Oosterdam Cruise Review by JERNEWM
- Sail Date: May 2019
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
• The Hotel staff was nice and provided good service; the room was clean and comfortable; the ship was clean. Our cabin staff remember my name after the first day.
• The bow was open for viewing and picture taking when at a Glacier; the naturalist’s narrative was helpful. Since it was cold out, hot beverages were served during the sightseeing on the bow.
• Regular Coffee was better than the coffee on many ships I’ve been on.
• Bar service was reasonably priced, and we were not constantly bombarded with someone trying to sell us a specialty drink.
• The string quartet was very good in the Lincoln Center venue.
Cons: There is a list of cons:
• Food and Food Service: Food service in the main dining room was spotty at best and on several occasions we had to flag down a server after a long wait. One of our party ordered a soda and it was never delivered. When we complained, he no longer wanted it as we were through with our meal although it was offered at no charge. At Breakfast the portions were very small, much smaller than what is normal in a regular Diner. In the main dinning room I ordered lamb chops, medium rare. I was served two very thin, too thin to cook medium rare, chops. I sent them back and got 3 chops, 2 of which I’d call medium, 1 close to medium rare-it was the only thick enough to be able to be cooked right.
• In the extra $35 charge specialty restaurant there was an extra charge of $10 for a lobster tail with a steak, something I have not seen of other lines I’ve been on. In fact on one cruise two of the party I was with had three or four lobster tails, one after the other, in the specialty dining room at no extra charge. One of our party asked if it was possible to get a side dish of the mac and cheese entrée and was told she would be charged $15 for an extra entrée. We asked to speak with the dining room Captain and he approved it for no charge. I have never before been told on a cruise that a second entrée was an extra charge in either the regular or specialty dining rooms. Although the steak I ordered was very good, the sides were smaller than usual portions.
• In the specialty Italian Restaurant the food was good, but again the service was slow and the portions smaller than I’ve seen on other ship.
• The Lido buffet was a big disappointment when it came to service. Although the food was good, the lines were slow due to a lack of adequate staff, especially in the sections that required some preparation. Staff was slow to clean up tables during busy times and in one case only cleaned part of the table. I ordered two eggs over easy and the yoke on one broke and I was served this unappealing glob with one yoke whole and the other a yellow spot on the plate. When I saw an supervisor and mentioned it to him he said he would take care of it, took my plate and returned with only one egg where part of the white was still uncooked. On another day that featured poached eggs, I asked for two eggs and was given one. The portion of corn beef hash was smaller than I have ever seen before in any food venue, shipboard or on land. Other portions were also smaller than usual. As a side note, the Taco Bar by the pool was tasty, but often the bins were empty and the shredded beef was put out with so much juice that it was hard to get to the meat.
• As a coffee lover, there was no place for specialty coffee drinks, even at an extra charge, on board other than in the main dining room.
• Understanding it was Memorial Day weekend and there were a number of Vietnam Vets and families on board, the ship closed up early in the evening. The piano bar, which on every other cruise I’ve been on was always open in the evening was usually without a piano player, there was some dancing in BBKing Blues shows, but that’s because the shows were more Motown than Blues. The other bars were also pretty dead with almost no entertainment.
• The first night had no entertainment venues other than BBKing that I found open.
• The big production show had fine dancers, but I found it loud and the fantastic electronics took away from the talented performers. Some people said they liked it, most I talked with found it annoying, loud and overproduced.
• Was there a lack of activity because the ship felt the passengers would not take advantage of it or was there no activity at night because the passengers give up trying to find a place to dance or do anything other than buy drinks. I don’t know the answer, but my guess it was the second reason.
If you look at other reviews I’ve written you’ll see I tend to be positive in what I see and I’m sad that I am writing such a disappointing narrative. My other Holland America cruise a number of years ago did not have any of the problems I describe here. Hopefully the other passengers had a better experience than I did, but I’ve read where Holland America is playing with charging extra fees and cutting back in order to get a better bottom line. It’s unlikely they’ll see me again.
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