Westerdam Cruise Review by Bill Fox (bingobeach): Westerdam - Western Caribbean
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Westerdam - Western Caribbean
March 11-18, 2007 Since my late in-laws travelled over 20 times with HAL, my wife I (60) were looking forward to this our first HAL trip after already cruising with Celebrity and Norwegian. We loved the ship but especially noted, 1. service esp. our room steward and dining room steward...the entertainment while receiving some negative reviews on Cruise critic, we found exceptional particularly the Elton John nite...now I am not an Elton John fan but as others have said this show is a MUST...as were the other evenings and the other entertainers, Fabio, the pianist, Rosario strings, etc. The food, as expected, was fabulous. Thanks to other reviewers, we found the drawers under the bed, and the hair dryer, which was very effective. 11 o' clock Lido deck meals unfortunately became a habit...now to be corrected back at home... Verandah was great except for the neighboring smokers one with his cigar...too bad HAL has not designated one side of the ship for non-smokers. As an asthmatic I More
would have appreciated this. Drew, the social director and his staff were exceptional...in fact there was only one negative about the staff...a new dining room boss decided to hold an 11 o'clock meeting the exact nite and hour of the performance by the Indonesian staff...this was thoughtless to the staff and to the patrons hoping to see their stewards, etc. A few other little concerns were more to do with fellow cruisers than the ship line...countless examples of people "cutting in" lines, a diapered baby, although cute, had no place in the hot tub...yuk... For the first few days, the staff were outrageously overworked due to sterilization procedures...we could not even get our own salads or drinks...while this was admirable and did result in a sick-free cruise, some cruisers were noticeably upset with the resulting few minutes longer it might take to get all you want at the Lido...I mean what was the hurry?...did they have a train to catch?...amazing how classy looking individuals are such bores..and so inconsiderate and unappreciative of the efforts of the overworked staff...who not once lost their sense of humor or genuine desire to please...and after the initial few days, all cruisers were able to help themselves to their meals, etc. Shore excursions were excellent...unfortunately on the Half Moon Cay, the wind was a little too strong to permit my wife to parasail...pity as the life insurance policy was completely paid up. Grand Turk, we really enjoyed the glass bottom kayak adventure throughout the mangrove areas, where we noted many, many types of fish...the staff there were also very helpful, the beach snorkeling that followed was also hindered by high winds and was not as enjoyable as it could have been. Cayman Islands received a real education about butterflies and then had a pleasant time at the crowded beach... lastly, Costa Maya provided an excellent beach snorkeling adventure...with different classes for different levels of experience...Roger doing the beginners was exceptional, and even though a few of us were hesitant, he soon had my wife right out there with the most experienced, watching even a barracuda swim by. We had the lovely small beach all to ourselves. I would highly recommend all of these excursions. One final concern was the rocking motion of the ship for the first few days...although as an experienced cruiser, along with others with more experience than I, we found the motion the first few days to be excessive...when I mentioned this to the staff I was told everything was operating properly...they did not insist that the stabilizers were working, but something was amiss...and was corrected by the third day...where the ocean swells were no less calmer...Methinks there is a conspiracy among some ship lines to cut back on the use of stabilizers at times, therefore saving water resistance, saving travelling time and saving fuel costs...I hope this is a faulty theory...but none the less I did not see the customary swale from mid-ship that stabilizers can sometimes produce...so have to assume I am right, and the staff, while themselves, being honest, were only relating what their superiors were telling them... Embarkation and disembarkation has already been mentioned in other reviews as being very smooth. One nice touch was having the Cruise Consultant join us one evening for a meal. "David" even treated us to wine, even though most of us at the table did not drink, and to finish off gave a little plug for the future cruises, which we will definitely look at..hopefully no one else will post reviews about rocking an rolling...I did hear that the ship is going soon to Europe and will be in dry dock there for a period of time...to expand the ship and hopefully work on those stabilizers...Looking forward to cruising with HAL again, but as is the case with my wife and I, and our companions from Hamilton Ontario, we are usually looking for the itinerary and the Mediterranean is next on our agenda...in a year and a half...when we all can once again afford a cruise...any questions I will be only glad to share in gratitude for what I learned from Cruise Critics before I went on this cruise. Less
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