19 Hong Kong Holland America Line Westerdam Cruise Reviews

We have always dreamed of an aft cabin got one one the ship. At first glance we were very disappointed because if was so small, old, and dreary but at least we had an aft view but the veranda was filthy, covered in soot. I asked the cabin ... Read More
We have always dreamed of an aft cabin got one one the ship. At first glance we were very disappointed because if was so small, old, and dreary but at least we had an aft view but the veranda was filthy, covered in soot. I asked the cabin attendant if it could be swept at least but he said they don't clean it. Although the view was beautiful I could not sit there because of the filth. I would have bought a broom myself had I known they don't sweep the verandas. We ate in the dining room one time. at the the waiter threw the tiny amount of food down and ran away. Couldn't ask for anything. The rest we ate the Lido. Much better. The whole immigration procedures from Hal were chaotic. I was told multiple times that I needed to get my own visas only to find out they were available through the ship. The busiest places on the ship were the medical unit and customer service. That tells you a lot. I have been on other HAL cruises but this one seemed like everyone was in training. You had to explain everything to them. I'm done with HAL. No recognition of Mariner status at embarkation. Hot tubs were ice cold. Dont book any overnight packages. They change them and then tell you sorry they're nonrefundable,\. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We had a 24 day cruise on Zuderdam some years back and was okay. Now HAL have add on costs for everything. Food in Lido and Dining Room all unseasoned with the chicken, pork and beef all tasting the same as it was all cooked together. ... Read More
We had a 24 day cruise on Zuderdam some years back and was okay. Now HAL have add on costs for everything. Food in Lido and Dining Room all unseasoned with the chicken, pork and beef all tasting the same as it was all cooked together. Sauces are added with a thimble measuring device and are also tastless. Entertainment mostly guest entertainers that get a free part of cruise. Hopeless. Virtually no Christmas decorations od carols compared to previous cruise on QE. Captain went into hidding from day of embarkation. Senior crew almost invisable so complaining impossible. Compared to Zuderdam and QE where the Captain or 1st officer greated you for dinner most nights. Confiscation of passports is also unnacceptable, if you have a mishap on a private tour, you have to return to port to pick up passport from agent before you can fly to catch ship. Will never book with any line in Carnival Group ever again. Next cruise Regent or Seabourn. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Cabin: poorly working A/C, dripping with water on bedding. Moisture running of walls. Overhead bed hinges broken, bed leaning forward/downward. Bathtub would backup off and on. First couple days toilet didn’t work. Used washroom off ... Read More
Cabin: poorly working A/C, dripping with water on bedding. Moisture running of walls. Overhead bed hinges broken, bed leaning forward/downward. Bathtub would backup off and on. First couple days toilet didn’t work. Used washroom off exploration cafe, only to have urinal contents flush on pants and shoes. Staff knew of problem, but didn’t correct. Didn’t offer immediate help with clothes and shoes.... 2 days later !!!!! After having complained nothing happened!! Ports: what a joke! You wake up to the smells of container harbours, thousands of containers, cranes and trucks, not exactly a luxury holiday stop, but worse... what’s not advertised is the huge amounts you have to spend to actual go to the port of call, as in at least at couple of ports we were 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hrs away. What a disappointment. Decor: there was very little Christmas decor, they couldn’t have done any less, pathetic. Entertainment: what entertainment!! It was pretty much nonexistent, and whatever little they had was so terrible. New Year’s Eve was the biggest disappointment - after a so so dinner - nothing happened... there was not one single thing going on. No entertainment in any one corner of the ship. How terrible is that. Shame on you Holland America!! Food: boring and repetitive. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had college professors in Geology and History that packed the theater with their amazing quality. We also had short language classes before ports to practice how to say hello and thank you. I started to tell people that HAL was "cruising for smart people". I asked several HAL veterans on board and they told me that what I experienced the first time is the norm. When asking the crew on the Westerdam about this, I had several different responses. One was that "HAL has changed", another said, "We had professors booked but because of the holidays they cancelled". I was really disappointed to find out that I would not be learning much history or language basics which would have been awesome for this itinerary. I was on the Westerdam for 28 nights- Hong Kong north to China/ Japan/ Taiwan then from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. This itinerary is fascinating, though it became tiresome toward the end, mostly because these ports are often far from the main sites and involved a daily haggling with taxi drivers that is perpetually a pain in the butt. In the few ports that we could walk off the ship into an actual town, they became most people's favorites. Independence and simplicity leads to more exploration and happiness. My favorite part of the ship would be the people. The "Cruise Director" now called "EXC something", was a very friendly and informative host named Jeremy who gave the port talks to a packed audience and was great at this. He also hosted a book club which was nice, but HAL has screwed this up by calling it "Oprah's Reading Room" which is not at all obvious that it is a book club discussion. My first 2 weeks I just happened to see it because I wanted a quiet place to read, and so I joined for the 2nd 2 weeks and only 2 passengers showed up for the discussion. The other gem is Phil the "EXC Port Specialist". He does not sell tours, he knows nothing about them, but if you want to know the cost of a taxi, or the walking distance to a temple, this guy knows it all. He had a desk that people would gather around, and it was awesome just to stand around listening to the questions so you could make your own plans. Thanks to Jeremy and Phil, I did all of my port excursions on my own except for 1 tour (and that was a disappointment and waste of money). Julie, was another stand out for me, I am not sure of her title, but she was there for each ports disembarkation and was the organizer and boss, I really liked someone taking control and making sure people were in the correct queue, had their ID ready. We needed that. The captain, Vincent Smit was present in a good way- not just social but if there seemed to be a problem he made his presence made. One example I have- in Nga Trang we had to tender to our port. He was concerned about possible winds and made that very clear the day before, and he was by the tenders making sure of the weather. Unfortunately I was on the first tender to shore and the tide was low, making the departing step extremely high (imagine doing a lunge to the step and then limbo your head under the roof of the tender). Every person was able to make this step with assistance but because I have a disability, it seemed very dangerous for me to attempt it with crew who did not know my strength. I went back to ship, not angry because my disability always leaves a possibility for me to miss out, but when the captain saw I had returned he seemed upset and asked me what happened. He explained that the port is responsible for the dock and he has asked for a floating dock which would not change with the tides, but it has not happened. He then showed me the tidal charts and explained the best time to go (waiting 3 hours), but I decided not to risk it. The entertainment for this cruise was just so-so. I think it is because there are not as many options in Asia and there isn't the chance of new blood at each port. We did have an amazing female pianist that was so good that I cried to think she was wasting her talent on cruise ships. But, we also had a "mentalist" so bad that I groaned when I saw he was returning another night! Overall, this is the first cruise I've been on that I skipped the theater a few nights- not just the poor entertainment but also the crowd who thought that heavy perfume and talking the entire show was acceptable. I know companies don't want to upset people, but for health reasons we could ban perfume just like public smoking. All that coughing in the theater would decrease. I loved BB Blues Club- the talent on that stage was incredible. I guess if there was one complaint it was that the songs get repeated less- I went as often as I could in 28 days, and the same songs would repeat every 2 days or so. Loved Billboard's Dueling Pianos- super talented duo that put on a great show. The Lincoln Center was nice, but I was not overwhelmed with their talent. America's Test Kitchen I never went- seems like you could just watch food network with your time. Food- the dining room was above and beyond for me. Great staff, lots of options, and quality. I am a foodie and was impressed, and also happy that it was not overly salted like some cruises. The burger place by the pool was also very good. The Lido was disappointing as far as quality and compared to my last Rotterdam experience, but it was fine because I rarely went, and must have been good enough for the general hoardes because it was often packed. Tours. I took one and was not happy. First, the tour desk people were not very educated about what they were selling. They had not taken the tours themselves so they would call a guide for questions. I booked my one tour online, it was listed as "Easy", but later I happened to be at their desk and saw that the tour was listed as "moderate". When I asked, they said, "Oh, always look at the book, it is the most accurate." They then clarified with the guide that the tour was listed as moderate because it was 7 hours long (lots of bus time), and we would have to get on and off the bus 4 times, but the total walking was less than 1 mile. So, I went, but had 2 falls. I have been to Cambodia before and I am aware of the primitive conditions, but I did not expect a HAL tour to go into a market with uneven tiles that flipped when you walked on them or to walk us along the shoulder of a highway as trucks zoomed by inches away. The tour was chaotic with 1 guide for a bus load of people as we navigated the busy market and later a little village. We had a nice lunch but paid $270 for this day. Holidays- this was a Christmas and NYE cruise and I was really impressed with these events. There was a Santa day for the kids, we sang Carols by the tree one day, decorations throughout the ship were very festive, and the dinners and special treats were great. I know one person here complained about New Years. NYE was a port day- overnight in Bangkok which a lot of people took advantage of. I was back on the ship for dinner- a very nice one- and I will admit that after dinner there was a slight lack of entertainment. But, that is all understandable given that the entire ship was involved in a show that started at 11 and went well into the early morning. Up on the top deck the BB King Blues Band played an excellent set. The captain, officers, and their families were there and the crew put a great effort into making an ice display, handed out free champagne, and there was a special buffet in the Lido. I was impressed! I expected a 1/2 glass of free champagne but was instead offered several refills. The music, the decor, the happiness of everyone around was very special. If anyone says there wasn't entertainment, it was because they went to bed early! Overall the ship was nice, though a little old. My inside cabin was one of the smaller cabins I have been in for a while. But, the Westerdam makes it up with such pleasant crew and cleanliness. I know I made a choice in choosing the cheapest cabin, and I guess I have been a bit spoiled by getting upgraded by other cruise lines, so I can't complain. Overall, I would choose this ship for sure- mostly because of the live music options. But, I would only choose HAL over other lines in the future if I am sure that the educational component is back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were ... Read More
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were offered an upgrade to a Neptune for just $250 each on a 15 day cruise. It was well worth it. It will be hard to cruise in anything less next time. My wife loved the make-up table off the bathroom, though it was a little difficult for me to access the bathroom while she was seated there. Still a nice feature. One complaint was the size of the shower. Sure, we could have taken showers or baths in the tub, but I much prefer a walk-in shower. This one was tiny, and had only a curtain. It was hard to turn around, and we had to be very careful to prevent water from leaking past the curtain. Holland America's WiFi package is unreasonably expensive at $15/day for just texting capability and $30/day for higher speed. Many cruise companies include texting for free, especially in a higher level suite. Dining was excellent. We had a reserved table each evening, and got to know our server pretty well. He was friendly, funny and efficient, though it took quite a while sometimes for the food to come out of the kitchen. When it arrived, it was invariably delicious. This was probably the best dining I have had on a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I choose this cruise for one reason only the ports of call, I was excited to get guided tours around, no thinking, no getting lost but after the third terrible excursion, I cancelled the rest of them. Cruise Asia is a terrible provider of ... Read More
I choose this cruise for one reason only the ports of call, I was excited to get guided tours around, no thinking, no getting lost but after the third terrible excursion, I cancelled the rest of them. Cruise Asia is a terrible provider of excursions and does not even give a bottle of water all day. (note average age of traveler is 65+ and the hottest ports of call in the world) The literature of the excursions were lies in comparison to actual trips, plus the time given for each area of interest was ridiculously short. If you needed a restroom you missed it. I found the ship tired, the food tired, and I appreciate the hard working men and women on the ship but they were tired too. My cabin had wallpaper peeling off and the carpet was just gross. It was a inside cabin and i found it lacking any amenities outside the bathroom. I did not go to watch TV but found that lacking as well. Dining room was ok and you were shuffled in quickly to a table but after that it was just slow. The food was good tasting but always seemed it was heat lamped for way too long. Also if you had a drink package good luck getting your drink before food. I just had the "coke" drink package and usually just drank water during dinner. I was a solo traveler and found that cruise ships are not made for people like me. I was never offered a incentive, felt like trying to participate was impeditive. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
I picked this cruise for the brilliant itinerary - the ports were the best part of the trip.There is absolutely NO Wow factor to this ancient ship.Embarkation went smoothly(mainly because I,d done it on line before leaving home),the ... Read More
I picked this cruise for the brilliant itinerary - the ports were the best part of the trip.There is absolutely NO Wow factor to this ancient ship.Embarkation went smoothly(mainly because I,d done it on line before leaving home),the welcome aboard was non-existent.Cabins not ready so battled to find our way around,no staff to point us in the right direction.All decor & public areas are very drab & tired,no central atrium to give the ship a heart.Lots of wasted public rooms with little interest.The main ‘self-service’ restaurant is awful - queues caused by having to be served food instead of buffet self-serve.Menu very repetitive over 2 weeks & the quality of food is the worst we,ve ever had on a cruise- more staff canteen.The formal dining-room was ok,but ‘anytime’ dining often meant a long wait unless you,d booked in advance. Our balcony cabin was adequate,again no wow. Port excursions were very expensive & did not visit the places which were advertised,no explanation or refunds given. Quality of entertainment was appalling in the theatre,ships’ company only did 3 shows supplemented by an ok British comic,a dreadful American one & a Welsh singer,other music bars were more like pub singers,but the classical concerts were good.All shows definitely aimed at the over 75 age range. There was a shortage of sun beds on seadays,even though lots were stacked up tied together-staff should have put them out.Poor snack bar near the sun deck. The staff are amazing considering what they are working with. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Took the 14 day leg on the HAL Westerdam from Hong Kong to Singapore chosen due to a great itinerary. My first ever cruise and I had been told by my companion, a seasoned cruiser, to expect entertainment, activites, music on deck and ... Read More
Took the 14 day leg on the HAL Westerdam from Hong Kong to Singapore chosen due to a great itinerary. My first ever cruise and I had been told by my companion, a seasoned cruiser, to expect entertainment, activites, music on deck and shows galore. Sadly this was not the case on the Westerdam and the HAL entertainment was very disappointing. Sea days were quiet with very few activities. Those that we did attend, like the Hair Styles or Secret to a Flatter Stomach, were selling sessions to promote products and services like hair creams and derma fillers! No library on board apart from a handful of books on the Exec Deck 10 that I found on the last day, a bit woeful though. I would like there to have been music on deck for a sail away parties, or evening deck entertainment when weather permitted, more dance options. The singers in BB Kings were very good but entertainment finished early and the entire ship seemed to be in bed by 11pm. Drinks were expensive. I should note that Happy Hour is not the usual buy-one-get-one free, happy hour on the Westerdam is buy one and pay US$2 plus service charge for the 2nd drink. The 2 piano players were good, but the music variety was very old, 1960s stuff to suit the ship's more mature clientele. We did sit there as there wasn’t much else to do. The ship singers and dancers were very good but only on 3 times, would be nice to see them for a few more shows as we didn’t personally find the ventriloquist and magic acts to our taste. English newspapers disappeared very quickly so could be a few more put out please. We opted for casual dining and never had a problem getting a table in the dining room. The food was OK, seemed to improve on our 2nd week. We used the self-serve Lido Market for breakfast and on the Asian themed night (which was very good). As most of the ship left early for trips you needed 2 or 3 turns of the ship to find a window table regardless of breakfast arrival time. There were 3 gala nights during the 14 days of our cruise, only 1 of which offered surf and turf lobster tail and steak. The steaks and seafood were expensive chargeable extras on the menu or in other dining rooms, not what we were expecting from my companion’s previous cruise experiences. As a UK citizen we only needed visas for Cambodia (even if you don’t get off the ship) and these were arranged on board efficiently by the ship at $US63 each. Guest services were very helpful. Jeremy’s talks on each port destination were very informative with information on what to expect at the port gate, transport options and rough costs, hints and tips. The cruise experience seemed to focus heavily on up-selling with lots of extra hidden costs. Wifi with emails at US$29 per day was extortionate so I opted to find free wifi at locations in port. We took 2 HAL excursions which were extremely expensive, one guide for a whole big coach full of people, rushed and impersonal. The ship team even charged for water as you left the meet point at the main stage! HAL trips were very poor value for money and I wish I had not booked them. We did however take 4 independent trips, 3 in Vietnam and 1 in Cambodia, arranged with fellow Cruise Critic guests on this website before we even left home all arranged through a Vietnamese travel agent called Travel Authentic Asia. Our contact, a lady called Ngoan, was great. We thoroughly enjoyed our 4 day trips which were small groups limited to just 16 people each with a guide in a mini van, free water, cold towels and lunches included in our full day tours. I need to do a separate review for these trips but would not hesitate to highly recommend TAA. We chose this cruise for the excellent itinerary which covered Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore in just 14 day. No major complaints, however the ship was far too quiet for us personally and the entertainment lacking, everything seemed to cost extra and so on that basis we would not choose to cruise with HAL again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit ... Read More
We had AFT suite which had the perfect outlook as a panoramic view including the side. Vibration can take a little getting used to during the night but this only occurred when we were making up time or docking. Steward service was hit and miss for a suite as we were surrounded by non suite staterooms and the allocation to each steward would be higher. Rarely did we see a child(I think there were 2 on board), most passengers were American Australian UK then South African average age 65. Loved the free laundry and staff in Neptune lounge were fantastic. Shows were nothing like the big ships so were a bit hit and miss. Pinnacle restaurant was great especially their degustation but MDR food was also great and service perfect. Always hard to compare different ships particularly of different size. Suite benefits vary dramatically in different cruise lines so check what suites you. As a 1900 passenger ship it is less crowded with fast elevators less queuing but the trade off is less shops and activities and shows of a lower standard. Tours in china and Japan were poor value with communication issues with the guides but they were well organised. Internet even on the premium package was hit and miss. Would definitely recommend this ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at embarkation to find out we needed copies of our Passports and Visas on separate sheets of paper. We waiting in a line for 15 minutes + to have this done. If we knew prior to arriving, everyone would have these copies available. There were numerous agents to check us in and was quick. Unlike other cruise lines we've been on, the ship does not have a bright center atrium. It's quite small and dark. The ship as a whole in the interior is dark, the evening entertainment is just so-so, MANY people walk around with their bathrobes on visiting the pool/spa/buffet which we found strange and their were limited activities on sea days, All our tours were private with 8 people so can't comment on the ship's tours. We did attend several information sessions about ports, culture and various topics and found them well done and interesting. The service and food options in the Lido Marketplace, buffet, was very good. We ate our meals here for the variety and did not participate in the formal nights. We met friendly people since most times you share a table in the Lido Marketplace. For the first time ever, we took our luggage off by ourselves since we had reserved tickets for the bullet train. This worked well since we each only had 1 suitcase. Depending on the ports/cost, we would consider going again on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ... Read More
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ever. 5. Decor - a bit outdated in places but others were good like the exploration cafe the old crows nest. 6. Entertainment- average compared to RCCL but enjoyed BB. Kings 7.. Room attendants were attentive with the usual towel animals and lots of smiles but finding black hairs in the bath on arrival. 8. Food in main dinning was ok each night but the wording on the menu was not very clear. Some nights there was lots of differing flavours in each dish but the actual taste was a lttle bland. Many dishes could have been warmer. 9. Efforts for Christmas and new year were a little under whelming with no wow factor it was all ok but seems things had been tempered back compared to previous years after talking to regular cruisers. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not ... Read More
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not sure if this is peculiar to the Westerdam or a trend for HAL. 1) No self service laundry any more - only valet service. 2) No separate disco anymore; has been converted into a games / TV area. 3) New Years Eve celebrations had been confined to Lido instead of multiple options across the ship. 4) The number of hand sanitizers around the ship were far fewer. 5) No prizes anymore for daily activities. 6) Trivia and happy hour no longer located on Observation Deck. No reason to go there any more. 7) Entertainers had far less interaction with the guests than previous cruises. I still rated the service aspect very highly for our cabin staff and waiters in the Main Dining Room. The food was excellent too. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. The Visa costs for Vietnam and Cambodia added a lot to the cost of our trip. This was handled well by HAL but guests need to be aware of these charges before booking the cruise. On previous HAL cruises we have felt like Royalty. On this one, we felt like a number. I hope these reductions are only on the Westerdam but I fear it might be across the fleet? Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
First time visiting Asia. This itinerary covered the most countries of all we reviewed. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. Nice combination of port and sea days. Love being able to visit many countries and unpack only ... Read More
First time visiting Asia. This itinerary covered the most countries of all we reviewed. Hong Kong, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Singapore. Nice combination of port and sea days. Love being able to visit many countries and unpack only once. Ship only held 1900 passengers so it was a nice size. Sit down dinner in the evening with good high quality food. Open seating allowed us to eat when we wanted and share a table by ourselves or with others. Sea days with many options of education (history, cooking, Microsoft) play ( Bingo, bridge) or entertainment. Enjoyed tour of kitchens and backstage. Ship decor basic but Classy. Multiple pieces IG artwork throughout the cruise. Love the bathtub in the room. Friendly crew who learned what we liked. And made things special. Ship excursions expensive but able to find reasonable yet great private tours. Did take ship overnight to Bangkok tour and it was totally worth it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the ... Read More
4 of us took a family trip on the Westerdam from Hong Kong to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore. Excellent value for money -- the food and service was great and we enjoyed all the ports. There was a good mix of people on the cruise and it was a nice change to experience Christmas and New Years on a ship. Our rooms were between mid-ship and aft on deck 4, and we didn't have any issues at all. On shorter port days we took some of the excursions organized by Holland America, which worked out well. And on the overnight stay in Laem Chabang we organized a round-trip taxi at the cruise terminal and stayed the night in Bangkok. For many of the ports, you can find reasonable taxis and tours when you get off the ship, if you're willing and able to negotiate. Looking forward to another cruise with Holland America! Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over recently. This is not true. Only one place had been done up and that is what used to be the Crows Nest Bar. It is now a coffee lounge and the EXC tours are run from there. According to the crew (spoke to many) it used to be the best place on the ship. Its now just a boring coffee lounge. The whole ship is badly designed from other cruise ships we have been on. There is lots of wasted space, and the ship is a rabbit warren. It took us until day three to work out our way to navigate around the ship (usually only takes a couple of hours). The Food was really really bad. The Lido was badly organized and unless you walked in there at opening, it really did just look like a pig trough. We had open seating in the dining room, but never got a chance to use it. The reason for this, is that every time we went down to the dining room, there was over an hour wait for a table, so in the end we just gave up and went back to the pig trough. We are fully aware that this was an Asian cruise, but we were not expecting the amount of Chinese that there were to be on board. The ships holds approx 1900 passengers. 1400 were Chinese. HAL is traditionally a cruise line that supports the western market so it was a shock. The cultural divide was immense. Even the crew really really struggled with it. The Chinese don't drink alcohol, so the bars were always empty. So there was no atmosphere at all. The Chinese didn't understand the traditional activities and entertainment on board provided by HAL, so didn't go or would walk out half way through a performance spoiling the show. Also the Chinese do not believe in queues or lining up. It was just barge on through. Probably why the Lido looked like a pig trough most the time. It was also a nightmare getting off the ship. Once again the Chinese would just barge on through. There is a huge cultural divide there. HAL has every right as a company to target the Chinese market, but they should not do it at the expense of their traditional market. The first 4 ports we went to were great, Japan and Taiwan, but Manila was a hell hole. I really cant understand why any cruise ship company would want to go there. On the tour we did, it took us 2 1/2 hours to travel 8 miles through the traffic. There was no toilet on the bus and my partner was seriously considering using a bottle at the back of the bus. The only major positive from the ship was our state room. Though dated, it was comfortable and had all the facilities we needed with our state room attendants being fantastic. Maybe on a different cruise it would have been better, but I do not think I will sail again on HAL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong ... Read More
We are a family of five with three young people aged 19, 17 and 16 and chose this cruise to celebrate our son's completion of high school. He wanted to visit Hong Kong and go on a cruise from Hong Kong. We spent 6 days in Hong Kong prior to boarding the ship. This was a good amount of time to explore Hong Kong. Embarkation was smooth although the customs process onboard, before leaving port was slow and tedious. Our passports were retained by cruise staff at this time. We received a receipt and a photocopy of the passport was provided for each visited country which was something I hadn't experienced before. Passports were returned prior to disembarking the ship back in Hong Kong. The cruise took us to two ports in Japan, Naha and Ishigaki, two ports in Taiwan, Keelung (Taipei) and Kaohsiung, and Manila, Philippines before returning to Hong Kong, total of 10 nights. The balance of cruise days, 4 and ports, 5 was good. There was plenty to do in each port. Our cabins were excellent, the food terrific and provided entertainment fabulous. The only negative was that our 19 year old son's drink package was not honoured. This was despite prior written confirmation. He was not impressed! Otherwise everything went well and we would definitely travel on Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2018
Being no stranger to Cruising I booked this cruise as a special birthday treat. Flew all the way from Scotland to Hong Kong to board the ship. Ship itself was good . Stateroom was well kept and the facilities onboard were good. Staff ... Read More
Being no stranger to Cruising I booked this cruise as a special birthday treat. Flew all the way from Scotland to Hong Kong to board the ship. Ship itself was good . Stateroom was well kept and the facilities onboard were good. Staff were wonderful in every department. I enjoyed the entertainment although most of the passengers I spoke to thought it was not up to standard. I think this was mainly due to the age difference as I was certainly one of the younger passengers. My only gripe is the Lido deck and the self service restaurant. I say self service but we were asked to point out which foods we would like and it was plated by a member of staff. This meant standing in queues and being painfully aware that on seeing a dish which I didn't know, I wouldn't ask about it as it would hold up the service. The result was that I missed out on a variety of dishes as I always felt rushed to choose. It also meant that at breakfast times the crew were under pressure to supply eggs and half the time they were undercooked and the rest of the food was already plated and by the time the eggs were added the meal was lukewarm. On the other hand breakfast in the main dining room service was very slow. As food is a huge part of any cruise I was left underwhelmed. Such a pity as it was a wonderful cruise otherwise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We initially chose Holland America's 15-Day Far East Discovery because of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed primarily on Princess and Carnival many times, we were able to compare cruise lines. We actually loved Holland America. ... Read More
We initially chose Holland America's 15-Day Far East Discovery because of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed primarily on Princess and Carnival many times, we were able to compare cruise lines. We actually loved Holland America. We flew into Hong Kong four days earlier and stayed in Singapore two days after our cruise. We probably should have extended our stay in Singapore by one or two days because there was so much to see and do. The Ship: The Westerdam is much smaller than other Princess and Carnival ships, but the cabins tend to be larger with a sofa in our ocean view room and sensor floor night lighting for late at night if and when you must get up. The whole atmosphere is one of relaxation. Being a smaller ship means fewer passengers (1,850) which also means that you tend to meet the same people quite often on the ship and on excursions. So there is much more in terms of quality and quantity of personal interactions. And there are almost no children (I counted three!), which helps with the relaxation. You won't find loud music playing on the Lido Deck by the pool areas. There are no crowds on board. It's relaxing. Additionally, the Internet is 100% better than what we have found on other cruise ships. For $170.00 for 15 days, we had Internet 24/7 on board with no limitation to minutes used. It was quick and effective 95 percent of the time. And there were real interesting hour long talks on each country where we stopped and another on the history, geography and culture. If you wanted to know about a particular city that you were going to visit, the knowledgeable staff on Deck #10 give you detailed info on each city to help you explore with the organized tours or on your own. The food and entertainment were perhaps less exciting and scrumptious than on Princess, but it was fine. And the gym was not as modern as other ships I have seen, but it was a gym. They don't have a laundry room on board, but they do have laundry service for $30.00 USD per rather large bag of whatever clothing you can fit in the bag. You are served at the informal buffet style dining area for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There's no scooping up oatmeal by yourself. The HAL shore excursions were O.K., but I would avoid the ones that transport you 3 - 3 1/2 hours one way like the 3 hour ride to Ayuthaya, an ancient capital in Thailand where we saw a replica of Angkor Wat. It was too long for the short visits to each site and definitely not worth it.We got back to the ship around 10:30 pm! We chose to go with another tour company for our Halong Bay cruise. It worked out well, but my guess is that Holland America's excursion might have been more convenient and just as enjoyable. Of course, the staff's professionalism is what I would expect on any cruise ship. The dueling piano musicians were awesome! The captain was one of the best in that he was personable, likable, transparent, decisive and prepared. He kept us safe and went out of his way to make our cruise even more enjoyable, especially in our over night stay and morning sunrise in Halong Bay. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and everyone was pleasant. We did notice that for some reason, many of the public areas were very cold to the extent that we avoided them. There were two pools, one that had a retractable roof top. The pools were never crowded because there were only 1,850 passengers on board. Finally, I should mention that because we traveled through so many visa requiring countries, HAL made it so much easier by helping us with immigration forms and having the individual customs officers on board to facilitate and expedite our entrance to their countries. HAL was really organized on that. The HAL excursion process, especially during tender egress was less smooth than expected because everyone meets in the same MainStage area for their excursion tickets. All in all, we really enjoyed a different and more relaxing cruise on Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. ... Read More
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. Embarkation was very smooth and quick though we weren't asked to fill in a health questionnaire which was unusual. The hygiene on board left a lot to be desired. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines. This is the only one where passengers were able to enter the dining areas and return on board without sanitising their hands. I mentioned this to the nurse who said they would increase sanitation if there was an outbreak! Entertainment in the theatre was very poor. We left and didn't return when a pianist, supposedly having played on Broadway, started playing 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' on a ukulele and singing out of tune! The Port talks were excellent and it was good to be able to go to deck 10 for more 1st hand info. Our restaurant waiter was not the happiest person and on a couple of occasions quite rude. He quickly took plates away and brought the next course before everyone on the table had finished. I pointed this out which he did not like. The food was average. Lido food was ok but a bit repetitive. A disappointment after the New Amsterdam 3 yrs ago. Despite booking a disabled cabin and giving all details to HAL stating that my husband was a full time wheelchair user, unable to walk, not 1 port had accessible transport or shuttle and many no taxis available. He travelled to Asia for the 1st time on a special holiday and couldn't go on any tours. He should have been told this when he booked. The ship was so quiet in the evening. After dinner, unless you went to the Blues Band (limited wheelchair space) or pianists which were next to the noisy casino, it was like the Marie Celeste. Sadly I don't think we will cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.5 N/A

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