We had cruised one other time on another cruise line and came close to giving up cruising.
However, Holland America and our experience throughout the process of selecting a cruse, booking, and the actual cruise was completely different from what we had experienced previously. I can only relate our experience and trust that it will be of benefit to others.
It all began with our cruise consultant Crystal Brooks, based in Seattle with HAL. Crystal worked with us for sometime, maintaining contact and advising of promotions that were available. She conveyed a personal interest and concern that we achieve exactly what we were seeking and that our experience with HAL would be the best possible. I would highly recommend her as a consultant to everyone. And, if she is an example of the consultant staff, HAL is truly blessed.
As for the Cruise I am not sure where to begin. The embarkation went smoothly and our luggage was delivered to our stateroom by the time we had unloaded our carry on items. We chose open dining and enjoyed it completely. We were seated at a table for two and could have our own privacy, yet close enough to others to converse if we desired to do this. The service and food were excellent. The Dinner menu changed daily yet contained items that were available each day. We were completely satisfied with the portions. They were adequate yet not overwhelming in size and professionally presented.
We made use of Room Service for breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed eating on the veranda each morning. Food was delivered hot, fresh and exactly as ordered.
We made use of the Lido restaurant for lunch and found the selections excellent. From salads, hot sandwiches made to order, burgers and hot dogs, many meat items and vegetables were available. No way to remember and list all. The ice cream and desert area were wonderful.
The entertainment was wonderful. We enjoyed the shows with song and dance as well as the shows provided by the illusionist and the comedian. We really enjoyed the music each evening throughout the ship. Our preferred place was the Ocean Bar to listen and dance to the music provided by Lynn and the HAL Cats. We looked forward to being there each evening.
Will we sail again on a cruise with Holland America. Absolutely, God willing. If this sounds like a commercial for Holland America and the Crew of the Westerdam, so be it. All I can say is what we experienced for 22-29 March 2014 was wonderful.
We did the Ultimate Snorkeling with Captain John. It was a wonderful experience and well worth the cost. Two boats totaling 64 people were involved plus the captains and mates on each boat. We went to two reefs where the mates were in the water with us and feed the fish. The fish were abundant and colorful at each reef. The coral was beautiful and the water clear as crystal. The best thing as far as we were concerned, there was no current to fight. We have snorkeled several places and fought currents repeatedly. This time no current. Captain John is very knowledgeable and professional as well as safety conscious.
We did the Art around the Island tour. We were taken to five homes of artists on the island. We covered the entire island, both the French and Dutch sides of the island. This we felt a good way to see and get to know some of the people of the island. We say a variety of styles and were taken to a mansion over looking the bay to homes in town and in communities around the island. The artists were gracious to us as we were literally in their living space. This is a good way to see the total island and to meet some of the people. Our guide was very knowledgeable and kept us advised as to where we were and what to expect at each stop.