I went on my first cruise this past Christmas with my father. He is a Holland America regular and a senior so I was a bit worried about how much fun I would have. I consider myself fairly well traveled and have always felt a cruise or a resort would be quite dull. I ended up fully enjoying this cruise more than I would ever expect.
The Westerdam is a very classy looking ship both inside and out. Her size was just right for me where the amenities we plenty and varied but the amount of people on the boat did not make me feel cramped. Lounging on the promenade deck reading a book while sailing at sea is probably the most relaxing thing I have done in a long time.
Things I liked:
-The staff in the Crow's Nest bar (Cesar, Luisito, et al.) are an example of the finest bar staff I have ever seen. If I worked in the industry I'd poach this team. Their cocktail knowledge is the best I have experienced in all of my travels
-BB King Blues Club. The band is stellar and I enjoyed their acoustic jam sets as much as any concert I would pay to see.
-Vista dining . Portions are a good small European size and the food was top-notch. I had only one "meh" meal - skip the salmon. The rest was delicious.
-Staff and crew. The Staff are friendly and excellent and the crew are efficient and will meet your special requests
-The casino is small but fun
-The evening shows were good (but of course was family-friendly)
-I really enjoyed using a exercise bike looking out the front of the ship. It's a surreal feeling to be biking on the ocean.
-The decor is classy and rarely cheesy as I have seen on other cruise ships but it could use a refresh in the stateroom hallways
-Get a balcony. it's worth it.
Things I didn't like:
-Skip the Pinnacle Grill. I got two free upgraded meals here and I found the food in the Vista dining lounge at the same caliber if not better. The Pinnacle spends too much effort on the presentation and loses something on the execution - although the blue cheese filet was excellent
-The ship does shut down after midnight. I like staying up and over Christmas it was a ghost town after 11:30ish
-Debarking was a bit of a pain but It was Christmas so I'll let that one slide.
-Breakfast is a pain. HAL please separate the omelette line from the regular bacon and eggs line. We don't all have to have made-to-order eggs
-The lunch buffet is really hit or miss depending on what you get
-The Asian dishes were passable and the Mexican buffet spread was delicious
-The Eastern Carribean ports aren't the greatest if you aren't a beach lover