The Westerdam was scheduled for dry dock immediately after this cruise and looked like it. In spite of the furious efforts of the crew to stay ahead of the inevitable entropy of sea travel, the ship looked tired and in need of service. The public spaces were not very impressive in decor or condition. The main dining area was very plain and passageways in the stateroom areas were truly dreadful with hideous artwork and drab finishes. This contrasted sharply with the handsomely appointed staterooms. Our "Superior Verandah Suite" was really more of an oversized balcony cabin than a suite, but it was very nice. The bed was the most comfortable of any I have experienced on a cruise. There was a reasonable amount of space to entertain guests and the large restroom with Jacuzzi was excellent. The only complaints we had with the stateroom were that the first day cleanup was not 100% thorough and the glass panels comprising the balcony handrail were so dirty they were nearly opaque. The former was handled on subsequent days quite well by our cabin stewards and the latter by me with a wet towel.
The ship itself moved around under sail more than most in my experience, but that may have been due to its modest (by modern standards) size. However, it was very smooth-sailing and amazingly free of mechanical noise or vibration. It was so quiet that it was impossible to tell we had docked without looking outside. We noticed that despite being reasonably full, the ship never really felt crowded and we never had to wait in line for more than a few minutes.
The crew was delightful. Mainly Pilipino and Indonesian staff with Dutch officers, we got nothing but outstanding service from all. The food was also uniformly excellent with the specialty Le Cirque dinner a true 5-star experience. We availed ourselves of a high-end wine tasting that was memorable and well worth the extra cost. We also liked the flexible dining option very much.
Entertainment was somewhat limited compared to other cruise lines we have experienced, but was generally of good quality. The shopping areas were oddly configured, limited in size and scope, and not up to the level of the RC, Carnival and Cunard ships we had been on before. Even so, the staff, as elsewhere on board, was friendly and knowledgeable.
Administratively, the ship was run flawlessly, with check-in and check-out amazingly quick and efficient.
Overall, this was a very good cruise and well worth what we paid. Hopefully when Holland America returns the Westerdam from dry dock, some of the faults we found will be corrected and they will have kept all the best parts.