1 Dover to Baltic Sea Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

Please enter your review. REPORT ON THE WESTERDAM & THE NORWEGIAN CRUISE Introduction: My wife and I have just returned from the Norwegian cruise on the Westerdam. Before leaving I took the opportunity to read the reviews others ... Read More
Please enter your review. REPORT ON THE WESTERDAM & THE NORWEGIAN CRUISE Introduction: My wife and I have just returned from the Norwegian cruise on the Westerdam. Before leaving I took the opportunity to read the reviews others had placed on this site. I found them quite helpful so felt compelled to return the favor. Please remember that these ruminations are purely my own subjective views and that the ship is constantly working to improve its service. As a consequence it is altogether possible that conditions will change by the time you embark on your cruise. The Ship: The first thing that strikes you is the increased security embarking the ship. An electronic photo is taken of you upon arrival dockside, linked to your passenger card and carefully confirmed on every reentry. As one would suspect, the ship is in great shape. This was only its second or third voyage since being launched and the most apparent problem was the crew's never ending efforts to vacuum up the dust bunnies created by the brand new carpet nap. If you have sailed on the Amsterdam before you will feel right at home. The layout is very similar with the exception of the outside elevators and the ability to walk from the upper dining area directly to the nightly shows without going up and down on an elevator. The Crew I really can't say enough about the attentiveness and dedication to service HAL has been able to instill in their crew and staff. Special praise should be given to the Indonesian and Philippine contingents for their friendly engaging manner. They have a keen appreciation for the value of a life of service as an honorable profession, an attitude that has to a great extent been lost in the US The crew has, for the most part, been drawn from a number of other ships. This process not only insures continuity in service but also that all the crew contracts don't run out at the same time. I must admit that it is comforting when a staff or crew member remembers you from a previous cruise and stops to reintroduce him/her self. The Passengers: Although there are a small number of children aboard, the vast majority of passengers are retirees. My guess is that their mean age would be in the late 60's. It would appear that nearly half of those on board have been on previous cruises judging from the number of invitees at the Mariners reception we attended. At the event a number of medallions were given out to folks who had amassed 500 days on HAL ships. A few had racked up 700 days. All in all, these were relatively seasoned cruisers who understood the vicissitudes of nature and took it in stride when changes in the itinerary were forced upon us. I would say about 70-80% are Americans with other large contingents from Canada, Holland and England. The Internet: It's amazing how quickly this wonderful tool is taken for granted by all of us. When we're connected with a strong signal it is accepted as the norm. Unfortunately this is not always the case aboard ship and I was witness to a disgruntled businessman who said that he wouldn't have come on the trip had he known there was any chance of not being in touch via email for any extended period. We were on the Antarctic cruise in January so had previously experienced the phenomena of lost connectivity below 65 degrees south latitude. Well, surprise surprise, the same thing goes for above 65 degrees north latitude as well. Additionally, no service is available in many of the fjords due to the steep mountains on either side of the ship. This shouldn't be seen as a real negative. After all isn't that what we came to experience? It is also worth noting that the ship's service is turned off in some ports, I'm not sure exactly why. The Internet room has been enlarged from the six computers aboard the Amsterdam to what appears to be about twenty on the Westerdam. There are certain limitations these computers have (mostly concerning working on and transmitting your digital pictures) so on this trip I brought along my WiFi equipped portable laptop. There are three hotspots on the ship; in and around the Internet center, throughout the Atrium area, and in the area surrounding the pool on the Lido deck. Configuration was a snap and service at sea (i.e., below 65 degrees north latitude) was only interrupted occasionally. When the connection was up I spent about 25-30 minute a day reading and responding to my email, reviewing spreadsheets and reworking Word documents. I found this quite adequate for keeping current on my business. However, if the connectivity limitations I've listed above are unacceptable to you, I suggest you postpone this particular cruise till retirement. Amenities: First and foremost, the self service laundry has been eliminated. My wife really loved this on the Amsterdam and missed it more for the inability to give a quick pressing to some wrinkled garment than for doing the wash whenever you wanted to. The food is of a very high quality albeit institutional in nature. After all, they are feeding about 2000 folks three squares a day. If you want more, my suggestion is to patronize the Pinnacle restaurant. We went there twice on this 12 day cruise just for a change of pace. They have excellent food with excellent service. The free espresso coffee bar on the Amsterdam has been replaced with one that now charges for java. I only attended two or three of the nightly shows so will decline to comment on them. My wife did go to the crew show and found it great fun. Conclusion All in all I think that HAL does a very good job of giving you value for money spent. I have not reviewed the cruise itinerary or shore excursions as this particular trip is only given once a year. Generally speaking the weather was uncooperative for the first week with rain and cold putting a damper on most activities on shore. Never-the-less, we got what we came for, a good grounding in the history, geography and culture of Norway via the relative comfort of a large cruise ship. I would strongly recommend the line and this particular cruise to anyone with like-minded goals. Read Less
Sail Date June 2004
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
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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