1,114 Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland ... Read More
We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland America. Unfortunately, the embarkation was horrible. We had a 12:00 check in but had to wait about two hours in the cruise terminal before we could check in. We were denied access to the Orange Club line because it wasn’t printed on our cruise documents and by the time we checked in and then straightened out the Orange Club situation, it was 3:00 and we were hungry. Luckily, the hamburgers out by the pool are delicious, but we were pretty upset that we spent our first day onboard straightening out problems and waiting for service. Luckily, the cruise improved after that. Cabin Our cabin was 7147, an aft verandah cabin. It was very spacious with a comfortable bed, a couch with a table, and a desk. The shower was in a small bathtub and was much more roomy than what we’ve experienced on other ships. There was plenty of storage, oodles of hangers, and nice verandah chairs with footstools. With a large TV, access to a few tv stations and many movies, it was a comfortable place to hang out on sea days or when tired. Our steward kept us well supplied with ice and fresh towels throughout our cruise. Ship Activities and Entertainment The public spaces are very comfortable, with nice chairs and comfortable bar areas. The Gallery Bar is especially pretty. The drinks in the bars were not especially good, even a basic dirty Vodka martini just didn’t taste right and the glasses never matched the drinks appropriately. It was weird. Luckily, we had pre-ordered a bottle of vodka and some tonic so our best drinks were those we mixed in our cabin for the first week of the cruise. During the second week, we took advantage of Happy Hour when you can get two identical drinks by paying for the first and just $2 for the second. We were disappointed with the activities and entertainment aboard. It seems that Holland caters to an older crowd than we are used to and the only “fresh” entertainment every night was the chamber music in the Lincoln Center, which was always well attended. We hoped to find BB King’s Blues Club to be a regular stop, but after a few nights it seemed the program didn’t vary much and since each set was only a half hour, we found ourselves going there less and less. We did enjoy the wine tastings and were disappointed when the third wine tasting that had the best wines was cancelled due to a low turnout caused by conflicting popular activities. The port talks were very good but you had to arrive early because the theater was filled every time. We wanted to experience the test kitchen where the chef was preparing local dishes, but never could find a seat. It was immensely popular. I was hoping for a little more destination related travel and we did enjoy the Thai dancing, even though it was only a half hour. One of our favorite days was the day we booked a cabana. We arrived after breakfast to find that the cabana attendant would have served us that too! We were able to enjoy the heat of the day while lounging around reading and playing on the internet. The attendant brought us lunch and also some fruit and Prosecco in the afternoon. Only about four cabanas were booked so we had the deck almost to ourselves. It was very relaxing. Dining We ate most of our meals in the Main Dining Room. Each meal was beautifully presented and there was always a choice of fish, chicken, red meat, and pasta, with two or three choices of some on many nights. Most dinners were prepared with sauces and by the end of the cruise, I was yearning for some simpler fare. The breads were especially delicious. We took advantage of the Cellar Packages and found #1 to have enough good wines to meet our needs at a wonderfully reduced price compared to buying a bottle at a time. We had one meal at the Pinnacle Grill on the Rudi’s Sel de Mer night. The food was very good, but honestly, the service in the MDR was much more attentive. We enjoyed our special night and decided to stick with the dining room after that. We ate a few lunches and breakfasts in the buffet. There was a huge selection and everything we ate was very tasty. It was hard to keep a full cup of coffee in the morning and a lot of tables sat empty with dirty dishes. The atmosphere just wasn’t that great. Our favorite thing was room service breakfast. The menu was very large and we had to stop ourselves from overeating! As part of the Orange Club, the choices included mimosas and smoothies and we took advantage of both several times. Orange Club We were offered a discount on the Orange Club the week before the cruise and we decided to try it. As already mentioned, it was a bit of a trial to get the recognition and appropriate key card. The first night we did not get the Orange Menu in the dining room. (I think a lot of the crew were new.) We didn’t have robes in our room. No one seemed to know about the welcome glass of bubbly. It seemed like no one knew what the Orange Club was all about and we had to advocate pretty heavily for ourselves. But after the first day we enjoyed our in-room breakfast choices, ate in our Orange Club robes, used the Orange Club priority lines at Guest Services and the MDR, and were treated very well. Most nights we were seated at a window and the host remembered us by name and room number within three days. We only tried one or two of the Orange Club dinners because the choices on the main menu were so good. We were also treated to a tour of the galleys and store rooms which were amazing. For a first time Holland Guest, it gave us a few of the perks more frequent cruisers enjoy. It was nice. Ports and Excursions Singapore We arrived three days before the cruise which gave us some time to adjust to the time change. We stayed at the Amoy Hotel near Chinatown which offered an airport pickup. It was just across the street from an MRT station and was the perfect spot to explore Singapore. Glad we took the three days. Nathon (Koh Samui), Thailand We booked the EXC Explore Buddhist Temples tour which included four different stops at Buddhist temples, each quite different. At the Big Buddha there was an opportunity for some shopping, some of the best of the whole trip. It was a great introduction to Buddhism in Thailand. Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand We were here for two days and quite a few people took advantage of the opportunity to stay overnight in Bangkok, which is nearly two hours from the port. We did not. The first day we took the EXC Hidden Treasures with Tuk Tuk tour because I wanted to see the large reclining Buddha. We also visited other temples and Elizabeth Hall. The tuk tuk ride was surprisingly fun. The tour included a lunch of pad thai and other Thai foods. Delicious! The second day we booked the EXC Footsteps of Pad Thai tour that took us into the Nam Tan Sat village, a sugar palm plantation where we watched the farmer scale the palm tree, the Golden Temple with a Standing Buddha, the Wat Pho Bang Kla temple with bats, an organic Botanical Garden with delicious Thai snacks (practically a meal), and a cooking demonstration for Pad Thai and Papaya Salad. It was a super busy day which also included a ride in a long tail boat from the Golden Temple to Wat Pho Bang Kla. We really felt like we saw some authentic Thai life on this tour and were happy to support the local businesses. Tip: Carry toilet paper. The bathrooms do not have it. Sihanoukville, Cambodia This top was both the best and the worst. We took a cooking class I found on TripAdvisor and with only two of us in the class, we had four hours to talk with the chef and learn all about life in Cambodia in a very intimate way. On the other hand, Sihanoukville as a city is a mess and the tuk tuk ride to the class was bumpy and very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do anything in Sihanoukville without a tour. Phu My (Saigon), Vietnam We booked a private tour with ITourVietnam and it was fantastic. Part Foodie Tour and part History Tour, we were treated to sights, sounds, and tastes all day long. It was a chance to really get into the market and check “eating pho in Vietnam” off the bucket list. Nha Trang, Vietnam We took the EXC Cooking Class in Nha Trang which included a chance to learn to make spring rolls, banana flower salad, and cabbage package soup before we ate the chef prepared lunch of the same dishes. In addition, we got to walk through a dry and wet market (very quickly!) and see some Cham art at the resort where the class was held. DaNang, Vietnam This was a two day stop so the first day I booked a tour from TripAdvisor that included My Son, the Marble Mountain, and the Lady Buddha. It was a lot of walking and climbing, probably our most intensely physical day. We stopped for noodles at a local shop and they were delicious. The second day we joined a Cruise Critic group for Hoi An, the Marble Mountain, and the Cham Museum. Hoi An was primarily an opportunity for shopping and we skipped going into the Marble Mountain since our thighs were still sore from the day before. The Cham Museum was incredibly interesting and really added to our understanding of what we had seen the first day. Halong Bay, Vietnam This was our favorite port. We joined a Cruise Critic group and spent the entire day cruising the beautiful karsts. We also saw a remote fishing village and a pearl farm which were both very interesting. After the hustle and bustle of all the surprisingly large cities of the Far East, this opportunity for relaxation and nature was a real treat. Hong Kong I had booked a hotel near the airport so we took advantage of the EXC Hong Kong Tour with Airport Transfer. Disembarkation was very easy and well organized. The tour itself wasn’t really very good, but it did give us a chance to see Victoria Peak and Aberdeen. The fishing village was really just a marina around the Jumbo restaurant and the jewelry factory was a jewelry store where we were trapped for about a half hour. After being dropped at the airport, we took the Novotel Citygate shuttle to the hotel, which was great. The hotel is connected to the Citygate mall and also provided easy access to the transportation hub of Lantau Island. We stayed two nights and made the trip up to Tian Tan (Big Buddha), which made for a perfect final day. Summary Our first cruise with Holland was a success, primarily because the itinerary was so interesting. The service aboard was fantastic and we were able to name several of our favorites in our survey because they provided such great service. The rooms were comfortable; the food was good. Even still, we probably we wait a few years before we cruise Holland again so that we can age into what they offer. For now, we still like a ship with a little more vibrancy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
We chose this Asian cruise due to the itinerary (Ha!!)and visiting Vietnam was on our bucket list. Despite the Coronavirus situation, we thought the cruise was awesome.The Captain, cruise director, hotel director..and the entire crew were ... Read More
We chose this Asian cruise due to the itinerary (Ha!!)and visiting Vietnam was on our bucket list. Despite the Coronavirus situation, we thought the cruise was awesome.The Captain, cruise director, hotel director..and the entire crew were amazing. The passengers were kept informed of the ongoing changing situation and everyone ( passengers, as well as crew) became one big family supported each other. Holland America handled the situation in a very caring, professional manner. I have cruised over 50 times with various cruise lines, but after this experience with Holland America, I will be loyal to Holland A. Our cabin attendants, dining room waiters, dining room host were very attentive. The Entertainment in the main showroom was fine, BBKing lounge routine got very repetitious( same sets every evening). The cruise director, Jamie, was the best we have ever had. Holland America followed up with passengers due to the virus situation after passengers were back home which was a great policy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
I love Holland America more than ever! The first two weeks of the journey visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam were spectacular! Then the (Coronavirus) hit the fan - and changed everything. We became a ship without a port ... Read More
I love Holland America more than ever! The first two weeks of the journey visiting Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam were spectacular! Then the (Coronavirus) hit the fan - and changed everything. We became a ship without a port after leaving Hong Kong. It was a terrible situation for our ship's captain and crew, and all of us travelers onboard, especially first time cruisers. They did everything possible to help us eventually disembark in Cambodia, the only country that would let us in. Personally I loved our 11 days or so at sea, and actually felt we were kept safe from exposure to the Corona virus. The entire crew and staff on the ship and then in Cambodia were awesome. We became a floating global village at sea. The crew went above and beyond the call of duty as did the entertainers (except for one disgruntled comedian) I have done many many media interviews since disembarking in Cambodia, being put up in a 4 star hotel all expenses paid and being tested for the dreaded COVID-19 virus. Orlando Ashford, president of HAL, flew out to Phnom Penh and then to the port where staff and some passengers were still awaiting test results and reservations to get home. It was an honor to meet him. We are very privileged to be able to take such exotic cruises, and being refugees at sea for less than two weeks, hopefully instilled some compassion and understanding of the millions of refugees all over the world that don't have a luxury liner protecting them from harm. I cannot say enough about what a great job HAL did under the circumstances. World travel is unpredictable and real travelers know to expect the unexpected, embrace some uncertainty and roll with the changes. I feel blessed to have been part of this experience. We will never forget. Maybe someday we will get to visit Japan. Many thanks to the Westerdam Staff and Crew! Cheers to my fellow passengers. Deep bow- Namaste Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
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
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, ... Read More
This was the 3rd HAL cruise we had taken, and an excellent experience. All ship's amenities were beyond expectation. Any mechanical issue, such as a banging door on the veranda, were taken care of immediately. Our cabin steward, Gede, was superbly attentive to our requests and needs. The dining room staff which included our waiter, Antoni, his assistant waiter, Ferry, and our wine steward, Joseph, were professional and not obsequious. Very knowledgeable and helpful with regards to our individual eating habits and requirements. The Neptune Lounge was an added perk, and one worth the money. Sarah and John were always ready to lend a hand. They were a joy to work with. Our only complaint would be the unnecessary need to stop and shop at gem and jewelry shops at the end of an excursion. The added excursion to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, was the most spectacular addition to our cruise. The accommodations were excellent and the guide, Savi, could not have been better. Easy to understand, knowledgeable, and most helpful. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding ... Read More
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding and the well trained dining room staff always make sure your dining is enjoyable. Also,The Pinnacle is well worth the extra expense for at least one night. Didn't have one meal that wasn't of a high standard and am missing being spoiled now that we are home! We thought the entertainment was very good, especially the singers and dancers. Didn't expect the comedian to be as good as he was...a very pleasant surprise.Billboard on Board had two very talented people and BB King's Blues Club has a great band of eight. On port days there wasn't as much entertainment but we were tired after excursions so didn't really mind. Disappointed there is no longer a decent library on board. Jeremy's presentations of what to do in the ports, along with the history of the area, is very informative. We did some HAL tours and some independently organised tours. There are for and against for both, but the ship's tours are more expensive than they should be, so check out other options before you book. Our embarkation time was well after lunch so we were not happy with that and once on board we had the emergency drill so it felt like the day was wasted. This cruise we used the gym and participated in the stretching classes as well. Other interesting activities included flower arranging and of course the very popular America's Test Kitchen. We are already looking at where we would like to cruise to next, and yes, it will be on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone ... Read More
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone to fix it within 5 minutes. Food in the dining room was very good and much better than the Lido buffet. Pizza was good but pasta and lasagna were terrible in the Lido buffet. Entertainment and activities were geared towards an older crowd. The Westerdam's shore excursions in Halong Bay and Da Nang were very good but expensive. We did taxi tours in other ports because they were half the price of Westerdam's shore excursions. We also pre-booked a tour in Phu My port going to Vung Tau and Minh Dam mountain with Zoom from dungzoom@gmail.com which turned out to be way better than any of Westerdam's shore excursions and at less than half the price. Not only did Zoom provide free bottled water , but his tour was flexible and did not stop at any unwanted jewelry/art shops. Westerdam's shore excursions did not provide free bottled water (ship charged $5USD for a bottle of water), and made unwanted stops at overpriced jewelry/art shops. Zoom's tour was the best of all the tours we went on. The worst tour that we went on was the Hong Kong tour and airport transfer offered by Westerdam. It only made two stops at tourist sites for less than half an hour each. At the second site, we were told that we would have to pay extra for the taxi boat ride. Then it made a stop at an overpriced jewelry store for an hour. That was our whole tour! We weren't too happy that we paid $99USD per person to be forced to waste an hour of our time at an overpriced jewelry store. We spent more time at the jewelry store than we did at any tourist site. We would've done much better had we taken a taxi. Read Less
Sail Date November 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 chose this 28 day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We saw Shanghai, 5 ports in southern Japan, 2 ports in Taiwan, Manila in the Philippines, Hong Kong, 4 ports in Vietnam, 1 in ... Read More
We chose this 28 day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We saw Shanghai, 5 ports in southern Japan, 2 ports in Taiwan, Manila in the Philippines, Hong Kong, 4 ports in Vietnam, 1 in Cambodia and 2 in Thailand before reaching Singapore. This is a great way to see Asia - from very modern cities, to 3rd world countries. We had 3 days in Shanghai before embarkation - and were able to use the 144 hour visa free transit which went smoothly. There were no delays with embarkation, or disembarkment at the end of the cruise. The ship is looking a little tired in some areas, and is not as modern or lavish as some of the newer Holland America ships. The Crow's Nest area could do with some updating. The verandah cabin 5003 that we had was quiet and spacious, and we were very happy with it. The food was excellent, especially in the dining room, and there was a lot of choice in the Lido Buffet area. The entertainment on the main stage was a mixed bag - we enjoyed the Westerdam entertainers and visiting singers and musicians, but we didn't go when Comedians or Illusionists were on stage. We loved the Billboard area with 2 talented pianists, and there also was the Lincoln Centre Stage and a Jazz Band as entertainment options. We didn't do many of the on board activities - we did go to Flower Arranging, a cultural talk, some of the Microsoft classes and Americas Test Kitchen. We also used the outdoor spas and pool. The staff were excellent and did a top job, especially our 2 cabin boys. Ports: Shanghai - the port is a fair way from the city so we took a shuttle bus into the Bund from the ship for $20US each. From here you can spend the day in the city, and walk to a metro station. The metro has station signs in English as well as Chinese, and is easy to navigate Fukuoka - we did our own thing and caught a taxi to JR Hakata station where we caught a train to Kido Nazoin-Mae Station to see the Giant Reclining Buddha, which was very good. We returned to city and visited Canal City and Hakata Kawabata Shopping Arcade - more traditional and interesting shops. Lastly we saw Tochoji Temple and Pagoda, and several other Temples in the vicinity. We enjoyed this port. Kagoshima - we caught the cruise shuttle bus to Dolphin Park near the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal, and bought a Cute Pass which covers transport in Kagoshima. We took the ferry to Sakurajima Island, then went on a 1 hour bus tour circle. The Island View buses only stop at 1 Observatory now, so not as useful for sight seeing as previously. After this we walked along the coastal footpath for sea views and a stop at the footbaths. Back on the mainland we shared a taxi to Senganen Garden - a Japanese style landscape garden which we enjoyed. Amami - we docked here - it's no longer a tender port. We hired a car and spent time at Uttabaru & Sakibaru Beaches-good for swimming and Tomori beach - good for snorkelling. We also went to Cape Ayamaru Park, a lighthouse and Ohama Seaside Park. We loved our time here! Naha - we went on an all day snorkelling tour to the Kerima Island. Loved it! Ishigaki Island - we docked here - this is no longer a tender port. We hired a car and explored the whole Island, stopping at beaches, lighthouses, lookouts and and Kabira Bay, where we did a glass bottom boat tour. The Island is stunning and you can see most of it in a day. Loved Ishigaki! Keelung - we docked a couple of hundred metres from Keelung Train Station - so we caught the train into Taipei and did our own sightseeing. We went to the Flower and Jade Market, Liberty Square and Chiing Kai Check Hall and surrounds, and Longshan Temple. We climbed up lots of steps to Elephant Hill for city views, then went to Martyrs Shrine for changing of the guard. We stopped at Shillin Night Market for some food, then visited Confucious Temple. A long day but we loved it!. Next day we spent around Keelung - visiting the temple and Buddha on the hill, local shops and Zhengbing Fishing Port. Kaohsiung - we shared a taxi to Fo Guang Su Monastery - but because it was Tuesday the museum part was closed. Next we caught the Harvard Express Bus back into Kaohsiung and then a bus to Lotus Lake with Tiger and Dragon Structures, Buddhas, Temples and Pagodas - very interesting area and well worth a visit. We also took a quick ferry ride from the port to Qijin Island. Manila. We docked within walking distance of Intermuron, the old town. We did a 2 hour Bamboo Bike tour, which visited the main old city sites. We didn't really enjoy Manila, and it was very hot and humid. Hong Kong - the cruise port is a long way out so we took the free shuttle bus to Diamond Hill Shopping Centre and station. We did our own touring using public transport - Peak Tram, markets, Ding Dong Trams, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Star Ferry and Sunset at Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront. We enjoyed our time here. Halong Bay - this is no longer a tender port, we docked here. We did an 8 hour Halong Bay Cruise and the scenery is stunning. We stopped for swimming, walked through a magnificent cave, had fishermen row us in small boats into a lagoon and relaxed! Danang - we hired a driver for the day and had a wonderful day - visiting Monkey Temple, north over the mountain to beaches, back to Da Nang to the Dragon Bridge and past city sites to Marble Mountain, where we spent time exploring the caves. Lastly we went to Hoi An Old city at dusk and spent a few hours wandering around- lots of tourist shops, boats on the river and lanterns made it a beautiful place. You do now have to pay the old town entrance fee, but well worth it. On our second day in Danang we had a driver take us back to Hoi An where we did a bicycle tour with Buffalo Tours which was excellent. We rode in bamboo boats, went fishing in the river with a net, had fresh coconut to drink and made our own lanterns. We rode through fields where they grow rice and past little villages....and there ended up being only us and the guide! Nha Trang - the port is a fair way south of Nha Trang and for our boat a tender port, due to a cable car crossing the harbour to Vin Pearl Island! We shared a taxi into Nha Trang and visited Dam Market, then we had a massage booked so we enjoyed this very much. Next we visited Po Cham Towers and a lovely Japanese Bar/Restaurant on the River. Enjoyed our time here. Phu My - the port is 11/2 hours from Ho Chi Min City, so we had an organised tour here - visiting the main sites. Bustling city with thousands of motorbikes! Sihanoukville - this is a 3rd world country but there was construction going on everywhere, mainly by the Chinese. Roads were being sealed and lots of hotels /casinos being built. There was garbage everywhere, but the people were lovely. We did an organised tour visiting a fishing village, temples and pagodas, a Waterfall, beaches, and the central market. Unsealed roads are full of potholes, and it takes quite a bit of time to travel a few kilometres. Interesting to see but not somewhere I would like to return to. Laem Chabang - this port is about 2 hours from Bangkok. As we had 2 days here we elected to stay overnight in Bangkok. We had a private guide and had a wonderful time visiting the main sites. On the 2nd day we used trains and ferries to do more sight seeing on our own - so much to see here, we hope to return to see more. Ko Samui - a tender port. We did a tour here which was fine, but in hindsight would have been better for us to arrange our own transport and spent more time at the beach. Singapore - we spent 3 days here after disembarking from the cruise. We have been here several times before and we caught the metro to our hotel. Sightseeing this time included The Bird Zoo, Pulau Ubin, Jewell at Changi Airport, and the Flower Dome and the new Floral Fantasy, among other things. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We did 2 back to back cruises from Vancouver to Shanghai on the westerdam. The staff as usual were friendly and very efficient from the room stewards to the waiting staff they were all very pleasant and full of smiles. The food ... Read More
We did 2 back to back cruises from Vancouver to Shanghai on the westerdam. The staff as usual were friendly and very efficient from the room stewards to the waiting staff they were all very pleasant and full of smiles. The food overall was a good standard in all dining locations though a little salty for our liking at times but great presentation and choices. We had a signature suite which was very nicely decorated and still looking fresh after the refit a couple of years a ago with great bed and large tv with on demand movies. The entertainment was disappointing with the two pianists in the Billboard lacking any personalities and no feeling of atmosphere, the singers and dancers put on 3 good productions and the BB King band were fantastic but the ship died at around .11pm as the enteruhad stopped and the bars closed. There were 2 trivia’s a day which were well attended but apart from that there was very little entertainment during the day and many passengers commented on the lack of things to do during the day.. The lack of a library onboard was a huge disappointment and lots of complaints from the guests. The drinks onboard were very expensive and the bars very quiet and unfortunately there was no cocktail hour music and dancing only to prerecorded music tucked away in BB King so many nights we were sitting in the bars by ourselves before dinner. It is a shame HAL is cutting back on so many things that made people want to come back as we are 4 star mariners but are already looking at alternatives to spend our money on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in ... Read More
We wanted to embark at the Port of Vancouver, Canada as it is a short flight from our home. The repositioning cruise offered a fantastic fare and gave us a chance to visit Japan. We planned to join a land tour once we disembarked in Yokohama. This was our first ocean crossing and it was surprisingly uneventful (weather-wise). Except Typhoon Hagibis was scheduled to arrive in Tokyo the same day we were scheduled to disembark at the Port of Yokohama. The crossing itself was blissful for us. We napped, we walked, we used the spa, we enjoyed the cultural talks, and the variety of entertainment on board. To outsmart the typhoon, the Captain did have to cancel one port stop in order to re-route the ship out of the path of the storm. This meant an additional day of sailing, a transit through the Kanmon Straits, and leisurely sailing to allow enough time for the storm to blow itself out of our way and arriving safely one day later than scheduled to our port for disembarkation. Holland America provided free internet time as well as free ship to shore telephone privileges for passengers who needed to re-book flights or other travel arrangements because of the delay. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very pleasant. We had a verandah cabin which was nicely maintained with a modern flat screen TV on the wall across from the bed, and a good bathroom with tub/shower combination. This repositioning cruise spent 7 days on the North Pacific between Vancouver and Japan, and the crossing had both choppy and calm seas. An unexpected re-routing around Japan was necessary to avoid Super Typhoon Hagibis but the captain and crew did a great job of keeping us informed and safe. After two missed port calls and one-day delay in reaching Yokohama due to the storm, the subsequent 2 week itinerary stopping in Japan, South Korea and China was excellent. HAL is known for its older crowd, and this was certainly the case on this cruise. If you don't like spending a lot of time with mostly seniors this isn't the cruise line for you, but what the passengers lack in youth they make up for in travel experience. Most have been all over the world and make for great conversation any time you are wanting to chat. Food aboard was great. We mostly eat in the dining room and find the menus to be varied and quality of the food excellent. We generally eat late (8pm or later) and tables for 2 were always available at that time, which made it very relaxing. The Lido Market cafeteria usually had seating available and the range of food for breakfast and lunch was good, but we found the offerings at dinner were not spectacular. HAL seems to have improved its entertainment and we enjoyed the shows on the Main Stage. The variety was good, from full dance and music shows to comedians, and individual musicians. America's Test Kitchen daily presentations were great. Some of the cultural lectures were better than others (a function of who was doing the presentations) but overall set the stage for our ports of call. And port information sessions provided in advance of each port were excellent, not just designed to sell the cruise line's tours. The best thing about HAL's ships is the mainly Indonesian and Filipino crew. They are very friendly and helpful. We are always greeted with a smile. Cabin staff were excellent. Food servers and wine stewards were cheerful and efficient. It's always amazing how the servers and other staff remember your name and your preferences. HAL shore excursions are, as usual, high priced and sometimes lack quality, but it's possible to organize a mix of cruise line tours and private tours. We used a lot of HAL tours for the China portion and most were very good to excellent. Overall a very good Asia-Pacific cruise this time around on Westerdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise to Alaska, all on Holland America ships. People, I know ask “Why Alaska? Why Holland America? Why the same cruise?” I’ll answer the last question first, “Because we can, because it is the most convenient cruise to take from our home, and because we can afford it”. The Alaska cruise is always a lovely cruise, the scenery cannot be beat, and yes you may encounter some rain, but it still can be a marvelous experience. Why Holland America? Well there aren’t too many surprises on their ships, we have traveled on three different ones, and comments about aging vessels really don’t make a lot of sense, they are all well maintained. For the doubters, every ship will have occasional problems, toilets, and a/c malfunctions, but you will get those on any ship in any fleet. We found that Holland America prides itself on service. On the three ships, we’ve sailed the crews seem to be a happy crew. A smile and a greeting will always get a positive result on a Holland America ship. Something we’d been told and found out for ourselves, once the crew gets to know you, they always call you by your name. When they only know you for a seven-day cruise, I find this amazing. You can be way down the hall, and they’ll call out to you. Thank you Holland America for your hiring system. The dining facilities aboard ship, from the Main Dining Room to the buffet and even the Dive-In, are exceptional and there’s always something to please the palate. Now in fairness, I must admit I haven’t sailed on any other cruise line, yet, so my submission may be tainted. We have found the food service to be well above par, regardless of the venue. We have found a home in the Ocean Bar, and it’s not surprising as do many of our fellow cruisers. The bartenders and wait staff can’t seem to do enough for you. Happy Hour is always packed. And again the crew call you by name, which is even more surprising due to the number of passengers they deal with. Each cruise for us has been different, different ships, different cabins, but the service has always been exceptional. On this trip, we were offered a paid upgrade to a suite. It is larger than the oceanview and balcony that we have had in the past. There is plenty of storage space and the bathrooms had two sinks, a jet tub, and a shower stall. The suite was furnished with a most comfortable queen-sized bed, sofa and two chairs. A large widescreen TV had a multitude of options from ship activities, dining options, live TV and movies. There is little to want for in these cabins, they provide a very relaxed comfort zone. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship, the design is marvelous, there is so much to see and do on the ship. In reading some of the reviews on Cruise Critic I sometimes wonder at some of the negative comments from cruisers that were on the ship I was on, where we actually on the same ship? Throughout the ship is works of art, it's like being in a floating museum. On Deck 1, below the atrium, there are even picture frames that you can use to make your own photo portrait. The ship has plenty of elevators but there are also stairs, to wear off the pounds collected in the dining venues, plus the Promenade deck which is covered and allows you to walk around the outside of the ship. When I hear that there is little to do onboard I wonder where these folks may be. Entertainment abounds, music from classical to blues and jazz to modern pop, plus shows in the main theater nightly. There is a small casino. During the day the ship’s activities are for everyone, take your choice - it seems endless. There is lots to do aboard ship. And when we dock, there is a myriad of shore excursions. The highlight of any Alaska cruise is the time spent looking at glaciers. Usually, this includes several hours in Glacier Bay. On this trip, we encountered a different and most marvelous glacier experience. We traveled up Tracy Arm to the Sawyer Glacier. What makes this cruise so special is getting to the Glacier requires sailing up a narrow passageway, through ice flows. Streams flow down the mountainsides making the whole trip an exciting passage. The ice flows are not large, but much larger than those we’ve experienced in Glacier Bay. It is said if you’ve never cruised to Alaska, you need to see Glacier Bay. Once you’ve seen Glacier Bay, you need to see Tracy Arm, you will never experience a more wonderful site. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. ... Read More
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. The road in Denali is fast falling away, so may not be available for too long. Saw moose, bears, caribou, sheep. Accommodations were as expected, lodges fine, Anchorage hotel a little older and tired. Holland America’s logistics are excellent, including meeting our plane at 2:30 am. Luggage always where it was supposed to be. Check in was 5 minutes. Ship looks in excellent condition, and food excellent. A real upgrade since our last HAL cruise in 2014 when we found it stodgy. Entertainment good but could benefit from more choices like a piano bar or dance band in the pre dinner hour. Excursions, as always, over priced. Do at least one boat trip and one glacier. The Kenai Fjord was great with all the expected birds and animals. I left HAL after many of their cruises, feeling they were stuck in the past. After this successful trip, I will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad ... Read More
This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad fried chicken and pathetic attempts at caesar salad. In fairness--the desserts on board were fabulous--but the only truly good meal we enjoyed came during an on-shore visit to a non-affiliated restaurant. The food was not the only disappointment. Drinks were exorbitantly priced and the constant badgering to buy jewelry of unknown origin and quality was extremely annoying. Add to that--easily 1/3 of the guests were ill by the end of the cruise--easy to recognize by the hacking and wheezing. Rumors were rife that the on-board medical clinic was charging highly excessive fees for such basic treatments such as Tamiflu--which may well explain the spread of the illness. We felt--and this was echoed by many of our fellow travelers--that Holland America was trying to relieve us of more money at every possible opportunity. If this is typical of cruising--we have done our first and last. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as ... Read More
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as I’d remembered was our embarkation lunch at the Lido. We selected a variety of items from the Asian section (Thai) and the meat was dry, tough and too salty. We thought, "Ok, maybe this is because it's embarkation day so quality control isn't as thorough..." How naive we were. Over the next couple of days, we realized that the Lido had severe issues. The Asian station's meat was consistently too dry, tough and salty. The pasta tasted like pure salt and no other flavours. Desserts usually had raw tasting dough. The waffle cones tasted stale. The printed menu on display was frequently wrong (as in the wrong menu was put up altogether or ingredients were missing compared to the printed version). And the plates are often too hot to hold. The only consistently decent hot food was from the Homestead station! How about the MDR food? Well, the taste there was quite a bit better but we found that the only thing consistent about the kitchen was their inconsistency... and their overly salty soups (we end up asking for half a bowl of soup and diluting it with hot water whenever we felt like soup). In the MDR, we've had two orders of the same item come differently(missing ingredients), a salmon filet filled with bones and pasta the texture of soggy cardboard. Our warm/hot water has come smelling/tasting like the pool and a medium-rare steak arrived overcooked. The most disappointing thing was the prime rib I ordered - it came was so filled with those fatty hard-to-cut parts I ended up not having a single bite because I literally could not cut the beef with my knife... even after I requested for another steak knife! Other than food issues, we've noticed the effects of budget slashing coupled with a lack of proper planning/training. We had to visit the photo gallery three times to receive our complimentary mariner picture of the shop and received a different answer/information each time. The Exploration Cafe didn't offer ceramic cups until the third day - the paper cups offered were completely inadequate: hot drinks were scalding to hold even using two cups. The paper cups were also prone to crumple if you kept cold drinks in them! Ordering hot water kettles from inroom dining resulted in kettles with hot handles most of the time.... The women’s washroom on Deck 3 was had completely unusable toilets one day (all of them!). Hotel management seemed a mess because we received the wrong information documents to our cabin... But although all these issues were disappointing, they weren’t completely “vacation ruining”. We can choose to eat the decent stuff in the Lido and the crew usually tried their best to fix things when problems happen (which was fairly often... we became VERY well acquainted with Guest services). It was our experience with the beverage manager that utterly ruined our vacationing mood. Here's the background: we aren't heavy alcohol drinkers so we purchased the quench beverage package planning to avail ourselves of mocktails, smoothies and specialty coffee. Unfortunately, we immediately noticed that all the bar menus on-board had been revamped for the worse. The drinks' description were removed, and most pertinently, the section on mocktails and smoothies disappeared. Not a problem, we can still ask the bar to make the drinks right? Well... Sort of! Turns out the bars no longer make drinks using real fruits. Instead it's "syrup" all the way! This caught us off-guard because we've had real fruit smoothies on previous cruises and during our cruise planning we saw another cruiser's May 2019 beverage menu and THAT one (multiple ones actually) still had drinks with detailed descriptions and real fruits stated. As we weren't reconciled to having only "syrup" ( corn syrup with a small % of real juice plus other favouring ingredients and preservatives) drinks, we wrote in to guest services and after a series of back and forths... we finally ended up speaking to the beverage manager in person. Horrible mistake. The beverage manager ( Cyrill?) had the worst service attitude ever and was confrontational to boot. He stated that he was the one in charge of ordering everything related to drinks. When asked about using real fruits in drinks, he basically implied we were lying about having it before or that it was some special one-off service. He swore that in all his 20+ years of service across multiple ships that he has NEVER ordered fruits to the bar and that drinks made due with just syrup. He even grabbed one of the bystanding crew members to collaborate his claim. Really? Was the poor guy going to contradict his BOSS to his face?! Talk about abuse of authority. When pressed, he told us to try the inroom dining... MAYBE they could make us a real fruit smoothie. As for if there was a charge there? He said he wasn’t sure. What kind of manager are you...? So after giving us a "that's that" attitude with no effort to apologize or make things better, he left and all we felt was incredulity. How did someone like this become a manager?! Was nepotism involved somewhere...?! On the spot, we weren't able to refute his highhanded claims but we afterwards we found the website with photo proof of previous/other ships having fruits in their drinks. (That url previously mentioned) We later also spoke privately to older bartenders who acknowledged that yes, they used to make drinks with real fruits. In fact, they still did so on their last contract a few months ago! So, the beverage manager straight up lied to our faces while trying to browbeat both us and his staff into accepting HIS way. This encounter with that disgrace of a manager completely destroyed any goodwill we felt towards HAL. In fact, because it's the beverage manager who has been such a disappointment, it's affected my impression of the whole beverage department and more... I know I’m sort of on the emotional side (really, most women are right? XD) but I ended up going out of my way to NOT walk by the bars if I could. Of course, we responded to Guest services about the horrendous treatment we received and the next day we met with the Food and Beverage DIRECTOR (one step up the chain?). He was a lot more gracious and friendly. We were given complimentary freshly made juice for breakfast/dinner (MDR) and one mocktail/smoothie of our choice each day for the remainder of the cruise. So in summary: - the kitchen was consistently inconsistent: the food was missing ingredients, under-cooked, over-cooked, too salty, wrong portions, etc - drinks from the bar for non-alcoholic drinkers nowhere near a “premium” experience - hotel management seems to have a systematic issue with procedures/training - crew was still great and did their best... except for ONE notable counterexample Final rating: Would not recommend and we’ll be trying other cruise lines in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip ... Read More
I've written another review of our experience on the Volendam from Vancouver to Skagway Alaska. After that cruise we went on a nine-day land tour of the Yukon and Alaska, and at its completion we boarded the Westerdam for the trip back to Vancouver. To be fair, this seven-day cruise was better overall than three days on the Volendam. Our waiter in the main dining room was great, as was our room steward. We still have complaints about the way food is served in the Marketplace (the buffet restaurant), where people are funneled into a single line for all the main dishes. Not efficient at all, especially if someone simply wants a piece of sausage at breakfast. They are forced to wait for everyone else who are selecting their entire meal. Other cruise lines have numerous stations throughout the room so that lines are short or nonexistent. Beyond that, however things went pretty well. Most of the entertainment was fine. Our only real quarrel was with guest services. Without going into a lot of detail, I was trying to get a refund of several gift cards which we did not use on the Volendam. I was told it could be accomplished on this ship, and spent every one of the entire seven days checking in with them to see the status. Everyday they told me things were moving along well, until the last night. I was then told that, unfortunately, there was nothing they could do and that corporate guest services had been notified and would be taking over. I told them I wished they had simply stated that at the beginning so I didn't have to walk the entire length of the ship everyday to get a progress report. Debarking was a simple process, and we went home the next day. The day after arriving my wife mentioned that the amount of our final bill did not match the amount charged to our credit card (it was nearly $200 more!). I immediately phoned Holland America guest services, waited on hold for a half hour, finally gave up and sent them an email. A day later they had not responded to the email, so I phoned again. After waiting 42 minutes (I timed it this time), someone in the finance department answered the call. Upon hearing about the charging discrepancy, she looked at the account record and asked me if we had removed anything from the minibar. I said we had all the drinks removed when we first embarked. She said that apparently what had happened was the room steward had not restocked the refrigerator before the person checking it came through, and we were charged for everything in the minibar! She apologized, and said a credit would be issued for that, as well as our gift cards. However, refunds take 4-6 weeks to process! I was flabbergasted but apparently that's the way it works with Holland America. Left quite a bad taste in our mouths to say the least. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, ... Read More
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, (except the odd colorful benches on each floor by the elevators). The decor is understated elegance, neutral colors, with many comfortable public spaces to relax. Our mini-suite 6190 was very roomy, more storage than I could fill, lots of room between the bed and the furnishings. Bathroom was also very large, double sink, separate shower and jetted bathtub. A wall of closets/shelves too. Once of the nicest staterooms we've had in our 14 cruises. Food was very good though the service in the dining room for dinner was a bit slow. Entertainment also exceeded our expectations with the exception of the HAL dancers/singers who's performances were a bit too theatrical rather than light and upbeat (this is the fault of the director, not the singers). The public spaces did not feel crowded, perfect size ship for our sailing. The EXC presentations on the Iditarod, Whales and Salmon were excellent as were the cooking classes presented by the chef for America's Test Kitchen. Very enjoyable cruise and highly recommend this ship for an Alaskan cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
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

Find a Westerdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click