Subscribe today
Get Cruise Critic in your inbox

Westerdam Review

Home > Cruise Ship Reviews > Holland America > Westerdam Review
80% of cruisers loved it
  • Seventy-four percent of outside cabins have balconies
  • Great Pacific Northwest fare at Pinnacle Grill restaurant

Show the Lowest Price
Departure Month
Please select at least one vendor.
Avoya Travel
Expedia
Travelocity.com
Onboard.com
Direct Line Cruises
iCruise.com
CheapCruises.com
Cruise.com
Priceline.com
American Discount Cruises

Westerdam Overview

(4.5) 4.5 out of 5+ star rating
Editor's note: Beginning November 8, 2014, Westerdam will offer world-class musical performances with the B.B. King's Blues Club experience, five nights a week in the Queen's Lounge.

Holland America Line's Westerdam, part of its Vista class of ships, reminds me of what the cruise line does best. In its restaurants, onboard programs, larger-than-average staterooms, and, most of all, in the service of its crew, Westerdam very deftly balances its commitment to honoring cruise traditions with adding just enough contemporary amenities to keep things fresh.

It's a line that, in this era of casual cruising, celebrates formal nights -- and yet its dining rooms offer a choice of traditional seating scenarios as well as open, more flexible ones. You can still learn how to mix a martini or create a flower arrangement, but you can also take computer classes that range from an introduction to e-mail to editing digital photography. You can watch a chef, ranging from the ship's own to a guest expert from Holland America Line's Food & Wine Magazine partnership, demonstrate a recipe, or you can take part in small group clusters that actually get to make the food at the fabulous Food Network-like Culinary Arts Center kitchen.

Ironically, where there were weaknesses onboard Westerdam, it was in the few areas that have not balanced past and present as carefully. With the immense variety of itineraries around the world that Holland America offers, there's no reason why shore excursions in ports of call couldn't offer more of a selection of offbeat experiences in addition to more typical choices (though applause is due for incorporating recreational options, like cycling and kayaking, where possible). Along those same lines, it was puzzling that, despite creating "On the Map," a new program that aims to offer more immersion of destinations into the cruise experience, there was no meaty series of onboard enrichment lectures. The ship's "travel guide" rarely could answer a reasonable in-port question.

Beyond these quibbles, Westerdam, not to mention Vista-class siblings such as Zuiderdam, Oosterdam and Noordam, has carved itself a unique niche in cruising: It's a ship that hasn't forgotten, in this era of cruise innovation, that the tenets of the tradition -- most notably hospitality, warm service from its crew, delicious meals all over the ship and a cozy ambience that encourages social interaction -- are still what makes a cruise a most satisfying travel experience.
Westerdam Fellow Passengers
As with other cruise lines, Holland America is expanding its traditional passenger base outside the North American market, so some cruises, like our Rotterdam-based voyage around the British Isles and Ireland, may attract English speakers from the U.K., South Africa and Australia, as well as Europeans. (Especially in keeping with HAL's roots, there were many from Holland.) Regardless of language spoken, most passengers do fit into a particular demographic: traditionally 50-plus, well traveled and upscale.
Westerdam Dress Code
Depending on the itinerary, the ship will offer two to three formal nights, and passengers really do dress up. Though the casually attired can avoid the main restaurant on those nights, you may feel under-dressed in entertainment venues before and after dinner. Resort casual is otherwise the mainstay, though passengers tend to dress pretty informally during the day.
Westerdam Gratuity
Holland America Line automatically adds $11.50 per person, per day, to onboard accounts; this is then shared among waiters, stewards and other service personnel. That amount can be adjusted in either direction by visiting the front desk. A 15 percent gratuity is tacked onto bar bills. Note that gratuities are not automatically included on bills for spa treatments.
Print the entire ship review


Westerdam Member Reviews 615 Reviews
   Another Dry-Dock Would Help!
June 2014

Wife and I are in our 70s but still pretty active working part-time. Arrived at Sea-Tac on 6/19(for the 6/20 departure) and shuttled to a Hampton Inn nearby. Had a town-car limo service pick us up at noon and what was normally a 30 minute trip to ...continue


After many years sailing with Carnival, we tried Holland America for our cruise to Alaska. My traveling party (all individuals under the age of 35) wanted a smaller boat and so we sailed on the Westerdam. What a mistake!

Firstly, one hour ...continue


   Seattle... then on to Alaska
June 2014

Embarkation was very smooth and took 45 minutes upon arriving at 11:30. Had plenty of time to enjoy the Mariners lunch. All bags were delivered by the time we reached our room at 1:30.

Our room stewards - Izy and Ritzey were fantastic. ...continue


1 - 3 of 615 Reviews


Overview   Cabins   Dining   Activities   Family   Itineraries   Deck Plans   More Reviews  
 

Show the Lowest Price
Departure Month
Please select at least one vendor.
Avoya Travel
Expedia
Travelocity.com
Onboard.com
iCruise.com
Direct Line Cruises
CheapCruises.com
Cruise.com
Priceline.com
American Discount Cruises
Sponsored Listings:
Westerdam Ratings
Member Rating
Dining
5.0
4.2
Public Rooms
4.0
4.6
Cabins
4.0
4.7
Entertainment
4.0
3.9
Spa & Fitness
5.0
4.1
Family & Children
3.0
3.2
Shore Excursions
3.0
4.7
Enrichment
4.0
NA
Service
4.0
4.5
Value-for-Money
4.0
4.3
Rates
4.0
4.3

Sailing From

Cruises To
Alaska
Eastern Caribbean
Mexican Riviera
Pacific Coastal
Western Caribbean

Explore This Ship
Ship Stats
Crew: 800
Launched: 2004
Decks: 11
Tonnage: 85,000
Passengers: 1,848
Registry: Netherlands
CDC Score: 95
 
Community
Join the Forums
Get answers from real cruisers on the forums


About UsAdvertisingEditorial DisclaimerPress
PrivacySite MapStoreSubscribe
X

Thank You For Signing Up!

Please Note: To ensure delivery of your free e-letters, please add news@cruisecritic.com to your address book.

We're committed to protecting your privacy and will not rent or sell your e-mail address. By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.