Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Marylis

First Time on Oosterdam - My Review

Recommended Posts

My wife and I just got off the Oosterdam and I thought I would share our impressions. We are fairly unsocial cruisers. We spend hours in our stateroom and on our verandah and don't do very well with crowds. We're both introverts and sharing a table with others just exhausts us. We have cruised on Regent twice (many years ago), Crystal 3 times, the Queen Mary twice, Celebrity twice, and on Holland America for one night from Vancouver to Seattle years ago. 

 

Crystal is our favorite. We loved the Queen Mary for a crossing, but on a Caribbean cruise everything was poorly organized and there were long lines and actual pushing and shoving to get on and off the ship and into some of the restaurants. We have been hoping to find a mass-market line that we can afford more than once every 5 or 6 years. We had avoided HAL in the past due to the lenient smoking policy, but when that changed, we decided to give it a try. (We didn't rely on any of our experiences from our one night cruise. It was mostly getting on and off the ship and we will never do that again.)

 

I read these forums religiously in the months prior to our cruise and had read so much about things going downhill that I had low expectations going in. As long as we could be on our balcony, we would be happy. Boarding took a little longer than I had hoped, but we were one soon enough and we loved that we could go straight to our stateroom. We hadn't experienced that on any other cruiseline. It was about 2:45 by the time we were in our stateroom and we headed up to the Lido for some lunch. I was immediately frustrated by the setup. It took me 30 minutes to get a salad and then if I wanted something else I had to go get in another line. My wife was happy with a burger from the Dive-In bar and the taco bar next to it. Passengers were allowed to serve themselves at the taco bar and there was never a line. 

 

We had requested early dining and a table for two. When we got to the dining room, we were taken to a table for four. The other couple didn't show up and we were relieved. The service was fantastic, the food was fantastic. We thought the layout of the stateroom was really bad, with the closets lining the hallway, so that if one person was using the closet, the other person couldn't get past. However, the bed was SO comfortable, and though we were worried about the climate control as I had read that some people were bothered by air blowing on them. We loved that the chairs on the balconies included foot stools, something we've never had on any other cruise. 

 

Our first morning we went down to the Lido for breakfast. It was incredibly frustrating, with a very long wait for an omelet, and then, because they had run out of bacon, another long line to get bacon. Because we were still in San Diego, our wife had different frustrations - a seagull stealing her bacon and then when she went to get more, a server cleared away the rest of her food. We both vowed we would never go to the Lido for breakfast again. The second night our air stopped working too. They brought us a fan and got the air working again very quickly. 

 

I'll just jump to the chase and say that at the beginning of the cruise we were both thinking Never Again, and by the end, we were SO happy and eager to book our next Holland America cruise.  We got room service breakfast most mornings and sometimes just cobbled together some food from the lido the night before that we had for breakfast in the morning. They are calling my flight to board so I am going to post this now and finish it later. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The air conditioning issue is usually caused by a cabin nearby you propping their balcony door open and the system sucks in all of that humid air, affecting other cabins in the area.  Because it was fixed relatively quick, it does sound like a propped open door in another cabin.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, I like vacation said:

Room service for breakfast is great!  We do it all the time.

I also do room service for breakfast as I'm not a 'morning person.'  I did go to the Lido once and to the main dining room once or twice.  The Lido at breakfast time is like a noisy zoo.  So now I just wait for that little knock on my door and enjoy my breakfast in peace.  Sometimes I jump back into bed😂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OP-guess you were on same time we were.  We enjoyed the cruise.  Ours was a total relaxation one.  We quite like the Oosterdam and have been on her before.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marylis, welcome to HAL.  I've been sailing with this line since 2008 and rarely consider cruising with anyone else.  Obviously, I feel HAL delivers an above average, sometimes excellent, product at a reasonable price, despite the cutbacks you reference on CC. 

 

I was troubled to read that you started your cruise harried by the experience in the Lido.  In the future, try to arrive at the pier earlier, so you can enjoy the wonderfully unhurried, uncrowded main dining room (MDR) lunch from noon until 1:30 p.m.  It will definitely leave you in a relaxed frame of mind, much better than the congestion in the Lido.  Of course, I realize that airline schedules may make this suggestion invalid. 

 

I, too, have dealt with the long lines at breakfast.  Now, I try to avoid those hours when I know the crowd descends on the Lido.  Unless you're an early riser, as in 6:00 a.m., you'll deal with lines at the omelet station.  My son, who can't start his day without his made-to-order omelet (only when he's cruising), beats the line because he's at the Lido when they open.  At that ungodly hour, the Lido is deserted, which he enjoys too.  

 

As for getting a table for two when having assigned dining, you can request this preference when you initiate your booking.  If going through a TA, ask him/her to request it for you.  When my husband was living, we never had a problem getting our table for two.  One time, they placed us at a table for four but assured us we would be the only couple there.  They honored that promise.

 

Glad your issue with the air conditioning was resolved quickly and satisfactorily. 

 

If you're serious about multiple cruises on HAL, check their website often for price drops.  You can pick up real bargains, especially if you're retired and can travel at the last minute.

 

Anticipating the rest of your review.  I sailed Oosterdam in 2017 (last cruise with my husband) and in 2019 with friends.  Both cruises were enjoyable, and I liked the ship.  Of course, I say that about every cruise with HAL, so I don't know whether that's a cliché critique or not.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Marylis,

I state the obvious when I say you did not go into booking on Oosterdam to have the same experience as your prior cruises on Crystal or Queen ships.. We spent 3 weeks on Viking Star and it was fabulous and staying in a Viking penthouse was beyond magical. However, we love Holland America. We love the crew, the lay of the ship, and I guess it feels like home. We have been on Oosterdam twice, last being 2017 and prior to her upgrades. I am really, really excited to see her for our 6 week cruise in March/April 2020. 

Looking at the pictures canadianbear posted, it looks like Oosterdam is in tip top shape!

Thank you for your first time impressions and hope you sail with us soon!

XX, Seasick

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello all - Sorry for the abrupt stop to my post. I probably should not have posted it without rereading it, because now I see there are multiple typos as well as ends of sentences that disappeared and sentences in the wrong place. 

 

I meant to say that though we were worried about the climate control as I had read that some people were bothered by air blowing on them, it didn't bother us at all. Also the last sentence in paragraph 2 was meant to be the last sentence in paragraph 1. Sometimes when I have my laptop in my lap, my stomach moves the mouse and strange things happen. My stomach was even more liable to move things around after getting off a cruise with so much good food!

 

So here is what we loved about the Oosterdam:

 

1. The stateroom was very quiet. I had somehow managed to choose a room right off the elevator lobby so when people were right outside the room we heard talking, but we never heard our neighbors at all. That is huge to me. On our last Celebrity cruise, we could hear conversations from our neighbors as well as toilets flushing. 

 

2. We loved the movie selection on the tv. I had imagined we would enjoy all the music venues onboard, but we found we were so exhausted when we got on board that we just watched a different movie every night after dinner. 

 

3. The food was very good. I loved the presentation, variety, and taste in the main dining room, and I loved the smaller portion sizes. (I still managed to stuff myself to the gills.) I would say the only food I've had that is better was on Crystal. Holland America was on par with Cunard and WAY better than Celebrity. (It's been so long since we were on Regent, but I found their food boring and lacking in variety).

 

4. The service was EXCELLENT. Better than any other cruise line we've been on, except for Regent. I really appreciated everyone's ability to handle special requests. For example, we were in our room so much, that our room stewards were just fine with us heading out to the balcony when they came to make up the room. In the dining room, if I requested a little change to something they handled it beautifully.

 

5. I loved the promenade deck. It's the first promenade deck I've ever been able to walk around without running into cigarette smoke at some point. I also LOVED the aft view on the promenade deck. (Also, between Puerto Vallarta and San Diego we were able to watch flying fish from the side of the ship. That was SO cool!)

 

6. Room service was excellent. On Crystal, at least through 2017, the room stewards also have to deliver room service food. That always made us feel terrible about ordering room service since they already had enough to do, AND it often did not arrive hot. We found that room service on HAL would deliver us anything we asked for. One day I called to see if they could do chocolate covered strawberries. (My favorite thing about Celebrity was that I could get 6 chocolate covered strawberries for $5 every morning.) On HAL, they told us it would take a while and it would cost $9. I was fine with that. In two hours we had 6 chocolate covered strawberries and they didn't charge us anything! 

 

7. The Christmas decorations were fantastic. I LOVED the gingerbread house with trains. (You can see photos in @canadianbearpost. We've been on Crystal twice in December and the decorations on HAL beat Crystal by far. 

 

So I'm happy to report that we have found our mass market line. I was so sad to leave the ship and am already trying to figure out when we can cruise again.

 

@canadianbear we were on the same cruise as you and I enjoyed following your thread, seeing things that we missed or sometimes getting great pictures of things we also saw. @sevenseasnomad, thanks for the tip about when to board. I had this idea that if we waited until after our assigned boarding time, it wouldn't be crowded. That was wrong!  Thank you all for reading! 

 

Lis and Mary

 

Edited by Marylis
accidentally hit save

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were both posting at the same time.

 

Thank you for the rest of your review.

 

Even though you had a rocky start to your cruise, glad it turned out well and you enjoyed everything.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 Somehow I hit Save in the middle of a sentence (my belly operating the laptop mouse again?) so I just went back and edited.  🙂

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for sharing your experiences. I had a cabin right off the elevator lobby, too, and agree it was so quiet!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marylis-great review.  I’m so glad it all turned out well and you both enjoyed your time on the ship.  We’ve been on the Oosterdam before and enjoyed it so did not hesitate to go on her again.  Thanks for taking the time to post.  (Glad you enjoyed my attempt at posting while on the ship-we usually don’t have wifi).  

 

Hope you figure out when you can cruise again. Maybe next time we will meet in person.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed reading your review.  My answer to Lido craziness during breakfast is to go to MDR for breakfast!  Truly civilized.  And you can be seated at a table for 2 or seated with others.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would love breakfast in the MDR, @cruzn single, but alas we are late risers. 

 

I realized I forgot to finish my story about the table for 4  at dinner time. After our first dinner, we went to the assistant maitre'd and asked to be switched to Anytime Dining. Instead, he said he would notify the other couple at our table and move them to another table so we had a four-top all to ourselves for the week. We were very impressed with his quick handling of the situation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So glad you enjoyed your time aboard the O.  Thank you for your great review.  I enjoyed hearing about the comparisons between HAL and other lines with whom you've cruised.  

 

You sound like me, a perfectionist when it comes to the written word.  Since I teach English (Language Arts as they designate that subject now), I feel every noun, verb with its tenses, adverb, and adjective must be perfectly selected and, of course, punctuated correctly.  Most posters don't care; they want the information or the answer to their question with no criticism of improper English.  I suppose that's as it should be.  LOL.

Edited by sevenseasnomad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My wife and I were on this same cruise and had a great time. We were particularly impressed with the condition of the Oosterdam. Although we are HAL four-star mariners, we had never sailed on the Oosterdam before and were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful the ship looks. We wound up booking a much-longer cruise on the Oosterdam for April of 2021: 28 nights from Sydney to Seattle, with many stops in Fiji, Samoa, and Hawaii.

 

As for tables for two, we always have our travel agent at the time of booking reserve late dining and request a table for two "by the rail" (i.e., overlooking the lower dining room). We have always gotten our request, partly because late dining is usually less in demand than early dining. But even with early dining your request would probably be fulfilled if you make the request when you book the cruise.

 

When we have breakfast or lunch in the MDR, we always say to the maitre 'd: "Table for two, no share." It works every time. We enjoy socializing with other guests in the bars and at the gym, but we don't enjoy dining with people we don't already know. I'm sure we've missed meeting some nice people but I'm also sure that we've avoided some dismal or even horrible experiences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

So glad you enjoyed your time aboard the O.  Thank you for your great review.  I enjoyed hearing about the comparisons between HAL and other lines with whom you've cruised.  

 

You sound like me, a perfectionist when it comes to the written word.  Since I teach English (Language Arts as they designate that subject now), I feel every noun, verb with its tenses, adverb, and adjective must be perfectly selected and, of course, punctuated correctly.  Most posters don't care; they want the information or the answer to their question with no criticism of improper English.  I suppose that's as it should be.  LOL.

They don't think it be like it is but it do!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, jimdee3636 said:

.......... We enjoy socializing with other guests in the bars and at the gym, but we don't enjoy dining with people we don't already know........

jimdee3636 hello!  You must be the couple I met in the Pinnacle Bar on Oosterdam last week, or I had the exact same conversation with another couple about socializing at bars and only eating dinner with new people after already getting to know each other a bit first!  I wish I knew you were Cruise Critic people!  I’m the woman traveling solo who also went on the Sydney to Hawaii trip earlier this year. (You are going all the way to Seattle on yours). Have a great cruise in 2021!  I had a great time on Oosterdam with the only major gripe of the stinky bathroom area across from the BB King venue. It wasn’t like that when we boarded on November 30th but something happened a few days later and the sewage smell persisted even as we disembarked on the 14th. Hope they fixed it by now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Marylis,

What a wonderful review and everyone on our board really cares and gives back sincere reply’s!!

canadianbear was on your cruise and I see she already chimes in as well as KrazyKruzer!! Love her ! 
We love Oosterdam and have done several Mexico Sea of Cortez cruises on her as well as Hawaii and Caribbean!!

WELCOME AND ENJOY HAL!

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, oakridger said:

jimdee3636 hello!  You must be the couple I met in the Pinnacle Bar on Oosterdam last week, or I had the exact same conversation with another couple about socializing at bars and only eating dinner with new people after already getting to know each other a bit first!  I wish I knew you were Cruise Critic people!  I’m the woman traveling solo who also went on the Sydney to Hawaii trip earlier this year. (You are going all the way to Seattle on yours). Have a great cruise in 2021!  I had a great time on Oosterdam with the only major gripe of the stinky bathroom area across from the BB King venue. It wasn’t like that when we boarded on November 30th but something happened a few days later and the sewage smell persisted even as we disembarked on the 14th. Hope they fixed it by now!

Dear "Oakridger" (a/k/a Nancy):

Yes, we're the ones you met at the Pinnacle Bar. You're the perfect example of why we love talking to people at the Pinnacle Bar and the Ocean Bar. I'm sad to hear of the bathroom problem you mentioned---I was unaware of it---but I'm glad that, like us and many others, you had a great cruise overall. I hope to meet you again someday. The next drink is on me!

Jim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...