Westerdam Cruise Review by 3sistersact: Ready To Go Again!!!
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Ready To Go Again!!!
We flew into Seattle the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn downtown. We reserved a van connected to the hotel for $10 a person to pick us up at the airport. The Hampton is located one block from a 24 hour QFC grocery store which we used to get sandwiches, drinks and fried chicken from the deli area. The hotel let us use the microwave in the complimentary breakfast area to heat up the chicken and had outstanding front office staff and real comfy beds.
The hotel is only a few blocks from Seattle Center, which has the Space Needle, the Pacific Science Center, Key Arena, and the Sci-Fi and Music Building as its main attractions. There is also a monorail station there, which half of our group took the following morning to Pike Place Market downtown, about a 5 block walk from the downtown monorail station. The monorail costs $2 one way or $1 for seniors. The other half of us took the Duck Tour which is also only about 3 blocks from the Hampton. That was a lot More of fun.
Then about noon the hotel called 2 taxis for us and we went to Pier 91. The cost was $11 for each taxi, plus tip. Embarkation was quick and we were soon eating the buffet in the Lido restaurant. We liked the variety of food, especially the reuben sandwiches, and didn't miss having trays. Sometimes it was hard to find a table, but we always managed. Most of us usually ate breakfast there, although some of our group had room service for breakfast and enjoyed that. Most of the food at the buffet was served to you, after you told them which of the many choices you wanted. There were quite a few stations, so we didn't find many long lines. There was also a different type of outdoor barbeque each day and a late night snack buffet.
Our group had 3 inside cabins, which were adequate and had comfy beds. The family of 4 had a quad, which was much bigger than the other two double rooms, with a pull-out sofa to sleep one child and a pull-down bunk which came over the big bed, so the people down below had to be careful they didn't bump their heads! The room was much bigger than the inside quads on either Norwegian or Carnival. The bathrooms had little jars of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion. which they kept replenishing.
The Westerdam is beautiful and very clean. Our favorite spot was the Crow's Nest area, which had comfy chairs, a panoramic view, a bar, sometimes a musical group, the computer area and the library. Sometimes trivia would be played up there, too. I would have liked the library to be in a quieter spot. There are many cozy nooks and crannies on this ship which are used for the 6 different music groups, cooking lessons, and digital workshops. Two pools are available , the more popular being the covered one. It never seemed to be overcrowded. We never made it to the spa area, but it looked inviting. Food was provided at the Pinnacle grill for $20 each. The main restaurant was the Vista, a 2story place. We had "any-time" dining which was what the first floor was used for. We sometimes made reservations early in the day for the 8 of us and sometimes just showed up. We never had to wait, maybe because we always ate by 6pm. We used the Vista for breakfast and lunch twice, and enjoyed the choices. We also liked the choices at dinner, and if you didn't they always offered "perfectly grilled" chicken, steak, Caesar salad, and Baked Alaska everyday and a couple other things.
The sun was shining when we left , but by Wednesday, it was lightly raining and did so each day until we returned! Even though it rained and was in the 50's, we had a great time! Day 2 was spent at sea and the water was not too rough. Some of the activities we did were the sporting events at which you had a chance to earn "dam" dollars. My two grandkids ended up with over $100 and traded them in on the last day for a beach towel, a sweatshirt, a t-shirt and other things. A luggage tag cost $5. There was a Travel guide series on Alaska interspersed throughout the week, along with trivia challenges, the Casino, cooking classes, Bingo, Spa talks and art auctions to keep you busy. My grandkids, age 8 and 12, enjoyed the Club Hal, especially the "Amazing Race" and the scavenger hunt. That night was the Westerdam singers and dancers. Day 3 was in Glacier Bay. What a beautiful day! There was no rain or fog and it wasn't too cold, about 48. The ship was there from 10:30am til 8pm. One hour and a half was spent in front of Marjorie Glacier and there was quite a bit of calving, but nothing big. I liked being on the side of the ship near the top as it was a lot quieter than on the front of deck 4. There was an excellent talk by a Huna native and another by a Park ranger. There were just a few activities scheduled during the day, so all could experience the mystery and grandeur of the place. The movie shown that night at 10pm was "Crossing Over". The show was Joel Mason's tribute to Elton John, an excellent job.
Day 4 was Juneau and that's where it started to drizzle. The movie shown at 1pm was "Seven Pounds". 4 of our group went to the Dog Musher's Camp and really enjoyed that. 2 went to the Native American canoe trip to Mendenhall Glacier. They got wet, but had a great time, too. My DH and I went to the Underground Gold Mine Tour and panned for gold. The tour was very informative, but I don't think I would go again. It was probably my least favorite of the 4 tours I did. Julie Barr was the comedian for the show that night and she was funny.
Day 5 was Sitka, this was my favorite stop. 4 of us went on the Sea Otter and Wildlife Quest, which I recommend. We were the first tour and were picked up right at the ship, so we did not have to tender in. We saw seals on the rocks, lots of sea otters up close, a whale, a deer, and eagles. They provide you with binoculars, warm drinks and salmon. When we returned we met up with the other 4 and walked around Sitka. I especially recommend walking to the Aquarium, which is free for donations, and then walking through the National Historical Park, which has 28 hand carved totem poles scattered throughout. It is a place full of majestic tall trees, and immense quiet and is free unless you go inside. 3 of us walked on to the Rapture Center and saw and learned about the injured birds there. There is a charge. I think it was $12 for adults and $6 for kids and is mostly touring by yourself. The ship offered a new tour for $29 each which included a30 minute tour of the Rapture Center and then of the town, which might have been a good idea. We then took a taxi back into town for $7 and went to St Michael's Cathedral, with our free pass from the Otter Tour and shopped around. That night was our 2nd formal night and at 10:30 was the Dessert Buffet, loaded with lots of tempting desserts! I forgot to mention that there was mass everyday at 5pm. The singers and dancers performed again.
Day 6 Ketchikan We were here from 7 am to 12:30pm. It was still drizzling, but my DH and I went on the Bering Sea Crab Fisherman's Tour and enjoyed that very much. The only disappointment was that we could not get the eagles to come down and eat the fish thrown on the water. Hot drinks, waterproof jackets and a bite to eat on the way back were all available. 2 in our group had booked a flight plane with Family Air to Misty Fiords, but it was cancelled, which was a big disappointment. They went on the Duck Tour instead and said it was okay. 2 others went on the zip line with the big slide and loved it. The other 2 just walked around town. That night we had the movie "Pink Panther2" and the Kid's Talent Show, in addition to Mike Robinson, the ventriloquist. Day 7 Victoria. We arrived on time at 6pm and had to be back on board at 11:30. DH and I took the ship's tour to Butchart Gardens. It took 45 minutes to get there and shortly afterwards it began raining and didn't stop. They handed out free plastic umbrellas, the gardens were beautiful, but the rain and the busloads of people made it too crowded. (There were a few other ships in port, too). They had fireworks at 9:45, but we gave up and went back to the bus. The rest of our group went into town to look around, but didn't stay long. Sunday we docked right at 7am. We all had signed up for the express walk-off, which they called right on time at 7:45am. We left about 8am, walked right out and 6 went in 2 taxicabs right to the airport. Fare was $43 plus tip and were through security by 9:15 and had lots of time for their 10:55 am flight. DH and I took a taxi back to the Hampton Inn downtown for $9 plus tip and left our luggage there, which they had said was okay when we left the week before. Then we took the monorail downtown and went to Pike Place Market for the 10:30 Classics tour done by Savor Seattle Food Tours, which was excellent. We had 10 stops along the 2 hour tour and had something to taste at each stop, enough for a meal! Then we took an Argosy boat tour of the harbor, went back on the monorail and then explored the Sci-fi and Music building. We were not too impressed with the Sci-fi, even though my DH is a fan of that stuff, but the music half was interesting. You could even go into a booth and do your own CD, for $10. Then we picked up our luggage and took a shuttle from the Hampton for $40, back to the airport for our 10:55 pm flight. All in all we had a great week and I would return in a heartbeat! We all enjoyed the Westerdam! Happy cruising! Less
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