6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for the round trip. Was very disappointed by Bangkok and would have prefered to have spent the day in Pattaya, which was right next to the ship. We visited Pattaya the second day, by ourselves, by taxi which is inexpensive $75 for 2, private tour all day. We booked for our selves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. Cambodia is really a surprise and we cannot understand why it is even a stop on the route. Its dirty and poor, the taxi cab drivers or tuk tuk drivers throw them selves on the shuttle bus that takes you into town and most of the people on the bus refused to get off. There is NOTHING there, a big dirty market, no bargains,, same products as found everywhere. A waste of time. We booked ourselves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. The ship itself, is old and they may say its been refurbished or renovated but where? The fitness club?? The entertainment was non existant. Even the cooking show that they seem to think is the main theme of the cruise was not allowed to give out any food as it was located in the same room as the night club so didnt pass health inspection, If thats the case, move the night club!! The only saving grace we had was that the movies which were free in the cabin for all and they had a lot of them and newer films. Thank goodness. Remember every other day is a sea day!! HAL wants to attract a younger crowd, I really dont see it happening!! The only good show they had was the 2 comedians, and I heard they had played a few extra days as the dancers all got sick. What a break for us. The singing and dancing team looked like amateurs out of high school, certainly no extra money was spent on good entertainment. The one good thing they did have onboard was the guest services crew and the excursion crew, that really didnt push the excursions and were available for advise in all the ports. That was very helpful. The suite we stayed in is very large and agreeable, so is the balcony. It was our first trip on Holland America and hopefully our las and we are very seasoned travelers. the problem is the cruise started off badly as I had booked the trip one year in advance and by the time the date for the trip came around they had lowered the price for the balcony room that we choose down $1140 for 2 of us, I of course complained immediately, I wanted the money difference back but to no avail. They made me a deal to up grade me to a suite at a discount price. I received $200 onboard credit, thats it. Why bother to book in advance!! Never again. If you book this cruise with the same ports, be aware there are free shuttles at a lot of the stops into town, to save you money. You can book most everything in advance on line without the high excursion prices that the ship offers. We took a junk cruise at Halong in Vietnam, it was fun, though it rained, I had booked this myself problem was the tour company didnt give a very good address or directions so with the taxi it was a little difficult to find the correct port as that is the main activity to visit the beautiful Halong bay. We took a luxury cruise which was maybe $20 more per person but it certainly had better quality food and some extras. Booked thru Classy Travel online beforehand, would definitely recommend them. For all additional info or tips send me an email I will be happy to answer all questions. Vickiducanois@gmail.com Read Less
Sail Date: November 2018
minus - lower F&B quality than usual at HAL. no fresh OJ, dry / overcooked salmon, coffee quality, etc - below HAL standard service level. less than usual service with a smile. - boring entertainment except for music walk ... Read More
minus - lower F&B quality than usual at HAL. no fresh OJ, dry / overcooked salmon, coffee quality, etc - below HAL standard service level. less than usual service with a smile. - boring entertainment except for music walk - traditional ship. not comparable to fresh looking HAL Koningsdam. plus - music walk with BB King’s club - cooking classes onboard with America’s test kitchen workshops. itenerary was great, especially the Vietnam ports. from Singapore to Hong Kong. Cambodia is really a different level, dirty, messy, rough roads, construction every where, only casino’s and karaoke bars. great stops to former Saigon, Hoi An (“Venice in Asia”) and Halong Bay. tours booked via cruise critic roll call. travel authentic asia is really recommendable, Andy private tours as well, great day tours for competitive prices, good value for money, great guides. on board wifi is poor, slow, many times disconnecting, not worth the money. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
Embarkation/disembarkation: generally quite smooth. Embarkation took a bit longer than other cruises I had been on, but it may be due to the departure procedure in Singapore. Dining: Lido buffet and Main Dining Room In general, the ... Read More
Embarkation/disembarkation: generally quite smooth. Embarkation took a bit longer than other cruises I had been on, but it may be due to the departure procedure in Singapore. Dining: Lido buffet and Main Dining Room In general, the food was over-salted, so much so that I had to ask for half a cup of soup and added a half cup of hot water to make it edible. You can do that to liquids, but there is very little you can do to other dishes. Why can’t they be a little easy on the salt, and let those guests who prefer otherwise add their own salt at the table? The way they served soup (in dining room as well as buffet) seemed a little odd to me. They put a few cold ingredients, for example, pastas, vegetables, in the bowl and ladled hot soup over them, instantly lowering the soup’s temperature. I have honestly never seen anyone do this and find it quite strange. I wish they would do as most do at home: just cook the ingredients in the soup to the correct serving temperature. Most meats were quite dry and seafood tended to be overcooked. The only things they did well, in my opinion, were poultry. The Asian food department is not up to standard at all. I thought that the cruise, starting/ending in Singapore, would stock some shredded pork floss, the one ingredient essential to congee, and for which Singapore is famous. The ship: It is small, with 1850 guests at full capacity. In this voyage, when the ship was in the South China Sea, approaching and leaving Hong Kong, it rocked very badly. Many got seasick. I am not complaining about getting seasick. HAL had anti-seasickness pills, but, strangely, they never told us. I ran into officers a few times and we talked about the ship rocking, but none had informed me they had remedies at Guest Services. I found out from fellow cruisers when it was too late. How hard was it to just announce it and make the voyage a little better for most people? The ports: Koh Samui The port does not seem ready for cruise ships. After a ride on the tender boats for 25 minutes, you arrive at a pier and are bombarded by tour venders and taxi drivers. The port is quite ugly and dirty. Laem Chabang The ship tries to tell you that this is the port for Bangkok, but in fact it’s a 2 ½ hr drive to Bangkok. Public transportation is complicated and takes even longer. So if you don’t want to stay on the ship, you have no choice but to book an excursion, organize your own tour, or use a taxi. The ship’s excursion is expectedly over-priced. We joined a one-day tour organized through Cruise Critic roll call. This has to be done ahead of time. The tour was OK except it was a very long day with the 5 hr travelling time. The port is a cargo port and there’s no port facilities. The nearest shopping mall is almost two miles away. Travelling by bus or taxi to Pattaya is another option. Leisurely wandering around the port area is not. Sihanoukville, Cambodia This port is a joke. There is zero port facilities, except a shuttle bus that takes you to downtown Sihanoukville. We were dropped off in a dirty, ugly and chaotic open air market. Walking on what looks like a sidewalk is downright dangerous because it’s uneven and muddy; motor bikes and scooters can travel anywhere they like, including sidewalks. Before you even get off the bus, tour venders bombard you with local tours. But with the chaotic traffic, how would I know that they could bring us back before the ship departs? Many of our fellow cruisers didn’t even get off the shuttle bus. Some were a little braver and took a walk for several blocks before getting the next available bus back to the ship. This port is totally unprepared for cruise passengers, and they don’t even seem to care. As I said, it’s a joke, and it’s an expensive joke at that, since most passengers have to pay for a visa, even if they decide to stay on the ship the whole time. Phu My It’s a cargo port and there’s nothing to see around the port area. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is over an hour away. Again, the ship offers excursions to Saigon, but it’s better if you organize your own. Plan ahead and use roll call on Cruise Critic to gather a group and book a tour together. That’s what we did, and we ended up with something very similar to what the ship offered and paid less than half of what the ship charged. Saigon is quite an interesting city with lots to see, but because it’s so far away, public transportation may not be the most efficient use of the limited time in port. Da Nang The ship offered a shuttle bus to downtown Da Nang, but in my opinion, there are more interesting places farther away. We booked a tour to Bana Hill and Hoi An, through a local tour company, Andy. There are other choices such as Hue and Marble Mountain, but one must pick and choose since there’s just one day in port. Hoi An can be done easily by taxi, if that’s the only place you want to visit. We went there later in the afternoon and stayed till sunset to enjoy the lighting of the lanterns in the Old Town. Our ship did not leave until 11:00 pm that night. Halong Bay Beautiful destination. Again, we joined an organized boat tour through Cruise Critic to see Halong Bay up close, including one of the caves with a huge chamber and interesting rock formations. Hong Kong Here some of our fellow cruisers disembarked. For us, it’s a long day in port since we would be back on board for the next leg of our SE Asia cruise. Among all the ports we visited on this cruise, I would say Hong Kong is the most prepared for cruise ships: modern, clean, and efficient. There is a large park on the roof of the cruise terminal building, with a nice view of the Hong Kong skyline. Lots of transportation options to choose from. I don’t know about other cruise lines, but one thing HAL told us about this port needs to be clarified here. In their onboard talks about Hong Kong, one thing they tried very hard to do is to persuade people to buy the ship’s transfers. They showed us a picture of a couple hundred people at the taxi stand with no taxi in sight. They claimed that taxi drivers don’t like to go into the cruise terminal and so the only other option is their shuttles to the airport or to the airport express station in town. Well, they may be right about fewer taxi drivers wanting to come into the terminal, but they also conveniently omitted an option that all local people know about, which is also on the website of the Kai Tak cruise terminal – a free shuttle that takes you to two of the closest MTR (subway) stations. Even after I asked, they tried to tell me that the free shuttles do not allow you to take your luggage. That was a blatant lie. The driver does not help you load your bags onto the bus, but you can definitely take them with you. Lots of people have done that. I have done that. I understand that this may not be for everybody, but it is a viable option that should not be omitted in any port talk. It does require a bit of planning and research, and you must have some local currency with you, and you must be able to handle your luggage by yourselves, but it’s totally doable and can save you significant amount of money, depending on where you want to go and how many are in your party. Once you get to an MTR station, you have the options of using public transportation or taxi. Hong Kong has many, many interesting places reachable using the MTR, which is fast, clean and efficient. Naha, Japan We went to two gardens and a walking street. Fukushu-en, walkable from the cruise port, is larger and more beautiful than the Y200 entrance fee suggests. So it’s a delightful surprise. Shikina-en is another ½ hour walk from the last station on the YUI rail. The entrance is double that of Fukushu-en, but on the whole, we enjoy it less. It may be the time of year, but there’s not much to see. Both gardens offer a nice and serene space to take a leisurely walk. Lastly, we went to Kokusai-dori, the famous shopping street. There are some interesting things there, but we are not shopping people, and it didn’t really appeal to us too much. The time in port was short, and we did not have time for anything else. On the whole, we enjoyed our stay. The town was clean and orderly, and people were friendly. Not many spoke English, but between gesturing, a map, and a few Japanese phrases here and there, we managed. Ishigaki, Japan There is a free shuttle from the port to the pier (to other islands), which is close to downtown. We just took a walk to a temple, and a few tourist sites. We enjoyed a leisurely day. Keelung, Taiwan There is not much to see in the port area, but it is very close to the train station. Train to Taipei takes about 50 minutes and NT$42. We took the train to Taipei and got a day pass for the metro, which we used to go to a few famous sites. The port stop in Keelung is too short, not enough for even just Taipei. There are other interesting towns we would love to visit, but did not have enough time. Kaohsiung, Taiwan Kaohsiung has a pretty extensive subway system that will get you to most touristy places. You can also use the ferry to get to Cijun Island for street food and open air market. Manila, Philippines As soon as we got off the ship, we were bombarded by tour venders who tried to tell you how far Intramuros is. It is not far at all, easily walkable, but the traffic in that area is kind of chaotic. So one needs to be careful when crossing the street. Our ship had a free shuttle that takes us to Robinson Place Mall, in the modern downtown area of Manila. After visiting the mall, we walked back to the ship through Rizal Park, a large urban park with a Chinese garden and a Japanese garden inside. It is quite a nice space in very busy and noisy Manila. Although there are numerous banks around, you can’t exchange foreign currency unless you have an account with them. This is not very helpful to tourists. So exchange your money ahead of time, or look for a money changer. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 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
11 Helpful Votes
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
2 Helpful Votes
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
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
To give this context, I want to start by stating that I have been on 20 different cruises, each lasting 7 or more days. These 20 cruises have included 8 different cruise lines, as I value iteneraries and price above blind allegiance to a ... Read More
To give this context, I want to start by stating that I have been on 20 different cruises, each lasting 7 or more days. These 20 cruises have included 8 different cruise lines, as I value iteneraries and price above blind allegiance to a single cruise line. That having been said, I have cruises with Holland America before. There is no doubt about it; this cruise line is different. I won’t get into that, though. Different is not bad; it’s just different. That having been said, I was hit with one negative surprise after the next on this cruise. It started when I got on board and had no hot water. It took 2 days to get this resolved. Then I got word that my onboard spending account was weong; I was charged twice for three of the excursions that I had already booked. Then, on my first excursion in Shimizu, the tour guide left me at the first stop. Bear in mind that I am a healthy 33 year old, who was told when and where to meet back at the bus, and was still left behind, despite being 5 minutes early. Then, later that night, I receive a call from the excursion desk stating that I am going to get an additional $300 tacked onto my bill. Why? Well, since I was traveling alone, apparently there was meant to be a premium on my overnight excursion to Beijing. My problem is this; I booked and paid for an excursion to all but one of our 10 stops on the Asia cruise I was taking, and I did so 2 months in advance. So when I got a call two days into my cruise stating that they misbilled my excursion, and that it was non-refundable, and that I could either take a $900 dollar loss or be forced to pay $300 to stay on the tour... needless to say, I was pretty upset. The cruise just kept having issues mount up. The excursion team did nothing to try and make this blunder on their part right. Then, despite all of my problems with excursions on this trip, I decide to book one more (for the one port stop I had not already booked one for). Sad news for me. The excursion desk wasn’t open for 24 hours straight, the self help kiosk was broken, and guest services apparently didn’t have the ability/authority to help me. So I also went without trip plans on the one day where I failed to book in advance. All told, as a young, healthy, active, intelligent repeat cruiser, this was the worst cruise of my life by far. If I had to assign a percentage to it, I’d say that this cruise was %20 of the value of any other cruise that I’d ever been on. With all due respect to the readers of this review, if you book a cruise on this thankless, and leaderless cruise ship, quite frankly you deserve every atrocity that will inevitably come your way. Thank you. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Far East but couldn't face flying 14 hours each way. The cruise was 42 days from Vancouver to Hong Kong and it was everything we had hoped for. The weather was incredible, in all that ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Far East but couldn't face flying 14 hours each way. The cruise was 42 days from Vancouver to Hong Kong and it was everything we had hoped for. The weather was incredible, in all that time, there wwrw brief rain showers twice. We were the last ship of the season in Alaska and the weather was sunny. We had worried about being in Alaska the beginning of October and instead Juneau, Glacier Bay and Kodiak were lovely. The North Pacific crossing has 6 consecutive sea days, and they were pleasantly filled with enrichment lectures, America's Test Kitchen and deck walks. We ate dinner in the dining room and went for group tables, and met many very pleasant people. It meant often meeting people around the ship that we had met over dinner. The dinning room food was nicely served and we enjoyed the choices. We had breakfast and lunch in Lido, and enjoyed the service and food there as well. The pasta station, the Asian station and salad bar added a nice variety to the regular items on the main serving station. We tried Dive-In hambergers for a snack a couple of times and they were great. Didnt really like Dive-In fries, but there were chips on the taco bar adjacent for that salty crunch. Once we reached Japan the pace really picked up. We had ports in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. About half the time in Japan we just walked ashore and went exploring. The ports all had welcoming committees and maps and info were readily avaiable, the EXE guides on the ship had also provided a lot of solid information. The remainder of the ports we booked our tours through Holland America. We were very pleased with the offerings. Our selection included a nice balance of sight seeing in cities, in the countryside, in temples and shrines, and even a Hot Spring resort for bathing. There were many highlights to our time ashore, including visiting the Great Wall of China, seeing the Acrobats in Shanghai, attending a dance festival in Japan, visiting a manga museum (we knew nothing about manga). Many times were at locations that local families go on their days off, seeing all the families and their children out enjoying the location and sunshine added a great deal to the experience. The trip was an incredible success. Our time on the ship was wonderful, the staff are so welcoming and so good at their jobs, our fellow passengers were great to hang out with, and the ports were fascinating. And as a bonus it only took 2 weeks to get over the jet lag after we got home. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done ... Read More
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done something slightly different: change in port Skagway to Sitka, change in glacier, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm/Endicott. Embarkation took about an hour, there were only 2 ships departing on the 23rd (Westerdam and Noordam). We have experienced longer. They had more lines moving and sorted out passengers better than on previous trips. Luggage was in the cabin when we boarded. Disembarkation was quick. Since our last trip HAL has changed the way things are done. We chose our timing to go with the pick up time for our bus back to the island. We waited in the cabin until our color was called and then headed for the gangway. We took all of our luggage with us this time. Customs took about 30 seconds as I had the form fully completed. The ship: Well maintained. The crew: Excellent. We are still trying to figure out how the cabin stewart knows we are out, we have only caught him in the cabin once and that was because we came back for something. The entertainment and activities: Very good, this trip we had a comedian and a magician. The HAL dance crew were fun to watch. We love to play trivia (music and other), there were several times available and we hit most of them. The ECO talks that we got to were informative, wish they could have done them more than once on the trip as we found there were conflicts with other activities. Captain Mark did a talk about his duties and how the ship runs, very interesting. It was also his birthday that day so the entire audience sang to him, then the cruise director and some of the officers presented him with a gift. His slide show of the bridge was hijacked by the CD and pictures of Capt Mark were inserted into the show. Lots of fun and he took it well. He is very well liked by the crew. Dining: The main diningroom was excellent, we chose anytime dining so we didn't sit at the same table twice so didn't get the same waiters. I booked each morning once we had looked at the daily activities and the menu and was successful in getting a table for 2 each time. The Lido was a bit of a disappointment. The menu was varied, lots of choices and the servers were very nice and helpful. The downfall was the temperature of the food. We found the entrees lukewarm at best. So to get hot food we ordered made to order omelettes or other made or order items for breakfast. Lunches we did the same. The Dive-In was excellent as usual. Love the dive-in sauce for the fries. Really like the taco bar. Ports and excursions: Juneau was wet, only rainy day tho; not bad for the end of September. We did the Alaska Brewing Company tour on our own, always a good time. Went to the library to get the wifi to check email. Skagway was fairly warm. We did the HAL excursion to Dredge Town. It is a little cheesy but the PUPPIES were fun; they made the excursion worth while. Tracy Arm/Endicott. We couldn't get as close to the glacier as we wanted as there was a lot of ice in the way; some of the ice was as large as a semi trailer. We were still able to see the glacier with binos. The trip in and out was beautiful. First time we had seen Endicott. Ketchikan. It WASN'T raining!! :). We didn't get to go up the funicular as it was down for repairs. We did go on a non-HAL excursion just a quick city highlight with a trip out to the fish spawning grounds. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We just wanted a short get away and this suited us fine. We always like Alaska and for the most part enjoyed the ship. We found the food not all that good and did not really like the entertainment but everything else was fine. We ... Read More
We just wanted a short get away and this suited us fine. We always like Alaska and for the most part enjoyed the ship. We found the food not all that good and did not really like the entertainment but everything else was fine. We found that in the evening there just was not that much going on, if you did not like BBKing there was not a lot else. I really do not like the TWO pianos but that is what we seem to have now on Holland America. We did go several times to Pinnacle Grill which we think is the best of this type of restaurant on any line we have cruised with. We also like that you can get lunch there, not the variety but much more reasonable serving size . Did the test kitchen but for some reason you can not eat anything you prepare so I guess they throw out all the food we worked so hard on . We took one tour that was very good , the crab feast and loggers show, good value for the money so it you like crab its the one to go on. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose HAL after reading many reviews on all cruise lines sailing to my location. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. The ship/cabin was updated clean & comfortable. The activities were appropriate for older adults I ... Read More
I choose HAL after reading many reviews on all cruise lines sailing to my location. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. The ship/cabin was updated clean & comfortable. The activities were appropriate for older adults I especially liked the educational talks Glenn Michaels was awesome. The entertainment was nice B.B. King Allstars, billboard onboard, Lincoln center stage. The staff was very nice and they seemed eager to help make your stay pleasant. My cabin stewards were AWESOME. The ship captain was informative letting us know the cruising process which I found interesting. I sailed solo but met and spent time with other passengers on board and on excursions. The food was exceptional, the Lido market, the Dive-In, The taco bar, the dining room & in-room dining (no extra charge) mmmgood. I booked excursions onboard using the Navigator app. that was easy and your tickets and instructions were brought to your cabin and the prices for the excursions were comparable to the prices I saw online before my cruise. I didn’t use the fitness center I preferred to do laps around the promenade deck because the weather was so nice, this is pretty much what I do at home I go to the gym when it’s to cold outside but the gym was nice and worth using if the weather wasn’t favorable. Overall, I really enjoyed my cruise on HAL Westerdam. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Holland America, the Westerdam and her crew were excellent. This was my first time on Holland America and I would sail on her ships anytime. The ship was beautiful and incredibly well kept. Someone was always cleaning without being ... Read More
Holland America, the Westerdam and her crew were excellent. This was my first time on Holland America and I would sail on her ships anytime. The ship was beautiful and incredibly well kept. Someone was always cleaning without being obtrusive. I ate most of my meals in the Ledo marketplace because it was a much more casual atmosphere and I was able to meet so many more people. There was never more than a brief wait for the food and everything was hot. Tables turned over regularly but if you wanted to linger that was fine too! The excursions were well planned and we were never rushed. The tour guides were wonderful. The entertainment was very good and always fun. I am a convert to Holland America Cruises not the land tours. What I would not do is book a land tour D5C (double Denali) again without a lot more investigation. The Westmark Hotels, owned by Holland America were beyond disappointing. The Westmark Anchorage was shabby and we had to change rooms immediately because the sink backed up in the main line. The staff quickly moved us to another room...that had a slow leak in the bathroom from the room above. The second Westmark - McKinnley Chalet was fine and we could at least relax. The Fairbanks Westmark was clean and nice but there was no where that you could eat except the hotel. Many of the buildings nearby were boarded up or closed and didn't appear safe day or night. Many of us had to spend 10-12 hours in the lobby eating packaged snacks watching a screen with a 7 minute film on Alaska on endless loop. We could not reach anyone in authority to voice our concerns too. I wanted to see as much of Alaska as possible on this trip but now I know why most people stay with just cruising. Again, the ship, the excursions, the food, entertainment on the ship was great 5 stars. I couldn't say more about how great the ship experience was. The staff was delightful, greeting people by name on day two! The Ledo deck staff was wonderful, very solicitous. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
This was our first cruise and we loved it! From the perfect flight into Vancouver with great views and a beautiful airport to an easy flight home with more great views from the air including northern lights, it was all amazing! We got ... Read More
This was our first cruise and we loved it! From the perfect flight into Vancouver with great views and a beautiful airport to an easy flight home with more great views from the air including northern lights, it was all amazing! We got into Vancouver a day early and absolutely loved the Pan Pacific Hotel which is literally part of the cruise terminal! This allowed us an opportunity to see one HAL ship sail away and for us to watch the Westerdam sail in! This was so special! We went to mass on Saturdaybat the Cathedral that is an easy walk and had a great dinner with a view at the Steamworks brewing company. Our HAL hotel package included a yummy buffet with a view of our ship and luggage pickup at our room so we just needed to go downstairs, check in and we are on the ship enjoying the buffet by 11:30. Rooms were ready soon after and we unpacked, took a ship tour, and we were ready for the sail away party. Loved the size and elegant ease of the Westerdam, very relaxing and good food. The shows and music venues were nice. The star was Alaska and all the wildlife. This was accented by the naturalist programs and the beautiful port adventures. Our first port was Ketchikan. We loved watching sailing in and out of here and all the ports from our balcony. We had a Totem Bight tour in the morning with a really informative guide. Then we had plenty of time to shop and explore the town. Guess what? No rain! We had sunny clear skies throughout this trip and really comfortable temperatures! So lucky! In Juneau we rented a car to go to Mendenhall Glacier. We walked out to the falls for some fantastic views and enjoyed the guest center. Then we picked up our friends, who did the helicopter ride out to the glacier (which they loved), had lunch at the Red Dog Saloon, then out to The Shrine of St. Theresa, which has beautiful views, and back to town for a little shopping. In Skagway we loved the luxury car on The White Pass RR! Instead of 50 people on bus like seats we had 14 big comfy leather swivel chairs, our own guide, drinks, the best coffee, hot and cold snacks, a large platform outside, and we were first car up and caboose back for great views. It was a splurge but well worth it for the experience. Do it! Then we went into town, had a drink and snack at the brewery, and met a local carving soapstone and bought a seal from this artist. Great day! Then the big day, Glacier Bay. I was so excited that I got up really early and we got to watch the park rangers come on board. With only a quick breakfast and lunch break, we spent all day on the deck and it was worth every freezing moment. We saw whales, orcas, bears, puffins, and the most beautiful scenery you could imagine including a giants glacier calving which I caught on video! I loved this whole day. Truly once in a lifetime experience! We had another sea day...did I mention that we saw whales spouting several times a day...keep your eyes on the ocean and always go out when the naturalist is speaking on deck 10. We were sad to end our cruise but excited to jump on a bus and head to Denali. On the way it was so clear that we saw Mt. Denali ( which is very rare) all the way there. We also saw baluga whales! We stopped at some scenic viewing spots and a Iditarod center and held puppies! We stayed at HAL lodge, had a great meal, shopped, and even roasted marshmallows. The next day we explored the lodge area and then went on about an 8 hour tundra wilderness tour. It was epic! The guide told us to relax and enjoy and remember that we aren’t going to get real close to wildlife...well, at the first stop, she said that we had already seen more wildlife than most people see the whole trip...and that was just the beginning! We saw 3 young wolves playing in front of and beside the bus, a moose also walked right by the bus, we saw several bears, elk, and clear as can be Mt. Denali the whole trip! Oh, then that night, we saw the northern lights! Wow!! Then we took the McKinley Exolorer glass top train back to Anchorage...again Mt. Denali was visible the whole way. The guide said that in 10 years he had never heard of the views and wildlife we got to experience. He said it was more than a picture post card day...he said we got the whole brochure! We stayed at the Westmark which was a fine hotel very well located to walk everywhere! We enjoyed dinner at The Glacier Brewhouse (everyone, but me, got a variety of their Mac and cheese which they loved). We had a late flight with transportation with HAL so we had a relaxing day, late breakfast at Snow City Cafe, and didn’t the day shopping and watching free movies at the Alaska Center in the Federal Building caticorner from the visitors center ( note, you have to get scanned for security so no ulu knife!). Felt like we did everything we set out to do and more...we saw it all and ate it all. Love cruising. Love Alaska. Oh, try the hamburgers, hotdogs and fries at the Dive In! Yum! You can see my trip info on YouTube. SSVacationista Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
In celebration of my retirement, my husband and I, along with our two adult children made this "bucket list" trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the Westerdam – the ship, the staff, our staterooms, and the food were all high quality. ... Read More
In celebration of my retirement, my husband and I, along with our two adult children made this "bucket list" trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the Westerdam – the ship, the staff, our staterooms, and the food were all high quality. Recently refurbished, the ship was in excellent condition and very tastefully appointed. The food was very high quality and we found a nice variety of selections. Also, many comfortable and attractive places to relax throughout the ship. We did not book excursions through Holland America, so I can't rate the HAL excursions, but the activities we booked privately were all excellent. We visited the Kroschel Animal Rescue center in Haines (we rented a car, which also allowed us to explore and look for bears!); we did a seaplane trip to the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan which was fantastic! We literally flew through a rainbow! Did the tram in Juneau and found a great place for king crab. Our family did not partake of all the ship entertainment - the only show we went to was the BB King room, but we did enjoy that. I would definitely book on the Westerdam again, and hopefully experience more of the on-board programs and entertainment. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My wife and I have cruised on 4 different cruiselines with this most recent cruise being our first on Holland America. From this point on, we need look no further. We took a Land and Sea journey to Alaska and the level of customer ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on 4 different cruiselines with this most recent cruise being our first on Holland America. From this point on, we need look no further. We took a Land and Sea journey to Alaska and the level of customer service, efficiency, comfort, exceeds Disney whom I thought couldn't be beat in these areas but I was wrong. From the moment we boarded a bus at the Seattle airport to go to Vancouver to board the ship until we arrived at out hotel in Seattle for our return flight home we didn't touch our luggage. Holland America moved it and us seamlessly throughout our 12 days which included 2 nights in Denali National Park. They included nights in their own resort in the park, as well as 2 very nice hotels, one in Anchorage and one in Seattle. With each step, a Holland America representative greeted us with all necessary details taken care of. Quite remarkable. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. The food, in our opinion topped any of the other cruiselines, including Celebrity with whom we sailed in March of this year. The on board entertainment, especially what they call Billboard on Board was high quality. This is a "dueling piano" type set up and Joey and Emily, the two performers were first rate. Planning another cruise next summer and Holland America has won my business. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose HAL Westerdam because we wanted to see Glacier Bay on our first trip to Alaska (and our first cruise!). We actually went against the advice of our travel agent who thought we would be happier with a luxury line even though they ... Read More
We chose HAL Westerdam because we wanted to see Glacier Bay on our first trip to Alaska (and our first cruise!). We actually went against the advice of our travel agent who thought we would be happier with a luxury line even though they don't stop at Glacier Bay. I think she was right and next time we will listen to her. Westerdam Is not a bad ship but the decor is dated and the service can be indifferent and sometimes rude. Here's an idea of what we loved, liked and didn't like: Loved: EXC Explorations Lounge - this lounge, education center and coffee bar is in the crow's nest area of the ship and has magnificent views. It was recently renovated and the decor is modern and comfortable. I could have spent my whole trip there but it was very crowded as everyone else quickly discovered its value too. The EXC education programs (free!) were great as was the free library. EXC Shore Excursions - we booked 4 and all were excellent. We especially liked the Dogsled adventure and musher's camp in Skagway and The Neets Bay Bear Watch from Ketchikan. All our guides were knowledgable and considerate. The Pinnacle Grill Restaurant and Rudi's Sel de Mer (pop up restaurant at Pinnacle)- top notch fine dining. We ate here 3 times and enjoyed every one. Great service and excellent food. Alaska - Wow. Amazing place. Every port was charming, the people are kind and friendly, the scenery is breathtaking. Glacier Bay is awe-inspiring. We loved shopping in Juneau, taking the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway, dogsledding and holding puppies, having fish tacos at Deckhand Dave's, and getting really close to black bears at Neet's Bay. I would definitely come to Alaska again. Liked: Entertainment: We didn't do a lot of it, but what we did do was fun. We enjoyed America's Test Kitchen (even though they are not allowed to give our food samples) and both the magician and the Alaska in Concert programs were great. Our Room - Our Neptune Suite was large, had a lot of storage, a comfortable bed, and a great balcony. It is overdue for a renovation, however. Neptune Lounge and Cabin Steward staff: All our Neptune staff were really great. Very considerate and helpful. The Dive-In: a hamburger and hot dog stand by the pool that provided a great lunch. Disliked: The ship overall - the decor is dated, the one tiny pool is unwelcoming, and there is not a lot of comfortable lounge space. The upselling - Holy Cow, there is a lot of upselling. Besides the usual beverage packages and future cruises, everyone on the ship wants to sell you something. The Spa was the worst. I was hassled in the tiny waiting area (no, I don't want acupuncture) I was hassled during my treatment (how relaxing!) and I was hassled to provide an extra tip after my treatment. The wifi - expensive and awful. I bought the most expensive package hoping it would work. All I wanted to do was play games on my tablet. Nope. Not even at 4 am when everyone else was asleep. The buffet and the main dining room - food was mediocre to bad and the service was either indifferent or rude. One dining steward in the main dining room berated me for my allergies to the point where I couldn't eat my dinner and just left. Other points: Embarkation was smooth and I guess reasonably quick - it was my first time so I don't know how its supposed to work. Disembarkation was fine. We spent two days before the cruise in Vancouver which is a great city to explore. We went to Stanley Park, Chinatown, and Gastown. I highly recommend the Fairmont Waterfront Gold level. Tremendous value as you basically get free breakfast and a light dinner along with your room as well as a dedicated front desk and concierge. They will also transfer your luggage to the ship for free. So overall while we enjoyed many parts of this vacation (especially Alaska!) we've learned we need to listen to our travel agent and next time go with the cruise line she suggests for us. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
I love the many changes I've seen on the Westerdam, particularly the decor, which isn't garish like so many other HAL ships. I did find the 'entertainment' to be unbelievably poor, other than one lady who did a ... Read More
I love the many changes I've seen on the Westerdam, particularly the decor, which isn't garish like so many other HAL ships. I did find the 'entertainment' to be unbelievably poor, other than one lady who did a comedy/violin act. There was a magician who was laughingly pathetic, and the balance of the shows were performances by the HAL crew, not at all to my liking. We found ways to entertain ourselves, though, so those were minor issues. What was horrendous was the land tour, which was the bulk of the trip. Other than Denali, which was a 3 night stay, I wish we had never signed up for the land tour. Our 'guide' didn't have a clue how to manage this job, and he failed us at each destination. We were all left to our own devices as to where to meet, when, etc. He abandoned us at our first stop, taking off to our hotel before the bulk of us knew what was going on. We learned to help each other. We're adults, so we figured things out, but the worst part of the whole mess was the hotels that Holland reportedly owns, the Westmark. It was borderline ok in Anchorage and Fairbanks, but in Dawson City, it wasn't even close to acceptable. As if Dawson wasn't bad enough, Whitehorse Westmark should be torn down--or burned down--because it is one nasty, dirty, filthy, repulsive excuse for a hotel. I won't even write down what we found in our pathetic room. NO ONE AT WESTMARK CARED. We got excuses, no results. We will NEVER do a land portion with HAL again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
Was part of a package with a well known travel group. First, the HAL employees are wonderful and eager to please. The amenities, however, are very average compared to other ships. Wallpaper yellowing and peeling off the walls in common ... Read More
Was part of a package with a well known travel group. First, the HAL employees are wonderful and eager to please. The amenities, however, are very average compared to other ships. Wallpaper yellowing and peeling off the walls in common areas, bath tub coating coming off, plumber had to be called at one point because of a problem with the shower, card room not set up with tables when event was scheduled, etc. Embarkation process in Vancouver, B.C. was a nightmare. Took at least 30 minutes as we had to go back and forth, up and down stairs and escalators to complete the process. It was tedious! They already had credit card information from online check in so all they had to do was look at passports, basically; No reason for it to take so long. On the plus side, the land tour to Denali NP was wonderful! The bus ride is way long so they really need to focus on getting drivers with appropriate personalities, some of which didn’t. The hotels are adequate and the schedule is well run. The train trip (McKinley Explorer) is great with good meals and scenery, even in the rain. The Tundra Wilderness Tour was awesome! Well worth the all day bus trip through a beautiful wild place. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we did. Having sailed 5 or 6 times before on HAL, we were shocked and disappointed by the food, the lack of entertainment and many amenities that once were included that are now nickle and dime you to death. All of the excursions are nearly double or more than what you can book them for online yourself. The cruise itself was fine. Glacier Bay was amazing. The amenities, food, and entertainment on board were way below our expectations and experiences on other cruise lines. This includes HAL cruises in the past were much better. The HAL hotels they put you up in while doing the Land part of Alaska are below sub standard. Dirty and musty smelling Westmark in Fairbanks. Complained to front desk twice and even call Joanna Reinard (HAL cruise consultant) and wasn't even acknowledged. No amenities included in the Land Portion. Hotels do not offer coffee. You must buy every cup at 4.00 plus. No continental breakfast anywhere on the Land portion. There were more negatives, but this gives you an idea. This was our Last trip with HAL. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we always wanted to go to Alaska Boat was nice very clean, abit boring Hardly any music, the PA on deck did not work well Hotels used were dumps Dirty and old and worn Excursions ... Read More
We choose this cruise for the itinerary, we always wanted to go to Alaska Boat was nice very clean, abit boring Hardly any music, the PA on deck did not work well Hotels used were dumps Dirty and old and worn Excursions hit or miss Could do better privately crew nice but not that friendly The cruise director a nwaste Specialty Steak house awful Shows very sub par The cruise was a land cruise on the westerdam , started in Fairbanks, awful, to Denali great, to Anchorage, awful hotels call the Westmark. They were both dumps, hairs in bed, stains on sofa, smelled, carpets dirty, Needed to sleep with your day time cloths on and use saddles on the sticky floors Told Holland America about it and they said too Bad all part of the Alaskan experience An example of the terrible excursions was the wilderness small boat tour, the boat broke and did we drove up then down a river Holland American said sorry and gave us back 20 bucks back on a 159 dollar trip All in all use another ship line, Holland is old and has not changed in years SPEND YOUR MONEY SOME WHERELSE Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. ... Read More
Holland America reviewed well for our selection with our 2 friends and we wanted to go to Alaska. We booked the Westerdam on the southbound cruise from Seward to Vancouver with strops in glacier Bay, Haines/Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan. HAL has priority over the vessels to cruise glacier Bay where 2 boats/day are allowed and docking privileges for a once a week ship at Haines. We booked the Neptune Suite and selected the drink package, upgraded restaurant 1 night and shipboard credits. We pre-cruised with 3 days in Anchorage and the pre-cruise train from Anchorage to Seward. Our introduction to HAL was minutes after the easy boarding process and entering our awesome stateroom. Absolutely WOW and a large balcony and enough closet/drawer space form many large luggage pieces. Our service stewards throughout the week gave us many WOW moments, from the afternoon snacks to towel animals greeting us in the afternoon. Service aboard was incredible from our stewards, concierge, bartenders, and dining room staff. Most notable is the Pinnacle Grill which serves breakfast to Neptune guests. The best food we experienced was clearly the Pinnacle Grill and then fooled by our lunching at the Dive-In hot dog and burger bar. Dining room and Lido buffet food was decent but nothing to WOW about and we would give it a C+ with some food much better. Never without an opportunity for food. The shipboard atmosphere was relaxed and only required pants and a collared shirt for men in best dining evenings...So no Tux needed! The wildlife experts aboard and the Crows Nest public area was fun as we constantly spotted some form of wildlife or a notable attraction. We loved the wildlife interaction and the day on glacier Bay was memorable with bears, otters, eagles, etc...and the glacier. Our onshore tours were very good with the Juneau helicopter to the glacier and2 mile sled dog mushing being a real 10+...expensive and worth the money...Our first day in Haines with the fast ferry to Skagway and helicopter to the glacier was interesting although not too exciting with a "wrote" pathway there/back and a limited opportunity on the glacier...at the end of that trip their helicopter service bus dumped us in town and told us to walk back to the fast ferry...poor. The third land tour was a fast boat to Misty Fjords and floatplane ride back...pretty nice. The cruise was everything se expected and more and everything we made it to be. We saw some show, listened to blues at BB King club and danced...and explored the entire ship where allowed. Some issues arose with our final night in the dining room whereby our sommelier ordered drinks and charged us overage for those that had been OK as we had asked/been answered by bar staff throughout the ship...A lively discussion with the beverage Manager was fruitless and not very nice...However one rotten apple....and we loved the cruise. Off-boarding in Vancouver and 2 days of sightseeing was wonderful and a great finally to our memorable cruise on Holland America...We will return. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
This was a relaxing vacation for us. Having lived in Seattle for many years, I thought the scenery would be "good", but truly Alaska's beauty far surpassed my expectations. Holland America is really good mass market ... Read More
This was a relaxing vacation for us. Having lived in Seattle for many years, I thought the scenery would be "good", but truly Alaska's beauty far surpassed my expectations. Holland America is really good mass market line. I've been the gamut from Cunard Queens to Carnival and found the luxury to be above most cruise lines. The new renovations on the ship are fabulous, especially the public spaces. The BB King Blues band on this cruise was truly fantastic. They made our vacation! You could put any single one of those talented musicians into Jimmy Fallon's band and they would not miss a beat. The vocalists and saxophone players were amazing. The drummer super human. The band also played a wide variety of music from current pop to jazz standards. Something for everyone - they are not just "crying the blues" all the time. The food was good, but almost never great. The variety was a little lacking for those of us who can't eat seafood. There were a lot of "low food cost fillers" like stewed prunes for breakfast vs. fresh fruit. It would have been nice to have more fresh, healthful options. Also the baked goods were really below average in appearance and taste. Caneltto's was disappointing in execution of Italian Food. The Pinnacle Grill was better in food and execution- and the staff including the manager the best on the ship. We were put off on the super-high pressure upsell from the spa (post treatment) and beverage servers to buy packages. We would be asked by the same employees several times a day to sign up for packages. It was not in line with and "upscale cruise line". As suite guests, we enjoyed the perks. One disappointment was that, as sweet as they are, the concierge's really didn't have any "pull" to make things happen. For example, they just pointed to a screen that was all red for restaurant reservations without calling to see if they could find a way to fit in our small party. We went and checked in with the manager and she fit us in without any fuss. We had a similar situation where we needed one more "seat" for a bike tour, and we just got a stock answer, how hard would it have been to add another bike in the first place? We found some great employees in almost every area of the ship. Most really seemed to be enjoying their jobs and appreciative of guests that treat them like people. The management - officers they call them - very visible and also really enjoyed talking with people. This was a very professional run ship and cruise and the only reason it is 4 stars is due to the food. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
A quick way to read this review: Find the heading and skip to the bottom where you will find a letter grade for the service/experience on this Holland America Ship. WHY THE WESTERDAM? We chose this cruise because Holland America ... Read More
A quick way to read this review: Find the heading and skip to the bottom where you will find a letter grade for the service/experience on this Holland America Ship. WHY THE WESTERDAM? We chose this cruise because Holland America provides easy access to Denali National Park via the Alaska Railroad. We were transported by a special train to the McKinley Resort at Denali National Park and to the ship in Seward via comfortable motor coach. Both trips are lengthy and are narrated. Brace yourself for the usual bad puns from time to time. The better guides limit themselves to a wealth of information of the area you are in. The best guide was the guide for the chartered Wilderness Tour, a 7.5 hour narrated ride on 60 of the 90 miles of two lane gravel road into the park. The return trip is on the same gravel road as it's the only one in the park. Those exploring on their own must ride the National Park shuttle. We saw the following mammals: Grizzly bear (a couple singles and a sow with 2 two-year-old juveniles); 3 wolves; about 10 Dall sheep, red fox, snow-shoe hares, and caribou. I'm not going to give a grade since the three transports are so different in scope. The Wilderness Tour should not be missed. BOOKING From conversations on-board, we got the impression that we spent less for some of the same amenities since we booked through Costco's travel agency. At the very least the large added on-ship credits added by Costco allowed us to skip paying for the drink plans which seem somewhat reasonable, but the idea of having access to 10-15 drinks per day was not something we would use. Through cruise-critic, we found out that our price went down about 4 months before the trip. Through the travel agency, we saved $500, keeping the same reserved cabin in the middle of the ship. However, we ended up with about $750 in combined on ship credit. No money is used on board, it's all part of your room key/credit card. Make sure you check your balance daily which is easily done on a machine near guest services. You can view it electronically or have the machine print the record. There is also access through the on-board app which runs on the free portion of wifi. You can purchase the slow, expensive Internet access if you wish to degrade your vacation time by being online when you "should" be enjoying the scenery. Grade: B+ CABIN I'd read reviews on cruisecritic.com saying the rooms were outdated. It appears that the Westerdam has gone through a recent upgrade. The photos on this site were no longer accurate. The condition of our room was quite good. What to ask for when greeted by your room stewards who will ask you if there's anything additionally you want after first viewing your room: Ask your room steward to explain how the shower works AND to put the single beds together as a (queen-sized) larger bed. By booking a half year early, we were able to reserve a cabin mid-ship and one level below the lido deck where the buffets are available nearly 24/7. Our cabin was smaller than a hotel room, but since you don't spend much time there, that is hardly a problem. There were two single beds that the room stewards put together as a queen sized bed on the first night by request. The head has a toilet, bathtub, sink, and shower. There was a 3-shelved medicine cabinet for storage. The balcony was a bit bigger than I expected. The suite includes 2 end tables with two drawers for storage, bed with able storage for suitcases below, love seat with small table, desk with small refrigerator and two more small shelves. One includes a hair dryer for your use. The room stewards automatically clean twice a day and replace towels during those two visits. More visits may be done by request. Grade: A DINING The buffet area on the lido deck is very clean. It's easy to access hand disinfectant at various places near the food service. Used dishes are quickly picked up by friendly staff. Tables are also cleared quickly so it's not difficult to find a place to sit near the buffet or near the pools. Most areas have attendants preparing made-to-order items or simply ladling food into bowls and onto plates. This isn't your average buffet. It's mostly fine dining quality food which is easily accessible. You could easily take all your meals here, but I'd suggest using the dining room most evenings and as often as possible for breakfast. You will be seated with others on-board unless you request otherwise. I'm not much on meeting new people, but I'm glad we chose to eat with new acquaintances each time we went for breakfast in the dining room. We were seated with the same couples at night, but if someone chose to eat in the specialty cafe or lido buffet, their seats were empty. Gala nights are a step up in quality of environment, but the the food is always exquisitely prepared and served. Meals in the dining room last about 2 hours, which surprising goes quickly if you simply talk about what you did during the day with your table-mates. On those evenings we ate at the Lido Market (buffet) we made separate trips for appetizers, salad, main course, and dessert, much like those served in fine dining. Drinks are served by request in all areas. The dining room attendants are numerous and very attentive learning your name quickly. You will most likely find that nearly every person associated with the dining room make your voyage amazing. From our viewpoint, the small added cost dining areas, such as the Pinnacle Grill, are not necessary. However, those we talked to reported being very pleased by their meals there. Grade: A+ ENTERTAINMENT VENUES The entertainment venues that we attended after dining: BB King Stage (Rhythm and Blues and Soul), Lincoln Center Stage (violin, cello, viola, and piano), and Main Stage which included hour long performances a comedian, illusionists which we attended as well as some song/dance variety shows (which we didn't but heard were good). Drinks are served by request. During the day there are various activities available from card playing to trivia to afternoon concerts. The BB King Stage was transformed to a cooking show by PBS's America's Test Kitchen, now in its 18th season(see episodes at https://www.americastestkitchen.com/episodes or teasers on youtube such as the following: https://youtu.be/mpnshdmtE2Y ). Carla, from the youtube link was the host on this ship. This cooking show was very well done. I loved Carla's dry sense of humor. The technicians could do away with the canned applause, though. Even if you don't prepare meals, make it a point to get to at least part of a 45-60 min. presentation. You are given the recipes to the items prepared so you can follow along. Get to the Main Stage show about 20 minutes early or you may not find a seat. It's ok to send one of your party to save 3-4 seats while others wait to enter spending $$ in the nearby casino or have a drink in a nearby lounge. We were surprised to find a lack of interaction between audience and musicians in the BB King Stage. However, the quality of the music was quite high. The classical musicians at the Lincoln Center Stage were quite accomplished in many different styles of music (not just classical). There was a small contingent of hearing impaired guests. An ASL interpreter was at the Main Stage. I don't think the ship supplied interpretation, but the signers did a good job for those they served. I appreciated that the comedienne interacted with the interpreter and indirectly with those they served. Grade: B+ OVERALL SERVICE One of the supervisors at the guest services mentioned that Holland America is not for the rowdy and you won't find lots of children. There were families with with children, but the kids had an access area on the 10th deck all their own and could play basketball, paddle ball, table tennis and have other activities without being bothered by adults. It sounds like Carnival (corporate owner of Holland America) is more of a ship for kids/young families. We found that on a ship of over 2000 people, we did not feel crowded until disembarkation morning and that's only because breakfast was only available on the lido deck. Still, the staff did an excellent job keeping tables available for those later arrivals. If you abhor cigarette and cigar smoke, stay off the aft area of the lido deck. That's the only place for smoking. Generally, the smoke is blown off the back of the ship while moving. In short, the diverse staff, representing some 80 different countries and regions, was outstanding. If you are on board, you are treated like family (except for the family squabbles). Grade: A OVERALL EXPERIENCE We imagined our first cruise would be very good with some pitfalls due to not having cruised before. It was much better than we could have imagined. The Westerdam's crew and staff's grade: SUPERIOR. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was our second Alaskan cruise and Alaska did not let us down. The weather was great -83 degrees in Haines! But such a relief from Texas heat. Plus, the air was so clean and fresh. My sister and I were about the average age of ... Read More
This was our second Alaskan cruise and Alaska did not let us down. The weather was great -83 degrees in Haines! But such a relief from Texas heat. Plus, the air was so clean and fresh. My sister and I were about the average age of passengers and there were few young people or kids. We took a Bear Paw shuttle from Anchorage to Seward and it broke down along the way. Our driver was a pleasant young man who took good care of us. We did have a cabin with a veranda (4002) but it was not our favorite. It was smaller than we've ever had before and the veranda did not have plexiglass so we had to stand to see the beautiful sites. Made the chairs and table useless. Our wonderful cabin steward Enjay could not have been better or friendlier. We had anytime dining but never had to wait. I would suggest this alternative as we met some great people from all over the US and New Zealand, Ukrane, Canada, etc by sharing a table. The food in the Main dining room was good but not as we have had on others cruises. They tried too hard to make it fancy but the flavor just wasn't there most of the time. The Lido buffet was great for breakfast GREAT MELONS but just ok for lunch and dinner. Not enough variety-Asian and Italian every day. and a few other options. We did get a great premade ham sandwich. The salad bar had a lot of selections and we did like that they had servers rather than everyone dishing for themselves. Made going through the line much faster. Kannika was our server who was so pleasant and worked so hard. The ice cream was also delicious. Ok now for Entertainment. The Westerdam hit a homerun with the Billboard twin pianos (OUTSTANDING, we went every night) and the entertainers in BBKing. All these entertainers were absolutely professional quality and so much fun. The classical music was above reproach. The comedian CHRIS had one of the funniest shows we've seen but we didn't go to see the illusionist. Other activities seemed to be scarce if you didn't want to learn how to buy stuff or learn about excursions.Trivia was rare but enjoyable. Missed having Marriage show and game shows. We saw a couple of movies in the main stage area that were very good.Alaska provided so much to enjoy so the trip was certainly not a waste! We took a city tour in Haines which is a lovely place but you can do the town by walking. It was 83 degrees that day and we dressed for cooler temps. In Juneau we took a whale watching tour and saw whales and sea lions. Our Nature person was very knowledgeable. I would suggest this excursion as but the whales and orcas were not putting on a show that day. The weather was perfect and the scenery you can't even begin to describe. Wish we had gone on shore in Ketchikan much earlier to explore the town. We did see a fun show (Logger show which was hilarious) and ate some awesome snow crabs near the show. Shopping is good there and there are diamond stores everywhere! Too many. We would love to cruise Alaska again someday but probably wouldn't take Holland America. Our Norwegian trip was more fun. Holland is a little less lively than we enjoy. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
My in-laws chose to go on this cruise to celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary and was my first cruise. Made the mistake of buying their soda package for about $70. The Dining Rooms have one specific person (the Wine Steward) for ... Read More
My in-laws chose to go on this cruise to celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary and was my first cruise. Made the mistake of buying their soda package for about $70. The Dining Rooms have one specific person (the Wine Steward) for the zone you sit in and you can only place your soda order with that person. That person holds off coming to your table until 1/4 to half way through your meal to even take your soda order. Rarely could I get their attention for a refill. To make matters worse they kept constantly bringing me Diet Coke instead of regular which I was very specific about. Officially complained to management at Customer Service expecting at least a partial reimbursement since I didn’t get even half the value on what I paid. He only offered to print a copy of my bill to date. Also be aware when using late night room service that even though I had their soda package that they charged me $2.49/can of Coke because the night staff have no access to a soda dispenser. After filling out their official survey I got a formal email from the shiplines management saying they’ll talk to their staff about it. In other words they don’t care. They got my money... So in return they get this somewhat negative review. Also be warned. Turn OFF your cellphone data on your cell phone if you don’t pre-purchase or sign up for overseas cell service. We ended up with over $50 each in roaming charges for two phones being Verizon non-Unlimited customers. Lastly do NOT purchase their wifi plan. It is next to useless with your website requests mostly timing out or having to reload many times to get to where you are going on the Internet. And that’s using the ships desktop computers they use for the onboard Microsoft training classes. In my official survey I said they shouldn’t be charging people for crap wifi service that doesn’t even work and should just include it for free use. Other than that the views were amazing, the staff friendly and accommodating. A very enjoyable trip. Read Less
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 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

Find a Westerdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise