4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that ... Read More
We have sailed on Holland America many times but this was the most disappointing. Firstly the same cruise a year ago was the same price and was 29 days with 7 more port stops which was excellent. Secondly it appears to us as guests that Holland America is trying to cut costs by reducing the number of staff in the dining room and Lido. We mostly had to wait for a table in the dining room and then when seated the table still was not ready for us. The dining room and Lido staff were fabulous and the food sensational but it took a long time to be served. Another area where staffing seems to be affected was in the number of activities offered each day. This was particularly disappointing where we had 15 sea days. Holland America needs to provide a service to guests wanting to do their own activity planning and organising. The entertainment was as usual excellent. Service in all areas was excellent except for the comment above about the number of staff per guest. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Our first HAL cruise, re-positioning from Sydney to Vancouver. The price was right and there were plenty of sea days which we like. Boarding was easy as there were quite a number of transit passengers that had boarded in New Zealand. Our ... Read More
Our first HAL cruise, re-positioning from Sydney to Vancouver. The price was right and there were plenty of sea days which we like. Boarding was easy as there were quite a number of transit passengers that had boarded in New Zealand. Our first impression of the internal areas of the ship were 'Dull and Dark` with a capital D. It has an interior decor that just sucks up the light and makes everything dull, there are the occasional bright areas but they are few and far between. The accommodation deck passageways have dark blue carpet, dark brown faux wood panelling and dull creamy/mustard coloured walls and grey ceilings. All the lounges and bars are small and these are made smaller by dividers and high backed furniture. It needs are very big brightening up to get it out of a funereal home look. Our balcony cabin was OK but the only complaint is the way the storage areas and doors impede the aisle between the door and living space. As with all cruises we have had the staff were excellent and always helpful. Not a great deal of activities during the day so a bit dull in that area. Second sitting diners were always at a disadvantage for evening activities as they would be ending or starting at times that clashed with the 8:00 to 9:30 dining time. Saw a few production shows that were OK, guest entertainers were variable in quality. My wife wasn't too wrapped in the food overall but I thought it was pretty good. They do a pretty good steak on HAL. Two things that USA based cruise lines do not understand are tea and cheese and biscuits and HAL are no exception. Hard to get a decent common garden variety black tea bag or a variety of cracker biscuit with cheese. Also no draught beer available on the ship. Overall beer, spirit and wine prices on par with other cruise lines. The ship has the best laid out buffet we have come across. Well planned which resulted in easy access and service. Big tick! We also liked the big open area Pool Deck area on Lido Deck, great in warm areas. Whether we get back to HAL would depend on the price and where the ship was going. Our preference is for Princess but there are thing HAL do better than Princess and others they don't. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2015
My husband & i have recently returned from a 22 night cruise from sydney to vancouver, on holland america oosterdam. the cruise was then continuing onto alaska. We were really looking forward with great anticipation to this 22 day ... Read More
My husband & i have recently returned from a 22 night cruise from sydney to vancouver, on holland america oosterdam. the cruise was then continuing onto alaska. We were really looking forward with great anticipation to this 22 day cruise to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We have done many cruises over the past number of years, and have always enjoyed it. We have continued to go on cruises as our preferred holiday, because we have thoroughly enjoyed the 'total' experience. However on this cruise, after one week at sea, it soon became evident that this was not going to be the wonderful trip we had saved for & hoped it would be. my husband became very unwell with a 'virus' that was going around the ship. He started on some antibiotics that we had taken away with us 'just in case' we were unwell while we were away for a month. After spending 3 days in bed, and still no better, he visited the ship's doctor. The infirmary was so busy they were making appointments! He was given a different antibiotic, and we received an account for $us180.00. I would say that at least 50% of the passengers & some crew, came down with this debilitating coughing virus. why is it that cruise ships can't draw in the fresh sea air into the air conditioning system, instead of recirculating the germ infested stale air. Even the so called 'fogging' they say happens at night doesn't fix the problem!!! Washing hands to combat bugs is one thing , but the greater problem is in the air that you breath all the time. The remainder of our time away in vancouver & hong kong was totally ruined because my husband was still unwell & by then i had also contracted the same thing. All we could do was to wish our time away to get back home. On our return home, we visited our doctor who said we had influenza, and no antibiotic would be effective for that. We have both spent the past 4 days in bed trying to recuperate! We will never do another holland america cruise again. We would like holland america to refund us 10% of our cruise cost, (we have written to them, but don't think we will ever hear from them), as we were unable to go to the dining room , the evening shows, or partake in the activities provided on the ship. On the positive side our cabin stewards & the staff were all very pleasant and helpful. Joybells. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we ... Read More
This was our 9th cruise to date, all on Holland America. The weather was very nice, the ports were lovely & all in all we had a great time. We had a Signature Suite stateroom, on the starboard side of the ship. It was lovely and we were very happy with it. I'll start with the positives: - excellent service, from our stateroom stewards and from the staff in the dining room. A special "shout out" to Havat, our dining room steward, who was very helpful & made us feel like honored guests. - overall service on the ship was very good. - lovely stateroom - despite comments in earlier reviews, we found our stateroom in an excellent state of repair - BB King Blues lounge - this was our 1st Holland cruise where the ship had a BB King Blues lounge. We went several times & enjoyed it very much. - nice, quiet lunches in the Pinnacle. - on one occasion where many people were coming back late from activities, the ship staff kept the LIDO open so people could still have a late lunch But there were several negatives: - most importantly for us, the overall quality of the food in the main dining room (MDR) was ordinary at best. One of the members of our party used the term "cafeteria style". Holland used to promote its culinary program, with links to several celebrity chefs. These chefs would not be "happy campers" with the food served. On one of the formal nights the main course that we each ordered was inedible & one person returned it to the kitchen for something else. which was also disappointing. That has never happened to us before on previous cruises. This is a big issue for us. We used to look forward on every cruise to our dinners in the MDR. Not so much any more... - even food in the Pinnacle was good, but not excellent as we had found in the past - we rated it as 8/10 on this cruise as opposed to 10/10 on previous cruises - additional charges - don't get me going on this! We are already paying for lattes & cappucino's. It is really an insult to now charge a 2nd amount for "premium Arabica coffee beans". We also saw, for the 1st time, certain items on the Pinnacle menu for which you have to pay a supplement, over & above the amount you pay to go to the Pinnacle in the 1st place. - price of Holland excursions was too high & non-competitive. On past cruises we have virtually always taken Holland excursions. On this cruise we only took one (in Hobart). We booked all other excursions on our own. We found that the Holland excursions were terribly expensive & not good value-for-money. Example - in the Marlborough region, the Holland excursion to wine country included a stop in 2 wineries for tastings & in 1 garden. Excursion was 4 hours long & cost about US $150. We booked a whole day, small group wine tour with stops for tastings in 5 different wineries and other interesting stops during the day. Total cost was about 1/2 the cost of the Holland excursion. - on At Sea days, there was a lack of interesting educational activities and many activities either were tied to things that Holland was selling or cost something. The only thing of value for us was the port talks. - there were several At Sea days at the beginning of our cruise. It was really difficult to get a table in the MDR or Lido for breakfast & lunch on At Sea days at "normal" meal times. Either there is insufficient capacity or Holland should offer more options. - tender process - we only had to tender in 1 port (Akaroa). But the tender process was long & poorly organized. In that we weren't on a Holland excursion, we had to line up & get tickets. We arrived 15 minutes before the announced time & still only managed to get a tender off the ship about 1 hour after the tender process began. As a result we were late for our planned activity. - we only had one minor plumbing problem during the trip & that was quickly resolved. However our friends, who had a suite similar to ours on the port side of the same deck, had multiple problems. That is unacceptable. - for breakfast we like having a quiet table for 2 - just want our coffee & not engage in major discussions. In 2 cases the maitre d'hotel in the MDR requested that we sit at a table for 4, in 1 instance even though the MDR was almost empty. Clearly that is for their benefit, not the benefit of the guests. We enjoyed this cruise a lot but given the various issues we weren't altogether satisfied with Holland. As a result, when we take our next cruise, we will look at different, perhaps more upscale &/or all-inclusive alternatives. We had always been happy with the quality of Holland cruises in the past, including our previous cruise in the Fall, but on this cruise we were not as happy with things. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on ... Read More
We embarked in Sydney fron the new White Bay cruise terminal, which was ok but disappointed not to be in Circular Quay. Was not allocated a cabin till checking in despite asking for a good cabin when booking a year earlier. We were on deck one , near the bow, but the cabin was ok. We were on anytime dining, the food was not great, there was only 3 nights out of 14 that we could say we really enjoyed our meal. The choice was limited, with only a couple of new items on each night, mostly the same options night after night. Service was not that good, we did eat in the lido each morning, some staff were very good, most were indifferent, not bothered. Same with the bars, some staff were excellent, especially Josef in the pinnacle bar, but some were poor. There was a 15% surcharge on all bar bills, disgusting when you consider the charge of $23 per day gratuities, we refused to pay that and opted to pay half, although wish now that we had not paid anything at all. Entertainment was not great, most of the acts were mediocre, did a couple of quizzes, the piano bar was quite good for a couple of nights but repetitive after that. The excursion charges were extremely high, not good value for money. it was very easy to arrange excursions from the ports, the information centres were very good, helpful and a lot cheaper than the ship prices. We particularly enjoyed Napier and Picton in New Zealand. We did a tour in Rotorua with Mount Tours, booked on the dockside, that was brilliant. All in all a disappointing experience with Holland America and would not sail with them again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2015
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We ... Read More
Before I begin, I want to make it clear that Holland America is an above average cruise company which I have travelled with before without incident and with all my expectations being met or exceeded. Normally we travel with Cunard. We booked a Neptune class suite on the Oosterdam for the Sydney to Auckland cruise last year expecting a great holiday on fine ship with a premium stateroom. We didn't quite get what we paid for or hoped for. The Oosterdam needs some TLC inside. The threadbare furniture in some of the lounges should be replaced; the decor generally had a "tired" look to it. Our stateroom on deck 7 was no exception. Upon embarkation I noticed right away that the shower stall had been damaged some time in the past and had been repaired in the past with strips of masking tape which were beginning to peel away. Is the part of the "Signature of Excellence" the line advertises? If the damage had occurred with the past week then I can accept a temporary fix. The masking tape appeared to be HAL's permanent solution. This speaks volumes about HAL's current approach to maintenance and after spending thousands of dollars on a premium stateroom decorated with hardware store tape, I was less than impressed. However the staff were great. Since our last HAL cruise the quality of food offered throughout the ship has clearly declined; but that is another story. As if the add a punctuation point to the tape issue, the toilet functioned poorly during the cruise. That was a first. I'm sure they will eventually repair the shower, but I don't intend to wait and see. HAL needs to get passionate about routine maintenance of its older ships. Its very competitive out there especially in the luxury segment where more is expected and more must be offered. Next time its either back to Cunard or maybe Crystal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2015
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and ... Read More
This was meant to be a special trip but it did not turn out that way, nothing like the 'excellence' promised. The combination of the ship condition and some aspects being well below the marketing statements was disappointing and only offset by good staff service and a great itinerary. The entertainment was below par, all overstated show and poor quality entertainers. Food in the Lido buffet was ordinary and not hot. We did not expect all vegetables to contain peppers or the fruit selection to be so limited. The tea and coffee was poor and compounded by no fresh milk (only long life) for the last week of the cruise. We resorted to buying our own on shore excursions. The other restaurants were better but some charged extra. Good quality tea and coffee may be an Australian preference but we also found Americans who said the same. We did our own excursions as we the HAL options were expensive and we prefer our flexibility without a crowd. Overall this was not as good as our Norwegian Cruise Line experiences and more expensive. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
This was our second Holland America cruise in less than a year as last year we did a magnificent 24 day Mediteranean Cruise on the Noordam. The Oosterdam is the same size and with an almost identical layout,so we felt at home as soon as we ... Read More
This was our second Holland America cruise in less than a year as last year we did a magnificent 24 day Mediteranean Cruise on the Noordam. The Oosterdam is the same size and with an almost identical layout,so we felt at home as soon as we were on board. Embarkement in Sydney was a little slow,but this was beyond the control of HAL due to unusual circumstances. The ship had to contend with cyclones Pam and Nathan while we were on board, but our Captain Peter Bos,did a fine job of keeping us away from rough waters. We did have to miss Port Vila,which was devastated by the Cyclone and we also missed Dravuni Island as we were unable to tender due to damage to the pontoon. We did however,go to Isle of Pines,which was beautiful. However, we were quite content to stay on board and enjoy the facilities. The food was consistently delicious and plentiful and service was always friendy and efficient. The Oosterdam is very well maintained and well laid out. Entertainment on board was very good with the highlight being the incredible BB King Blues Band which appear in the Queens Lounge most nights. We never missed their show and these guys & girl are world class performers. A special mention of Ping Rose,Poyee Yancy and Michael Holt from the band who are great friendly guys and incredibly talented. We have been so happy with Holland America on our 2 cruises (38 nights) that we wouldn't consider travelling with anyone else and have already prepaid a deposit for our next cruise. Thanks Holland America for some of the best experiences of our lives! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
An amazing experience, given that Pam and Nathan were in the vicinity. We were very fortunate to have a great captain (Capt. Peter Bos), who kept us all informed of the risks and dangers of Cyclone Pam. We had to abandon one port, (Port ... Read More
An amazing experience, given that Pam and Nathan were in the vicinity. We were very fortunate to have a great captain (Capt. Peter Bos), who kept us all informed of the risks and dangers of Cyclone Pam. We had to abandon one port, (Port Vila), pick up another (Isle des Pins), and were not able to access another, due to cyclone's wave damage to a pier. Our stateroom was always very clean and tidy, and nothing was too much trouble for our room stewards. We were still able to participate in shipboard activities, shopping, presentations, shows etc., given that we gained an extra sea day due to the Cyclone. The greater majority of staff who served us in the various dining rooms were very courteous and helpful. There were also some staff who 'stood out' from the others due to their passion and expertise in service, wine service and menu knowledge etc. We arranged a mixture of HAL and private tours, and found we saved money by arranging them onshore. The range, quality and experience of both invited and HAL entertainment staff was impressive, diverse, and enjoyable overall. Our disembarkation was smooth and went like clockwork. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2015
Unlike our experience with a 30 day cruise on HAL's Statendam to Hawaii and French Polynesia in 2014, this vessel, its physical resources, staff and Master were uniformly disappointing. We are fans of smaller vessels but found the ... Read More
Unlike our experience with a 30 day cruise on HAL's Statendam to Hawaii and French Polynesia in 2014, this vessel, its physical resources, staff and Master were uniformly disappointing. We are fans of smaller vessels but found the 1200 passengers Statendam to be adequately fitted with sufficient comfortable deck facilities for both inside and outside activities. The 1900+ passengers Oosterdam was severely constrained in both regimes. It consistently lacked adequate deck space for relaxation, especially covered areas on the open decks. The Lido cafeteria was always crowded and messy during peak feeding times. The explorer lounge, espresso bar, library, and crows nest were squeezed together in a hot, crowded, and uncomfortable public area forward on the observation deck. A lot of the furniture in this area was worn and threadbare. The Lido deck amidships and its pool and related facilities were essentially limited to the use of several hundred children and their families who were booked on the fist leg (14 days) of this voyage. We were certainly not expecting a Disney cruise and would have not booked this trip if we knew what HAL had in store for us. Forthright communication from HAL's in-house agent would have been appreciated. Many Lido cafeteria staff had difficulty understanding English, so when I asked for one (1) sausage patty at breakfast I would get two or more. Or I would be given bacon or sausage links. I was never sure what was going through their minds as they were obviously under stress given the crowds. I eventually just accepted whatever they put on the plate. Others preparing a sandwich would object to my order - acting with insulting disbelief when I requested just a roll with meat and cheese. I got the message that I was not adding the proper amount of filler and was consuming too much of a valuable cold-cut (in the single sandwich that comprised my lunch.) There was an appalling lack of water glasses. Literally the ship did not have enough water glasses in the cafeteria, ever. We were expected to drink from tiny juice glasses designed to limit consumption. It was a rare occasion when tea spoons were available. And, I know this is an American style complaint, ice service was poor. When consumables or cutlery or glasses were gone did the house management place a priority on replenishment - even if requested? Uniformly no. And the self service areas - beverages and salads especially were sloppy and disheveled with spilled fluids and food on counters and floors. Food was inadequately labeled. An attempt was made with some mains but the little tags became quickly unorganized. Other foodstuffs, especially salads were never labeled. When boxed milk was not available the staff would pour milk products into glasses that they placed in the refrigerated case, but they were never labeled and I had no confidence in the answer when I asked what they were. I found it odd that in the main dining room that we were never once asked if we would like to conclude our dinner with a cup of coffee or tea. I concluded this was probably some corporate optimization to the service script. The master delivered us safely to our various destinations and for that I am grateful. But the comfort of the passengers is clearly a consideration secondary to the economic objectives of HAL and its parent organization. For example, the return trip from Pine Island, New Caledonia to Sydney sailed through some extreme seas during the final 24 hours of the voyage. Many if not most passengers suffered sea sickness, with crew valiantly scrubbing, neutralizing, and vacuuming vomit all night long. I watched the bridge's navigation console on the cabin TV and the master never varied as the vessel strained at 20 knots during the entire return voyage. What I and probably another thousand passengers would have praised might have been a somewhat slower passage. But HAL has its economic objectives and the master is surely evaluated in light of meeting those objectives first with passenger comfort given somewhat less weight. By the way once the ship had completed its disembarkation/embarkation cycle the next day in Sydney, the master announced that Oosterdam's sailing would be delayed 12 hours until the following morning due to the sea conditions previously described. And of course passengers would not be able to disembark to enjoy an evening in Sydney. I mention that return voyage to give some perspective to the master's decision making process regarding the aborted landing of passengers a week later at Akaroa NZ. The vessel was anchored in the harbor and more than a thousand passengers had tendered to shore by 11am. My wife and I had been waiting for a tender for nearly an hour at the staging area when the cruise director announced that outbound tenders would be temporarily suspended due to sea conditions in the harbor - chop. We retreated to the aft Lido deck to await resumption of the service. Perhaps a half hour later the announcement came (from the cruise director) that tenders to shore would continue. (Obviously, with more than a thousand passengers ashore return tenders never stopped.) So we and about 150 other passengers queued at the gangway. No more than two tenders worth of passengers still wanting to head to shore. The next wait was not long, perhaps 10 or 15 minutes, when the Master announced on the PA that he had previously ordered all further shore leave canceled but apparently this order had not been communicated to the hotel staff and the cruise director so our planned day ashore never occurred. Personally I found the two hours of waiting, confusion, and not knowing what was going on to be a far worse outcome than a 25 minute tender ride in a strong chop. A while later on the PA the Master told us some reasons for his action. He reported there was a weather front approaching and it portended potentially serious local effects. Further he had communicated with the Captain of the other cruise ship in the harbor who advised him of similar circumstances a year ago where some of his passengers were stranded ashore. I imagine the cost to HAL if hundreds of passengers had to be bused to the next port and lodged and fed was starkly featured in the Master's calculating mind. Or the penalties he would suffer even if the ship's departure had to be delayed. Of course the Master had already allowed more than a thousand passengers to head to shore given the existing conditions and weather forecast. If this port is subject to such mercurial hazards why is it even on HAL's itinerary? Probably because the usual outcome is what occurred this day - the harbor waters became calm for the rest of the afternoon. A beautiful day ashore was had by many and further frustration by others. Oh and that weather front? It did arrive - late apparently, and spun the ship around its anchorage to a new direction. I am not questioning the Master's decisions - he is responsible for all lives aboard and HAL's financial investment. But I am questioning HAL's choice of ports of call, the Oosterdam's weather forecast facilities and staff, and the obvious lack of coordination among the ship's management services. A final example of inadequate provisioning and management failure is the extremely long line of passengers who, having disembarked, faced a complete lack of public transport. I understand HAL disavows responsibility for this logistics SNAFU since the Oosterdam had to tie up in Sydney at a different, less accommodating, pier than the one from which she departed. I had independently booked a car and walked a quarter mile past many hundreds of passengers who waited God only knows how long for taxis that should have been waiting for them. So I have highlighted some of the failures I experienced aboard this ship’s voyage. I will not return for another voyage on the Oosterdam, not because I don’t believe that its crew and officers cannot or will not improve, but because I believe this class of ship has inadequate infrastructure, resources and staff to adequately service the complement of passengers that HAL feels is necessary to operate profitably.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
We are retired and decided to do a cruise on the Oosterdam. My fault that I didn't check the weather in January in this area (cyclone season) or the fact that it was school holidays. We were lucky though with only about 3 roughish ... Read More
We are retired and decided to do a cruise on the Oosterdam. My fault that I didn't check the weather in January in this area (cyclone season) or the fact that it was school holidays. We were lucky though with only about 3 roughish days but nothing inconvenient. The children were well behaved and they were well entertained by the Children's Club that they provide. Our cabin was great! Right at the back with a huge balcony on the 5th floor. We loved everything except the Ports of Call which were disappointing because we don't snorkel and there is not much on any of the New Caledonia or Fijian Islands that interested many people. We only got off at the bigger ports of call and did our own tours. I have read many negative reviews and also listened onboard to complaints. Our trip was great! I would like to add a few things that disappointed us though, as constructive criticism. I bought a drinks package pre cruise which was great, but once on board, I noted that they offered the same package cheaper!! The seated dining was not suitable because of the times. 5.30 pm (too early) and 8.00 pm (too late). We therefore had to line up each night for about 15 minutes usually to be seated and although you can sit alone, we preferred to sit with other people. Unfortunately, we didn't get to know anyone well, because each night is another group!! The gratuities is also unacceptable!! All the crew should get service fees. HAL charge $23.00 per day for tips! This is US and becomes quite a large expense $320 US for the 14 days! HAL should include the gratuities into the cost of the cruise but at a reasonable rate per cabin. Whilst going around the ship, I heard many people complaining and then heard that it was optional and that many cruisers wouldn't pay the tip. We tipped our cabin boy, food waiter and drinks waiter and opted to pay $100.00 gratuities. I think it is okay to charge gratuities but they should be compulsory for everyone and reasonable! OR HIDE THEM IN THE COST OF THE CRUISE! Also whilst talking to others, the cruise prices for the same rooms with balconies ranged from $1500 to $3200 per person which is very disappointing. Then to charge an extra $320 for gratuities is not acceptable. The librarian on board was not very helpful either which was disappointing for many people. Not pro active at all!! No Mahjong on board either!! Other than that we loved it. Others did say that the Princess and other cruise liners were better but we loved the cruise and were not perturbed about petty things like waiters tapping you on the shoulder instead of saying excuse me!! Many people were too snobby in that area. Our cabin was wonderful!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
In Short; Not likely to use this carrier in future. Where to Start for the cruise Oosterdam South Pacific Cruise 02/01/2015. To Those who read this & this was their first cruise I am very pleased you had a great time and were treated ... Read More
In Short; Not likely to use this carrier in future. Where to Start for the cruise Oosterdam South Pacific Cruise 02/01/2015. To Those who read this & this was their first cruise I am very pleased you had a great time and were treated well. Previous cruises 4 and Yes were comparing due to cost & promotions attached to this cruise line high expectations for this & very very disappointed. Room was ok as all carrier are similar, Room staff we had was great they did as much as required to make this accommodation enjoyable & did their job very well, Activities non existent or very lack of unless you only wanted to exercise or into beauty treatments, Staff (except the room attendants) need re-training as courtesy or lack of, help always asking for some service of some type but to no avail, I should also mention this would apply to 90% of the staff not all. maybe I am just like to complain but when you have previous cruised you would normally expect at lease the same service regardless of the carrier. Also the small things you experience make the cruise more enjoyable. The ship easy to navigate through, set out pretty well, Food, out of all meals which were tasteless, below average, 3 days before end of cruise running out of simple items always told "Sorry Sir we have run out of that", Beverages very average catering for all countries except Australian tastes. Port Excursions for those who took part enjoyable. Entertainment Very Average have seen high school entertainment of higher standard. maybe a C.D. with a little more attitude for pleasing All passengers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
I have just came back from a cruise on the ms Oosterdam with my sisters and we were mortified to say the least, This wasn't our first time cruising but it will be the last with Holland America I had mildew throughout my bath room. ... Read More
I have just came back from a cruise on the ms Oosterdam with my sisters and we were mortified to say the least, This wasn't our first time cruising but it will be the last with Holland America I had mildew throughout my bath room. The walls were filthy; I had no air conditioning so they gave me a small box fan. The first night of the cruise was so hot that I had to sleep on my balcony, supervisors were notified as when housekeeping came in I was still asleep on the deck furniture. I was told to keep my balcony curtains closed as this would help keep the room cool, I asked them what was the point in me paying for a suite with an ocean view if I had to kep the curtains drawn all of the time. There was gap filler in the bottom of the bath room walls and when I walked out of the bath room I kicked my foot and cut my little toe on the gap filler at the bottom of the shower recess near the bath room door there was more gap filler up the walls that hadn’t been sanded back. The pillows had a dreadful odour of perspiration and dirty hair. The curtain at the balcony door was covered in black grease and the black grease got on my long white pants I sent them off to the laundry but they couldn’t remove the stain so I threw them out, My king bed kept coming apart when I was sleeping on it There was a 2 inch gap from the edge of the mattress and the frame of the base which they covered with a valance so it couldn’t be seen and I ran into it not knowing it was there and badly bruised my lower leg . The sound on my T.V was crackly and of poor quality The sofa lounge was broken. The glass coffee table had four obvious chips in I The water pressure was extremely poor My state room door didn't close properly. My sister staying in room 6115 had bugs /insects and their lava breading in the lights grills in her bathroom and as we were leaving we found more in the living room lights All of these things were reported to the appropriate manager. They could do nothing with the air conditioner or the tv or the bed or the curtain. They did get someone to attempt to fix the mildew but that as a poor attempt. They did fix the gap filler problem. I hope to get some feedback from you as I intend to take this matter further..... They did take $400 of my account and sent me flowers which I thought added to the insult . My sisters and I took this cruise as the beginning of my healing after recently losing my husband of 15 year. He and I had intended to take this cruise and then New Zealand , Antarctica and Alaska my sisters and I decided we would do them with him in our hearts..... .Holland America you wasted my money and shamed yourselves. A waste of my late husband’s life insurance. Shame shame shame. Holland America Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2015
Wow, what a fantastic holiday my family of four had. Two 50 + parents and two older teenage boys all sharing a quad balcony room. Could have been a disaster, but the best holiday ever!! Older age group on board but enough younger people to ... Read More
Wow, what a fantastic holiday my family of four had. Two 50 + parents and two older teenage boys all sharing a quad balcony room. Could have been a disaster, but the best holiday ever!! Older age group on board but enough younger people to keep our boys entertained. Amazing food, attentive, efficient crew, beautiful islands, fantastic entertainment...more amazing food, spotlessly clean and a very well run operation. A few little hiccups, here and there but brilliant all round, couldn't stay home for the $$ we paid!!!! Some whingers, but there always will be. Did I mention the fantabulous food.!!! OMG best holiday. Thank you HAL we'll be back!! ....Very grateful Aussies..oh, and thanks for the awesome food!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
Stateroom and staff. During our cruise, our toilet broke (would not flush) three times for an extended period, requiring us to us the public facilities until fixed. On the third time, the maintenance man said it was fixed but we had to ... Read More
Stateroom and staff. During our cruise, our toilet broke (would not flush) three times for an extended period, requiring us to us the public facilities until fixed. On the third time, the maintenance man said it was fixed but we had to call him back as the toilet began leaking all over the bathroom floor. Once he fixed the leak, we had to ask that house keeping come to disinfect the floor from where the leak had been, before we were able to use the bathroom. There also seemed to be a constant sewerage odour, I presume from the toilet issues. I was also dissatisfied with the TV as it was very crackly, poor quality sound and picture. I was also disappointed in the fact that I had originally paid for an inside stateroom, was offered a partial obstructed view upgrade for $99 which we took and were allocated a perfectly lovely room on deck 4, only to be "upgraded" to a poorly located stateroom on deck 1 which was under constant bombardment from noise below in the hold when luggage was moved or when tenders were lowered etc. Dining I have cruised on other lines before and found HALs buffet and dinning option to be limited and very unimaginative. Buffet in the Lido was bland and lacked taste. Hot breakfasts weren't of a high quality. Cereal selection was good at the start of the cruise but was not consistent for the whole cruise, as the the availability of fresh whole fruit such as bananas. Hot chocolate satchets ran out 4days before the end of the cruise. Dining room staff at our table were friendly but did not engage with guests. Only presented the menu, took orders, presented the meals and filled water glasses. They did not try to build a relationship with us even though we dined there every night of the cruise. Dive-in burger bar was exceptional and we tended to rely on this as a means to supplement the very disappointing selection in the Lido. Bar Beverage service by Pearly Anne in the Crows Nest bar and the Vista Lounge was exceptional and she should be commended for her lovely personality and great service. Bar service was only average by other staff. Staff serving at Explorations Cafe were not efficient and not overly friendly. Took too long to prepare orders. Barista was clueless. Internet Internet service was very poor and would constantly drop out. Shore excursions. Pre-purchased shore excursions through HAL website. Had no use for onboard shore excursion staff. Shore excursions were a little pricey but you at least have the assurance that you will make it back to the ship in time to sail. Entertainment Having cruised before with other lines, I was expecting a higher standard of performers. The guest performers were mundane and it felt like the type of entertainment I could see at my local club. Well below par for something meant to be special. Show singers and dancers were entertaining and always gave their best. Show host Jordan was always fun and a very pleasant person to chat with. Always willing to have a laugh with the passengers. Gen and the Halcats as well as Ben and the Halcats were always great to listen too and engaged with the audience really positively. Other entertainment staff were less approachable Acknowledgements I would particularly like to acknowledge Pearly Ann in bar service for her exceptionally nice personality and for always making time to engage with us. We had many great laughs with her and she should be congratulated for her exceptional service. I would also like to acknowledge Gen the singer, who always made time to talk with us and provide a wonderful musical atmosphere wherever we watched her perform. I understand that she is no longer with HAL by her own choice but I reccomend that HAL maintain a performer of her calibre to create a warm and inviting musical experience for future passengers and guests. Other stuff I understand that the ship had over 300 children on board for this cruise but I felt that parental supervision of children was sadly lacking. Many times I saw large groups of unsupervised youths roaming the ship causing mischief and no sign of any kind of security. It also disturbed me to see parents drinking in bars clearly marked as no children under 21, with accompanying children and even toddlers roaming freely around the bars and even in the Casino. Again, there was little regard for common rules and there was never any intervention by HAL staff or security. Overall opinion Very disappointed with most things on this cruise and felt very cheated of the advertised service standards and signature HAL experience.   Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2015
Took the South Pacific cruise out of Sydney, and were certainly not impressed with the ship. The Neptune suite was very nice (apart from creaking ceiling panels), was well appointed and maintained. The downsides of the cruise were: - a ... Read More
Took the South Pacific cruise out of Sydney, and were certainly not impressed with the ship. The Neptune suite was very nice (apart from creaking ceiling panels), was well appointed and maintained. The downsides of the cruise were: - a lack of shade on the rear of the Lido deck which resulted in a lot of folk having to either sit in the sun or move down to the less interesting lower decks. - the food selection menu was very limited, with servings being generally small (even in the formal dining rooms), and if you did not get in early, you could miss out on some items. The service in the Lido and formal dining rooms was generally mediocre and needs improvement. - a very common complaint among passengers was the almost total lack of interesting activities on board, even for kids, which was compounded by the Cruise Director who was either well out of his depth, or sadly lacking experience in the entertainment area. The conducted tours were well worthwhile and well organised, although we were unable to land at one island due to poor weather, so had a third '2 days at sea' period. To their credit, the staff were generally friendly, courteous and helpful at all times. Unlike some of their cruises, to other locales, this tour was certainly not a good advertisement for Holland America with most people we spoke to being disappointed,   Read Less
Sail Date: January 2015
From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get ... Read More
From the moment we stepped on board it was obvious that this was not going to be fantastic. No lanyards available until i did a sit in at the shop and then they were for Alaska 2014 and Alaska 2013. It took 80 minutes and 3 calls to get coat hangers for my stateroom. My room card failed twice and my drinks card 4 times. each time i was expected to tramp down to the main deck and have it fixed even though i have a walking disability. Service was lack lustre and room service took up to 90 minutes. The captain was non existent and I only briefly saw him at a mariners lunch where he told us to reverse mortgage our houses and do more cruises. Then he didn't even stay to eat with us. On level 2 you could smell sewerage and the crew were not able or prepared to control or supply entertainment for over 350 under 18s. I was told HAL were a 5 star line. i have traveled with Princess and P&O and frankly they both were 100 times better. Frayed carpets and broken windows. Life boats with railing falling off. Do yourself a favour and don't travel on the Oosterdam Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
We had heard that the food on the Holland cruises was very good. Check. Lots of options, beautifully presented and spot-on services in the dining rooms. We were fortunate to have a waitstaff that was extraordinary - attentive, of good ... Read More
We had heard that the food on the Holland cruises was very good. Check. Lots of options, beautifully presented and spot-on services in the dining rooms. We were fortunate to have a waitstaff that was extraordinary - attentive, of good cheer, and always trying to please. Be warned, however, as we had heard as well, this is an "older" group of cruisers - generally 60's, 70's and 80's. The entertainment is not the reason to go - it was mediocre. And the amenities not that great - not a great gym, not much on-board musical entertainment, not many "games" at night to get involved with. The Cruise Director, Shane, seemed to be everywhere and was a lot of fun and the staff (whether it was the room stewards or the staff in the buffet area) seemed to always be smiling and doing whatever they could to make the cruise as enjoyable as possible. Overall, a great experience, but don't look to be wowed onboard with the after-hours fun. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2014
Embarkation was good although we were not introduced to our cabin stewards until a couple of days into the cruise. Beds comfortable and pillows excellent. No drawers in the stateroom to unpoack small items into so do not understand why ... Read More
Embarkation was good although we were not introduced to our cabin stewards until a couple of days into the cruise. Beds comfortable and pillows excellent. No drawers in the stateroom to unpoack small items into so do not understand why there is a lidded BOX in the room instead. A chest of drawers could be put in place of this wasted item. The elevators were plentiful and always working. The bathrooms were always available and never 'out of order' Plentiful hand sanitation stations throughout the ship which was excellent. Lido buffet poor food and choice and lack of servers made everything slow. Traditional late dining. Waiters really need re-training - several times many of the table were given the wrong meals or missed a course or were given the requested mustard as they were finishing the last bite of the meal!! The prices for drinks including dinner wine was - IMO - rather high It was good that all staff were friendly and you got good day and a smile but some of this should have rubbed off on the customer relations desk where the staff were unhelpful because they would never listen to what you were saying. They would pick up on one word and give a standard reply to 'something' but not what you were asking about. The day time 'entertainment' was non existent. unless you paid to join an activity or went to sales talk. This could be down to a poor CD or lack of enteratinment staff The evening entertainment for late dinner sitting was very poor - one good show with a comedian but otherwise a 6th form college could have done as good if not better.   Read Less
Sail Date: October 2014
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of ... Read More
Recently returned from the Australia-New Zealand sailing. Boarding in Sydney was a nightmare and at an out of the way berth. It took over 2 hours of standing in line to get checked in and aboard. We chose this cruise based on the ports of call, not the ship. Many described it as "tired" but the décor was ghastly, especially the bizarre thrones and benches throughout the ship. There did not seem to be any unifying theme in the décor. Our stateroom was fine and our room steward worked really hard; he said he was responsible for 29 staterooms and that seems like too many. Food was plentiful, but not outstanding and there were certain times of the day when one could not get coffee or anything, except through room service. I used room service every morning by ordering the night before. It was always delivered promptly, but the coffee was bad (as if it had been warming since the night before). I learned to order tea and use the hot water with instant coffee packets I brought from home. With the exception of one speaker, the entertainment was underwhelming. Australia and New Zealand are fantastic, but if I go back, I will do it as a land tour. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2014
I have been on 60++ cruises to include many on Holland America so frankly I have semi "been there, done that". This 28 day cruise from Sydney to Seattle gets pretty high marks from me. But once again I will point out some areas ... Read More
I have been on 60++ cruises to include many on Holland America so frankly I have semi "been there, done that". This 28 day cruise from Sydney to Seattle gets pretty high marks from me. But once again I will point out some areas of disappointment with the SLIM hope that someone at Holland might actually read these reviews and might actually realize that there are areas that could use some improvement. Sydney: Great city to fly in a few days early which is what I did. Sydney is an expensive city but there are also many things that can be done cheaply like visiting Manly on the ferry or just walking around the opera house and the adjoining oceanfront parks. The rocks area is full of great old pubs that are certainly worth a visit. Embarkation was typical for a 1900 passenger ships with some standing in line but overall it was well organized and just fine. Once onboard I found the Oosterdam to be a pleasant well maintained ship. LAYOUT: There are several "layout' issues that caused me to scratch my head and wonder what the designers were thinking. The worst of these to me was the decision to combine the crows nest with the library and coffee for sale area which seem to me to be really a BAD decision. The library is actually smaller on this large ship than on smaller Holland ships. There are chairs placed right in front of the book stacks in a few spots meaning if you are trying to look for a book you are unfortunately looking right over the people trying to sit and read a book. The overall selection of books seemed to me to be a fraction of what is available on the Volendam. Add to the poor layout the fact that the coffee for sale area is also pretty much right in the middle of the library with people standing in line and you have a very congested area with not nearly enough seating or room or QUIET to enjoy the library. By combining the library with the crows nest they have managed to lessen the attractiveness of both. There are many functions in the crows nest every day to include trivia etc and there never seemed to be adequate seating for those who wanted to participate and of course those poor souls who thought they could sit in peace and quiet in the library found nearly constant talking/music/etc disturbing them. Holland should really separate the two areas like on other ships and increase the space of both the crows nest and the library as they are two of the most heavily used spaces onboard. The screening room where movies are shown has only about 30 seats? Really Holland? 30 seats for a ship that holds 1900 passengers? Not well thought out at all. If you wanted a seat you had to get there a good 30 mins prior to start time. I saw people turned away day after day due to no seats. Meantime there are several other areas of the ship where you rarely see anyone...and of course there is plenty of room for endless art auctions and attempts to sell you something. The outside walking deck is also poorly designed with way too many obstructions and places where it becomes so narrow that two people can barely pass. THE FOOD: I have to say that I found the food to be the BEST I have ever had on a Holland Cruise. Naturally in 28 days there were a few minor issues but overall for me it was excellent. Still a bit of a mystery as to how they seat the dine as you wish people as often would be seated at some crappy table all crowded together all the while notice much better tables that were empty when I arrived and still empty when I left. THE SERVICE: Always to me the area where Holland stands out best is the service from the Indonesian and Filipino staff. These kids work their butts off day after day and take a lot of ABUSE from some very demanding and ignorant passengers and yet keep smiling throughout. It is obvious that Carnival has cut staff and increased workloads on the room stewards and dining staff. Unfortunately the bean counters in Miami seem to think bringing a few more pennies to the bottom line by cutting expenses is ALWAYS the correct business decision...HINT: It's not always true. Happy satisfied customers and staff are your very best walking talking advertisements that will bring you more business than your entire sales force and ad campaigns. Unhappy customers also will tell everyone they know in person and online which will no doubt cost you future bookings. THE ENTERTAINMENT Overall this cruise was much better than usual with a decent variety of entertainers. Nobody is likely to enjoy every single entertainer but overall there is enough variety to have something worth seeing. In my opinion the worst of the entertainment was a lecturer who was on for about two weeks and gave many lectures on the south pacific etc. While he no doubt knew a lot about his subject and had credentials he had NO CLUE how to add in a bit of entertainment...he mostly stood and READ in a boring monotone from a written text. He reminded me of some of the worst most boring college professors ever. I mean come on Holland can you at least vet the lecturers to see if they have any presentation skills? On the flip side another lecturer was Bill Harris who did several lectures on Hollywood with tons of pics/videos and told interesting tidbits/jokes/stories to keep everyone totally entertained while educating at the same time. Once again Holland obviously made little or no effort to bring on any local entertainers except in one port. WHY? Surely surely the local port agent could call a local school and easily arrange for a group of kids to come aboard and do a simple show highlighting their local songs/dances/cultures. The cost to Holland would be peanuts and I suspect the passengers would LOVE it. Make a small donation to the school, give the kids a ship tour and let them go through the buffet line. For a lot of the kids it would be a lifelong memory and source of pride. It's called giving back HOLLAND. Please try it and I will bet that it will be some of your most popular shows. THE NEWSLETTER: Once again on yet another Holland cruise I find the same old crappy newsletter. I do not know who writes this but it is obvious that the quality continues to decline year after year. This is a shame as the daily newsletter should be the single best way for the ship to communicate and PROMOTE various events to the passengers. But day after day reading the newsletter is as boring as watching paint dry. Most times only the NAME of the movie is given with not so much as a two line guide as to who is in it or what it's about. A big outdoor BBQ by the pool was listed ONLY in the fine print rather than being highlighted in a box. The showroom entertainers are described in one or two sentences with not much else to make one think "gee I'd like to see that". There are often misspelled words and other errors that makes one wonder if anyone bothers to proofread it? Meantime of course you get a daily bombardment of printed materials hyping the spa and shopping. I have suggested before that Holland could create a win/win by having one crew member highlighted daily in the newsletter. A picture, plus a bit of bio of where they are from, their family, their job, their hobbies, etc. I have no doubt that the passengers would LOVE to learn a bit more about some of the fantastic staff that serves them and I would also bet it would be a source of pride to the employee highlighted. THE PORTS: Overall I personally loved the ports. Some very isolated islands that most people don't even know exist. I found the local people to be exceptionally friendly and welcoming especially in Fiji. Most of the ports had easy to find/use local transport if you wanted a ride around the island or to a beach or didn't want to spend a small fortune on a Holland shore excursion. It was also nice that we stopped at Port Angeles the day before Seattle as it was a very scenic stop. As usual Holland's port maps and information is truly AWFUL which no doubt is done on purpose to try and sell more of their tours. THE PASSENGERS: This cruise wasn't completely full. I would guess maybe 92% or so occupancy. The majority of passengers seemed to be from Australia with a good mix of kiwis, brits, Canadians, Americans, and a few others thrown in. Aussies tend to be a pretty happy and relatively easy to please bunch which I thought made for a pleasant cruise. So that's my two cents worth. Who knows maybe one day I will get on a Holland cruise and find that they have fixed a few of the things that they can read about from their customers as to how to improve the overall experience. Holland cruises are still very good in my opinion compared to most other lines but they are NOT as good as they once were. This should be a cause for concern even to the CCL bean counters and execs who perhaps are a bit more concerned with their stock options than their customers.   Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
Did not know what to expect as we are first time cruisers, but did a lot of research on the net to get an idea of what the ship was like. First impressions were fantastic, had a spa in the room, did not expect that. Staff were fantastic ... Read More
Did not know what to expect as we are first time cruisers, but did a lot of research on the net to get an idea of what the ship was like. First impressions were fantastic, had a spa in the room, did not expect that. Staff were fantastic during the entire cruise, worth every dollar they get, could not get over their polite manners, even when some rude people think they don't have to say please or thank you. Can't believe some people's manners. All dining options were fantastic, ate at all including dinner and lunch at the pinnacle grill, and the italian(can't remember the name), some waits maybe 5 mins, but no where as long as some people say in some other reviews. have to remember 1800 people wanting to eat in a 1 - 2 hour window, people have to be realistic! cruise was aimed at an older age group but that was okay as had some good laughs with them at different times. Missed a port in Fiji as we had to divert around a incoming cyclone, that was understandable, better safe than sorry, seas weren't to bad because of the captains decision, could still have a beer at any of the bars without spilling a drop! All in all we had a great cruise, could not fault the ship or staff. Talking to other seasoned cruisers they were comparing different cruise lines, I think they were happy with their choice and for some different reasons some said they would cruise with other lines and others would stay with HAL. Can't have them all wanting to go on the same ship otherwise their would be a very long wait. cheers G   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2014
My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards ... Read More
My wife and I just got back from our 1st cruise, we enjoyed the experience very much, we had an interior room which was smaller than the photos but was very comfortable and not an issue the bed was a delight to sleep in . Our room stewards wer fantastic and offered advice as to the best places in port for free WiFi. We ate most mornings and nights in the Vista dinning room as the food was just amazing and a different menu each night, the staff on every part of the ship worked very hard to keep it clean and fresh daily as well as always smiling and polite. The tender process was very efficient and no problems at all.embarkation and disembarkation is well organised and very quick not an issue as I thought it would be.All the ports were great and most organised a free shuttle bus with locals giving a running commentary. We only booked 1 shore excursion as most we found to expensive to book on ship but we used the port time to walk and explore the each port ourselves, we found that most of the museums were either free or only gold coin donations and were worth the time to explore them it helped get a great feel for the city and it's history, don't be afraid to use the public transport system as we used the bused to travel about often . When researching we could not find any info on the laundry costs as the Oosterdam does not have any available for passenger use but after a few days we spoke to our room stewards about this and found out that for $98 we had unlimited use just fill the bag with the form after organising it with the desk not an issue and worth it, if we had known this before the cruise it would have saved taking to many clothes. Overall it was a great experience and we enjoyed very much. Ron Read Less
Sail Date: March 2014
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ... Read More
After having cruised with various lines (20 times) My wife and I decided to try the Holland America line (Oosterdam) cruising to the Pacific Islands on the 2nd of March 2014 for14 nights Embarkation and disembarkation was excellent The ship to us seemed too dark in colours Our cabin with balcony (the balcony could not be used due to cabins on either sides were smoking and of course the smell wafted to our side made it very unpleasant) Also smoking in the casino and other places should be a definite NO as internationally smoking and passive smoking is a Health Hazard We did not like the Lido having different service bays and to line up in one then lining again in another and the food getting cold The screening room was a joke 32 seats for 1900 passengers The port of Luganville was wasted time , why not go to Champagne Bay which is nearby Two months previously we were advised by another Line that in New Caledonia there was a severe ZIKA FEVER alert Nothing about it was told to us. I mentioned this to the other couple on our table who approached the medical about it (they knew nothing about it) and yet someone in the front office was aware of it   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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