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
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
1 Helpful Vote
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
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ... Read More
Hollard America Oosterdam Jan 19-26, 2019 Great Cruise! -Had a beautiful cruise on the Oosterdam and lots of sunny, warm days! Embarkation was the best ever! We arrived shortly after 1:00 with no lines or waiting to board the ship. We went right to our balcony stateroom on deck 4 and were soon greeted by our wonderful cabin steward Yumus who took great care of our room and kept our ice bucket filled. I was thrilled that we had a bathtub, though it showed signs of age. -We joined our 4 friends on the Lido deck for cocktails, then the Muster drill, followed by dancing at our Sail Away party. We had “anytime dining” which worked well with little or not waiting at the main dining room. -Shortly after boarding, we learned that the Christian band Mercy Me was on board to give several prepaid concerts. We heard toward the end of the cruise that staff considered this group of passengers as a whole to be among the most courteous and kind. -We did not see more than 10 children, all of whom were well behaved. Most of the passengers seemed to be our age (early 60’s) and older. -We loved that there was a Happy Hour daily in the Billboard Lounge at 4:00 with buy one drink, get the second for $2. They brought appetizers and had Trivia hosted by our Cruise Director Becca. We had wonderful Whiskey Sours, Chocolate Martinis, Mudslides, and Bourbon and Diet Cokes. All refreshing! -At 6:00 daily in the Gallery lounge, they featured three $4 drinks which varied from day to day. They had Lemon Drop Martinis, Manhattans, Blue Margaritas, Appletinis, Classic Martinis, and Brandy Alexanders. They brought olives, bread stick crackers, potato chips and nuts. There were comfortable couches, wing back chairs and warm lighting where we felt like we were in our own family rooms with delightful servers to attend always with a smile. -The Lido buffet dining area was lovely with perfect lighting including lamps, nice upholstered chairs, and cloth napkins. Loved the made to order pasta bar and made to order salad bar. Pizza was also available. Food was served by the servers on request as you went through the line. There was a dessert and scooped ice cream area with toppings available. I was disappointed that they were out of waffle cones the three times I went there. At breakfast, there was a made to order crepes and waffle area. I loved the blueberry crepes. By the pool, there was a taco and hamburger bar. -Many mornings, we ordered room service including omelets, fruit, coffee, cereal, and rolls. Service was prompt and courteous. We were given a form to fill out nightly if we wished room service and place on our door knobs. -I was glad that I’d read the reviews and the Holland America policy ahead of time and knew we could carry on a carton of soft drinks, bottled water, and 1 bottle of wine per person. -The dining room was nice. I found the food okay, though a couple in our group loved it especially the onion soup, noodles and beef, and Weiner schnitzel. We liked that a cheese plate was available each evening for dessert. Dessert varied each evening. I especially loved the chocolate lava cake and key lime pie. -The public restrooms were all warmly lit, and I LOVED the rolled-up wash cloth to use to dry hands. So luxurious! -We heard the comedian Tim Kaminsky several times. He was clean and very good. One night there was to be a dancing show early evening but it was cancelled due to accident a performer had, so Tim was asked last minute to do another performance. He did a fine job. -We were to stop in the Bahamas our first day on Sunday, but had to cancel due to not being able to dock safely. We attended Mass at 5:00 pm. We were pleased a Mass was available but would have preferred a morning time. It was well attended with no extra seats available. -One morning, my husband and I attended a cooking demonstration at America’s Test Kitchen, but were disappointed to discover there were no samples available. Blueberry pancakes and artichoke and salmon omelets were featured, so it seems basic enough to provide small samples. I’ve attended shows on other ships and always had delicious samples. -We were to stop in Turks and Caicos, but due to weather stopped in Samana, Dominican Republic. We did not book excursions through the ship. We met a man who offered to take us on a motorcycle pulling a four person cart on a tour to a waterfall and a beach for $25 each. It was a bumpy ride seeing many small houses, some with dirt floors, and all with bars on the windows. We arrived at the path to the waterfall with locals telling us of the “5 minute walk” to the waterfall. It was really 20 minutes with many rocks and hills. Most of us were in flip flops crossing rock streams. Locals were along the path selling jewelry, paintings, and drinks along the way. One fellow climbed a tree yelling, “Monkey Man” and quickly descended the tree as we walked past with his hat out looking for tips. When we got to the falls, 3 young men were jumping off the falls as a guy counted to three, then passed the hat for more tips. We hiked back to where our motorcycle had dropped us off and rode to a small beach. We stayed about an hour anxious to return to the ship. It was an interesting adventure. -Our second stop, which was not scheduled due to weather was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We went to a restaurant, did some shopping, and the guys walked around the fort. We found some wonderful Michael Kors purses at a good price. -Our final stop was in the Dominican Republic. We went to a large pool and had a wonderful day of swimming, water sliding, and hanging out at the pool. -My husband liked the casino and found the Craps Table attendants friendly. -We went to the BB King lounge a couple of times and the band was terrific! The sets were somewhat short. Overall, we found limited opportunities to dance. -Loved that liquor purchased in the onboard store was delivered to our room the morning of our last day at sea. -We would have liked an aerobics class and exercises in the pool. We’ve cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian and were a bit disappointed that the Oosterdam didn’t feature gleaming brass staircases and a tiered balcony atrium with entertainment. I missed the entertainment crew led dancing opportunities, the hairy man contest, and Newly Wed Game. -Overall, the cruise was great! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our very first time on HAL and we loved it. It’s truly a laid back and relaxing atmosphere. We rented a Retreat Cabana for the week and we absolutely loved it. It was well worth the money. Our cabin Butler, Carlo, was great. He ... Read More
This was our very first time on HAL and we loved it. It’s truly a laid back and relaxing atmosphere. We rented a Retreat Cabana for the week and we absolutely loved it. It was well worth the money. Our cabin Butler, Carlo, was great. He was very attentive. We had some issues with high winds and had to skip our first port. So we had an extra day at sea which made the cabana even more worthwhile. We enjoyed dinner at Pinnacle Grill twice and Canaletto once. Our cabin was 7038 and in a great spot. One thing we did discover is they changed the explorations cafe. It’s not like the pictures. It’s much smaller and part of the crows nest bar now. So if you’re expecting a “coffee shop” it’s not. But the coffee was great. Definitely will sail on HAL again. We have already booked for next year. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary, never having been to Grand Turk. Unfortunately weather did not cooperate, and we were re-routed to San Juan. Not the cruise line's fault, but disappointing. This was after bypassing Half ... Read More
Chose this cruise mainly for the itinerary, never having been to Grand Turk. Unfortunately weather did not cooperate, and we were re-routed to San Juan. Not the cruise line's fault, but disappointing. This was after bypassing Half Moon Cay completely and changing Cap Cana to Samana DR. Embarking and disembarking were relatively quick and easy, as were the tendering to shore. Unlike some of the other posts here, I had no issues with the food. On the contrary, found most things to my liking. A lot depends on the choices you make. The band at BB King's was good, and entertaining. The Lincoln Center Stage was fantastic. Skipped some of the main stage show, but the BBC Planet Earth film with live soundtrack was really good, as was the comedian. Also enjoyed the casino, and the America's Test Kitchen presentations. The biggest flaw was that a full 50% of the ship were there as part of a Christian music pilgrimage. As a result, we were frequently proselytized, and subject to many conversations that people really should have been having in private. Shame on Holland America for not informing the other half of the guests in advance of this. The onboard experience suffered greatly due to this group. They have been non-responsive on my complaint so far. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this cruise on the Oosterdam. Have been on many Holland America cruises, but this was the worst. We had a signature suite (8091). The toilet did not flush for 5 days. Called for a plumber 6 times and had to wait on many occasions. Passenger service desk would place the call on hold for minutes at a time when water was coming over the top of toilet and we never put anything in it. we used bags for our paper and placed it in the wastebasket. The shower had mold. The carpets in cabins were old and dirty. The food was mediocre at best. Pinnacle grill was another upsetting evening. food was served cold and the crab legs were few to be had. The desert tasted old and like refrigeration. such a disappointment. the sea view pool was out of commission for 10 of our 14 days due to a malfunctioning pump. The ship needs another dry dock and bad. such a disappointment. not sure I can cruise Holland again. Have been on Carnival and Princess recently and I must say that they are way above Holland. The staff were friendly for the most part ,but passenger services just did not care about any issues that we had. Holland has a long way to come to make this right. Our cabin stewards were excellent, but the two of them had 29 cabins. unreal!! Read Less
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 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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