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Oosterdam / N. Amsterdam - Please Help. Not sure what to do.


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My husband and I have been on at least 15 cruises, and we really enjoy going on different ships with different itineraries. We've been on Royal Caribbean, NCL, Carnival, MSC, and Princess. We already have our 2018 and 2019 cruises planned on MSC, however, for 2017, we were thinking of trying Holland America for the first time. At first we thought about going on the N. Amsterdam, or Oosterdam.

 

I enjoy reading reviews on the different ships, and the different itineraries, and I also watch Youtube videos before we book a cruise, just to get a brief idea of what we're getting ready to leap into. I'm finding reviews of cruisers indicating that these ships are dark, the entertainment is bad, or non-existent, there is no bars open after 11:00pm, there is nothing to eat after 10:30pm, you can't dish yourself up at the buffet because you hand your plate over and say what you want put on it. (half the time, I can't even pronounce what the food is) We do not do the MDR. We are 100% buffet people.

 

So, now I'm wondering if this is the cruise line for us. (we're in our 50s, but to me that is just a number). We usually go to bed early (around 11:00pm), but sometimes we do like a late meal, or maybe a late drink within the week we're on vacation. I'm open to doing something different, and trying out Holland America. We really like their itineraries.

 

Now for the itinerary. We were thinking of going on a cruise that takes us to Half Moon Cay, and Amber Cove. I was watching youtube videos the other night and found some, that indicated that these islands are boring, unless you want to snorkel. I'm not into snorkeling, but I'm a fanatic when it comes to taking lots and lots of photos, so I thought these islands would be the perfect place to relax and take pictures.

 

Would I be possibly be making a mistake, choosing either one of these ships with the islands for itineraries for our 2017 vacation? Now I'm finding myself looking at Rhapsody of the Seas out of Tampa (but no Half Moon Cay or Amber Cove) :( Or I find myself looking at Norwegian Escape, thinking that Harvest Cay sounds nice. I'm all over the place and don't know what to do at this point.

 

We're looking to book for November 2017, but I usually wait before booking, in hopes to get a lower rate. As long as I get a balcony, I don't care where it's located. lol I just have to figure out what ship to go on and what itinerary I want to do. Any advice would be so greatly appreciated.

 

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My wife and I really like Holland America, but based on your preferences from your post, I don't think you'd be happy. I haven't found HAL ships to be "dark," but they're definitely not bright, sparkly, and glitzy like your other choices. If you want to stay out late, eat late, and scoop your own food at the buffet, you'll be disappointed.

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Since they have changed the buffets from self serve to having it served to you, there has been a huge decrease in Norovirus on the ships. I am grateful for the change

 

 

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Agree withPOA1. Many people like the BBKings shows, sometimes after 10PM. Otherwise, not many choices after 11PM. Sorry to hear you do not like eating in MDR. HAL is generally known for good and very friendly service.

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We are in our 50s as well and we jus t sailed on the Oosterdam last April right after dry dock. The ship is beautiful and the cabins really nice especially if you get a signature suite. We tend to stay up late on vacation and enjoy a drink in the piano bar and just hanging out. You you like to sleep early as you say I think you would love HAL as it is a quiet ship where most are in bed by 11 for sure. For cruising the Caribbean most people tend to stay up late and have fun. I think you might want to look at a more lively line like the Oasis from RCCL. It also depends on time of year. Summer cruises will have lots more young folks. Good luck

 

 

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My wife and I really like Holland America, but based on your preferences from your post, I don't think you'd be happy. I haven't found HAL ships to be "dark," but they're definitely not bright, sparkly, and glitzy like your other choices. If you want to stay out late, eat late, and scoop your own food at the buffet, you'll be disappointed.

 

Do these ships have mini bars in the room? If so, my husband can just get a beer from the mini bar, and we can always sit out on our balcony, or take a stroll along the promenade deck. I mean, it's not like they make you go to your room at a certain time, right?

 

We're looking to relax on this vacation. And as far as the buffet, I can always say "I want some of that please." lol I want to visit the islands of Half Moon Cay, and Amber Cove, and I don't want to have to cruise on a Carnival ship to do that. Been on 3 of those, and 1 was bad, and 1 was absolutely horrible. And yes, there is such a thing as a bad cruise when you end up with NoroVirus with the remainder of the people that were on your same floor.

 

I think we're going to give HAL a try.

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We are in our 50s as well and we jus t sailed on the Oosterdam last April right after dry dock. The ship is beautiful and the cabins really nice especially if you get a signature suite. We tend to stay up late on vacation and enjoy a drink in the piano bar and just hanging out. You you like to sleep early as you say I think you would love HAL as it is a quiet ship where most are in bed by 11 for sure. For cruising the Caribbean most people tend to stay up late and have fun. I think you might want to look at a more lively line like the Oasis from RCCL. It also depends on time of year. Summer cruises will have lots more young folks. Good luck

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We're looking to book for November. We've docked next to Oasis before, and that ship is just way way to big for us. I'm not wanting to have to book in advance to go watch a show. And all those people.... OMG, gives me a headache just thinking about it. lol

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Since they have changed the buffets from self serve to having it served to you, there has been a huge decrease in Norovirus on the ships. I am grateful for the change

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I read on a post a few weeks ago, that they only do that the first 48 hours of the cruise. It isn't a deal breaker that would cause me not to cruise on HAL though. We're really looking for peace and quiet. We're not looking to get in the pool, for we have a poolside home, but my husband said it might be nice to hop in a jacuzzi. Just want to get away and relax.

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The food in the Lido, the buffet, is the same food served in the MDR. Most of is pretty normal, I doubt you'd have trouble pronouncing any of it. They do serve you. If it's not enough, just say so and they will put more on your plate or you can just go back. There is also a burger place where you place your order and they give you a pager so you can go back and get it. Yes there are mini bars in the rooms. I bought a battery powered candle so we could sit on the balcony at night while having drinks. You can also buy beer at happy hour and stockpile it in your room

 

 

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We're in our 50's too and have cruised once on HAL and have another coming up this May to Alaska with them.

 

Yes, it is a more laid back, relaxing atmosphere and most of the ship does go to sleep pretty early. Having said that we enjoyed our cruise to Bermuda with them very much. Our lives are so busy that we cruise to relax.

 

You can order 24 hr room service so there is food available after 10:30 pm and as far as alcohol you can order bottles of alcohol prior to your cruise and they'll be waiting in your room when you board. This is to be consumed in your room only.

 

Also you can carry on your own champagne/wine...1 750ml bottle per person at no charge (any additional bottles will incur an $18 corkage fee.)

You can drink the wine in your room or bring it to a restaurant but if you bring it to a restaurant even the first 2 allowed bottles will be charged the corkage fee.

 

We bring 4 bottles so we can enjoy a glass of wine on our balcony without having to go to a bar to get it. It works out well.

 

If you're looking for constant action than HAL is probably a little too quiet for you guys but if you want a nice relaxing vacation with excellent service I would give it a try.

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I read on a post a few weeks ago, that they only do that the first 48 hours of the cruise. It isn't a deal breaker that would cause me not to cruise on HAL though. We're really looking for peace and quiet. We're not looking to get in the pool, for we have a poolside home, but my husband said it might be nice to hop in a jacuzzi. Just want to get away and relax.

The buffet on the Eurodam in December was very limited in terms of self service. All cruise long. If you don't know how to pronounce something, you can always point. However, after rereading your initial post, I'd still wave you off. While Half Moon Cay is lovely, it's 5 or 6 hours in a 168 hour week. They serve the food at the lunch buffet there as well.

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We're in our 50's too and have cruised once on HAL and have another coming up this May to Alaska with them.

 

 

 

Yes, it is a more laid back, relaxing atmosphere and most of the ship does go to sleep pretty early. Having said that we enjoyed our cruise to Bermuda with them very much. Our lives are so busy that we cruise to relax.

 

 

 

You can order 24 hr room service so there is food available after 10:30 pm and as far as alcohol you can order bottles of alcohol prior to your cruise and they'll be waiting in your room when you board. This is to be consumed in your room only.

 

 

 

Also you can carry on your own champagne/wine...1 750ml bottle per person at no charge (any additional bottles will incur an $18 corkage fee.)

 

You can drink the wine in your room or bring it to a restaurant but if you bring it to a restaurant even the first 2 allowed bottles will be charged the corkage fee.

 

 

 

We bring 4 bottles so we can enjoy a glass of wine on our balcony without having to go to a bar to get it. It works out well.

 

 

 

If you're looking for constant action than HAL is probably a little too quiet for you guys but if you want a nice relaxing vacation with excellent service I would give it a try.

 

 

You said that much better than I did. I liked the relaxed atmosphere on HAL and although we like to stay up we always find people to hang with. But it is also nice that the venues don't have lines or crowds late at night. We are taking our Sons (25 and 28) on what will probably out last family trip on the Oasis in June because they wanted a "fun ship" and Oasis has 22 bars. But we are doing the Zuiderdam for a Baltic cruise in August so we can chill a little.

 

 

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You said that much better than I did. I liked the relaxed atmosphere on HAL and although we like to stay up we always find people to hang with. But it is also nice that the venues don't have lines or crowds late at night. We are taking our Sons (25 and 28) on what will probably out last family trip on the Oasis in June because they wanted a "fun ship" and Oasis has 22 bars. But we are doing the Zuiderdam for a Baltic cruise in August so we can chill a little.

 

 

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Thanks! I agree about it being nice that there aren't lines or crowds late at night. We're really looking forward to the BB King Blues club for some later night entertainment, I've heard so many great things about it!

 

Our kids are about the same age as yours...26 & 28, boy and a girl and I think they would enjoy the Oasis too. Have a great time!

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We usually attend the late show, 10pm. So after the show many folks go to their rooms, but some (like us) go up to the buffet which opens for late serving at 10:30. Selections is a broad range of food types but a few choices of each category - it's not meant to be another dinner. The menu changes every night, often has a theme.

 

Also after the late show some folks head to the Crow's Nest bar for drinks, music and dancing. Other bars are open also, the piano bar, the casino bar especially, BB King on NA will do a late set.

 

We have amazing pictures of Half Moon Cay on our walls! DH love to take pictures, especially panoramas. It's really a prize of a private island, although I'd say the snorkeling in barely fair. There are natures walks as well as the beach. Haven't been to Amber Cove but it's good to have a second option because it has happened that high waves can keep you out of Half Moon Cay.

 

As for the buffet, they hand you the plate with whatever you pointed to on it, and as much as you want. The Lido buffet has a great variety of foods offered.... but in the evening it does start winding down 7:45.

 

In addition to the regular room service menu you can also order from the Dining Room menu for room service - nice to eat out on the balcony; this has to be done during dining hours and can be delivered up to 9pm.

 

Been on both O'dam and NA. I think O'dam is the most elegant ship! I couldn't say that either one was dark. NA has some additional options such as the Tamarind Asian fusion restaurant. I think O'dam has the new music set up with the dueling pianos, the Lincoln Center Stage classicals and BB King every night, but others can tell you more... it's changed since I was on her. m--

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We're looking to book for November. We've docked next to Oasis before, and that ship is just way way to big for us. I'm not wanting to have to book in advance to go watch a show. And all those people.... OMG, gives me a headache just thinking about it. lol

 

You mentioned Norwegian Escape. Just FYI...I've been on Escape and Oasis. Just like on Oasis, it's also recommended you reserve your show times on Escape. Also, Escape is a much more crowded ship than Oasis so if Oasis doesn't suit your wants, I don't recommend going on Escape.

 

Based on your first post, I recommend you stick with that Rhapsody cruise.

 

Also after the late show some folks head to the Crow's Nest bar for drinks, music and dancing.

 

On my Oosterdam cruise, there was no entertainment in the Crows Nest. The place was a ghost town at night.

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You mentioned Norwegian Escape. Just FYI...I've been on Escape and Oasis. Just like on Oasis, it's also recommended you reserve your show times on Escape. Also, Escape is a much more crowded ship than Oasis so if Oasis doesn't suit your wants, I don't recommend going on Escape.

 

Based on your first post, I recommend you stick with that Rhapsody cruise.

 

 

 

On my Oosterdam cruise, there was no entertainment in the Crows Nest. The place was a ghost town at night.

 

Yes, and that was in preparation for this wonderful Explorations Center that HAL thinks is an improvement. As of now the Nieuw Amsterdam has not "renovated" the Crows Nest, although I think that the ship is due to be redone in November, 2017. However, the S and R class ships still have the Crows Nest dance floor and music.

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We usually attend the late show, 10pm. So after the show many folks go to their rooms, but some (like us) go up to the buffet which opens for late serving at 10:30. Selections is a broad range of food types but a few choices of each category - it's not meant to be another dinner. The menu changes every night, often has a theme.

 

Also after the late show some folks head to the Crow's Nest bar for drinks, music and dancing. Other bars are open also, the piano bar, the casino bar especially, BB King on NA will do a late set.

 

We have amazing pictures of Half Moon Cay on our walls! DH love to take pictures, especially panoramas. It's really a prize of a private island, although I'd say the snorkeling in barely fair. There are natures walks as well as the beach. Haven't been to Amber Cove but it's good to have a second option because it has happened that high waves can keep you out of Half Moon Cay.

 

As for the buffet, they hand you the plate with whatever you pointed to on it, and as much as you want. The Lido buffet has a great variety of foods offered.... but in the evening it does start winding down 7:45.

 

In addition to the regular room service menu you can also order from the Dining Room menu for room service - nice to eat out on the balcony; this has to be done during dining hours and can be delivered up to 9pm.

 

Been on both O'dam and NA. I think O'dam is the most elegant ship! I couldn't say that either one was dark. NA has some additional options such as the Tamarind Asian fusion restaurant. I think O'dam has the new music set up with the dueling pianos, the Lincoln Center Stage classicals and BB King every night, but others can tell you more... it's changed since I was on her. m--

 

 

I didn't know about the 10:30 late buffet. Is that in the Lido Market area?

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We think the elimination of self-serve in the Lido, has been a great move for helping the spread of bugs. However, there's one place that it doesn't help. It's the Taco bar next to the Dive-In. That area is still serve-yourself. We have watched passengers taking spoons of sour cream with the provided utensil, and then licking it off before putting it back in the tub of sour cream. Absolutely gross !!! We went over and took that spoon to the Dive-in manager and told him to replace the sour cream. I can't believe that people would do that. Maybe they do that at home, but come on !!!! I guess Forest Gump was right, "stupid is as stupid does". You can't fix stupid !!!

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We think the elimination of self-serve in the Lido, has been a great move for helping the spread of bugs. However, there's one place that it doesn't help. It's the Taco bar next to the Dive-In. That area is still serve-yourself. We have watched passengers taking spoons of sour cream with the provided utensil, and then licking it off before putting it back in the tub of sour cream. Absolutely gross !!! We went over and took that spoon to the Dive-in manager and told him to replace the sour cream. I can't believe that people would do that. Maybe they do that at home, but come on !!!! I guess Forest Gump was right, "stupid is as stupid does". You can't fix stupid !!!

 

UGHH!!!! SO disgusting! I mean you would expect that from kids but it's even worse when adults do it.

 

We were at a farm stand in FL a couple of weeks ago and I was watching 2 little girls about 6 yrs old licking all of the broccoli. They would pick up a bunch lick it and put it back then move on to the next bunch and so on. Their mothers were gabbing away not paying any attention to them.

 

So instead of saying something to them or their mom's I went to the register and told the cashier to watch what they were doing. She did and instead of saying anything to them she shrugged her shoulders and continued checking out her customer.

 

Needless to say I didn't buy anything at that place.

So always wash your fruit and veggies when you get home! lol

 

I really don't like help yourself buffets and I was so happy that HAL changed their policy about that. I'll avoid the taco bar, now that you mentioned this. lol

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