Let me start off by saying that I am 46 years old and was one of the younger people on this ship. I just returned from a surprise birthday cruise with my parents (now both in their 70's) and my sister. This is totally planned based on her choices, and I can definitely say I would not have chosen this cruise for myself. Age is a state of mind and NOT a number, but there were so many "old" people on this cruise that it was almost intolerable. I understand that because of the itinerary and time of year there may have been an exceptional amount of snowbirds, but if you are young and looking for activities, shows, or nightlife geared toward your agegroup, this isn't the ship for you.
The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. There is gallery quality artwork everywhere, there isn't too much of the tacky neon lighting, there are small intimate bars all over the ship. The midship pool has a retractable roof to allow for sun on a windy day. We had 3 sea days on this trip and although I thought it would be easy to find a deck chair, oh boy, was I wrong. That would be a big complaint about this ship. There is no second deck of chair right around the pool, so if you want to sit by the pool you have to get there early. There are other parts of the ship that had deckchairs, but it was a long walk if you wanted to cool off and they frown on you if you go anywhere without your coverup and shoes. The many, many people traveling on this trip from Canada and the frozen northern states were downright vicious about getting these chair. One elderly woman almost knocked me down trying to get to the chair first.
The staterooms are fantastic on this ship. I had an inside room which still had beautiful artwork, great bedding, and an adequate amount if space. There were 3 closets which was more than enough storage space. My parents had a verandah stateroom which also had a couch and more closet space. They enjoyed their verandah and the bathtub in the bathroom. Not the jetted tub, but I have never been on a cruiseline that gives you a bathtub at this category.
The staff on this ship was friendly and helpful. I read other reviews that said the opposite, but I can tell you that every single person I saw greeted me and smiled. The staff even went out of their way to make sure you were happy. I saw the bar staff at the aft pool bringing ice water from the restaurant to several women sitting by the pool who obviously felt that was part of the poor guys job. He did it with a smile and I'm sure no tip. Our room stewards were great and cleaned our room several times a day. They kept up with the ice bucket and our towels.
The food on the Westerdam was excellent. I ate all breakfasts and lunches at the Lido restaurant which was a combination of a buffet/service restaurant. This was a major pain the rear for anyone who just wanted to serve themselves some scrambled eggs and sit down to eat. All the food is served to you by the staff behind the counter. I couldn't even make my own salad until the first 48 hours was up. This may seem like a good service to some, but it was a real pain for most. You had to wait in sometimes very long lines to get anything. The menu changed daily, so you had to wander around looking for what you wanted, then get in line to be served, and if you wanted something else, you had to get in another line and wait again. You also had to hope that none of the "old" people cut in front of you and demanded they needed something right then. There were no trays to carry you plates, so you had to put your food down and go back for your drinks. These were also filled for you in the smallest little juice glasses I have ever seen so you had to get two of everything. The dinners in the Vista Dining Room were very good, except the last night when our table joke we had been put in the "naughty corner" because our food took over an hour and a half to arrive at the table. The staff was apologetic, but only after I asked the maitre'd what the hold up was. The did bring my mother a birthday cake with her name on it and sang happy birthday on their native language. At least we think that's what they were singing.
I did not go to many of the shows because I am not much of a show fan. My sister and I did go to the comedy show which was good and the gameshows they had almost every day and those were funny too. My mom loved the daily tea and the culinary demonstrations. These are very informative and unless you want to actually cook, they are free to watch.
Our ports were Half Moon Cay which is an exquisitely kept island with powder soft sand and water so blue it doesn't look real. We did the Stingray Adventure and I would recommend this to anyone. My mom does not like to snorkel, but here the water starts off a few feet deep so she was able to stand the whole time and the stingrays came to her. She loved it. Our second stop was Curacao. We got off the ship, walked across the floating bridge and did a little shopping. We did not do an excursion here because most had to do with watersports. The next day we went to Aruba. One Happy Island. We did an independent tour with EL Tours Aruba and it was amazing. It's about half the cost of the one offered by the ship and was a lot longer. Our tour guide, Tony, gave us a great tour of the island, drove a lot of back streets so we could see the real thing, and even took us to an extra stop at the Aloe Factory for a tour. This was a great trip.
Overall, this was a great family getaway for my mom's birthday. My sister and I were able to enjoy some non-mom time and she was able to be pampered. If I was considering this itinerary for my own family, I would have to pass until I am in my 70's myself. If you are young and tolerant, very very tolerant, then I say go for it. If not, Holland America and the Westerdam might not be your best match.