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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!

Oosterdam is one of four Carnival Vista Class ships

 

Page Two

Cruise & Ship Summery

Introduction:

From Pages One and Two it must be quite obvious that the interiors of the ms Oosterdam is more than remarkable for Holland America Line (HAL) is well known for excellence in interior design of the ships, and that goes back a very long time.

The SS Rotterdam V from 1959 had, and still has some of the most stunning venues, such as the glamorous two level Ritz Carlton Ballroom and two stunning gold Dinning Rooms.

SS Rotterdam seen arriving at her homeport

 

The magnificent grand Ritz Carlton Ballroom, with a massive mural that surrounded the entire forward wall

The room was lined in fine timbers and has elegant and comfortable furnishings

 

The grand golden Tourist Dining Room, later when the ship became One Class it was named “La Fontaine”

Amazingly, you can actually view and sit these very venues on the SS Rotterdam in her homeport of Rotterdam in the Netherlands as she has been fully restored to her original 1959 self and she returned to Rotterdam in August 2008, but officially opened as a Hotel and Maritime Museum on February 15, 2010 and she has been operating as a superb hotel since. In April 2012 she will be officially be taken over by the well-known Dutch Hotel chain “WestCord” Hotels and this will assure this great ship a long and viable future!

Hotel SS Rotterdam seen today in Rotterdam, the Netherlands

But even before the SS Rotterdam there were many other great HAL liners that featured superb decor and I will show just one more ship, and his was a ship that became known as the most beautiful passenger Liner ever to be built! This was the 1938 SS Nieuw Amsterdam III, which featured some of the most amazing interiors, featuring a whole new kind of modernistic style of Art Deco. She was celebrated by designers from around the world as being “a remarkable and a piece of art,” and that was based on just her superb interiors. However, Maritime designers hailed her long sleek exterior with her two tall masts and twin slanted yellow funnels with the green and white HAL bands, and the way her forward and aft decks were so perfectly balanced with her sublime bow and stern, she was a picture of perfection and claimed, as she still is by so many, the most beautiful ship ever built!

Seen not long after being built, the superb SS Nieuw Amsterdam III

 

The is the First Class “Grand Hall” or Main Lounge, and the artworks are seen in etched glass, on the ceiling

And the huge mural by a famed artist on the wall as you can see. Even the back of the bandstand is highly

Glossed and has some excellent artwork on it. This ship was known for its intricate detail and it was simply elegant!

 

Sadly this image simply does this room no justice having dined in this great venue, for it is so grandiose! In the alcoves you would find

superb mosaics, and the simplicity, but elegant ceiling lighting, as well as the wall lighting fixtures where simply sublime.

Over the Main Entrance one level up, was a large Band Stand, where a wonderful band would play in the evening softly

 

This is the Writing and Reading Room, and instantly we can see that it does not look like an old fashioned room,

for it looks rather modern in fact. HAL’s artists used a special style of Art Deco here as they did in so many parts of

the ship to give it that special timeless look and that is why SS Nieuw Amsterdam’s interiors just never seemed to age

Thus having looked back into the history of this great Dutch Shipping Company whose 1,694-ton SS Rotterdam (I) under the command of Captain Jacob Hus set sail from Rotterdam to New York on September 7, 1872, we can see a little of HAL’s superior décor since the 1930s at least!

However, many changes may have taken place as the modern days have come about for now all accommodations have private facilities as well as a sofa in a sitting area, which is separated somewhat from the bed area. There is air-conditioning and every possible comfort, something never even thought about in those very early days, although the SS Nieuw Amsterdam was very close and the SS Rotterdam had all these luxuries.

Thus as HAL continued to build new ships, their interiors also made new strides, but it always retained that special HAL touch of elegance and that touch of the sea about it. This would be done with the extensive use of maritime art as well as other art, be it historic, or modern art works. On every ship you will discover a fortune of art onboard, and there are even art tours available, for they are scattered on every passenger deck. In addition all HAL ships feature fresh flowers in the public venues giving it that homely feel! There is no doubt that Holland America Line has held onto its long and well established tradition and is providing the world with some of the finest interiors compared to any other modern cruise line I know!

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Style of Ships:

I have already made my thoughts known about the various types of ships that are operated by HAL. There are four S-Class ships, being the ms Statendam, Maasdam, Ryndam and Veendam. These ships average 55,500-ton and accommodate 1,250 passengers. Then there are the four R-Class ships named ms Rotterdam, Volendam, Amsterdam and Zaandam. These ships are just a little larger at 61,300-ton and accommodate 1,432 passengers.

Let me make it very clear to you - These eight ships are my personal favourites and I highly recommend any of these to you! Why? They are by far more intimate and the crew will get to know you by name very quickly, as well as your likes and dislikes. The service is simply supreme, considering that there is one crewmember per two passengers thus that is an excellent ratio! Also, these ships offer far more space per passenger, be it decks, lounges and thus there is never a queue like on the larger ships.

Next are ships like the ms Oosterdam and her sisters the, ms Westerdam, Zuiderdam and Noordam that are all Vista Class ships. My biggest problem with the Oosterdam was not so much her delightful interior, but her poor interior layout, which HAL (Carnival) did correct to a point on the last of the Vista ships.

My main problem with the Vista Class ships such as the ms Oosterdam is that she is very long at 936ft (285.3m), and thus she is a good 217ft longer that the S-Class (Statendam) ships and a good 160ft longer than the R-Class (Rotterdam) ships. You may not think that this is too bad, but think of those with a walking difficulty who have not been pre warned. Sadly travel agents generally are just after a sale and they little knowledge about ships anyway, unless you book with a Cruise Specialist who not only knows ships but also has an understanding of their clients needs!

But, I could not fault the Oosterdam for as a ship she was superb in every respect, for the cuisine was better than 10 out of 10, service was brilliant and the entertainment was tops!

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A Note of warning: My regular readers know me well and there are a good 500 million of you from all over the world. Who have been reading my cruise and maritime pages for some twenty years, and I am most grateful to you all, and to those who email me!

As you will know, I always pay the full fare, and I did not get one single cent discount and that is as I want it, many think that I am a nut, for let’s face it, I have given this company and other many years of very positive promotion, and what has it cost them? NOTHING for this site is 100% non-commercial. Thus my reviews are without any bias and I believe in total integrity! My last two reviews on the ms Volendam and Amsterdam were extremely positive and I had not a bad word to say on either ship for I loved them! In fact, I have been trumpeting Holland America to the world and I have received thousands of emails thanking me as many have booked and sailed on the S or R-Class ships, which I admit, I have been mostly recommending! Personally, I did state that I would never set a foot on any Vista Class ship, regardless of the company, for Cunard has then as has P&O UK and Holland America, for the Vista Class ships was a design by Carnival Corp and to be honest it is a terrible hull design not just according to me, but some of the world’s most famous maritime engineers and architects!

Yet having been honest and said my piece in regard for my dislike for these horrid Vista Class vessels countless times over the years, I still decided to book a cruise on the ms Oosterdam and I did this just for one reason. The truth is; how can I possibly criticise a type of ship if I have not personally sailed on one? Considering that I now have, I can now honestly say that although her interiors are simply sublime, but she is too big and has far too many passengers, for on our cruise she was even over booked and although the brochure states that she carries 1,916 guests, but on our voyage there were more than 2,100 and the ship felt crowded with 200 more passengers than she should have had!

As the Australian public now only have the Oosterdam, considering that she is the only HAL ship to be based for five months in Sydney for the summer period, from where she will cruises the South Pacific, New Zealand as well as her two Trans-Pacific voyages from the US to Sydney and back to the USA. Although the ms Volendam also operates a Trans-Pacific voyage to Australia and she then does a Circumnavigation of Australia, which is a very popular cruise. After which, she heads via Queens land and Darwin and Indonesia for Singapore. From there she operates 14-day cruises west of Malaysia and Thailand or 14-day cruises east up as far as Hong Kong. At the conclusion of her season she will return on a Trans-Pacific voyage that can be joined in Singapore or Hong Kong to the USA!

Reuben Goossens.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:

Entertainment – The Good.

Every evening you receive in you in-box at your cabin door, the “Holland America Line EXPLORER”, which is your daily programme. The front obviously contains the evening highlights as you will see. But what is so interesting with HAL, they have separated the various activities into different departments, which are headed as follows: Each category starts with the HAL word “EXPLORE”; “Our Word” – “Food & Entertaining” – “Technology” – “Wellbeing.” Thus take a good look at each of these and you will see that each category has quite a range of things to do that may be of interest. What I particularly like is that next to Technology the third page is perforated and you can tear it off making it a hand small fold up pocked size daily activity sheet, and you can tick what you intend to do. On the other side you will still have all the restaurants, bar and services times.

 

 

 

Production Shows … On the first evening The cruise director Michael Harvey presented “Let us Entertain You” and this is where we met “Explorations” Team who look after four main categories in the Daily Programme, which are headed as follows: Explore our World – Explore Food & Entertaining – Explore Technology – Explore Wellbeing. The Oosterdam singers and dancers presented several short routines during the show, but also several of the guest artists who were onboard, such as vocalist Annie Francis and Master Illusionist Leo Ward who on this night mostly performed as a comedian, which he did most admirably. It was a good start to the cruise!

The next night (Day 2) in the Vista Lounge showroom it would be a brilliant production show by the Oosterdam Dancers and singers “Ballroom Blitz” and to say the least it was simply brilliant. The vocal by the four leads singers was excellent, two males and two females and the dancers, which included the singers was sublime! Sadly I did not bring my camera as I just forgot it. The staging was lively, with it not only rotating, but also a good number of oblong section being able to lower beneath the stage as well as lift up high above it. Thus the scene was ever changing and so colourful. The costuming was brilliant and the score simple perfection.

The next production show came on the night of day 9, when we had been in port all day, although we were at sea the day before, and I wondered, why they had chosen this night as well as making it a formal dress evening? For usually people are tired after a long day in port and having to get dressed and go to a show, is not always on the list of things to do, but many prefer to go to the Lido Restaurant for a casual meal and head to one of the lounges and have a drink. But, whilst last night the venue was packed to the hilt with Annie Francis singing, tonight, it was certainly not full. However, the show was spectacular and I was so glad that this time I did bring my camera, for there would not be another chance, this was it, the last production show; we had just two in 14 days! I will have more on that later.

Waiting for the show to commence

The show was named “Garage Band” now, I do not really know why that name, for from the scene that presented us as we entered the Vista Lounge had the words as you will have seen above “Hal’s GARAGE”, thus that would have been a better name. But this was a love story, It was a Happy Day’s Fonzie style garage with a great deal of action, even a scene at the beach as well as a scene with the lovers at the Drive-in-Movies, concluding with a grand-finally. The costuming took you back to the 60s with some really great music and songs! I am sure that the images below will take you on the journey I have just presented!

 

Above and below: various scenes of “Garage Band”

 

 

 

 

 

At the beach

 

Drive-in-Movies

 

The Grand Finally of the “Garage Band” show

I rated the two Production Shows that were given 8.5 out of 10.

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On day 3 the show was to be by a Master Illusionist Leo Ward, and I can tell you he was an outstandingly good illusionist. Considering we were sitting relatively close to the stage we had a great view of what was actually happening, so it was hard to deceive us, but the show was called “DECEIVED”, and guest what, we were totally taken in! As we arrived the stage was in full view and hanging high above was a large empty cage. Then comes the intro, girls dancing and within a split second the fully see through cage is lo longer empty for Leo Ward is in it sitting on a motor bike no less! How the blazers did he do that? For it was empty and there was no room for anything to be hidden, and it was fully see through! But, I know, there has to be a way, it is just that we do not know what he knows and that is why he is a Master Illusionist!

The miracle cage with Leo inside

Having never been physically this close to a professional magician when he was working, we could actually see the method used to perform a few of his tricks, and how they worked. If we had been a little farther away we would have missed all of that. The Vista is beautiful, but it is huge with it three levels, and if you are upstairs and in the back or sides, you would miss so much of any show. Leo Ward put on an unbelievable show that is for sure, in addition he had a great sense of humour, and he really knew what he was doing and that clearly showed in his show. He had a lot of intensity and a whole lot of adrenaline was flowing, and the audience just loved it and gave him a massive standing ovation, for he had done the impossible on stage using some very large props, and this is not something that I have ever seen onboard any other ship before, as usually the props are those that have to fit in their luggage, but a massive cage, even if it folds up, it is still big!!

Leo Ward a great Professional to say the least!

I rated Leo Ward a 9.5 out of 10.

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On day 7 our cruise we were most honoured to have with us celebrated Concert pianist Miss Van-Anh Nguyen and what a performance she gave her audience, who were simply entranced by her amazing touch on those keys, which reminded me so much one of the world greatest pianists Miss. Mitsuko Uchida, who is one of the greatest interpreters of Mozart Piano works and she has played every piece, the Piano concertos with Jeffrey Tate and the English Chamber Orchestra!

But now, Miss. Van-Anh Nguyen gave us a wonderful range of styles from Mozart, Chopin, which is her forte, but also she played some of the more modern styles, which she was able to adapt with gusto.

The sublime, if not the artist genius; Miss. Van-Anh-Nguyen

I rated Miss. Van-Anh Nguyen a full 10 out of 10.

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We headed once again to the Vista Lounge on day 8 to listen to the critically acclaimed Annie Frances as she is one of the best of her type internationally; and thus it is no wonder that Annie has graced stages from her hometown being Sydney, Australia to New York City and all over the world!

The talented Annie Frances

As we listened to Annie’s delightful voice and her wonderful repertoire that featured such styles as, Broadway musicals, multilingual classics, country and yes even a little Swiss Yodelling. We could understand her deep love of music and that natural versatility of her wonderful voice that has led to her being an award winning and a much sought after entertainer. Annie Frances has won the 1 … Mo’ Awards, Peter Allen Performer of the Year; 2 … Mo’ Awards, Best Female Vocal Performer, and 3 … Sydney 2000 Cabaret Convention, just to mention a few.

I rated Annie Frances 7.5 out of 10.

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There were some other great artists such as the son of famed late actor, comedian, well just a great Australian STAR Mr. Syd Heylen’s who passed away in 1995. His son however, was given the name of “Syd”, thus he also is Syd Heylen, Jr. Well I can tell you that Syd who is a brilliant comedian as well as a juggler and he was certainly an excellent entertainer during our cruise! I was quite amazed that h he never made a single mention in regard to his father, but then I suppose, he desires to be his own man and not have to live in his dear Father’s shadow, as well as many onboard were American who would not know Dear old Syd, although they may well know some of the famous movies he has starred in!

I rated Syd Heylen, Jr 8 out of 10.

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Then came one of Australia’s super Guitarists and vocalists, Mr. Bob Howe and what a night of entertainment this tuned out to be! His playing these strings was simply beyond belief! To be honest, I have heard the guitar played so many times, and I mean by some of the very best who played from the classical to steel, acoustic or flamingo, etc. But what we heard this night and later in an encore performance simply astounded everyone who was fortunate to be present!

Superstar Guitarist Mr. Bob Howe

Armed with an electric guitar, a harmonica, a quick wit and a close rapport with the band, Bob Howe delighted his audiences and had them eating out of his musical hand within the first few minutes. He carefully selected his repertoire from timeless classics and hits that obviously transcend all boundaries. He grew up having grown up listened to everything from Beethoven to the Beatles, and Bob told us that he never found any difficulty in moving from one genre to another. And tonight he proved this for he took us all with him on a magical, musical tour.

How can we ever forget his instrumental, and yes a very quick minor head dress up, tribute to the comedian that is loved by so many nations, Benny Hill, it will remain a high and the funniest point of his show. The amazing energy and dexterity of Bob's up-tempo numbers are perfectly balanced with the expressive technique he displays during the melodic guitar ballads.

I rated Bob Howe 10+ out of 10. I know that 10 is the top score that I should be giving, but he is so much better than that, Thus I scored him accordingly!

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That covers most of the entertainers, and yes there were others and they were OK, but that was all, thus worthy mentioning. However I do have to return to the issue of the Production Shows.

Entertainment. I have already stated above that the “Garage Band” Oosterdam Singers and Dancers production show, was the second show of the voyage, which just happened to be on a port day, which was an unwise move on the part of the cruise director, who I will come to later, but why? The Oosterdam singers did give a presentation entitled “Simply Broadway”, which was nice, but boring. If the dancers had been involved it would have been a better presentation, but it was simply bland.

But the question begs, what has changed since the last time we sailed on the Volendam when we had so many Production Shows in our 14-day cruise from Auckland to Sydney, the same duration but we had at least 7 shows. On this cruise they had arranged just three, but cancelled the third show that was due on day 13, due to one of the “stars” being unwell. I have known many in the business who have been unwell, but they rather go on, than not! Thus instead we had a fill in of two guest artists and this was announced at the very last minute. But this cruise director seem to have different ideas and with a ship packed with passengers, he was not giving tem what Holland America is so famed for! That is why the next section comes up with the BAD!

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Entertainment - The BAD.

The Cruise Director. This is the man that is always heard - Seldom seen and a Very Poor Cruise Director! Yes he does turn up at the occasional game, but the most the passengers will ever see him is a very quick introduction of the guest artists in the Theatre and makes a very lame attempt to make some sort of joke, that never ever seems to work. But, what really bugged me is that he commences every single show with the words “Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, how are you tonight? Now you all say Great!” Excuse me, you are telling me (or us all) to say what? Nobody tells me what to say! The truth is that this man does not care about his passengers in any shape or form, for he mixes with them at any time, he never talks to them, in fact at one stage someone approached him and he actually turned his back and spoke to a staff member and together they made a run for it. I rated him as one of the worst cruise directors I have come across in many a year!

Michael Harvey rates 1 out of 10.

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Adagio. In the past Holland America used to have Adagio onboard their ships as a superb quartet and they are a much-loved feature, especially for the many classical music lovers that HAL seems to attract. However, our voyage on the Oosterdam, passengers and I were saddened to discover that now there just a duo consisting of a pianist and a violinist. The pianist was quite good and generally played very well. But the violinist, well, he was what some would call, a club player and a somewhat, what I would call an unsavoury type of person. The music was just not the same, thus we did not go to what was usually one of our favourite places in the evening onboard a HAL cruise.

Adagio rated 4 out of 10.

Captain & Hotel Director’s Cocktail Party. I had been invited to this special occasion, which is only for those who are in the two Penthouses and the Deluxe Veranda Suites and VIPs. It was held outdoors starboard side on deck 10 at the Observation Terrace at 7.15 PM to 8.00 PM. I arrived at 7.18 and yet the captain was nowhere to be seen as apparently he had already left, yet this was his party for the elite onboard, I mean the people with the BIG BUCKs! At least the Hotel Director did stay to look after his guests and he looked after me very well indeed!

The Captain AS a HOST rates 1 out of 10. However he is obviously a Brilliant Mariner, an excellent Captain!

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Entertainment – The Ugly. This is in regard to the guitarist and singer Chris Tobler who performs at night in the Crow’s Nest. As I sated on Page Two, he sang a song then he spoke to a couple who were Americans that were sitting close by for a good 20 minutes. We heard all about his home in Colorado and how he was moving to Los Angeles, etc, then they spoke about an artist at length and finally he sang another song, but in a mocking sort of way. Thus that was one and a bit songs in 30 minutes, when he was supposed to be performing to all those who where present until later. We had enough, so when we finished our drinks, we just walked out due to this rude person and we never came back to the Crows Nest at night again! I did report him to the Hotel Director.

I rated Chris Tobler - just NOT worth rating!

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Dinning Experience:

As I have already indicated on Page One the dinning experience was very typical Holland America and in reality it can hardly be faulted, and to be honest, if anyone complains, well they either made the wrong choice of menu, or they just are not used to high quality cuisine of the highest order, which is presented in the most superior manner and dishes! Holland America Line has its very own “Culinary Council,” which comprises, not of just one Head Chef, as you would find on every other cruise line, but Holland America Line has its own hard working team of six Master Chefs on its “Culinary Council,” who not only create recipes that are featured in all the dining ventures onboard all of HAL’s 15 ships, but also ensure the exacting standards that HAL have set for a hundred years and that has made this company’s cuisine so famous for its excellence and thus it has won countless awards over the years!

Chef Rudi Sodamin Master Chef & Chairman of the “Culinary Council”

You may ask, well who is on the “Culinary Council”? The members include the council chairman and Holland America’s Master Chef Rudi Sodamin, along with renowned international chefs Jonnie Boer, David Burke, Markus Samuelson, Jacques Torres and Charlie Trotter. I could write a great deal about each of these chefs remarkable achievements as each of them are artists in creative culinary and operators of some of the world’s finest top restaurants in the world, as well as one of the globes to pastry chefs and specialists in handmade chocolates and a renowned baker who has won 10 top awards!

“Bringing these icons and their diverse backgrounds to our guests places Holland America Line at the forefront of culinary incentives within the industry,” said Richard D. Meadows, CTC, executive vice president, Marketing, Sales and Guest Programs. “The Council’s expertise and innovative guidance will touch every aspect of our shipboard food service, from the Lido Restaurant breakfast buffet to the dinner menu and culinary offerings.”

Master Chef Rudi Sodamin was once again named Best Cruise Line Chef by Porthole Cruise Magazine. One of the world’s leading cruise travel publications, Porthole. “Chef Sodamin’s talent is legendary,” said Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff. “Year after year Chef Sodamin continues to be the most innovative and inspiring chef in the cruise industry. Always looking to elevate the culinary experience for cruise guests, Rudi’s leadership and mentorship of chefs has expanded the many possibilities for gourmet cuisine at sea.”

Chef Rudi has won this award and others years and years in a row, and obviously, there is a very good reason for this, Holland America offers the very best cuisine at sea! Personally I can understand his greatness for I have tasted it and I have rated it, thus I believe the awards were due to this great Chef, and I know that he and HAL will receive many more!

Thus, my thoughts are simply this, if you love quality food, then Holland America knows how to feed you in grandeur, on superb high quality HAL logo tableware, cutlery and glassware, and in the super luxurious *Pinnacle Grill you will spoiled even further with the magnificent offerings there served on “BVLGARI” China, and you will drink from fine “Riedel” stemware!

Below are two menus, the first is the mix your own International Meal in the Vista Dining Room, whilst the second is a menu for lunch, which changes daily of course, in the Lido Restaurant.

 

In addition to the above, there is the delightful *Canaletto (Italian) Restaurant located starboard forward in the Lido Restaurant that also has superb Italian delight on offer for dinner at night. But for those who enjoy a nosh in the cabin there is a menu in your room, which is quite substantial, including full meals if you do not feel like going to any of the main dining venues, thus dine in. Later in the evening the menu does lessen somewhat, but still sufficient for those who are in need to a good feed up, and you’ll be amazed how hungry some get in the middle of the night for food is available 24 hours per day, and the quality is as good as in the restaurant! The table in your room lifts to become a dinning table.

Cuisine on the Oosterdam is rated 9 out of 10:

*The Pinnacle Grill & Canaletto’s is at a small optional extra payment.

Pinnacle Grill is 10 out of 10!

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ms Oosterdam - Vista Class Ship:

As you will have gathered, having now sailed on this ship, I still do not like these Vista Class ships! However, I found that on this voyage, compared with the days of the Volendam and the Zaandam, the Oosterdam tends to have at least 60% of Americans onboard  and around 40% mix of Australian, New Zealanders and various European passengers, thus the pendulum and emphasis seems to have changed to the days of what I thought where far superior, the days of the wonderful R-Class ships ... the ms Volendam and the Zaandam, for these ships accommodate just around 1,300 passengers, whilst the Oosterdam is supposed to operate from Australia with just 1,916 passengers, yet I was greatly shocked to hear from both the Captain and the Cruise Director on night one that on our voyage there were around 2,100 onboard. I felt that every passenger onboard had been betrayed for it does mean that Holland America Line may well have something to answer for, the truth is that in their brochure at her deck plan page it clearly states “Serving 1,916 Guests.” The sad fact is this; that the passenger to crew ratio is also lowered!

My Oosterdam boarding/key & charge card

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Maintenance:

I have found the ms Oosterdam and all the HAL ships beautifully maintained as her decks were spotless, as were the overall paintwork and her interiors could not be faulted. Cabins are superbly maintained by the stewards twice each day, and they certainly do a marvellous job and do this with a warm and friendly smile! Every public venue is equally spotless, thus you may ask, why then do you have this heading if everything is so perfect? I do get asked and it is to assure you that the ship will be in perfect condition when you board! As you will know by now, I am very straightforward and will speak up if there is anything wrong!

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In Conclusion:

Despite the size of the Oosterdam, it is like everything, a vacation is what you make it, and generally I certainly had a wonderful time onboard, mostly thanks due to the superb service of the Indonesian staff that are simply exemplary, such as Sekon, Sate'an, Adela, Reynold, Erwin, Ibrahim and Pray. Then there are some wonderful Filipino staff who were just wonderful, although I would not have met as many of these fine people for I am not a big drinker, but those I did meet were simply remarkable and such as Ernie, Rollie, Olga and Marvin. But I must not forget the wonderful Rhia from the Front Office, and all the aforementioned stood out in particular! Yes there were others, but I may not have retained their names. Sorry about that!

As I stated earlier, the Captains cocktail party, which I was looking so forward to, was a total disappointment, I was just few minutes late, and yet the Captain had already left. He is often heard but never seen, not even at his own party! The cruise director well, as I have stated he is simply a very poor PR man, possibly good in his own office, but as far as communication between himself and the paying guests, well he also is only heard via the onboard speakers, be it out on deck or in the lounge, and when he is announcing an act, but he will never talk to you personally, I think he feels that he is far too important for that!

How will I rate my overall cruise Experience on the Oosterdam? I would say a good 8.5 out of 10.

The majority of the points are based on the excellent service given by a GREAT Staff such s Reynold and Erwin, Satean, Sekon, in the Vista Restaurant and Adelia at the Lido Restaurant, these are all Indonesian’s who served us with all that sublime cuisine. Our time in the Vista Restaurant was always like a feast to remember! Our stateroom was maintained superbly by two wonderful Indonesian stewards Ibrahim and Pray and I had three excellent Filipino bar waiters, Marvin at the Sea-View Bar, Rollie at the Ocean Bar and my faithful old friend Ernie or his name in full “Irineo Santia” at the Crow’s Nest Bar. All these men were simply the best of the best, but then there was just one more gem, the wine waitress in the Vista Restaurant the most delightful and wonderful, charming ever smiling and knowledgeable my little Miss. Olga. Thus what I am saying, had it not been for the ship, certain bad point re entertainment, the cruise director and other things you will read about, the score should have been much higher,  for the staff should deserve a better ship, the passengers certainly deserve a far better cruise director! The rest you can read for your self!

For me personally the only let down was the size of the ship and the large numbers of passengers as well as the changes in entertainment, such as only 3 production shows that was officially scheduled for a 14-day cruise which is just crazy, but we ended up with just 2! But she does offer excellent value for money besides being a stunning ship as the photo pages will show you!

That about completes my thoughts on the ms Oosterdam and I can say that on this voyage there have been great joys and sadly just a few disappointments.

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PS: Since arriving home, I have received countless emails from readers who knew that I was sailing on the Oosterdam and all asked if I liked the ship. I told them that the Holland America Line experience was wonderful; the food simply sublime, entertainment was really good, but mostly due to the guest artists. And although the ship is beautiful in décor, etc, she is far too long for me, just too big and no I still do not like the Vista Class ships and I will not sail on another again! I was amazed that most that replied actually said much the same that they also sailed on one of the Vista ships including the Nieuw Amsterdam and said *“…although she was beautiful inside, but nothing like the (Statendam and) Rotterdam Class ships, which are so intimate and felt like a real HAL ship(s). For me, Holland America suits the smaller more intimate and luxurious style.” Others also said, be it in various words; *“I prefer to pay a little more and enjoy that old style Holland America ambiance, than what Carnival is doing to the company.” *Josie B. USA.

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Holland America Line hopes to welcome you onboard very soon!

 

Go back to the previous page, or the Cruise-Australia.com - INDEXor the Index below

ms Oosterdam Cruise’n’Ship Review – INDEX:

Page One      Decks One to Three. (This page).

Page Two      Decks Four to Eleven.

Page Three   Review Summery.

Page Four     Photo Page.

Page Five      Deck Plan.

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For Holland America Line enquiries or reservations, consult an established Cruise & Travel Specialist who is a travel professional. But do yourself a big favour, never book with any cruise company direct for they never offer you any service or any discounts something your experienced agent can do!

However for general information regarding their ships visit www.hollandamerica.com.au.

 

 

-Also visit my other Holland America Pages-

Page One The History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1872 to 2000

Page TwoThe History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1993 to 2015

-Holland America Line Ships featured on Cruise-Australia-

 ms Koningsdam - ms Noordam - ms Oosterdam - ms Rotterdam  

ms Volendam - ms Zaandam & ms Nieuw Amsterdam

ms Prinsendam & ms Statendam - (A 4-page ship review)

-Cruise and Ship Reviews by the Author-

NEW - ms Oosterdam 2013 New Zealand Cruise Review

NOW ONLINE …

The all NEW - ms Oosterdam 2014 Review

 

ms Volendam Cruise Review - ms Amsterdam Ship Review 

 

Also read the Holland America Line News Updates on Cruise-Australia

 

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 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.

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.

   

My recommendation: I highly suggest that you visit a good and a long established Travel/Cruise Agency for information, bookings and obtain the best possible cruise fares. Personally I never book with any cruise company direct, for they do not offer any personal service or discounts! I know that they do not like me saying this, but I have to be honest and provide you my readers with the very best possible advice! Reuben Goossens.

 

Return to the - Cruise-Australia.com - INDEX

 

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Where the ships of the past make history the 1914 built MV Doulos Story

 

Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

 

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