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MS Oosterdam – An Overview

I thought you might like a tour of the Oosterdam but be warned, this post has a lot of images!

Our cabin

Our cabin

The Oosterdam is a very beautiful looking ship from the outside and I love its navy blue lines.  However when we walked onto the ship I was immediately struck by the overpowering use of teal blue in the interiors.  There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just quite ‘in your face’.  In terms of the styling, I wasn’t sure what the decorator’s idea had been, given it was a Dutch shipping line now owned by an American company.  Looking at the statues and artifacts and other decorative bits and pieces,  I was wondering if it was meant to be Greek-inspired or Roman-inspired but neither seemed quite right.  I decided it’s some sort of channeling of King Neptune with a bit of Liberace thrown in.

A welcoming 'fresco' in the day spa.

A welcoming ‘fresco’ in the day spa.

 I always took the stairs rather than the elevators.

That’s a lot of teal blue.  

A sculpture outside the Lido bar.  A sculpture outside the Lido bar.

Is it Roman?  Is it Greek?  Is it Liberace/King Neptune?

Is it Roman? Is it Greek? Is it Liberace/King Neptune?

These heavy-looking seats were at the stairwells of every level.

These heavy-looking seats were at the stairwells of every level.

Blue and gold were common colour palettes on the ship.

Blue and gold were common colour palettes on the ship.

A lounge outside one of the bars

A lounge outside one of the bars

Laundry:  There is no iron or ironing board in your cabin.  Apparently there are some communal laundries on the ship (I never came across any) but they too, don’t allow ironing.  When that realisation hit, we paid around US$100.00 for unlimited laundry including dry cleaning.  If you don’t want to pay that much, there is a laundry bag in your cabin and you can stuff it full and have everything in it washed for US$20.00/bag.

Heading out of Sydney.  Love the timber decks.

Heading out of Sydney. Love the timber decks.

Internet:  I knew it would be expensive but I had no idea just how much I would end up spending just to try and check emails and update my facebook status.  Internet is not available in your cabin and is only accessible from a couple of the ship’s public areas.  I used to go to the internet cafe as it is on the top deck, right at the front of the ship with a full view of the ocean.  It’s a stunning place to try and get some work done if you can afford it.  We spent just under US$400 and as you know, I wasn’t on-line long enough to be able to put up a blog post.  Another frustrating feature of the internet is that the more users there are on-line, the slower it is.  One day I was trying for 45-minutes to open my emails.  I gave up in frustration as was only getting spinning wheels.  I probably only had productive use of the internet for 10-15 minutes but paid for 45 because there were 55 other users online.  There is no reduction in rate for slow speeds.

One of the bars where you could enjoy live entertainment.

One of the bars where you could enjoy live entertainment.

Shopping:  I was pleased the ship isn’t riddled with shops as I didn’t want a ‘floating mall’ type of experience.  There were essentials, clothing, gift lines and duty free.  We did buy a few things at the shop and found the prices to be very reasonable, especially for cosmetics, skincare and watches as these products sell in the USA for so much less than what we pay in Australia.  There were some good duty free buys on alcohol as well.  Shops are only open when not in port and they have to be at least 35 miles from shore before they can open for business.  On the last two days of the cruise the ship set up a market around the Lido pool so that if the passengers didn’t come to the shops, the shops would come to the passengers.  I didn’t appreciate that as all deck chairs had to be removed to make room for the market giving passengers very little space to recline around the pool.

The shopping centre.

The shopping centre.

Swimming Pools:  There are two swimming pools with spas; one in the mid-ship at the Lido Bar and another on the aft deck.  The pool lounges are very comfortable and look fairly new and there are plenty of pool towels that are large and fluffy and look new rather than well-used.  We never had any trouble getting a pool lounge which was a pleasant surprise.  The roof over the Lido pool is glass and can be opened or closed depending on the weather.  We didn’t have any rain so it was open most of the time, except in strong winds.

The Lido pool.

The Lido pool with the roof closed during high wind.

The Lido pool.

The Lido pool on the day we were leaving.

The aft pool.

The aft pool.

Lido pool bar with fish bar stools

Lido pool bar with fish/mermaid bar stools

Greenhouse Spa & Salon:  Close to the Lido Pool is the day spa.  On embarkation they had an offer for adults-only where you could use the hydrotherapy pool, steam rooms and thermal beds as often during the cruise as you wished for US$249/couple.  Carl and I paid this so we could enjoy some peace, quiet and relaxation.  The package included some loofahs and body scrubs in a variety of scents.  I really made the most of this package and visited everyday we weren’t in port.  I found the thermal beds to be a great place to relax and would lie on the warm bed and look across to the floor-to-ceiling glass windows and watch the ocean go by – very therapeutic.  We didn’t have any other treatments in the Greenhouse as they were costly and had 15% gratuity added on top of the price.

Relaxing in the hydrotherapy pool (adults only).

Relaxing in the hydrotherapy pool (adults only) – without the jets turned on!

The thermal beds have a view across the ocean.

The thermal beds have a view across the ocean.

 The thermal suites.  Loved these thermal beds.

The thermal suites. Loved these thermal beds.

Gym:  There is a gymnasium just near the day spa and it’s positioned right at the front of the ship.  You can workout while looking through large glass windows at the wide ocean view.  I did bring gym gear but that was as close as I got to going to the gym.  Arabella went quite a few times and did some of the classes and really enjoyed it.  She loved the fridge where you could help yourself to iced white hand towels.



Entertainment:  If you’ve heard there’s great entertainment on cruise ships, you’re not wrong.  The shows were fantastic.  The ship employed guest artists from Australia who were bursting-over with talent and when they weren’t on stage, the HAL singers and dancers performed to a very high standard.  If you didn’t want to go to the Vista Lounge to enjoy a show, there was plenty more entertainment going on in many other places on the ship.  It was often a tussle to decide what we might do for the night.

Vista lounge.

Vista lounge.

The Vista Lounge - centre of wonderful entertainment.  The cocktail bar near reception.

Movies:  You can go to reception and borrow movies to watch in your cabin and Alfie did this several times.  Movies were also screened in the Vista Lounge and we watched Prisoners and Elysium but on both occasions the movies were out of focus and the picture quality so poor that in Elysium we couldn’t even read the subtitles.  There is a screening room and while the picture quality is what you would expect, and while the reclining seats are very comfortable, and while complimentary popcorn is delivered to the venue, the room only seats 30 and on a ship with 2000 passengers, more people are turned away than can fit in the seats.

Heading off to 'Tropical Night'.  Carl bought a 'zulu'.  Skirt - but don't ever call it that.  I don't know why Alfie is wearing his shoes on his ears.  Arabella and I have frangipani flowers in our hair but you can't see them.

Heading off to ‘Tropical Night’. Carl bought a ‘zulu’. Skirt – but don’t ever call it that. I don’t know why Alfie is wearing his shoes on his ears. Arabella and I have frangipani flowers in our hair but you can’t see them.

Casino:  Didn’t go there.

Outdoor Areas:  There is a lot of space to be outside and despite being on a ship with 2000 others, it very rarely felt crowded.  Carl and I liked to sit on the deck chairs on Deck 3 as these were under the lifeboats and so in the shade, and we sometimes felt like we had the entire space all to ourselves.  If you’re feeling more energetic, you can walk all the way around the deck enjoying the view from every angle.  It was also a great place to be as the sun sets or the moon rises over the water.

Relaxing on Deck 3 in peace and solitude.

Relaxing on Deck 3 in peace and solitude.

Deck 3 where I did a lot of relaxing

Deck 3 where I did a lot of relaxing

The aft end of the ship from Deck 3, a great place to walk around the ship.

The aft end of the ship from Deck 3, a great place to walk around the ship.

Strolling along Deck 3

Strolling along Deck 3

The top deck that is above the swimming pools.  Always plenty of seating and not crowded and cool showers to cool down.

The top deck that is above the swimming pools. Always plenty of seating and not crowded and cool showers to cool down.

Gratuities:  I’m not sure how we missed it but somewhere in the fine print was notification that on top of what we had paid to be on the ship, there was a daily charge of US$11.50/person for gratuities.  Gratuities are automatically added to your account and these are in addition to the gratuities you pay whenever ordering a drink or visiting the salon.  For us this was almost AUS$50/day and over 14 days it did add up and wasn’t something we had budgeted for.  If you would like to have the amount adjusted you can visit reception the day before disembarkation and discuss it with the front office.

The centre of the ship where there was a shiny globe that spun.  I have been careful to take a photo featuring the promised land!

The centre of the ship where there was a shiny globe that spun. I have been careful to take a photo featuring the promised land!

Dining:  This needs a post of its own.  Stand by!

And we've arrived back home in Sydney.  I love the timber decks.

And we’ve arrived back home in Sydney. I love the timber decks.

Overall we were very impressed with the ship.  It’s clean, tidy and kept in first-rate condition.  With its timber decks it’s a stunning ship even if some of the interior styling appears to be a cross between Liberace and King Neptune.  I wouldn’t hesitate to book another cruise on the MS Oosterdam.

You can read more about my experiences with the Oosterdam here!

And here’s a post regarding the Pinnacle Grill!

MS Oosterdam – Pacific Treasures Cruise

MS Oosterdam – Karaoke

MS Oosterdam – A Dining Experience

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  1. I’ve been on three cruises and I must say, this is much nicer than any of the ones I’ve experienced!!

  2. I’m very glad you enjoyed your cruise Charlie. The decor does look quite dated though. We knew about the tipping when we went on our cruise some 28 years ago, but it was still a shock! Why can’t the ship pay a decent wage in the first place. I’m still going to need convincing to go again to be honest.

  3. Those thermal beds look so relaxing. A cruise would not be for me. But it sounds like you had a wonderful time, albeit more costly than you anticipated.

  4. I want to go on a cruise now! Fabulous!
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. The gratuity thing just does not wash with Australians and they don’t do it on P&O anymore . However your line looked much more up market, so I guess you get what you pay for. I hope the service was amazing for the extra $US700 you paid for it.

    I must say you all look incredibly relaxed and it is a great way to spend a family holiday.

    I didn’t go near the internet when we went cruising because I had heard it was a complete rip off and very very slow. You have only confirmed that again.

    Great post Charlie

  6. Love seeing all of the pictures and learning more about the ship. Those thermal beds look very inviting. and I love this line, “channeling of King Neptune with a bit of Liberace thrown in.”

  7. What a thorough tour. Anyone planning a cruise would be fully prepared after reading this post. The thermal beds are fascinating. I’d be annoyed about having to pay extra for gratuities: definitely not a Kiwi practice!

  8. It looks like agreat holiday and a fabulous huge ship. The gratuity thing would really get me though. It’s a lot of money. GG

  9. The whole gratuity thing is a joke. If it’s a gratuity for good service, why is it required? Just make it part of the ticket price and be done with it.

    Sounds like a lovely cruise and I’m so happy you were able to enjoy a big getaway.

  10. The ship and facilities seem quite luxurious. I guess the strategy as to laundry is to bring enough things that, don’t need ironing, and that only have to have washed once on the trip. As to the internet, it’s a great excuse to go dark and just enjoy time with your family. 🙂 All in all, you had a great vacation but certainly paid for it.

  11. This ship is over-the-top fun! Wow! What a lovely way to spend time with your family.

  12. The decor is very similar to the ship I went on my friend – don’t you just love the never ending luxury surrounding you? Great photos to capture the indulgence 🙂


  13. It all looks like a Hellenic Club I went to, but it’s all part of the atmosphere I guess. I hate the gratuities catch, just add it in too the ticket price if it must be there. I absolutely refuse to tip in Australia as never in the many hospitality departments I worked in were staff allowed to keep the tips- even to split. The ship does look lovely, and it’s nice to know you didn’t feel cramped or crowded with so many other people aboard xox

  14. G’day! I am glad to see from the smiles all enjoyed the cruise experience, true!
    I’m surprised based on who you booked with and all the paperwork that they give passengers, you could have waived the gratuity per person daily and just tipped those who you thought were truly deserving of being rewarded; not a fan of communal tips in any type of experience Charlie!
    Cheers! Joanne

  15. Think I might have to look at a cruise for a future holiday 🙂

  16. This is an excellent account of your travels and the pros and cons of what life can be on a cruise. I must say I have heard some horror stories from friends but yours sounds like a very relaxing experiences. Not a big fan of the tipping process – I think that should be covered in the price of the cruise rather than an add on.

  17. How interesting! I had no idea that there was no internet in the cabins. And some things sound a bit frustrating (the cinema) while other things were well done. Looking forward to the dining posts!

  18. The ship has much to keep a person both entertained and in a perpetual state of relaxation! I would spend as much time as i could on those thermal beds! They look amazing. I think it’s frustrating not to have Internet, but probably another good way to relax. Let’s face it…we are all addicted! Great photos!

  19. This was a great insight into what cruise ships are like – thank you for the tour. I will know not to need internet and to be prepared for wrinkled clothes or dry cleaning costs 😉 I love the look of those thermal chairs in the spa, the pools, and the gym. It sounds like a nice place to call home!

  20. A cruise vacation may seem like a great way to relax, I want to try it too. But will you get sea sick?

  21. What fun!!! Bill isn’t keen on cruises, but maybe one day, he’ll give in 🙂 Love the description of the decor…King Neptune with a bit of Liberace!!! LOL

  22. I loved all the images! Thanks for sharing them!

  23. I loved this post! I’ve never been on a cruise ship, but I grew up watching the Love Boat, and your photos are just like it! 🙂 Can’t believe your internet was so expensive though!!

  24. Thanks for the tour! We’ve done a lot of cruising, but only one one line — RSSC — in part because we don’t end up having to pay a lot of extras (of course the fare is higher because gratuities, wine and liquor, and other things are included). Fun way to travel!

  25. Ok, after seeing these photos I’m sure I could manage without being on “terra firma” for a little bit… perhaps a week or two 😀

  26. Beautiful, but pricey, why I will probably never go on a cruise… 🙁 Maybe some day. Thanks for the tour!! xo

  27. Hmm the decor is rather crazy isn’t it? I’ve been on two cruises and I found it a little over the top on both of them!
    Looks like you sussed out the best spots to be. Isn’t the internet insane? Dad nearly had a heart attack at our internet bill and I tried to argue that we only got internet access about 10% of the time we had paid for but it didn’t work.

  28. Charlie, I’m just now getting caught up on my blog reading and your cruise ship re-cap was a balm to my soul. Ocean views. Mermaid chairs. Liberace meets King Neptune decor. 🙂 Will definitely stay tuned for your dining review. I’ve never been on a cruise, but your post made me want to go on one!

  29. WOW! What a ship!!! I’ve never been on a cruise ship and never expected one to be anything like this. It’s a floating city! What a way to vacation!

  30. Waw, everything on the cruise ship looks Amazing, Thanks for the grand tour.

  31. The ship looks much more beautiful than most, but I was surprised about the gratuities… so you were charged that money daily per person for… nothing?

  32. That’s quite a ship! I think one of my favorite parts is the thermal beds overlooking the ocean.

  33. patrick marsh says:

    Just back from NZ onboard the Oosterdam and I’m afraid I disliked the ship. I won’t sail in this size ship again preferring the smaller Rotterdam Class.


  1. […] couldn’t have been more fortunate to discover there was a karaoke competition on board the Oosterdam.  Lucky for me because I love to watch other people make fools of themselves and lucky for Carl […]

  2. […] or 8,000CFP and 5,000CFP for Alfie.  A much better deal than what was being offered on the Oosterdam and apparently, a better island to […]

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