We selected HAL's Westerdam because were told that it would be even better than COSTA-ships! What a disappointment.
If it was not for some young couples and some youngsters, you had the impression to be in an asylum for elder people. In Europe, old people are spending their vacations primarily in resorts/hotels just meant for them.
Beside old people there were even two dogs (big ones), circulating in the public areas (not on leash) and running around on the beach of Half-Moon Cay in the Bahamas.
The majority of the Americans (obviously with some exceptions) I believe they were "low working class" or at least their behaviour was like that; no classy people at all.
The smoke in the casino and some other areas (including decks) was really disturbing.
Stateroom, cabin service, and service in the MDR were ok. Out of 7 dinners at the MDR, 4 entrEes were very good, whereas 3 just acceptable. Appetizers and salads of poor choice and low quality. Breakfast was ok. Lunches at the MDR of very mediocre quality. The food at the LIDO-restaurant (buffet) was similar to the one of a factory canteen (however, on other cruisers the buffets are usually not better).
With the exception of the show after the gala-dinner, all other 6 shows were boring and not good. On the decks and around the pools there were not sufficient deckchairs; they were set in a row, close to each other. Pool-butlers were not good, since empty glass were just left constantly on deck's floors.
The dancing area was very small (adjacent the front desk), with music of the 40' and 50'.
Some guests were dancing in the evening with jeans and singlet (!). The suggested "dress code" was respected by 20% of the guests only.
The general ambience was that of a "camping plot", but not of a cruiseship suppposed to be 5*.
Luckily the stopovers in the Bahamas, Aruba and Curaçao were interesting, and the weather was extremely nice and warm during the entire cruise. Sorry, HAL's ships never again.
It is worthy spending 4 or 5 hours in Curaçao, visiting the old town and taking a short tour (3 hours for US-$ 15). It deserves beeing considered an UNESCO heritage
We took the local bus and went to the Eagle Beach (US-$ 1,15 for one way). Rented the arm-chairs and the umbrella ((a total of US-$ 15). Nice beach, excellent sand, clean and warm water (it was February); really enjoyable.
The retail shops sell the usual "duty free merchandise" at the same prices as everywhere in the Caribbean. Because of the weak dollar, perfumes are now much cheaper than in Europe (Chanel No. 5 EdT 100ml spray = US-$ 86).
Actually, we were not in Freeport but on the private beach of Half-Moon Cay in the Bahamas. Phantastic place. Very clean, blue and warm water, beautiful sandy beach.