Westerdam Cruise: July 26 - August 2, 2009
We boarded this cruise in Seattle. It was an easy 90 minute drive there, dropped husband at terminal with luggage and I parked. Within 5 minutes the parking lot shuttle arrived to take me back to the terminal. Check-in was painless. My husband needed to wheelchaired on and that process took a few minutes but went very smoothly. We were onboard less than an hour after arriving at the pier and were directed to the dining room for lunch. Rooms were ready at 1:30.
We had a balcony cabin on deck 5 (5167) and it was very nice. Our stewards were attentive and the room was always made up quickly. We were on the starboard side with a double bed, sofa, balcony, etc. Everything in the cabin was neat, clean, and worked well.
Dining: We had the As You Wish Dining which worked out better than we thought it might. I learned quickly that we could make reservations in the morning at the Lido buffet (across from the mid-ship elevators) and we could make them two days in advance. Then, by 4:00 PM, we'd have a reservation card in our cabin mailbox. We were asked if we wanted to share or have a table for two. We opted to share and had very interesting dinner companions every night. Next time we'd probably say a table for 4 (instead of 6 or 8) which makes visiting just a bit easier. The food everywhere was wonderful! There is absolutely no reason to go hungry. The Lido had a great variety offered at all meals and all the staff were accomodating. We did breakfast and lunch there and then dinner in the dining room. Ice cream is available (free) and the bread pudding is delicious and so rich!
Ports: Our weather was wonderful - sunny and warm every day. Glacier Bay was gorgeous and what a treat to sit on our balcony, in the sun, staring at Margerie Glacier and even seeing some calving! Juneau is a busy port at cruise ship time. We did the trolley tour (booked on our own) and it was fun. I also wandered and did some shopping. Sitka is one of our favorite ports. We tendered off and did the Colonial Russian America tour. It was good but it didn't go to Japonsky Island, which was advertised in the write-up. Ketchikan was more of a shopping port for us with a walk over to Creek Street. In Victoria I got off the ship and walked to town (about 15 minutes) and enjoyed exploring the area.
Entertainment: I attended the shows each night and enjoyed them all. The ventriloquist was amazing as was Joel Mason who did the tribute one night to The Eagles and another night to Elton John. We also enjoyed listening to the Adagio Strings in the Explorers Bar in the evenings. This string quartet was personable and the music was so relaxing.
Enrichment: I attended a few of the cooking classes and we both attended some of the tech classes. It is rather nice to have a tech-spert on board and ours did a great job. I did the class on using your digital camera and I was impressed with the patience and one-on-one attention the instructor gave to everyone as he attempted to make the novices more comfortable with their camera and the not-so-novices learned something new. I wish I had done some more of the tech classes but they often conflicted with dinner, shows, etc.
Disembarkation: We were back in Seattle by 6:30 AM but it took a while to get Customs to clear the ship. Since my husband needed to be wheelchaired off we had to be in the Pinnacle Grill 10 minutes before our disembarking time (9:30). There were a number of people waiting and it turned out that the cruise line didn't have enough personnel to wheel people off so it took a while. As it was we were the last ones of the ship at 10:30 AM. However, getting off was painless, we got a porter for the luggage, and were escorted right to the parking lot shuttle.
Overall this was a wonderful cruise. The weather was perfect, the ship and crew were delightful, and we had a marvelous time. If I could have I'd have gotten right back on and gone again!