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PHILLIP STIRTON

Age: 69

Occupation:retired

Number of Cruises: 20+

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Oosterdam

Sailing Date: 2013-04-13

Itinerary: sydney to seattle

A thoroughly enjoyable voyage with excellent service and amenities.

overall very good.







MS OOSTERDAM 13 APRIL 2013

23 DAY VOYAGE FROM SYDNEY VIA NOUMEA, SUVA, DRAVUNI ISLAND, APIA, PAGO PAGO, KAUAI, HONOLULU, VANCOUVER TO SEATTLE.

OOSTERDAM IS SOME 83OOO TONS AND WAS BUILT IN 2003. IT IS MAINTAINED IN EXCELLENT CONDITION THROUGHOUT.

WE OCCUPIED A VA GRADE (SUPERIOR VERANDAH) STATEROOM (8006) ON NAVIGATION DECK CLOSE TO THE FRONT OF THE SHIP. DESPITE IT BEING THE TOP GRADE IN THIS CATEGORY OF STATEROOM IT APPEARED TO BE SIMILAR IN SIZE TO A NORMAL ONE EXCEPT FOR A FULL BATH. THE DECK AREA AGAIN WAS NORMAL SIZE WITH TWO CHAIRS AND A SMALL TABLE. THE BEDS WERE SOME OF THE BEST WE HAVE EXPERIENCED. THE STATEROOM STEWARDS (KOMANG & GEDE) WERE OF THE HIGHEST CALIBRE WITH THE ROOM BEING ALWAYS MAINTAINED IN AN IMMACULATE CONDITION. SOME SHORTCOMINGS WERE THE VERY LIMITED STORAGE SPACE AND THE LAYOUT AT THE ENTRY TO THE STATEROOM WITH THE WARDROBES ON ONE SIDE AND THE DOOR TO THE BATHROOM ON THE OTHER WHICH AT TIMES PROVED A LITTLE FRUSTRATING.

THERE WAS A SOFA AND A SMALL TABLE AS WELL AS A DESK. UNFORTUNATELY THE SURFACE AREA OF THE DESK WAS SO SMALL IT WAS PRETTY WELL USELESS. ROOM SERVICE WAS UTILISED ON TWO OCCASIONS BUT HAD A VERY LIMITED MENU - DELIVERY USUALLY TOOK AROUND 25 MINUTES. AT THIS POINT IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO BRING THE TRAY INTO THE STATEROOM AS THERE WAS INSUFFICIENT ROOM FOR ONE PERSON TO HOLD THE DOOR OPEN AND THE STEWARD TO PASS INTO THE ROOM SO IT INEVITABLY MEANT ATTEMPTING TO TAKE THE FULLY LADEN TRAY OFF THE STEWARD WHILST AT THE SAME TIME HOLDING THE HEAVY DOOR OPEN - QUITE A FEAT !

THE ENTERTAINMENT CONSISTED OF MAJOR ACTS IN THE VISTA LOUNGE AND OTHER PERFORMERS I N THE VARIOUS LOUNGES AROUND THE SHIP. THE MAJOR ACTS WERE CONSISENTLY OF A VERY HIGH ORDER AND SOME OF THE BEST WE HAVE SEEN. THE SHIP'S DANCERS PUT ON A VERY GOOD EFFORT OTHER THAN THE VOCALS WHICH LET DOWN AN OTHERWISE QUITE IMPRESSIVE SHOW.

THE MINOR ACTS IN THE VARIOUS LOUNGES WERE DISAPPOINTING AND AGAIN MAINLY DUE TO THE POOR VOCAL TALENTS OF THE SINGERS. THERE WERE A MULTITUDE OF ACTIVITIES ONBOARD AND IN GENERAL VERY WELL ORGANISED. THE SHIP HAS TWO SWIMMING POOLS HEATED TO AROUND 30 DEGREES CENTIGRADE SURROUNDED WITH MORE THAN AN ADEQUATE SUPPLY OF DECK CHAIRS. THERE IS A GREAT NUMBER OF PLACES OTHER THAN AROUND THE POOL WHERE YOU CAN PULL UP A DECK CHAIR.

DINING FACILITIES CONSISTED OF THE LIDO BUFFET, THE CANALETTO RESTAURANT, THE PINNACLE GRILL AND THE MAIN DINING ROOM. ON THIS TRIP WE OPTED FOR DINNER TO UTILISE "ANYTIME DINING" WHICH ALLOWS YOU TO CHOOSE WHEN YOU WILL EAT (WITHIN A BROAD TIMEFRAME) AND WHETHER YOU WILL JOIN A LARGE TABLE OR SIT BY YOURSELVES AND IT WORKED VERY WELL.

WE NORMALLY HAD BREAKFAST AND LUNCH IN THE LIDO BUFFET AND THERE WAS NEVER ANY TROUBLE IN LOCATING A TABLE EVEN AT PEAK HOUR. THE TABLES WERE PROMPTLY CLEARED WHICH IS A FAR CRY FROM A LOT OF THE SHIPS WE HAVE TRAVELLED ON. THE STEWARDS ARE SOME OF THE FRIENDLIEST AND MOST EFFICIENT STAFF WE HAVE EXPERIENCED.

THE FOOD IN THE BUFFET WAS GOOD WITHOUT BEING GREAT WITH A GOOD CHOICE OF ITEMS (ITALIAN, ASIAN,MEXICAN ETC) ON OFFER. UNFORTUNATELY THEIR SOUPS WERE LACKING ANY REAL BODY AND THE VARIOUS MEAT DISHES WERE ON OCCASION TOUGH. THEY HAD A GOOD RANGE OF SALAD ITEMS AND FRUIT. THE TEA STAND LEFT A BIT TO BE DESIRED IN REGULARLY RUNNING OUT OF THE MOST POPULAR TEA BRAND "ENGLISH BREAKFAST" BUT HAD ENDLESS SUPPLIES OF MORE EXOTIC VARIETIES WHICH NEVER SEEMED TO BE WANTED IN ANY GREAT NUMBERS !! PROBABLY THE ONLY PART OF THE SHIP WHERE THE SERVICE WAS LESS THAN EXCELLENT.

THE MAIN DINING ROOM WHICH WAS UTILIZED ON THE MAJORITY OF NIGHTS HAD A FAIRLY COMPREHENSIVE MENU AND WAS GENERALLY VERY GOOD. OF PARTICULAR NOTE WAS THE PRIME RIB AND THE DUCK A L'ORANGE. THE APPETISERS ALWAYS INCLUDED A GOOD NUMBER OF CHOICES. ONE ITEM ON THE MENU WHICH CONSISTENTLY LET THE REST OF IT DOWN WAS THE HOT SOUPS WHICH LACKED ANY REAL BODY OR TASTE. ON THE OTHER HAND THE COLD SOUPS WERE VERY GOOD. THE CANALETTO RESTAURANT IS AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE MAIN DINING ROOM AND INCURS A SURCHARGE OF APPROX $10PP. IT SERVES ITALIAN CUISINE AND IS LOCATED IN A FENCED OFF AREA OF THE LIDO BUFFET. IT WOULD BE FAIR TO SAY THAT IT WAS NOTHING EXCEPTIONAL AND DID NOT WARRANT A SURCHARGE. IN PARTICULAR THE MINESTRONE SOUP WAS A VERY POOR IMITATION OF THE REAL THING AND THEIR MAINS WERE ONLY JUST.

THE PINNACLE GRILL IS THE OTHER ALTERNATIVE (SURCHARGE AROUND $30PP) AND IN A CLASS OF ITS OWN. THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE FROM ENTERING TO LEAVING IS WORTH EVERY DOLLAR. THE SETTING IS QUITE INCREDIBLE WITH VERY ORNATE CHAIRS, BULGARI CROCKERY/ CUTLERY, THE WALLS ADORNED WITH IMAGES OF OLD DUTCH MASTERS AND THE CEILING ADORNED WITH UPSIDE DOWN UMBRELLAS IN WHICH HAS BEEN INCORPORATED COLOURED LED LIGHTS WHICH GENTLY CHANGED THROUGHOUT THE MEAL. THE MEAL ITSELF WAS IN EVERY RESPECT TOP OF ITS CLASS AND WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE AS WELL. WE BOTH OPTED FOR THE STEAK WHICH WAS TO DIE FOR AND WAS ACCOMPANIED BY FOUR SIDE DISHES OF CREAMED SPINACH, SCALLOPED POTATOES, MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS. THE STARTERS WERE IN THE SAME CLASS. THE DESSERT CAPPED OFF WHAT WAS A MAGNIFICENT MEAL WITH THEIR VERSION OF BOMB ALASKA (NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH THE NORMAL VARIETY) AND A CREME BRULEE WHICH WAS IN FACT THREE BRULEES, ONE OF COFFEE, CHOCOLATE AND VANILLA.

WITH REGARD TO THE ITINERARY THE NUMBER OF PORTS WHERE WE LANDED ON A SUNDAY WAS REMARKABLE AND OBVIOUSLY MEANT THAT ANY NUMBER OF BUSINESSES WERE CLOSED FOR THE DAY. THIS SCHEDULING IS A TRIFLE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND GIVEN THAT EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THE SOUTH PACIFIC ISLANDERS ARE DEEPLY RELIGIOUS AND ALMOST EVERYTHING STOPS ON A SUNDAY. IF AS IS SUSPECTED IT WAS ALL GEARED AROUND HAVING TO ARRIVE IN SEATTLE ON A CERTAIN DATE TO START THE ALASKA ITINERARY THEN PERHAPS SHORTENING THE LAST CRUISE OUT OF SYDNEY PRIOR TO LEAVING FOR SEATTLE SO THAT YOU LAND IN THESE STH PACIFIC PORTS OTHER THAN ON A SUNDAY MIGHT BE BETTER.

IN SUMMARY, OVERALL A VERY WELL RUN SHIP WITH EXCELLENT SERVICE AND HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

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