I just returned from a week on the Oosterdam to Alaska. When the Vista class first came out there was some debate as to if these new/bigger ships would still retain the ambiance of Holland America. Well ...the Oosterdam sure does. She is a great ship! As a matter of fact there are some improvements over the S-class ships which I so love. One thing is the Lido restaurant has eliminated much of the queue with food stations as opposed to the old buffet line. For example, I could get pizza or pasta all the time it seems without a wait. The shows and show lounge is a big improvement from my point of view. The stage is high tech which helps provide a certain dazzle to the big shows. The cruise director, his assistants, and the DJ were much more personable than on other HAL ships that I have traveled on. They could remember my name! The robe in the stateroom was a nice surprise. As part of "signature of Excellance" program, I saw improvments in the sheets and towels as well.
Those glass elevators overlooking the sea was another reason that Vista class ships are all right in my book!
Travelbug, you are going to have a great time!! The Alaskan weather was mostly 50's & 60's with some light rain. There was a little bit of drizzle in Juneau but not enough to spoil my hiking trip. Sitka was raining early on but most of the day was dry but overcast. Ketchikan was perfect! Victoria BC had about 70 and sunny when we arrived at about 6:30 pm or so, with a very pleasant night. Seattle was at least 90 when we left but was likely 75 when we arrived back the following Saturday. The Glacier was wet and chilly, but was not really uncomfortable.
I would pack sweatshirts, T-shirts, and a raincoat. I didn't need anything heavy! The layer thing seems to work for me. When I got warm I took something off. You can go to the Weather Channel's website and get a week's forcast which I found a bit help.
Best of luck!!
Just read your view/impression of the Oosterdam. My husband and I took a cruise on it but my view was just the opposite. I found the ship had a "cold" feeling. Several other people with whom I spoke felt the same way. All in the eys of the beholder, I guess. I know I will never sail on a Vista class ship again.
We just came back from a cruise on the Prisendam. This ship we considered a bit too small, but it enabled us to dock at some very interesting ports that the bigger ships cannot get in to.
Marilyn, I do feel we agree that Holland America is a great cruiseline. When you say "cold" I think perhaps you are saying that Vista class lacks some of the intimacy of the smaller ships. I agree... they are big!
Thoth, you mention glass elevators. Have you been on the RCI Radiance and its clones? You'll find glass elevators. Celebrity Millennium and its clones? You'll find glass elevators. High tech razzle dazzle show lounges? Any of the later generation ships. This isn't HAL, this is contemporary ship feature.
What I thought of as HAL was lounges with many nooks and crannies and conversation areas that felt intimate, and antiques that favored Dutch culture. I thought chimes before dinner, after dinner mints, crew and service personnel that call passengers by their names and remembers their preferences, fresh flowers gracing most areas of the ship, piano bars, quiet pools. Not spas, not specialty restaurants, not elevators, not rows of balconies, this is all part of the generic formula that you can find on the latest version of Carnival, RCI, Celebrity, Princess, you name it ship.
If Vista is still HAL it is because there are features that HAL's repeaters expect from HAL, not features that all new ships have. From what I can see, Vista has less of HAL's features, and is far more a ship for a generic cruising public than a ship for people wanting the HAL experience.
Hello Benjamin Smith! No, I haven't been on RCI,Celebrity, or Princess. But I have sailed on Carnival, Commadore(now history), and Holland America(thrice). Of the 5 ships I have been on the Oosterdam seemed to have the best amenities. She retained the best things that I liked about the Maasdam and Statendam. Nooks and crannies, chimes, mints, fresh flowers, Pianos, quit pools,.... all still there... as good as ever. The service and social host were perhaps the best of the 5 cruises that I have been a part of. I was a person not a number!
Yea, you are correct that glass elevators and verandahs are the hip trend in cruising. However , I must say liked having them. I understand that HAL has had to go with trends just a bit, but I think the Oosterdam is still HAL.
The art, I forgot to mention the art of the Oosterdam. The art may not be as old or as antique as on some other ships , but it is no less beautiful. How about the Waterford Crystal Globe in the atium, it's special. Quit a bit of my photos were of the ship's art collection.
I guess there are two schools of thoughts on the Vista ships. One is that they are really bigger than what some of the core fans want, a bit too trendy, another that they are the next step in HAL's evolution and retain much of HAL's valued content.
I was not at all pleased with what I saw of the Zuiderdam's interiors. Some areas were fairly close to what I expect of a HAL ships, others felt too close to Carnival. The Oosterdam seems somewhat better, but I actually see areas of the ships that I saw on a Carnival ship, the seats that are in the Odyssey restaurant are the same one's used in Carnival's Legend's Medusa disco, one of the most hideous and sickening rooms that I've ever been in (I toured the ship while it was in New York City, I would not sail a Carnival ship). I also notice that the Zuiderdam has done away with the popcorn before movies, charges for quality coffee where it is for no extra charge on the Statendam, and seems to be adding more nickle and diming to the product.
However, we interpret these changes, there can get to a point where it can go too far into a "general product" direction and I think it is good to raise objections before it gets to that point. For some, the Vistas have gone too far already, for others, they are a good intro to HAL style. For me, I'd like to see a halt to new ships for HAL. I like HAL at the Statendam/Rotterdam size, I also like ships that emphasize deck space over private balcony space but it seems those days are over.
Well said Benjamin, I can't disagree with you on what you said. There does seem to be two schools of thought on Vista class. It appears that the "too trendy" idea gets applied to Zuiderdam, while the "next step in evolution" gets applied towards the Oosterdam. Maybe HAL went too far with Zuiderdam and then toned down the Oosterdam in response? That is what I have read between the lines. I don't know much about the Westerdam. Even though I have never been on the Amsterdam, Rotterdam,Volendam, or Zaandam, I do get the feeling that is the line's best or at least most beloved ships.
Last year I had planned to sail the Amsterdam to Alaska but switched to the Statendam in order to see more of British Columbia. This year I had booked on the Amsterdam, but switched to the Oosterdam due to flight schedule problems. I'll sail on one of the flag ships one of these days!!!
As far a halt to building new ships, right now there seems to be. Our captain said even though in time there will be new ships, there are none on order except the new Noordam. He seemed to think that any newer ships after that might be smaller than Vista. Of course the old Noordam will be leaving, but hopefully that will be the last retirment for awhile. Thankfully!