My wife and I have traveled on Holland America Line ships several times, and we looked forward to a week in late February 2010 on board the Westerdam in the Eastern Caribbean. Overall, it was very good.
The ship was beautiful! As one of the new Vista class ships the cabins were much improved and the public areas were larger and very sharp. The art on board was terrific. This ship was a honey!
The good: The room stewards and the Vista dining room staff was excellent. As good as ever on HAL ships. The food was wonderful. The deck crew kept the Westerdam spotless. The on board shows were very good - the musical/ variety shows were very impressive.
The odd: There are some small, odd omissions on this HAL ship that were not there on the Maasdam and the Amsterdam - two earlier ships that we really enjoyed. First, there are no clothes iron on board a Vista ship to take the wrinkles out of my shirts that airline baggage handlers installed on the trip down from Ohio. Also, there is no laundry on board in which to do a load of wash. The price for a clean and press from the on board cleaner was steep.
When we went to the informal dining area (Vista restaurant) the trays were gone! On other ships, one put one's drink, salad, and entree on a tray and went from the serving line to the seating area. One the Westerdam, there were no trays, and this lead to several trips to and from. Service was awkward, slow, and congested. Dumb idea straight from elementary school!
The Captain was witty and informative over the PA, but I never saw him on the ship. He skipped the Mariner's luncheon. The Cruise Director was pleasant, but not really as involved as on other ships. The ship's officers were a bit distant.
I'd go again. But I'd also sneak a clothes iron and a serving tray into my luggage!