With Reuben Goossens
Cruise’n’Ship Reviewer, Cruise‘n’Travel Journalist, Maritime Historian Author & Lecturer
Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future. Please read my statement at the bottom of the page!
Oosterdam maiden arrival in
PLEASE NOTE: All photographs on this page were kindly provided by Holland America Line, Inc.
It is a well known fact that I consider Holland America Line (HAL) to be one of the finest cruise companies in the world! The truth is that this company has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1873 and Holland America Line has continually received countless cruise awards and accolades for being one of the finest and highest rated as well as the best value Cruise Line each year, and that is for two full decades up to and including 2012. That is something that not a single other cruise line is able to match!
These are just some of the International awards received and I have including the prestigious Australian AFTA Award.
“The Highest Rated Cruise Line” – Conde Nast Travellers Readers; Choice Travellers Awards; Travel & Leisure Word’s Best Awards.
“Best Overall Cruise Value” – 20 consecutive years to 2012 – World Ocean & Cruise Liner Society.
Deluxe Five Star Rating” -
Five Star Diamond Award” – The
“Cruise Line with the Highest Client Satisfaction” – TravelAge West.
“Best Cruise Operator” (Internationally based) - AFTA award at the AFTA National Travel Industry Awards.
2010 Rear Admiral William M. Benkert Environmental Protection Award” from the
Leading Green Cruise Line Award” and the “
And countless awards further have followed since this list was added to this page!
America Line became a wholly owned subsidiary of Carnival Corp in 1989, but thankfully HAL has
remained completely separate from Carnival in relation to the management of
their ships, as all HAL ships remain registered in Rotterdam, The Netherlands,
whereas the vast majority of all other Carnival owned companies, such as
P&O UK, Cunard and the Princess Cruises ships for example have been
reregistered in Hamilton Bermuda. In addition Holland America is not sold or
marketed by the Carnival companies as all the other companies are, but by
Holland America Line has its own offices, including here in Australia where they
have their own premises, apart from Carnival, whilst all the other companies as
I said, are sold and managed by Carnival. In addition, unlike
P&O, Cunard & Princes Cruises, etc, you will not see the name of
Carnival on a HAL brochure, just Holland America Line Inc. Thus remember this
is a cruise company that stands miles apart from the rest of the Carnival group
of company’s, and thus all the awards that this remarkable company has
received over the years attests’ to this remarkable feat! You can book
directly with the Holland America Line own office in
Holland America Line is also famed for their superb and unique style of service due to their refined touches on board, something that no other cruise line in their class offers, yet their fares are comparable and are most affordable! Thus for Australian’s and New Zealanders who are thinking of undertaking a cruise vacation, consider taking one on a HAL ship in the future. The fabulous and ever popular 61,214 ton ms Volendam commenced her cruise duties for HAL for the regular summer series a good number of years ago and she has proven to be extremely popular, so much so that in 2011 -2012 she was joined by her sister the ms Zaandam. However, for the 2012 -2013 summer season HAL will bring back the Volendam for a shorter but a very unique programme, but for the duration of the summer season her larger and elegant 82,305-ton ms Oosterdam will take over from the Volendam, which will head for Asia after a voyage around Australia..
ms Oosterdam will cruise to destinations around
Pacific as well as the ever popular cruises around
Oosterdam berthed at the Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay Sydney, her home port, whist she is based here during the summer cruise season
The Oosterdam is the
second of four identical sister ships, the first was the ms Zuiderdam in
December 2002, followed by the ms Oosterdam in July 2003, next came the ms
Westerdam in April 2004, with the last
being the ms Noordam in February 2006. All of these ships were externally based
on the Vista class of ships and they were built by the famed Fincantieri - Cantieri Navali Italiani
S.p.A., at their Fincantieri Ship Yards at
The ms Oosterdam was
christened by Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the
Specifications: 82,305 GRT (Gross registered Tons). Length: 290m (950ft). Beam: 32.25m (105.8ft). Draught: 7.9m (26ft). Power and drive: Combined diesel and gas turbine electric power, propulsion is per 2 x 360° Azipod’s, producing 17.62 MW (23956.53 ps). Speed: 24 knots max (44 km/h), service speed, 22 knots. She has 11 passenger decks, accommodating just 1,916 guests with a crew of 812, meaning that there are almost two crew members per passenger, which is far higher than most ships based in Australian waters, or anywhere for that matter, unless you are sailing on a super premium boutique smaller expedition ship! Her call sign is: PBKH. IMO number: 9221281.
Now we have completed her details and all our ship lovers are satisfied; let us continue for those who simply love the comforts and the luxury of cruising, and that is just what Holland America is so famed for.
Crow's Nest: offers sweeping 270° views during the day and it is a fashionable nightclub each evening.
Explorations Café, powered by The New York Times: a comfortable, *coffee house environment where you can browse through an extensive library, surf the Internet and check email or simply read the morning paper. *Barista coffee and pastries are available.
Lido Restaurant: offers a relaxed ambiance for all three meals and features a variety of fresh, cooked-to-order specialties.
Canaletto Italian Restaurant: Why not try an evening meal and enjoy some superb Italian dinning.
*Pinnacle Grill: This intimate reservations-only venue offers an elegant, sophisticated dining experience. Featuring premium Sterling Silver beef, inspired seafood dishes and many select wines rated "Excellent" by Wine Spectator - as well as distinctive Bvlgari® china, Riedel® stemware and Frette® linens.
The Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft Windows: Guests will be able to show and tell their vacation memories, learning how to share all their digital memories through email, blogging and social networking - so friends and family can see where they've been cruising even before they return home. Free workshops taught by Microsoft-trained “techsperts” make it easy and fun, even for novices.
*Greenhouse Spa & Salon: features heavenly beauty and wellness rituals. Enjoy a facial, hot stone massage, steam in a thermal suite and have your hair and nails done for a special evening.
Club HAL®: our dedicated youth facilities and activities for kids ages 3 - 12; activities are supervised and age appropriate.
The Loft: designed exclusively for teens (13 - 17) to have fun, socialize and hang out with people their own age.
I am sure that many Australian’s who have sailed on the ms Volendam look forward to the arrival of the ms Oosterdam!
One thing I particularly like on board all HAL ships is the careful detail that is given to the hygiene on board their ships and how it is presented to every passenger on the ship. The company is not known for nothing for having what they are world famous for as the “Spotless Fleet.”
When you step on board you will be amazed by the sheer delights of colour, the masses of flowers and all the art that is found throughout the ship! You can tour the ship and find something new and exciting every single day!
But what will be the
most impressive of all is the attentive detail is the amazing service, the
superb food that will satisfy the most discerning person, no matter how fussy
you are, for if you wish something special, be assured it will be there! And
the best entertainment I have ever found on any cruise company, it is top
quality, with excellent staging and wonderful performances that leave you
wanting for more and more, and best still, you do not feel like you have been
to one of those cheap
Now let us take a closer look at the ship herself!
Her décor is quite amazing, as although she is as modern as tomorrow, yet she seem to have a split personality in some of her venues, for overall she has that feel of stylised art deco, to the ultra modern in some rooms, to the classic style in the Library section of the “Explorations Café. Her Lido Deck and pool area is very spacious, and unlike the vast majority of cruise ships these days that have cheap plastic chairs and tables, not on HAL, where you will discover delightful high quality cane and metal seating and quality tables and at the Lido Bar end of the pool the lighting is shaped like ultra modern trees. Of course high above there is that massive glass sliding dome that can be closed in cooler weather! Other special touches that are so HAL, each morning as you step into the lift you will discover there is a new mat that has the name of the day on it, thus you will always know what day of the week it is, also public facilities (WC) are some of the best equipped that I have personally I have seen on any ship! There are not just paper towels, but also small cloth hand towels! As I said earlier hygiene is important on HAL. When finished your hand washing and drying, HAL encourage you to take a paper towel to the door, open it using a paper towel, for sadly some people may not have washed, and there is a bin at the door for the paper towel. Now that is clear thinking Holland America Line!
The Atrium Bar on Main Deck, note the stylised art deco feel of her décor
The ultimate of elegance in dining is to be found at the Pinnacle Grill and it has its own lounge and Bar. You will discover that a meal here is an EVENT not to be forgotten!
superb venue is located on the middle level of the Atrium on Lower Promenade
This superb venue is located on the middle level of the Atrium on Lower Promenade Deck
On the top level of the Atrium is the popular Ocean Bar is on Promenade Deck, this venue spreads across the ship
down from Promenade Deck
Looking down from Promenade Deck
Far forward of the ship is the grand three deck high Vista Show Lounge
One of HAL’s signature lounges ~ the Explorers Lounge
The intimate Piano Bar located forward starboard on lower promenade deck
Slightly aft on the port side is the Northern Lights Night Club and Disco
The next venue is the delightful entertainment venue, the Queens Lounge for concerts and guest artists
This venue completely
changes as the stage converts into a full kitchen for the
“Culinary Arts Centre” and cooking demonstrations, etc
On Promenade Deck is the mini cinema or the Screening Room as it is called
Join the “Digital Workshop” to learn new computer skills from a Microsoft “Techspert”
The multi level Vista Dining Room located aft of the ship that offers ocean views through spacious windows on three sides
Open dinning is available on the lower level, or first and second sittings on the upper level
The Library and Internet centre is located up on Lido Deck starboard side of the “Crows Nest” together with the fabulous “Explorations Café”
This venue is located far forward of Observation Deck
The Crows Nest Bar
The Lido Pool with a delightful Lido Bar located aft near the Lido Restaurant (buffet)
Note above you can see part of the sliding glass roof, that is currently open
Looking down from Observation deck at the Lido Pool and deck with the delightful Penguin sculptures
on the right (forward) you can see the now open glass sliding roof
A small corner of the comprehensive and spacious Fitness Centre – far forward on Lido Deck
HAL has some of the most luxurious Spa facilities; this is the Hydro Pool – Lido Deck
Far aft is the Seaview pool and spacious decks
I have found that HAL staterooms are very spacious and even the most inexpensive inside room as can be seen below is a most pleasant room indeed and it has every possible facility that one could wish for to provide the perfect vacation, whilst going on a value for money vacation. In all staterooms, beds can either be made up in a twin bedded or a double bed configuration, just let your travel agent know when you make your booking, regarding your preference, but you must do this when you book!
Every Stateroom includes:
Luxurious beds featuring Sealy® Premium Euro-Top mattresses and finely woven cotton linens.
Deluxe waffle weave and terry cloth bathrobes for use during your voyage.
100% Egyptian cotton towels.
Premium massage showerheads.
5X magnifying make-up mirrors and salon-quality hair dryers.
Fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from Elemis Aromapure.
Complimentary fresh fruit on request.
Elegant ice bucket and serving tray for in-stateroom beverages.
Flat-panel TV and DVD player.
Ice service, shoeshine service and nightly turndown service.
Whilst the Deluxe and Penthouse have additional features including the use of the Neptune Lounge and other facilities.
Please note that I have not included everything that is in the cabin, such all as the usual inclusions, like a phone and hairdryer, etc. HAL has thought of just about everything!
Twin or double inside rooms are rather spacious and bright with a nice lounge area!
And remember you are looking at the cheapest stateroom on the ship, yet it still has a lounge area
This is a standard outside twin or double stateroom again with a lounge
All staterooms are very spacious
Verandah staterooms have become more and more popular with many and Oosterdam has five decks of them
Here we see one of the superior Verandah staterooms offering a spacious lounge area
But why not opt for a Deluxe Verandah suite and do it in some real style as well as enjoy the delights of the Neptune Lounge
Want to go in style, well, here we see the Penthouse lounge and dinning room, this is what we call the ultimate in cruising!
The elegant Neptune Lounge is available only to those in Suites and Penthouse
PLEASE NOTE: All photographs on this page were kindly provided by Holland America Line, Inc.
Here we see the
Oosterdam departing on her maiden cruise out of
In 2012 and 2013 the ms Oosterdam will be sailing out
For a Holland America Line cruise brochure or for more information on their superb cruises from Australia or throughout the world, consult a cruise specialist, who is a travel professional or in Australia call Holland America Line at 1300 987 322 or visit www.hollandamerica.com.au.
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Commenced in the Passenger Shipping Industry in May 1960
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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is currently semi-retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.
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