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Holland America Line: Oosterdam

  • Holland America Line
  • Holland America Line

Oosterdam Review

The second of Holland America Line’s Vista-class ship, Oosterdam was named for the Eastern compass point and christened in 2003. As a symbol of the line's history of circumnavigating the globe, the centerpiece of Oosterdam’s atrium is a magnificent Waterford-crystal globe. In addition to her art collection, her cast-aluminum elevator doors were inspired by the art deco work of the New York Chrysler Building.

Ships for the 21st century, Vista-class vessels integrate new, youthful, and family-friendly elements into Holland America Line's classic fleet. Exquisite Waterford-crystal sculptures adorn triple-deck atriums and reflect vivid, almost daring color schemes throughout. Although all the public rooms carry the traditional Holland America names (Ocean Bar, Explorer's Lounge, Crow's Nest) and aren't much different in atmosphere, their louder decor (toned down a bit since the introduction of the Zuiderdam) may make them unfamiliar to returning passengers.

Veterans of cruises on older Holland America ships will find the layout of public spaces somewhat different; still, everyone's favorite Crow's Nest lounges continue to offer those commanding views.

Holland America Line has enjoyed a distinguished record of traditional cruises, world exploration, and transatlantic crossings since 1873—all facets of its history that are reflected in the fleet's multimillion-dollar shipboard art and antiques collections. Even the ships' names follow a pattern set long ago: all end in the suffix dam and are either derived from the names of various dams that cross Holland's rivers, important Dutch landmarks, or points of the compass. The names are even recycled when vessels are retired, and some are in their fifth and sixth generation of use.

Noted for focusing on passenger comfort, Holland America Line cruises are classic in design and style, and with an infusion of younger adults and families on board, they remain refined without being stuffy or stodgy. Following a basic design theme, returning passengers feel as at home on the newest Holland America vessels as they do on older ones.

What You Should Know


  • Next to the Crow's Nest, an outdoor seating area is a quiet hideaway
  • Exterior panoramic elevators offer an elevated view of the seascape
  • You can borrow iPod shipboard art tours


  • Vista-class ships do not have self-service laundry rooms
  • Murals in Pinnacle Grill restaurants look out of place alongside priceless art found throughout the rest of the ships
  • Some chairs in Pinnacle Grill are so heavy that they barely budge without effort
Ship Stats
  • Entered Service 2003
  • Passenger Capacity 1,916
  • Crew Members 817
  • Number of Cabins 958
  • Gross Tons 82,305
  • Length 936 feet
  • Width 106 feet
  • New

Nov 6, 2016

Mediterranean Dreams

Experiment N' Terror - Sixth and LAST with HAL... please "read tell us about your trip" for FULL details. HAL is in the hospitality service business, at least that is the rumor which their hygienic practices, shipboard administration and post cruise customer service rapidly dispels. In hospitality and service, misrepresentation should not be rife and "caveat emptor" should not be the maxim of the day, but HAL sure seems to have taken it to heart.

HAL's upper management attitude and level of customer satisfaction for problem resolution, during and post cruise, has left this formerly satisfied customer feeling like, sailing with Capt. Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean), would be an upgrade from HAL. In an effort to deny reality and just recompense, I shudder to imagine what HAL's professional deflection tactics and denial system aka "wall of non stick voodoo teflon" at the Office of The President, will cook up and attempt to serve to future victims. And of late, that is exactly what the HAL experience leaves you feeling like. Dining: Lido Buffet - Very Good; Main Dining - NA Large Inside Cabin 1067 - Positive, tons of room and storage, nice 40 inch LED TV and free on demand movies. Negative, you can't hear the BB King band, but you can hear the late night deejay with his techno beat coming from above. NA = Not Applicable Cabin: Excellent - attached review Dining: Lido Buffet - Very Good; Main Dining - NA Embarkation: Poor - slow, long queues. Disembarkation: Poor - swift and merciless. Fastest we have ever been given the bums rush. Hundreds were awaiting shuttles and cabs, many with reservations for a hour later. Enrichment Activities: NA Entertainment: Average - The BAND is GONE. BBKing and Ventriloquist Magician were excellent; Piano Bar dueling pianos, meh. Sing around single piano was better; Shows, not good. Family & Children: NA Fitness & Recreation: Average; Free men's locker shower, gym and dry sauna Onboard Experience: Terrible - attached review Public Rooms: Average Rates: Terrible - Overpriced Service: Excellent - Cabin stewards, Bar and Lido staff. Shore Excursions: NA Ports: Average - attached review Value for Money: Terrible - attached review Ports Venice: Romantic, but expensive. Buy a vaporetto pass and validate it before riding. Visit Venice, stay and eat on the Lido. Sarande (Albania): Quaint beachfront esplanade. The best and least expensive "greek" food (15E for two) on this cruise. Kerkira (Corfu): Scenic historic city center and park walks await. Katakolon (Greece): Waterfront, two streets, four blocks of shops. Olympia ruins and Giorgio's Bike Bar ride await. Nafplion: Trendy beach front, downtown and exhausting bay fortress walk await. Athens: Best Duty Free, Parthenon and Acropolis ruins await. It's a big city. Mykonos: Quaint is now over commercialized, Big money bought out the independent's. Iraklion (Crete): Historic city center now glorified brand name outlet mall. Knossos Palace ruins await, big AM queues, empty after 1PM. Santorini: Take the funicular, beware of queues, avoid donkeys. Overrun with small shops. Naples: Capri, Sorrento, train to Pompeii, Herculaneum ruins await. You must be cautious, a young couple was victimized. Do not get on a bus or train without a validated ticket and announce the fact. You will be legitimately fined or caught in the typical Napoletano "we are the police" scam. Pick pockets, purse, phone, camera and jewelry snatchers galore. If you value it don't bring it ashore. As for your bank card and getting cash, do not use the ATM's. Theft of cash, identity, card eating ATM's and non dispensation of cash, while debiting your account are common here. Rome: Nice beach at port of Civitavecchia. Take train to Termini station, see the Colosseum first. Like Naples, it's the big city, beware. We gave ample monetary consideration in the form of time off, airfare, transfers, excursions and the cruise itself, only to be subjected to a lack of hygienic common sense or a virus known as stupidity on the part of HAL ship side management. To be clear, in 34 cruises taken over a 50 year span, I have never been exposed to such unsanitary conditions and unhygienic practices. In 34 cruises, 31 ships, 9 lines, 122 ports, this was the first time I have contracted any type of illness on a cruise. Many were afflicted as witnessed by multiple conversations with passengers and crew who were impacted and aware of the situation. An outbreak of diarrhea was brought to my attention by several crew and passengers in the know. Two passengers made the unsolicited comment which I cannot take credit for, "this ship is a floating petri dish". HAL may have violated CDC health regs, but most importantly, common sense which violated their guests trust. As a result, some of HAL's guests suffered, my wife and I included. The cause? In the prior 33 cruises, I have never seen beverages or ice dispensed in such a haphazard fashion. From the beginning of the cruise, the non touch ice beverage dispensers in the Lido buffet were occasionally non functional, i.e. did not dispense ice or water. When they were functional, unprotected pitchers were often positioned on the drip tray blocking their usage, forcing unnecessary manual usage of make shift ice chests and pitchers. Rather than no touch, the process required a minimum of eight full hand to surface contacts on three different surfaces; chest lid; ice scoop; pitcher. In addition, the ice chest was compromised by the complete insertion of a hand during the scooping process. These conditions were mysteriously allowed to persist for the duration of the 12 night cruise. An email to the Office of the President at HAL, solicited the following response. "Interestingly enough we had our public health specialist on board this cruise. Non-touch beverage/ice machines were functional during the cruise and not disabled as suggested. There was no outbreak of influenza or diarrhea as suggested. We are not in a position to provide you with a monetary refund." HAL's Office of the President shot a clear message across my bow regarding the complaint. Their response was nothing more than a complete denial of circumstance and refutation of my on board experience. The response left my family feeling cheated, deceived and lacking future trust in the HAL brand.

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  • New

Jun 7, 2015

Sail Alaska inside passage and on to Danali

We had a wonderful time cruising to Alaska, so many wonderful sights to see, great weather, lots of wildlife. The cruise would have been perfect except for smokers. We paid extra for a larger room and a balcony and in three rooms below us were smokers. Every time we wanted to sit out side or there was something wonderful to see we had to breath in their smoke. I do not understand why they can not put the smokers on the back half or quarter of the

ship so their smoke does not bother the rest of us? I was told by a lady on the ship that works at the front desk that lots of times they lie about smoking, and if it was really a bother they could ask them to restrict the smoking? Give me a break. You need to put in your information that if they are caught lying they will be put off the ship at the next port with no refund. When your literature stated that smoking was restricted to an area out on the deck and some balcony rooms I assumed that they would be in rooms that would not effect us. This will stop us from cruising again unless we can make sure not to have to put up with this.We will also tell others thinking about cruising to get some kind of guarantee that this will not happen to them or they would get a refund. there was plenty of food choices, lots of good salad bars and lots of fresh fruit and choices in the protein department and lots of nummy desserts. I am a tea drinker and on 2 mornings the hot water for tea was put in a container last used for coffee and that ruined the flavor of the tea. But the afternoon teas were wonderful. Roomy and very comfortable cabin. There was plenty to do if you were looking for something to do. Busy Busy Busy The whale watching excursions are not to be missed, we saw 3 types of whales. Our trip gave us many wonderful memories and we kept so busy I felt I could sleep for a day to recover.

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  • New

Dec 2, 2014

Ms Oosterdam

This cruise was a terrible experience, we were publically humiliated and asked to leave the vista dining room for breast feeding our 6 month year old because breast feeding is supposedly against the dining room policy, we were then later told that the dining room does not even have a policy, dining room manager chose to illegally discriminate against us at her own discression, you would think in this day and age they would know better, Kids club HAL

took no interest in amusing our 3 year old child she was more interested in watching TV as there were not many kids on the boat this cruise. We also didn't get to see Tasmania or Milford sound which was meant to be the highlight of the cruise, the only saving grace was the kindness of the waitresses and room service staff who were lovely and couldn't do enough for you. This is not a family friendly cruise and Holland America needs to life their game if they want to appeal to families. We didn't get an apology from the person who made us leave the dining room even though they admitted they were wrong, took them 8 days to work that one out.

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  • New

Jul 14, 2014

southern route

Prior to sailing my husband called Holland American at their 800 number and spoke with a C/S/R, regarding our upcoming trip to Alaska aboard the Oosterdam. The rep. told his that we were permitted to bring water ( up to 1 case) soda ( up to 1 case) and wine ( at 1 bottle per person). Which we did.... Upon arrival at the ship check-in a disaster, felt like cattle being led to slaughter. Over 30 min in line. Checked into state room immediately

upon boarding, deposited our carry on's and went to explore the ship. 2 hrs later returned and all but 1 pcs of luggage was in the room. So I called and was told it was being held and would be delivered at a later time. Again leaving the room we went to dinner then drinks, upon return found that the last pcs had been delivered, minus the 2 bottles of wine. In side was a form letter stating that the product was removed and would be returned after the cruise. Immediately went to the customer desk and explained the the H/A csr said we could bring this aboard. The rep put me if there was a problem I'd have to discuss it the Beverage Manager. Which I requested a face to face with. After waiting about 30 min he finally appeared. He explained H/A policy, and I informed him of what I'd been told by the csr at the 800. But because I wasn't able to remember who I spoke with he was unable to permit us to keep our wine and the company policy would prevail. Presentation excellent at restaurant average at buffet. As for quality also good but not excellent. Very clean cabin. Average shows. Comedy Ventriloquist ..Excellent Illusionist....Excellent Somewhat overpriced tours and little direction as to best times to go. We had booked excursion to Skagway never told what the time of departure was until we boarded and found out it was 06:30 way to early. No additional times available so we had to cancel. Even after our explanation the staff just refunded w/o any remorse. PLEASE!!!! Read The FINE PRINT. One wouldn't think a reputable cruise line would have fine print BUT they do and they stick to it!!

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Aug 8, 2013


This cruise is definitely more for older people...the quality in the rooms was poor- granted it is 10 years old..there is nothing Dutch about's a shame all the Dutch traditions are gone..although the Captain was Dutch an did a great job getting us into Tracy's Arm (inner passage)an turning around avoiding ice bergs. It was a treat to see the glazier. It is a shame Carnival has let all the old traditions go. First two days of the sail

was terrible then slowly there was improvement..don't go for the food unless you don't care.. The room was good an private ..the view was nice..but no improvement in 10 years.. High tea an classical music and the art collections . If you like history ..take in the bishops house that was made a saint..probably for living in Alaska. I did enjoy the glass elevator.. get a room close to's mid ship but you need not worry about rough seas on inner passage.

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