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4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never one ... Read More
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never one with so many sea days and we were apprehensive. We booked a balcony VB4166. The room is standard but the veranda is twice as large as the others on the upper promenade ( not including Neptune Suites) as we enjoy entertaining and spending time out there. We were unable to spend much time out there as the weather was very windy at times on the way to HI but when we were able there was maintenance going on directly below us and on the aft Lido deck. It was very annoying. They called and offered us earplugs which we considered laughable. In the end they did give us a credit off our bill which was very welcome. Early dining was okay. We were seated at a table of ten and lucked out with our table mates.I considered the menu to have little variation ( the first 3 nights-peppered tenderloin was offered). If you don't like cilantro or fish there isnt much to choose from, Our servers were very nice but not really personable and the food was mediocre many nights. Wine steward was really seen. Our room stewards were excellent and the bar staff on the Lido deck were terrific! Ocean bar too. Overall we enjoyed this cruise and even though we are seniors (69 &73) I would say that most passengers were much older and less mobile than most. if you're looking for a younger crowd and late entertainment check out a different cruise. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We had only taken a 6 day cruise to the Bahamas previously, so felt we were really stepping out to do an 18 day cruise. First of all, we could not praise our room steward, Aziz, and his partner Dan enough. They were friendly, ... Read More
We had only taken a 6 day cruise to the Bahamas previously, so felt we were really stepping out to do an 18 day cruise. First of all, we could not praise our room steward, Aziz, and his partner Dan enough. They were friendly, competent, & personable. Our verandah suite was comfy with even more storage than we needed. It seemed we were always eating! While some of the lunches & dinners in Lido were "so-so" (and I'd agree that the fish was overcooked on several occasions), the breakfasts and desserts were top-notch! We also enjoyed the Dive-In and the taco bar. We ate at Pinnacle Grill for lunch which was good but, again, the dessert was the star of the show. We found the dining room to be too formal for our more casual selves at dinner but had good breakfasts there on several occasions. It was a treat to order room-service coffee every morning which arrived minutes after the order was placed. The room-service lunches were also excellent. We're now missing soft-serve ice cream and our nightly cookie snack! Since we had relatives to tour us around Oahu for two days (Punchbowl, USS Arizona, Buddhist temple, blowholes and more, plus a wonderful time at the Polynesian Cultural Center including a luau and the evening show), we skipped a shore excursion in Kauai, preferring to shop & lay on the beach. Our whale watch in Lahaina was fun. We could not get as close to the whales as we do on whale watches in Boston, but the flip side is that we saw so many...and some only 200 feet or so from our balcony on the ship! We did the submarine dive in Kona (fun!) and had a wonderful naturalist, Kent, for a tour of waterfalls, a lava tube cave & black sand beach on Hilo. That excursion was enhanced by Kent's sharing his exceptional knowledge about Hawaiian shrubs, trees, flowers, and animals. And I enjoyed seeing my first mongoose in the wild! Probably the biggest thrill was viewing the bright orange lava and plumes of steam from the active volcano under a cloudless, star-studded sky at midnight from our verandah. A forever memory! We attended the John Denver tribute show which was excellent! We also enjoyed the Westerdam singers and dancers, as well as the crew show. We devoted a few afternoons to sitting by the pool with margaritas and beer. I might have worked off a few cruise calories participating in the On Deck for a Cause walk--cold and overcast on several of the days back but then you can't change the weather. And I took two hula classes on-deck! The friendliness, work ethic, and helpfulness of the crew cannot be over-emphasized--they were fantastic! As we were waiting to depart Ensenada for San Diego, I enjoyed watching all the glittering lights on the hillsides...and seeing the crew straggle back by ones, twos, and threes from a night in town--I was glad they got some free time after all their hard work! The entire cruise was a great experience. We had so much fun and all our friends are envious. ;) We would do it again in a heartbeat. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea ... Read More
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea the highlight of the cruise for me. We have sailed with HAL before on other long cruises and knew that it would be an older crowd (I think only 8 children) with more sedate activities and that was not a concern. We met a lot of interesting people while sailing, often folks who had sailed the same itinerary many times. The Westerdam itself was a very nice ship though larger than we prefer. Considering it is about to go in for refurbishing, it was attractive and in very good condition, not too worn. Our cabin (6046) was behind the elevators but not at all noisy. Our room stewards (Tutu and Gede) were excellent; they knew our names right away, figured out our schedules quickly but worked around days when we spent extra time in the cabin, and were extremely helpful when we had a scooter problem. The balcony even got cleaned off from the collected sea salt several times during sea days. Front desk and shore excursion staff were also quite good. You can tell that there have been cuts to staff in the Lido and dining room as service was not what it once was--but we were usually very well satisfied. In the Lido I saw staff going out of their way to assist some of the many passengers with disabilities--and several times a crew member would carry my plate and drink to the table for me. It was, however, often hard to find someone to clear plates or fill water, especially at dinner. We had open seating dining and this worked well for us since we were willing to share a table. We typically had breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the selection and quality of food were good. I especially liked eggs cooked to order and sushi availability. Hamburgers by the pool and pizza at the Italian station were also good. Soft ice cream availability by the pool was missed. Room service for breakfast was disappointing since the menu is now much more limited--but we did discover that if you wrote something on the order sheet that wasn't on the menu (like bagels and cream cheese) they would provide it. Menu for dinner in the dining room seemed more limited than it used to be, especially the first week, but the food was good. The Lido dinner menu was similar but with the hot appetizers and cold soups missing. One disappointment was that on an 18 day cruise we only had lobster available one night (it was excellent!). Even in the Pinnacle Grill (pay extra restaurant) you pay extra extra for lobster. Perhaps that is why it often seemed almost empty. We had lunch in the Pinnacle one afternoon and enjoyed the quiet there. Our first evening we ate in Canneloni, the extra pay Italian restaurant up on the Lido deck, but find the new menu not nearly as much to our liking as the old. Service was excellent. For us days at sea are for reading, relaxing, talking to people and attending shipboard activities. HAL seems to be cutting back on libraries which is a shame. Entertainment in the showroom was varied and enjoyable, especially the magician and floutist. Unfortunately, if you didn't get there 45 minutes before the early show you wound up with a seat behind a pole or no seat at all. If there was only one show for the night it was even worse. This was the biggest complaint I had with the cruise--seats filling up long before the events and full rooms--which to me is a sign that there was not enough going on from which to choose. This was the case for the showroom, movies, trivia, afternoon tea, cooking demos, pretty much everything. This makes it even more annoying when some people insist on "saving" the better part of a row of seats for friends who come much later. Teas are now in the Ocean Bar--and I miss them being in the dining room (at least some of the time). Educational talks were not as good as I expected from past experience in that they were often not related to the Hawaiian itinerary (really--the Bermuda Triangle when you are mid-Pacific?). The talk as we sailed by the lava flow at midnight was only available in the Crows Nest but the sound should have been broadcast on stateroom TVs for those like us who wanted to watch in PJs. The group of Hawaiian entertainers who were onboard as we sailed to Hawaii were charming and did a very nice job with making leis, teaching hula, etc. The pool area was not often too crowded to find a spot and was enjoyable. Sometimes the pool was like a wave machine but the hot tubs were usable most of the time. Shore excursions did a good job of making things do-able for passengers with disabilities (thank you Debbie). At tender ports the crew members were wonderful helping passengers on and off the tenders in rough waters. We did two privately arranged excursions (Chief's Luau in Honolulu and Marylou's Tours in Hilo) that were reasonable in cost compared to HAL tours. Marylou's was exceptional and I would recommend her to anyone visiting Kona or Hilo. HAL's Pearl Harbor / Arizona tour and Pali Coast tour in Honolulu were both good but had much more overlap than was evident from the descriptions. Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour and time sitting along the nearby beach were a great way to spend a day in Kauai. A Trilogy Catamaran tour in Maui was not a good choice for anyone in need of shade or who wound up in the back of the vessel where you could not hear the narration. Two hours mid-day on the water in the sun was too much for many on board. It also was too high in price when purchased through the ship--there were definitely better and more reasonably priced options available on-shore--but we did see whales!! I wish we had done another Marylou tour in Kona as that had more personalized guidance at the sites (Coffee museum and store, Painted Church, and a Refuge along the beach) but our ship arranged tour was good as we went from one place to another. I very much enjoyed this cruise and think it is a wonderful way to see Hawaii. In spite of some corner cutting with staffing HAL continues to provide a good experience for the price. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
We chose this cruise due to destination and because we got a good deal price wise. Our cabin was tiny and ill arranged but guess that goes with the great price. Our senior room steward was Tutu and he was wonderful. Very efficient and ... Read More
We chose this cruise due to destination and because we got a good deal price wise. Our cabin was tiny and ill arranged but guess that goes with the great price. Our senior room steward was Tutu and he was wonderful. Very efficient and intuitive and he somehow remembered everyone's name on the first day! Food on Lido and in main dining room surprisingly lacked the quality we are accustomed to on our cruises. Meats were tough and tasteless and there were few vegetable choices in the "Bistro" section of the Lido. The "Asian" and "Italian" sections of the Lido were however outstanding. Desserts were lackluster and saved only buy Ice Cream! Even sandwiches were disappointing -- breads not fresh and the crust on all of them were tough. I heard this from several other people so its not just me. Shops, Ship Offices and clubs and bistros were located on lower levels of ship decks so there were fewer cabins available on lower decks for those of us who tend to get seasick. Ships staff and services were all wonderful! I will not choose this ship again. I prefer the old style Maasdam/Zandaam size and layout. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
My mom and I booked this cruise through Craft Cruises as a knitting cruise - so we didn't specifically choose this ship, it just happened to be the ship and the itinerary associated with the craft trip. Having said that, HAL exceeded my ... Read More
My mom and I booked this cruise through Craft Cruises as a knitting cruise - so we didn't specifically choose this ship, it just happened to be the ship and the itinerary associated with the craft trip. Having said that, HAL exceeded my expectations in every way. I've cruised with NCL, Disney, and Cunard, but this was my first time with HAL; HAL is now my favorite line (maybe tied with Disney). The food and service, especially, were excellent. I'm a vegetarian, and I enjoy cooking and eating exotic / gourmet food. I was particularly impressed with the variety of vegetarian options in the MDR. When we booked, I was concerned because the Westerdam is due to be overhauled next month. So I was particularly impressed that the ship seemed to be in excellent shape, no more worn or dirty than any other ship I've cruised. Because we had knitting classes each sea day, and other group activities, I didn't get to try out any of the ship's entertainment or enrichment activities. I did visit the spa several times, and it was comparable to most other ships. I would absolutely sail with HAL again, and in particular, I'd love to see the Westerdam after it's overhaul. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
While the Westerdam is not one of the newest ship of the fleet, it certainly is one of the friendliest! The staff and crew were unbelievably wonderful and made us feel like family. We chose this particular voyage because there were ... Read More
While the Westerdam is not one of the newest ship of the fleet, it certainly is one of the friendliest! The staff and crew were unbelievably wonderful and made us feel like family. We chose this particular voyage because there were multiple days at sea and the Hawaiian destination. Due to bad weather, our itinerary was changed, but the Captain took advantage of it by allowing us to see the volcano up close (relatively speaking). Probably the best food we've had on any HAL cruise we been on, and generous portions. The new Test Kitchen was a real plus for me...not only in attending presentations, but also in participating in a hands-on class. The Hawaiian 'ambassadors' on hand were excellent!!! I learned on to play the ukulele, make a fresh lei, and make two different bracelets. These ambassadors also taught passengers how to hula. The four-person team also did a number of presentations. I cannot say enough positive things about that team! As always, the ship's singers and dancers were excellent and I felt that they use more technology in their shows which made them even more fun. The Filipino and Indonesian crews worked very hard on their shows, but I have to say, the Indonesian one was a riot! While excellent talent, it was the humor that stoled the show. My only complaint of the cruise was having to use the ferries in Cablo San Lucas along with HAL tenders. I didn't think the Cablo pilots were as careful. Going in and out of San Diego is a breeze. With the cruise terminal so close to everything, passengers can easily get from one place to another. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We have enjoyed several Holland America cruises, and were our friends who had moved to San Diego invited us to join them. We looked forward to 11 sea days of relaxation and the possibility of playing bridge with other interested players, ... Read More
We have enjoyed several Holland America cruises, and were our friends who had moved to San Diego invited us to join them. We looked forward to 11 sea days of relaxation and the possibility of playing bridge with other interested players, plus 5 days in 4 Hawaiian islands. (Because of an unexpected tropical storm, we missed Kawaii, but appreciated the captain's keeping us safe. HA adjusted the schedule to add a day in Oahu, provided free telephone calls for those of us who had booked shore excursions with independent agencies, and automatically credited passengers who had booked cancelled excursions through HA -- all very professional). Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly, with reasonable waits to board and disembark. Disembarkation was unusually fast in the San Diego port, As noted in the "professional review," the Westerdam is unique in its providing a high ratio of space, relative to a moderate number of passengers. This gives us plenty of room to walk the Promenade deck (3) and upper deck (10) without crowding, or even having to walk up/down stairs while completing a circle (unlike some larger ships). There is also ample room in the main entertainment theater (no reservations needed, but come early for good seats), and various public areas where relaxation and sea views are easy. We liked our Verandah Suite cabin (reviewed below), and the cabin service was outstanding, and almost equaled by the great service in the main dining room and Lido Market deck (the best Lido Deck food and service we've had in 10+ cruises). The main dining rooms were lovely, and we were given a nice table near the water for the early dinner (see picture). Food was very good, and if you didn't like an item you ordered, the very friendly/efficient server was glad to bring something you would like better. We also enjoyed two dinners in the Pinnacle Grill, which had outstanding food and service. Room service provided a good menu at all times, very prompt and friendly service, and was complimentary for full menus, unlike some other cruise lines that have recently started adding service charges for room service. We particularly enjoyed room service breakfasts served at our convenience on days with early shore excursions. We also appreciated the cruise line providing us with space and equipment for duplicate bridge during the 11 sea days (out of 17) on the cruise, although it took a lot of "pushing" by bridge players and three professional bridge "directors" who were passengers and generously volunteered their services for free. It is hoped that future Holland America cruises will automatically include duplicate bridge, which is increasingly important to many cruise passengers. Entertainment in the main theater was not as good as previous HA cruises. With a couple of exceptions, the entertainers were mediocre. The smaller lounges had better talent, especially BB King and Adagio. One final comment is that even through some heavy seas, the ship's stability was very good, even in the rear dining rooms and our cabin, which was towards the rear. We would happily sail the Westerdam again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Chose this for many (10) sea days. Mistake. Very little to do in daytime. No bridge instructor, no craft instructor, same dull games, poor lecturers who read script. TV only Sports, MSNBC, FOX, BBC. Too cold and windy to walk outside. ... Read More
Chose this for many (10) sea days. Mistake. Very little to do in daytime. No bridge instructor, no craft instructor, same dull games, poor lecturers who read script. TV only Sports, MSNBC, FOX, BBC. Too cold and windy to walk outside. Bring your Kindle books. Best were the Filipino and Indonesian staff and the company performances very good with memorable visuals never have I seen on a ship. Dining room was tops with many choices though they had trouble with special requests and serving the soup hot and ice cream still hard frozen. The Lido at meal times was not pleasant with no clear line order. The fish was very good even though mostly from frozen. Nicely cooked. They said the salmon they served was caught by crew in Alaska last summer. You can order several lobster tails on the gala night. The beef was always tender and rib roast cooked to perfection. And I enjoyed the strong coffee. Become a Carnival Corp shareholder (100 shares) for a handy shipboard credit. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
Sailing out of my home port was attractive and I'm now four star with HAL. The service, per usual, was outstanding, but some changes are worth noting. No more librarian is bad news and whoever is now responsible at the home office needs ... Read More
Sailing out of my home port was attractive and I'm now four star with HAL. The service, per usual, was outstanding, but some changes are worth noting. No more librarian is bad news and whoever is now responsible at the home office needs to take a few collection lessons. Books were disorganized and using the location specialist as an occasional organizer just does not fly. The ship singers and dancers were outstanding and the newer shows were great, but 'Ever After' needs to be permanently shelved. The imported talent were a mixed bag. The Hawaiian ambassadors got great reviews and the magician was a fast talking, card sharking guy. I'm very sorry I missed the night when he used pomeranians ';cause I might have liked him a bit better with some warm fuzzies around. The comic was so-so at best -- too much 'insult' humor. Cruise Director Erin was lovely and seemed to keep things moving effectively and I truly enjoyed hearing the captain giving our bearings and talking about the 'wedder' every day, but I'd like to have seen him around and about more often. Another sad thing was that none of the outstanding lectures were recorded. We were quite able to see all the HAL sales items on TV, but the outstanding lectures are now a one time only offering. I'd much rather have seen them again than another shot at buying from the spa or the shops. BAD policy, HAL. I may have to head for ships that value lectures rather than bingo in the future. HAL undoubtedly knows what SELLS, but some of us need IQ offerings as well. Oddly, I felt that the food in the dining room had improved since my last cruise and that was great news. As a solo sailer, the Lido is usually purgatory requiring multiple trips to the buffet and begging for table space, but the FOOD was consistently GOOD in dining room and Lido. I did not do either of the specialty restaurants. The band has lost too many members, but the five who were (2 keyboards, 2 guitars, 1 drummer) did a yeoman's job satisfying the fox trotting dancers in the Ocean Bar and all the different imported talents. Bravo, them! The excursions, particularly the Dolphin Experience were in Puerto Vallarta were well researched and enjoyable, and disembarkation was a breeze. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
We chose this cruise at the last minute just to get away from our unseasonably cold weather. We couldn't believe how Holland America had changed since last fall. There were hardly any books in the library, and the ones that were ... Read More
We chose this cruise at the last minute just to get away from our unseasonably cold weather. We couldn't believe how Holland America had changed since last fall. There were hardly any books in the library, and the ones that were there were mostly Fantasy and SCI_FI - not our "cup of tea". They have no attendant and the books are placed "haphazardly" on the shelves. They had changed the WIFI and one now has to purchase unlimited for the whole cruise - I think it was $179, or close to that for 17 days. As we just wanted to check our email, that sounded pretty steep! We did inquire if as 5 star we would get $55 off,(it still lists under 5 star benefits that each 5 star gets half price of $55 for 100 mins) but were told that we would have to purchase 2 packages (his & her's) to get that off - and why would you do that when one gives you unlimited minutes-DAH?? The band is even smaller and there are no wind instruments, any longer, and definitely no dance band-(though that has been gone for 2 years) and as a result we only had 5 nights out of 17 to dance as the band was required for the show the other nights. There were also no dance hosts. The on board (free) activities were cut way back - no dance lessons, the lecturers subject were boring and the lecturers , though pleasant people, were not good lecturers. We had 11 sea days and in the past that number of sea days would have brought a couple of first rate lecturers and interesting subjects - 4 lectures on the laws of space and another 3 on laws of the Poles did not keep an audience. There was no boat building contest, no welcome aboard lunch or reception for long serving Mariners, on departing, and we could go on and on. However the Holland America crew still keep us coming back. They seem to try and compensate for all that has recently been cut and their smiling faces shine through. They are all so pleasant and helpful. We did not feel that the food choice or quality of food had changed and even though we were shocked at the other changes we will probably sail with them again as their itineraries are so great, but we certainly will be looking further afield. Happy sailing, McSweeney Read Less
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