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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!

 

 

Page One

Introduction:

It is well known to all my regular readers around the world that I stated the following quite a number of years ago; “I will never sail on a Vista-Class Ship!” Well I did break my word and decided to sail on the Holland America Lines (HAL) ms Oosterdam, but be assured, I only did so because it was a HAL ship, a company I respect and have dearly loved since the late 1950s. In addition it is also a company that has always set the very highest standards for over 140 years and they have a superior reputation that has given them a standing that sets them far above the majority of shipping companies!

For a short history of Holland America Line complete with a general overview of some of their past passenger liners and two of their delightful passenger-cargo liners on Page One, followed by all their current 15 cruise ships in service on Page Two, I suggest that you read this interesting feature entitled … The History of Holland America Line and Today’s modern Fleet” - the link is at the bottom of the page.

My associate and friend Mr. Hun-Eng Tan and I flew with Qantas in the morning of the cruise and upon arrival in Sydney we were met by a HAL representative and an air-conditioned limo and were taken to the ship. Check in and boarding was a simple affair and we were onboard in around fifteen minutes. Having swiped our key card at the entrance we received that delightful traditional Holland America “Welcome aboard” and before we knew it we were in our spacious stateroom. Having offloaded what was no longer required, we headed for the Vista Restaurant where the Captains Club Members only Lunch was being served, and having thoroughly enjoyed a delicious meal topped off with a magnificent sweet, we headed up to Deck 9, Lido Deck and for some fresh air and we sat at the Sea-View Bar for a drink and our Holland America Line experience had really began all over again having received a warm welcome, taken to our Stateroom, a fine meal and here we are relaxing in the sun with a cool drink and we have not even left port and this is Holland America at its very best with all their delightfully restful luxurious trimmings as usual!

A great view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the Sea-View aft deck (9)

Please Note: I trust that you will gain much from this review, for it is an honest one, for as a reviewer I am not associated with anyone, be it a cruise company, or any agency, thus when I review ships and their services, etc, and will be honest enough to write about all that is good and excellent, but also will reveal the warts and all that may not be good! My motto is integrity and as my readers are well aware, I have stood on this principle since I came into a managerial position of a major shipping company and later as a CEO! That overflowed the manner I trained and treated my staff with great respect and this always ensured that our clients (customers) received respect and that our business was carried out with great care and complete honesty, unlike it is done in so many cases these days, I am sad to say, however thankfully there are a few exceptions! Sadly things in the world have changed greatly, as has simple morality in management!

If you have any comments regarding this review, you are more than welcome to email me.

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer.

Fifty Five Years in the Passenger Shipping & Cruise Industry,

From Office Boy to an Agent & Manager to CEO.

 

The wonderful and friendly Indonesian Bell Boy’s who are always so welcoming!

The highest rated staff on the Seven Seas

Photograph © Holland America Line

Our New Zealand voyage on the Oosterdam departed Sydney on February 6, 2013 sailing via Melbourne, Hobart, crossing the Tasman Sea and we then cruised Milford, Doubtful and Dusky Sounds before heading to Port Chalmers (Dunedin), Akaroa (Christchurch), Wellington, delightful Art Deco Napier, Tauranga (for Rotorua) and we disembarked in Auckland on February 20, where we were transferred to the airport to fly home for Brisbane with Qantas. But more about our dreaded departure with Qantas flight 126 to Brisbane later.

Below I will commence with what is mostly a ship review, more than what could be just an actual cruise review, but I will be certainly be including my comments in regarding to all the good and bad points encountered during our cruise, and yes there were seceral issues that I felt need covering, but overall it was a good cruise!

As I cover various personnel on the ms Oosterdam, you will note that I will give them a score, which will be from 1 to 10. 1= being useless, 5 = average, 7 = good, 8 =very good, 9 = excellent, 10 = superb and needs to be promoted!

ms Oosterdam – Ship & Cruise Review:

There is no doubt that the overall feeling onboard this ship is certainly typically all Holland America Line, as she featured some of the most beautiful and elegant that was décor obviously carefully designed by some of the greatest interior Dutch and European designers. Like all HAL ships she was filled with filled with a million dollars or more of superb art throughout the ship, some of it dating as far back as the 16th.centry. As tou walk around the ship you will discover pieces everywhere, be it in the lounges, the lobbies, or a piece in the most unusual of places, they could be centuries old or quite modern yet so beautiful! A few of these are shown on Page 4. Then there is the Holland America trade mark onboard, the delightful fresh flowers that are located in the lounges, dining room as well as some of the most beautiful pure white orchids I have seen and these are all so well maintained and fresh! In addition there are plants galore throughout all the public venues. Thus, there is no doubt that the ms Oosterdam is a ship that is simply beautiful in so many levels and for her guests she offers a huge range of wonderful large to intimate lounges, bars as well as spacious covered and wide open deck spaces, that is missing on so many ships these days. For on a HAL ship you can always sit and watch over the stern or the bow, for sadly these days there are many ships that this no longer possible.

Deck One – Main Deck:

Please Note: Each deck will be covered from far forward to aft! Also, there will be a special photographic page where many photographs of the ship will be located. However, although the Vista Lounge is located on three decks … One, Two & Three, they will all be covered on Deck Two.

“Atrium”. Amidships is the lower level of the three level Atrium, where you will discover the delightful Atrium Bar located in the center, with tie stairs directly over the bar, which has black leather bar stools, yet the floor is of white tiles and are laid in a free formed in a rather curvy way, looking quite special as it meets the deep blue carpets. Across from the bar are a good number of yellow to orange three seat sofas and marble topped tables, with a patterned orange wall behind, in addition there are stunning gold light fittings that stand on tables that separated the sofas.

 

Above & below: The Atrium Bar, but seen from Deck Two and on Deck One

 

This Photograph is © Holland America Line

 

My friend and associate Mr. Hun-Eng Tan seated in the Atrium Bar

On the port side you will find the Front Desk with its friendly and helpful staff, especially Rhia Santillan who was simply superb and she certainly made a great impression on all who she assisted on behalf of HAL! I know that I also had need at times from the front Desk and was most fortunate to have the services of Rhia and she was a delight to say the least! On the starboard is the Shore Excursion Desk for those who had not booked their tours online, which is wise as some excursions are very popular and are often booked out before the cruise departs! This desk is often very busy and the wait can be long, this is not due to inefficiency, but due to some passengers being so very long winded, especially the Americans. If they are a 3 star or more HAL “Mariner” Club member, they just seem to think they have the right to hold everyone up and rave on!

Rhia Santillan rated a 9 out of 10!

Deck Two – Lower Promenade:

Vista Lounge”. This is the ships main Showroom and as you enter it from the forward lifts and lobby, you are greeted by two groups of bronze artists going back to the 18 century, the are located on port and starboard sides as you come out of the lift and turn to head into the Vista Lounge - Showroom!.

This venue is massive as it towers almost four decks in height, although it has three actual seating levels. The stage is one of today’s modern miracles, as it is fully computerised, for besides having a rotating centrepiece, it also has a multi-facet (some 4, or was it 5) oblong lift sections that go down below the stage as well as rising high up, and it makes for stunning performances. One problem in the Vista Lounge was the number of pillars that could spoil sightlines in a few side seats. The décor was simply stunning!

Above & below; The Vista Lounge looking aft and up to the spectacular ceiling sails

Further images of all venues will be shown of the Ships Photo Page

In regard to the entertainment in this venue, most of them where Guest Artists, and then there was “The Oosterdam Singers & Dancers” who would present the production shows. I will cover the second show here, which was entitled “Garage Band” This was a colourful and entertaining show, and the only one I photographed for sadly I forgot to bring my camera to the first show that was called, “Ballroom Blitz.”

Waiting for the show to commence

 

The stage has turned around and we are inside the Garage, and there is a car, well part of it anyway!

 

 Part of the finally!

I will cover the rest of the entertainment on a separate page under the heading “Entertainment”, another subject will be “Canivalisation” and it is not one I wish to write about, but sadly the truth is that it is now slowly invading Holland America Line, which is without a doubt one of the finest historic shipping companies in the world!

As we leave the Vista Lounge we head aft and it is sad to say, but you are forced to walk through the very large Casino, and as I do not like them and will leave this subject to the gamblers.

The Gamblers Den – Enough said, not my thing! On the port side there are a few slots where smoking was permitterd.

“Piano Bar”. Having walked though gamblers paradise, I will now enter a lounge that is located directly to starboard of the Casino, and this is the wonderful Piano Bar. This room is a simple delight in design in every possible way! Let me commence with the stunning ceiling, which is made up of giant slightly sloping metallic grey circles that seem to point to the piano, but they seem to look like records or even CDs, each has a highly polished chrome bar in the middle running from the exterior wall to the very center where there is a light. This certainly provides for a stunning look. The piano is enclosed with a metal grill and is surrounded by steel poled bar stools covered in silver grey. The walls are also in grey, yet the carpet is dark blue, but breaking all this is the seating, which is beige to a very soft yellow, with grey patterned cussing to sit on, and on the wall’s there is a collection of magnificent paintings featuring some of the world finest musicians. During the day this room was wonderful quiet and perfect for reading, although it was used at times by musicians for practice, and thus it would be closed.

This is one of the most delightful and popular entertainment venues onboard!

 

The superbly talented Glenn-Michael – the Piano Man and Entertainer Extraordinaire!

However it would be at night the fist session would commence at 8 to 9.30 PM when Glenn – Michael would behind the ivories and each night during this time he would have a different theme, such as “Best of Broadway & West End” which was just magic! Before I continue, in order to get a seat, or even into this room, you must get in early, for when Glenn is onboard, for it is ALWAYS a packed house! But let me be totally honest, and I am sure that Glenn will not mind me saying this, so he does not have the voice of Hugh Jackman, but he is one hell of an entertainer, and when he finally placed that phantom mask on and played the grand opening of the Phantom of the Opera on his electronic keyboard and then continued on the piano and sang the biggest song of the show the room was dead quiet with excitement and hairs were standing up on peoples arms. At the conclusion there was a massive roar and a standing ovation for a man who completely overpowered the entire audience. And that is what a true professional does and he did this night after night! Having played the first session Glenn-Miller takes a short break Glenn and then returns at 10 PM for yet another packed house for further great music as well as the very popular great sing along, which often is also in the earlier shot by demand.

Glenn-Michael rated a 10 for being a top entertainer.

Between the Piano Lounge and the Sports Bar you will discover this beautiful timber elephant. I recall that it is a very old piece of workmanship, but sadly I have forgotten the date!

A very beautiful and an old piece of art

“Sports Bar”. This is the bar that services the casino as well as being a bar in its own right. The venue has a dark polish timber floor, with tones of dark and lighter blues, as well as yellow with modernistic furnishings, but strangely a gold historic Urn is located in a corner that looks out of place with the ten mini LCD TV screens in this room. Although not seen in the image below, in the bar seating section, the furnishings are the same and there are silver table lamp bases and above the bar large LCD TV screens.

The lounge section – note the ten mini TV screens in the wall, the venue also has large screens

“Northern Lights”. This is the colourful nightclub and disco, but other event are also held here. This venue has black high gloss floors with a light free flowing swerving pattern throughout, which is very effective, the wails and ceilings and walls are also dark, but then there is the deep red curved screens to fit in with the black sofas. The bar area is all black with a wall feature that has a grey leafy effect and is very effective, the only colour are the red bar stool seats! This is a stylish venue, in an unusual sense. Personally I never spent any time her as it was really the casino bar, thus not my scene!

The above image © Holland America Line

 

Above & below: An overall look of the Northern Lights club and below the Bar

 

“Queens Lounge & Culinary Arts Center. The upper level of this venue is carpeted in yellow with touches of light blue, orange and green in a scattered pattern, whist the lower level is in a polished dark timber. Individual chairs in this venue are yellow, whilst fixed sofas are in black leather. The walls and ceiling are dark in colour, but the ceiling is most attractive as it is boldly curved and has excellent lighting to make it a feature of the room. The stage curtain is similar to the carpet. The Queens Lounge is used for a vast variety of entertainment, quizzes, bingo, as well a trivia and dancing in the evening, thus it is a very busy room. However, one of the popular features is the many cooking shows and demonstrations that will include at various times a number of the ships main chefs! Each time there is a different theme, thus a different cooking style. These were most popular events!

The delightful and popular Queens Lounge & Culinary Arts Center

A reminder, there are many more images on the photo page!

“Long Passage”. This leads is on the starboard side of the ship and it commences forward from the Sports Bar to the mid-ships lobby with its four lifts, two internal and four external, two on each side. Although one venue leads from it and that is the Queens Lounge on the port side, but there are no others until we come to the lobby and the Atrium.

The long Passage is attractive and has a few small round seats at the windows, but for some they are just too low

You can see these seats at the very first window

Lifts onboard. The Oosterdam has 14 lifts (elevators) onboard for the use of passengers as well as several other lifts fro crew use, making a total of 17. Who would have believed this in the days of ships back in the days of the SS Rotterdam I (1872), SS Rotterdam IV (1908), the great SS Nieuw Amsterdam III (1938) and the superb SS Rotterdam V (1959). But these days there are not just lift that are the usual internal ones, or those domed plastic ones shooting up and down giant atriums of those huge glitzy over the top ships that have little to not style whatsoever, unless you were born in a casino and love that type of décor, now I hear you say, “Hey Reuben, are you not describing Carnival here?” well if you wish, you can call a spade, a spade! But, HAL has two lifts on both sides of the ship located externally, but well set back over the Promenade Deck, and you obtain a wonderful view from Deck 3 up to and including Deck 8 for when arriving at Deck 9, being Lido Deck you are enclosed again.

A view of the external lifts

 

In the center of the ship the dark glass panel going up is the lift well, from the inside it is quite clear it commences on Deck 1 and goes to Deck 9

We have now arrived at the centre point of the ship and I have already spoken about this beautiful Atrium on Deck One, but now we are on Deck Two of course!

“Atrium”. What I find so special about Holland America ships is that they have not followed the other cruise companies and taken up their atrium ideas into the vast heights of their ships, of some six, or even up to 10 decks high! Their typical HAL three deck Atrium’s is a simple delight no matter which ship you are on and the Oosterdam is certainly no exception! This Atrium is so beautifully designed with its overall golden glow and it is crowned by a slow rotating grand Waterford Crystal Globe of the world, feathering gold Continents. The Globe is suspend from the centre of the ceiling and is adorned by large golden curved bars with stars directly above. It provides the entire Atrium with a stunning and thus a dramatic effect!

Here we see the massive Waterford Crystal Globe hangs around 12ft down and the globe slowly rotates

“Pinnacle Lounge and Bar”. On the starboard side of the Atrium on Deck 2 you will discover the very elegant Pinnacle Lounge and its Bar. This is the perfect place for a pre-Dinner drink before you go to the Pinnacle Grill for your pre arrange meal. In addition, whilst here, check the menu in advance and why not select one of the many superb fine wines from around the world that are on offer, one of the Sommeliers will be happy to assist you, but also in the Grill after you have been seated. The Pinnacle Lounge is the perfect venue to start a very wonderful evening, especially if it is a special occasion!

Pinnacle Lounge for pre-dinner drinks before going to Dinner in one of the finest Restaurants at sea!

Pinnacle Grill”. This is one of the ships alternative Restaurants, which is open for Lunch and Diner. It is vital that an appointment is made very early for this is without a doubt one of the most popular restaurants on the seven seas. From personal experience, I noticed very early that the evening meal is usually booked out within the first 24 hours or two days of departure. You may ask, “But why?”

Well this is very easy to answer; for once you have discovered the sublime cuisine on offer at the Pinnacle Grill, and its amazing presentation that just takes your breath away, and all this is combined with the ultimate service that you can possibly imagine, you would want to come back again and again as well, for I certainly do!

Just imagine, at the Pinnacle Grill you dine in the grandest of style for your delicious meal will come served on the most ultimate of plates, nothing less than, “BVLGARIChina, and you will drink your wine, or drink of choice from fine “Riedel” stemware or glasses, and the table is  laid with the finest “FretteLinens. Thus at the Pinnacle Grill you will be assured that receive nothing but the worlds best, that is why it is the “Pinnacle of Dining!”

Nothing but the finest China at the Pinnacle Grill – “BVLGARI” thus go and spoil yourself!

This Image is © Holland America Line

Consider also who is behind the food on the Oosterdam, and we are speaking about some of the leading chefs in the world. They are all member of the “Culinary Council.” These men are Master Chefs and Chocholatier's and Grand Pastry Chefs.

Just think about the mouth watering and tender, cooked just as you like it “Silver Beef”® or the Premium Seafood, such as a delicious tower of King Crab meat with avocado, heart of palm and micro greens in tarragon lemon vinaigrette. The Appetisers are art by them selves and delicious, desserts are not just pleasing to the eye and a joy to savour, but they all bring that touch of romance to the meal, especially if the right wines have been chosen! The menu is a simple delight with a fine choice for all tastes!

But what about the venue itself? It takes up the entire portside of the Atrium level and it is simply stunning. How can I best describe it, well Rembrandt certainly left his mark in this venue as the famous painting the “Night Watch” is featured throughout the Grill as a running backlit mural. Then there is without a doubt a very dramatic ceiling that looks like mushrooms in a way, or large shells that have golden edges. The cast aluminium chairs that are a piece of art in themselves and where especially designed, and created for this venue by Gilbert Lebrigre and Corinne Roger in Italy in 2003. The seats have dark blue leather. The carpets are also dark blue and the walkways are of beige tiles. What is s good about this venue that it is broken up in various compartments, rather that one big Restaurant, thus by far more intimate and peaceful.

Personally, I have enjoyed this amazing Restaurant on every cruise I have been on with Holland America, well that is with the modern HAL and not in the days of Rotterdam V or the Nieuw Amsterdam in the 1960s, for optional dining did not exist!

I do recommend having lunch and an evening meal at the Pinnacle Grill for the additional cost is so disgustingly small, for the amazing feast that you will enjoy, is more of a feast and honestly it should be worth a small fortune, for it would be at any fine Restaurant, and the Grill is one of the best in the world!

The Pinnacle Grill, its superb cuisine and fine service rates a worthwhile 10!

 

Above & below: Luxury dining in the Pinnacle Grill is a delight not to be missed, I have done so on every cruise!

Below you will note there are also tables by the window, ideal for lunch

 

“Art Gallery”. I have a personal hatred for all the Art Galleries on ships, for to be honest they are not what they seem, and simply a huge money making scheme, and anyone who buys any price, will not be buying an investment and will always be paying far too much, no matter what! What shocked me on this voyage; unlike on other HAL voyages they now have frequent art auctions. And I just do not understand why people buy these copies that may or may not be touched up! In addition you will find the very same items on every ship you will sail on, thus how can it be “special”, a “bargain” and an “Investment” as is claimed! Utter rubbish!

I will not even rate the Art Gallery – If you ever buy a picture onboard any ship, you need to go and see a Physiatrist, for you are throwing away good money!

Real Art in the hallway! The ship is packed with precious art, and when onboard do obtain an Art tour package, for there is so much onboard. Between the Atrium and the Explorer’s Lounge, opposite the Art Gallery, are the following stunning displays, two Indian hardwood facades and a precious necklace from Rajasthan India.

REAL ART onboard rates a 10.

This is a beautiful Indian 18th.century hardwood façade that is set behind glass and dehumidified for obvious reasons

 

An exotic 19th.century India precious jewel necklace

“Explorer’s Lounge”. On the smaller ships of Holland America Line, such as the S-Class being the ms Statendam Class the first of four ships built, which were followed by four further ships known as the R-Class because of its first ship the ms Rotterdam, but the Explorer’s Lounge has always been my favourite venue. Why this venue? That is due because it is famed for its superb and elegant style and has always proven to be a delightfully peaceful and a superb lounge to spend time in, both during the day and at night! In the evening Adagio a classical quartet would always play and it was a simple delight sipping a glass of the very best Tawny Port after Diner to the wonderful sounds of Adagio! However, on the ms Oosterdam I was extremely disappointed with the venue as it was certainly not the Explorer’s we were used to. I quickly discovered that for some reason the Explorer’s Lounge had been split into two and even the décor was different in each section. Yes, the famous huge Dutch maritime painting was on the inside wall, but it just did not look the same under the circumstances. Although the carpets are the same blue throughout, but the forward section has a different décor and furnishings to the aft part, which is by far more elegant. Yet the band stand for Adagio is in the forward smaller section of Explorer’s and considering there is a wall separation the two parts with just a small opening, the size of a regular door, the sound just does not travel aft, thus if it is full and it usually is the aft section is useless! Very poor planning indeed!

But now for one of my little gripes. On our past voyages, “Adagio” has always been a Quartet, but we discovered that thanks to the “Carnivalisation” that is slowly taking place, that the quartet is gone and now there is just a duet. Thus I was disappointed that discovered a pianist and a violinist, and it is just not the same! Both were very good musicians and did present a fine range of music.

I rated Adagio a 7 out of 10!

 

Above & below: Forward section of the Explorer’s Lounge where we see Band Stand and separating wall & below we look forward

 

 

 

The aft section as can be seen is very different to the forward part

 

Again the aft section of the Explorer’s Lounge seen with the great Dutch Maritime painting

Although the Vista Dining Room is far aft and next, but I will cover this great venue on Deck Three!

Deck 3 Promenade:

Obviously I have already covered the most forward venue the Vista Lounge on Deck Two, but the top level is located here on Deck Three But I will not cover it as it has already been seen and further photographs will appear on the photo page.

The next venue on the Port side is the Hudson Room, which was set up mostly as a lecture room and I was unable to photograph it being so very busy!

“Screening Room”. Movies were shown here as well as in the Queens Lounge and occasionally in the Vista Lounge. But this is one of the most comfortable small cinemas you will ever find on any ship. You may call this the red room as the overall theme is in red tones with just the beige leather trim on the seats to break the monotony. But it is certainly stunning! Movies were of a high quality and many latest releases, and they were shown the next day on your TV in your cabin.

Luxury seating and tables for snack and drinks

Photograph © Holland America Line

“Digital Workshop”. It is “Powered by Microsoft” and I was amazed for this is one of the most crowded places and lines would form well ahead of time just to get a place inside long before classes would commence. Lessons are well planned and organised and they are led by a fully experienced “Techspert”, but best still classes are entirely free!

Digital Workshop in session

This Photograph is © Holland America Line

As we head aft, you will enter the huge shopping centre, where you will discover a host of shops, be it world class jewellery with diamonds, pearls and other precious stones, watches, a Duty Free alcohol and Tobacco shop, a Clothing shop, General store, Souvenir shop and so much more! As I said it is big!

Atrium”. We have now reached the top level of the Atrium and this level does provide a wonderful view down to the lower levels, as well as the top level being one large venue to which I will come next. But the Image below will provide a look down to Decks 2 where the Pinnacle Lounge and Grill are located and Deck One for the Atrium Bar and the Front Office and Excursion Deck.

“Ocean Bar”. This is a wonderful and a popular lounge and bar on the ship, for it covers both sides of the Atrium. On the starboard side is the Bar and a delightful intimate lounge that is separated by a decorative wall that have flat golden see through pillars. On the Atrium side there is a sofa and two beautiful golden candelabras. The actual Lounge has a muted colour scheme with a light blue and striped grey sofas and chairs that have wooden backs, the timber is of polished maple and curtains are a shade gold. Aft of this section there is a long Bar and my memories here is of a wonderful Filipino waiter “Rollie” who is without a doubt the perfect host from the moment I met him! As I love a really good Tawny Port in the evening, he suggested the “Warre’s Warrior Tawny Port”, which just happened the best Port on the ship as well as being the most expensive, but I only desired the very best and having tasted it, the selection was sublime! Considering that I would only have two alcoholic drinks per day and then only in the evenings, I think it was the perfect choice for me!

Rollie rates an 8.5.

 

Above & below: here we see the Atrium divider of the Ocean Bar & its elegant Lounge as seen below

 

The Ocean Bar stretches across the Atrium to the port side, and this area could well be called the Ocean Lounge. It is certainly a very different looking venue to the elegant Bar area, as here you will find red patterned carpets as well as a red and maroon ceiling, dark blue with a yellow patterned curtains and black leather chairs on the forward raised section, whereas closer to the dance floor and Band Stand the chars and sofas are in pink with blue and red horizontal stripes. Thus as you can see it is the very opposite to the starboard side, which is, as I have said, the very elegant bar and lounge, whereas this is the Lounge, where Jodie & the "Hellcats" would play most nights, as well as other bands and passengers enjoy dancing the night away! I rated the “Hellcats an 8.

The Ocean Lounge the entertainment area of the top level of the Atrium

As we head aft, there is only the very costly photo gallery, sadly Carnival has their grip in and prices are very high! I will cover “Carnivalisation” later in this review, for sadly it is happening, even on my beloved Holland America ships!

“Promenade Deck”. The Oosterdam does offer a spacious full walk around walk around Promenade Deck, which is obviously very popular indeed, as each morning and evening regular walkers, will be found treading the beautiful teak planks!

The excellent Promenade Deck with timber deck chairs, all having the HAL logo on them

Open Bow Section: Although one deck up on Deck Four, but I will include it here, there is another wonderful feature on every Holland America Line ship and that is the bow section, which is open to the public at certain places. During our voyage this was whilst we were cruising the superb Milford and Doubtful Sounds, as well towards the end of our cruise when we encircled the fascinating volcanic “White Island,” which was simply amazing for it gave as a wonderful close up view rather than the usual sail past and a long distance view, as in the past on other ships!

A view of the forward superstructure, the Bridge as seen from the bow

 

The sheer beauty of Milford Sound!

 

 

Above & below: We circled White Island several times and the view was simply spectacular

Below; during our second circle there was more smoke from the volcano, and it seemed that it changed constantly!

 

Vista Dining Room”. What can one say about this stunning venue, it is certainly grand to say the least! Like on all ships the Vista Dining Room is a two level venue and has a ceiling sculpture as a feature. In the centre there is a curved stairwell that takes you to the open seating lower level.

The entrance to the Vista Dining Room on Deck Three

Of course being so well known and there were many onboard who knew me from my website and also those who had actually booked on this very cruise having read about the Oosterdam and my reviews on the Volendam and Amsterdam online, etc, I always book a table for two and I prefer First Sitting and sittings are always on the upper level and Open Dinning being on the Lower Level as I mentioned above. We were given table 74, and were delighted with our two wonderful stewards Reynold and his assistant Erwin and they were supreme in every way. The Dining Room Manager, or the Maître D’hôtel like it used to be, was the delightful and most helpful, Mr. Neil Lacerda, whilst in the Dining Room we found one of the Assistant Dining Room Manager, Sekon Pujianto who was the ultimate in courtesy, politeness and friendliness as he was always available to assist and Sekon was of great service to us!

Reynold rated a 9.

Erwin rated an 8.5.

Assistant Dining Room Manager, Sekon Pujianto rated a 10!

Dining Room Manager, Neil Lacerda rated a 9.

I need also to point out the most delightful and wonderful wine waitress, Olga. Just to see her would bring a smile to your face as she is so full of life and sheer joy, as well being helpful and having all the knowledge needed for her position! We just loved her to say the least!

Olga rated a 9.

Now to the actual venue. At the entrance a wonderfully warm greeting awaits you as well as beautiful fresh flowers. At breakfast and lunch should you decide to dine in the Dining Room, you will be escorted to a suitable table. In the evening those who have a set table at a sitting will just head directly to their table. But what is so wonderful as all the waiters will always smile and greet you as you pass them, the friendliness and hospitality simply overflows, and that is so HAL! Again the tables are set beautifully and the china used is the finest available, and the plates do have a blue with a gold trim border with the traditional HAL logo on it. But I will let the photographs of the venue below speak for themselves as well as for it wonderful staff!

An overall view looking aft – the curtains are shut, but there are windows on three sides of the venue on Deck 2 & 3

 

Here we see the floral art work that is located over the stairwell and the opening that looks down to the lower level

 

The author and our senior steward Reynold who was certainly a very special man, and when it came to his work

he was simply an artist, for everything that he did was perfection and it certainly showed that he loves what he does

 

Erwin our assistant Steward was; his beaming smile and his elaborate deserts and superb Barista coffees will not be forgotten

I mean - a Cappuccino for Mr. Tan and a double Espresso for me, jist wonderful!

 

Here we see the wonderful Assistant Dining Room Manager Mr. Sekon Pujianto and the author – these photographs

were all taken on the Farewell Night of the cruise, thus both Mr. Tan and I wore our Batik shirts to honour our Indonesian stewards

 

 Here we see Reynold and the most delightful wine waitress – Olga

The wonderful Crew! It has to be said that the Holland America Line staff is what makes this company shine brightly, for they are just wonderful! Be it he Indonesian dining room or cabin staff who are simply beyond perfect and they cannot do enough for you, whilst Olga and Rollie who I mentioned earlier at the Ocean Bar, are part of the bar and beverage staff, and are thus Filipino and they are also are wonderful and so obliging. One of my favourite Barman is Ernie who is up in the Crow’s Nest on Deck Ten, and I have known him since our voyage on the Volendam and he is one of the very best barmen I have ever met regardless the shipping company! HAL have a top class staff, although there are some exceptions, but they are not part of the aforementioned staff, but within another section, and I will cover that in the section entitled “Entertainment.”

Ernie rated a 9.

Photograph is © Holland America Line

Go to Page Two

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.

*************************************************** 

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.

 

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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!!

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