Just returned from a week aboard the Westerdam and have to say that although I have sailed upon three other Holland American vessels in the last four years, each experience has been different and sadly not to the better. My wife and I first sailed upon the Amsterdam out of Seattle to Alaska in 2006. Having sailed on several other lines we thought we had finally found something a level above our previous experiences. Excellent service, beautiful ships, great food and reasonable prices for the level of luxury. Sadly, we followed with cruises on the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal, the Ryndam to the western Caribbean and now the Westerdam to the eastern Caribbean.
All I can say with certainty is that each experience has deteriorated both in quality and service. in both the dining room and most notably on the Lido deck where on this last trip on the Westerdam found us completely on our own with regard to service. The dining rooms did not fair much better and the "your time" dining option boiled down to two times 5:15 or 7:45 if you wanted reservations, which you could make three days in advance. ON the last night in the restaurant, it was obvious that there were far fewer waiters than in the past and I counted to see that our waiter was taking care of 8 tables and likely that would have been ten had they not been occupied that night. Tha was an absolutely horrible situation.
Our stateroom, 8103 Balcony on the Navigation Deck was by far the smallest stateroom I have ever had the misfortune to be stuck in for a week. Our friends had 8108 and said that in addition to being annoyed by furniture being moved around on the Lido deck directly above the room their room steward only made up their room two nights on the 7 day trip. I understand that the stewards now are assigned double the number of rooms they used to have to clean.
Drink prices on Holland America have always been on the high end of the scale, but since the started heavily discounting the trips to fill the ships this surely has back-fired on them? The type of cruiser they get by discounting fares are the ones that cannot afford to partake at their prices. I for one know the rules pretty well, but even I was shocked when after ordering a "rum-n-coke" and being talked into a doulbe shot of tum by the bartender I was handed a bill of $13.24. That is just plain STUPID and I did not buy a drink after that mistake.
The good news? Holland America has finally added FOX News to it's TV lineup. Too bad I will not be ther to watch it as I am going to try some other linesin the future, that it if I cruise at all. I think the allure to it is wearing off real fast and now finding that after 3-4 days on a cruise I start wanting for it to be over.