We flew into Florida a day early as normal and stayed at a Embassy suite in Deerfield ( about 30 mins north of Ft Lauderdale. Very nice hotel on the beach ( also 1st Embassy suite I stayed in that had 2 bathrooms ). Our friends drove us to the ship at 2:30 and we were able to board the ship and find our stateroom in less than 30 mins.
Cabin we had a category SS which is a small suite that is approx 300 sq ft with a 100 sq ft balcony (cabin 8053 ) very nice cabin with a very large bathroom with double sinks a Jacuzzi tub and a separate shower. There was wine and champagne glasses in the room, I have no issues on the room steward but I never meet him, might be a few people doing the job, but this is my 1st cruise where he or she did not introduce themselves. I sure if tips were not automatic we would have meet him ( 11 dollars a day is taken out for tips per person ). Cabin was under Lido deck so there was some minor noise of people walking. TV is the room was a flat screen but just about 20 inches.
Lido : We always eat breakfast and lunch in the lido and this was a disappointment compared to other ships we have cruised. Service is terribly slow for 1st couple of days since you are not allows to serve yourself at all, not able to pour a glass of water or get your own ketchup or mustard etc etc. Next to Lido is a very small place that serves hamburgers and hotdogs, waited for 30 mins in line on 2nd day to get my burger. Eggs were cold most days , only good thing is there was never a wait for a table.
MDR: Food in MDR was excellent, I believe this was better than any recent cruises , service was good but not great when it came to getting a refill for water of coffee. ( again I believe the service would be better if they were excepting a tip )
Pinnacle- We had dinner here 3 nights ( we always try the specialty restaurants ) the 1st night the food and service was great ( 20 dollar change per person ) had a steak that was as good as any steak restaurant in Dallas, few nights later we tried the Le Cirque which is in Pinnacle but price is 40 per person, there is a option for 60 where it includes wine and that is what we tried. This was very disappointing had what was supposed to be a prime rib for 2 that was 36 ounces, meat was fatty and not half as good as the steak we had a few nights before. Tried restaurant one more time and it was not quite as good as the 1st time, one of the reasons we did this 3 times was service was much better, also had great wine glasses.
HAL as a great policy that allows you to bring as much wine on board as you want. They do change a 18 corkage fee if you want to drink the wine in any public area ( restaurants , lounges etc ) . If you are a wine drinker you will save a lot of money paying the 18 dollars over the price that Hal charges for wine bottles, I saw a few bottles that I can buy for less than 10 dollars going for over 40 dollars on Hal list, we bought a Cabernet that Hal was selling for $78 the 1st night ( bottle sells for about 20 in local wine store ) , bought same bottle in a Florida restaurant after getting off for $38. Plus 15 percent tip is then added. Imported beers were over 5 dollars with the 15 percent added. If you drink at all you need to by either the 50 drink cards ( that cost 45) or the 100 drink card that cost 90, this will reduce the price of drinks by 10 percent. ( thanks to the fellow cruise addicts that told me about this before I sailed )
Entertainment : Was very good did not have problem finding a seat in main lounge, also enjoyed piano player, a guitar player and a 3 piece string group.
Ports: Did not get off the ship for San Juan, and just walked around a bit for Grand Turk and private island, St Martin was great as normal love there beach , wish the ship didn't leave at 3pm so we could spend some more time.
This was my 53rd cruise but 1st on Hal in almost 30 years, Westerdam is a very nice ship, elegant in many ways , a little smaller than most ships about 82,000 tons. I had heard stories about all the cigarette smoke of Hal ships and that everyone would be over 70 on the cruise, found the ages at least on this cruise the same as all the previous cruises on Princess / RCCL/ Costa etc. Also had no problem with smoking, the piano bar for one was totally smoke free area.