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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies nor any travel or cruise agencies, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share all my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful Ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful reader will make the best-informed choice possible!.

 

Please Note: All photographs are by the author or Mr. Hun-Eng Tan or as noted.

 

Page One

Introduction:

I am afraid that this review is being written in short and daily stages and this is being done mostly due that I am not in the greatest of health at this time. Thus I will be slowly adding further stages of review, but I am sure that you will enjoy those items that will come online, for I have attempted to be thorough and informative and also included for the very first time the Holland America land arrangements in Sydney that were pre booked!

For my regular readers, many will be well aware that myself and a travelling companion sailed on the 82,305 GRT (Gross registered Ton) Holland America Line (HAL) ms Oosterdam from Sydney on a 14 night New Zealand Cruise in 2013 departing Sydney on February 6, but we disembarked in Auckland on the 20th. In my extensive review of that cruise, you will find that I cover all of her decks and all her supurb lounges, bars, showrooms and dinning rooms as well as her spacious decks and swimming pools, etc. Therefore, I will not do that again in this review, thus I recommend that you read the 2013 review and the pages that highlights the venues and all the wondrous artworks!

Did I listen to my own advice?

As this old-seadog is aging and yes I sadly do have some health issues and with my walking difficulties, I did find the ms Oosterdam somewhat too long a ship to say the least! In my 2013 ms Oosterdam review I made the following statement, “… the Holland America Line experience was wonderful; the food being simply sublime, entertainment was really good, but mostly due to the guest artists. And although the ship has a beautiful décor, etc, she is sadly far too long for me, just too big and sadly I still do not like Vista Class ships for they will roll even in calm waters, thus I will not sail on another again.” And by that, I also meant not on any large cruise ship ever again, for we have been spoiled by ships such as the wonderful ms Volendam, Rotterdam, Zaandam and the Amsterdam! These being the superbly designed and are known as the R Class Ships of HAL and are all around the 63,000-ton accommodating around 1,400 passengers.

The author is seen at the forward Lift Lobby on Rotterdam Deck (7)-

However, I decided why not she is a beautiful ship on the interior and I will ensure accommodation amidships as the Oosterdam is due to leave our shores and head off on a Trans-Pacific cruise on April 19, 2015 as she will return to the America’s, and then in 2016 she will undergo a massive refit. Replacing her in Australian waters will be one of her sisters, the 82,318 GRT ms Noordam will head this way, and I have no intention to make an acquaintance with this ship at all, even though she will have all the elegance and grandeur of any of the HAL ships, but these ships are simply too large and too long for me!

Once I decided to go on the Oosterdam for the last time, I made my booking with a wonderful newfound Cruise and Travel Agent who proved to be simply outstanding, and Robyn completed all my requests with great professionalism! Before I knew it, I received my ticket wallet with all the required paper works and labels. Robyn organised our air tickets, limousine transfers from the airport to the Sydney Sofitel Hotel for an overnight stay, as well as our transfer to the ship and a limo from the ship to the airport at the conclusion. Arrangements from the airport to the hotel, including the accommodations and other transfers in Sydney was part of a HAL package and very reasonable and it was a wonderful HAL service indeed! Flying with Qantas to and from Sydney and the complete package was very much cheaper than you could ever have achieved yourself, and that is why I believe that a good Cruise/Travel Agent is absolutely vital to commence a perfect vacation!

Please Note: My regular readers will know that occasionally this grumpy reviewer can be overly fussy and pick on all sorts of things. However, I will tell right here and now, that myself and my travelling companion, Mr. Hun-Eng Tan had the perfect vacation in every possible way and this will be reflected in the ratings shown in this mini review, as you can see photographs and a description of the ship in full in my 2013 review – the link is at the bottom of this page!

Reuben Goossens,

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer.

Fifty-Five Years in the Passenger Shipping & Cruise Industry,

From Office Boy to Agent & Manager to CEO.

Sofitel Hotel Sydney & Transfers:

We arrived at Sydney airport just after midday and soon enough out limousine took us to the Sofitel Hotel in Phillip Street central Sydney! Like all Sofitel’s the hotel is prestigious and it has a full “Five Star Rating”, and this shows the moment you arrive as the doorman opens the limo door with the traditional Sofitel greeting “Bonjour” and the lobby is nothing short from glamorous with the staff at the reception who again greet you with a “Bonjour” operate an efficient check in. To use the lift to your floor you use your room card, and the room is obviously what one would expect from a Sofitel Hotel!

We decided to have lunch at the hotel’s excellent “Soiree” Café and Restaurant. There was an excellent range of options available and the food was so good, that we decided to have our evening meal there as well. Costs was very good considering the excellent service and the amazingly and refined dished that we enjoyed, they averaged at $25.00.

Ratings:

The Sofitel Experience was rated 9.5 out of 10.

After a comfortable night we had breakfast, and very early I found one of the two Holland America Line (HAL) representatives in the lobby. A desk had been set up in the rear and these two ladies were extremely efficient, friendly and most helpful to say the least!

However, with myself having back and legs problems, thus with walking difficulties in my old age hitting 70, but still cruising with my friends, but at times things can become a little difficult. But should you have a special need, be assured that Holland America Line is well prepared for every possibility, and I do mean from shore side as well as on board. There are special needs accommodations available on board and you are more than welcome to bring your own scooter or wheelchair, although wheelchairs are available on board if required!

Obviously my efficient Cruise & travel Agent had pre-arranged wheelchairs at Brisbane & Sydney airports for both flights, as well as for arriving shore side at Circular Quay, etc., and everything went like clockwork. The HAL representatives went out of their way to ensure that all went perfectly for all their guests who were staying at the Sofitel and soon we were on the way in a luxury coach to Circular Quay and the Oosterdam.

Here we see the ms Oosterdam preparing for our Pacific Cruise on December 5

As soon as we arrived at Circular Quay Passenger Terminal, which is being rebuilt and thus being somewhat of a mess, but there was no problems whatsoever, for I was placed in a wheelchair from the bus door at the kerbside and was fully escorted with my travelling companion directly to the special check in counter, where my photo was taken and before I knew it, I had been checked in, which took less than two minutes and we had our key-cards in hand and we proceeded to board the ship headed and directly to our accommodation where the wheelchair left me. As it was lunchtime, we headed off the special “Mariners Society” Embarkation Lunch in the Vista Restaurant on level 2 and where we met a number of regular HAL cruisers. You become automatically a member of the Mariners Society once you have been your very first Holland America cruise. Whilst on board you will soon discover that many of fellow passengers will have sailed countless times with HAL. The Mariner’s lunch was delicious as always, see the menu below:

Once we finished our delicious Mariners Embarkation lunch, I consider that this officially concluded our official Holland America ms Oosterdam embarkation procedure! I can say with complete assurance that all the arrangements from the Sofitel Hotel to our Room on ms Oosterdam and our wonderful embarkation luncheon provided, was without a doubt the perfect start to our Pacific Cruise! Thus, you may ask, “How would you rate the experience?”

Ratings:

Over the years as I have sailed on various ships from other companies, my readers will have noted that I have been most varied in my ratings, for there were departments that were good and some that were far from it and I recall ratings as low as 2 out of 10, where as others may have been 8 to 9 out of 10, with the very occasional 9.5. Thus as you continue to read this review, you may be very surprised at my ratings, for they are rather high, but they are completely deserved and I am sure as you read the details, you will understand why I have rated  them as such!

The two HAL representatives (ladies) were at the Sofitel and came with us to the ship I rated 9.5 out of 10!

The Check-in and embarkation procedure was excellent and I rated it a 9 out of 10!

Accommodation in relation to Locations:

Upon booking I ensured that our accommodation would be located amidships, meaning that from my Suite, I would never have to walk too far with my trusty walking stick to any particular destination, for it would always be less than half of this huge and long 936ft ship! This time I will say it again, even though I was amidships, in due course, it still became far to much for me as my legs became so painful that I could only make it to the Restaurant for Breakfast and Dinner and have my lunch either via room service or have some delicious snacks from the Neptune Lounge that was located just outside from our Suite.

However, at the beginning, for all our three main meals we always dined at the Vista Restaurant located aft, where for breakfast and lunch it would be on deck 2, where we are assigned a special table for two, number 188, but for our evening meal it would be up on deck 3 for first sitting where we would sit at table 88 being served by our two delightful and super efficient waiters Ardian and Faud. They did everything in their power to please and they certainly did this with their wonderful and warm happy smile as they took care of us! They were a delight, and we were so fortunate for Ardian also looked after us for breakfast and lunch at table 188 on the lover level of the Restaurant.

The wonderful Faud (left) and our ever faithful and the super efficient, with a few

surprises thrown in for breakfast, lunch and dinner, our dear friend - Ardian

There is one other steward that is especially worth mentioning, that is the equally wonderful Hatonto, or as we just called him, “Tonto” who is also known to many as the “Lone Ranger” and as he approached, I would say “Hi-Ho Silver” and he would sing the famous song which was a fine short performance. Tonto was simply a delight as well as being the perfect and an efficient steward for he served us on various occasions with perfection!

This is myself and Hatonto, or my favourite “Lone Ranger” on the ms Oosterdam!

Ratings:

I give the Indonesian Restaurant Stewards and associated staff a rating of 9.5 out of 10.

That covers going aft, but during the day, I would head forward to my favourite location on board being the Crows Nest located far forward on Deck 10. However, thanks to the location of our accommodation,

This time I will say it again, even though my accommodation was amidships, It was still far to much for in time my legs became so bad that I would only make it to the Restaurant for Breakfast and Dinner, and have my lunch via room service or have my delicious snacks from the Neptune Lounge that was just outside from my Suite. In addition, I could no longer go to the Crows Nest as pain simply stopped me and would enjoy the comforts of my lounge and the spacious Verandah of my Suite, but I will cover our Neptune Suite 7067 later.

Another place I loved to visit, located far aft topside on Lido Deck (9) is the Seaview Pool, Bar and spacious Sun Deck, but also a fine covered area with many round timber toped tables, with steel posts and steel chair frames with high quality rattan finish, which is typical HAL! Here I would meet many new friends, especially the wonderful Maureen and Allan from Adelaide. I would meet Maureen at the Seaview bar area for an early 6 am coffee and a good chat, and later she would go and get me a freshly squished orange juice to save me walking. Alan loved his sleep in and breakfast in their Verandah Stateroom was usually arranged for around 8 am. I would head to the Restaurant for a wonderful breakfast at 8 am.

During the day I also spent time at the Seaview Bar, the place where my favourite bar man was located this time. During past cruises, he had always been at indoor bars past and I had come to know him very well. I graded him as being one of the best bar men ever! I have known Ernie from the days I first cruised on the wonderful ms Volendam, and have met him again and again on a number of ships including the Oosterdam last year and again this year!

An early morning scene of the Seaview Bar, with tables ready for an alfresco breakfast

Ernie is not on call as yet!

Ratings:

My favourite HAL bar man, Ernie rated 9.5 out of 10.

The delightful and beautiful Wine Stewardess, Olga rated 9 out of 10.

However, a certain Wine Waiter in the restaurant on Deck 3 rated no more than 3 out of 10.

The ms Oosterdam:

There is no doubt that the ship is simply beautiful as she is filled with so much fine art dating back to the 16th.century to modern art, etc. The ships décor is simply astounding from the more classical in style, art deco to the ultra modern, thus having something for everyone! My 2013 review does cover her art and spectacular lounges and it is a must see, for I will not be featuring any interior images on this page!

Enter: ms Oosterdam 2013 Review. But there is much more on this page that is brand new!

Neptune Suite 7067:

This image of the starboard side of the ship, with the black area left being the outside lifts that go from deck 1 to 9

As you can see our Neptune Suite is marked and it was the 3rd.from the lifts, thus almost amidships

On this cruise we did indeed travel in style as we were in a Neptune Suite up on Rotterdam Deck (7), which are delightfully spacious and have so much on offer!

The lounge looking toward the entrance

The suite has a spacious lounge area and it has a long and comfortable leather sofa that is convertible as a sofa bed for two. There are two timber and upholstered armchairs and an oval timber framed class coffee table that always had fresh flowers on it!

Looking at the Lounge and towards the verandah doors

The large floor-to-ceiling doors that lead out to the large private Verandah provided a superb view of the seascape. The verandah was perfectly furnished with a round timber topped table with rattan & steel framed chairs, as well as two very comfortable rattan armchairs with two-foot rests and a small timber-top table between them.

The spacious and comfortable verandah, where I spent a great deal of time

Considering the perfect weather day and night!

The bedroom has twin beds that are convertible to a king-size bed, and has large windows over a very long desk with a flat screen TV at the end nearest to the Lounge. Between and at the side of the two beds in our configuration there were three chests of drawers. Our suitcases were placed in special drawers under our beds by our stewards Kumar and Seno who were simply wonderful as all the Indonesian staff always are and that is why Holland America made sure that they would always have them on their ships!

Looking towards the bedroom area and its own large window. On TV is Kevin Rudd

being interviewed by the BBC during the tragic Sydney Martin Place siege before it’s sad conclusion

Just for interest; HAL looks after all their staff better than most other companies and in turn the staff works so well in return. It is generally not known, but HAL ensures that every Indonesian and Filipino crewmember will have a new home for HAL will commence that procedure from the commencement of their contract (employment) with them. They are the leader in the shipping industry in so many more ways than just one!

Back to our Suite:

Heading towards the hallway, there is another small desk with a wardrobe at the side that contained the safe and a number of shelves. Besides this wardrobe was a privacy curtain between the lounge/bedroom and the hallway.

The hallway has three wardrobes; however there are three more in the dressing room where the doors have tinted full-length mirrors. Opposite, is a dressing table, with three drawers a large wall mirror and for the ladies as there is a back lit 5x magnifying make-up mirror as well as a salon-quality hair dryer and a padded stool to sit on of course!

The Dressing Room

The bathroom is large, with a dual sink vanity and a full-size whirlpool bath with an overhead (removable) shower, as well as an additional shower stall. There are fragrant bath salts and an exfoliating loofah mitt for an invigorating shower experience available, as well as a range of fragrant soaps, lotions, shampoo and other bath amenities from “Elemis Aromapure.”

On the far left you can just see the shower stall, followed by the full-size whirlpool bath

Of course there are two sinks and wall-to-wall huge mirror and two cabinets and a long shelf below

 

Another view of our suite

But of course, just outside of our door was the pleasant enough Neptune Lounge, which is a special amenity that is exclusive for guests cruising in a Neptune or Grand Pinnacle Suite. It is a private place to relax, to socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalised service of the concierge. There is a television heavens know why, for the one in your suite is more than sufficient! There is a small library but there are comfortable leather sofas and chairs. My main dislike of the venue is that it is located in the middle of deck 7 and it has not a single window to the outside as it is a fully enclosed room. There are windows to the hallway, but even these are closed by blinds. I am well aware that HAL could not place it on the exterior, for it would take the space of much fare earning accommodation space. The Neptune Lounge offers refreshments throughout the day and I can vouch for the fact that they are delicious, in fact when my legs became so bad and could not walk very much anymore, I had Neptune Lounge lunches and believe me, it was simply wonderful. I either had it in the lounge or my dear friend and carer Mr. Eng Tan brought it into the suite for me and I had it on the Veranda. The Lounge was handy for it did have a laptop available, thus I could go online having a package. For those who would need it, there is even a “One-Touch” 24-hour Concierge Service available when the Neptune Lounge is closed.

 

Above & below: The Neptune Lounge

 

 This photograph was provided by Holland America Line

 

A final look from my bedside toward to the lounge

I can honestly say for those who really love to go cruising in style why not choose one of these beautiful Neptune Suites for it is a spacious and a most comfortable way to travel. The inclusions are vast and I have not even mentioned them all, but having a High Afternoon Tea in your Suite is wonderful, you just order it a day ahead from your Concierge. The spacious Verandah also is wonderful having its own dining table and chairs and comfortable armchairs and footrests! The cruising in the Neptune Lounge included snack of lobster tail, shrimp (prawn) cocktails American rare roast beef rolls, smoked salmon treats with black caviar, and so much more. Then there are those sweet delights, but for me it was always the wonderful range of some of the world’s finest cheeses, included the best blues, I was in my element once again! And of course not to forget, the high quality espresso coffee machine with the finest beans are always available from morning to late at night!

Ratings:

The Neptune Suite and its facilities I rated 9.5 out of 10.

The Neptune Lounge I rated 8 out of 10.

Cuisine in the Neptune Lounge was rated 9.5 out of 10.

Our Stewards Kumar and Seno we rated 9 out of 10.

Entertainment in the Vista Lounge/Showroom:

The Cruise Director:

The entertainment staff on the Oosterdam was efficiently handled by Senior Cruise Director Shane Michaels who not only did an amazing job, but His warm up to each of the shows in the Vista Lounge/Showroom were superbly handled. However, the warm ups and then the naming the main act, which he did in great style, but he always commenced with some suitable comentary was accompanied by one of his very funny jokes that more often than not had the room in fits of laughter!

Shane is seen here during the introduction for the amazing Australian International Pianist Van-Anh Nguyen on December 10

I found Shane a most able cruise Director and everything was handled with perfection and many other cruise companies could learn a great deal from HAL, for they do seem to have the best on the seven seas!

Ratings:

I rated Shane Michaels 9.5 out of 10.

Featured Guest Artists:

Keith Scott - December 7 & 11.

There was an excellent range of featured guest artists on board, who would perform their shows in the Vista Lounge. On Sunday December 7, as well as being the first half of the Variety Show on the 11th. Keith performed his incredible art using many of his well over 100 voices of famous movies stars past and present Politicians and British Royalty, and not to forget some of the most famous media personalities. But he also has a massive number of the all time great singing stars, from Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett to raging and rocking Jerry Lee Lewis, or recently lost gravelly voiced Joe Cocker. But there were also the country kings like Hank Williams and Willie Nelson. But to hear him sing some of Nat King Cole’s greats and Fats Domino’s “Blue Berry Hill,” Gene Pitney “Liberty Valance,” followed by Neil Diamond’s great “Sweet Caroline” and all of these were sung in perfection as if these artists were standing right there on the stage, that is if you were not looking, but Keith Scott is one of the greats of impersonations in the world today. I recall seeing him long ago on shows here in Australia, such as the wonderful and very popular Bert Newton show as well as Hey, Hey, It Is Saturday.

Keith Scott doing President George W. Bush

Keith’s Movie history!

Keith Scott is a well-known Australian voice actor and an animation historian. Keith Scott was the voice for Bullwinkle J. Moose in movie of “The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle” in 2000, for which he needed to be especially flown to the United States on a number of occasions. He also did the voice of the narrator in “George of the Jungle” as well as “George of the Jungle 2.” In addition Keith Scott provided the voices for the much-loved Australian animations such as; Yoram Gross’s feature films, “Blinky Bill,” “Tabaluga,” Skippy’s “Adventures in Bushtown” and “Flipper and Lopaka.” In the case of Yoram Gross’ productions, Scott usually provided all of the male character voices.

Ratings:

It is very simple to rate Keith Scott for Keith receives a full 10 out of 10!

Francis Diatschenko - December 8 & 11.

There was the guitarist with the fancy name of Francis Diatschenko on December 8 and at the variety show on the 11th. Although he was good guitarist, but his repertoire was boring and to be honest it was not very well thought out for a shipboard audience.

Ratings:

I regret that I could only give Francis Diatschenko a rating of 4 out of 10.

Van-Anh Nguyen - December 10.

This very special and great lady genuinely enthralled everyone present for she is genuinely someone great being celebrated worldwide as one of the finest pianists! Van-Anh Nguyen had the perfect repertoire from the beautiful classics to some of the more modern melodies; all played with that wonderful touch she has of her chosen instrument!

Later, the “HALCats Orchestra” joined the stage a full orchestration of certain pieces and into a grand finally. It was a great show and the applause of appreciation continued for ages!

Van-Anh introduces the next piece and the HALCats Orchestra will accompany it

Amazingly this pianist started to play when she was just a baby, as her entire family was very musical and played many instruments, Van-Anh has played in the Sydney Opera House and in Concert Hall world wide and has also made a number of fine recordings.

Ratings:

I rate Van-Anh Nguyen a 9.5 out of 10.

Rikki Jay - December 15.

His tag line is, “He’s Fast, He’s Funny … and He’s Calorie Free!”

There was no doubt that the English comedian Rikki Jay deserved all the accolades I had already heard about him, for Rikki had already headlined on a National Theatre circuit with a Warner Brothers world famous “Looney Tunes” tour and he had only recently appeared on the “Live at the London Palladium.” Rikki enjoys working live and has had a most extensive schedule performing his show and in the past he has also entertained troops in the Middle East, Ireland, Bosnia as well as the Falkland Islands. He was honoured to be presented with the “Variety Club” – “Premier Artiste Award” and Rikki is a patron of the “The Garage Theatre School” in the United Kingdom.

The greatest comedian I have ever seen, Rikki Jay

A Rikki Jay promotional photograph

But all the accolades means nothing if on the night he does not do the job, but Rikki Jay did not just “bring the house down,” he, we might as well say, “ripped the house down” with a hour long show that had everyone in the room in stitches. And by that I mean even those who where from the most distinguished part of society and the upper classes, for it did not matter who you were as this man was just funny and gave us the very best. Also his humour was so very new and without ever getting low and filthy, possibly just slightly suggestive at the most! There was only one problem, the show came to an end, and no one wanted it to finish! The best comedian I and just about every single soul in the venue will agree will have ever seen!

There is no doubt at all that Rikki is … “Fast and Funny … and was Calorie Free” for with all the continued belly laughing we must have lost an inch or so!

Ratings:

I am delighted to rate the great Rikki Jay a full 10 out of 10!

Peter Cousens - December 16.

Peter Cousens is without a doubt a famed Australian star of Stage and our TV screens, both for acting, but he is best known for his amazing voice! Today he is an internationally acclaimed musical star, being the only Australian to play the Phantom on London’s West End. Peter has had a long and a stellar career as I mentioned before, but more recently he has become a movie director, having just completed the movie “Freedom” for worldwide release in 2015, starring Cuba Gooding Jnr.

TV and Stage Showman - Peter Cousens

His special approach to singing and storytelling takes everyone on an inspiring musical journey as he did on this wonderful musical event as he sang songs from musicals and from many other sources making it a memorable evening!

Ratings:

I have given Peter Cousens a rating of 9 out of 10.

Later I will do a spot on the Oosterdam Production Company who performed a good number of times, but before I do that I have decided to cover some of the individual shipboard artists. These artists perform in various venues around the ship. The first venue is the Piano Lounge, followed by the Explorers Lounge and finally the Ocean Lounge & Bar.

1. Stryker – Plays nightly in the Piano Lounge.

In the evening the Piano Lounge would always be packed out quite early, and why was that? Well, that was because Stryker would enter the room with all of his magnetism his fancy glasses with keyboard on both sides of his glasses, and his trademark hat! Each night would have a different theme, “The Hits of Broadway”, “Sing Along with Stryker”, “You Pick the Hits,” Oldies but Goodies”,  Through the Decades”, “Stryker Goes Country”, “Rock The Piano”, “Show stoppers” and so much more! The audience was always most enthusiastic and would sing along with many of the songs and the Piano Lounge and Bar was known as the happiest place on the ship at night!

--

Stryker doing what he is the best at, entertaining his audience!

Stryker promotional photographs

Who is Stryker?

Stryker is without a doubt an international super star, considering that he has performed on seven Continents, in over 100 Countries and more than 300 Cities. In the entertainment world he is officially known as “Sir Stryker” but amazingly he began playing piano not using music, but what is known is “by ear” at the mere age of four. In due course having become somewhat more accomplished, he commenced touring the United States as a Gospel Music performer at the grand age of nine.

A promotional photograph of one of the most popular men on the ship – Stryker

Stryker promotional photograph

While away from music for a short time, Stryker was pursuing martial arts (reaching the 5th Degree in Tae Kwon Do); He produced “opening ceremonies” for world-class sporting events as well as producing/directing television and film projects.

It was around 2006 Striker commenced performing in a number piano lounges and it was that which led Stryker to be signed to become a “top-tier” entertainer for Holland America Line and there was no doubt that he was the ultimate success on board HAL ships. In fact, he was voted as being the Number One Piano Lounge/Bar Entertainer in 2013. His unique style of piano and vocal performances has moved audiences on various Holland America ships and now on the Oosterdam, but when he is not on a ship he could be found anywhere around the globe! Sir Stryker is one of the great Piano and singing stars at sea without a doubt! To see photographs of the Piano Bar and all other venues see the 2013 Review!

Ratings:

With such a fine artist, I rate Stryker 9.5 out of 10.

2. Adagio - Plays nightly in the Explorers Lounge.

There was a time when the wonderful classical Adagio on HAL ships were a trio and earlier even a quartet, but slowly due to Carnival’s cost cutting, it has slowly been reduced to just a duo, which is so sad. But then again, I see so many of Carnival’s changes taking place, but thankfully Holland America’s great tradition seem to override Carnival’s hideous interventions when it comes to passenger comfort and enjoyment of their cruise.

Adagio would play at the bandstand show here in the Explorers Lounge starboard aft on Deck 2

On this cruise there were two young ladies who were Adagio, a pianist and a violinist and both played beautifully with a vast repertoire of classical music with a good number of lighter items as well. We certainly enjoyed our evenings listening to them and feel they did an admirable job.

Ratings:

Adagio classical duet I rated 7 out of 10.

3. Gen & HALCats – Played nightly in the Ocean Bar & at times in the Queens Lounge.

Although the band the HALCats were the main musical compliment to all the musicians and the production shows in the Vista Lounge. They had their own shows each night with their female vocalist who was known as “Gen.” The Ocean Bar on Deck 3 is separated into two sections. The starboard side is separated into a beautiful intimate pastel coloured Bar and Lounge located along the windows of the Promenade Deck.

The delightful Ocean Bar always had my favourite Tawny Port, Warre’s “Warrior,” which I would enjoy in the evening

Just outside is the top level of the three level Atrium, featuring a giant slowly rotating Waterford Crystal World Globe hanging in the centre and the opening is surrounded by leather sofas with tables and chairs, whilst on the portside there is a lounge with a band stand aft, a good sized dance floor that was always well used and a raised area on the forward section.

The Atrium and you can see the bandstand across, whilst below is the Pinnacle Grill on deck 2 & the Atrium Bar on Deck 1

 

Here we see the Ocean Bar portside Lounge area with bandstand & dance floor, which is very different with its red, gold and blue tones

The band would play a wide range of music and songs, although I was not too fond of Gen’s voice, as her voice seemed to give me a headache each time I heard it! Thus needless to say, we would not attend this venue when she was singing!

Ratings:

HALCats as musicians are rated as 8 out of 10.

However, I can only rate Gen 3 out of 10.

Production Shows:

The Oosterdam Singers & Dancers:

Considering the vast amount of excellent of entertainment that was provided in the Vista Lounge by some of the finest guest artists I have come across on almost any ship to date, There was also four main shows that I will cover here, although there were other occasions the Oosterdam singers and dancers performed, such as on the first night that was called “Listen to the Music” and was an excellent introduction to what was come during our 14 night cruise!

The group consisted of four singers, two female and two male and they were very good indeed, obviously each had their own strengths. The dance group was made up of four male and four female dancers and they were excellent! The shows on offer were as follows.

Live at the Avalon Ballroom” on Dec 6, took us back to those great days of the ballroom and the wonderful music and the many styles of dances presented. The singers offered Many fine songs and the dancers did what they did best!

A scene of the finale of “Live at the Avalon Ballroom”

Rockin’ Roadhouse” Dec 9, came next and this was really a high country style “rockin‘n’rolling” style of show and the audience really enjoyed the lively show to the very end!

A romantic scene for the two at the right at the Bar

Simply Broadway” Dec 12. This was a very special evening, for the four singers together with the HALCats Orchestra would perform a more intimate style evening and perform countless of Great and Classic Broadway Hits!

The Oosterdam Singers and the HALCats are seen behind them

Stage & Screen” Dec 17, was the last show of the cruise and it was really an excellent production, for I could not fault it in any shape or form! It was the best staging of any show, excellent costuming and the singing and dancing was of the Oosterdam Singers and Dancers usual high standard!

 

Above & below: Here are four photographs of the “Stage & Screen” Show, it was out standing!

 

 

 

Ratings:

The Oosterdam Singers and Dancers are rated as follows;

The Singers are rated 8 out of 10.

The Dancers are rated 8.5 out of 10.

Go to - Page Two of the Review

 

For a more comprehensive review and photographs of the entire ship, please view my extensive ms Oosterdam 2013 Review.

 

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For Holland America Line enquiries or reservations, consult an established Cruise & Travel Specialist who is a travel professional. But do yourself a big favour, never book with any cruise company direct for they never offer you any service or any discounts something your experienced agent can do!

However for general information regarding their ships visit www.hollandamerica.com.au.

 

-Also visit my other Holland America Pages-

Page One The History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1872 to 2000

Page TwoThe History of Holland America Line and Today’s Modern Fleet

1993 to 2015

-Holland America Line Ships featured on Cruise-Australia-

ms Koningsdam - ms Noordam - ms Oosterdam - ms Rotterdam  

ms Volendam - ms Zaandam & ms Nieuw Amsterdam

ms Prinsendam & ms Statendam - (A 4-page ship review)

-Cruise and Ship Reviews by the Author-

ms Oosterdam 2013 Cruise’n’Ship Review

NOW ONLINE …

The all NEW - ms Oosterdam 2014 Review

ms Volendam Cruise Review - ms Amsterdam Ship Review 

 

Also read the Holland America Line News Updates on Cruise-Australia

 

Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.

   

My recommendation: I highly suggest that you visit a good and a long established Travel/Cruise Agency for information, bookings and obtain the best possible cruise fares. Personally I never book with any cruise company direct, for they do not offer any personal service or discounts! I know that they do not like me saying this, but I have to be honest and provide you my readers with the very best possible advice! Reuben Goossens.

 

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Classic Liner Enthusiasts visit …

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Where the ships of the past make history the 1914 built MV Doulos Story

 

Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

This notice covers all pages, although, I have done my best to ensure that all photographs are duly credited and that this notice is displaced on each page, that is, when a page is updated!

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