Every ship has its share of sour apples, be they passengers or crew. They are those people who choose to have a lousy time doing their jobs or “enjoying” their cruise no matter what. Often, it comes down to how many people we interact with as to if we see these sad people or not. On Holland America’s Oosterdam, at least on our Alaska journey for 7 days from Seattle, those people were few and far between.
More than just the luck of the draw, Holland America goes out of its way to be sure everyone has a good time, both working and cruising.
Example: Indonesian Independence Day occurred on our sailing: Holland America announced it and encouraged passengers to wish Indonesian crew members “Happy Independence Day”
Why is that important?
Later, seated in one of the ship’s specialty restaurants one of our tablemates asked a crew member if he was Indonesian and if so “Happy Independence Day”. The already-pleasant crew member beamed with pride, talking about their Independence Day and what it meant to him.
We don’t get a whole lot of chances like that to make someone’s day. But that interaction is quite typical of what we experienced on Oosterdam. Crew members who actually, genuinely enjoyed talking to passengers about any variety of topics were eager to do so.
Example: I got off on the wrong foot with the room service department, a part of the cruise experience that is really important to me. Delivery time was (what I considered) slow the first couple of days during peak times…which were most all the time as the first two days were at sea- prime time for room service. I knew that from previous sailings on a number of lines.
Still, reading me like a book, I had (required) coffee at 4am every day like clockwork. That they had some control over and were happy to make it happen.
On the last day, a crew member brought that coffee. “I’ll miss this when I go back to the real world but will surely be back to see you again”. The crew member, busy on that last morning of the voyage, smiled and said “Next week would be nice.”
…and with that comment was spoken volumes about what Holland America Line is all about: Nice people, both crew and passengers, sailing together and having a good time doing it, whatever that “good time” may mean to each of them.