10 Athens (Piraeus) Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

overall, enjoyable, but of the more than half dozen cruises we have been on, this is at the bottom of the list. The cabin and the cabin staff were excellent; more storage than we have ever had in any stateroom. The food was passable, in ... Read More
overall, enjoyable, but of the more than half dozen cruises we have been on, this is at the bottom of the list. The cabin and the cabin staff were excellent; more storage than we have ever had in any stateroom. The food was passable, in comparison to other cruise lines. We do not eat in the dining room that often. This cruise, we dined in the dining room three times. The first time, the pork chops were served with a huge steak knife. Actually, a chain saw would have worked better; really tough meat. The second time, the meal was very satisfactory. However, we ordered coffee after the meal and received empty cups after 10+ minutes and coffee another 10+ minutes; we gave up on a refill. The last evening on board we ate in the dining room and had an incredible enjoyable meal and the service was first-rate. The cafeteria did a passable job, but there seemed to be some problem EVERY morning having sufficient coffee available; strange. DO NOT sign up for the Internet service plan. As another computer user put it: this is like watching grass grow. My suggestion, use the free WI-FI services provided by many local establishments in port. We found plenty of connections and they were definitely hi-speed. Opt for the unlimited laundry package. It is worth it, though you will end up having your cabin staff chase missing items. Our missing items all turned up. The bartenders on this line must be waiting for a slot in mixicologist school. The mixed drinks were incredibly bad, no matter where ordered. I'm not an expert, but I know bad when I taste it. My hats are off to the staff that handle transfers. We ended up being the only couple in the Sheraton Airport in Rome and then moved to the Hilton after one night (availability). We were transported by van from the ship and in a limo to the airport. Now that's service. The Holland America staffer at the Sheraton even made sure we had her number, just in case there might be a problem with the pick up from the Hilton. My advice, give yourself two or more days in Athens prior to the cruise (stay at the Marriott (the best Marriott ever! food, service, room, etc.). This will give you time to tour around Athens. The Marriott has a free shuttle to take you you into town and back. The same is true in Rome; at least 3 - 4 days are necessary to get the flavor and see much of Rome. Both the Sheraton and the Hilton have free shuttles into the center of Rome. If at the Hilton Airport, taking the train into Rome and then the Metro are options that work well, though they are not free :-) Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
This was our first cruise and we found the Westerdam to be a beautiful ship. Our cabin was very comfortable and we found all of the staff to be very friendly and very helpful. Dining - We went "Dine as You Wish" and never ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we found the Westerdam to be a beautiful ship. Our cabin was very comfortable and we found all of the staff to be very friendly and very helpful. Dining - We went "Dine as You Wish" and never had to wait more then a couple of minutes and usually went for dinner in the Main Dining Room between 7:30 and 8:00pm. We enjoyed most of the food, and really with the amount of meals we ate on board, the few that were not done well, were really out numbered. We ate in the Lido for most breakfasts and lunches and only a few dinners. We found a wide selection, but we were a little frustrated with the beverages. The only thing besides water we would drink in the Lido was lemonade, and often it was empty and took a while to get refilled. Also, in the MDR, if you were not drinking wine with your dinner, it seemed your only option was water. I did ask for coffee with my dinner to only find out that they usually only serve coffee with dessert. The only beverage that we didn't have a problem with was HAPPY HOUR...lol...no problem there! Entertainment - We attended showtime almost every night and really enjoyed the shows. We enjoyed the lounges, casino,an Art Auction and a few classes. Service - We found the service to be superior and we were definitely looked after. Embarkation and Disembarkation - We were expecting both to take a really long time having never cruised before - but it was so organized and was quick and painless. Port Excursions are of course way over priced and you are much better off booking excursions privately. However, if you do not want to do the research and work yourself, then the ship excursions may be fine for you. Our cruise was based in Europe, so we are not sure about other Holland America cruises, but we found that most people were 60 plus. My husband and I are in our 40's but get along with all ages and really loved the people we met. There were some honeymooners and couples in their 30's and 40's - but majority were older. Our overall experience - loved it - we hope this will be the 1st of many more cruises, and would definitely cruise Holland America again. Overall, our experience was amazing and we loved Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
Sailing out of Athens is not my favorite port, and true to form the baggage handlers broke the strap on my new suitcase. HAL was really good about it and tried to fix it but could not. Embark was smooth, but with no Mariner´s lunch ... Read More
Sailing out of Athens is not my favorite port, and true to form the baggage handlers broke the strap on my new suitcase. HAL was really good about it and tried to fix it but could not. Embark was smooth, but with no Mariner´s lunch featured nor any express lines for suites or 4star Mariners. The Westerdam is in great shape and one of HAL´s most attractive ships. The crew were excellent as was the food and entertainment. The superior suite in my opinion is a better choice than the deluxe. The Neptune lounge really doesn´t justify the difference in priceto me. The space and the bathrooms in the superior are perfect to me. Room stewards were terrific. Open seating was great and hats off to an excellent dining room staff. The ship was in code red for 2 days on the transatlantic portion which puts more pressure on the LIdo (which it doesn´t need). Room service is the best bet for breakfast and always delivered hot and on time. The food on the Med portion of the trip was much higher quality than the transatlantic but this is to be expected with the difference in cost per day to sail. Overall, I would rate this ship one of HAL´s best, however these change with the crew changes. When booking a Med cruise bear in mind there can be alot of walking from the ship into town if you don´t book a ship´s tour. HAL doesn´t always provide ship to town transfers if the pier doesn´t provide them. The Mariner´s lunches were held later in the cruises as there were 1,600 Mariners on this cruise. HAL has the highest return percentage. The Chef´s dinner was one of the best on any HAL ship. Depark was fine unless you were flying out that day. Never a smart idea unless you have a later flight. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
We are a couple in our early 60's who travel frequently. We have also cruised previously the last being a transatlantic in a Penthouse Suite on the Oceania Regatta. This cruise had as its main purpose the visiting of ports rather than ... Read More
We are a couple in our early 60's who travel frequently. We have also cruised previously the last being a transatlantic in a Penthouse Suite on the Oceania Regatta. This cruise had as its main purpose the visiting of ports rather than the boat itself. We had booked a VA cabin but shortly prior to embarking were offered an upgrade to a Superior Veranda at a substantial discount which we accepted. We arrived at the port at about 11.15 am and processing commenced very shortly after that. We were on board by 11.45 am. Lunch at the lido and cabins were available at 1.30 pm. The process all went smoothly. The cabin was excellent and nearly as large as on the Regatta. In fact the bathroom was larger. The cabin staff were excellent, in fact all staff were excellent. We did not really miss having a butler. Overall we would say that the standard of service and the attitude of all staff was very high particularly when you take into account there were 2,000 passengers. Again food standards were high. Food in the Lido was fresh and varied. The only problem in the Lido was difficulty in getting food. Most of the time it was a little chaotic with people queuing up at different stations trying to see what was available there. As most days were port days there was usually a rush at breakfast. Eventually we chose to have room service breakfast. We had one breakfast in the MDR which also was good. We also had one meal in the Pinnacle grill. This should not be missed. Standards of service and food match any high class restaurant. The itinerary was a "one off". Our first port was Istanbul then Anatalya and Iskenderun in Turkey, Haifa and Ashdod in Israel, Alexandria in Egypt then to Kusadasi/Ephesus in Turkey and back to Athens. For most ports we had booked private tours with a few other couples. In our opinion this is the only way to do it. Each day was an intensive history lesson. The only port in which we used a ships tour was Iskenderun as no private tours were available. This was a tour to the Mosaic Museum at Antioch. While the Museum was interesting no tour of such a number can give you the insight you receive on a private tour. For 90% of the time HAL was fantastic. Where it fell apart was in the organisation or lack of it in relation to assembly of passengers. The strange part is they could organise disembarking at the end of the cruise. For example it was announced that each passenger had to present to Israeli Immigration on the ship. The announcement specified respective half hour blocks for each deck. Being on 8th deck our half hour block was first. When we got to the deck to be seen by immigration most of the ship was there and there was simply chaos. I spoke to an employee who agreed but said there was nothing HAL could do about it as it would only annoy the people who were there even though they were out of turn. On Port Excursion days again no real organisation. The ship announced that people who had purchased HAL Tours were to disembark from the front of the boat and others from the middle. When we got to the centre gangway, as we had booked private tours, the lines were full of people who had booked ship tours. To make matters worse the ship stopped the elevators at level 1 meaning passengers had to walk down a flight of stairs to Deck A where the gangways were placed. This was a good idea to break the rush at the gangways. However the lobby around the stairs became blocked as there were people in wheelchairs exiting the elevators with of course nowhere to go. This was the main area in which HAL failed. The only other failure was to have speakers giving a briefing on ports to be visited and their history. The only talks were in fact selling ships tours. Overall a good boat in good order and an excellent itinerary. We would travel HAL again if the itinerary were interesting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
We arrived in Athens two days prior to embarkation, so we could see the sights, and had a marvelous time, not a HAL excursion, but taken about by Constantine with AthensTaxi.org. This is a family run taxi/tour company that will go out of ... Read More
We arrived in Athens two days prior to embarkation, so we could see the sights, and had a marvelous time, not a HAL excursion, but taken about by Constantine with AthensTaxi.org. This is a family run taxi/tour company that will go out of their way to show you the sights and a good time. He picked us up upon our arrival at the airport at 9:AM, took us to The Athens Gate Hotel, where we checked in, checked our luggage since the room was not yet ready, and we went on a 1/2 day Athens tour. I admit to being awed by the ancient ruins, as I studied classical Greek in high school, but this was my first in-person exposure to the area. It was super-hot on the acropolis, but we took our time and saw everything - Parthenon, Temple of Athena Nike, looked down on both theaters from above, took a zillion photos - then went to a great casual outdoor restaurant near the agora for a gyros lunch with fresh feta & tomato salad, and tried to local beer. The beer was probably a mistake, after a long flight, no real sleep, and the heat on the rocks, began to be very tired. But, we sucked it up, toured the agora, then took a drive up Lykavittos Hill, stopping for several views of the area below. After a tour past some of the important government buildings, the university, we drove thru the main downtown business area, and then back to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel was great, we ate at a rooftop outside table with a view of the acropolis - I don't think we'll ever top the ambiance of that evening. We took off the next day to the Peloponnese, stopping to watch some ships go thru the Corinth Canal that connects the Adriatic Sea to the Aegean Sea. Then, on to Ancient Corinth, with the Temples of Apollo and Octavia and other fascinating ruins. Then on past vineyards, farms and goat herds, to Ancient Mycenae - again left to wonder at the amazing history from nearly 4000 years ago. Constantine then took us thru the resort town of Nafplio, a resort frequented mainly by Greeks, then on to the small seaside beach town of Tolo, where we had a lunch of local sea bass and Greek salad, with some delicious local white wine overlooking the beach at Maria's Cafe - remarkable! He stopped by a local grocery store where we bought some wine to take on the ship - the local Peloponnese white wine was a "must buy", and cheap!!! Note: the red was not so great, but what do I know when picking Greek wine? Oh yeah, the cruise, almost forgot. On day three, he picked us up at the hotel, and took us to Piraeus to board the ship, and we said farewell to Constantine. We got on board, and had heard that there was a luncheon in the main dining room beginning at 11:30 for Mariner's club members, but we were directed to the Lido, and could not go elsewhere on the ship. It's probably just us, but we don't like the Lido. We go on a cruise to enjoy great service and luxury, but the Lido seems hectic, too much standing in line, racing here, there and everywhere, your food gets cold before you can start, because your busy collecting salads, beverages, main course, etc. The Lido on the Westerdam was a step up from that on the Veendam, but still not 'our cup of tea. But, on embarkation days, what can you expect, or do? Just enjoy it. After lunch, no announcement, but I went to check anyway, and "sure enough", ours was ready, and I found our luggage in the elevator lobby, so brought it to the stateroom myself. Pleasant surprise - two bottles of wine in the room, compliments of our travel agent, Cruise Club of America. Didn't think much of it, but noticed there were no excursion tickets in the room as on the Veendam last year for our Alaska cruise. The next thing I noticed was that the balcony room was "well worn", bordering on seedy. Carpet was obviously old by cruise ship standards. Couch was worn on the arms, edges. Furniture on the balcony was very basic, one comfortable chair with ottoman, one not-so-comfortable chair, and a small table. But, OK, this is not the Waldorf, I'm not complaining. When the excursion tickets did not show up the next day, I went to the desk, waited in line, and they said: "Sometimes this happens", they reprinted the tickets. I began to worry that someone else would show up with our tickets, and there might be a donnybrook on the Istanbul evening excursion, and on each one thereafter, so I carried the "boarding passes" with me on each excursion just in case - more to worry about just when I went on vacation to get away from worrying. Cruise went smoothly; we had "open seating", and we tried to make dinner reservations for the Vista Dining room "open times", but could only get 5:30 or 8:PM. Eventually, they explained that if we wanted other times, "just show up". That worked, no problem, no long waits. I never could figure out why no reservations for other than 5:30 or 8:PM. About day 3 or 4, they began announcing that people were getting sick in excess of normal, and the announcement about "vomiting and diarrhea" during dinner didn't add positively to the ambiance. A hand washing lecture while trying to select dinner was unnecessary, we thought. They re-implemented serving measures to try to prevent the spread of the virus, but we seemed to be doing just fine - until the last port. We had to forgo the Kusadasi - Ephesus excursion (and lost about $300) because we fell victim to the virus - felt OK, but couldn't risk being too far from a bathroom. You couldn't buy any meds in the shops, so had to go to the med center, and be charged $46 each to visit with a nurse and get 1/2 a box of Imodium, and a bunch of other stuff that we didn't need. We were then confined to our cabin and threatened that the captain would throw us off if we were out of the cabin. Thank God there was only one day left. They claimed they would do anything for us, and they did provide unlimited room service, and continue to offer "anything". The one thing we asked them to do was to get a box of Dristan cold tablets from the store and charge our account, but they would not do it, so our respitory symptoms went untreated and ignored by the nurse - they focused like a laser on vomiting and diaharrea, and totally ignored the fact that half the passengers were coughing, hacking, sneezing, etc. Go figure. We didn't pay much attention to the entertainment; the Adiago Strings (string quartet) were excellent. We saw the beginning of one show, but left to get to bed due to an early excursion the next day. This seemed to be an "early excursion intensive cruise", and it was our fault that we booked the most intesive, longest excursions offered. Coupled with the heat experienced in Athens, Antalya, Antakya, Israel and Egypt, the long tours were exhausting, and the return to the ship late in the evenings meant standing in long lines at the Lido hoping there was some food left. It was a little grueling at times. Fortunately, there were 3 days at sea that relieved some of the hectic pace. At the end of the cruise, they whisked us off the ship early, along with the other "recently sick" people, and onto a separate bus for the airport. That was good for the other poassengers so they would not be exposed to potential virus. But, we did not get a final bill, nor the "cruise log" that passengers are supposed to get before leaving. I need to figure out how I can get a itemized bill for the charges that came after the preliminary bill, and the credits that were supposed to show but were not yet posted to the preliminary statement. No comments for the Kusadasi port, because we were "confined to quarters" that day. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
Background This cruise caught our eye as it was a one-off exotic cruise visiting Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine on a Vista-Class Ship, we quickly jumped on the opportunity of this once in a lifetime cruise. ... Read More
Background This cruise caught our eye as it was a one-off exotic cruise visiting Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Russia and Ukraine on a Vista-Class Ship, we quickly jumped on the opportunity of this once in a lifetime cruise. Hotel Info Before starting the cruise in Athens, we stayed for 2 Nights at the Airotel Parthenon which was a nice cozy hotel located on the side streets in the Plaka district and we highly recommend it over staying in the many hotels in Omonia which was where we stayed on our last visit to Athens. Travel to Port of Embarkation We decided to get to the port by Metro (after a bad taxi experience during our last visit) which was very efficient and it got us from the Plaka to Piraeus in about 45 minutes, after which we walked for about 20 minutes to get to the cruise port. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship in less than 20 minutes after arriving at the port. Ship Info Our first impressions of the Westerdam was that it was HUGE (please forgive my ignorance), we've never been on a ship this size for a long time (the last time we were on a ship of a similar size was on the SuperStar Virgo (1999), after which we've only been on the Volendam (2009) and Rotterdam (2009)). It took us awhile to get used to the size (and the amount of passengers), but I must say that it is a very elegant ship and once you're inside, the well designed public rooms made it feel like the mid-sized R-Class Ships. The only disappointment was that the Explorations Cafe and Library was together with the Crow's Nest which could get pretty noisy at times. Stateroom We stayed in a L-Category inside stateroom (1024), and were pleased with the generous size of the stateroom. At 200 sq. ft. it was considerably larger than many of the inside staterooms we've stayed on during our previous cruises. The cabin had ample storage space, a mini-bar (which we asked to be cleared so that we could store our own drinks) and an L-Shaped sofa-bed. Our only gripe was the small bathroom which with an even smaller shower area (we frequently hit our elbows against the wall!). Activities We took part in a couple of activities while on the ship, this included some gaming lessons and art auctions, although most of these activities were geared towards you spending money some talks were rather interesting and educational especially the talk on Israeli Artists and Russian Culture) . Service The service was once again exceptional on this ship except for a couple of crew members which were rather disinterested in their jobs and fairly rude on some occasions. However, the sincerity, friendliness and warmth of the Indonesian and Filipino crew members is what brings us back to Holland America time and time again. Port & Shore Excursions We took part in shore excursions for most of the ports visited during the cruise, we were impressed by the efficiency the knowledge of most of the guides that made visiting the sights much more memorable. We also took a private tour in Israel (Haifa and Ashdod) from GuidedTours Israel. We were fortunate enough to get a really knowledgeable guide to show us around Nazareth, Sea of Galilee, Yad Vashem Museum and Jerusalem (which was really crowded due to the feast of Sukkot). Apart from tours, we also independently toured Istanbul, Thessaloniki and Sinop (which, in my opinion, has one of the best museums in Turkey). Dining We were somewhat disappointed by the variety and quality of the food during the cruise, most probably due to the location the ship was in and the amount of passengers the chefs had to cook for. Although there was no shortage of lobster and shrimp, many of our favorites such as Escargot and Duck a L'Orange only appeared once during a 24 Day Cruise which was very disappointing. Most of the soups were also either very salty or bland, however, the deserts and appetizers were exceptional and was usually the saving grace of the dinner. Despite a Norovirus outbreak during the first part of the cruise, there was very little disruption to the Lido Buffet service (besides the long queue for drinks) and I was very impressed by the way the crew handled things. Entertainment We went to most of the guest entertainers shows which we found to be very entertaining, we especially loved the Swarovski Violinist who performed one night with his crystal-studded violin (even his shoes and belt had crystals on them!). Disembarkation Disembarkation was as efficient and smooth as we would ever expect. We purchased transfers to the airport to catch our early afternoon flight home. The transition from Ship to Airport was hassle-free and it took us about an hour to get to the airport which gave us plenty of time at the airport before our flight. Summary Despite some shortfalls during the cruise, we were very impressed by the service and the cruise itself visiting many places we never thought of visiting which turned out to be little hidden treasures (such as Iskenderun and Sinop), visiting the larger cities of Cairo, Jerusalem and Istanbul was just a enlightening and interesting. Visiting these ports on the Westerdam was a very pleasant experience and if given another chance, I wouldn't hesitate to go again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
This was our 22nd cruise and our eighth Holland American Line (HAL) cruise since 1995, with each cruise on a different ship, except that this is our second cruise on the Westerdam. Our cabin was a super verandah suite (Category SY) on the ... Read More
This was our 22nd cruise and our eighth Holland American Line (HAL) cruise since 1995, with each cruise on a different ship, except that this is our second cruise on the Westerdam. Our cabin was a super verandah suite (Category SY) on the Upper Verandah Deck mid-ship. We sailed on a 12-day eastern Mediterranean cruise from Greece, to three ports in Turkey, to two ports in Israel, to one port in Egypt, and back to a different port in Turkey again, before returning back to Greece. Plus, there were three days at sea when going between two Turkey distant ports, from Israel to Egypt, and Egypt to Turkey. Every port was most interesting. In addition, we enjoyed a three-day pre-cruise in Athens staying at the Holland America approved hotel - the Athens Ledra Marriott Hotel. FLIGHTS We selected Delta Airlines for the flights from Los Angeles to Athens with a change of aircraft in both directions in New York City. These flights were long (over 16 hours going and 17 returning). Because the flights were long, we upgraded to business class. SHIP The Westerdam is one of the larger-sized ships of HAL Vista class. It has 11 decks with 11 elevators, four of which are glass-enclosed and located on the outside mid-ship. The ship has 972 cabins and carries 1,848 passengers with a crew of 800. CABIN Our cabin was larger (384 square feet) than on our previous 2004 Westerdam cabin (254 square feet) when we sailed the western Mediterranean. Plus, we were on one deck higher. And like on the previous cruise, we had a nice large verandah. Our cabin had air conditioning, bottled water, comfortable king-size bed with four pillows (actually two single beds placed together, with room to place your suitcases under) with two night stands, safe, bathroom amenities, bathrobes, hair dryer, three chairs, small coffee table, two desks with eight drawers, three closets, toilet, bath and shower, a separate shower, two sinks, fresh fruit, etc. Both 110 and 220 volts electrical outlets. HAL previously provided a special luggage tags containing our cabin number and our luggage arrived in our cabins before we did. VERANDAH The large verandah (130 square feet) had three chairs with separate footrests, and one table. IN-CABIN TV AND SOUND SYSTEM A color TV with 18 channels including CNN, BCC, ESPN, several movie channels, views of the ship's bow and aft, etc. A DVD player with a choice of over 900 DVDs to choose from the ship's library (action, comedy, drama, family, horror, romance, sci-fi, and television). DINING ROOMS The main one is the Vista (decks 2 and 3), and the others are the Pinnacle Grill (deck 2), Canaletto and Lido (deck 9), and Exploations Cafe (deck 10). In the Vista dining room, at our assigned table, the overall and service food was good. For some unknown reason, HAL's famous Baked Alaska dessert was not offered anytime. The Pinnacle Grill is only available by making a reservation. Service was very good and the food was much better than the main dinning room. There is a $20 per person surcharge. BARS There are seven bars = Piano, Pinnacle, and Sports (deck 2), Ocean (deck 3), Sea View and Terrace (deck 9), and Crow's Nest (deck 10). We always enjoy the Crow's Nest, especially when leaving a port before dinner, as the room overlooks the ship's bow and the direction in which the ship is sailing. There is a minor problem with the Crow's Nest as it is so popular, you often find all of the tables being used by non-drinking passengers either reading books or even just sleeping. HAL should correct this problem. TIPS There's an automatic assessment of $11 per day per guest and 15% is added to all drinks. CHECK-IN Faster than usual, during check-in before initial boarding, digital camera takes your photograph. Each time you board the ship, your cabin card is scanned and your photograph is displayed to the ship's security personnel; eliminating the need to carry a second form of ID with your photograph (driver's license, etc.). Also, every time you re-board the ship, all carry-on items (purses, cameras, etc.) will be scanned. TOURS There are ten ports and here is the most interesting thing in each port. Greece: Athens - Acropolis and the changing of the guards at the palace. Turkey: Istanbul - Blue Mosque, Antalya - ancient Roman city, Iskenderun - the cave church of St. Peter and the Roman mosaics, and Kusadasi - the house of the Virgin Mary. Israel: Ashdod - the tomb of the Virgin Mary and the Sea of Galilee, and Jerusalem - a museum to the Jews who died in World War II. Egypt: Cairo - the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Every port was most interesting. Many of the tours were long - some lasting up to 12 hours. Because of these long tours, we didn't visit the spa, library, Movie Theater, evening entertainment, etc. However, the meals on the tours were very good; frequently served in the dining rooms of five-star hotels. There is a problem when the shipboard personnel are assigning the passengers to various tour buses, etc. The problem is that they gather all the passengers into the ship's auditorium at the same time and then call them to leave by their tour name. HAL should assign the passengers to sit in designated sections of the auditorium at specified times to avoid the mass confusion and large groups of passengers attempting to leave all at once, etc. ON SHIP ILLINESS About halfway thru the cruise, a serious illness problem aboard affecting both a small group of passengers and crewmembers was reported. The problem was Norwalk virus causing those affected to have stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. The ship personnel immediately sanitized the ship, closed popular common areas - the library, some dinning areas, etc., and we were given frequently and lots of special hand cleaner. After about two days, the problem was eliminated. Westerdam did a good job on this. And we were never medically affect in any way. OVERALL OPINION I'm impressed with the Westerdam since it was remodeled a couple of years ago. And the tours were very interesting. Read Less
Sail Date September 2010
My partner and I sailed on the Westerdam from Athens for a Mediterranean cruise. This was our second Holland America cruise, the first being on the Ryndam. Overall, the ship is beautiful and well worth sailing. The staff on the Westerdam ... Read More
My partner and I sailed on the Westerdam from Athens for a Mediterranean cruise. This was our second Holland America cruise, the first being on the Ryndam. Overall, the ship is beautiful and well worth sailing. The staff on the Westerdam was eager to please, as was the case on the Ryndam, and the food was a marked improvement over the Ryndam. The Westerdam had four dinner seatings which was part of their Signature of Excellence service HAL is implementing. We had the latest seating which was 8:30. The only recommendation I would make to Holland in the main dining room is to teach their servers to be a little more flexible in service according to each guests' need. I was with a party of four and we preferred to have each course brought out then order the next course. This kind of confused our server and at time on of the officers had to explain to our server how we wanted things. The Pinnacle Grille on board was excellent and we dined there five nights of the cruise. The staff was attentive with being overly so, and the food was excellent. One recommendation I would make to HAL regarding the Pinnacle Grille is to vary the menu somewhat or perhaps on certain nights add an item or two to the menu, i.e., lobster or shellfish. Otherwise, it was perfection. Our cabin was absolutely fantastic! We originally booked a regular verandah stateroom for the cruise. Two weeks out we checked with our travel agent to see if there were any upgrade specials being offered and at the time we called there wasn't. One week later, we got a call from our travel agent saying she had just received offers from HAL for upgrades. We upgraded to a deluxe verandah suite, approximately 512 sq ft and it was the best thing we could have done!! The balcony had a table with four chairs and two lounge chairs. The cabin was spacious and tons of closet space, double sinks in the bathroom, vanity mirror, 25 in tv, and a large bed that was wonderful. Full size couch, I can't say enough about the cabin. Plus, because we had an S category suite, we had access to the Neptune Lounge which was great. Besides being able to get espresso, coffee, soft drinks and food throughout the day, it was worth it just to have the Neptune Lounge Concierge take care of everything for us and not have to wait in line down at the front desk. To anyone considering booking that class of cabin, I strongly recommend it. And, we had complimentary pressing and laundry throughout the cruise which that alone was worth the upgrade. The public areas of the ship were done very tastefully, not as showy as I've read about the Oosterdam and Zuiderdam ships. Very easy to navigate around and not get lost. We'll definitely sail the Westerdam again. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
We just returned from 14 nights aboard the Westerdam. Other than the fact that the ship is huge........we found ourselves getting off the elevator and trying to figure out which direction to go, and because it was huge many of the bars and ... Read More
We just returned from 14 nights aboard the Westerdam. Other than the fact that the ship is huge........we found ourselves getting off the elevator and trying to figure out which direction to go, and because it was huge many of the bars and entertainment centers felt empty....our trip was AWESOME!!! This is our first cruise with Holland America and they certainly know how to take care of their passengers....so just a few comments that may help future passengers.... Our fellow passengers ranged from honeymooners to those in their 90's with walkers!.......there were a few children aboard, but we seldom saw them. Embarkation and disembarkation was the smoothest we have ever encountered (have sailed with Princess, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean in the past). All of the staff (with the exception of the spa manager)was always smiling and seemed to be truly concerned that all of our needs were being met. Spa services were wonderful and we were not given the "hard sell" for spa products, though we did purchase some. We were a bit disappointed that a $15 per day fee is charged for use of the Hydropool---as this is a free service aboard some ships. Dining room staff was friendly and efficient...... it was a bit difficult to find the wine steward, even though we order wine ahead for each dinner. The food was consistently good in both the dining room and at the Lido buffet. We enjoyed relaxing at dinner in the Lido after the LONG days of sight-seeing. Flaming desserts are no longer served in the dining room and are available in a lounge just outside the dining room. We really enjoyed the entertainment provided by the Westerdam troupe...do not miss these three shows! The other entertainment was usual fare---good, but usual fare! The ports were wonderful (Athens, Dubrovnik, Rome (Civitavecchia), Sicily, Tunis, Sardinia, Mallorca, Tarragona, Monte Carlo and Florence (Livorno). We took ship excursions in Dubrovnik, Sicily, Tunis, Sardinia, Mallorca, Tarragon and Monte Carlo....all were very well done and well worth the fee. In Athens, Rome and Florence we used private drivers that were arranged in advance, affording us the ability to bypass long lines and visit places that the busses could not go. I would recommend this to everyone and would be happy to share the names of our drivers with anyone who is interested, as they were all excellent! The only complaints heard from fellow passengers involved horror stories with air travel booked through HAL. We booked our air independently and had NO problem. However, MANY people encountered problems....including baggage that NEVER showed up, 24 hours of traveling from the east coast, bussing from one airport to another, and charter flights that were miserable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Review of Westerdam Cruise, 30 August-13 September 2004 In brief: The Westerdam (maiden voyage in April, 2004) is an excellent choice for a cruise. All aspects-accommodations, food, entertainment-are first rate. Accommodations: This is ... Read More
Review of Westerdam Cruise, 30 August-13 September 2004 In brief: The Westerdam (maiden voyage in April, 2004) is an excellent choice for a cruise. All aspects-accommodations, food, entertainment-are first rate. Accommodations: This is the first time we have had a cabin with excess storage space. Other passengers reported a similar experience. Our cabin had a large bathroom with two sinks, two medicine cabinets, a stall shower, and a full size ""Whirlpool"" bath, The only minuses: the bed was oriented such that the sitting area could not be curtained off from the bed, and the lounge chairs were uncomfortable wicker chairs instead of the usual sunning lounges. Food: The dining room (four sittings on two level) featured very good food, especially the meat, poultry, and seafood. The fish (fresh frozen, of course) were less successful. The menus were imaginative and varied. When I ordered chocolate souffles for dessert (not on the menu) they were produced without demurrer. But the star was the Lido. Food there was fresh, often cooked to order, not left-overs. There was a great variety from sandwiches made to order, to stir-fries,to conventional lunches of meat of chicken, to salads of the make your own variety to pastas and pizzas. And a wide variety of sweets, including a modest selection of sugar-free desserts. The variety was sufficient to cover most dietary variations. Of course, if you are on a high carbohydrate, high fat diet, you have absolutely no problem-just eat everything. (Some did!) The Pinnacle Grill was top notch, well worth the cover charge of $20/pp. Entertainment: The show lounge had the usual variety of entertainers. The stars were the resident singers and dancers who were first rate (standing ovations) including a soprano (Jill Persig) with an operatic voice. Most of the other entertainers were good to very good. Other notes: There is not a single lounge chair on deck where one can take the sun in a prone position without significant discomfort. There are plenty of chairs, however, so one need not hunt for a space. One pool can be covered in inclement weather. The port talks are divided between a lecture on the general attributes of the sponsored tours, and a separate talk (usually short) related to shopping. Tours are efficiently conducted, with the usual variability in quality of the local guides. It goes without saying that service is first rate. Lines at the front desk and the tour office move rapidly. There was little in the way of enrichment lectures: three talks by a single lecturer regarding the general area (the Mediterranean basin) we were visiting. Bingo represented the major intellectual challenge! Embarkation was swift, unobtrusive, and efficient. Our bags were in our cabin when we returned from lunch. At disembarkation we waited in our cabin till called. Read Less
Sail Date August 2004
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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