As in other areas of service, dining and entertainment HAL has been cutting back on its stateroom amenities. Though these items were included in the HAL fact sheet of Stateroom Amenities, we found them lacking on the Westerdam. We did not have a steward escort us to our stateroom, or meet us there until well into the night. Service levels are still there, enhanced if you give the steward a tip in advance. The plush bathrobes that were promised, and experienced on previous cruises, now are absent unless you pay $49.00 each. there may be a complimentary fresh fruit basket, but it was empty. The satellite edition of the New York Times was no longer delivered to your cabin, had to hunt for it.
The menus, both in the Vista Lounge and on the Lido buffet, suffered from a lack of variety over the three week cruise. Portions in the dining room, were decidedly smaller than previously experienced on a sister ship. Noted repeated use of leftover entree ingredients from the previous night incorporated into the following days appetizers, salads and soups. The lobster tails were very small, and only offered at two formal nights. Escargot only, one night, but frequent usage of smaller sizes of shrimp. The preparation of the nightly fish entree varied greatly in terms of cooking times, frequently dry and over cooked. The biggest disappointment was the use of half green tomatoes even in such dishes as a beefsteak tomato appetizer plate, and on the Lido salad line.
Entertainment was generally geared toward the older crowd except for the delightful Roadhouse review. And even with a three week schedule, there were only a few song and dance shows. Comedians were okay, ventriloquist was the best show.
Stateroom was comfortable in size, but the furnishings were outdated. The seating was very uncomfortable when one spent the evenings in the room. Had to pad the sofa with additional scatter pillows provided by the steward.