Holland America Westerdam Cruise to Northern Europe 6/30/05- 7/10/05 Following is a summary of our cruise taken last week on the Holland America Westerdam. Overall, we were extremely pleased with this ship and the service by the entire crew. We never felt people around, there was always a place to sit, and the ship was immaculate. The waters were calm, and we never felt like we were moving. What a way to cruise.
As a means of comparison, we had been on the Sun Princess last year to Alaska, and also on the Celebrity Zenith to Bermuda. We were 2 couples traveling leaving from NY flying to Copenhagen via Amsterdam on KLM.
We boarded the ship about 3:00. We were extremely pleased with the Westerdam. From arrival through departure, it was a class act. Everyone on staff had a great attitude. We had veranda room 6051- on the Upper Veranda Deck- it was well organized, and had plenty of storage for both of us. I did bring along an extension cord which made it easy to dry my hair while relaxing on the couch. The beds and linens were really great. The bathroom also had a lot of storage space, and the bath/shower was roomy. The balcony was comfortable, and was a treat to sit out to see the sun setting at 2am on a couple of picture perfect nights. We had amazing weather for the entire trip-10 out of 11 days were high 70's strong sun, not one cloud in the blue sky. One day was cloudy, with a light shower for about ½ hour.
The public spaces are lovely and plentiful- there is much public space to find personal space for quiet conversations. The internet room was really nice- at least 20- 25 computers- all fairly private the way the setup was organized. The systems were down a few hours twice during the week, but overall the response time was excellent. Watch your room paperwork for internet specials where they give you 20 and 5 minute credits for asking!
The main pool area was also spacious, relaxing, and comfortable. Although many people were out after a day of touring, there was never problem getting lounge chairs. We spent much time there as we got back from each city usually in the 3:00-4:00 range and had time to relax in the hot, strong sun. The best buy on the ship is the Lancaster Suntan lotion that they sell in the ship's store. What a bargain! The library was inviting, yet relaxing- newspapers, books, puzzles and magazines. But if you wanted to take out a book, you needed to get it 9 -5- not real convenient if you are touring each day. That needs to be revamped.
The gym was impressive- great equipment and a lot of it. It was never really that busy either. Great views from the treadmills. The food for breakfast and dinner were fine. We never had trouble getting a table in the morning even when it was prime touring time. Lunches were not as exciting- although we only had a few lunches on board. As for dinners, we had a quiet table for four. The smaller tables are around the center of the dining room, which overlook the dining room below, and makes for a quiet dinner. All larger tables were at the windows- however, we didn't miss anything by not being situated at the windows, because it was always too sunny out, and due to the glare, the curtains were drawn. There was also nothing to see, as we were always out to sea with no views other than water. The waiters were excellent, and always had our soft drinks at the table waiting for us after the first day.
Food was well presented, and varied sufficiently for the entire cruise. If the men were still hungry after a small portion, they ordered another appetizer or main dish with no problem and no wait. Cappuccino at dinner was included and was quite good. We ate twice at the Pinnacle restaurant and we had made those reservations before we had left home. The dinners were excellent, and the experience was a treat. Service was superb, however the menu did not vary at all. We only took tenders once, and the crew was well organized and the queue moved fast. The tenders did tend to get hot inside, even when we were moving. The evening entertainment was okay- nothing amazing- a few evenings were quite good. There were movies every night in the theaters there. Timing wasn't always great, but you could always see the same movie from your room on another night. Casino was not huge but more than sufficient for the crowd.
We were extremely pleased with this cruise. We are in the midst of planning another cruise next summer on the Noordam. Feel free to email with any questions that you may have.