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Raymond Hall

Age: 63

Occupation:Underwriter

Number of Cruises: 4

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Oosterdam

Sailing Date: 10-11-2008

Itinerary: Mexican Riviera

The overall experience was far below expectatation. Our cabin contained a table but no chairs when we deployed. The ice machines constantly ran out of ice and the wait staff appeared to care less. Coffee machines dispensed water instead of coffee because the staff forgot to refill the coffee. Our pirate ship excursion in Cabo was very disappointing. The practice "abandon ship" drill for the crew was hilarious. The pilot of the #2 life boat had to be rescued and replaced as he attempted to return the boat to the ship at least 15 times however he kept crashing into the ship and eventually broke the boats windshield by ramming into a steel hoist. The food was not tasty at all, the steaks were tough and the lobsters were tiny. We sat with a woman in a sweat shirt on formal night. The rules were not enforced. I could not recommend Holland America to anyone.

Steak was tough and had a funny taste to it. The ice cream bar was great as was the omlette bar in the AM. The little hamburger/bratwurst stand was terrific. The Lido restaurant area was constantly running out of coffee and ice and the staff stood around waiting to clean tables rather than refilling the coffee and juice machines or assuring enough ice was available.

Very nice other than the fact we had no chairs in our room until the second day of the cruise. We also had to request soap and shampoo several times from our cabin steward before we got it.

The room itself was large, 294 sq ft, and we had a nice verandah. The bed was very comfortable. We had a handicap room which meant no tub, just a shower and that was absolutely great. The shower head was a pulsating one which I particurily liked. Storage was ample.

The magic show was great and the comedian was okay as well. We did not get to have a tour of the kitchen area or the ships control center as we have had on previous cruises. That may be the result of worldwide terrorism concerns. The casino was nicely arranged with plenty of slots and table games available. The lounges did close rather early but being non drinkers that didn't bother us too much.

I would suggest you book the excursions on board the ship as they are subject to change and/or cancellation. Our pirate ship adventure was much less than advertised including the name of the pirate ship and less than pirate-like crew of four. The waters were murky and chilly for snorkling probably as a reslult of two nearby hurricanes. The pirate ship could not retrieve the anchor all the way so we drifted around in circles and almost hit the Norwegian Star Cruise ship with the masts of our pirate ship. The Mexican Coast Gaurd arrived and told the head pirate to get away from the cruise ship-- which we did before our mast punctured their vessel.

Good points: ease of boarding and exiting the ship once we returned home. The verandah cabin was large, the bed was comfortable and the shower was nice. Ice cream and desert bar were very good. The open seating aspect was very nice. You could reserve a time anywhere from 5:30 until 8:00 or so or you could just walk up request a table and not have to wait more than a vew minutes to get one. We were not locked into the early seating or the late seating so we could take our time and eat when we wished.

Bad points: The Lido dining area had limited seating available. Seems they were always closing sections so they could set up for the officers and crew dining or setting up for lunch or dinner meal. The wait staff was unconcerned about your welfare in the Lido dining area. It was every person for themselves. We almost never could get ice from the ice machine nor coffee from the coffee dispensers. I believe our next cruise will be in the spring, rather than the fall, it will be in the Caribbean and will definitely not be on Holland American Lines. We will return to Royal Caribbean.

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