We chose the December 3rd Holland America cruise aboard the Westerdam as a chance to relax and get away after the busy Thanksgiving holiday and just before the busy Christmas holidays. We chose this particular cruise for several reasons: the ship, the itinerary, the port (we live in Florida) and most importantly, the price - which was super! We were able completely relax and it was wonderful.
Upon arriving at Port Everglades we were efficiently sent through the process of checking in and boarding - all quite easy and relatively fast. Once on-board we were greeted by very cheerful and friendly staff - all over the ship. It is apparent the folks on this ship are happy to be there and this is evident in their actions and their treatment toward the passengers.
The ship was very clean and well maintained - and it was lovely to see the holiday decorations all over the ship. Of course, there was a great buffet awaiting our arrival. Another impressive thing about the ship was the hand sanitizers - they were everywhere and people actually used them. We had no flu outbreak due to the ship's diligence. The other nice thing was the plentiful amount of public rest rooms on every deck. They were everywhere and very, very clean. The food was very good, lots of it and always a nice selection to chose from. Some choices were better than others, but all in all the food was great. The filet mignon was always great!
For those who are Mariners, Holland held a brunch for their repeat cruisers and it was so much nicer than the stupid cocktail gatherings most other ships have where you are lucky if you get a drink and an hor d'oeuvre - and even luckier if there is actually alcohol in the drink. At the brunch they also gave us champagne and a lovely gift.
I organized a Meet and Greet for this trip on our first day at sea, and the captain, hotel manager, cruise director, bar manager, events manager and a few other folks actually came by and spoke with us for over half an hour - we took photos etc. It was really nice. Also, the ship provided refreshments.
We did the any time dining which was not the nightmare I envisioned it to be as we have done that a couple of other times on another line and it was a horrible experience. We actually had the same table and waiters the entire week - and they were wonderful!