461 Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades) Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

We were advised that Holland America was the only way to cruise. This is a smaller ship which was just what we wanted and the Panama Canal had been on our bucket list for some time. We extended our cruise up to Vancouver bringing it up to ... Read More
We were advised that Holland America was the only way to cruise. This is a smaller ship which was just what we wanted and the Panama Canal had been on our bucket list for some time. We extended our cruise up to Vancouver bringing it up to 19 days in total. The crew were the best we have ever encountered on any cruise line and couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. Unfortunately the ship disappointed right from embarking in Fort Lauderdale. The first thing we noticed was the rust all round the glazed areas, not just the usual mooring scrapes that all ships suffer. The floor of our veranda was rusted and pushing up the non slip surface. Hand rails in corridors were falling off, the thresholds at fire doors were sticking up and frequently caused people to trip. Sections of the decking were either rotting or the steel floor beneath was rusting away. Deck furniture had wonky arms and legs though in fairness some of them were replaced during our journey. The wash basin in our cabin was badly cracked, the shower leaked and ran out on to the floor. The silvering was fading off the mirrors. General maintenance appeared to be virtually nil, even down to simple things like faulty lighting. Wall coverings were worn and shabby. The overall appearance of the ship was of a one time grand old lady in her death throes and her owners were not prepared to spend any money on maintaining her. Virtually every passenger complained about the cold in the public areas. Passengers would sit in the stage and bar areas with pullovers on and rugs around them. The food was excellent with a very good menu and was very well cooked. Unfortunately it was always cold by the time we were served and this was exacerbated by serving on cold plates. This would have been a wonderful cruise if it had been run by anyone other than Holland America. They couldn't even be bothered to clean the glass on the observation deck so the passengers could see the Panama Canal. This was despite their being a decked access area directly below it. They ask you to tell them about your experience so they can improve it yet they don't even offer an excuse never mind correct the problem. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
We took this cruise for a chance to see the Panama Canal and all it's greatness. We arrived late at night the day before our cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn. We checked in online so our room keys were waiting for us. The ... Read More
We took this cruise for a chance to see the Panama Canal and all it's greatness. We arrived late at night the day before our cruise and stayed at the Hampton Inn. We checked in online so our room keys were waiting for us. The Hotel was clean and the bed was compfy! We ate breakfast and took a taxi to the ship about 11am. The was no one in line, we went to the check-in counter, they took new pictures and we received our cabin keys. We only waited about 15minutes and our number was called to board the ship. After a little walk and an elevator we were in our cabin! The ship is in great shape! The Crows nest is gone :( was only negative we found. The Illusionist and John Denver group were the best. Entertainment was great the first couple of days and then was mediocre. The Room stewards, Sea View bar servers and Main dining room stewards were the best we have encountered on HA!!! Day 4:Cartagena, Colombia, too short a visit but Cartagens is nice (Hot always) Day 5: Panama Canal Was FANTASTIC! Day 7: Puerto Caldera (Puntarenas), Costa Rica took a coffee tour, it was really nice.Tour guide was great. Day 8: Corinto, Nicaragua. Nicaraguan Treasures: El Viejo & Chinandega Our tour guide sucked, talked politics, hardly mentioned the country side. The meum was a few artifacts in a small building. Day 9: Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala. Guatemalan Rum, Aged in the Clouds; and Antigua Sightseeing Tour was nice. Tour guide was informative and nice Day 10: Puerto Chiapas, Mexico. Chiapas through the Ages: Izapa Ruins & Tapachula tour was great once again, the guide was very informative and cared about the tour. The ancient Mayan archaeological site of Izapa is allot better than some reviews say. It is from 1500BC. Day 13: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Clean and no one pushing junk. Read Less
Sail Date March 2018
My husband and I planned this cruise a while back and looked at a lot of reviews before we booked this cruise. Our age group is between 49-54 and we thought this was a perfect cruise for us. It turned out even better than we could have ... Read More
My husband and I planned this cruise a while back and looked at a lot of reviews before we booked this cruise. Our age group is between 49-54 and we thought this was a perfect cruise for us. It turned out even better than we could have imagined. Just a piece of advice, if you are into dancing and being up late at night this cruise is NOT for you. Also if you are traveling with children of any age this cruise is NOT for you. The night life on the ship is minimal and so is the entertainment during the day. BB Kings and the Billboard have some fun evening entertainment that we enjoyed. During the day American's Test Kitchen was good but packed so get there early! I wish they would have given you a taste of what they were making. There was live music on the deck by the pool a couple of days but mostly there was music playing over a speaker. This was fine with us and where we spent most of our time. We read and people watched most days. The ship was on the smaller side and very easy to navagate. Our cabin was nice and our balcony was great! It was always kept clean by our very nice room stewarts. We did not eat in the dining room at all so I can't comment. We ate most of our meals in the Lido Market and the food was outstanding! They served the same food in the Lido Market as they did in the dining room and it was just so much easier picking out what we wanted to eat. The service on this ship was great. The bar tenders in several bars knew our names on the second day and were always helpful. The ports we visited were very interesting and the excursions were all great! Puerto Chiapas, Mexico was the only bad port. If you are going here please book an excursion because there really is nothing to do except shop at the market by the port. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we signed up for a 15 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale, our first stop was Half Moon Cay. Overall, less touristy and was fine for the short time we were there. After 2 sea days, we hit Cartagena. We were there for a half-day. Didn't have time to really go anywhere other than a quick city tour. Honestly, not sure why we visited this port. Would have gladly traded Cartagena for a day in Panama City, Panama. The canal was everything we had heard it would be. The views were amazing and the trip transiting the canal was something we'll never forget. The crew did a nice job making folks comfortable. Seriously made the entire trip worth it. This is where the wheels started coming off. The first thing we found was the hot tub closed at 10 pm. Having dinner at 8 pm made this problematic. Wasn't much else to do after dinner so this was the logical choice for our 40/50 year-old group. There were six of us cruising so we thought we would ask for a little extension for one of the hot tubs. We were quickly told no. The staff was beyond confused when we told them their simple no wasn't good enough and we would like to escalate the issue to a higher authority. This really threw them for a loop. After a fair amount of complaining and 7 days into the cruise, the Captain firmly and finally said no. Guess he wasn't too interested in our opinion or issue. The second issue involved shipboard credits and the communication form our travel agency. It's too long and involved for this but suffice it to say, the crew was little to no help with this issue either. Overall, we found the staff beyond our cabin stewards and waiters to be pretty bored and less than concerned about pretty much anything beyond the basics. Couple that with the fact that everything other than ice water and coffee (even coffee in some areas of the ship were costly) were charged. HAL seems intent on getting every possible cent from their passengers. As I said, the crew was generally not helpful. Not sure if this is the HAL culture or a profound lack of leadership from our particular captain. The ports were a mixed bag with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala being the best by far. Chiapas, Mexico was a serious waste of time. The crew admitted there was absolutely nothing to do there. Again, not sure what we stopped there. Have to say I've taken my last cruise on Holland America Lines. Not impressed in any way. Oh,the best part of the ship was our shower was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. This is our 8th cruise overall and was the most disappointing when it comes to the cruise line. The rep they have catering to elderly passengers is well-deserved and earned. We felt totally out of place. Should have listened to my gut! Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
Chose cruise primarily because of departure port and dates of sailing. (Over NY Eve). Positives: 1. The signature suite! 2. Stewards very friendly--everyone always said hello. 3. Ship was redone a year ago--so spaces are nicely ... Read More
Chose cruise primarily because of departure port and dates of sailing. (Over NY Eve). Positives: 1. The signature suite! 2. Stewards very friendly--everyone always said hello. 3. Ship was redone a year ago--so spaces are nicely kept up. Very clean! 4. The EXC area and the Observation deck were VERY nice. We hung out there several times. 5. The customer service was positive and the crew kept everyone informed. 6. The LIDO--the buffet--was bounteous and nicely kept up. Recommended! 7. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. 8. Excursions not awesome but islands had been hit by hurricanes and was over the holidays. 9. Shows tied in with BBC Planet were nice. Negatives: 1. Accounting and paperwork were frustrating and had many kinks...prepaid items were not accounted for, tickets for excursions not ready, everything had to be rung up even if prepaid. (Was also charged $171 for massage that my friend could not take advantage of as BOTH she and masseuse were very sea sick). Still waiting for credit for excusrions we were unable to go on due to weather. 2. Art auction (also seen on other cruises) a waste of space--never saw anyone even looking. Same for casino--poorly utilized and sounded like a blatant way to separate you and your money. 3. The "shops" were extremely limited and prices were very high for the quality. The "spontaneous" shops on Alaska Princess were far superior. The jewlery "events" on this ship were a joke. Never saw a soul in the jewelry shop. 4. The pools were very small and crowded with kids (but this was the holidays). 5. The Eastern Caribbean excursions are limited and not very diverse--due to location limitations --of course noithing compares to Alaska! 6. WiFi was a pain to arrange-- Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My wife and I chose to celebrate our 40th by going on a cruise. We picked Holland America and was very glad we did. The experience was beyond our expectations. The comfort and service was better than most 5 star resorts. We especially ... Read More
My wife and I chose to celebrate our 40th by going on a cruise. We picked Holland America and was very glad we did. The experience was beyond our expectations. The comfort and service was better than most 5 star resorts. We especially enjoyed the perks of the Neptune Suite. The concierge service was great. We decided to renew our vows during the cruise and the Cruise director, Erin, and our concierge staff made it the most memorable moment of the cruise. My wife is still beaming for the care that was provided and the ceremony performed by Captain Vincent. Dinner afterwards in the Pinnacle Grill was spectacular. The entertainment was really good and the the Exploration lounge was great for those down times. We did not experience any problems with embarkation or debarkation. In fact it was extremely efficient and well done. We most will certainly cruise Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
From the time we boarded there was courtesy, assistance and helpfulness. Our cabin stewart was excellent and the room service for our coffee every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 was right there...we did tip the waiter that brought our ... Read More
From the time we boarded there was courtesy, assistance and helpfulness. Our cabin stewart was excellent and the room service for our coffee every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 was right there...we did tip the waiter that brought our coffee every morning it was someone different everyday....as well as our cabin stewerts.... we presented them with a thank you card with a tip of our personal appreciation. There were several waiters in our dinning room that we also tipped with a card and money. We did not pay the standard ship graturity...I like to personally express my appreciation to the people who made my trip a wonderful experience....there were some that were very rude and not very friendly....so I don't choose to pay for unkind behavior...I am thankful for the attendents we had they were great and VERY appreciative for the added bonus!!! We had a wonderful time Westerdam could kick up the entertainment a little for those of us over 55!! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
My sweetheart enjoys the low key atmosphere of HAL, as well as the food and service. The service was good but not what I have experienced in the past. The food is excellent, we ate in the main dining room for dinner, did not partake in ... Read More
My sweetheart enjoys the low key atmosphere of HAL, as well as the food and service. The service was good but not what I have experienced in the past. The food is excellent, we ate in the main dining room for dinner, did not partake in the specialty restaurants this time. The room was spacious and clean, plenty of storage. My one beef is with the entertainment, it is nice but very low key. Although a Christmas week cruise, most venues close by 11, with only the casino, BB King and one bar open. The casino is small, and very quiet. For smokers, there is only one area, all the way aft. It was okay but could use more cover. If it had rained would be unusable. The staff did not do a good job maintaining the area, ashtrays and other debris not cleaned consistently, bar service haphazard. This was the only part of the ship that was not maintained up to HAL standards. Overall a pleasant week. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
No kids visiting us in Florida for Christmas so we treated ourselves to a Christmas cruise. We have over 200 days on HAL and have definitely seen a decline in service,especially in the MDR,in the last few years. To negate this decline ... Read More
No kids visiting us in Florida for Christmas so we treated ourselves to a Christmas cruise. We have over 200 days on HAL and have definitely seen a decline in service,especially in the MDR,in the last few years. To negate this decline somewhat we chose a Neptune Suite and found the service to be excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, especially with a Global Entry Traveller card (bypassed all the lines for customs on exiting the ship). Our cabin stewards were diligent and very pleasant. The Neptune Lounge provided a respite from the crowded Lido deck when the ship was at sea and the concierge booked all our specialty restaurant reservations and the one excursion that we took in Grand Turk. After one dinner in the MDR we decided that we would avoid it if at all possible! We had open seating and it was a zoo!! After waiting in one of the lounges for about 20 minutes with a beeper, we were called to the MDR and then stood with in the doorway with about 30 other people for another 20 minutes, getting in the way of the waiters carrying food etc. We were finally crowded into a small table for 8 in the middle of the room with waiters and everyone else pushing past us. It was not fun. The food was mediocre and the service was slow. Too many tables in too small a space with not enough waiters. We spent every other night in the Pinnacle Grill with one other dinner in Cannelleto. I wish they could find another spot for Cannelleto. The open view into the Lido is not conducive to fine dining. The meal was a little over cooked but otherwise acceptable. We used to enjoy ballroom dancing in the Ocean Bar before and after dinner but that has all gone. The dance floor has been carpeted over and the band is no more. We did try the B.B. Blue’s Lounge but for the most part the music was not to our taste. Shows in the main theater were just OK with one exception - a great British violinist who entertained us on the last night. One improvement over years ago is the fact that one can stay in the cabin until ready for departure and even have a room service breakfast. We also appreciate the fact that the cabins are ready for occupancy after boarding the ship. Not usually so on the Celebrity ships. We will find out if that has changed when we sail on the Reflection at the end of January. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
The ship was great, just underwent a refit this past spring. Elevators are extremely fast, service was excellent, easy to get around the ship, food was really good (way better than most lines) and the small details really made a ... Read More
The ship was great, just underwent a refit this past spring. Elevators are extremely fast, service was excellent, easy to get around the ship, food was really good (way better than most lines) and the small details really made a difference. The Casino and bars were great as well! Grandmother, Mother and Father, and 2 teens traveled in 2 Veranda rooms - very comfortable. We dined mainly in the Dining Room for dinner. The selections were top notch - not lobster every night but, some really nice duck breast, halibut, prime rib, rack of lamb, etc. all well prepared, meats were cooked perfectly, sauces were very good, and sides were also good. The Lido restaurant had some great breakfast and lunch offerings - not just leftovers from the dinner before, and dinner there was comparable, on most days, to the dining room just buffet style - and the Dive Inn had delicious, cooked to order burgers and fries daily. One thing we really appreciated was the selections, most of them anyway, were served by kitchen staff instead of "help yourself". It seemed much cleaner, less waste, and fresher. The casino staff were exceptional on this trip. $6 Black Jack and $5 Craps were available. The dealers were professional, especially the pit bosses, and the servers (Pio in particular) were fantastic. We were never left waiting for a cocktail for more than a few minutes. Our room attendants were barely seen but, certainly noticed. The rooms were cleaned promptly and quietly. The spa staff were good. We enjoyed massages although felt pressured to buy over $120 worth of oils immediately AFTER - while still sitting on the massage table. Massages in nice spas are not inexpensive so we thought the pitch while trying to enjoy the relaxation was a bit much. Other than that specific sales pitch, the Westerdam had very little overzealous photo selling, photo taking, trinket peddling, etc.... although they still have the same "outfits" selling gold plated jewelry at real gold prices, etc. but, they aren't constantly shoving them at you. Overall a relaxing trip, easy ship to get around on, great dining, and excellent service! Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
In the interest of full disclosure the only reason I booked this cruise was because it dove tailed with a cruise I was taking prior, and I wanted to be away over Christmas. I was fully prepared to be met with a sea of blue hair and ... Read More
In the interest of full disclosure the only reason I booked this cruise was because it dove tailed with a cruise I was taking prior, and I wanted to be away over Christmas. I was fully prepared to be met with a sea of blue hair and was pleasantly surprised that there were more children on this sailing (over Christmas week) than I’ve seen on Carnival. This gave a youthful feel to the cruise, but didn’t work well at dinner hour. Sadly the main dining room had more challenges than just large groups of boisterous children. The most glaring problem ‘literally’ the glaring overhead lighting. There is a band of fluorescent lighting that runs the length of the main dining room that is so bright you feel like you’re dining at McDonalds. After the first night of this sensory overload lighting I decided to seek out alternative dining venues. One of the more reasonable alternate dining was the Italian themed Canaletto. Unfortunately, after three visits and many menu disappointments I would not recommend this venue. My biggest complaint was not from lack of service, it was spot on, but rather that the food was really bland. The menu in the main dining room offered much better options, if it wasn’t for the ‘fast food venue’ type lighting. Okay, so moving beyond the stateroom and the dining situation I want to address what I considered the biggest negative about the Westerdam, and (obviously) give others the opportunity to decide if this would be a deal breaker for them or not. This was my 67th cruise (yes, you read it right - sixty-seven), and the condition and decor of the hallways was like nothing I have ever seen. The carpeting was discustingly dirty. We’re not talking spots here and there, we’re talking great swatches of filth. Add to that that every day (bar none) at some place in the hallway was an industrial strength dryer running full on to dry out wet spot on said filthy carpeting. I’m not sure if the cabin stewards kept spilling their cleaning buckets of water, or if bathrooms were flooding, but I have never experienced so may loud, stinky, dryers blowing on a single cruise. In the room steward department, I had two. The one that came to introduce himself the first afternoon, was arrogant, distracted, and unprofessional. It was very unlike the normal ‘room steward introduction’ and more like he wanted to establish himself as an equal. I didn’t come on the cruise looking for a bff and I am a very low maintenance person, but at the same time I don’t suffer fools. My only request was that the mini bar be emptied and I would not be using it and that was met with a blank stare. Finally I said that I would remove the items to make room for my wine, at which point he graciously agreed....whatever!!! I won’t go into detail, but things only deteriorated from there. The other room steward was a gem. Always friendly, smiling, and eager to please. How I felt sorry for him being paired up with the other steward. I realize that this has been a very critical review thus far and don’t want to give the impression that I am a malcontent. One thing that the Westerdam offered and I thoroughly enjoyed was a feature movie matinee each day at 2:00 p.m. in the main theatre. I LOVE movies and don’t enjoy going to see them solo at home, so this was a real treat. I also found the food in the Pinacle Grill to be exquisite. They offer a lunch there most days for only $10 and it is such a treat. I would highly recommend that, or even dinner at a very reasonable $35. In closing I will only add that the check-in process was a bit of a nightmare, but I think that was just a fluke. It turns out that they had accidentally assigned my cabin to a women that as meant to be in the same cabin on the opposite side of the ship. I spent at least 20 minutes providing receipts showing that I did not book a shared cabin, etc. It always amazes me how they assume that the customer is in the wrong before they consider that it was their error. I also experienced a major problem with the person in the cabin next to me smoking on her balcony. After three days of registering complaints and providing photos for evidence, the only way it actually became resolved was when I confronted the person myself. This was despite several assurances from Guest Services that they had spoken to her and she either: a) promised not to do it again, or b) wasn’t doing it (which I took to mean I was making it up). In summary I would say if you encounter a problem expect a lot of lip service and not much else, hence my low rating for this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2017
Let's get the rotten things out of the way first: Not just a late embarkation, but vague, smarmy excuses instead of real information. No library. At all. Except for a very few "give and takes." Beware of chocolate ... Read More
Let's get the rotten things out of the way first: Not just a late embarkation, but vague, smarmy excuses instead of real information. No library. At all. Except for a very few "give and takes." Beware of chocolate cheesecake. One version is good. The other is a layer of wet cake on top of a layer of dry cake, both approximately chocolate. Oh, dear. Probably not HAL's fault but in Puerto Quetzel, we had to take a 20 minute school bus shuttle ride to exit the port by way of the shops when another exit was two minutes away. UHT Milk. Gravy. Only the lamb gravy is any good anymore but less weight to gain. Cushions on Lido deck chairs often wet. Chairs would dry faster without them and were comfortable when we flipped away the wet cushions. Maybe skip the cushions in rainy climates if not willing to keep bringing them in when it rains. The lentil soup. I thought it was burnt. My husband said it was just bad. No running deck; it must have been replaced by the new cabins on 10. This means runners and walkers are both trying to share the deck. Rather damages a nice quiet stroll to have runners zooming up behind you and not ideal for them having to veer, slow down and dodge. They sent hundreds and hundreds of non Americans all at the SAME time to the SAME place to get our passports stamped. It was so unnecessary, tedious and thoughtless. Disembarkation wasn't great either. They were quite adamant that all expedited passengers carrying their own baggage leave within the same half hour, which was silly, officious and inefficient. This caused traffic jams and elevator waits in the terminal. Greedy things: Westerdam has a charge for the Thalassotherapy pool and the cabanas on ten. So they were never used. Hoping to collect a couple thousand dollars, HAL lost two valuable selling points to future cruisers. They have changed the internet deal. No more packages of minutes. You must buy the "all you can use" plan either for a day or for the whole trip. This makes emailing home for word on children, sick, elderly or disabled family members and friends impossible or expensive. Another disincentive to cruise with HAL. There were lots of good and wonderful things: Almost NO smoking. Only on one half of the back Lido deck. The cutlery is already on the tables, except the back Lido deck. Sometimes glasses and cups are, too. Inside the Lido, that is. Sometimes the Lido staff come around with coffee, water, juice. If they don't offer what you want, you can say that you wanted water/juice/whatever and sometimes they will bring you that. I makes life without a tray somewhat easier. And it is civilized. They actually put ice in the ice bucket in the cabin. So useful for water bottles. We have an insulated water bottle that goes into an insulated carrier that's invaluable on hot days. Sometimes they didn't jam everyone into one tight corner of the Main Dining Room for lunch or tea. Breathing space is so lovely. The Main Dining Room now has the best acoustics at sea. They haven't carved off half of one floor for suites passengers like Celebrity and they have put a sort of circular acrylic wall around the "pit"' area. This means you can talk quite softly to your dinner mate and it is just beyond wonderful. The walking deck. It goes all the way around like good walking decks should. Three laps to the mile. They didn't close it off again and again as often happens on cruises. AND there were multiple drinking fountains. A wise, courteous and delightful touch. The day we went through the canal they opened up the bow sections on decks 4,5 and 6. This really helped reduce the crowding of people wanting to see ahead. Crab cakes in MDR Persimmon, star fruit, plums and passion fruit all appeared in the Lido. Never waiting for an elevator. The waiter. Our waiter Sukirman was wonderful. Efficient, pleasant, knowledgeable. The Diabetic: The bread basket buns are yummy, so be warned. Take a room at the front of the boat like we did and you will walk at least a mile just getting to meals and back. All of the sugar free tortes are terrific. And so is the sugar free kiwi Pavlova. The rest are just ok. The ice cream area is usually closed, unmanned or lacking sugar free ice cream. When the staffer WAS there I am not convinced they understood what "sugar free" meant, and the sugar free is always grainy and frozen and melted too many times so it's no good anyway. Save the calories. Good news, though, the chocolate chip cookies are small and good. There is no sugarfree drink except black tea, coffee or water. Squeeze a lemon wedge and add sweetener for lemonade. Bring baggies from home each with a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Mix with cream and sweetener, likely three sweeteners, then top up with hot water. The waffles are often cold, not very good anyway and they dole out whipped cream by the level teaspoon. Save the calories and don't bother. The sugarfree chocolate chip muffin was messy but pretty tasty. The flourless chocolate cake is so delicious it is evil for diabetics. I ate most of it anyway and it was my one splurge. Plan to walk a few laps of the deck to burn it off. Peanut butter was easy to find and plentiful for morning protein if you don't want bacon, eggs etc. The omelettes were good, never raw in the middle. Crab and avocado were both offered as add ins. They did offer plain yoghurt that wasn't too high in sugar. I added Splenda and fruit which helped a lot. Sort of. Cottage cheese if often offered across from the beverage stations. Oddly they often sprinkle cinnamon on it. Another protein choice for breakfast after I scraped off the cinnamon. The MDR main courses are no longer too big. I skipped whatever carb they put on the plate so I could have a brown bun from the bread basket. This worked pretty well for me. I was able to eat pretty well and get lots of wholesome exercise on the Westerdam. All things considered, I would probably do Westerdam again, but I would bring more books and resign myself to it's inadeqacies in advance. Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks prior to sailing because it was the 2nd half of a back to back. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to most of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks prior to sailing because it was the 2nd half of a back to back. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to most of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all public areas were kept very clean. There are plenty of places for quiet alone time and small group board games. • Activities o I loved the Americas Test Kitchen as a man who, at 55 is just learning to cook. The demonstrations by professional chefs are fantastic. The Trivia sessions are good, as expected, some folk take it way too seriously. But the cruise director kept a tight rein on it. • Service o Everyone is very helpful and friendly. • Travel to embarkation port o Unless you are the person who needs to be 1st on the ship, wait an hour until after embarkation begins, the wait is so much shorter and the buffet is still open. Unless you have a suite, those folk go straight to the front of the line. As we were already on the ship the in Transit system was poorly organized. According to others, there was a huge delay in boarding due to the immigration checks taking longer than expected. We zoomed to the front of the line passed upset onlookers at about 3:30 or so. • Dining o We had 8 pm dining at a large table every cruise. Every time we have enjoyed our tablemates as they turn into good friends. The main dining room is spacious and well tended. The staff was very receptive to our needs and wants. The food is good to great. The selection is adequate. • Entertainment o The BB King band was excellent. Great energy and great variety of classic R&B. The shows were good. The variety was adequate and for those who take the time to review the “When and where” pamphlet everyday, keeping busy is not a problem. • Disembarkation o We walked off the ship with our luggage which saves a lot of hassle IMHO, but I get those that do not. San Diego is a great port as all the transportation options are very close bye. We chose to walk to the train station 2 blocks away and everything went smooth except for my oversized bag that Amtrak charged me $20 to carry on. • Summary Read Less
Sail Date November 2017
We are a married couple, who has sailed with several different cruise lines the last 17 years, also on many Transatlantic cruises. But, this was only our second cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed two nights before the cruise at the ... Read More
We are a married couple, who has sailed with several different cruise lines the last 17 years, also on many Transatlantic cruises. But, this was only our second cruise with HAL. Pre-cruise: We stayed two nights before the cruise at the InterContinental Hotel, near Bayfront Park, in Miami. A really excellent hotel! The hotel’s Concerige booked a private shuttle for us to a favourable price - which took us to the cruise port, Port Everglades, in about 50 minutes. Embarkation: Went smoothly. The Ship. Like her sister ship, Oosterdam, which we sailed with last year, we found MS Westerdam to be a nice ship too. Although she was going to be refurbished in Europe after this cruise, in our opinion Westerdam was in a good condition. Stateroom info: We had a veranda stateroom, which we found a bit small, but the stateroom worked yet satisfying. We really like the Elemis products in the bathroom. However, we are no fan of having a bathtub instead of a shower cabinet. Crew: We found most of the Indonesian and Filipino staff to be great and friendly – our stateroom attendants, most waiters in the bars, the wait staff in the Upper Vista Dining Room, the sommeliers, and the staff in the Lido Market. Dining: We had set seating in the MDR. We were pleased with our dining service throughout the cruise. However, one comment – we noticed that the number of assistant waiters had unfortunately been reduced, compared to what we have experienced on most of our many previous cruises. After what we could see, this again led to a high work pressure for both waiters and assistant waiters. Food: Unfortunately, the food in the MDR seems to have slipped. We were a bit disappointed with the quality of a number of the main courses, and also with the cold soups for dinner. We think many of the fish and meat main courses was to dry, and they were often served with too much rice - instead of for instance potatoes of different kind. We will also mention that we never before on a cruise, only have been served two small pieces of lamb chops as a main course. We have to say that we had expected better from a Premium Line, like Holland. We ate most breakfasts and lunches in the Lido Market. The range of juice for free at breakfast was very good. The food selection in the Lido Market was okay, but we disliked that most of the fish courses offered for lunch, were deep-fried. We were impressed by the good service from the staff in the Lido Market. The staff was good at clearing tables, and there were knives and forks together with napkins on the tables. In many cases, the staff offered to bring us coffee, tea and water. We ate one dinner in Pinnacle Grill. The food was good, and the service excellent. Also on our second cruise with Holland, we had the Signature Beverage Package. But, unfortunately – this time we were wrongly charged four times for brands of beverages that we had not ordered, and which were not included in the Package. We had to see the Front Desk several times to demand that our account should be corrected. Unfortunately, it was very difficult to get it sorted out right, even though we were promised it all the time. One item was not fixed at all. We have a very few times on earlier cruises also experienced wrongly charging, but this is the first time an account mistake have not been sorted out, before the cruise was over. This is very disappointing! Entertainment: The entertainment on the ship was mostly okay. In particular, we enjoyed the two performances with "The Three Not Tenors". However, we were again quite tired to watch production shows, were most of the music/songs presented are not original, but only "look a like" music/songs. The reason for this is probably copyright issues/costs for HAL. Destination ports: The four destinations ports was good, especially Madeira, and Cadiz. Finally comments: Westerdam has great space per passenger, and we really appreciated that we never had trouble finding available sun loungers at Sea View Pool Deck – relaxing! Unfortunately, we were very disappointed that also on this cruise with Holland, there were no pool attendants or pool guards, who looked after that the pool rules was enforced. As with Oosterdam last year, the nice wind protective deck space outside Crow’s Nest on deck 10, will now be gone after the refurbishment, because it will be built new staterooms there. Disembarkation: OK Overall: We mainly had a very comfortable and pleasant cruise! Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
I enjoyed my first TA cruise a great deal. The service was exceptional, there were plenty of activities to keep you busy on the days at sea - and the price was fabulous. We booked 10 days before sailing. While the pizza on the lido was ... Read More
I enjoyed my first TA cruise a great deal. The service was exceptional, there were plenty of activities to keep you busy on the days at sea - and the price was fabulous. We booked 10 days before sailing. While the pizza on the lido was horrendous, the dining room cuisine was terrific, as was the lido's bread pudding. Anthony Cooke was a particularly good speaker and I went to as many of his lectures as I could. The Indonesian Crew Show should not be missed! The decor of the Westerdam is sadly incohesive (I had loved the Nieuw Amsterdam) but perhaps that will be fixed in dry dock? It's hard to say much about a ship that was going to have an overhaul at the end of my trip. While the Westerdam had some wear and tear it may very well be all fixed when it resumes sailing. The decor while I was on it didn't know if it wanted to be deco, quirky, tropical, Las Vegas or "pictures of old New Amsterdam". However, it was clean. I wish they hadn't started work before the cruise was over. The observation deck was closed early, there were construction noises at times, and even the bartender for the martini tasting had to contend with his water and electricity turned off. The ports were enjoyable - especially Funchal. Going on the cable car and toboggan ride was FAR cheaper by ourselves than taking the excursion. In fact, we skipped HAL excursions completely this trip and saved a bundle while still enjoying the ports. Using HAL for the airport transportation in Italy is to be recommended - especially if you're heading right home. They also got us a better airfare than we could find on the internet ourselves. Read Less
Sail Date March 2017
It had been many years since we sailed HAL and we decided to go back on what was the new Westerdam. Embarkation was simple. We had a signature suite which we were to.d that we would receive early embarkation....did not happen, but we still ... Read More
It had been many years since we sailed HAL and we decided to go back on what was the new Westerdam. Embarkation was simple. We had a signature suite which we were to.d that we would receive early embarkation....did not happen, but we still had fast service. The ship was lovely although getting somewhat worn. Our suite was large and very comfortable. The bathroom was huge with a separate bath and shower. Although the veranda was a good size, the chairs were missing and mismatched. The food in the main dining room was hit and miss. Very often almost cold when served. We dined at least twice in Canelloto restaurant, where the quality of food was better than the main dining room. The Pinnicle Grill was very good and compared to the restaurants on Celebrity, a good value. Since we are tired of the old Broeadway shows, we really enjoyed the pianist and violinist duo in one of the bars....they were brilliant. One added note, the smoking policy on HAL will prevent us from ever returning, smoking is permitted in the casino, and although we do not gamble, the second hand smoke permeates throughout the deck. It is also permitted on the verandas and although we were in a suite, we were unable to enjoy the veranda, due to the smoke. Read Less
Sail Date June 2016
I have to say, when we booked a cruise for 21 days we were wondering if it just might be too long!!! We had three other couples traveling with us (John and Sandy from Canada, Rich and Sandra from Calif., Marty and Lisa from Ohio and we ... Read More
I have to say, when we booked a cruise for 21 days we were wondering if it just might be too long!!! We had three other couples traveling with us (John and Sandy from Canada, Rich and Sandra from Calif., Marty and Lisa from Ohio and we are from Byrdstown, Tn.). We left from Ft. Lauderdale.............went to private beach in the Bahamas, the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Caracao), then to Cartegena Columbia. We did a full transit of the Panama Canal.....then to Guatemala, Nicaragra and up the coast of Mexico (Cabo, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan........) and ended up in San Diego California. After the 21 days, we all agreed that, if we could, we would stay on the ship and go all the way back to Ft. Lauderdale for another 21 days!!! At our dinner table, there were the eight of us and a new couple joined our table. Their names were Jens and Inge from Denmark. They were a wonderful addition to our group!! We had the pleasure to have them at our dining table every night and they joined us on shore also. I hope we always keep in touch with them and hope they join us again! We met John and Sandy from Canada on a cruise probably 13 years ago and they have joined us every cruise since!!! So you can make some really awesome new friends. Lets start with our room and the ship. The ship was WONDERFUL!!! Clean, colorful and had the best staff ever. Everyone that waited on us for our food and cocktails were the best. Smiling faces and so very helpful. I have to say, the people that manned the guest relations desk left ALOT to be desired!!!! They weren't the most friendly people I've seen on a ship ( and this was probably our 17th cruise!!!.....and we went on many different lines). Before we booked our air flight, we got in touch with Holland America and asked if an 11:35 am flight would be too early to catch...........we were told that would be fine. Well, we found out after we were on the ship that if you wanted to be off the ship early..........YOU HAD TO CARRY YOUR OWN LUGGAGE OFF THE SHIP AND DOWN THE GANGWAY!!! Normally, this might have been a challenge, but totally do-able. But while on the ship I developed back problems which made it virtually impossible for me to carry half our luggage (I even went to the ship doctor so they could verify my problem)!!!! I went to the desk and asked, since I could not lift anything, if we could get a cart so we could put our luggage on it......they said NO. Asked if they had any suggestions..........they said NO!!!!!! They could care less if we were going to have problems!!!!! Luckily everyone in our group helped us with the luggage to the gangplank........but were not allowed to go any further or they couldn't get back on the ship!!!!! Now, you would think that early departures would be for people who had flights, buses, etc....... to catch. But some people just wanted to get off. Therefore, the people who had schedules to meet had to wait for hundreds of people who were just getting off because they felt like it (with no hurry or plans once they disembarked!!!). Add this to the fact that the foreign people started to get checked out around 6:30 in the morning and at TEN THIRTY they were still not finished!!!! Which delayed the early departure people!!!! We got off the ship around 10:45! Made it to the airport by the skin of our teeth........ran to our gate and got right on the plane!!!! WHEW!!!! They really need to work on the disembarking priorities and procedures. It was the worse I have ever seen!!!!! The customer service desk and the disembarking was what kept this cruise from rating excellent on all points. So.......putting that behind.........everything else on the ship was GREAT!!!! Our whole group had balconies.......which they all loved!!! We had an outside room on the main deck and it was just wonderful ... it was midship and it was one of the biggest and most comfortable rooms we have had. It had a nice big window and we felt absolutely no motion!!!! Would definitely recommend it!!! The food was delicious. We went to the buffet for both breakfast and lunch and were never dissappointed. A few in our group ordered breakfast in their room and they said it was hot and delicious!!!! The dining room is beautiful and the wait staff (we had Yessir and Putu) were the best!!! The were fun and very efficient and friendly. We all looked forward to dinner every night!! The choices were great and the appetizers, dinner and desserts left nothing to be desired. The entertainment was great, and the bingo was fun. I really was disappointed that there was NO MUSIC at the pools!!!!!! That definitely left something missing as far as we were concerned. I won't go into all the ports.........but I will say in Cartegena you should see the old part of town with the inquisition palace, etc......but GO WITH A GROUP!!!! Just for safety! ABC islands are fun places to shop and walk around (Aruba is actually my least favorite of all three islands!) and the transit of the Panama canal was really interesting. It was very hot....probably around 95 degrees....but we loved it. After reading all about the Canal and the locks, etc........it was really interesting to see it up close and personal! Nicaragua and Guatemala had some shopping and fun straw markets........and we enjoyed Cabo and Puerto Vallarta except for the fact that it was just soooo commercial. You needed to take transportation to get to some shops. It was like being dropped off in San Diego or Ft. Lauderdale. The areas near the ships are just way to commercial. But in Cabo San Lucas.....you should definitely go to Cabo Wabo (bar and restaurant).... owned by rocker Sammy Hagar. It was a fun place and had great food and atmosphere!!!! I would definitely recommend Holland America (Westerdam) and a 21 day cruise to anyone who enjoys cruising. The time flew by.......and the ship made you feel comfortable and at home. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Going through the Panama Canal is a bucket list item. I've looked at many cruises going through but most where you go all the way through the canal have such minimal port you visit between and many sea days. We still have a fair ... Read More
Going through the Panama Canal is a bucket list item. I've looked at many cruises going through but most where you go all the way through the canal have such minimal port you visit between and many sea days. We still have a fair number of sea days 7 in total, but a smaller percentage than others. This cruise was different that we spent over a week in the Caribbean before going through the canal, 6 ports in mexico and 3 central america countries. I go on cruises to visit the places and have new experiences not to sit on a ship. Which this cruise completely met. Boarding was pretty simple, we arrived early to find many others had also arrived early and were filling up the waiting area. It didn't take too long once they started boarding to get on-board. HAL has done away with the mariners lunch which is sad, but we did have a reception in the afternoon. Gala nights were wonderful, we were joined by 2 of the crew members each time. Once with the guest relations and the second time with the head of excursions. So interesting to talk to crew and ask them about what they do and life on board ship. Plus they each provided us with free wine :) Something else about the dinning room is they have gone to a new system (I think) all the wait staff were carrying around ipad/tablets. The tablet has each table and who is sitting there along with your picture, so they can greet you by name. They were also able to show you pictures of each of the meals and answer detailed question about what is in the food. Entertainment was for the most part very good, we liked the special entertainers and were rather disappointing in the on staff entertainment. Second night on board while a comedian was on stage they had a emergency with a potential fire, the comedian went with it and we were laughing about the potential of a problem, he joked that we weren't going to get our cookies tomorrow. Some people thought it was part of the act. It wasn't, but it was a great way to keep everyone calm. There was no fire so we were fine and cruise continued without a problem. The entertainment over all was varied, from piano player, comedian, magic, violinist, singers, and gymnast. Crew was amazing. They were very attentive. Our state room attendant was very quick to clean our room and always greeted us with a big smile and by name. We became friendly with some of the beverage staff to the point that in the theater at night he would serve us our drink without our having to ask, and he also provided us water as we left the ship also without having to ask. The crew did mention that they were just shifting off of a 7 day Caribbean cycle of the same cruise over and over and were looking forward to actually getting to know the customers now. Gave a new view of the job the crew does with new people coming in, it appears the like the longer cruises as well so they can get to know us. As I said the ports of call were the reason for this cruise. They did not disappoint. We booked all our excursions through HAL, which does tend to be more expensive, but if we want to trade out something it makes it easy. We were in Antiqua for good friday and were able to experience a once in a life time experience with the good friday procession the largest of the kind in the world. Plus we got to see the volcano erupt on our drive into town. Another service I think is very improved on the westerdam is the internet service. They are testing a new series of internet plans The service was very good, I purchased a plan that covered the whole trip, it was unlimited time but limited to a single device. It was nice that I was able to login to wifi from my phone and carry it around without worrying about how many minutes I was using up. It let me send text through facebook and whatapp to friends and family back home much more easily than ever before. I really hope they roll this out to all the other ships. It truly is much better service than their normal plans. My only complaint is about the average age. I'm 44 an I was often the youngest person around. I normally don't have a problem with this, I actually like hanging with the older crowd, but sometimes I just wanted to talk or spend time with people my age. Doesn't help that this was a longer cruise and most people who work can't get a month off to go play. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I will start by saying that I have never been on a cruise that I did not enjoy. We have taken over 40 cruises with 8 different lines. When I write reviews, I tell em as I sees em. We chose this cruise because it started by going to ... Read More
I will start by saying that I have never been on a cruise that I did not enjoy. We have taken over 40 cruises with 8 different lines. When I write reviews, I tell em as I sees em. We chose this cruise because it started by going to several islands in the Caribbean before entering the Panama Canal. This is very unusual and seldom done by other cruise lines. We had booked two southern Caribbean cruises in the past but both were cancelled by us or the cruise line and this was the first time we were to see any islands in the southern part of the Caribbean. Those stops and seeing the new additions to the Panama Canal encouraged us to select this particular cruise. After entering Gatun Lake, the ship made a detour to see the new lock that will take larger ships into the lake. This cruise started on a sour note because the fare for our cabin was reduced by $1,000 per person just after we made our final payment. I called our travel planner at Holland America to see what kind of adjustment they would make to our fare and was told that they would not do anything except offering us an upgraded cabin. Of course, if we took the upgrade, we would have to give up the booking bonus we got when we booked the cruise. The booking bonus was $200 per person onboard credit and two dinners at the specialty restaurants onboard. The upgrade was not in the location we wanted and the cabin offered was not that much better than ours, so we chose not to make the change. However, I was very surprised at Holland America’s attitude, since we have never had a problem getting price adjustments, refunds or onboard credit on any of the other lines with which we have sailed. CABIN We chose a cabin in the forward location on the Upper Veranda deck so we would have easy access to the outside deck in front of the ship when we went through the Panama Canal. We had a similar cabin location on a previous canal cruise 15 years earlier and it worked out very nicely. We could watch the TV to see when we were approaching something of interest and then go outside on the front deck to get a better look at it. That way we were not constantly in the heat of the day. Fewer and fewer ships are being built with front decks that are open to passengers, so a ship that has these decks is a good choice for a Panama Canal cruise. We were again happy that we chose this location for our cabin. We were in cabin 6017. It was somewhat typical of a veranda cabin with a small deck outside with two chairs. The bed was very comfortable and had adequate pillows and a nice comforter. Two small night stands each had two drawers. Reading lamps were built into the headboard. There was enough storage room under the bed for our suitcases. There was no more drawer storage in the room. A vanity near the door to the deck had a frig on one side and two shelves on the other side. The shelves were inconvenient for storage and the vanity chair was in front of the door to the deck making it inconvenient to come and go when someone was sitting at the vanity. There was a small couch across from the vanity and a table in between that was an additional hindrance to veranda access. A very small TV in the corner above the vanity was impossible to see from across the room because of its size. The screen was also very dark and there did not seem to be any way to adjust the brightness. We would have enjoyed seeing some of the first run movies that were shown each day, but that was not possible due to the dark screen. Most ships on other lines have a binder in the room that lists what movies are shown on the various TV channel each day. There was nothing like this in our room. I called the front desk and was told they did not have any kind of printed listing for the movies. Two closets were available for hanging clothes and they were adequate for the 21 day cruise. A third closet had shelves and the safe. We managed to store clothes here that would usually have been put into drawers. The bath was OK but also had limited storage space. It had a tub. We would have preferred a shower, but managed with the tub. It had a hand held shower head that worked very well and there was always plenty of hot water. Adjusting the water for the correct temperature was very easy. The first two days we were onboard, the toilet stopped flushing each day, but the repairmen came as soon as we called and fixed the problem. It worked properly for the rest of the cruise. The air conditioning/heating system in the cabin was a mess. The knob had to be turned all the way to the right to get heat. If it was turned about 10 degrees to the left from that point, the room turned into an ice box. There was no happy medium. We had to wear sweaters during the day or swelter in the heat. At night we snuggled under the covers to keep warm. We had two stewards that did an excellent job of caring for our room and always responded to any need we had. FOOD We had anytime dining and usually arrived at the restaurant between 5:30 and 6:30 for dinner. We never had to wait for a table. We always got one immediately. The staff should be commended for developing a way to do this as other lines issue buzzers to guests and they often have people waiting for long periods before getting a table. The food in the main dining room was average to good. The service was excellent and quick most of the time. We appreciated the fast service so we were able to get to the early show each night. The dining room was open for breakfast each morning and for lunch on sea days. It was a very pleasant alternative to the lido restaurant which was always overcrowded. The food in the lido restaurant was tasteless and usually under or overcooked. The choice was almost always poorly prepared chicken and fish and one type of low quality meat at the slicing table. The only meat that seemed properly cooked and spiced was the turkey which they had a couple of times. The only food in the lido that was good was from the Asian location. The type of food here changed daily between Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian, etc. It was always properly cooked and spiced very nicely. On the day they had Vietnamese food it included a type of noodle that was wonderful. Unfortunately, they never had that type of noodle again. There was an Italian station in the lido that was horrible. They always had a couple types of pasta and would prepare a sauce to order. I chose to have a white sauce and asked for onions and mushrooms to be included with it. She put a ladle of white fluid in a pan and threw in some raw onions and the mushrooms and heated it until it was lukewarm, then poured it over some noodles. It tasted like skim milk with undercooked items added. There was also a casserole dish each day with some type of pasta in a sauce with lots of cheese on top. It too was terrible. The Italian station should be avoided at all times. One of our booking bonuses was a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. I had a fillet mignon and my wife had halibut. Both were excellent and the service was also. The lobster bisque was wonderful and the deserts were very good. On previous cruises with other lines, we have found the specialty restaurants to serve items that were no better than those found in the main dining room. This was not the case with the Pinnacle Grill. We would definitely try that again if we ever take another Holland America cruise. We also had dinners at the Italian Restaurant which is created out of a portion of the lido restaurant in the evening. The service was good; the food was not memorable although the portions were huge. Nothing was any better than we would have had in the main restaurant. There was a hamburger/hot dog grill near the indoor pool on the lido deck. It was always very busy and buzzers were provided because the service was so slow. The hamburgers were so/so, but the French fries were excellent. The hog dogs with all the trimmings were also very good. Near the grill was make-your-own taco stand with all the trimmings in open buckets which were left out all afternoon. It looked like a good place to avoid. ROOM SERVICE We had several breakfasts and a couple of dinners delivered to our room. The service was very prompt and the food was always good. After each delivery, we received a call asking if the food had been delivered on time. We were always happy with this service. ENTERTAINMENT The shows were average to good. They were certainly better than many we have seen on Princess but don’t compare with Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. They had a variety of comedians, a pianist, a violin player, etc. and a few production shows. We did not attend all of them, but enjoyed most that we did attend. I attended a couple of camera and computer classes and found them to be excellent. I probably should have gone to more, but they often did not fit into our schedule. The trivia contests seemed to attract a lot more people than we have seen on other cruises. On other Holland America ships, there is a movie theatre where newly released films are shown each day. The Westerdam did not have a theatre but showed the films in a night club. It did not work. The room is built in a half moon shape and the sight lines were only good for the people seated in the center of the room with a direct line to the screen. Those on the sides could not see the screen well enough to fully enjoy the films. We only attended one. LAUNDRY SERVICE Most of the other Holland America ships we have been on have had at least one self-service laundry on each passenger deck. This ship had none. It was necessary to send four bags of laundry out during the cruise. A full bag of laundry was $20 and you could stuff as much as you could in the small bag that was provided. The service was very good. Each load was returned within 24 hours and the pants and shirts were all pressed and returned on hangers. We were very happy with this service. ILLNESS ON BOARD I have frequently come down with a cough and cold like symptoms on many past cruises, but I never noticed many other passengers with like problems. Not so on this cruise. I started coughing around the third day on board and LOTS of others started doing the same. Many people had far more serious symptoms like sore throats, laryngitis, and stuffed sinuses. My wife was one of those. My symptom was just the cough and it is still with me now. My wife still has all her symptoms. I have had this cough hang on for as long as two months in the past. Hopefully, it will not do the same again as it is easing off a bit now. INTERNET SERVICE The ship offered email and Internet service for the entire cruise at a cost of $200. I thought this price was a bit stiff, but decided to sign up for it anyway. The service was the worst I have experienced on any ship. It took up to an hour to get connected to AOL so I could check my email. The computers were located in the library which was located in the observation room on deck 10. The librarian was the person responsible for helping people having trouble with the service, but she could not always help and was not there much of the time. During the first few days she would show up at the appointed time and then put up a sign that said she was helping out at some other location on the ship and would be back in a few minutes. She usually did not return. After several days of having problems, I noticed a flyer in the library that said we should “ask one of our team members to help” if we had problems with the Internet service. Unfortunately, it did not say how to find a team member. I called the front desk and the person there said I should bring my device down to their location for help. I said I could not very well bring one of their computers down to the front desk and asked how to find the “team member.” I was again asked to bring my device down to the front desk. I gave up. The computers were set up so anyone could access the Holland America web site with or without purchasing a subscription to the Internet service. I decided to send a request to the customer service department at Holland America asking how to get faster access to AOL. Nothing happened until the next day when someone on the Westerdam left a message on our phone saying our subscription fee had been refunded. However, he did not mention that he had also cancelled our subscription. I guess he decided that action was easier than solving the Internet problem. I was not happy, but decided it was not worth pursuing any further. We went without service for the balance of the cruise. TOURS On most cruise ships, people going on a tour are asked to assemble at a particular room in the ship. Then they are led down to the gangplank or tender when the tour is ready to start. Holland America has taken an innovative approach to assembling the tour passengers. We were told to go to exit the ship at a certain time and look for our tour bus on the pier. The first day, several hundred people crowded into the hallway near the gangplank, but the ship had not yet been cleared and we all stood in this very close environment for almost an hour past the appointed time. FINALLY a crew member said we could sit in a night club until we were called. We never were called, but noticed that the line started to move, so we got up and followed the crowd. We then began to look for our bus on the pier, but it was not there and there was nobody around to tell us where we should assemble. We finally found the line and waited again for the rest of the tour group to make their way off the ship. Holland America needs to rework their innovative procedure. We had very good tour guides on all the tours. When we visit a new location, we usually take a sightseeing tour to get acquainted with the general area. Unfortunately the three islands we visited in the southern Caribbean had very little of interest. The primary interest of tourists is getting sun and scuba or skin diving. All the best to be seen is underwater. My disappointment was probably my own fault. I did not do enough research before deciding to visit these islands. I had visions of beautiful landscapes and green mountains similar to what is seen in the south pacific. Some photos of Caribbean islands had led me to believe that all of them would look like that. Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are all flat and drab. They had nothing in common with the type of tropical islands I was expecting to see. On the Pacific side of the canal, we visited several countries again taking general interest tours. Unfortunately, these places have little of interest other than the typical town plazas and the local cathedral. Again, the tour guides worked very hard to help us enjoy their country, but it did not work for us. The very hot weather also made us very happy to return to the air conditioned ship as soon as possible. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Great cruise and great excursions in the 13 ports visited. Sea days were filled with 10 computer classes, lectures on the regions visited, port excursions, movies, and mixology classes. Embarkation was smooth. We had to wait but were ... Read More
Great cruise and great excursions in the 13 ports visited. Sea days were filled with 10 computer classes, lectures on the regions visited, port excursions, movies, and mixology classes. Embarkation was smooth. We had to wait but were seated in a big room. Disembaration was smooth. We had to wait to get a taxi to our hotel. The balcony cabin seemed small when we separated to two twin beds but we managed. We enjoyed the balcony when we cruised through the canal. We ordered room service breakfast so we could watch everything in the locks. Our starboard side was perfect. We were forward so we could watch the ship officers two decks above us. We ate most nights in the main dining room. Two different ship officers dined with our table on two different nights. We enjoyed the Pinnacle Grill and Cannelo as well. The nightly entertainment was spectacular. We had a hard time picking what was our favorite act because they were all good. Service on board was fantastic. Our room stewarts introduced themselves on the first day. Most port excursions were good. There was confusion in Guatamala because of the Good Friday processions in Antigua. We signed up for the guided walking excursion which turned out to be more than a 5 mile walk through crowded streets. It was worth it to see some of the processions. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked this cruise with several other couples so had friends on board but met many new couples and enjoyed this cruise because of the Gaither Gospel Music with about 25 singers on board. We had a partial ocean view cabin that allowed ... Read More
We booked this cruise with several other couples so had friends on board but met many new couples and enjoyed this cruise because of the Gaither Gospel Music with about 25 singers on board. We had a partial ocean view cabin that allowed us to see the sea or land depending and it was definitely large enough. This ship went to St Thomas, Bahamas,San Juan and Half Moon Cay. We walked around Nassau so no excursions. In San Juan and St Thomas we did bus tours of the city as my wife had back surgery a few months ago and we felt it would be difficult for her to walk alot. Normally I try to see what I can do locally with excursions, but this trip stayed with the cruise line excursion. I think they were ones I would skip the next time and get local excursions. One in San Juan stopped at the convention center ( waste) while I wanted to spend more time in Old San Juan. So I think this would have been better. In St Thomas the tour was better but they took us to several look outs with stores to buy things so again could have spent more time touring. Food was OK. The one dress up night the menu was limited to three entrees instead of 10 so I felt the food selection was not as good, however, the quality of the food was excellent. In the buffet line they are now serving you the salad or other selections instead of letting you pick your own I guess to curb germs. So lines tended take longer. There was always enough tables for meals either inside or outside. Our entertainment was over the top , awesome wince we traveled with the Gaither Homecoming concerts so you could not have better entertainment. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
Nice ship. All the food venues were quite good. Buffet had a good selection at every meal. MDR was OK but slow service. Hamburger joint on board was outstanding on the rear sun deck with good burgers and yummy fries. Coffee house in ... Read More
Nice ship. All the food venues were quite good. Buffet had a good selection at every meal. MDR was OK but slow service. Hamburger joint on board was outstanding on the rear sun deck with good burgers and yummy fries. Coffee house in the library was a relaxing place to get away. All services were well above average. Decor was adult throughout the ship as most of the guest tend to be over 50 on HAL cruises. Easy embarkation with a speed line for suite guests and debarkation was a breeze. Make sure you snag a porter right away or you end up schlepping your own luggage through customs...there did not seem to be very many porters for the amount of passengers that wanted them. Neptune lounge was extremely nice with food and drink available all day. Concierge was helpful and knowledgable. Ports were interesting and the main reason we took this cruise was whale watching in Grand Turk and shopping in St Thomas. Looking forward to our next cruise in July 2016 on Amsterdam to Alaska and next February on Ziederdam. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
My wife and I have been on many cruises primarily with Royal Caribbean. We thought we would give Holland America a shot and we are happy that we did. Flew in the morning of embarkation since the Fort Lauderdale hotels were expensive and ... Read More
My wife and I have been on many cruises primarily with Royal Caribbean. We thought we would give Holland America a shot and we are happy that we did. Flew in the morning of embarkation since the Fort Lauderdale hotels were expensive and the reviews were pretty bad. Arrived at the airport and found that HA wanted $19 per person to catch their bus but a taxi was cheaper and more personalized. No huge traffic backups getting to the ship like we did at Galveston and the port was far more organized and boarding was easy. The ship is relatively old but clean and well maintained. Slight problem with the toilets due to one of the tank problems but it was quickly remedying. Air-conditioning in the room was adequate but I might be concerned if we were on a summer cruise. We found that the lack of children on the cruise made it more enjoyable for the adults and because there are no water slides and other kid-related activities, better for us. Entertainment varied from spectacular to average. Adagio in the Explorer Lounge is a violinist and pianist playing classical music and they are extraordinarily talented and enjoyable..far more talented than the Electrical violin group Synergy. Jeremy at the Piano Bar is also excellent. We have heard better voices before but he plays well and his musical interpretation of American Pie is not to be missed. BB King also put on a nice show. Food review was mixed: main dining room...better than Royal Caribbean..especially the lobster on the 2nd gala night. We heard complaints about slow service in the past but the tablet devices used for ordering seems to have changed that as service was excellent. first night shrimp cocktail was the teeny tiny tasteless ones but was much better on the second gala night. Steaks had a kind of funky taste and were better on RC. Food at the buffet (Lido) was disappointing because for some reason they decided to have to individually prepare almost every dish. This made for slow service and in many cases, they were ill prepared to meet demand. Always running out of random dishes, running out of plates, etc. etc. caused slow-downs. After trying breakfast twice, we ended up going for room service which was on time and very good. Pinnacle Grill was exceptional with wonderful service and tasty dishes. Hard to believe this food came from the same ship... Le Cirque was also very good but not any better than the regular Pinnacle Grill food though more expensive surcharge. A very nice feature is the luggage transfer to the airline (selective airlines) which for about $20 a person took care of your luggage off the ship and checked it in to the airline. Ports were okay with the biggest disappointment the cancelling of the stop at Turks and Caicos due to high winds. San Juan was fun to walk around the fort but nothing special. St Thomas was snorkeling aboard Castaway Girl (ship's tour) and it was fun. Crew was excellent but snorkeling only average. Some interesting coral and a few turtles but the shipwreck was nothing exciting. Rum punch and the crew made it a good time. Half Moon Cay was the most fun with a beautiful beach where a short walk removed you from the crowds. This ship-lined owned island has been well done and there are things for everyone to do. BBQ was too crowded so we by-passed it. Snorkel by boat almost was cancelled due to high winds...gusts to 25 its but we gave it a try anyway and were pleasantly surprised. Water was crystal clear and lots of fish and beautiful coral. Better of the two snorkel excursions that we took but of course were disappointed to have missed the Turks and Caicos snorkeling. Ships photographers were excellent...went aboard with intention not to buy anything and ended up buying quite a few portraits. Disembarkation was easy and well organized. We were randomly selected to go through a customs examination and were concerned as we had purchased some nice jewelry. Apparently everything purchased, ship or shore, needs to be declared. They won't tell you that in the shops so beware that anything over $800 per person is dutiable, Fortunately we had a certificate showing the goods were US made so we were fine. In summary, we were pleasantly surprised and will definitely sail with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
I believe we went at the wrong time of year ...... by probably a week or so! It rained the first 2 days so the balcony and outside areas were off-limits. Second day was in Grand Turk and it just "downpoured" on our way to ... Read More
I believe we went at the wrong time of year ...... by probably a week or so! It rained the first 2 days so the balcony and outside areas were off-limits. Second day was in Grand Turk and it just "downpoured" on our way to Margaritaville and finally stopped enough so we could get back to the ship. I love Grand Turk and wanted to try out Jack's Reef, another bar/grill, but was unable to get there because of the rain. Had a wonderful day in St Thomas and San Juan both. We took an island tour in St Thomas and was able to take in my favorite view..... the beautiful Magen's Bay. Every place we went on the Westerdam, everyone was so friendly and seemed very happy to see us. We spent the majority of our time in the Piano Bar as we are all friends with Mr. Jimmy Maddox, Pianoman Extraordinnaire! We are also members of Piano Bar Nation and there were quite a few of us on this cruise. He makes it fun to listen to his playing and singing along. I don't think I'll do a HAL cruise without Jimmy at the PB! Waiters Henry and Axis in the Piano Bar were amazing again ..... they don't ever forget what anyone drinks!! The Pinnacle Grill staff is also friendly and the food was amazing again .... some of the breakfast items were not very good but, all-in-all, amazing food and service. The 24-hour room service staff that takes the orders still need a LOT more listening skills .... they never once got our entire order correct over the phone OR when we even filled out the breakfast menu card and put on our door. The room service food was good though. HAL has been told of all my complaints from above BUT none of them will stop me from cruising HAL or on the Westerdam ever in the future. I believe HAL to be the best cruise line I've found as far as service goes. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
The food at the deck 9 buffet. 1. 10 stars for salads, fruits, breakfast 2. 2 stars for Asian food, being Asian I feel they missed the mark on Thai, Chinese (Lunar New Year 2/8/16 ) Japanese. I didn't see any Indian. Filipino ... Read More
The food at the deck 9 buffet. 1. 10 stars for salads, fruits, breakfast 2. 2 stars for Asian food, being Asian I feel they missed the mark on Thai, Chinese (Lunar New Year 2/8/16 ) Japanese. I didn't see any Indian. Filipino food I didn't get to try. 3. Gym is 10 stars for spin class, 3 stars for abs class, there were discrepancies in dates/times several days where abs was shown on the 8am schedule, but the daily it was cancelled so that was disappointing more than one time. Yoga on the beach in Half Moon Cay - they said to meet in gym 8:15am but nobody was there. Then onshore I was told to meet at the 'massage hut" I saw 4 other passengers there to do yoga but no teacher. However the island was terrific, Half Moon cay grill rocks! Korean Kalbe was authentic and perfect! I enjoyed Tori the british Voice singer! As well as the Romanian violinist. We attended the digital camera class and that was good but I didn't get the hands on help I expected. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
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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