Westerdam Cruise Review by JustJudy2010: This Has It All!
Overall Member Rating
This Has It All!
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
In May 2010, five friends and I had the pleasure of going on a Mediterranean cruise, with two days pre-cruise in Venice, and a four days post-cruise in Barcelona. Through Holland America, we prebooked tours in all but two ports. Each tour was fabulous and flawless, and even the weather was perfect, although it rained one day in Venice, but that just made it more fun.
The Westerdam had been beautifully re-decorated since I had last been on it, and the staff were as warm and curtious as ever. Our room was a little small for the three of us, but the excellent service from our cabin stewart made up for this.
When we disembarked in Barcelona, Spain, we had hired a private company to pick us up (immaculate, comfortable van); take us on an extensive City Tour; then up to the amazing Montserrat Monastery; and drive us to our hotel. Carlos, of Barcelona Great Tours, was prompt, professional, well-grommed, and delightful.
Carlos was such an excellent driver and More guide, so kind and considerate. His knowledge and love for Barcelona was remarkable. It is such a beautful, clean and safe city. This was a perfect ending for our cruise, and, beginning of our post-cruise stay. Carlos was so helpful again in getting us to BCN airport at 3:00 in the morning to catch our flight home to Canada. Without doubt,I would hire Barcelona Great Tours if I had the good luck to return. Less
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Cabin review: H4120 Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)
Our room could accommodate up to four people, sleeping. But too difficult when everyone is trying to get ready to go out or get dressed for dinner. Location was fine, quiet, calm, close to elevators.Read All Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views) (H) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
Some of our travel mates took a drive to see the beautiful "Croatia Riviera". The combination of palm trees, old relics, and gorgeous flowers make this a must see port.
This was not a tour, only a transfer to and from Florence. Actually, we were given a map with all the sites on it which are within a shot walk,(5-10min) from each other. Also, a Hop On Hop Off bus system is available to purchase.
The Duomo, the Town Hall square with the copy of David, the Accademia with real David, and Santa Croce church are very close together and there is great shopping, stalls and fine shops too. The Duomo is huge, and pictures do not do it justice.
I unfortunately did not go inside the churches or museums as I was afraid there was not enough time, and I was afraid of getting lost. That is why I would highly recommend buying admission tickets on line, and going on the Hop On Hop Off bus.
I so very much want to return to Italy.
Cannot imagine why anyone would ever move away from these towns along the Amalfi Coast. The beauty I will never forget.
Because my friends and I are seniors, we neither climbed the stairs nor rode the donkeys up the cliff to get to the villages of Fira and Oia. We were on a coach tour with a handsome guide, Marco. He loved his island, and proudly showed the town where he lived as we drove by. After the site seeing we arrived a some great shopping areas, at the end of which was the cable cars that would take us back down the cliff, close to where our ship was docked.
While waiting at the cable car station, we saw about eight donkeys and their owner stroll by after a long day's work. The donkeys looked healthy and well cared for.
I am definitely going back some day.
Our hotel was just off St. Mark's Square, which made it so easy to walk to all the sites, shops and restaurants. On a small canal,Gondoliers were right outside our hotel. For a few Euros, you can take a local ferry, Alilaguna, to the island, eg. Murano etc. and for 10Euros you can ride up or down the Grand Canal on the public water bus to see the houses of the once rich and famous.
We walked all over, up to the Rialto Bridge (1st.built over Grand Canal), down to the Hard Rock Cafe, and lots and lots of fine stores too. All the buildings are gorgeous, especially St. Mark's Basilica, Doges Palace (Bridge of Sighs) and the houses along the alley ways. April and May is a good time to visit,because it was not hot, so only once or twice did we notice and unpleasant odour.
We found the cruise terminal easily via the Alilaguna ferry. It was a very long walk to get to the embarkation building for our ship, so my four wheeled luggage was a blessing. Loved Venice.
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