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New Oosterdam Review - A Beautiful Trip


BoiseIdahoSpud

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The Beautiful Holland America Line ms Oosterdam

 

Mexican Riviera

 

February 14-21, 2009

 

A group of seven family and close friends sailed the Mexican Riviera on the ms Oosterdam calling at Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. For my partner and me, this was our second HAL cruise on the same itinerary. Most in the group were new to HAL and one person was a first-time cruiser.

 

Simply put, this was one of the best vacations we have been blessed with. There is just something special about being a passenger on a Holland America Line cruise. From the moment you step on board you just know that you’ll be completely taken care. It’s the feeling that you’re part of an extended family. The ambience is classic and the service is warm, genuine, friendly, attentive and professional.

 

For us, overall service and food are paramount and HAL truly excels in these areas. Crew members in every corner of the ship make sure you feel welcome and return every smile, often calling you by name. They leave you with a feeling that their work is more than just a job. Our dining room waiter said it best on the last night of the cruise. After having thanked him for taking such good care of us he said simply with his hand over his heart “When you are happy, we are happy.” Well said. Not to mention that, over the course of the week, he delivered the most delicious variety of foods from succulent prime rib and wild mushroom strudel with red curry to escargot and foie grois.

 

Then it is little touches that make things exceptional. Cloth towels in public restrooms along with fresh orchids, the exquisite beds and linens, chocolates and a “good night” note from the captain and crew at turndown. Soft wool blankets provided on your veranda to watch a spectacular sunrise in the brisk morning air. The wonderful thermal Suite and 24 hour room service. Original oil paintings in the stairwell and the beautiful wood furniture on the public decks. And not a spot of rust. How can you not feel special?

 

Attention to detail was everywhere such as our stateroom attendant who, after the first night, noticed we had seven empty cocktail glasses left on the table. Without ever saying a word, he made sure we always had seven glasses and champagne flutes for entertaining.

 

For excursions we had a bit of a variety for our group. In Puerto Vallarta three of us were “Dolphin Trainers for a Day” while four others did “Town Country and Tequila.” The dolphin trainer experience through Vallarta Adventures (booked through the ship) was outstanding and first-class in every way. It is expensive but was worth every penny. In addition to dolphins we were given play time with three sea lions and we never stopped laughing. We highly recommend this excursion. Afterward we went to Westin and paid a day-use fee to use the beautiful pools and private beach to watch the sunset over Banderas Bay. Does it get any better?

 

In Mazatlan, five of us did Salsa y Salsa (booked through the ship) and had a fantastic time. Very well run, educational, fun, and great value-for-money. Two from our group did the Canopy Adventure and returned to the ship full of extreme-sports adrenaline and smiles.

 

In Cabo San Lucas three of booked the America’s Cup Challenge through the ship and the tour was conducted by Cabo Adventures (same company as Vallarta Adventures). Again, a first-class operation and a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Everyone was able to participate in grinding the sails and even steering the yacht. Lobster tacos and several “Waboritas” at Cabo Wabo were a fitting end to the day.

 

Thank you HAL and crew of the ms Oosterdam for giving our group the vacation of a lifetime and making us feel so special. The pre-cruise service through HAL in Seattle was exceptional as well. Please know that we are most grateful for the many ways you insure we have a great time and get the maximum value for our vacation dollar.

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BoiseIdahoSpud-

Very nice review. I share your sentiments about the Oosterdam and the crew. Hope you'll be posting this in the "Members Reviews" section.

 

Bill

 

Thanks Bill. I did submit it to the main review board but I don't think it has posted yet.

 

Pete, great review...I think I saw Hammond a couple of times in the casino :)

 

A couple times? Surely you jest, Frank...:) 32 times would be more like it. It was nice seeing you again - hope you had a wonderful cruise too!

 

Great review! Thanks for taking the time and effort! We did Salsa y Salsa a little more than a year ago in Mazatlan and had a great time!

 

You bet, Copper! I think writing a review is the least you can do to say "thank you" for the wonderful service. I was a bit skeptical about Salsa y Salsa when I booked it but just had an absolutely great time. Maybe it was the free-flowing fresh strawberry margaritas?:):) In all seriousness, I thought the whole event was very well done and worth the time and money. But I do love salsa so...

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Thanks for the great review!! We love the Oosterdam and will be sailing on her for the 3rd time next January. Have never had a disappointment - everything is always superb. Just as you mention the glasses for entertaining - the crew notices right away and always makes sure you have what you need. Very unobtrusive!!

Glad you had such a memorable trip.

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Pete, Great review:) Yes it was a wonderful week on board the Oosterdam :D

It was great to meet your Mom I hope she had a great time.

Here is a picture of you and her I took.

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How wonderful that you did the Dolphin Trainer for the Day. I have always wanted to do that and hopefully I can some day.

That picture of you will the Seals is great and definitely one to have framed ;)

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I'm glad others have enjoyed reading the reivew because I enjoyed writing it! Not as much as I enjoyed the cruise, of course. :)

 

We just loved every aspect of our cruise and our group had so much fun. the new-to-HAL cruisers were very impressed and are now self-identified "Dam cruisers for life".

 

Thanks for posting the picture Lisa. That is a really nice shot of the two of us and I appreciate you sharing it with me - I just sent it to mom too.

 

Pete

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