This was my 4th cruise, the first 3 were with NCL, and bigger ships than the Westerdam. My last cruise with NCL was a disappointment, so I was looking for a change, with the attractive prices on this xmas cruise, I was happy to give HAL a try.
I liked the free style food options on NCL and I missed that on the Westerdam, if you are looking to just kick back and eat when you want,like you might with NCL, you could go hungry on HAL, I did twice.
I also found the Westerdam to roll a lot more than either the NCL Pearl or Gem, a lot more! We had great weather and little wave action and you can feel that boat rock around. Likely because it is a smaller ship than what I have been on before. The entertainment is also not as good as on a NCL ship, only 3 of the 7 nights had "great" acts, one act was so bad, it was awful.
In general there is far less to do on board the Westerdam, than on a NCL ship at sea.
On the plus side, HAL doesn't try to squeeze every dollar out of you like NCL does, the staff is much warmer than NCL's, I had the best cabin stewards ever on this trip!! I was treated so well, I would be happy to recommend them, if it was not for the lack of eating timings, twice I went hungry.
The extra money for a suite is well worth it, free laundry service, and the express check in was very handy. Having access to the Neptune Lounge's assistant is very handy too. The breakfast delivered to your cabin every morning is also a nice touch.
My last word is for the ship's Captain, he was great, he let you know what was going on, and did a great job communicating information to the passengers.