Westerdam Cruise Review by nenfree: Beautiful Alaska on the Beautiful Westerdam
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Beautiful Alaska on the Beautiful Westerdam
I am back from a great cruise on the Westerdam, from June 29th to July 6th, to Alaska. What an awesome week! We arrived in Seattle on the 26th and spent 3 days there prior to the cruise. We stayed in the Hotel Andra, which was located on 4th and Virginia, downtown. Great location and a nice place. If you do decide to stay there request a room facing west or 4th St as there is construction on the east side across the street. The bed was extremely comfortable and the room was perfect (kingsize suite). On the first level was Lola's restaurant which had the best breakfast I've ever eaten! The first night in Seattle we asked the front desk girl of a good place to eat and she directed us to "The Pink Door" restaurant right above Pike's Market. Oh my, it was truly divine. We ate out on the porch/balcony (Italian food) and it was unbelievably good. You have to try the lasagna. We had lots of fun shopping and eating in Seattle!
A little history, I am 49 years old and have traveled on More 2 cruises prior to this one with my husband. On this trip it was my Mother-In-Law and I. I am one of the fortunate ones who has a fabulous Mother-In-Law who I love deeply!!! And we still like each other after this trip! My prior cruises were on Celebrity and Princess.
By cab we arrived at Pier 30 around 10:15 and found the line to be quite short. Unlike Princess they do not immediately take your luggage so we had it with us standing in line. We were let in around 10:45, checked in our luggage and proceeded through the line to check in. We were on the ship by 11:25. Easy and simple embarkment. First thing we did was check out the lido deck, and the promenade deck before we ate. We had reserved massages so we got those verified for Monday, checked out the spa and workout area (small compared to Caribbean Princess), and saw the hydropool (Similar to Celebrity Mercury). We never used the hydropool but had a friend who did and said it was wonderful along with the heated loungers. The stores, casino, and pretty much everything is closed down till later after sailaway. The lunch that day in the Lido was very good. As mentioned in prior reviews it is crowded and many people had a hard time finding a place open to sit. The staff was always wonderful when I ate there, no problems there. Wasn't super "thrilled" with the food but nothing was bad! Great breakfasts with an omelet bar, eggs benedict bar, waffle bar, and then other breakfast items. I had the waffles the last day and they were excellent. Had eggs benedict in the dining room and in Lido and they were both very good. Since I am on the food subject, we ate in the dining room every nite and had very good service and meals. Again they weren't "exceptional" but good. The only thing that was a little off was the lobster night on Friday where the entree was filet mignon and lobster tail. Everyone at our table agreed that the filet looked and tasted more like one of their New York steaks cut in half and served. I thought the lobster was good. We had a great table with a wonderful view of the water to the side and behind us, late seating, (8:00), and really good service. There were 4 other women at our table (all Mom-daughter combos) and we got to be friends with them. One of the ladies the waiters loved and they kept bringing us seconds and extras without us asking. Very nice!! We all tipped them extra at the end for their friendliness. We were going to eat at the Pinnacle Grill (which looked really nice and classy) but cancelled our reservations because we were so enjoying our table company at dinner! Overall I would rank the food as a B-. Desserts were good but have had better. Their "chocolate extravaganza" didn't compare with Celebrity's. One good thing that Princess didn't have and Holland did was the ice cream bar where you could get cups, cones, etc all day long. Ate way too many icecream cones!
Our room was located on the Upper Verandah deck, deck 6, on the starboard side. It was a VB room with a balcony, 6137. We had 2 twin beds which were extremely comfortable (beat Princess and Celebrity by a long shot), nice bathroom ..not big but comfortable (small size tub and shower where you could stretch out your leg to shave!) I loved having the balcony and spent every morning on it. Our room had a small couch, table and chair across from the desk and TV. Adequate for the two of us. Nice size closet but not as big as Princess. Under each bed was room for storing our suitcases as well as a nice size drawer. We had room service nearly every morning. Not too impressed with the breakfast food for room service but did have coffee and yogurt and granola several times. The balcony had 2 chairs, a small table and a foot stand. Very comfortable. Although we couldn't see people next to us unless they were leaning over the rail you could hear everything so remember they are not private in sound! Way over packed. Had to ask for lots of extra hangers! Our room steward was nice, always greeted us with our names, and did a good job on our room. We did get to go into our dinner mates room which was on the same floor but in a suite 6064. It was much bigger than ours, with a large sofa that turned into a bed, 2 chairs, lots of storage space, a huge bathroom with a full size tub with Jacuzzi in it, additional shower, 2 sinks. They paid about 1,000 more than we did. The balcony was also much bigger. Nice room if you are going to be in it a lot, have visitors and family who will be in there too. We went to the casino many nights and had fun but didn't win much. It is very small as compared to Princess and a bit smaller than Celebrity. Very friendly staff and very helpful with the card for money program they have set up. Easy once you learn the system.
I thought the ship was beautiful, clean, and I liked the design. It was easy to get to everything. Some special touches they offered was free champagne and chocolate covered strawberries for a ladies nite deal in one of the lounges, free champagne in the jewelry stores on Monday as they opened up their lines of jewelry. Free digital workshops with a series of classes offered all week to learn how to download your pictures to a computer, how to set up a webpage to hold your pictures, how to edit, make a movie, etc. The instructor Jeff was excellent and I attended 2 of his classes. Held on level 2 by the Vista dining room. On glacier bay day they had free hot chocolate but you had to buy a mug, which I did! They did bring around hot green pea soup as we sailed and watched beautiful glacier bay. The soup was excellent. The other thing I will say is that the staff was exceptionally friendly and kind. Everyone I spoke with was very friendly.
The entertainment was so so. We attended a show I believe on Monday nite by the staff that was seriously not good. Everyone in our group thought it was pretty bad. But they redeemed themselves with their illusionist show on a different night which was really good. Didn't see too much of the others so can't comment there. On deck 2 is a coffee café where I had several excellent coffee drinks and smoothies. Must try.
The Crows nest is really cool. Great views, wonderful lounging chairs to relax in and watch the scenery. It is on deck 10 and is awesome. Didn't use the internet room in explorers café but it looked nice and looked like they had lots of computers.
On Glacier Day, I was awed! What beauty that has been created for us to enjoy! It truly was amazing sailing through the bay with glass water and gorgeous mountains and glaciers. What an amazing day. I was on the aft deck the entire day. Make sure you get out to the aft deck that morning as they have all their fleece 50% off, mittens, hats, etc. Nice stuff. The weather on our cruise was perfect. Some days were foggy and cold but coming from Tucson I enjoyed every minute! It did rain (drizzle) in Ketchikan. I did wear layers. I thought the ship itself was a little cold so I almost always had on a couple layers.
In Juneau we rode the city bus (14 dollars round trip) to Mendenhall Glacier and Lake. Highly recommend. It was beautiful out that day and the lake, glacier, huge waterfall, and scenery around the lake are breathtaking! I loved it. We also visited the Red Dog Saloon which I highly recommend for lunch. Great food and great entertainment. Shops are okay, pretty much the same stuff over and over but there are a few good ones that have some different things.
Sitka was our favorite stop. We took a private tour with Dave Lubin on his 6 passenger boat to see whales and wildlife for 3 hours. It was sooooooo good! He is an excellent tour guide, I loved his boat, and all the cool things we got to see. We were 20 yards from 3 huge whales and got to watch them a lot. Saw lots of sea otters, seals, bald eagles, and puffins. Great day! I also hiked through the national park on the east side of town. Oh my gosh, if you can hike, go there!!!! It is absolutely beautiful. The trails lead all the way through to a creek that feeds into the ocean. It is so incredible, one of the highlights for me as I love the green forest and its beauty.
Ketchikan was just so so. We didn't do any excursions just shopped and I just wasn't impressed with the shopping or the people there. Four years ago my husband and son kayaked there and absolutely loved it, so I guess it is what you do that can make or break it.
Victoria we went on the horse trolley. Okay, but it didn't go through down town so it was a little different than what I expected. They went on the street by the bay and we saw the legislature building and the empress hotel but just briefly. We did get to hear a lot of history and saw the old houses which was interesting.
Disembarkment was easy and painless. Would recommend the service that sends your luggage directly to the airport. It costs 16.00 but is worth the comfort of ridding of your luggage. We did the Building, Bridges, and Billionaire excursion when we got back to Seattle as our plane didn't take off till after 2:30. It was a bus ride to Lake Union where we got on a boat and toured the lake. It was fun and much better than sitting in an airport all day. We saw the floating houses, Bill Gates home (unbelievable), and bridges and scenery. Our bus tour took us through the city where he told us lots of history going to and from the lake. He then dropped us off at the airport.
Overall I really enjoyed our cruise. Would I sail the Westerdam again or Holland, Yes, but I want to go on Royal Caribbean next for variety:) Hope this helps all of you who may have questions. We loved the ship and I think you will too. Any further questions feel free to email me. Happy sailing:). Less
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