5 Copenhagen to Baltic Sea Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

This was our first European cruise and I must say, it was wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed being able to see so many countries in a short period of time. I had originally booked an outside cabin, obstructed view. Imagine my surprise when ... Read More
This was our first European cruise and I must say, it was wonderful. We thoroughly enjoyed being able to see so many countries in a short period of time. I had originally booked an outside cabin, obstructed view. Imagine my surprise when we checked it to find out we had been upgraded to a Verandah Suite cabin....what an upgrade! We thoroughly enjoyed having the bigger common area, bathroom, and outside deck. The ship itself was beautiful. I have cruised 3 times before, all on Carnival and always the Caribbean, which tends to draw younger single people. This line is far more upscale. The food and service were much better. The one huge difference I noticed was that there were hardly any younger people (under 45) on the ship. This crowd is A LOT older, I'd say the average age is at least 65. We knew it would be older, due to the destination and the cruise line. Also, I don't think I saw more than 5 children on the entire ship, probably due to the fact that they were all back in school by this time....don't get me wrong, we had a great time (myself, my boyfriend, and another couple ages 37-41), it's just for the most part, there weren't a lot of people near to our age on the ship. About the only complaint I have about this ship is its lack of a running track. I enjoy exercising, and I used the gym several times. I do not like running on a treadmill, I prefer outside. The only place they have that you can use is on deck 3....it is a walkway that is in some places quite wide and others quite narrow. Everyone out there was walking, and sometimes there were 3-4 people across...not the best way to get by a group. I think this was definitely a mistake in the ship's design. The countries we visited were great, truly an eye-opening experience for me. We toured on our own with the exception of Russia. Here we used Red October for the tour. There were 10 of us total, which was wonderful. We paid a lot less money and saw a lot more than if we had used the ship's tours. The one thing I will say though is be prepared for them to feel like long days...due to less sleep than I usually get, I was pretty exhausted as the day went on. In Stockholm, we made a private reservation to go to the Absolute Ice Bar (bar made entirely of ice) at the Nordic Sea Hotel...do this on your own rather than use the ship's tour, it's much cheaper, and you can go on your own time. In Germany, we made the decision to rent a car and drive to Berlin. Unfortunately I got some bad information from this board, someone told me Avis was the car rental place right by the dock. That turned out to not be true, Hertz is the rental agency by the dock...oh well. We ended up taking a 20 minute cab ride to our car...next time we will know better. Berlin was quite interesting, especially seeing the wall and reading some of the information posted at it. I highly recommend cruising in Europe as a way to see many places in a short period of time. We have already booked the Mediterranean for next September (this time Carnival Liberty) as the prices they are promoting right now for a 12 day cruise is amazing... Read Less
Sail Date September 2005
We had a great time on the Westerdam on our Baltic cruise. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, it was our first time with Holland America and were very pleased with the ship and services. Our balcony cabin was very nice, very comfortable ... Read More
We had a great time on the Westerdam on our Baltic cruise. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, it was our first time with Holland America and were very pleased with the ship and services. Our balcony cabin was very nice, very comfortable bed and plenty of storage space. The bed was much higher than all the others we have been on, so our large luggage fit easily underneath. The balcony has nice comfortable chairs and a small table. I really did enjoy having a bathtub in the bathroom, after some longs days, it felt good to soak. The food was wonderful, after reading a lot of information on Cruise Critic, I wasn't sure what to expect. We had dinner twice in the Pinnacle Grille and they were fabulous meals. We enjoyed the beautiful fresh flowers and tasteful decor of the ship. After many cruises, all of the shows begin to seem the same, I only went to 4 shows, none of which, knocked my socks off. This cruise is port intensive so we were going strong all day and frankly, after late seating dining, I was ready for bed. Only strolled through the casino en route to somewhere else, seemed smaller than other ships. One interesting tidbit, we had a celebrity on vacation on the ship. Joy Behar from "The View" was traveling along with a rather large group. Almost a week had passed before it was announced at the end of one of the evening shows, the cruise director announced that she was on the ship and had agreed the following day to do " a Talk with Joy Behar". I had never seen her around, of course I wasn't looking either, but I am a fan of hers and I enjoyed her talk more than I did any of the other entertainment on the ship. After that we had "Joy" sightings, celebrities vacation like regular people, imagine that. The shops were nice, they had a good selection of items from the Baltics in case you missed something, there was a "sale or special" every day. Ports: Embarkation was in Copenhagen, we arrived a day early and spent the night at the Sofitel Plaza, nice room, good breakfast. We got a chance to walk around and enjoyed the city, shopping on the Stroget, eating in Nyhven, canal cruise and of course the Little Mermaid. Embarkation was a snap, 15 minute cab ride from hotel. Tallinn, Estonia: Took the ship's shuttle ($4 pp) to the downtown, walked around and enjoyed shopping, having lunch, looking at antiques, it is a lovely little city. St. Petersburg: We had pre-arranged a 2 day tour with Red October. I had looked at a lot of info on Cruise Critic and if I can put other's at ease, I hope this will do it. We booked RO online with the US website, no problems, they required a 10% deposit. We had a private tour for 4 people for 2 days. I had read so much stuff concerning visa's, the threat of the ship not letting us off early, lunch ,etc., I sort of had myself worked up about it. Let me put very simply, it is no problem, they took care of everything. We had agreed the first morning to get to the gangway at 7am to be the first off and push through crowds if needed. Well, after oversleeping by accident, we headed for the gangway at 8:15, to discover no one else there and our lonely looking guide (Catherine) waiting patiently for us. She whisked us away in a very new looking Mercedes Van, microphone in hand and we had a terrific tour. She is highly educated, efficient, and we couldn't have asked for a better guide. She knew how to work the crowds, we never waited in line and were able to see a lot in 2 days. First thing she asked was what we wanted to do for lunch, we had already decided that we wanted to go a restaurant, which was in a five-star hotel and was lovely. I am not sure why anyone would want to take baggies and fill them from the breakfast buffet, after an exhausting morning, it was a welcome break. We did the same, different restaurant on the second day. We didn't go out for any evening activities, the ship was quiet so we enjoyed that. She had stops planned for the bathroom and conveniently at shops so we could get our souvenirs. She steered us away from markets and vendors, saying the pick-pockets were bad, however I'm sure it is planned that way. I would not hesitate to recommend Red October. Helsinki: Took the shuttle to the city, walked around enjoyed the sights, did some great shopping in the market by the harbor. Stockholm:Walked from the port (rather long one) to the ferry to the Vasa Museum, took a cab to the downtown, enjoyed the city, lunch, it is a beautiful city. Thoroughly enjoyed cruising through the Archipelago. Visby, Sweden: Lovely walled city, enjoyed the narrow streets, flowers, it was a short day there, small seaside resort. Warnemunde, Germany: We did not want to take the long trip to Berlin. We slept in a little and took our time to enjoy Warnemunde, very under rated. It is a lovely seaside resort, it was a beautiful day, we walked the beach looking for amber, did some shopping and just relaxed. If you are familiar with small US east coast beach resorts, this is what it reminded me of, very German and quaint. Arhus, Denmark:This port took the place of one of our sea days, leaving us only one sea day on the 10 day cruise. Walked around the city, not a lot of interest to us, we were back on the ship early. Debarkation: Copenhagen: It went very smoothly, we were staying the night so we were probably some of the last to get off. Had to stand in a long line for a taxi, it did move quickly considering how many people were waiting as there was another ship disembarking as well. Stayed at the Sofitel Plaza again, not as nice of room as the first one but OK for one night. Walked the city again, went to Tivioli and did our last amber shopping (best selection). It was a great trip on a lovely ship, would do it all again! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
We had read several reviews of the Westerdam - some were good, some were bad. We had previously cruised Alaska on Celebrity's Summit, and loved it. I'm happy to say that the Westerdam was just about as good. The ship is huge, ... Read More
We had read several reviews of the Westerdam - some were good, some were bad. We had previously cruised Alaska on Celebrity's Summit, and loved it. I'm happy to say that the Westerdam was just about as good. The ship is huge, but it is very easy to navigate. It does take a long time to walk from the front to the back, but it helped in burning off the excellent food! If the Summit's food was a 9.5, I would rate the Westerdam's as an 8.75, almost a 9. The food in the dining room was consistently well prepared, with excellent choices and nice serving preparation. The portions were small, but you could order anything you wanted - even doubled on a favorite appetizer or entree. We almost always had breakfast at the Lido restaurant buffet, which was consistently good and fresh. Eggs were made to order, ham steaks were sliced to order, and the sausages were yummy! We had dinner up there once when we were too tired to dress for the dining room, and they were serving much of the same good food. The specialty restaurant(Pinnacle Grill) was truly tasty - excellent Filet Mignon and Chocolate Volcano cake - well wort the extra 20$ per person. The fresh fruit throughout the cruise was surprisingly good! Our cabin was nicely appointed with a small but functional veranda - which helped to make the room feel larger. The beds (as noted in other reviews) were spectacular - much like our fabulous pillow top bed at home. You were able to fit one large suitcase under the bed - which helped with storage. 3 large closets fit all of our clothing quite comfortably. As on all cruises, the bathroom was small - but very clean and functional. We didn't use the tub to bathe (used the hot tubs by the pools) but it was good to have so water didn't get all over the place. Soaps, shampoo, and towels were constantly updated and made available. We only saw two shows (just fair) but the staff in the casino were really fun and made my winning even better! Overall, the staff on the ship were great - they learn your names and always have a smile. We bought a soda card for my partner for 40 dollars as he drinks lots of diet coke. I hear most ships charge for soft drinks, it's a shame but they do. We don't drink alcohol, but the 2 drinks that I did buy were delicious and only cost 4 to 6 dollars. The ports: Tallinn Estonia - cute, cobblestone, and strangely expensive and touristy. We had some misty rain, which didn't help. Not bad for a first stop. I hear the prices are much lower outside the tourist area, but we didn't know where. St. Petersburg Russia - Fantastic! I definitely recommend a private tour. We used Red October and couldn't have been more happy with the results! The six people on our two day tour saw three times as much as the big bus tours, went to the front of all the lines, and paid a lot less. Do a google search for them - Red October tours. Helsinki - OK, go on your own, the stuff is all in the center. Stockholm - hands down the most Beautiful city in all of Europe! Clean, easily accessible on foot and by ferry(the islands), it rocks! Wasa museum and outdoor city of Skansen on same island are a must! Old town doesn't need a tour! Visby, Sweden (on island called Gotland) surprise jewel of our trip. Tour on your own - you can walk the old walls in just over an hour - what a cute place! Wannemunde Germany - we have been to wonderful Berlin before, so we went to the city of Rostock and beachside town of Wannemunde. Wannemunde is too cute for words - like Provincetown. On the whole - a great cruise, ENJOY! Read Less
Sail Date August 2005
Embarkation went very smoothly. We had booked a guarantee and did not know our cabin number but they had the list right there. There were three lines - 1 for suite passengers, 1 for regular passengers and 1 for internet passengers (those ... Read More
Embarkation went very smoothly. We had booked a guarantee and did not know our cabin number but they had the list right there. There were three lines - 1 for suite passengers, 1 for regular passengers and 1 for internet passengers (those that filled their immigration forms out online). The internet line was the shortest and, as we had filled them out online, we there through the line very quickly. I would say it took us a total of 15 minutes before we were through the line and on the ship. We were ushered right up to the Lido to wait for our room to be ready. The Lido was the highlight of the cruise, at least for us we really liked all the selections and the coffee, juice and tea available 24 hours a day and as we were only 2 decks below and in an aft cabin it was very easy to just slip out for a cup of coffee or glass of tea. We booked a guarantee cabin in category VD and we were upgraded to an aft verandah cabin WOW is all I can say, the balconies for these cabins are really large (about the same size as the cabin itself). We felt there was plenty of storage space available in the closets as there were shelves you could pull down in all of them. The bathroom was very nice with a medicine cabinet with 3 shelves and a storage shelf under the sink. There was a tub/shower combo and the only problem I had was that with the shower curtain closed it was very dark in the shower, I think that the shower curtain should be clear or at least a lighter color than the dark blue it was. The beds were very comfortable and we liked that there was no bedspread but that the blanket was sandwiched between two sheets so you did not have an issue with blankets that do not get washed very often. We had the 8:30 seating for dinner and that worked out fine for us. We thought the service was wonderful and the food was quite good, although the portions were small, you could order extra if you felt you needed it but with appetizer, soup/salad, entree and desert it was plenty to fill most people up. Our wait-staff was very attentive and once we let them know that were were slow eaters they adjusted very nicely without making us feel rushed. We never felt like we were rushed to make it to the late show at 10:30pm and always made it in plenty of time. The shows were mostly very good and we enjoyed the illusionist the most he was quite entertaining. The pools were very nice and you could always find a deck chair whether inside or at the aft pool and there were always dry towels that were very generous in size and absorbancy. The drink staff at the pool was attentive but not intrusive, I never felt pressured to buy a drink at any time. The pools were heated to 84 degrees and the spas to 98 degrees and were very comfortable to swim in. The aft pool was supposed to be for adults only and even though it was never enforced you did not feel overwhelmed by kids. We used room service every morning for coffee and danish to get our day started. They came usually around the time requested but never more than 15 minutes early or late. We never had breakfast on the ship as we had our starters and then took off to explore wherever we were. We never had to wait very long to get off the ship and that seemed to go very smoothly every time. We only used the tenders one time and did no wait more that 15 minutes to get on a boat, except when we were getting back on the ship then it was about a 25 minute wait. We only took one ship offered shore excursion in St Petersburg and that was the Evening Folklore show, which was wonderful by the way, and that went quite well did not take long to get on the buses, however the tour guide we had did not speak very good english and the sound system did not work very well so we had a hard time to understand what she was saying, other than that we loved the show. We had a couple of incidents however that really did not get resolved to our satisfaction. One was on the tender back from Visby, Sweden. The tender crew had left the front window open and did not bother to close it before we left the dock. we hit the wake of another tender and got swamped by the waves. The lady next to us got it full in her face and was drenched from head to foot and so was her husband. My husband and I were right next to them and got soaked also. What really bothered us was the the crew members were laughing and never even offered help or an apology to any of us. When we returned to the ship the crew seemed even more uncaring with never an apology offered then either. They did clean our clothes for free but again no one said that they were sorry and that kind of erks me. The other incident had nothing to do with the cruise-line but we felt that they should have let the other passengers know to be careful. My husband had his pocket picked in Tallinn, fortunately I saw it in time to panic them and they threw his wallet in a nearby dumpster and we did not loose anything but he was a little battered as they shoved him into the wall. I know that they are not responsible for this kind of behavior but we felt that there should be some warning about pick-pockets in the daily paper. All in all we did have a wonderful time despite these 2 problems and we did not let them spoil our fun, which we did have plenty of. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
Holland America Westerdam Cruise to Northern Europe 6/30/05- 7/10/05 Following is a summary of our cruise taken last week on the Holland America Westerdam. Overall, we were extremely pleased with this ship and the service by the entire ... Read More
Holland America Westerdam Cruise to Northern Europe 6/30/05- 7/10/05 Following is a summary of our cruise taken last week on the Holland America Westerdam. Overall, we were extremely pleased with this ship and the service by the entire crew. We never felt people around, there was always a place to sit, and the ship was immaculate. The waters were calm, and we never felt like we were moving. What a way to cruise. As a means of comparison, we had been on the Sun Princess last year to Alaska, and also on the Celebrity Zenith to Bermuda. We were 2 couples traveling leaving from NY flying to Copenhagen via Amsterdam on KLM. We boarded the ship about 3:00. We were extremely pleased with the Westerdam. From arrival through departure, it was a class act. Everyone on staff had a great attitude. We had veranda room 6051- on the Upper Veranda Deck- it was well organized, and had plenty of storage for both of us. I did bring along an extension cord which made it easy to dry my hair while relaxing on the couch. The beds and linens were really great. The bathroom also had a lot of storage space, and the bath/shower was roomy. The balcony was comfortable, and was a treat to sit out to see the sun setting at 2am on a couple of picture perfect nights. We had amazing weather for the entire trip-10 out of 11 days were high 70's strong sun, not one cloud in the blue sky. One day was cloudy, with a light shower for about ½ hour. The public spaces are lovely and plentiful- there is much public space to find personal space for quiet conversations. The internet room was really nice- at least 20- 25 computers- all fairly private the way the setup was organized. The systems were down a few hours twice during the week, but overall the response time was excellent. Watch your room paperwork for internet specials where they give you 20 and 5 minute credits for asking! The main pool area was also spacious, relaxing, and comfortable. Although many people were out after a day of touring, there was never problem getting lounge chairs. We spent much time there as we got back from each city usually in the 3:00-4:00 range and had time to relax in the hot, strong sun. The best buy on the ship is the Lancaster Suntan lotion that they sell in the ship's store. What a bargain! The library was inviting, yet relaxing- newspapers, books, puzzles and magazines. But if you wanted to take out a book, you needed to get it 9 -5- not real convenient if you are touring each day. That needs to be revamped. The gym was impressive- great equipment and a lot of it. It was never really that busy either. Great views from the treadmills. The food for breakfast and dinner were fine. We never had trouble getting a table in the morning even when it was prime touring time. Lunches were not as exciting- although we only had a few lunches on board. As for dinners, we had a quiet table for four. The smaller tables are around the center of the dining room, which overlook the dining room below, and makes for a quiet dinner. All larger tables were at the windows- however, we didn't miss anything by not being situated at the windows, because it was always too sunny out, and due to the glare, the curtains were drawn. There was also nothing to see, as we were always out to sea with no views other than water. The waiters were excellent, and always had our soft drinks at the table waiting for us after the first day. Food was well presented, and varied sufficiently for the entire cruise. If the men were still hungry after a small portion, they ordered another appetizer or main dish with no problem and no wait. Cappuccino at dinner was included and was quite good. We ate twice at the Pinnacle restaurant and we had made those reservations before we had left home. The dinners were excellent, and the experience was a treat. Service was superb, however the menu did not vary at all. We only took tenders once, and the crew was well organized and the queue moved fast. The tenders did tend to get hot inside, even when we were moving. The evening entertainment was okay- nothing amazing- a few evenings were quite good. There were movies every night in the theaters there. Timing wasn't always great, but you could always see the same movie from your room on another night. Casino was not huge but more than sufficient for the crowd. We were extremely pleased with this cruise. We are in the midst of planning another cruise next summer on the Noordam. Feel free to email with any questions that you may have. Read Less
Sail Date June 2005
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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