Oosterdam Review

Oosterdam
2019 Best Overall
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Embarkation

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4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Brittany Chrusciel
Cruise Critic Editor

Oosterdam Overview

First thing's first: Plenty of features onboard Holland America's Oosterdam might elicit an "ooh" along with an "aah," but the name of the ship is pronounced OH-sterdam. The pronunciation is just about the only thing that remains Dutch about the ship, as the line has done away with Royal Dutch High Tea and, rather than a Dutch cafe, the ship sports a modern coffee bar. Despite a soft spot for tradition, Holland America is updating its ships to keep up with modern times, and Oosterdam is no exception. With craft cocktails in the Gallery Bar, fresh seafood at Rudi's Sel de Mer pop-up restaurant and the irresistible charisma of B.B. King's Blues Club, Holland America's new touches have breathed fresh life into this ship in exciting ways.

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About Holland America Oosterdam


Pro

The addition of the line's signature Music Walk has reinvigorated nightlife onboard

Con

Lacks attractions for active cruisers

Bottom Line

Good service and excellent evening entertainment combine to please


One change that Holland America-loyal cruisers might not be ready for is the removal of Oosterdam's library. This is part of a fleetwide trend that is replacing somewhat stuffy reading rooms by incorporating books, research materials and digital guides into a space called the EXC Lounge (EXC stands for Explorations Central), which is located on Deck 10 in the Crow's Nest. You'll still find crossword puzzles, games and novels, but also a greater focus on the ports and destinations, and what you can see and do there.

A high point on this ship is service, which is prompt and consistent. Whether the matter is room repair requests, dietary restrictions in the dining room or mingling with the talent onboard, interactions were positive and genuine. We saw the same smiling faces across different venues depending on the time of day, and we were always remembered and addressed like acquaintances. Little things like having a last-minute spa appointment accommodated or seeing the cruise director ashore, still greeting and interacting with passengers, gave the cruise the carefree vacation feeling that people crave when they board a ship. Unfortunately, one exception was in B.B. King's each night after the final set. The assistant cruise director doing the DJ-ing, refused to take requests and played music that quickly scared everyone off the dance floor.

What Holland America chooses to invest in, it succeeds at producing well. A night watching an episode of the documentary series "Planet Earth," accompanied by the Lincoln Center Stage musicians in the main theater is a treat and makes use of the cruise line's partnership with BBC Earth. Other partnership-based activities or attractions you might notice around the ship include Oprah's Book Club discussions, cooking classes with America's Test Kitchen and cocktails designed by renowned mixologist Dale DeGroff. These collaborations touch upon dining, entertainment and enrichment -- and, many times, they offer a combination.

The best part about the changes to Oosterdam, and the Holland America fleet overall, is that the concepts being introduced -- including the Music Walk -- work really well for cruisers who are already fans of the line, as well as first-time passengers. The upgrades are thoughtful and, rather than serve as a temporary jolt of energy to attract attention, the partnerships and enhancements feel more like a natural progression for a notoriously traditional line that's keeping up with the times.

Fellow Passengers

In addition to the retiree-age passenger base that Holland America is known for, Caribbean itineraries attract a much larger mix of young couples and families than on other routes. On our sailing to the Bahamas and Dominican Republic, a wedding party noticeably infused the ship with youth and vitality. European itineraries on Oosterdam skew older, except during school holidays in the summer months, when it's more common for families to be seen with children in tow. Regardless of the route, Oosterdam primarily attracts a North American audience.


Holland America Oosterdam Dress Code

The dress code is casual, especially on warm-weather sailings. The exception is that T-shirts, swimsuits, tank tops and shorts are not allowed in restaurants or public areas during evening hours -- though we've definitely seen allowances on the shorts and T-shirts rule. At least one "Gala Night" occurs per cruise, on which passengers are required to dress in more formal collared shirts and slacks or dresses/skirts in any main dining or fine dining venue. The buffet is offered as a dining alternative for those who don't wish to dress up.


Holland America Oosterdam Gratuity

Tips to the dining, housekeeping and behind-the-scenes crew are automatically added to your shipboard account each day in the amount of $14.50 per person for passengers staying in inside, ocean-view or balcony cabins, and $16 per person, per day for suite passengers. An automatic 15 percent gratuity is added to any bar bills or spa treatments.


Holland America Oosterdam Awards

Cruisers’ Choice Awards

2019 Best Overall
2019 Best for Dining
2019 Best for Embarkation
2019 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2019 Best for Service
2019 Best for Shore Excursions
2019 Best for Value
2018 Best Overall
2018 Best for Cabins
2018 Best for Dining
2018 Best for Entertainment
2018 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2018 Best for Public Rooms
2018 Best for Shore Excursions
2018 Best for Value
2017 Best Overall
2017 Best for Cabins
2017 Best for Dining
2017 Best for Embarkation
2017 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2017 Best for Public Rooms
2017 Best for Service
2017 Best for Value
2016 Best for Entertainment
2016 Best for Fitness & Recreation
2016 Best for Shore Excursions
2014 Best for Cabins
2014 Best for Fitness
2013 Best Overall
2013 Best for Cabins
2013 Best for Dining
2013 Best for Embarkation
2013 Best for Entertainment
2013 Best for Service
2013 Best for Value

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Deck:
Main Deck
Lower Promenade Deck
Promenade Deck
Upper Promenade Deck
Verandah Deck
Upper Verandah Deck
Rotterdam Deck
Navigation Deck
Lido Deck
Observation Deck
Sports Deck

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Holland America Oosterdam Member Reviews

Starstuff
Sail Date: May 2019
were few. Lines were almost non-existent and we on board in about 20 minutes from car to room. The Oosterdam is lovely - understated decor with some beautiful touches like hammered brass elevator doors.Unfortunately...Read More
chowderbsk
Sail Date: Jul 2019
I would say the general overall service seems a bit warmer on HAL that Celebrity. Also, the Oosterdam has a warmer feel to it than most of the Celebrity ships. The design is obviously night and day...Read More
evacarter
Sail Date: Jan 2019
ship and also the likelihood of less young children, hence the choice of Holland America and the Oosterdam. I must say that the staff made the holiday the best, from the room service, sommelier, waiters...Read More
Jammu2
Sail Date: May 2019
entertainments. For us, HAL is a good choice. This review is of the Oosterdam May 5 Alaskan Explorer cruise from Seattle. The Ship: The Oosterdam was in good shape, though I wish the last refit had kept more...Read More

Holland America Line Fleet