We are a from Iowa where it is cold and snowy during the winter. I am in my late 50's and my husband is in his early 60's. We took this cruise to get out of the winter and to relax in the sun. We flew into FFL on 1/30 and stayed at the Sheraton Suites, Plantation. This is a nice hotel connected to a mall that is now closed. It is not on the beach but served our purpose as we were visiting relatives in Davie which is close to Plantation. The hotel had promotion and was only $99 a night. I did also see it on Hotwire for $66 a night. A bargain for February prices. After visiting our relatives on 1/31, we arrived at the port at 1:10pm on 2/1. There was no line and we were on the ship by 1:30pm. Since the rooms weren't ready they make you go to the Lido deck. This is something I don't like. The deck was crowded and we ended up sitting near the pool in the aft. It was very windy. We got some salad for lunch and waited until about 1:45 when the it was announced the rooms were ready.
Our room was on the Upper Promenade deck near the aft. The room had plenty of storage space. 2 closets for hanging clothes - which also had shelves that you could pull down if you wanted to and 1 closet with shelves and the safe. There were 2 drawer night stands on either side of the bed, drawers under the foot of the bed, drawers under the loveseat. The area that had the TV also had the minibar and an area with 2 shelves. The top of the round seat for this area lifted off to reveal more storage. The bathroom had a "medicine" type cabinet with 2 shelves and a long shelve under the sink for more storage. Our cabin attendants, Ronald and Mata were excellent. They called us by name, filled any request we had, and were always smiling.
We had a table for 2 in the early fixed seating for Dinner. Our wait staff was Indra and Rama. Both did a great job. The food was good - not great but good. Remember there were 1800 people on board to serve. We thought the food on the last day was our least favorite. We did not eat in the dining room other than lunch. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill for lunch one day compliments of our travel agent. The food was also good but I think the dinner there would have been better. We did eat breakfast and lunch in the Lido deck every day. Most days we were able to find a table with no problems although on the sea days it was more of a challenge. The food was also good here. We liked the waffles with mixed berrys for breakfast! As for entertainment, we only went to 2 shows, the comedian Jim Labriola and musician Joel Mason. Both were very good. You will need to go early to the shows at the seating fills up fast. The first night Joel Mason was there we went about 10 minutes before the 8 pm show and could not find 2 seats together. There was an 8 and 10 pm show. The lounges were not crowded at night - seems most people retired early.
Our first port of call was Half Moon Cay - we were one of the earliest people off the ship. The sand is very soft and the water was a little cool, but nice. We rented a clam shell which we really didn't use much. Mainly we laid in the sun and I walked the beach. We returned to the Westerdam around 1 pm as I was feeling a little sick - combination of little sleep, a large pina colada ($9.75) on the beach and rocking motion of the ship. In Aruba we met friends who have a time share there and they were our guides. We shopped a little at the stores near where the ship docks, then drove to Baby beach. This beach was not crowded and the water warm and shallow for quite a ways out. Then it was back to our friends place and to dinner and a carnival show. We did not return to the ship until after 10pm. In Curacao, we had thought we would take the trolley tour on our own. First we walked around and did some shopping. Then wandered over to the floating fish market and to the Maritime Museum which was a nice cool break. Both in Aruba and here it was hot and windy. We decided we were ready to return to the ship by mid afternoon.
Our Sea Days were spent relaxing in the sun, either on our balcony on on deck 10. On the last full sea day, a passenger had to be evacuated due to a medical condition that needed more attention. So the coast guard sent out a helicopter to pick him/her up. I hope he/she is okay. People just swarmed the deck to watch the helicopter. I found this a bit unsettling, but I guess most people were just curious. I did participate in the Walk for a Cure - 9 laps around the Promenade deck is equal to 3 miles. Money raised to fund Breast Cancer research. The ship itself is very nice - a lot of good art work, live flowers on the ship, etc. There were potted orchids on each table in the Lido deck. We did have some rough seas -one day the waves were 24 ft. The ship did seem to have a lot of motion - more than I remember on any other ship. We both took some medicine to help with the queasiness.
We liked the silent disembarkment - you can choose a window of time you want to get off the ship - we chose 10-10:15 and were allowed to stay in our room until that time. Once off the ship, we gathered our luggage and waited for the shuttle to take us to the rental car center at the airport. We spent the night at the Sheraton Airport location and flew back to Iowa on Monday 2/9. All in all it was a good, relaxing vacation. We would probably sail on HAL again and know we will cruise again on some line.