1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all public areas were kept very clean. There are plenty of places for quiet alone time and small group board games. • Activities o I loved the Americas Test Kitchen as a man who, at 55 is just learning to cook. The demonstrations by professional chefs are fantastic. The Trivia sessions are good, as expected, some folk take it way too seriously. But the cruise director kept a tight rein on it. • Service o Everyone is very helpful and friendly. • Travel to embarkation port o Unless you are the person who needs to be 1st on the ship, wait an hour until after embarkation begins, the wait is so much shorter and the buffet is still open. Unless you have a suite, those folk go straight to the front of the line. • Dining o We had 8 pm dining at a large table every cruise. Every time we have enjoyed our tablemates as they turn into good friends. The main dining room is spacious and well tended. The staff was very receptive to our needs and wants. The food is good to great. The selection is adequate. • Entertainment o The BB King band was excellent. Great energy and great variety of classic R&B. The shows were good with one exception and I feel the need to point this out. A comedian who was marginal at best ended his show with a classic Simon and Garfunkel song that had no business in his show. I can only guess that he loved the sound of his 2 star voice. There were plenty of books available. • Disembarkation o As this was the 1st half a back2back, we just went into Fort Lauderdale to visit relatives. I wish there had some kind of meeting of back to back passengers. They could have given us In Transit information, answered the questions many of us had and we could have visited with folks who were going to spend a month with. Also, other lines will extend a courtesy laundry for ongoing passengers. • Summary o In hind sight, I would do this cruise the same way again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas have been nicely refurbished. We do, however, miss the library and hope that Holland will find a way to incorporate that feature in the future. Our shipboard experience was very good. We had a wonderful captain, Mark Rowden, who consistently kept us updated and informed. He would also break in with announcements at various times to let us know if there were particular things that might be of interest, such as a wonderful sunset off the port side or the time we would be cruising the Gibraltar straights. The cruise director, Nathan Hinojosa, was one of the best we have ever sailed with. He took it to heart that it was his job to ensure that everyone was having a good cruise. The food generally on the ship was very good. Our waiter and wine stewards in the main dining room did an excellent job for us. The buffet at breakfast and the few times ate dinner there was very good, though lunch options were merely okay. We varied the routine by eating at the burger bar by the pool several times and occasionally in the main dining room. Dinner twice at the Pinnacle Grill was worth the upcharge. The first portion of the cruise – Venice to Cadiz – was very port intensive (thirteen ports in seventeen days). And while the second part of the cruise – eight days at sea – might seem excessive, we were in need of rest and found ourselves packing up for Fort Lauderdale before we knew it. We were blessed with wonderful weather. While we sailed from Venice in a dense fog, we had sunshine and blue skies in every port. Temperatures ranged from the low 60s to mid-80s, so never too hot or too cold. There was one very rough day at sea between Santorini and Naples; the captain gave plenty of warning so we could prepare. There was also one day of rain on the Atlantic crossing, but that was it. We had never cruised the Mediterranean before, so all the ports were new to us. In general, we enjoyed the ports in Spain (Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz) a bit better than the ports in Italy (Rome, Naples) and in Italy a bit better than the ports in Greece. That said, we did wonderful activities through the EXC shore excursions in all ports. We did only some of the activities on the ship. We enjoyed "Sip and Savor" with Alvin, one of the most personable cellar masters we have ever sailed with, as well as several of the wine events, such as "Wines of the World." We liked the general trivia games (though found the BBC Earth trivia boring in the extreme). Several guest lecturers were worthwhile, and the highlight of the trip was hearing Captain Albert speak about the history of Holland America. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. ... Read More
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. Overall really enjoyed the experience. As we wanted to have a fine dining experience went to Pinnacle and Pop up 3 star dining, food was great. However, was disappointed when we were one of the very few who seemed to make an effort by dressing up. If you have a dress code enforce it or let people know it's causal so they don't overpack. Carted a suitcase of non neccessary clothes through Italy after the cruise. Also, did not like the upsell with the fitness centre and spa services, which were way overpriced in the first place. In addition, when a shop has two items on a pedestal and one price tag I would assume that is the price for both items, NOT SO! Felt as though we were being gouged. Fairlly small whinge as overall we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK ... Read More
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK but really not our thing. We ate every night in the dining room and they allowed me to order my meal the night before as I am celiac which was a huge bonus. They had great gluten free bread every night which was a nice touch. The staff were fantastic and very attentive. We loved the salad bar and the omlete bar and there is even a gluten free station with gluten free pasta and at breakfast they can make GF waffles etc! They even can make GF pizza. All I would say is that they don't advertise it enough as we didn't know about it until half way through the cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) and we had the opportunity to see a lot of the Mediterranean in one cruise. The passengers were a 60+ crowd and if you were looking for entertainment to keep you amused throughout the day this was not the cruise for you. Food is a very subjective topic so I’m not going to go into any details besides saying (in my opinion) that is was very similar to what we have experienced on Celebrity. There was lots of variety in the Lido Buffet and the food was very good in The Dining Room. The Good: • Embarkation, we arrived at the port at 11AM and were onboard at 11:30 AM and our stateroom was ready, • Luggage was in our stateroom at 1PM, • All of the ports guides for the entire cruise were in our stateroom, • KK & Brett,EXC staff gave great port presentations. • $30.00 for a bag of laundry and you can put a lot of clothes in the cloth bag if you roll them tight, • Great tender service, they always had 5 tenders running and by 9:30 AM there was no waiting for one, • The Cruise Director provided clear and concise information whenever he spoke on the ship’s PA, • The elevators are the fastest we have experienced, • All of the staff (bar, Lido, dining room) were friendly, polite and willing to provide assistance. • The stateroom attendants were fantastic, polite, and knew our name from day one. They had 29 staterooms to look after. The So So: • When you went to the muster drill you reported to the Lido Deck and stood around your assigned life boat. It was so packed you couldn’t see the life jacket demonstration unless you were right in front of the person providing the demonstration & the announcements on the PA were hard to hear. I found it to be a strange location to hold the drill due to the passenger congestion. On a positive side it only took about 20 minutes to complete the muster drill. • The evening entertainment was ok but nothing special. This was the first cruise I have encountered where they showed a movie on a couple of nights instead of live entertainment for the evening show. The Not So Good: • No pay per minute internet. They only offer packages that are for the entire cruise. So if you only want to use the internet to print you boarding pass on the last day of the cruise you would have to buy a package. • I found the ships excursion staff to be very abrupt and they seemed to be very rushed when I went to see them at the Excursion desk. • The ship just completed a refit this spring and they relocated the Future Cruises Consultant into a small office on the 10th deck in the Explorations area. There is nowhere for her to leave out any pamphlets on any future cruises so you have to make an appointment to see her and get the pamphlets/brochures. It seemed to me that it was a waste of everyone’s time to have to book an appointment just to get brochures. • Prior to the cruise I went on HAL’s website to confirm the dress requirements of Gala Nights in the Dining Room. The website states that men must wear a collared shirt and slacks. Along with others, I wore a collared golf style shirt and was turned away from the dining room. They informed me that the collared shirt has to be completely buttoned down from top to bottom. So you can attend Gala Nights if you wear a buttoned down short sleeve shirt that you bought on your last Caribbean Cruise for $10.00. But, if you wear a golf style shirt that cost $90.00 you get turned away. I went to customer service and showed them the dress requirements on HAL’s website and the reply I receive was that fully buttoned down is implied. On our last Gala night I saw them let in a gentleman who was wearing jeans but according to the dress requirements that is not allowed. If a buttoned down shirt is the requirement then HAL needs to update the dress requirements on their website. • This was the first cruise where I have seen passengers wearing robes and their PJ’s allowed to eat breakfast in the Lido Buffet. All I can say is it is appaling seeing passengers sitting around in robes and PJ’s eating breakfast. This practice needs to stop. • Approximately 10% of the passengers and staff used the hand sanitizer dispensers when entering the ship or eating areas. It appeared that the ship didn’t put an emphases on Hygene/sanitation. This was the worst we have experienced on any ship. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise, lots of great ports and we would sail with HAL again as we appreciate that they have collector cruises which provide for some interesting destinations. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff and stateroom service is great. No issue there. The ship interiors are nice enough for a mid-size, middle budget cruise line. Where they miss it is food. The worst meals I've ever had. Tasteless. No flavor. I don't believe they even use basic salt and pepper as a seasoning. Truly awful food. The entertainment waivered. The singers and dancers we're about a inch better than watching grammar school kids put on a show. I was actually embarrassed for them. No talent. However the string quartet was fabulous in the Kennedy Center Stage. That was a real treat. I enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen too. Very clever. All the rest were God awful. The staff who run the excursions are ill informed and very unprofessional. I'd fire all of them starting at the top and start over. They contradicted themselves, didn't know, or even attempted to find out if you asked them a question. Terrible. I'll never cruise on HAL again. Even if it were free. Life's too short to waste time on crappy experiences. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2017
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, Malta, Dubrovnik, Split, and Korcula, Croatia, and Slovenia. The cruise ended in Venice. As stated, a great itinerary. However, our experience on board was far from satisfactory in several key areas ... and we have Holland America experience since 2007. We are 4-Star Mariners with 213 actual sea days on HAL as we write this review. Our ship, the MS Westerdam, is among the first of the HAL fleet to undergo an extensive renovation/modernization that will fit the new image for all their ships over the next couple of years. (1) The Library is gone. (2) The Ocean Bar dance floor is gone ... all carpet now. There is in fact only one dancing venue on the ship ... the B.B. King's Blues Club. That club is excellent if you like that kind of music ... we enjoyed it and danced to a great live band ... all terrific musicians. They played 5 out of 7 nights, as I recall, with 2 nights off per week and no other music/dance on those nights there. They did not start until about 8PM. However, for those that don't care for blues, there was no other dance venue. The Ocean Bar had a classical pianist ... excellent ... but don't expect to hear any popular numbers that you can dance to ... and that would be on carpet. So, the once great Ocean Bar with the cocktails and dancing to a trio or quartet is gone! (3) No Crow's Nest for dancing and music anymore. The entire Crow's Nest has been transformed into EXC, or Explorations Central. (4) Conventions and/or groups allowed to reserve and take over "common areas". On three evenings that we personally experienced, about half of the Ocean Bar, the part with the pianist, and where most of the chairs and tables are, was closed off to all guests except for the group/convention. Therefore, there was no seating for many guests. We were told by a couple of officers that "all HAL ships are now doing this". What next for a surprise? (5) Sick/extremely ill two times on board ... myself and several days later my wife. Each time that we were sick we only ate on board that day ... and late those nights we were vomiting, etc. in our stateroom (symptoms of food poisoning, but no proof). We spoke to the ship's medical officer/nurse. After 24 hours we were each mostly recovered, but it did ruin that day's ability to go ashore. In general, over the past few years HAL is not what it used to be. Service in general has declined, sharp attention to detail is no longer present. The crew/staff for the most part are, in our opinion, over worked and too few. Many times one is left waiting. Where are the officers to supervise and see that the guests are taken care of in a timely manner? Lastly, we wrote and mailed a letter to the President of Holland America Line in early December, 2017, regarding our experience and suggestions for improvement (HAL has always said that they want to hear from we "Mariners") ... and we have never received a response. Apparently, they do not care how we, as loyal and good customers/guests/Mariners feel! That is our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2017
Holland America is a quality cruise when it comes to staff and they didn't let us down once again. All staff are quite friendly, professional and helpful. The ship is nice and is a solid 4 and is so because it does have some wear. The food ... Read More
Holland America is a quality cruise when it comes to staff and they didn't let us down once again. All staff are quite friendly, professional and helpful. The ship is nice and is a solid 4 and is so because it does have some wear. The food is varied and excellent and they'll go out of their way to have and serve you just what you want. All you have to do is ask! Room service was exceptional and included so do be sure to take advantage of it! We always have breakfast and simply tip a few dollars as a courtesy. The port stops on this port intensive cruise are simply wonderful and there was ample time at most. Using Cruise Critic to find small group excursions made them amazing and it's s fun way to meet fellow passengers. Embarkation and debarkation were both effortless, especially if you can take care of your own luggage. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
We did a 12 day cruise out of Barcelona ending in Rome on the Westerdam in September, 2017 in celebration of a friend's retirement. We have sailed many times with other cruise lines (Oceania, Norwegian, Celebrity) but had never before ... Read More
We did a 12 day cruise out of Barcelona ending in Rome on the Westerdam in September, 2017 in celebration of a friend's retirement. We have sailed many times with other cruise lines (Oceania, Norwegian, Celebrity) but had never before sailed with Holland America. We booked a year and a half in advance and had booked veranda with balcony staterooms that were aft facing and adjoining our friends. We used a travel agent to make the reservation. About two weeks before we sailed, we were offered an upgrade, at $499/person, to a Neptune Suite. We accepted. It was the right decision resulting in a spacious cabin (king bed, large sofa, two chairs, coffee table and wide screen tv) with a ton of closet space, a big bathroom with two sinks, separate tub and shower, and all the suites were recently redone from top to bottom with the renovation of the ship earlier this year. Our friends were also upgraded to a Neptune Suite with a balcony that wrapped around the rear and side of the ship - perfect for 5:00 cocktail parties every afternoon. A concierge comes with Pinnacle and Neptune Suites which is really two wonderful individuals in the Neptune Lounge who cater to your ever need and solve all your on board problems (dinner reservations, printing boarding passes, arranging excursions, etc). The lounge has an extensive continental breakfast in the morning and food all day along with an honor bar that starts in the afternoon. It is very nice to have a nice quiet place away from the hectic Lido Dining room to get a bite to eat at breakfast or lunch. We used the snacks in the lounge for our daily cocktail parties as well. Laundry and dry cleaning services are free with suites. We had no idea how valuable this service is. We could have packed much lighter with the ability to wear things several times. So, if you can book a suite - I highly recommend it. As for the ship, we loved both the Westerdam and Holland America. The ship is exceptionally quiet. Only one announcement in the morning with the basics of the day lasting a couple of minutes. When the ship is in motion, it is hard to tell she is moving. I have never been such a quiet ship even when docking or leaving port. Staff service is excellent. Well beyond that provided by Norwegian and Celebrity and on par with Oceania, but with better processes for moving everyone on and off the ship - where Oceania has failed us in the past. Food was very good. We had the help of the concierge with reservations in the main dining room which was a big help. I would recommend picking one time in advance and getting it booked with your reservation. Many people had to wait for a table. With the suite advantage, we never waited and always had a good table. Selections were many and all the food was well prepared and delicious. The sommelier was helpful pairing wines with the courses. Bottles of wine can be held over from one night to the next which was most helpful. At 4 p.m. two of the bars on board have drink specials where the second drink ordered is all of $2. This really held down the bar bills. We did not bother with the beverage package given the low price of the cocktails and the fact that we were going to be off the ship on excursions most days. Also, with the suite, we got 3 bottles of champagne at sailing from the ship, one from our travel agent, and we won a bottle of red wine on board. One thing we liked best about the ship was the evening entertainment that was available after dinner. We very much enjoyed Billboard Lounge where two pianists play songs with different themes, or the B B King Nightclub with a blues band that kept everyone singing and dancing, or the Lincoln Center Stage with top notch talent (Julliard, Peabody, Manhattan School of Music) playing classical. We did not go to the larger, more usual cruise line shows in the big theater. We liked the option of having two outdoor pools - one with a cover that could be closed on cooler days, and another at the rear of the ship with a wonderful view of the water. We used the hot tubs every day -there are two - and had no trouble finding a seat poolside. The ship at 1,900 people had us concerned that it would be congested, but it never felt crowded. No lines at the elevators. Again, we avoided the Lido for breakfast where we might have encountered crowds, but in moving around the ship, you did not feel like you were with 1,900 people. Our only criticism is that they have ruined our favorite part of a cruise ship - the upper deck above the navigation deck where you have a glass of champagne and watch the ship pull out of port in the evening. They have converted that space on the ship to a coffee bar with lots of empty portals that have meaningless information on the ports you are going to. No one was ever there to help answer questions (we used our concierge instead). Even the office to book a future cruise was usually empty. Pointless use of prime real estate. The area on the first deck in front of guest services (without windows) is where all this stuff belongs. We would gladly sail with Holland America again. And if were were again so lucky to be offered an upgrade to a suite, we would grab it again in a second! Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
Although I have nothing to compare it to, I thought the cruise was perfect! We went with a couple who were experienced cruisers and they were pleased as well. I'll break it down in sections: 1)Food- sophisticated and elegant choices. ... Read More
Although I have nothing to compare it to, I thought the cruise was perfect! We went with a couple who were experienced cruisers and they were pleased as well. I'll break it down in sections: 1)Food- sophisticated and elegant choices. Each night we had dinner in the main dining room with the exception of one night at the Pinnacle Grill/Selle de Mere. The service was extraordinary and top shelf. The sommeliers were very educated and helped select the right wine for the courses chosen and for our price range. We especially liked a reasonable Chilean red (Loma Linda?) we had dine at will and never waited more than 5 minutes for a table. The portions are elegant and continental so are generally modest. If you can't decide what to order, then order 2! I'm laughing out loud when people on cc whine about portions being too small (e.g. only 2 scallops in an appetizer) ...then order a second one! The husbands enjoyed the rack of lamb so much one night, the head waiter asked if they wanted another and they said YES, thinking another rib would come, no ...another entire entree of ribs came for each of them! Lido Buffet was tasty and generally quite busy. Enjoyed the Asian stations for lunch and breakfast. The made to order pasta station was perfect with scallops and pesto and fresh grated Romano cheese sautéed. We had nachos at the natcho/taco station and they were delicious. We would fill up a plate for our happy hour party and sail away on our balcony each night with nachos and yummy appetizers with cocktails. Selle de Mere is a seafood restaurant pop up which comes up one night in the Pinnacle Grill. The dishes were superb and the service extraordinary. We eat 4 star in the DC area and this easily compares. Room Service-We had room service every day for happy hour and about 5 breakfasts when they had excursions. They were quickly delivered (happy hour) or exactly delivered at the prescribed breakfast time. My only suggestion was the eggs Benedict muffins could have been toasted longer as they appeared a bit underdone. The fruit smoothie was so good, I had it three different mornings! The husband enjoyed his steak and eggs and said it was a first grade New York strip and not scrap. Cabin 8140 is the best on the ship. Our balcony hosted a sail away happy hour each night.. it was hard. Service and quality was top notch. You could tell some Indonesian maintenance folks couldn't speak English, yet would still smile and say good morning when you saw them. We chose this cruise for the itinerary-just wonderful Entertainment. It can be said that blame on whether you enjoy something goes both ways. Choosing correctly whatever requires self awareness and honesty. It you think winding the night away at the disco beyond 2am is da bomb, then maybe this isn't the cruise for you. There was dancing in the BB king lounge every night well after 11. The band focused on music and hits from the 60s-70s-80s. This is a key clue! We found the classical musicians talented and dedicated. The local talent which came aboard was very good in the main ballroom. The cooking classes appeared well attended every time I walked by --to the casino. Didn't make any money in the casino but did win a nice tee shirt. The entertainers in the dueling piano forum were fun and entertaining. Great movies and documentaries in the On Demand system. The HAL corporation messed up and decided to devote millions to upgrading the crows nest and create a high tech explorations cafe. Really neat concept but really placed in the wrong place!!! Why not use the wasted space on the 1st deck where the art galleries are? If they are so focused on revenues, then have a bar and tapas concept in the crows nest and sell sell,sell! Medical clinic-came down with a cold and visited the clinic. Professional and well run. 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 3.7
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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