Oosterdam Cruise Review by twentyknots
- Sail Date: June 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
We stayed in Seattle at the Marriott waterfront for two days prior to embarkation and had a nice time there exploring the city and doing the usual touristy things. We rode the Light rail for the experience and ate at two notable places in Seattle: Belltown Pizza, and the Biscuit Bitch, both within walking distance from the hotel.
Embarkation was easy but different from any others we’ve experienced. We arrived at 11:00 and walked right into the terminal but were not directed by anyone to the proper stations for check-in. There were signs of course, but with so many people walking around at once it seemed a little confusing not to have a person directing traffic. We expected to complete a health check first as we usually do but surprisingly that was not required for this cruise. We found our way to the proper line and were checked in quickly and were instructed to wait for our number to be called. The waiting area was combined with Princess and Holland ships, a first for us.
We began boarding about 45 minutes later and walked right on to the ship without any greeting at all. We expected at least a greeting and maybe the usual mimosas as suite guests but nothing. We went straight to our cabin (5190) and found it ready for us but without luggage so we went exploring a little and had lunch in the Lido. Our luggage had arrived by 1:00. Our steward, Toni, took very good care of us. The room is a nice size and the balcony is amazing as we remembered. We stayed in the same cabin 18 months earlier. It’s perfect for Alaska viewing.
Dinner in the main dining room was routine— food satisfactory, service good. With one exception, it remained that way throughout the cruise. We had dinner in the Pinnacle Grill one evening and it was considerably better than the Main Dining Room, as expected. Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill was very good each day. We avoided the Lido as much as possible. It’s crowded, difficult to get a seat, long lines, and mediocre food. Hundreds of people in there at once, many wandering around, stopping and turning without notice, breaking in line. It’s a madhouse. Some use it as a place to sit long after eating rather than a place to eat and leave, contributing to the shortage of places to sit and eat. There are so many other places on the ship to sit; I don’t understand the desire to use the Lido.
On the first night we began to have a lot of ship movement which got steadily worse throughout the night and into the next day. The captain announced at noon that the winds were gale force in excess of 40 mph which had not been forecast which were causing the significant motion. He predicted it would improve later in the day but it didn’t until after midnight. Many got sick including crew. Fortunately my wife and I did not.
We did the Mendenhall Glacier guided hike in Juneau, which was strenuous but very nice. We walked around town in Sitka, visiting the historical museum with totem poles, native artifacts, and artisan presentations, and a stroll through downtown shopping. We found it a very pleasant place. In Ketchikan we watched the Great Alaskan Lumberjack show. It was a little corny, but entertaining. The Hubbard Glacier cruising was spectacular, especially from our enormous wrap around verandah. Lastly, we got off in Victoria, walked to the Fisherman's Wharf Park about ½ mile from the dock. Lots of places to eat and to see unusual houses built on the water.
As for entertainment, my wife attended a couple of shows but didn’t find them interesting enough to stay the entire time. I like to play blackjack but not unless the table is at least 4-6 people. Many times there were just one or two at a table so I didn’t play as often as I like. We did like the Lincoln Center musicians and the two piano players just across from the casino. The group playing at the B.B. King club sounded great but we did not go in.
We had a good time, and we’re glad we went but doubt we’ll ever visit Alaska again. Once was enough for us. In fact I think we realized something on this cruise. Our enthusiasm for cruising has diminished over the years. The past two cruises with a Neptune Suite have been nice upgrades from previous cruises and a must for future cruises but at a cost that now competes with some other pricey getaways. I think we’ll try something different for a while.
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