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  1. I would love breakfast in the MDR, @cruzn single, but alas we are late risers. I realized I forgot to finish my story about the table for 4 at dinner time. After our first dinner, we went to the assistant maitre'd and asked to be switched to Anytime Dining. Instead, he said he would notify the other couple at our table and move them to another table so we had a four-top all to ourselves for the week. We were very impressed with his quick handling of the situation.
  2. Somehow I hit Save in the middle of a sentence (my belly operating the laptop mouse again?) so I just went back and edited. 🙂
  3. Hello all - Sorry for the abrupt stop to my post. I probably should not have posted it without rereading it, because now I see there are multiple typos as well as ends of sentences that disappeared and sentences in the wrong place. I meant to say that though we were worried about the climate control as I had read that some people were bothered by air blowing on them, it didn't bother us at all. Also the last sentence in paragraph 2 was meant to be the last sentence in paragraph 1. Sometimes when I have my laptop in my lap, my stomach moves the mouse and strange things happen. My stomach was even more liable to move things around after getting off a cruise with so much good food! So here is what we loved about the Oosterdam: 1. The stateroom was very quiet. I had somehow managed to choose a room right off the elevator lobby so when people were right outside the room we heard talking, but we never heard our neighbors at all. That is huge to me. On our last Celebrity cruise, we could hear conversations from our neighbors as well as toilets flushing. 2. We loved the movie selection on the tv. I had imagined we would enjoy all the music venues onboard, but we found we were so exhausted when we got on board that we just watched a different movie every night after dinner. 3. The food was very good. I loved the presentation, variety, and taste in the main dining room, and I loved the smaller portion sizes. (I still managed to stuff myself to the gills.) I would say the only food I've had that is better was on Crystal. Holland America was on par with Cunard and WAY better than Celebrity. (It's been so long since we were on Regent, but I found their food boring and lacking in variety). 4. The service was EXCELLENT. Better than any other cruise line we've been on, except for Regent. I really appreciated everyone's ability to handle special requests. For example, we were in our room so much, that our room stewards were just fine with us heading out to the balcony when they came to make up the room. In the dining room, if I requested a little change to something they handled it beautifully. 5. I loved the promenade deck. It's the first promenade deck I've ever been able to walk around without running into cigarette smoke at some point. I also LOVED the aft view on the promenade deck. (Also, between Puerto Vallarta and San Diego we were able to watch flying fish from the side of the ship. That was SO cool!) 6. Room service was excellent. On Crystal, at least through 2017, the room stewards also have to deliver room service food. That always made us feel terrible about ordering room service since they already had enough to do, AND it often did not arrive hot. We found that room service on HAL would deliver us anything we asked for. One day I called to see if they could do chocolate covered strawberries. (My favorite thing about Celebrity was that I could get 6 chocolate covered strawberries for $5 every morning.) On HAL, they told us it would take a while and it would cost $9. I was fine with that. In two hours we had 6 chocolate covered strawberries and they didn't charge us anything! 7. The Christmas decorations were fantastic. I LOVED the gingerbread house with trains. (You can see photos in @canadianbearpost. We've been on Crystal twice in December and the decorations on HAL beat Crystal by far. So I'm happy to report that we have found our mass market line. I was so sad to leave the ship and am already trying to figure out when we can cruise again. @canadianbear we were on the same cruise as you and I enjoyed following your thread, seeing things that we missed or sometimes getting great pictures of things we also saw. @sevenseasnomad, thanks for the tip about when to board. I had this idea that if we waited until after our assigned boarding time, it wouldn't be crowded. That was wrong! Thank you all for reading! Lis and Mary
  4. My wife and I just got off the Oosterdam and I thought I would share our impressions. We are fairly unsocial cruisers. We spend hours in our stateroom and on our verandah and don't do very well with crowds. We're both introverts and sharing a table with others just exhausts us. We have cruised on Regent twice (many years ago), Crystal 3 times, the Queen Mary twice, Celebrity twice, and on Holland America for one night from Vancouver to Seattle years ago. Crystal is our favorite. We loved the Queen Mary for a crossing, but on a Caribbean cruise everything was poorly organized and there were long lines and actual pushing and shoving to get on and off the ship and into some of the restaurants. We have been hoping to find a mass-market line that we can afford more than once every 5 or 6 years. We had avoided HAL in the past due to the lenient smoking policy, but when that changed, we decided to give it a try. (We didn't rely on any of our experiences from our one night cruise. It was mostly getting on and off the ship and we will never do that again.) I read these forums religiously in the months prior to our cruise and had read so much about things going downhill that I had low expectations going in. As long as we could be on our balcony, we would be happy. Boarding took a little longer than I had hoped, but we were one soon enough and we loved that we could go straight to our stateroom. We hadn't experienced that on any other cruiseline. It was about 2:45 by the time we were in our stateroom and we headed up to the Lido for some lunch. I was immediately frustrated by the setup. It took me 30 minutes to get a salad and then if I wanted something else I had to go get in another line. My wife was happy with a burger from the Dive-In bar and the taco bar next to it. Passengers were allowed to serve themselves at the taco bar and there was never a line. We had requested early dining and a table for two. When we got to the dining room, we were taken to a table for four. The other couple didn't show up and we were relieved. The service was fantastic, the food was fantastic. We thought the layout of the stateroom was really bad, with the closets lining the hallway, so that if one person was using the closet, the other person couldn't get past. However, the bed was SO comfortable, and though we were worried about the climate control as I had read that some people were bothered by air blowing on them. We loved that the chairs on the balconies included foot stools, something we've never had on any other cruise. Our first morning we went down to the Lido for breakfast. It was incredibly frustrating, with a very long wait for an omelet, and then, because they had run out of bacon, another long line to get bacon. Because we were still in San Diego, our wife had different frustrations - a seagull stealing her bacon and then when she went to get more, a server cleared away the rest of her food. We both vowed we would never go to the Lido for breakfast again. The second night our air stopped working too. They brought us a fan and got the air working again very quickly. I'll just jump to the chase and say that at the beginning of the cruise we were both thinking Never Again, and by the end, we were SO happy and eager to book our next Holland America cruise. We got room service breakfast most mornings and sometimes just cobbled together some food from the lido the night before that we had for breakfast in the morning. They are calling my flight to board so I am going to post this now and finish it later.
  5. Thanks for posting, @CanadianBear. We were on the cruise along with you but kept very much to ourselves. I enjoyed seeing your pictures and also reading your posts in preparation the week of December 1st. Lis and Mary
  6. I booked a cruise using Chase Ultimate Rewards. Iirc, the agent said I could use points for the flights if I booked at the same time. If you call the Chase cruise number, they should be able to tell you.
  7. Thank you all so much! I opted for the 4:30 flight. There was a flight at 11:30 that wasn't direct, but y'all helped me realize I don't want any anxieties in case the unexpected happens. I think we will either check our luggage through from the ship if that service is available or find a place to store it and just walk around San Diego for awhile. Thanks also for the suggestions on what to do in San Diego. Lis
  8. Hi All - Another question re our Oosterdam cruise in December, RT San Diego. We always do Self-Debarkation. We keep our luggage in our room the night before and then just walk off the ship. I'm looking at air home on the 14th and there is a flight at 9:30 am or a flight at 4:30 pm. Given how close the airport is to the cruiseport, I'd like to think we could make the 9:30 am flight, but most likely that is cutting it too close, and this is our first time on HAL. Does anyone know what time debarkation usually begins on these one week Mexico cruises? Thanks! Lis
  9. Thank you all for your feedback, and, especially, dobieMom. I think the air might bother me and now I know that paper and masking tape will be my friends!! Lis
  10. Hi Maria and Norm - I'm glad you'll be on the cruise too. I don't know of any get togethers. I visited the roll call too, and yeah, not much action. :)
  11. Nancy - Yes, we will be boarding in San Diego on December 7th! I will try to find you! Lis
  12. Thank you so much for all your responses. You have put my mind at ease!! Lis
  13. Hi - We have never sailed Holland America for more than 1 night but have booked a December cruise on the Oosterdam. We watched this YouTube review and 2 things concerned me. 1. The reviewer said that there is constant air from a ceiling vent pouring into the room and 2. She complained of a squealing sound coming from something loose in the closet I think. If you watch the video you'll see what I am talking about. Have other people experienced annoying noises in their Oosterdam stateroom? And have any of you had issues with the ceiling vent? Thank you so much in advance. Lis https://youtu.be/YRCQpBxd6mA
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