11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We are a couple in our early fifties and this was our third cruise our first on Holland and America. We have previously cruised once with Celebrity and once with Oceania and probably the similarities were more than the differences . The ... Read More
We are a couple in our early fifties and this was our third cruise our first on Holland and America. We have previously cruised once with Celebrity and once with Oceania and probably the similarities were more than the differences . The Ship- The Oosterdam was a lovely Ship . The public spaces were always spotlessly clean . There were usually sun beds available although sometimes it was necessary to move them into the shade. We didn’t experience any chair hogging only once seeing sun beds saved with clips and not used. The pool was very busy with children in the late afternoon but the rest of the time the pool wasn’t usually busy. The crows nest was a great place to watch the sea when there was no shade on the balcony and was only busy during the sale away from Kotor and sale into Venice. Our favourite bar was the Ocean bar which was rarely busy. The ship in general although full rarely seemed busy save for on gala nights in the dining room and on arrival at Santorini when everyone on the ship appeared to be going in the same direction either to queue for tender tickets or go to the theatre for a tour. The crew were always friendly and smiling . The service was invariably good everywhere although maybe a bit frantic in the Lido. Cabin was a signature suite 6074 really spacious and more storage than we could use.Balcony chairs which reclined with footstools. I thought the bed was comfortable. My husband found it firm .It was not as good as the bed on our previous cruises but was more than adequate. Our Steward kept the room immaculately and was the best we have experienced. The bathroom was lovely with a bath ,shower and two sinks.The only issue we had was the air con .The room was just too hot especially at night when it was impossible to sleep with more than a sheet. This was our only disappointment with the cruise .My husband mentioned it to Guest Servces day 2 and nothing was done.He mentioned it again on the mid cruise survey and someone did come a day or two later and test the flow which was insufficient and made an adjustment but it was close to the end of the cruise by then and the difference was marginal. Dining. The lido good choice of food ,often busy but always possible to get a seat . We ate there for breakfast most days and the choice was good. Lunch choices were diverse and it was easy to make a healthy choice as the salad bar was excellent and hygienic as the staff served the food. We only dined there once in the evening but found it a little frantic for an evening meal although again there was lots of choice and it was nice to have a simple pasta dish.The MDR We breakfasted there twice good choice ,food nice but appeared a little disorganised. In the evening we loved the MDR we always had a table for two,never made a reservation dined at variable times the earliest 6.45 the latest 8 .15 and except on the second gala night never waited more than a couple of minutes for a table. The night we waited it was about 20 minutes but not a problem as we were given a bleeper and we were on a cruise ship with loads of nice places to wait. The food was mostly good with a few misses and a few particularly good dishes. We didn’t find the gala night food better than the other nights and in fact the first gala night was easily the most disappointing meal.The beef was generally excellent the fish a little disappointing.The bread was particularly good with a bread basket containing 3 different breads each night . The meal took between an hour and an hour and a half generally. Entertainment We loved Lincoln Centre. They were excellent and very talented. BB kings we went once and enjoyed it. Billboard very very cheesy and male singer not as good as female. I quite liked it but my husband hated it and I had to agree with him that although I enjoyed singing along the quality wasn’t great. Main stage the singers were excellent the dancers not so good . One cast show we attended was great the other we left.We left during the magician and the comedian neither of whom were to our taste and didn’t attend any other shows. We didn’t attend any activities .This was a port intensive cruise anyway but the computer classes didn’t interest us and the only Cooking demo we might have attended clashed with the sale out of Kotor which we preferred to watch. The ship does have a good choice of films although we only found time to watch a couple. Our preference when not off the ship is to use the pool or sit on the balcony. Embarkation. We didnt arrive until three as our flight delayed . No queue straight on the ship .Disembarkation also a breeze. Ports. Naples.We have had land based holidays in this area so have already visited Pompey,Capri etc.We decided to stay in Naples and walked to the archeological museum and the catacombs. Very easy and no need to book in advance Santorini tender port as we had expected another ship in port we booked a ships tour Oia on your own .It was worth it as it meant we were tendered off quickly .Tender then bus to Oia .Beautiful and enough time then bus to Fira and provided with tickets for the cable car. We didn’t use them as we decided to walk down the steps for the views. Easy enough provided you have proper shoes . Rhodes, we did on our own easy to do as ship docks close to old town .Beaches ,museums restaurants etc all in walking distance. No need to book anything in advance, Crete.We did ships tour to Knossos .We did this because thought would be a quick way to get there before too hot .It was a good tour and guides have own shorter queue for tickets . Knossos was excellent but was long queue for throne room . Iraklion itself bit grubby. Athens Had a great day in Athens This was highlight of the trip booked a private taxi tour in advance with George’s Taxis.Demetrius (hope I spelt it correctly)was the driver and he couldn’t have been better. He was waiting for us when we got off the boat at 8.15 and took us straight to the Acropolis . I had read this was a demanding walk up but unless you have mobility problems it’s fine .This was amazing ,no queue for tickets just walked up to the kiosk and although we obviously weren’t the only people there it was really quiet . We were up there over an hour and the difference when we were leaving was incredible .There was a mass of people in front of the Parthenon and hundreds of people coming up the stairs. This included several groups from our cruise ship. The trip to the acropolis alone and being the there early made the private taxi tour worth it. Demetrius also gave great advice about buying a combined ticket. Demetrius gave us loads of information on the trip there and in the taxi in the car park and that together with a guide book made a professional guide unnecessary. We then went to the original modern Olympic stadium and Demetrius again gave excellent advice about getting great views without buying a ticket. He dropped us right outside as he did either temple of Zeus which was close by (and included in the combined ticket).He was excellent at knowing how long we would need at each attraction. He also took us to the changing of the guard dropping us off at exactly the right spot at exactly the right time. We the went to the ancient Agrora (again included in the combined ticket ) and he judged just the right time for us to see it and have lunch. We lunched where he recommended delicious and extremely good value . After lunch he asked what we wanted to do and as we have zero interest in shopping recommended the acropolis museum a great choice particularly as by then it was really hot and the museum is both impressive and air conditioned. Throughout the day Demetrius was interesting and engaging and incredibly knowledgeable . He also drove and talked brilliantly We would rate this one of the best day trips ever and cannot recommend George’s taxis and Demetrius in particular enough. Naphlio Tender port we did a ships tout to Mycenae and Palamidi Castle good tour price not unreasonable . Guide went on a bit so we tended to wander off so could see more as she tended to provide loads of information in one place..At Mycenae could still hear her. Whispa system excellent .At Palamidi had to sacrifice information to have sufficient time to climb to the top of the castle .Both sites worthy of more time but probably better to see the best of ieach rather than miss one. Argostoli Beautful port. Just got off walked around had lunch on seafront . Fed bread to the fishes sounds strange but fun,Saw the giant sea turtles. It was a nice change after all the culture. Corfu I had holidayed on Corfu some years before booked ships tour best of Corfu tour as appeared to go to places not seen . This tour although not an absolute disaster was a mistake .It started ok first photo stop beautiful beach ,second basically snack bar and shops. The monastery was really just a small church we didn’t see anything else. The palace was interesting but was too crowded and slow with a tour and we ended up wandering off so that we had time to see it all. The next stop was lunch in a modern hotel with a view of the airport! Lunch was a buffet with very few Greek specialties. The trip then finished in Corfu town which would have been a much better lunch venue .Corfu town was lovely and two hours there and get your own lunch would have been much better. I could not recommend this tour. Kotor. We have been before and just walked round the old town. Well worth doing unfortunately we got soaked in a thunderstorm but from our previous visit unless you have a long port day walking around 5he town and walking tfhe walls will fill your time. Venice we took the Alilaguna direct to St Marks 8 euros just walk off the boat and you can pick it up .We visited St Marks basilica free don’t bother with the audio guide I did waste of 5 euros..we tthe walked back to the ship stopping for lunch wandering the streets and visiting another Basillica and square top tens in our guide book .We the took the people mover 1.5 euros from piazza Roma to the cruise port. We have visited Venice before and highley recommend taking the ACTV down the grand canal and also visiting the Doges Palace (book online ) .in my view there is no need to book ships tours unless you want to or you are on a very tight time scale as it is easy to do by yourself and Alilaguna offer trips to the Lido,Murano etc cheaper than the ship Overall it was a great cruise . One thing must mentioned is unlimited laundry and pressing 108 dollars for the whole cruise .This was amazing . Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My husband and I had a fantastic cruise on Holland America, the Greek Odyssey 16 August - 27 August 2018. The embarkation, sailing and disembarkation was amazingly perfect.The crew and ship were amazing. We would like to thank the ... Read More
My husband and I had a fantastic cruise on Holland America, the Greek Odyssey 16 August - 27 August 2018. The embarkation, sailing and disembarkation was amazingly perfect.The crew and ship were amazing. We would like to thank the following crew for their exceptional customer service - Puput from Lido, Su Mantra, Gusti and Jonathan at level 2 fine dining for table 61 and our exceptional cabin crew of Andy and Astrid. They all go well above and beyond the call of duty and made our holiday very special. The entertainment was really great as well and filled our holiday with fun and enjoyment. We would definitely go again with Holland America. The selected ports were perfect and the opportunity to sail into them was breath taking. The shore excursions organised from the ship were by absolute precision and made our holiday that much easier and special. Everything went smoothly. Thanks so much Holland and America and your amazing dedicated crew. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean ... Read More
As a seasoned traveler, I was always under the impression that Holland America was a cut above other mid-tier cruise lines like NCL and Carnival, justifying HAL's higher fares. Based on my experience on the Oosterdam Mediterranean cruise July 23-Aug 4, I would have to say that this assumption is totally incorrect. My major complaint? I was in a balcony cabin, 8134, that had a completely inadequate air conditioning system. During the day, there was virtually no air coming through the vent but at 2-3am frigid air would begin to pour out. My complaint to customer services on the very first day brought a response of "keep your drapes closed." Service technicians tinkered with it but there was absolutely no improvement. When I continued to complain they brought me a box fan!!! Really? I paid a premium for a balcony cabin and I'm expected to keep the drapes closed and use a 1960s era box fan to keep cool? Outrageous. To add insult to injury, there were disgusting black particles being released out of the air conditioning vent all over the bed. The first few days I came down with a bronchial infection and hacking cough that I still have to this day. If you read through Oosterdam's reviews on this site, you'll see that air conditioning issues are mentioned quite frequently. HAL must know that this ship has air conditioning problems but they are so unconcerned with their customers' health and comfort they refuse to spend the money to repair or replace the system. Shame on you, HAL. They gave me a whopping $400 credit as compensation for my discomfort, inconvenience and compromised health. This amount was completely inadequate given that I did not have a decent night's sleep in 12 days and, in effect, the entire $5000 cruise was ruined. Here are some of my other observations: -Embarcation in Barcelona was easy and efficient. The Barcelona cruiseport is lovely- spacious, well lit and plenty of seating. We arrived at 11:30am and were in the cabin by 12:15. Disembarcation also was efficient with a time slot assigned for departure that allowed you to stay in your cabin until the designated time. -The ship is on the small side but none of the public venues seemed crowded (except the Lido on sea days.) In fact, the Mainstage theatre and smaller music venues were never even close to capacity. - We took 3 HAL excursions. One was very good and two were all right. All were VERY expensive. The EXC staff conduct interesting port talks before each port but they are at inconvenient times. It's beyond me why HAL doesn't videotape them and make them available on TV in the cabins. -The cabin is strangely configured with the closets jutting out into the hallway across from the bathroom creating a very narrow, dark passageway into the room. Balcony was a decent size with room for two lounge chairs and a small table. Balcony furniture was old and dirty. -The ship is showing its age with ugly, patched, mismatched carpet throughout. -The pool on the Lido deck is tiny and was always occupied by large groups of unsupervised youngsters. -Food generally was mediocre and some of it inedible (e.g., a tenderloin steak that was so tough it couldn't be cut into.) Service in both the Lido and main dining room was fine. - As I mentioned above, excursions are very expensive as is the alcohol beverage package. Some of the excursions were cancelled due to lack of participants. I'm sure if HAL priced their excursions more reasonably, they could sell a lot more of them. -The ship docked in some very inconvenient locations requiring either a tender or an expensive shuttle bus into town. I guess they dock so far out to save port fees. Again, HAL prioritizes profit above their customers' convenience. -Entertainment was generally very good. The musicians in BB King lounge, Lincoln Center and Mainstage were all outstanding as were the guest performers. But not so much the shrieky, out of key male and female singers/piano players in Billboard on Board. There isn't a lot of room for dancing in any of the music venues. Overall, I will never cruise with HAL again. They charge premium prices but, in my opinion, did not deliver a premium experience. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Since our first cruise was over 25 years ago, and we won it in a raffle, so had no part in the where or when, or even how, I consider us to be first time cruisers for all intents and purposes. We chose Holland America’s 12 night ... Read More
Since our first cruise was over 25 years ago, and we won it in a raffle, so had no part in the where or when, or even how, I consider us to be first time cruisers for all intents and purposes. We chose Holland America’s 12 night Mediterranean Tapestry on the Oosterdam primarily for the itinerary. It was filled with ports that we had not previously visited, and was at the right time of year for our travel mates (one of whom is a teacher). We booked over a year in advance and spent that year planning for the “trip of a lifetime”. About us: We are around 60 years old and live in Southern California, we own our own business, so are not often able to get away. This trip was a first in many ways. First time we had traveled for that length of time together, first time we traveled without any of our children with us, first time we had traveled with friends, and I could go on, but you get the idea. Now, the actual review, I have tried to break it up into sections, so that you can take what you want from it, and skip those items that do not interest you. Feel free to ask questions if you want more information on anything I mention. Embarkation in Barcelona- A breeze! We arrived at about 1:00 pm; showed our boarding docs and were directed to the suites line. In actuality, there were not really any lines at that point. Our friends were not in a suite, but when we mentioned we were all together, they let us stay together for check in. Check in was quick, and then we were escorted to the ship and introduced to one of the Neptune Lounge concierges, who then took us right to our room. There was not a “wine table”, so we strolled on with 12 bottles of wine in our wine suitcase. They quickly went over the suite and its features, introduced us to our steward, and invited us to come by the lounge, once we were settled. Stateroom: 7046 Pinnacle Suite (yes I know, first time cruisers and we booked the pinnacle suite; I did mention that we considered this the “trip of a lifetime”.) More information in the cabin review section. HAL was very nice to offer us and our guests a “behind the scenes” tour of the ship. It was all set, but that was before they knew the Croatian Coast Guard would decide to do a routine inspection that day. The Neptune Lounge concierge contacted us, letting us know the tour was postponed, then canceled, then all of a sudden back on again. We had to scramble to get our guests back on board. We all loved the behind the tour. There were just ten of us (both of the Pinnacle Suite’s passengers and their guests). We saw the kitchens, warehousing/food storage, laundry and the bridge. At each stop, crew members or officers were available to answer any questions and just give a general overview. We never felt rushed, and the tour probably lasted about 2 hours total. Entertainment-We went to two of the musical shows and they were fine. Nothing spectacular, but enjoyable to watch. Plenty of seats, the theater was never full when we were there. Because we were in the suite and had plenty of room, we spent a fair amount of time hanging out there with our friends. So we did not take advantage of a lot of the activities that were offered, so I have no comment on the enrichment activities, gym, or the public rooms in general. We also did not hang out at the pool other than when the DH went to have a cigar at the only smoking area on the ship (which was next to a pool. The other negative (besides the bathtub controls) was on the last night of the cruise. We needed to get packed and have our suitcases out in the hallway by a certain time ( I don’t remember what time that was, I just know I missed it), it was a sauna in the suite. I am not kidding, our perfectly lovely rooms became a nightmare to be in, let alone work at packing everything up and getting it set out for the porters. Now the good part, I called the concierge when I realized I would not make the suitcase cut-off, and she assured me that they would make a second sweep later that night, and just to set them out when I had them ready. I was very late, and would not have blamed HAL if they had made me carry my own suitcases off the ship. Disembarkation in Venice- This is really in two parts; first getting off the ship. If you are in the Pinnacle Suite, they ask you when you would like to disembark, meet you at your room and escort you and your carry on luggage off the ship, have porters to retrieve your checked luggage, and walk you and said luggage right up to the front of the line and out through customs. The entire process took less than 10 minutes and that included walking from our stateroom to the shore. They were so quick; we ended up having to wait for our hotel greeter, because I had scheduled her for half an hour after I had planned on disembarking. If you are planning on staying in Venice and your hotel offers a “meet and greet”, and it is within your budget, take it. We stayed at the Hilton Molina Stuckey, the greeter met us at the exit point for our ship, got a trolley for all of luggage (an embarrassing amount to be honest), then guided us over to where the water taxi line was. Ah, but did we wait in line? No, she had already called a taxi, and when ours arrived after just a few minutes, we went straight on, our luggage right behind us. We enjoyed the Hilton, and it was nice to have the free shuttle back and forth to St. Mark’s Square. Not sure if I would stay there again. Dining Main Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill, Rudi’s Sel de Mer, Canaletto, Lido Buffet, Dive In and Gala Nights; we did them all. Just a note: we are not only food lovers, but in the restaurant business. Main Dining Room- We had any time dining, but the very first thing the Neptune Lounge Concierge did for us was to make our dinner reservations for the entire cruise. She reserved us a table for four every night at whatever time we wanted and for any of the restaurants we desired. This was a great perk. We had the same lovely window table on the port side of the ship each time we dined in the main dining room. The food was decent, not great. We rarely found something we would not eat, but we did find things we would not order again. The presentation was very good and our service was excellent. We brought our own wine, choosing to pay the corkage rather than order from the wine list. This is a nice “perk” to traveling on Holland America Lines, you can bring as much wine as you want, you just pay corkage if you enjoy it in one of the restaurants. Our wine stewards in the main dining room were also very good. Pinnacle Grill- We ate dinner here once during the voyage, and enjoyed our meal and service. The food was definitely a cut above. (my husband had the lamb, and said it was excellent!) Rudi’s Sel de Mer- Best thing about this meal was the plates, they were adorable. That is not a great review, and I am having a hard time deciding if we did not enjoy it as much because our service was really sub-par this evening or if the food was really that bad. I had the soufflé, I do not recommend it, I did not eat mine. Probably should have ordered one of the fish entrees, but was not in the mood for fish that night. The escargot was better than in the main dining room according to our friend who ordered it, but still not fabulous. Canaletto- Our favorite Specialty restaurant, we enjoyed this meal and thought it was a great way to spend the evening. We were concerned about being in a section of the buffet seating, but we didn’t even notice it once we were seated. Our servers did a great job, and we had a really nice relaxed meal. We liked the “family style” service and got to enjoy so many different items this way. I recommend you give it a try. Lido Buffet-We only ate at the buffet a few times each for breakfast and lunch. It was very nice and plenty of options. We never had to wait too long for anything, although finding a table at breakfast time was a bit of a chore. Dive In- Not impressed. Gala Nights-We had ordered a tuxedo rental for my husband, and he wore it both gala nights. While it is true, we were among the few who were “dressed to the nines”, we were not alone, and we did not mind what the other guests chose to do. Meals on Gala Nights were again decent, not fabulous. Sorry about the long winded review- I did mention we are in the restaurant business. If people make the difference, and I believe they do, Holland America’s dining staff was all around fabulous. The ship-We found the Oosterdam to be a lovely ship, I did not notice any problems and there seemed to be enough of everything for the amount of people on board. We were able to find chairs when and where we wanted them in any public area we chose to go. We never waited long for an elevator, and were able to get around fairly quickly; this despite the ship being fully booked. We did not enjoy the tenders much, but only used them for three of the ports. Truthfully, it was only really bad once, we were among the first on, and then sat in the heat while it everyone else got on, and the ride was a little choppy. But overall, we would still choose to go ashore, even knowing what it might be like in the tender. Excursions- I did mention that we booked this cruise a year ahead, and began our planning right away. Well, it paid off! We were able to investigate our ports, and decide ahead of time what we wanted out of each stop. We did not book any excursions through Holland America, but made all arrangements ourselves in advance online. Barcelona- We arrived Friday Evening with a Monday departure. We attended the Signature Event put on by Holland America for their suite guests, but did not take advantage of the hotel or transfers. I will do a separate review of our signature event, but will say that it was very nice and one of the highlights of our stay in Barcelona. Since we had time, we saw the city at our own pace. We hired a driver for six hours one day, and then walked around on our own the next. We saved La Sagrada Familia for Monday morning, and had pre-purchased tickets. This is a city we would love to return to. We stayed at the Hotel Arts down by the beach, and really liked the hotel. We had our first meal in a Michelin starred Restaurant at the Enotica by Paco Perez inside the Hotel Arts. Now that is fabulous food. The included breakfast buffet was top notch! Marseille-(Outside Excursion with Provence Private Tours) We had a private guide/driver for the four of us, deciding to take in the market at Aix-en-Provence, Cassis and Marseille. The total cost was 472 Euro plus tip. Our guide picked us up right outside the ship, and we were off. We arrived in Aix-en-Provence ahead of the buses, and were able to see the market before the crowds descended on the small town. We enjoyed browsing through the market, even purchased a few small items and some food on the go, and then wandered the back streets for a bit. Then back in the van and off to Cassis, where we had a wonderful seaside lunch. Our last stop was the Basilica of Marseille. We truly enjoyed our day. So much to see, and our guide was very knowledgeable and very helpful in assisting us in what sights to take in within the allotted time. Monaco- (On our own) We did Monaco on our own. We took the tender to the shore (this was the least pleasant part of the day), and decided to gawk at the yachts in the harbor for a while. Truthfully, my husband probably would have been okay with just that. But we kept walking, finally arriving at the Casino, after taking a very scenic, but circuitous route. After a drink and a bit of gambling, we moved on in search of a passport stamp. Sure enough, Rick Steves knows what he is talking about. On the other side of the gardens, away from the Casino is a Tourist Information Center where they will stamp your passport. It was quick and fun for me. Note on Monaco, Taxis seem rather scarce. We saw a taxi stand near the casino with a line and in the half hour we watched, not one taxi came. Luckily, it was a short walk back to the dock. Livorno (Florence) We had hired a private driver (very specifically, not a guide according to the company’s website) for this port. While they say their drivers are not guides; they are. They just cannot accompany you inside the museums. Our driver, Simona, was fabulous. We had early tickets to the Academia to see The David, and she not only got us right there, but made sure we knew exactly how and where to exchange our vouchers for the tickets, and where we would enter (a small roped off area without a line). After the museum, we met up with Simona, and did an absolutely fabulous walking tour of Florence. Since we had time, we made a stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower, and get a gelato. I am so glad we did. I don’t care how many pictures you have seen of The David and the Leaning Tower, IT IS NOT THE SAME. We used Rome in Limo, and requested an upgrade to a van, even though there was only four of us, we did not want to be split up in a sedan (total cost 550 Euros). Civitavecchia (Rome) We had booked a private tour with Rome in Limo, and could not have been happier. Franco was the best! He was funny, thoughtful, and full of information. We had early reservations at the Colosseum, and he spent the drive in giving a history of the Colosseum, and explaining its layout. We had a list of pre-chosen sites we wanted to see, and not only did we get to every one of them, but Franco managed a few more we had not even known about. We did not try and see the Vatican on this day, deciding it would take more time than we wanted to give up. My DH and I went back to Rome after our cruise ended, and gave our visit to the Vatican the time it deserved. Naples- We decided that we really wanted to see the Blue Grotto, so we hired a private boat with Captain from Capri Boats. If this is something you decide to do, I highly recommend Capri Boats. They have a good selection of boats, and they took excellent care of us. The Blue Grotto is a once in a lifetime experience. By that I mean you really need to do it, but probably only once. It is as gorgeous as it looks in pictures, and the boats and oarsmen are a site to behold. Once we had done that, we cruised around the island, getting to see the other tourist sites along the way. Our captain was friendly and knowledgeable. We stopped for lunch near the docks. I wish I could remember the name of the restaurant, because it was very good. It had seating right on the water, and everyone in our group loved their chosen items. We cruised along the Amalfi Coast on our way back to port. A lovely, relaxing day! Toarmina- We decided to do this on our own, and as it turns out, it was not our best day. We were too hot, the ride in the tender was miserable, and we did not really have a good plan. If I had it to do over, I would make the trek to Taormina, either with a pre-arranged driver or a taxi. Not much to see or do in Messina. We ended up heading back to the ship early to relax. Corfu- We had once again decided on hiring a private boat for the day. This one included lunch cooked right on the swim step. Nautilus Daily Tours was our choice, and I would recommend them to anyone who would like a real taste of Greece while enjoying the shore. Our boat hugged the shore stopping often at hidden beaches, where we were free to get out and swim around. The water is not very salty near the shore as there are several fresh water springs, which let out into the ocean. The food was excellent Greek Village food and there was more than enough for everyone. We pre-ordered our entrées from a choice of fish, chicken or pork. All were delicious! This was probably my favorite day, mostly because it was so different from every other day (Even our day in Naples). Okay, it was really because we are of Greek descent, were in Greece, we all knew the language, and we felt like we were home (although, all but one of us have never lived in Greece). Dubrovnik- We had a long day in Dubrovnik, and our goal was really just to get out early and walk the walls all the way around. Unfortunately, our behind the scenes tour was this morning, and as I mentioned, it was postponed, and then once it did start, lasted about two hours. Not a big deal since we were going to be in port until Midnight. We all enjoyed Dubrovnik, and toured the churches, streets and just in general had a nice leisurely stroll around town. We did make it up to the wall, and all but one of us (okay, it was me) made it all the way around on the walls. This city is totally doable on your own. It was beautiful, and fun to just explore. Kotor- We heard several people say Kotor was not that fabulous, that the real treat was the sail in/sail out through the mountains. I disagree. While the sail in was too early for us, the sail out was gorgeous, and we thoroughly enjoyed it from our balcony; the city was just lovely. We separated from our friends for the day, and each couple explored on their own. We had a nice lunch at a small café, spent time at the farmer’s market, explored the city walls, and just had a wonderful time. This was a short day (7 am-2pm) and that is probably the right amount of time. But please don’t stay on the ship and miss this beautiful city. Venice- Our final stop. We stayed overnight and disembarked here. Our small group chose to stay one extra night in Venice, so that we would have more time. Since we arrived around 1:00 on a Friday, but would need to disembark the next morning, had we been leaving directly from the ship to the airport, we would have had very little time in the beautiful city. We did not do tours, but rather read extensively before visiting, and had a plan and a checklist of things to see and do. The first day we took the jam packed water taxi to St. Mark’s Square. We began our journey there and just walked around seeing the sites. We ended up walking almost all the way back to where our ship, along with four others, was docked. I really wanted to take a trip down the Grand Canal, but did not want to get back on an overcrowded water bus. We finally decided to spend the money on private water taxi to take us down the Grand Canal and back to St. Mark’s square. This was one of the highlights of the day. While there is a surcharge to go down the Grand Canal, our driver made it worth the 90 Euros it cost. He went slowly, pointed out interesting sites, and answered all our questions. It was definitely an adventure I will treasure. We were staying another day, so we saved the necessary Gondola ride for the next night, and just enjoyed the city. I can’t imagine not having that extra day; we really needed it to see Venice properly. After all that, I am still not sure whether cruising is for us, I guess we will just have to take another one. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose the Rome to Venice Twelve day itinerary for the ports of call in Greece. Boarding and departure were handled very well with lots of directions and assistance. Food was very good but the main dining room was dark, chilly and quite ... Read More
We chose the Rome to Venice Twelve day itinerary for the ports of call in Greece. Boarding and departure were handled very well with lots of directions and assistance. Food was very good but the main dining room was dark, chilly and quite noisy. We preferred the buffet on the Lido deck with lovely views from the window tables or the after deck open air tables. The servers here were very helpful and down to earth friendly. Our Upper Veranda Deck cabin was not as clean as we would have liked and we got house keeping in to redo. Major dissatisfaction with ship sponsored Exc Tours. Not enough information available shipboard and very limited access to staff. Much more information on each port and tour could be provided on the room’s TV. If you take these tours, do your research in depth ahead of time. Which leads to the second major problem, shipboard WiFi. No where in their sales information do they disclose the ridiculous slow speeds that can be expected AND they sell this to you by the amount of time connected, not by the amount of data downloaded. I measured download speeds throughout the ship and it averaged about 1.6 mps. That’s worse than your crowded coffee shop. Unless you also have enough money to shovel over the side, don’t bother with ship’s WiFi. Get a roaming package for your cell and do your surfing when linked to shore towers. Shipboard main stage entertainment was pretty sketchy. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it offered good value for money compared with Celebrity our favourite cruise line. They were the same priceleavu g the same port on the same date but HA seemed to offer more pre cruise ie. 2 nights accomodation in Rome and transfers. In saying that after flying for 32 hours from Australia our HA transfer failed to meet us at Rome airport. On reflection we would choose Celebrity over HA. I must say our suite was divine accomodating our teenage daughter, my husband and I and it was very comfortable and large and our room attendants were both fastidious and fantastic but that’s where it stops. The food was very average and the wine we selected mostly was sold out! We like to drink champagne and this was either sold out or you could only purchase at the Restaurant when dining for dinner if it was in stock. Leo our sommelier was always very helpful and patient in making recommendations but HA should be accountable for ensuring stock is available. Activities were almost non existent or of no interest and the entertainment ( in house) was very average. Thankfully our ports of destination were beautiful and I could cruise the medditereanean over and over but not with HA. We have cruised with Celebrity, Carnival and RC and would choose these cruise lines before HA. We cruised RC 2 years ago from Barcelona to Cittavechia and that cruise was approx $7500 cheaper than our recent HA cruise at the same period and quite honestly with the exception of our beautiful cabin on HA I can’t justify the difference. All I can say is explore options and reviews before booking your cruise with HA if you really want to ruise with them. I think the icing on the cake for me was we were in the middle of Europe and HA chose not to telecast the World Cup which was very disappointing for many guests!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also ... Read More
My husband and I just turned 40, so we decided to celebrate by booking a Mediterranean Cruise! We had a great Alaskan cruise with Holland America a few years ago, so we decided to go with them again. And we're glad we did! We also really liked the itinerary: a 12 day cruise starting from Rome, traveling to a variety of Greek islands, and then arriving back in Venice. The Oosterdam was a lovely ship! Everything was very clean (public spaces and cabin). We stayed in an interior room, and we thought the room had plenty of space. With such a port heavy itinerary, it didn't seem to make a lot of sense to pay extra for a balcony as we weren't on the ship during the day. Plus, there were plenty of sun beds available, and the Lido and the Crow's Nest were great places to relax and watch the sea. The food was good! It was easy to find something to eat for breakfast in the Lido, and we also really enjoyed ordering room service. The servers in the main dining room were also personable and provided fantastic service - we enjoyed the variety of options for dinner, especially dessert. The baristas in the Crow's Nest also made a pretty good latte. As for entertainment, we spent every night in the BB King Blue's Club. We thought the band was good, and we both love to dance, so it was perfect for us. The place was packed most nights! We did three shore excursions with Holland America (tour to Pompeii, Bus Transfer to Oia, Santorini, and Kayaking trip in Argostoli). The Pompeii and Kayaking tours were reasonably priced and we really enjoyed the experiences! The cost for the bus transfer to Oia was ridiculous, but it was the only way to enjoy Oia for a couple of hours without the insane crowds. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze. Overall, it was a great cruise! Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and ... Read More
We had traveled on Holland America before and whilst disappointed decided to try the Oosterdam as it had been recently re furbished. Check in was good but then nobody to direct or show you to your cabin. The cabin was good and furnishings excellent. Before dinner we looked for a nice comfortable bar to have a drink but found there were none. The Crows Nest bar, normally a feature was terrible and looked just a kids play area. A couple of other bars badly furnished with hard timber floors. Restaurant menu very limited and food very average. Specialty restaurants very expensive. USD49.50 pp too much for us. Shows in the main theater were excellent but the Cruise Director almost non existent. Itinerary to the Greek Islands excellent but ship's Shore Excursions way too expensive. Did one and it was so badly handled and expensive we cancelled all others. Ship lacks personality. Hardly saw and ships officers. Cruise Director a disaster. Never again on Holland America. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 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
1 Helpful Vote
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
4 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise for two reasons: price and port intinerary. We were not disappointed! We went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise with only 1 sea day. This was a cruise to be active and see many European cities. Here are some thoughts ... Read More
We chose this cruise for two reasons: price and port intinerary. We were not disappointed! We went on a 12 night Mediterranean cruise with only 1 sea day. This was a cruise to be active and see many European cities. Here are some thoughts on the cruise: -Food was amazing (all of it) I’ve only cruised on Disney before and Holland food is better. -Stateroom was very nice with a great balcony and new TV with great on demand options. -All shore excursions through Holland were very well organized and enjoyable. -Main stage shows were terrible. I tried to watch 3 shows during our cruise and had to walk out each time. -We loved Lincoln Center stage piano quintet, the B.B. Kings blues lounge and the piano duo. High quality musicians on this ship. - The service was phenomenal. - The ship is old and a bit out dated. It kind of looks like a cheap Vegas casino. However, the superb food quality, great ports, fabulous service and very nice stateroom made up for the old ship. -spa was very luxurious. We purchased the spa pass and enjoyed using the giant hot tub and stone loungers. -age of passengers was mostly 65+ We only saw 1 other couple on the ship in their 20s. Overall we loved this cruise! The Oosterdam is great ship if you care about getting off the ship and exploring the ports. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising ... Read More
My wife and I chose to cruise with HAL based on the excellent itinerary offered from Barcelona to Venice and all the amazing ports in between. We have taken 28 cruises prior to this cruise on June 5, 2018 with HAL. Most of our cruising has been in the Caribbean. The boarding process on the HAL Oosterdam at the Port of Barcelona was amazing and the best we have ever experienced. There were many agents available to process the passengers and this portion of the cruise was a breeze. Once onboard the Oosterdam, it just got better. The Lido Market food service for breakfast, lunch and dinner was outstanding. There were several days that we did not return to the ship until late. Some of the days we ate in the Main Dining, which was excellent as well, but the Lido Market was a great alternate for dinner. There were so many choices at all servings for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The food was delicious in all areas. The stateroom staff were awesome. The food staff were awesome. Our experience was nothing but amazing with the entire staff. Always greeted with a smile and "Hello!" The entertainment in the Main Stage theater was outstanding as well as the B.B. King and Billboard areas of the ship. Super! Super! Super! The Oosterdam just came out of dry dock in April. The ship both internal and external was beautiful! HAL has earned a new customer on future sailings. Bob & Christi Houston, TX Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our first cruise, after friends had told us about their own experiences. We chose Holland America because of their reputation as a well-established line, and we really appreciated the relaxed and professional service. The food was ... Read More
This was our first cruise, after friends had told us about their own experiences. We chose Holland America because of their reputation as a well-established line, and we really appreciated the relaxed and professional service. The food was excellent and the entertainment met all our needs. The ports were great (though we didn't use any of the pre-planned excursions) and getting on and off the ship presented no problem at all for us in our advancing years! We booked an interior cabin, and had wondered about whether or not we would feel rather confined, but nothing was further from the truth - in fact, it was great to sleep through till breakfast time, without light filtering through any windows! Although there were nearly 2,000 guests on board, we didn't feel crowded at all, and there were plenty of open public areas to relax in and read. All in all, the best holiday we have experienced ... and we are now 'cruiseaholics'! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 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
4 Helpful Votes
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
3 Helpful Votes
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
7 Helpful Votes
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
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
Holland America’s greatest flaw is not providing enough accurate information. This is not a new problem. We have observed this on all our HAL cruises. Celebrity does a much better job. There are so many ways that the information services ... Read More
Holland America’s greatest flaw is not providing enough accurate information. This is not a new problem. We have observed this on all our HAL cruises. Celebrity does a much better job. There are so many ways that the information services could be improved. For example: •Put the port talks on the TV like you used to. We can’t always attend in person. •If you list port information on the TV, give real information and not just photos. And show all the ports, not just a few. •If an excursion is only for back-to-back cruisers, say so in the description. Don’t make me go to the desk and stand in line to find that out. •The maps in the brochure and the interactive maps didn’t always agree! Good grief. •There should be a way to hear the announcements in the room. It is very hard to hear them otherwise. We have to run to the door and open it when we think we hear an announcement, and we often miss it. Other cruise lines have a switch with an option to hear in the room or not. •There are others.... can’t list them all. The food on the ship was OK, but I only had one meal that I thought was excellent. On the positive side, the bed in our cabin was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in! The cabin attendants and waiters were superb. And I love the soap and shampoo with their nice fragrance and tingle. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 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
5 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
My husband and I had never been to Europe, so we chose this cruise to get a good "sample" of countries. The 8 days at sea sailing across the Atlantic were relaxing and a great way to start our trip. The Oosterdam is a ... Read More
My husband and I had never been to Europe, so we chose this cruise to get a good "sample" of countries. The 8 days at sea sailing across the Atlantic were relaxing and a great way to start our trip. The Oosterdam is a beautiful, elegant ship. Our cabin was wonderful (see below). We loved all the ports except Huelva, Spain. If you dock there, you might want to take an excursion to Seville. We were there on a Sunday, and after taking a (free) shuttle to town, we couldn't do anything but walk, because everything was closed. The map provided did not include all streets, so it was hard to navigate. We walked for a couple of hours and returned to the ship. The food, in general, was wonderful. Such a nice variety, and something was always available. A few times, we suspected a change in chefs so that the same item was not as good on a different day. For example, we had extremely good cheesecake one day, but slices that tasted like "something was missing" on another day. Very minor, but noticeable. The entertainment was very good at first, but we got tired of repetition in the entertainment. The Motown singers were the best for us. We did not use the casino, which seemed empty most of the time. Fellow travelers seemed to like the cooking classes, although we did not attend. We used a tour company other than EXC Tours for most of our excursions because of price and reviews. One of our favorite excursions was the EXC "In the Footsteps of the Godfather" in Sicily. Wonderful trip into the hills to the towns where the European part of the movies were filmed. Our WORST excursion was also an EXC - a "romantic" gondola ride in Venice that ended up being anything but. For over $300, we had a 30 minute ride of which 10 minutes were holding in place for other gondolas. Our "ride for 2" ended up being a ride for 4 when they had a guitarist and singer jump in our boat. Our view ahead of us was the singer/musician. Terrible, disappointing, expensive experience! The crew on the ship was first class. Our room stewards were unbelievably friendly ad efficient. Almost all workers were quick with a greeting when you passed them anywhere on board. We are already going on another Holland cruise this year. We hope it will be as wonderful as the last. 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 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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