As soon as I stepped onboard the Holland America Oosterdam, I was reminded that all mid-sized cruise ships are not the same.
The Oosterdam is tasteful decorated, bright and vivid, but with an impressive, understated beauty, a refined elegance.
This five-star ship carries up to 1,964 passengers and 817 crew. It features several restaurants, lounges, and entertainment options, as well as both relaxing and active alternatives.
To date, we have spent over 160 days on a variety of cruise ships, the majority of which are mid-sized (1,500-2,499 passengers) across seven cruise lines. Too bad we are not cruising at this time.
We won a tour and a decadent lunch. It’s a prize earned simply from having my name randomly pulled from the hat.
Holland America’s ms Oosterdam was christened in July 2003 by her royal highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands.
Our first view of the Oosterdam
We arrived in Auckland for our afternoon onboard the Oosterdam via ferry.
Our first glimpse of the HAL Oosterdam came as we approached the city. She sat prominently in front of the Auckland skyline, her black and white exterior almost blending into the background rather than being a huge eyesore.
Let’s get into the cruising mood …
First impression onboard the ms Oosterdam
Greeted by the beautiful atrium, it was the giant globe hanging over the entrance that first caught my eye. It instantly took me to places all around the world, reminding me of the romance of long-term travel and of faraway places that can be reached via ship.
Lounges and dining
With six places to eat onboard, plus 24-hour room service (included), you will not leave this ship hungry. In fact, it is the opposite, and you might want to check out a few of our tips for eating onboard without gaining weight.
The dining options range from casual to formal that are included, although both the steak house and the Italian cuisine restaurant have an additional cost.
The food was fabulous, and our lunch was so good that I am almost embarrassed to admit that I ate it before I remembered to take photos. That is until dessert, a light, fluffy strawberry perfection.
Artwork on the Oosterdam
In this case, a picture is worth 1,000 words. The artwork around the ship was eclectic, interesting, striking, and seemingly every where. Even the elevator doors were intricately decorated.
Cabins on the Oosterdam
The carpet in the long hallways did match the decor in the rooms, although I share here a blue hallway and a red room.
We saw two different cabins, this was the larger suite. Attention is paid to every detail.
It was the view from the balcony of the suite in the photo just above that let me really see how the other half live. We can clearly see a spa tub on the balcony of one of the largest suites.
I can only imagine how magical it would be to sit in that tub whilst cruising on a moonlit evening. Although, the lack of total privacy might be a disappointment.
We got a chance to see World Stage, the main entertainment stage, although we were not treated to a performance (nor did we expect one, as all we thought we won was lunch, even the tour was a big bonus).
I can only imagine it is impressive. After all, it’s a five-star ship, and all of the entertainment we have seen on other ships (ranging from 3-6 stars) has been excellent.
Plus, HAL has an exclusive partnership with the Lincoln Center, one of the world’s leading centers for performing arts. This is a real treat for fans of classical cruise ship music.
Swimming pools and spa tubs
There are two pools, and the main/lido pool has a retractable roof so that you can swim regardless of the weather.
Each pool has spa tubs, and the outdoor sea view pool has four adorable chairs that keep your body dry, but your feet in the water.
More onboard the Oosterdam
We didn’t see it all, there is also…
- Observation deck
- Two pianos
- Trivia games
- A family game room
- Two-story LED screen
- Full spa services, including massage
- Fitness center
- Art Gallery
- Kids clubs (for ages 3-17)
I could easily enjoy a few weeks aboard this ship. A few hours was not long enough.
Cruising into New Zealand
- Nearly every summer day, at least one cruise ship arrives in Auckland, New Zealand (about 120 per year).
- If you are lucky enough to be on one, there are plenty of things to do in Auckland and lots of interesting places to head to nearby Auckland.
- And if it’s your first time visiting, be sure to check out some of the New Zealand highlights on Albom Adventures and tips for first-time visitors.
Save on your trip and cruise with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we cruise. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Cruise: We find great deals at Cruise Direct.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Hotels: we use Booking.com (hotels at our end ports) or VRBO (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Set up private guides at the ports: Looking to maximize our limited time at a port, we often hire private guides from Tours by Locals.
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
Don’t miss our best cruise tips.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
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I will be aboard the Oosterdam for a cruise later this year. She repositions to the Mediterranean for Summer cruises. I have sailed on HAL several times and am a 3-Star Mariner with them. I enjoy the refined elegance that reminds me of cruising with my parents long ago.
What a wonderful experience to win.
Oh wow, amazing… I want to go on here 🙂
The Oosterdam looks like a luxurious ship! I would love to lunch there, but of course. 😉 Otherwise, I had lunch in my car after work. Glamorous, I know! lol
Oh wow that looks ultra fancy! What a great win for you. I hope you got to swim, and relax in their hot tub. During the week I have lunch here at work. Exciting I know. 😉
LOL – no swimming for us, it was just an afternoon tour and lunch. (I shouldn’t say “just” as it was much cooler than that.)
Julie Kemp Pick
What a beautiful ship! I loved the pool with the retractable roof for cool days. I agree that the spa balcony should’ve been more private. Congrats on winning the wonderful lunch and tour, Rhonda!
Jolanta aka Casual Traveler
Congratulations! It’s always fun to win a free lunch. Thank you for the tour and for your comparison with other cruise ships that you’ve seen. I’m not sure we’ll ever go on a cruise, but it’s good to know what we might expect if we decide to do that.
Feed Me Dearly
Sounds like a lunch to remember – I’m so happy for you!
It was like to remember, and we got to take the ferry to and from the city another one of my favorite things to do.
Wow. That sounds like an amazing trip!
Ah, I love cruising. Now you’ve given me the bug to go on another.
I’m with you about the “private” spa. I just love the way the cruise ship blends in with the city skyline. That is so impressive. Always love your pictures and commentary!
You know it was the angle that I took that photo that made it appear to blend into the city. From other angles it was clearly A huge ship docked at Queens wharf. This one was just the most fun.
Would I cruise on the Oosterdam – too right I would! Have been on her sister ship Zuiderdam twice as well. As well others in the HAL fleet so it would be no lie if I said ‘ too right I would’ lol
Lucky you to have lunch on her – me, well today, I lunched on cheese, crackers and some fruit the back deck.
How exciting to have traveled so many times on Holland America line. So much luxury. I will add her sister ship to my WishList as well, and I hope you get sail on the Oosterdam sometime soon.
wow what a wonderful prize! I’ve never been on a cruise before.. this looks very impressive.
Cruises are so much fun. I’d love to go on another one. I ate a sack lunch in my classroom by myself while I worked. Aren’t you glad you asked?
Emma and Buster
Wow, what a good fortune.
Great photos, wonderful shots with beautiful details of this beautiful hotel!
I never really thought about who should that way, But I guess they are floating hotels.
April - My Bizarre Family
Looks like a wonderful time!
Yes we got a good flavor for the shipping just a couple hours. It would be even better if we could spend week.
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Very cool! Agree about the spa. I’d want the balcony more private than that.
Way to go on the win. It’s morning here so lunch hasn’t happened yet. Neither has breakfast.
I’ve cruised before, but the last cruise was awful. We’ll never get on a cruise ship again. Ever.
Have a fabulous day. 🙂
Honestly, this really surprises me. You are such a boatie, for some reason I thought you loved cruising and did it quite often. But now that I think about it I haven’t seen increasing posts from you quite a while.
Wow! that is some cruise ship what a lovely experience it looks so posh and grand doesn’t it 🙂
Have a shiptastic week 🙂
That’s a really grand cruise ship. Great Win.. you must have enjoyed yourself on the cruise.
Grand is a nice word for it. It was so much more refined than some of the other ships we have been on.
What an amazing experience! Love the interior as well! If i have a chance to have lunch in a cruise ship I would of course to savor the food and interiors like this =)
Hi Rhonda .. I’ve never been keen to cruise … but I do hear things that perhaps make me think I should change my mind. What a great advertising ploy … and pity you didn’t take any photos of the food – I had salad – my usual … I’m not the best lunchtime eater …
Cheers and perhaps another cruise for you both coming up? Hilary
Cruising probably isn’t for everybody, But we enjoy it. And, I agree it is a great advertising ploy but also quite a fun adventure. It certainly got me to consider Holland America for my next cruise.