Chaos at Rotterdam Cruise Terminal As a loyal HAL cruise guest (this was cruise # 6 this year and all on HAL) I am very disappointed in my most recent experience with their cruise to Norway on the Westerdam. This itinerary was a classic case of ongoing small details adding up to a very mediocre cruise experience. The worst experience happened on the day of embarkation. Rotterdam cruise terminal was a complete chaos!!. We waited over 3 hours before we even could hand our lugage and after a 50 minutes waitingperiod we were able to check in. Hundreds of guests were not able to attend de security drill simply because they were still in long waiting lines. At all times I shall avoid Rotterdam in the future to start my cruise. I was not surprised by the captain's anouncement of a 2 hour delayed departure..
The ship's condition upon embarkation was good. The Westerdam is a beautifull ship like her sisterships. In terms of daily onboard experiences it just felt like the ship was short on well-experienced staff everywhere. The Signature of Excellence did certainly not appeared in the Vista diningroom. Long waiting lines among traditional diners at deck 3 resulted in unhappy guests finding finaly their way into the Lido Buffet to find again.... long waiting lines! Both service and food in the dining room have slipped the last six months. At Breakfast no freshly sqeezed OJ but inferior juice from concentrate was served. No white seat covers at formal nights anymore but luke warm food was presented throughout the seven days on board. The Pinnacle Grill was absolutely fabulousbut it was difficult to make a reservation. Entertainment was what one could expect. The Adaggio Strings played very well. But many fellow cruisepax complained about the repertoire which was nice to be played at funerals than on a holidaycruise.
Some issues in my opinion reflected a lack of attention to traditional Holland America details I expected on this Westerdam cruise. After a recently excellent Maasdam experience (Boston -Montreal) I got used to the excellent service provided at their smaller ships. If I will sail Holland in the future, it certainly won't be on the Westerdam and certainly not from Rotterdam.