CruiseMates' Readers Cruise Reviews

Holland America Line Oosterdam Mexico March 25, 2005

This is my first attempt at writing a review and I feel obligated to do so because I've gained so much useful information from reading the reviews of others. First, some personal information: I am 60-years-old and my wife is, well, younger. This is our fifth cruise, the second to the Mexican Riviera and the first on Holland America Lines.

We loved it! The ship was not only beautiful but well maintained and the mostly-Indonesian crew was absolutely magnificent. From our room steward, Agus, to our head-waiter, Zaini, and his assistant, Jaswadi, the service we received from them and other Oosterdam crewmembers was uniformly wonderful. We would sail HAL again in a heartbeat and we would highly recommend HAL to others.

The food in the main dining room was great and served in very generous portions but if we were still hungry we were always offered more. The jumbo shrimp cocktail appetizer was my favorite.

The entertainment was also great. We had three rotating acts. The ship's singers/dancers performed two tributes, one to rock-and-roll and one to Broadway musicals. They were joined in the rotation by an extremely talented singer named Bobby Black and a fabulous comedian/juggler named Barnaby, a former college English literature professor who decided one day to take the road less traveled.

Our itinerary was Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. The only tour we took was the combination Land's End and scenic drive in Cabo. In both Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta-which, by the way, is by far my favorite place in Mexico-we shopped and sampled the local beverages.

There were a few bumps in the road. They were minor-some might even say petty-annoyances that in no way effected our enjoyment of the cruise. I mention them only because others may benefit from knowing about them.

We had a mini-fridge in our cabin but it was crammed full of beer, hard liquor and water that HAL charged you for consuming. Bottom line, you had a fridge in your cabin that couldn't be used to keep anything of yours cold because there was no free space. Worse yet, HAL locked the fridge on the fourth day of the cruise.

Disembarking was, for us, both good and bad. Customs cleared the first group of passengers at 8:30 and we were off the ship by 8:45. Pretty good! Unfortunately only one of our two bags was dockside. The missing bag problem, we found out, was caused by the color-coded luggage tag system used by many, if not all, of the cruise lines to identify the luggage of the various groups of departing passengers. We were given ivory-colored tags and one of our bags was inadvertently put with the yellow-colored tags. No big problem, except for the fact that US Customs hadn't cleared the yellow-tagged luggage and we had a plane to catch. We were lucky because the yellow-tagged luggage was cleared about 30 minutes after we got off the ship and we were able to find our other bag and get to the airport.

One final thought: This was our first trip to San Diego and the little we saw of the city was beautiful.

Don Lopez Parker, Colorado

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