choices, and hours of operation were slightly more limited than some other lines. Quality was spotty there as well as in the MDR. In the buffet the best options were the pasta bar, the omelettes and the salad bar. The MDR service was good but the food was poor to good, never great. On two occasions I didn't bother eating more than a couple of bites of the MDR entrees they were just so underwhelming. Dive In and the Taco Bar were nice pluses, definitely above average for what they are. Rudis sel de Mer was pretty good if perhaps not quite worth the $49 tab. Still, I'd book it again. Pinnacle was a disappointment, the ribeye simply wasn't of true premium steakhouse quality and the sides were just OK. The lobster bisque was pretty bad. We hit all the bars multiple times and had good service. Beer selection was lacking as is typical but they did have several IPAs on offer so that was a plus. Drinks were weak, but they always are at sea unfortunately. Service was excellent throughout, probably our best in all of our cruises except for the buffet area and the outdoor seating adjacent. Our cabin steward Gede was outstanding. I can totally see why many people return to HAL primarily for the service as it was clearly a notch above in most areas. Disembarkation was completely painless, HAL really has this process down. We used the service where HAL checks your bags and gives you boarding passes in advance and it was worth it. We would have been at the airport in time for a 9:30 AM flight had we been daring enough to book such a time, though as it was we had a lot of time to kill. Key West was a great port. Plenty to do on your own. Lots of options. Amber Cove was fun with the Iguana Mama City tour that included the cable car, fort, cigar factory, rum factory and a good lunch. Grand Turk was a relaxing day at Jack's Shack surrounded by friendly local beach mutts and I would do it again. Half Moon Key was just OK, with a crowded beach, expensive clamshell rental and poor food at the barbecue. Definitely bring water shoes to the beaches in both Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay. All in all it was a very good cruise and HAL has a lot going for it. I liked the ship overall, the itinerary and the service. The value was good. While I would book another HAL cruise again if the itinerary and value were standouts like this time around, there were enough negatives that Celebrity is still preferred everything else being equal, with HAL and Princess my second choices. HAL was a better experience than NCL, Carnival or RCCL for sure however, and unless you are as picky about your food and your music as I am you will likely find the Oosterdam to be a great choice. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. ... Read More
We needed a warm reprieve from the Canadian cold, and this was the perfect cruise. We loved the ports -especially Half Moon Cay. It helped that we had good weather! We took the conch trolley in Key West which was informative and fun. Otherwise, we enjoyed the pools and beaches onshore. The service onboard was friendly and attentive. We chose to read and rest, so we had no experience with the entertainment. The Main Dining Room food was good, with some items better than others. We enjoyed our dinner in Canaletto. Food choice in the Lido Market was varied and good. Of course, one should not expect mass-produced meals to be gourmet experiences! Like some others, we found our Verandah Stateroom to be comfortable, but the bathrooms do need to be updated. We are looking forward to our July cruise from Rotterdam to Boston and appreciate our contact with fellow CC cruisers for tour arrangements and advice. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been ... Read More
This was our 48th cruise overall, 8th HAL cruise and 5th in a Neptune Suite. It was casino rate promotion and at the time of booking we were informed it had to be a Guarantee and we couldn't select our Neptune Suite as we have been able to do previously with the casino rate bookings. I balked because I have some mobility issues and never book Guarantee cabins. The agent said she would send a message to the Inventory Dept. to let them know I needed a Neptune Suite between the forward and aft elevators. I also contacted the Special Needs Dept. to ask them for assistance in the cabin assignment. We found out our Neptune Suite assignment a week before the cruise and it was in the most horrible place possible for me - 4180 way aft. I called HAL and was given the fax number to the Inventory Dept. and told to explain my situation and ask for another Neptune assignment. No change in our assignment. This greatly impacted my cruise in a negative way due to my issues getting around the ship even with a rollator. Also, the Neptune Suite was much smaller than the "regular" ones and with so much furniture we were constantly bumping into the bed or chairs. Entertainment was marginal and no more singer/dancer production shows. The magician was so-so. Did enjoy the Lincoln Center Stage musicians. The female Billboard singer was horrible and couldn't carry a tune and loud. The male was okay. Best entertainment was the America's Test Kitchen programs. The casino was tiny and crowded, but good to me as I brought home all the casino cash I brought with me. Everything I wanted to do was either forward or mid ship and I had difficulty navigating around.. Lesson learned: never book a HAL Guarantee again even after 3 contacts with HAL telling them of my mobility issues. We won't be sailing HAL again soon. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the ... Read More
This was my 2nd Caribbean cruise and we brought 2 friends who had never cruised before. We wanted a smaller ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the staff made the holiday the best, from the room service, sommelier, waiters, barkeeps, most of the folks were friendly, helpful and always willing to please - of course there's always a few exceptions so we just didn't go where we weren't treated the best! Overall we enjoyed the amenities onboard but a few things could be improved upon. The evening show entertainment while very good was VERY SHORT!!! I realize there's 2 shows most nights but each show was less than an hour which fell quite short of a really entertaining event. We also found many of the daily activities somewhat bland - there was no events during the day by the pool, which we had experienced on our other cruise which was very enjoyable and entertaining. As well on the other cruise there were nightly, adult interactive games - like a newly wed game etc etc. which gets everyone involved. I did miss this sort of activity onboard. So if you are looking for a really relaxing, laid back atmosphere, with little excitement, good food, drinks, and lots of rest - you will very much enjoy the Oosterdam. I would likely specifically give a shout out to our room attendants - Astrid and Ali, our wonderful wait staff - Von and Tre, bartenders - Junar (Jose), Paula, Ryan; all lovely to deal with and deserve a big hand! Our cruise director Becca also deserves a shout out as she too certainly went above and beyond the duties of a 'traditional' cruise director!! The signature beverage package was very useful and the Pinnacle Grill dinner was fabulous!! Overall a lovely holiday really - very enjoyable. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except ... Read More
We love Tim Timmons & Mercy Me so we went on the Mercy Me at sea cruise it was awesome except for the Holland America cruise line. The service in the main dining room was horrible they were not friendly at all. The menu was bad except for 3 nights out of 7 nights. The buffets are bad because you cannot take what you want you have to wait inline and be served. There is nothing to do on the ship thank goodness we had special events all week. The ports we did not get to go to the ports we were expecting to go because they claim that it was too rough waters. It was not rough except for 1 night but we were at sea that day. The fitness center is very small and the staff is not qualified. I would never go on Holland America if they did not have the Christian Cruises. I like the ships and how they look but they need more activities. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area ... Read More
This was our second cruise with Holland America and we were impressed with the Oosterdam. The embarkation was the best we have ever experienced. After processing our boarding passes and receiving our room card we waited in a large area with a card number. When our number was called we walked on the ship and went straight to our cabin where we left our carry on stuff and headed for lunch in the Lido Market. The decor in our cabin was new, pleasant and well done. Our attendant Mardi did a great job checking on us and keeping the ice container filled. The Lido Market also is decorated beautifully. When we saw it at night it really was quite upscale looking and gave me a new appreciation for its attractiveness during the day. Food was simply outstanding in the Lido Market. Servers behind the buffet served us. We usually ate breakfast and lunch there and their coffee was the best. Our evening meal was 5:30 in the Main Dining Room 3. We were seated right on time at a table for 8 and had pleasant dining companions. We were able to enjoy several gorgeous sunsets while we were there for dinner. The Christian band Mercy Me had about 900 guests on this cruise so the overall age appeared more diverse. The band brought their families for a time of R&R and the actor in the movie "I Can Only Imagine" , J. Michael Finley was on this cruise with his family. The pool area had plenty of lounges and most of the time there were empty ones in the shade. The Lido pool was a good size and I was able to do my lap swim one of the days we were in port. Some things are out of our control and the weather in the Caribbean that week was one of them. We could not stop at Half Moon Cay for our picnic because the high winds made tendering dangerous. The next day was At Sea. Both days were sunny and pleasant. We also were able to see most of the lunar eclipse of the Blood Moon. Right at the last minute a cloud cover moved in and poof - it disappeared. On Tuesday we were diverted to Samana, Dominican Republic because of high winds and tendering issues at Cap Cana. The ship offered a few excursions but we enjoyed a walk around this port. Samana is where the whales spend time during the months of January through March although we didn't see any. Wednesday was spent in San Juan, Puerto Rico rather than Grand Turks due to high winds. I was disappointed about this because I enjoy the beach that is near the port where the ship docks. On Thursday we did dock at Amber Cove. This is a great place to play. We enjoyed the water slide and the pool area. This area has been developed nicely for the cruise ships. There is really a lot to do on this ship. BBC Earth Experience shared several good shows about nature in diverse parts of the world. The area called Billboard Onboard has two piano players that presented music and songs from Great Standards, On request (excellent) The 1970s etc. We stopped at their 7:30 shows after dinner. Mainstage performers were Tim Kaminski and Derek Floyd. Our cabin was 5136 with a balcony. There were no rooms across the hall from us and it was very quiet and pleasant. There is plenty of storage room. The beds, sheets and pillows were comfortable and clean.We were disappointed there was no night light in the bathroom. We enjoyed seeing Fox News on the TV in our cabin. One thing we really liked was the Navigator for our mobile device. We were able to check our phones for information on the ship, view our onboard statement, etc . We were invited to the Captain's lunch during one of our days at sea. It was very nice, well attended and Captain Rens van Eerten and the entire crew did a fabulous job to make our cruise safe and interesting. We chose to carry our luggage off the ship ourselves at the end of the cruise. This was so easy and well organized. Our shuttle to the Park and Cruise was waiting for us when we walked out. And just like that we were home! Read Less
Oosterdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 4.0 0.0
Public Rooms 4.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.5 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.5 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 4.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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