After great experiences on Zuiderdam, Oosterdam and Noordam, we were expecting an equally satisfying experience on the Westerdam. Overall, we were disappointed in the two areas where we have felt HAL shines in the mass market cruising world: service and dining room food.
Our suite was very nice, as always. Great bedding, large bathroom, nice dressing area and a wonderful corner balcony.
The ship looks great after her refresh. We loved the new Explorations Cafe and the expanded library, a rarity on modern ships. It was well used most days and very crowded during peak viewing times.
The Pinnacle Grille was delightful for breakfast and dinner and we ended up there five of seven nights.
The laundry service was particularly good on the Westerdam.
The Captain did an excellent job in Glacier Bay and it was a day to remember.
The Neptune was wonderful and the concierges good, not great as we have had in the past.
I bought a pass for the thermal suite and enjoyed it, though rarely got to use the heated loungers as they were often full.
HAL needs to work on the open dining service and food. It was rushed and food quality nowhere near previous HAL cruises. On the few days lunch was served in the dining room, the lines were long. HAL should plan this better as they surely know when to expect the crowds.
Our room steward was overloaded with cabins and often ours did not get made up until mid afternoon, a first on a HAL cruise. He was apologetic on every occasion and it was obvious he was working hard but simply had too many cabins. This was not isolated to our cabin or deck and others traveling with us had the same experience.
Ship's clocks would show different times which made it hard to adjust to actual port times. I showed up at 7am one day for a meeting and it was really only 6am and this was based on the clock in my statement which Guest Relations assured me was always accurate.
There was a smell of urine present in our bathroom much of the time. I do not believe it was a cleanliness issue, rather a plumbing one.
The string quartet played the same set of music for 40 minutes every night. It would have been nice to have some variety in the music offered. IMO, HAL is really lacking on the live music offerings.
There were two kids with wheelies coursing through public areas. Since their parents were obviously oblivious to the safety hazard as well as the annoyance they caused, IMO staff members should have stepped in. We encountered them whizzing by several times. There were several large and very loud families on board. Kids were climbing on chairs in the Queens Lounge during a Culinary presentation and using the tables and chairs in the crowded Lido as a personal playground. It appears to be an increasing problem on cruise ships these days but this is the worst I have seen on HAL.
We did not attend any shows, use the casino, participate in any group activities so I have no comments on those.
The attention to detail that we enjoyed on other HAL cruises was not there on the Westerdam. This comes from the top down and reflects in every area.
We have no plans to be back on the Westerdam.