Ian and Elaine Hill
Number of Cruises: 2
Cruise Line: Holland America
Sailing Date: January 15th, 2005
Itinerary: Mexican Rivera
This was our second cruise. We first took the Oosterdam to the Western Caribbean in January 2004 and now the same ship to the Mexican Riviera in January 2005. Doing the same ship 2 years in a row did not disappoint us. There have been a few changes to the Oosterdam in the last year. The tipping policy has been changed from a “No Tipping Required” to now a more industry standard $10.00 per person per day. The dining hours have changed, the bedding has been upgraded. It was like sleeping on a cloud. More activities on board such as a large chess set by the Lido Pool.
This cruise was the 7 day Mexican Riviera with stops at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta. We had a disastrous start to this cruise (it’s a long story) when we missed the departure from San Diego due to a mechanical problem on the plane in Calgary, causing us to miss the connecting flight in Salt Lake City. We eventually caught up to the ship on day 3 in port at Cabo St. Lucas. The crew was very good to us when we finally arrived at the pier and got ushered onto the tender and onto the ship at about 4:30 p.m. Knowing the layout of the ship was a big plus for us as we knew where everything was. Our stateroom was 8129, directly at centre aft of the boat. The bed seemed larger than was necessary but oh so comfortable and the balcony was a perfect size. Being on the 8th. Floor, the top floor of all the rooms, we overlooked the end balconies with no one overlooking us from above. Great choice. We found a few things on this trip not as good as our first cruise on the Oosterdam. The entertainment was not as good in both the main showroom and in the Crowsnest but I would think entertainment rotates regularly. We did find the food still to be superior and the highlight of the cruise (oh, that 11 p.m. pizza was still tremendous). Our table #156 and sitting time of 6:15 was just perfect for our lifestyle. We still ran from event to event (mostly in the afternoon) and still managed to miss a few activities we wanted to do. We entered the slot tournament one day and Elaine ended up winning the jackpot. SO COOL !!! We had no shore excursions booked. We did manage to hire a taxi for a personal tour of Mazatlan and that was nice. We did not wander too far from port in Puerto Vallarta and only did the shops around the pier. We just decided that this was going to be a laid back, relaxing holiday and were quite happy to spend most of our time on the ship. We did dine in the Pinnicle Grill for a cost of $20.00 each and found it to be very nice. Maybe not as stupendous as some reviewers had stated and no, we did not tip
With a new cruise director in Jason Venner (taking over from Gary Walker who has moved onto the Westerdam) and Captain Jeroen Van Donselaar filling in for Captain Jonathan Mercer and Hotel Manager James Deering (who replaced Willem Cruijsberg), most of the subtle changes are positive and we enjoyed this cruise. Being a return Holland America Line traveller also has it’s perks. This being our second cruise, we got a couple of nice tile coasters of the ship, free drinks and hors d’oeuvre with the big wigs, and a bottle of wine in our cabin at arrival. Nice touch HAL. We would strongly recommend this ship. See our pictures at http://community.webshots.com/user/hildavid