We were part of a 70-person group who were celebrating a member's 80th Birthday, and came up by bus from Seattle to Vancouver to do the Westerdam quickie 1-nighter from Vancouver back to Seattle (on it's last leg of a re-positioning Panama Canal cruise), with the knowledge that this would be just a very brief experience. Unfortunately, the ship's arrival in Vancouver was delayed by about 11 hours, so instead of boarding the ship sometime in the early afternoon, we had to hang out in Vancouver for several hours (which is usually a pretty pleasant experience).
But then, boarding the ship became kind of a nightmare, because everyone had to sit in the terminal for several hours. We did not get to board the ship until about 9:15 p.m. When we got to the Dining Room about 20 minutes later, they had already closed the doors, so we were unable to join the part of our group who did arrive a little earlier, and who were waiting for us to help celebrate the birthday. Those who did manage to eat dinner there were hurried out by 10:00, for the commencement of the Boat Drill. Meanwhile we were directed to the Lido Buffet, and had a partial dinner, before it was closed down as well.
I understand the necessity of attending the Boat Drill, and the reasoning behind closing down the dining options so quickly. We also totally missed the Theatre Showtime from 9-10. Some of the other members of our group were so angry about this situation, that they just went straight to bed. Others did manage to have a pleasant hour or two doing cocktails in one of the lounges, listening to great piano music. However, the pianist shut down the piano after 45 minutes and left for the night. Having worked myself as a shipboard pianist for several years, I'm quite sure that Management had allocated the majority of his shift playing to placate the disembarking passengers from the previous cruise, and so we were left with the dregs of his schedule.
The Cruise Director had the most annoying shrill voice and demeanor of any cruise director I have ever heard (maybe I'm just a bit touchy?). He also urged all of us to give all of the staff and crew 9's in every category on the review cards. A little over the top, in my opinion.
Had this been a cruise of several days duration, we would have gotten over the trauma of this trip. But it was such a short trip to begin with. We had to endure an overly strenuous day just to get onboard, in order to rush through dinner and drinks, go to bed, and get up REALLY EARLY the very next day, and then get rushed off the ship before 9 a.m.
I understand that Holland America could not control the weather conditions that slowed the ship up by half a day. I think probably EVERYBODY on this cruise felt like it was a total disaster. I heard about one woman who, while disembarking in the terminal in Seattle, was told by one of the staff that he really appreciated our business, and that he hoped we had a great time (he said this to everyone who passed by). The woman turned to the poor kid and just swore at him.
I guess my point is this: Just don't do 1 night cruises, especially is you have to travel 150 miles to get to the ship! If anything goes wrong, your trip is going to be completely ruined, and you will have such a bitter taste in your mouth, that you'll never want to do another cruise again, and you'll really resent the attitude of the staff who really can't do much about it either, except to keep telling you that you really ARE having a great time!