My family just returned from an enjoyable week on the Oosterdam. I thought I would share our experiences.
Pretty standard variety shows in the Vista lounge. Very good comedienne. Entertainment around the ship in various lounges was good. There was an excellent quartet playing classical music every evening. We enjoyed that very much.
It was Spring Break, and the ship was overrun with children. They were not prepared to handle the crowd, and the activities were not interesting enough to entice our daughter to join in. Unlike other ships we were on, the staff didn't encourage her to join in the fun. I can't blame them though, because they couldn't handle the ones they had. I didn't see any toys or games or computer games on my visit to Club Hal. Maybe they were stored away. It makes it difficult to persuade a child to go to the club if they don't see any fun stuff.
The formal dining room was very crowded, and understaffed. Although they were great people, the level of service is less than that provided by Celebrity or Princess, because they have to take care of more tables. On formal nights they had musicians playing, but we could not hear them, because of the noise level. The food varied from mediocre to ok. The serving sizes were small, which was ok by me, but my husband was hungry. It surprised me, because I expected Holland America to be better than Princess for dining.
The less formal Lido buffet was not great. Every morning the Breakfast was the same. In fairness there are a lot of choices, but some variety would be nice.
The Pinnacle grill costs $30 each for dinner. We really enjoyed our meal there. They have great steaks. The only problem was the wine steward. We ordered two wines by the glass, and he told us that we could buy a bottle and have the remains transferred to the main dining for the next night. So we agreed to buy a bottle. Then he brought us the wine along with another bottle. Since I did not want to ask how much the other wine costs, I told him that we would stick with our original choice. Later I found out that the wine he was suggesting cost $90. (about $60 more than the wine we chose). It was very tacky.
It is a beautiful ship. The décor is very classy, but cheerful.
Overall we enjoyed our week on the Oosterdam, but we would not try Holland America again. We have been on Celebrity 5 times and Princess once. Both of those lines have a higher level of service and better food. The staff on the Oosterdam was very helpful and nice, but there are not enough of them. Also, the childrens activities are very important for us, and Holland does not have very much to offer at all.