After many years sailing with Carnival, we tried Holland America for our cruise to Alaska. My traveling party (all individuals under the age of 35) wanted a smaller boat and so we sailed on the Westerdam. What a mistake!
Firstly, one hour after our ship sailed away, the boiler room caught fire. We were notified on this by the captian getting on the loudspeaker and asking crew members to get to their stations. We received little information until the fire was put out. Then, the fire reignited. The boat was turned around and we were sent back to Seattle. Then, no information was given for HOURS. We didn't know if we were going to sail at all; or if the itenerary would be revised; or when we would leave Seattle. Finally, at approximately 11 pm that evening, the CEO of Holland got on the loudspeaker (saying, "Well, I live here, so this wasn't a long trip for me"--thanks for that) saying we would miss the Sitka port and be compensated a measly $250 per cabin for our troubles.
Frankly, this ruined our cruise. We were on the boat way too much. Instead of 1 day at sea, then a port, and then scenic cruising in Glacier Bay, we spent 2 full days at sea and then Glacier Bay, so we were on the boat for almost 4 days straight (counting when we got on at 1 pm on Saturday). It would have been okay if it were a nicer boat. But the decor was unbelievably outdated.
And worse, the boat STUNK. The bathroom smelled of sewage the entire time. There was an area on the third floor that if you walked into, you'd gag-- it smelled like rotten vegetables for the entire cruise. I'd never been on a ship that odiferous in my entire life.
Further, the food was the worst food I've ever had on a cruise. I've always gotten on here and laughed at the people who complained about the food, thinking "dude, it's a boat, what do you expect?" But this food was crap. We ate at the steakhouse one night, and I ordered the crab cakes to start. They were about the size of a quarter. When the waiter put the plate in front of me, he said "I always laugh at the looks of disappointment on the diners' faces." Ummm, thanks? The Lido had few options and none of them tasty. The only place with decent food was Canaletto, the Italian place. In sum, the food was pretty gross. I couldn't wait to get off the boat.
The one positive is that the crew was the friendliest and pleasantest of any boat I've ever experienced. But everything else was complete and utter crap. Numerous emails to the customer service department have gone unanswered. We spent a large sum for this cruise and were completely and utterly disappointed. We feel like we wasted our money. Please, choose Princess and a newer, shinier boat. You'll thank yourself.