CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Oosterdam Panama Canal September 25, 2004

Bigger is not better! Compared to smaller HAL ships, this one is too big for even the crew to handle. An example is the laundry which quickly becam overwhelmed and overnight became 72 hours or longer.

The food is quite bland (purposely so according to the food and beverage manager) and not up to the HAL standard we had enjoyed on other of their cruises. The extra cost Pinnacle Cafe was very good for dinner but disappointing at lunch. Not surprisingly, beverage costs were inflated even above wheat we had found on other cruises...$28 for a bottle of wine widely available at about $8 and over $2 for a coke. And, the formerly outstanding Philipino bar staff messed up every drink we ordered.

The biggest disappointment was the S category "Deluxe Verandah Suite" we had selected at the stern of the ship. A mammoth verandah did not compensate for a very small living small that the TV had to be removed to have a place to put our laptop or write a postcard.

The crew, particularly the dining room and room stewards were just a great as we had found them to be on earlier HAL cruises.

All in all, a very disappointing cruise in light or our having chosen to purchase deluxe accomodations.

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