We flew in the night before our cruise and stayed at the Renaissance Hotel right across from the port. The hotel was very nice and convenient to Walgreen's and Starbucks. Embarkation was excellent, we were on the ship within 30 minutes and in our cabin by 12:30.
This was our first Christmas cruise and we were pleased to see the holiday decorations and Christmas tree. Unfortunately, a lot of the crew of the Westerdam weren't in the holiday spirit. In fact, the Lido crew was full of Scrooges! We were really surprised at the indifference and down right rudeness of some of the Lido Staff. We have been on over 10 cruises and we have never encountered a crew so unfriendly. It was also a nightmare trying to communicate with them, a lot of the Filipino and Indonesian crew spoke little English.
There must have been some scrooges cooking in the Lido and the Vista Dining Room as well. The food in the Lido was very disappointing and the food in the dining room wasn't any better. Although we didn't have high expectations for the Lido, we did expect much more from the Vista. From the first night, it was apparent that our dining room experience was not going to be pleasant. When we sat down the first night we were handed one menu for the two of us and after asking twice we were finally given another menu. We ordered prime rib and when it finally arrived it was lukewarm and paper thin. Through the week the food and service didn't seem to improve much. There were long waits, mediocre service and bad food. We also decided to try the Italian restaurant (can't remember the name) and it was AWFUL. We took two bites and walked out! The food was a very very poor attempt at good Italian food! We did, however, enjoy two meals at the Pinnacle Grill. The service and the food at the Pinnacle Grill were very good, but in comparison to RCCL's Chops, it was lacking some.
The one bright part of the cruise was our cabin steward, Joe. He was awesome! He did a great job cleaning our cabin and he was very friendly and accommodating. It was his service that made our cruise better. Our cabin was an aft Veranda and the deck was huge! We loved the deck so much we spent most of the cruise on it reading and sleeping.
We got off at all the ports and we particularly enjoyed San Juan and the private island, Half Moon Cay. We did not sign up for any excursions since we had been to the ports before.
Overall, I would say that this will definitely be our last Holland America cruise. The service and the quality of food rank very low in comparison to what the other cruise lines have to offer. Unfortunately, I think that Holland America is becoming more and more like Carnival Cruise Line. It is also apparent that their cruises are geared for the very elderly, something that we are not. We cruised on the Oosterdam 3 years ago and we could see a huge difference from then and now. It's time to wake up Holland America....... we have too many cruise lines to choose from today.