Awe-inspiring 18 Day Circle Hawaii Cruise out of San Diego

Oosterdam Cruise Review to Hawaii

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 18

Overall rating:

4.8 out of 5

18 Night Circle Hawaii (San Diego Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 02, 2017

Ship: Oosterdam

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 1037

Traveled as: Singles/Friends

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

This was my first cruise on Holland America and my first time visiting Hawaii. I will use Holland America again, not just for Hawaii, but many other itineraries. The Oosterdam was well maintained and clean. My stateroom was large and very comfortable. The ship did not have all of attractions that draw children to a cruise which I thoroughly enjoy. I am 57, and young compared to the age group that was on board which did not bother me at all. Many people that I talked to have been on many cruises and enjoyed talking about their experiences. The food and beverage was excellent and plentiful. The staff is what ultimately made the cruise so magnificent.


4 out of 5
Shuttle from airport was very easy. Luggage was taken at the airport and not seen again until I entered my stateroom. Except for an IT challenge that was causing problems with the key cards, things went pretty smoothly boarding the ship. We departed 3 hours late due to the harbour escort not showing up on time. No problem, drinks and food were plentiful.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5
We used the Vista Dining Room (Main) for dinner almost every night. Our dining stewards, Buche and Jati, were fantastic and were their for all of our requests. The menus had plenty of daily choices, meat, fowl, seafood, vegetarian and gluten-free, and changed every night. Mikey, our wine steward, and his assistant Andrew were very knowledgable about the wines and paired them with each coarse. The maitre' D adhered to the dress code which was nice to see. Gala nights were special. We had quite a few ladies and gentlemen that wore formal attire but most were just well dressed for the evening. We dined at the Canaletto Italian Restaurant twice and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I highly recommend it, don't miss it. We were not able to get into the Pinnacle Grill due to time restraints.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
I greatly enjoyed the fact that this ship did not have rock-climbing walls, water slides, go-carts, pool side BBQs, line dancing etc. It was a very relaxed atmosphere with no children running wild. I used the Greenhouse Spa and Salon practically everyday. The fitness center is well equipped with free weights, weight machines, treadmills, bikes and elliptical trainers. They also offered plenty of classes. I also used the hydro-pool and thermal suites which included an aroma therapy room, steam room and heated ceramic loungers which were great for my hips and back.

Greenhouse Spa And Salon

5 out of 5

The Greenhouse Spa and Salon had a wide range of treatments available. I would recommend taking the tour on the first day to get acquainted with the staff and indulgences available. I personally used the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage and Immersion Bed, Biotec Facial, Bamboo Massage, Lime and Ginger Salt Glow with Full Body Massage, Ionithermie Slimming and Detoxifying Treatments and a Fire and Ice Pedicure. Each treatment was personalized for my needs and the staff made each visit even more indulgent.


4 out of 5
I was pleased overall with the variety of entertainment available. The Oosterdam Singers and Dancers were excellent except for the female singer. She seemed to be off key a good portion of the time. Robbie Howard, singer, comedian and impressionist, Dale Kristien, star of Phantom of the Opera, and John Nations, comedian and juggler were very good. Katei, rock violinist, was superb. Since this was a Hawaiian cruise we also had the privilege of seeing the Drums of Polynesia from Maui which performed traditional dance and music. We also had a special show that was performed by the cruise staff from the Philippines which was very entertaining and allowed you to get to know the staff better. I did not get to see the magician and ventriloquist thus I cannot rate their performances.

Vista Lounge

5 out of 5

I believe the Vista Lounge was renamed Lincoln Center Stage, if not I apologize for the mistake. I have not seen this type of entertainment available on any other cruise line. If you enjoy great traditional chamber music, this is the place to be. Kevin Rogers, violin, Otis Harriel, violin, Sun Chang, piano, Doug Machiz, cello and Taija Warbelow, viola were superb to put it mildly. I looked forward to their performances several times a day.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
I would just like to commend the following for their spectacular service (and their are so many others to whom I either can't remember or failed to get their names). Taylor, Cruise Director Buche and Jati, dining room stewards Mickey, somalier Andrew, beverage steward Tiino, Lungi and Vanya, Greenhouse Spa and Salon Budi and Joko, room stewards Wayan and Matgudi, in-room dining stewards Gin, Puwanat and Som Som, beverage waiters These people and so many others are what make a so-so cruise into something special and very memorable.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Their never seemed to be a time that staff was not cleaning and maintaining such a wonderful ship. I was very pleased with the layout and cleanliness. I always try to get acquainted with a ships layout prior to boarding. This was a very easy ship to get around. Three banks of elevators as well as two banks of glass elevators moved passengers quickly. Of coarse you should plan for busy times such as ports and Mainstage shows letting out. I travelled with a person that was on an oxygen machine 24/7. We did have plenty of batteries but would have appreciated knowing where outlets were so that he could plug in. We did find a bank of outlets on the Lido deck between the Lido Bar and Dive In burger joint and on the upper level by the doors in the Mainstage showroom.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
This is an Inside Stateroom on the Main deck, J Category Large 15x15 225 sq. ft. 1 queen or two twin size beds, a pull down bed above the queen and a twin sofa pullout. Large bathroom (no tub), larger than the Veranda Rooms. 3 closets with shelves, cabinet under the vanity and two drawers under the bed, also a stocked mini-bar. There is a flat screen TV with lots of viewing choices. There are 3 electrical outlets and charging outlets for electronics on the vanity as well as an outlet in the bathroom for your shaver. Just a reminder that this type of room is only available on the Vista Class ships. I would choose this room over a Veranda or Outside stateroom anytime unless you need a window or veranda. Budi and Joko kept this room immaculate.

Ship tip

I would like to offer two tips You get a "When & Where" newsletter each evening. Plan your day from this. It is a single trifold piece of paper that bounds with information. If you like to drink, whether it is cocktails or wine with your dinner or espresso and cappuccino after dinner, check into the drink packages. They can be well worth it.

Ports of call

San Diego, California

5 out of 5
I flew in and flew out, but I have visited many times and it is well worth your time to take a few days to visit the beaches, go out to Coronado or visit the Zoo and Balboa Park amongst may other activities.

Hilo, Hawaii

5 out of 5
I took in two excursions on Hilo. The Waterfall, Cave & Black Sand Cove tour was very nice. Three falls, the most famous being the Rainbow Falls from a private outlook. I was not impressed with the Kaumana Cave. You could not go very far into the cave. The Black Sand Cove was beautiful, saw quite a few of the Green Sea Turtles sunning on the beach and rocks. The tropical fruit farm was beautiful, delicious macadamia nuts and Kona coffee samples also fresh fruit samples, we tried the Star Fruit. Kent was very knowledgable and an excellent tour guide. My second excursion was the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens, a gem not to be missed. The van will get you there and back but the gardens are on your own. Take the full 2.5 hours to take in the beauty.

Lahaina, Maui

5 out of 5
This is a tender port. I was not able to book an excursion due to popularity of this island. If you plan on excursions, book early. We did get to do some shopping, Hilo Hattie's is very popular. Good bloody marys at the Pioneer Inn.

Honolulu, Oahu

5 out of 5
This is an overnight port. We rented a Jeep to get around. Part of our group used to live here so we did not book excursions. Plan on traffic during your travels. If you like architecture, make sure to visit the 'Iolani Palace, beautiful and so full of history. " We also hiked up to Manoa Falls, about a 2 mile roundtrip and also took in the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout. So much to do and so little time to do it.

Kailua-Kona, Hawaii

5 out of 5
Again, this was a tender port. As with Maui, the tenders were very easy to get to and from the ship. We booked the excursion Kona Coffee, Gold Coast and Cloud Forest Adventure. Much warmer and drier than the Hilo side of the Big Island. We started our adventure at the Kaloko Honokohau National Historical Park known also as the Gold Coast. Our guide made sure that we had water before going out, it is very dry, you are walking on hard lava beds down to the shoreline. We were again able to see Giant Green Sea Turtles. We then went up 3200' to the Cloud Forest. This was absolutely beautiful and so much cooler than down on the shore. Our tour of the Mountain Thunder Kona Coffee Plantation was very informative and tasty as we were able to sample all of their coffees. We also took in some shopping at a very nice area near the pier just past another of the royal residences.

Nawiliwili, Kauai

5 out of 5
This was a beautiful island. Very lush. We took the Wailua River Cruise and Fern Grotto excursion. Excellent live music and dancing on the riverboat to the Fern Grotto. The grotto was absolutely magical, although you cannot get into the grotto any longer since the last hurricane did damage. The Hawaiian Wedding Song was performed on the deck in front of the grotto. Our guide Leoni was fantastic, very funny and extremely knowledgable. He added a couple of extra stops in to our tour, Ahukini Landing and 'Opaeka'a Falls.

Ensenada, Mexico Did not visit port

Not a good past experience on another cruise. Vendors are way too pushy for me. Do not like all the offers of sex and alcohol. Great fresh churros though.


2 out of 5
Disembarkation left a lot to be desired. I am not sure what happened except that people do not listen to instructions. Announcements were constantly being made to guests to not come to the gangway until your group has been called. By the time that my group was called to disembark we were just over an hour late. I'm not complaining, it gave us more time to enjoy breakfast on the Lido Deck. I arrived to the tent where the luggage was held under the group color and could not find my luggage. It took another 20 minutes for them to let us know that more could be found outside. Customs officers had very little control over the wall of people confronting them. I did make my flight on time. If I did not have the time restraints, I would not have minded staying on board and let the crowd depart.
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