The Oosterdam is rated 4 * with 1546 of 2000 points from Berlitz.
The NCL Star is rated 4 * with 1522 of 2000 points. Not a big difference.
I think, on the Oosterdam its more formal than on NCL and one day more is better than one day less.
Oosterdam, Hands down. Sailed the Zuiderdam twice and loved it. As you know, the Oosterdam is the Vista Class ship class as is the Zuiderdam. The cabins are very roomy and I will be sailing her to Alaska in August. It is a home away from home!
The decision is yours to make. I would choose the Star because the NCL ship has more choices.
More choices on when, where, and with whom to dine. More choices on how to dress. More choices on how to disembark. More choices means more freedoms.
The Oosterdam is a grand ship. But HAL dictates when, where, and with whom you dine. HAL dictates how you should dress on formal nights. HAL treats their passengers as a nagging mother or mother-in-law would treat her children.
Some ship facts:
Year Built 2003
Tonnage 85,000 tons
Length 951 feet
Beam 106 feet
Passenger Capacity 1,848
Crew Size 800
Dinner Seatings 2
Seating Assignments Assigned
Dining Hours 6:00 p.m. & 8:15 p.m.
Dining Room Dress Code 7-day cruise: 2 formal nights, others informal or casual. No shorts, t-shirts or jeans at night.
Tipping Recommended? Yes
Tipping Guidelines $10 per guest, per day automatically charged to onboard account (amount can be adjusted according to quality of service received). 15% tip included on beverage order.
When it comes to dining, the Oosterdam offers a variety of options: gourmet meals in the two-tiered main dining room, a fine Italian restaurant, a casual eatery, a grill and a cafe that serves late-night snacks.
Club HAL provides younger passengers (ages 5-17) with supervised programs in the Kidzone and Waverunner rooms.
Year Built 2001
Tonnage 91,000 tons
Length 965 feet
Beam 105 feet
Passenger Capacity 2,240
Crew Size 1,100
Dinner Seatings 1
Seating Assignments Open
Dining Hours 5:30 p.m. to Midnight
Dining Room Dress Code Optional formal nights; no jeans, t-shirts or shorts during dinner.
Tipping Recommended? Yes
Tipping Guidelines $10.00 per guest, per day automatically charged to onboard account (amount can be adjusted according to quality of service received). 15% tip included on beverage orders.
Dining options are wide and varied with 10 restaurants on board, including Pacific Rim, Japanese, French, Spanish, Hawaiian and Italian restaurants, as well as the main dining room serving the traditional six-course Continental menus. Also available are an indoor/outdoor buffet, grill, food court and other casual eateries.
This ship is particularly family-friendly with a recreation center just for younger passengers; a child-sized serving counter, tables and chairs in the buffet restaurant; computer rooms; an arcade; and entertainment with Kid's Crew (ages 2-17).
A lot would depend on your likes, dislikes, age and expectations. The passenger loads on the Star and Oosterdam will be completely different and you would probably be more comfortable with a passenger load that is more like you are. They are both great ships.
"HAL treats their passengers as a nagging mother or mother-in-law would treat her children."(??????????????????) This never happened on our HAL Cruises. The finest service we have ever experienced as been on the HAL cruises.
This may have to Mr. Clark but its all a matter of perception. Mr Ogg states it best, age and expectations are important. My wife and I choose not to do formal nights. We have eaten in the dining room and in the Lido. There is a good 1/3 of the people who are not dressed in suits. you will see dockers and golf shirts. The requirements are recommendations not manditory. If one chooses more of a free style type of atmosphere they can eat in the very casual but very nice Lido. The food is the same that is on the dinner menu in the dining room except you will not see the lobster tails in the Lido.
I believe on the Vista class ships you get to see the widest array of age groups then on the other ships I have sailed. We are 51 and 41 and we found ourselves participating in events with a couple in their upper 70's and in the evening we were doing things with a couple in the mid 20's.
Take a look at the passenger capacity along with the crew size of the Oosterdam (2648 total) as compared to the Star (3,340) that is 692 people more on a ship that is 6,000 tons larger. If you divide the size of the ship by the capacity size, you will note there is more room per person on the Vista ship. I know this seems like a crude method. However, I have never felt crowded on the Vista ship.
I just booked HAL Oosterdam for next summer to Alaska. To me the Vista class of ships have felt like home away from home.
Eating in casual dress at the Lido Deck cafeteria without lobster tails on the menu is not my idea of fun.
Meanwhile, on a NCL ship, I'm eating lobster tails in the main dining room in casual clothes on formal nights.
I vote to eat lobster tails in resort casual dress everytime over eating something else, or eating lobster tails in a business suit or tuxedo.
I am on vacation, and the very last thing I wish to do is dress up in formal clothes. I paid the same price for the cruise and expect to eat the exact same food.
That is why I never do formal. It is NOT manditory. HA "suggest" the dress for dinner they do not dictate as you stated in a previous post. They will not deny you access to the dining room if you are not dressed formal. As I said, you can eat in the Lido if you choose or the dining room in dockers and a shirt. No one throws you out if your not in a suit and tie. As a matter of fact, On my last Zuiderdam cruise in August 1/3 plus in the dining room was informal on formal night. People are more of the opinion than ever before that they are on vacation and will choose to dress the way they wish. HA along with the other curise lines know that. This is not the first class section of the Titanic at dinner, where you will not be allowed to dine unless you are dressed in a tux.
There is also a benifit to developing a rapport with the waiter and assistant waiter over the course of a cruise. I believe it leads to better service. You do not get this with freestyle dining. When you do not have the same waiter, those of us who have experienced free style dinning have found service to be average to poor. This is why Disney rotates the waiters even to stay with you through the resturants.
BTW I don't do lobster so it would not matter to me to eat steak in the dining room or in the Lido. Its the same cut. Also becuase I do not eat lobster doesn't mean I do not have fun on cruises. On another cruise my wife wanted the lobster therefore, we ate in the dining room with other several hundred casually dressed people on formal night.
For my money there is no comparison between the service on a NCL cruise as compared to HA.
But I guess thats why its called a horse race. To each there own preference. Happy Cruising!