7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
My husband and I planned this cruise a while back and looked at a lot of reviews before we booked this cruise. Our age group is between 49-54 and we thought this was a perfect cruise for us. It turned out even better than we could have ... Read More
My husband and I planned this cruise a while back and looked at a lot of reviews before we booked this cruise. Our age group is between 49-54 and we thought this was a perfect cruise for us. It turned out even better than we could have imagined. Just a piece of advice, if you are into dancing and being up late at night this cruise is NOT for you. Also if you are traveling with children of any age this cruise is NOT for you. The night life on the ship is minimal and so is the entertainment during the day. BB Kings and the Billboard have some fun evening entertainment that we enjoyed. During the day American's Test Kitchen was good but packed so get there early! I wish they would have given you a taste of what they were making. There was live music on the deck by the pool a couple of days but mostly there was music playing over a speaker. This was fine with us and where we spent most of our time. We read and people watched most days. The ship was on the smaller side and very easy to navagate. Our cabin was nice and our balcony was great! It was always kept clean by our very nice room stewarts. We did not eat in the dining room at all so I can't comment. We ate most of our meals in the Lido Market and the food was outstanding! They served the same food in the Lido Market as they did in the dining room and it was just so much easier picking out what we wanted to eat. The service on this ship was great. The bar tenders in several bars knew our names on the second day and were always helpful. The ports we visited were very interesting and the excursions were all great! Puerto Chiapas, Mexico was the only bad port. If you are going here please book an excursion because there really is nothing to do except shop at the market by the port. Read Less
15 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2018
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily based on timing and the beginning/end points. Less on the cruise line. Holland America met our needs for our criteria. In spite of all that we'd heard about HAL catering mostly to elderly clients, we signed up for a 15 day cruise from Ft. Lauderdale to San Diego. Leaving Ft. Lauderdale, our first stop was Half Moon Cay. Overall, less touristy and was fine for the short time we were there. After 2 sea days, we hit Cartagena. We were there for a half-day. Didn't have time to really go anywhere other than a quick city tour. Honestly, not sure why we visited this port. Would have gladly traded Cartagena for a day in Panama City, Panama. The canal was everything we had heard it would be. The views were amazing and the trip transiting the canal was something we'll never forget. The crew did a nice job making folks comfortable. Seriously made the entire trip worth it. This is where the wheels started coming off. The first thing we found was the hot tub closed at 10 pm. Having dinner at 8 pm made this problematic. Wasn't much else to do after dinner so this was the logical choice for our 40/50 year-old group. There were six of us cruising so we thought we would ask for a little extension for one of the hot tubs. We were quickly told no. The staff was beyond confused when we told them their simple no wasn't good enough and we would like to escalate the issue to a higher authority. This really threw them for a loop. After a fair amount of complaining and 7 days into the cruise, the Captain firmly and finally said no. Guess he wasn't too interested in our opinion or issue. The second issue involved shipboard credits and the communication form our travel agency. It's too long and involved for this but suffice it to say, the crew was little to no help with this issue either. Overall, we found the staff beyond our cabin stewards and waiters to be pretty bored and less than concerned about pretty much anything beyond the basics. Couple that with the fact that everything other than ice water and coffee (even coffee in some areas of the ship were costly) were charged. HAL seems intent on getting every possible cent from their passengers. As I said, the crew was generally not helpful. Not sure if this is the HAL culture or a profound lack of leadership from our particular captain. The ports were a mixed bag with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Guatemala being the best by far. Chiapas, Mexico was a serious waste of time. The crew admitted there was absolutely nothing to do there. Again, not sure what we stopped there. Have to say I've taken my last cruise on Holland America Lines. Not impressed in any way. Oh,the best part of the ship was our shower was the best I've ever had on a cruise ship. This is our 8th cruise overall and was the most disappointing when it comes to the cruise line. The rep they have catering to elderly passengers is well-deserved and earned. We felt totally out of place. Should have listened to my gut! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose cruise primarily because of departure port and dates of sailing. (Over NY Eve). Positives: 1. The signature suite! 2. Stewards very friendly--everyone always said hello. 3. Ship was redone a year ago--so spaces are nicely ... Read More
Chose cruise primarily because of departure port and dates of sailing. (Over NY Eve). Positives: 1. The signature suite! 2. Stewards very friendly--everyone always said hello. 3. Ship was redone a year ago--so spaces are nicely kept up. Very clean! 4. The EXC area and the Observation deck were VERY nice. We hung out there several times. 5. The customer service was positive and the crew kept everyone informed. 6. The LIDO--the buffet--was bounteous and nicely kept up. Recommended! 7. Embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly. 8. Excursions not awesome but islands had been hit by hurricanes and was over the holidays. 9. Shows tied in with BBC Planet were nice. Negatives: 1. Accounting and paperwork were frustrating and had many kinks...prepaid items were not accounted for, tickets for excursions not ready, everything had to be rung up even if prepaid. (Was also charged $171 for massage that my friend could not take advantage of as BOTH she and masseuse were very sea sick). Still waiting for credit for excusrions we were unable to go on due to weather. 2. Art auction (also seen on other cruises) a waste of space--never saw anyone even looking. Same for casino--poorly utilized and sounded like a blatant way to separate you and your money. 3. The "shops" were extremely limited and prices were very high for the quality. The "spontaneous" shops on Alaska Princess were far superior. The jewlery "events" on this ship were a joke. Never saw a soul in the jewelry shop. 4. The pools were very small and crowded with kids (but this was the holidays). 5. The Eastern Caribbean excursions are limited and not very diverse--due to location limitations --of course noithing compares to Alaska! 6. WiFi was a pain to arrange-- Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My wife and I chose to celebrate our 40th by going on a cruise. We picked Holland America and was very glad we did. The experience was beyond our expectations. The comfort and service was better than most 5 star resorts. We especially ... Read More
My wife and I chose to celebrate our 40th by going on a cruise. We picked Holland America and was very glad we did. The experience was beyond our expectations. The comfort and service was better than most 5 star resorts. We especially enjoyed the perks of the Neptune Suite. The concierge service was great. We decided to renew our vows during the cruise and the Cruise director, Erin, and our concierge staff made it the most memorable moment of the cruise. My wife is still beaming for the care that was provided and the ceremony performed by Captain Vincent. Dinner afterwards in the Pinnacle Grill was spectacular. The entertainment was really good and the the Exploration lounge was great for those down times. We did not experience any problems with embarkation or debarkation. In fact it was extremely efficient and well done. We most will certainly cruise Holland America again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
From the time we boarded there was courtesy, assistance and helpfulness. Our cabin stewart was excellent and the room service for our coffee every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 was right there...we did tip the waiter that brought our ... Read More
From the time we boarded there was courtesy, assistance and helpfulness. Our cabin stewart was excellent and the room service for our coffee every morning between 6:30 and 7:00 was right there...we did tip the waiter that brought our coffee every morning it was someone different everyday....as well as our cabin stewerts.... we presented them with a thank you card with a tip of our personal appreciation. There were several waiters in our dinning room that we also tipped with a card and money. We did not pay the standard ship graturity...I like to personally express my appreciation to the people who made my trip a wonderful experience....there were some that were very rude and not very friendly....so I don't choose to pay for unkind behavior...I am thankful for the attendents we had they were great and VERY appreciative for the added bonus!!! We had a wonderful time Westerdam could kick up the entertainment a little for those of us over 55!! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
My sweetheart enjoys the low key atmosphere of HAL, as well as the food and service. The service was good but not what I have experienced in the past. The food is excellent, we ate in the main dining room for dinner, did not partake in ... Read More
My sweetheart enjoys the low key atmosphere of HAL, as well as the food and service. The service was good but not what I have experienced in the past. The food is excellent, we ate in the main dining room for dinner, did not partake in the specialty restaurants this time. The room was spacious and clean, plenty of storage. My one beef is with the entertainment, it is nice but very low key. Although a Christmas week cruise, most venues close by 11, with only the casino, BB King and one bar open. The casino is small, and very quiet. For smokers, there is only one area, all the way aft. It was okay but could use more cover. If it had rained would be unusable. The staff did not do a good job maintaining the area, ashtrays and other debris not cleaned consistently, bar service haphazard. This was the only part of the ship that was not maintained up to HAL standards. Overall a pleasant week. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
No kids visiting us in Florida for Christmas so we treated ourselves to a Christmas cruise. We have over 200 days on HAL and have definitely seen a decline in service,especially in the MDR,in the last few years. To negate this decline ... Read More
No kids visiting us in Florida for Christmas so we treated ourselves to a Christmas cruise. We have over 200 days on HAL and have definitely seen a decline in service,especially in the MDR,in the last few years. To negate this decline somewhat we chose a Neptune Suite and found the service to be excellent. Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze, especially with a Global Entry Traveller card (bypassed all the lines for customs on exiting the ship). Our cabin stewards were diligent and very pleasant. The Neptune Lounge provided a respite from the crowded Lido deck when the ship was at sea and the concierge booked all our specialty restaurant reservations and the one excursion that we took in Grand Turk. After one dinner in the MDR we decided that we would avoid it if at all possible! We had open seating and it was a zoo!! After waiting in one of the lounges for about 20 minutes with a beeper, we were called to the MDR and then stood with in the doorway with about 30 other people for another 20 minutes, getting in the way of the waiters carrying food etc. We were finally crowded into a small table for 8 in the middle of the room with waiters and everyone else pushing past us. It was not fun. The food was mediocre and the service was slow. Too many tables in too small a space with not enough waiters. We spent every other night in the Pinnacle Grill with one other dinner in Cannelleto. I wish they could find another spot for Cannelleto. The open view into the Lido is not conducive to fine dining. The meal was a little over cooked but otherwise acceptable. We used to enjoy ballroom dancing in the Ocean Bar before and after dinner but that has all gone. The dance floor has been carpeted over and the band is no more. We did try the B.B. Blue’s Lounge but for the most part the music was not to our taste. Shows in the main theater were just OK with one exception - a great British violinist who entertained us on the last night. One improvement over years ago is the fact that one can stay in the cabin until ready for departure and even have a room service breakfast. We also appreciate the fact that the cabins are ready for occupancy after boarding the ship. Not usually so on the Celebrity ships. We will find out if that has changed when we sail on the Reflection at the end of January. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
The ship was great, just underwent a refit this past spring. Elevators are extremely fast, service was excellent, easy to get around the ship, food was really good (way better than most lines) and the small details really made a ... Read More
The ship was great, just underwent a refit this past spring. Elevators are extremely fast, service was excellent, easy to get around the ship, food was really good (way better than most lines) and the small details really made a difference. The Casino and bars were great as well! Grandmother, Mother and Father, and 2 teens traveled in 2 Veranda rooms - very comfortable. We dined mainly in the Dining Room for dinner. The selections were top notch - not lobster every night but, some really nice duck breast, halibut, prime rib, rack of lamb, etc. all well prepared, meats were cooked perfectly, sauces were very good, and sides were also good. The Lido restaurant had some great breakfast and lunch offerings - not just leftovers from the dinner before, and dinner there was comparable, on most days, to the dining room just buffet style - and the Dive Inn had delicious, cooked to order burgers and fries daily. One thing we really appreciated was the selections, most of them anyway, were served by kitchen staff instead of "help yourself". It seemed much cleaner, less waste, and fresher. The casino staff were exceptional on this trip. $6 Black Jack and $5 Craps were available. The dealers were professional, especially the pit bosses, and the servers (Pio in particular) were fantastic. We were never left waiting for a cocktail for more than a few minutes. Our room attendants were barely seen but, certainly noticed. The rooms were cleaned promptly and quietly. The spa staff were good. We enjoyed massages although felt pressured to buy over $120 worth of oils immediately AFTER - while still sitting on the massage table. Massages in nice spas are not inexpensive so we thought the pitch while trying to enjoy the relaxation was a bit much. Other than that specific sales pitch, the Westerdam had very little overzealous photo selling, photo taking, trinket peddling, etc.... although they still have the same "outfits" selling gold plated jewelry at real gold prices, etc. but, they aren't constantly shoving them at you. Overall a relaxing trip, easy ship to get around on, great dining, and excellent service! Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
In the interest of full disclosure the only reason I booked this cruise was because it dove tailed with a cruise I was taking prior, and I wanted to be away over Christmas. I was fully prepared to be met with a sea of blue hair and ... Read More
In the interest of full disclosure the only reason I booked this cruise was because it dove tailed with a cruise I was taking prior, and I wanted to be away over Christmas. I was fully prepared to be met with a sea of blue hair and was pleasantly surprised that there were more children on this sailing (over Christmas week) than I’ve seen on Carnival. This gave a youthful feel to the cruise, but didn’t work well at dinner hour. Sadly the main dining room had more challenges than just large groups of boisterous children. The most glaring problem ‘literally’ the glaring overhead lighting. There is a band of fluorescent lighting that runs the length of the main dining room that is so bright you feel like you’re dining at McDonalds. After the first night of this sensory overload lighting I decided to seek out alternative dining venues. One of the more reasonable alternate dining was the Italian themed Canaletto. Unfortunately, after three visits and many menu disappointments I would not recommend this venue. My biggest complaint was not from lack of service, it was spot on, but rather that the food was really bland. The menu in the main dining room offered much better options, if it wasn’t for the ‘fast food venue’ type lighting. Okay, so moving beyond the stateroom and the dining situation I want to address what I considered the biggest negative about the Westerdam, and (obviously) give others the opportunity to decide if this would be a deal breaker for them or not. This was my 67th cruise (yes, you read it right - sixty-seven), and the condition and decor of the hallways was like nothing I have ever seen. The carpeting was discustingly dirty. We’re not talking spots here and there, we’re talking great swatches of filth. Add to that that every day (bar none) at some place in the hallway was an industrial strength dryer running full on to dry out wet spot on said filthy carpeting. I’m not sure if the cabin stewards kept spilling their cleaning buckets of water, or if bathrooms were flooding, but I have never experienced so may loud, stinky, dryers blowing on a single cruise. In the room steward department, I had two. The one that came to introduce himself the first afternoon, was arrogant, distracted, and unprofessional. It was very unlike the normal ‘room steward introduction’ and more like he wanted to establish himself as an equal. I didn’t come on the cruise looking for a bff and I am a very low maintenance person, but at the same time I don’t suffer fools. My only request was that the mini bar be emptied and I would not be using it and that was met with a blank stare. Finally I said that I would remove the items to make room for my wine, at which point he graciously agreed....whatever!!! I won’t go into detail, but things only deteriorated from there. The other room steward was a gem. Always friendly, smiling, and eager to please. How I felt sorry for him being paired up with the other steward. I realize that this has been a very critical review thus far and don’t want to give the impression that I am a malcontent. One thing that the Westerdam offered and I thoroughly enjoyed was a feature movie matinee each day at 2:00 p.m. in the main theatre. I LOVE movies and don’t enjoy going to see them solo at home, so this was a real treat. I also found the food in the Pinacle Grill to be exquisite. They offer a lunch there most days for only $10 and it is such a treat. I would highly recommend that, or even dinner at a very reasonable $35. In closing I will only add that the check-in process was a bit of a nightmare, but I think that was just a fluke. It turns out that they had accidentally assigned my cabin to a women that as meant to be in the same cabin on the opposite side of the ship. I spent at least 20 minutes providing receipts showing that I did not book a shared cabin, etc. It always amazes me how they assume that the customer is in the wrong before they consider that it was their error. I also experienced a major problem with the person in the cabin next to me smoking on her balcony. After three days of registering complaints and providing photos for evidence, the only way it actually became resolved was when I confronted the person myself. This was despite several assurances from Guest Services that they had spoken to her and she either: a) promised not to do it again, or b) wasn’t doing it (which I took to mean I was making it up). In summary I would say if you encounter a problem expect a lot of lip service and not much else, hence my low rating for this cruise. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because it went through the entire Panama Canal and ported at places we had not seen. It satisfied all those. Unlike Caribbean cruises, each and every port had different ethnic, social and landscape. We learned a ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it went through the entire Panama Canal and ported at places we had not seen. It satisfied all those. Unlike Caribbean cruises, each and every port had different ethnic, social and landscape. We learned a lot about the history of the locality. We chose a variety of HAL sponsored excursions and three private tours. I highly recommend the private ones. The HAL ones were crowded and some were not staffed with adequately knowledgeable tour company staff. The highlight of the tour was transiting the Canal. We did marvel at the engineering necessary by the French and Americans to complete the task. We did NOT like that the commentary by the 'expert' was doing from the Captain's deck was not able to be heard any place but the aft deck, the Promenade Deck and the Crow's Nest. It was not transmitted to other decks or onto balconies/verandas. Since this was for sure the main reason people took this cruise, it should have been. Also noted that daily morning announcements, times to disembark or other information - including emergency ones - were not able to be heard unless you had your cabin door open. We encountered multiple incidents where information given to me by Guest Services was contradicted by information given to my husband. Also many of the GS attendants spoke with such an accent that it made understanding them and them me, difficult. I have nothing but praise for our room steward, dining room attendant and assistant attendant and maitre d. They were always anxious to please us. The wine steward was less so once we told him that we were not interested in purchasing a wine package or even a bottle. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal full transit, and the plus that the ms Westerdam was refurbished earlier this year. I read several reviews before the cruise about the refurb modernizations, mostly people missing what was no ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the Panama Canal full transit, and the plus that the ms Westerdam was refurbished earlier this year. I read several reviews before the cruise about the refurb modernizations, mostly people missing what was no longer there. One major change, and one I never saw mentioned, was the addition of 4 USB charging ports in our cabin: 2 at the desk and 1 at each night stand. Had I known, I would have left the mini-extension-cord-with-USB at home. At least I didn't need to use it - ever! The other changes to the ship's decor and style felt like an upgrade for me, also. I remember the previous HAL style from trips about her sister ship, ms Zuiderdam, and similar styles on the Eurodam and Ryndam, and while I enjoyed those ships repeatedly none of the changes felt "drastic" or "out-of-character" with Holland America's general sense of class and elegance. The public areas were gracefully appointed and comfortable. The background muzak for some areas was unpleasant but that may have only been our take on it. HAL needs to reaffirm her role by bringing the next generation into the ship and my choices may not always be the most popular or current. I'd rather adapt than see the cruise line falter and loose markets. The food was a better than last year's cruise and that was a pleasant surprise. I expect good food from HAL and am usually only mildly disappointed by a dish now and then. But the current kitchen has surpassed my expectations and on this 14 day cruise I actually was looking to try more new dishes each day rather than resort to those I had earlier in the week and thought were good. The crow's Nest Bar has changed - the coffee machines are now a permanent part of the bar but that turned out surprisingly well, since I never would bother to walk around the corner with the old layout. I read about people missing the library but really don't understand since any time I tried to find a book (since 2009) the selection was never what I expected and I always just settled for something. I was so grateful to start using a tablet when they were available to bring all the books (and more) that I want. I miss the teak loungers on the promenade deck. Those aluminum and nylon contraptions they have were not any more comfortable and far less appealing to me. But I bet the maintenance people are pleased with the lower upkeep for them.I would certainly never keep a teak lounger at home for that reason. We are not big on the shows in the mail showroom. The couple we attended were good and well visited. And the discussions we heard from others on board indication most we're pleased with what was offered. The Lincoln Center Stage was often come-early for seating, and the crowd around the piano duet only got more involved each night. The ports were different for us and while Guatemala and Nicaragua are still industrial ports, HAL does a decent job of getting you out into the countryside. One word of caution - we talked to vendors at the port, and negotiated for a tour in Corinto, Guatemala only to be told we could not pay with a credit card as we were getting into the van. The bus driver would "take us into town to an ATM where we could get cash" but that had too many red flags for us to find it acceptable. Nothing was said during any of the negotiations that the deals was for cash payment. And our concern was that once away from the port, and stuck, the price would not be the same. And again, inside the "hospitality center" that large room with the musicians and tour desks, we were initially told we could use our credit card only to have the older woman at the counter tell the clerk that no, we could only use the card "in town at an ATM" to get cash to pay. Our advice - either book with HAL or book online before you get there. Our cabin service was a good as usual, although later in the day than we expected. I feel that HAL is reducing staff to improve margins and that's unfortunate, if they have. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
Son in Law worked for line. Enjoyed the smaller ship. great crew and accomidations. Will take this cruise again. Great casino, food choices very good, staff bent over and beyond taking care of our needs and wants. Entertainment was ... Read More
Son in Law worked for line. Enjoyed the smaller ship. great crew and accomidations. Will take this cruise again. Great casino, food choices very good, staff bent over and beyond taking care of our needs and wants. Entertainment was excellent and relaxing. Enjoyed the afternoon bingo games even tho we didn't win, we did very well at the casino. We used Room service Quite often early in the morning and the service was fantastic with servers friendly. Rented a few movies to watch during down. time. We all enjoyed the ports. We also liked that we could choose to tour the area on our own and not use the shore excursions that we learned later on that they were great. Next time I (lost wife in Jan19) cruise I would like to cruise the Panama Canal and after that both the Western and Eastern Carribean ceuises. Thanks for making this area available and all the crew in board the Westerdam. Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise mainly because it embarked from San Diego on a slightly smaller ship than we usually use. It's the first time that we have departed from a western cruise port and were curious about the recent refurbishment on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise mainly because it embarked from San Diego on a slightly smaller ship than we usually use. It's the first time that we have departed from a western cruise port and were curious about the recent refurbishment on the Westerdam. Embarkation was very impressive and surprising laid back compared to the process from Florida ports. It was well organized, quick and seemless. The ship was in great condition and most of the changes from the refurbishment were nicely done. The public areas were finely appointed and always clean. We had reserved an aft veranda cabin (5184). Refer to the cabin review below. A great addition is the illuminated panels at all of the elevator doors that show what floor everything is located on. That was a huge help. Elevators were quick to respond except when shut down to accommodate luggage transfer. (To be expected, of course.) Having the day posted on the floor carpeting inside the elevators is also a nice touch. We dined in the Vista Dining Room on 5 of the 7 nights with conflicting results. The food was very good although with somewhat limited menu choices on a few of the nights What was disappointing was the lack of service on certain occasions. On the first formal evening, our table attendant cleared the main course dishes and never returned with dessert menus or coffee. That was a first for us on Holland America. Another evening he did serve coffee with the dessert but did not return with a refill offer. It seemed to me that they wanted us in and out as quickly as they could , with as little interaction as possible. We had all of our breakfasts in the dining room and enjoyed those experiences very much. The other two nights were done in the Pinnacle Grille and those suppers were outstanding in every respect. The lido area was not used except to pick up the odd coffee or tea. We were the only couple to rent a Cabana for the entire week and it was a major disappointment compared to the other ship cabanas that we have rented. The excessive noise from the fans was very annoying. The sideboards in the cabana were useless to us and the inside seating was not comfortable at all. The wall clock was operational but was not set to the correct time. The entertainment on board was refreshingly better than any other Holland America ship, This edition of the All Star band at the BB King Blues club was the best of all the cruises so far. The Piano Bar was also very good and the classical musicians all through the ship were exceptional. The comedian and magician were well worth seeing as well. We did not partake in any excursions, either private or through the ship offers. We walked around the ports and were constantly badgered by vendors hawking various merchandise or boating excursions. Puerto Vallarta was the nicest port in our opinion. Disembarkation was fantastic. We elected to carry our luggage from the ship ourselves which simplified and expedited the process greatly. If you have read this far, it must seem that this review is full of complaints and that it was a dreadful cruise, but I assure you that the good heavily outweighed the not so good and we have already booked 2 more cruises through Holland America. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had never been to San Diego-- arrived 2 days pre cruise and stayed at the Republic Hotel on State and B. Easy walking distances to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Loved restaurant Ironsides--- delicious and great service. ... Read More
We had never been to San Diego-- arrived 2 days pre cruise and stayed at the Republic Hotel on State and B. Easy walking distances to Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter. Loved restaurant Ironsides--- delicious and great service. Enjoyed Seaport Village---- and walking along the waterfront Spend day at the San Diego Zoo--- thoroughly enjoyed it. We stayed in an aft cabin - 5184 with a huge balcony. Wish they would put loungers back there to enjoy instead of upright chairs. Quiet location. We also booked a cabana for the duration of the cruise--- enjoy not having to deal with crowds and looking for table to eat at. on Lido We love the service--- lunch, drinks and a dedicated space to come to. Walked around Cabo- but tired of all the pestering ......... reminds me of Nassau. We did not get off in Mazatlán. We travelled in P.V. to Old Vallarta. Have a friend who owns Galleria Dante- on Basillo Badillo. We truly enjoyed visiting her gallery and the surrounding area. Would go back there in a heartbeat. Dining- enjoyed 2 dinners in the Pinnacle Grille-- delicious as always. Service in the dining room was unpredictable -- did not always get after dinner coffee. Seemed to be disorganized. Had a lovely table for 2 overlooking the 2nd floor railing We enjoyed the renovated area on forward deck 10------- combined bar and coffee service area. We enjoyed sitting up there to read or play cards. Large interactive screens Enjoyed the smaller number of cruise passengers--- and the easy embarkation and disembarkation from San Diego----- Much less stress than Florida ports. We would definitely cruise from San Diego and on Westerdam again if given the opportunity Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We came to San Diego for a Thanksgiving cruise and stayed at the Grand Horton Hotel for a great price. Nice historic hotel in Gas lamp district. Valet parking is $42. a night though. Glad a great dinner at Fleming's Steak House a ... Read More
We came to San Diego for a Thanksgiving cruise and stayed at the Grand Horton Hotel for a great price. Nice historic hotel in Gas lamp district. Valet parking is $42. a night though. Glad a great dinner at Fleming's Steak House a short walk away. We have been on 18 cruises with Princess and about 12 on other lines but had never been on Holland America. We parked at Wyndham Bayside and walked across the street to the ship. This is a midsized ship. There were short lines and embarked in about 15 minutes. Debarking was even shorter and about 10 minutes in customs!! The entire ship looks refurbished. Our room had new bed linens, curtains, carpeting, sofa, sofa pillows etc in a nice blue color. We had a balcony room. This room is a bit smaller than we were used to but in great condition. Loved the on demand movies. Customer service was excellent on the entire ship. Food was great in main dining room and LOVED Caneletto's Italian and ate there twice. Also loved Pinacle Grill for great steak dinner. Really good room service and had the buffet a couple of times. They have great entertainment choices. We loved Billboard for the dueling pianos with a lot of variety. BB King was very good and Lincoln Center had classical music. Shows at the main stage were average or better. Most people dressed up for formal (Gala) nights - 2. Had a fun tour in Mazatlan - Shrimp Fest. Beautiful grounds, live music, pool to get into, margaritas and great food. Hardly any one at champagne art auction. Usually there are 200 - 300 people at these. Only about 25 people. Between us and our friends we won 3 bottle of good champagne!! All in all a great cruise that we will take again!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We had no family to spend Thanksgiving with so we left the day after; we had gotten a great deal on this cruise AND the next one, so did both; great price on a Signature Suite. Loved the food; our newly remodeled room, always enjoy the ... Read More
We had no family to spend Thanksgiving with so we left the day after; we had gotten a great deal on this cruise AND the next one, so did both; great price on a Signature Suite. Loved the food; our newly remodeled room, always enjoy the ports and handy having Wifi reasonable 24 hours a day to keep in touch with the world. We are 4 Star Mariners so have a few advantages from that but loved having a few meals in the Cantelleto and the Steak House on 2. Entertainment was good; a magician we had seen before was very good; a so so Comedian. Weather was perfect this time of year in ports. Love Holland America This ship is just the right size for us; holds 2000 guests and the walk from stem to stern is easily done with plenty of room for nice shops, the Lincoln Center Entertainment and the Casino and Piano bar we just loved. Holland America has gone to twin Pianos and these two just played together and entertained Very well; really added to the evening. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
Let's get the rotten things out of the way first: Not just a late embarkation, but vague, smarmy excuses instead of real information. No library. At all. Except for a very few "give and takes." Beware of chocolate ... Read More
Let's get the rotten things out of the way first: Not just a late embarkation, but vague, smarmy excuses instead of real information. No library. At all. Except for a very few "give and takes." Beware of chocolate cheesecake. One version is good. The other is a layer of wet cake on top of a layer of dry cake, both approximately chocolate. Oh, dear. Probably not HAL's fault but in Puerto Quetzel, we had to take a 20 minute school bus shuttle ride to exit the port by way of the shops when another exit was two minutes away. UHT Milk. Gravy. Only the lamb gravy is any good anymore but less weight to gain. Cushions on Lido deck chairs often wet. Chairs would dry faster without them and were comfortable when we flipped away the wet cushions. Maybe skip the cushions in rainy climates if not willing to keep bringing them in when it rains. The lentil soup. I thought it was burnt. My husband said it was just bad. No running deck; it must have been replaced by the new cabins on 10. This means runners and walkers are both trying to share the deck. Rather damages a nice quiet stroll to have runners zooming up behind you and not ideal for them having to veer, slow down and dodge. They sent hundreds and hundreds of non Americans all at the SAME time to the SAME place to get our passports stamped. It was so unnecessary, tedious and thoughtless. Disembarkation wasn't great either. They were quite adamant that all expedited passengers carrying their own baggage leave within the same half hour, which was silly, officious and inefficient. This caused traffic jams and elevator waits in the terminal. Greedy things: Westerdam has a charge for the Thalassotherapy pool and the cabanas on ten. So they were never used. Hoping to collect a couple thousand dollars, HAL lost two valuable selling points to future cruisers. They have changed the internet deal. No more packages of minutes. You must buy the "all you can use" plan either for a day or for the whole trip. This makes emailing home for word on children, sick, elderly or disabled family members and friends impossible or expensive. Another disincentive to cruise with HAL. There were lots of good and wonderful things: Almost NO smoking. Only on one half of the back Lido deck. The cutlery is already on the tables, except the back Lido deck. Sometimes glasses and cups are, too. Inside the Lido, that is. Sometimes the Lido staff come around with coffee, water, juice. If they don't offer what you want, you can say that you wanted water/juice/whatever and sometimes they will bring you that. I makes life without a tray somewhat easier. And it is civilized. They actually put ice in the ice bucket in the cabin. So useful for water bottles. We have an insulated water bottle that goes into an insulated carrier that's invaluable on hot days. Sometimes they didn't jam everyone into one tight corner of the Main Dining Room for lunch or tea. Breathing space is so lovely. The Main Dining Room now has the best acoustics at sea. They haven't carved off half of one floor for suites passengers like Celebrity and they have put a sort of circular acrylic wall around the "pit"' area. This means you can talk quite softly to your dinner mate and it is just beyond wonderful. The walking deck. It goes all the way around like good walking decks should. Three laps to the mile. They didn't close it off again and again as often happens on cruises. AND there were multiple drinking fountains. A wise, courteous and delightful touch. The day we went through the canal they opened up the bow sections on decks 4,5 and 6. This really helped reduce the crowding of people wanting to see ahead. Crab cakes in MDR Persimmon, star fruit, plums and passion fruit all appeared in the Lido. Never waiting for an elevator. The waiter. Our waiter Sukirman was wonderful. Efficient, pleasant, knowledgeable. The Diabetic: The bread basket buns are yummy, so be warned. Take a room at the front of the boat like we did and you will walk at least a mile just getting to meals and back. All of the sugar free tortes are terrific. And so is the sugar free kiwi Pavlova. The rest are just ok. The ice cream area is usually closed, unmanned or lacking sugar free ice cream. When the staffer WAS there I am not convinced they understood what "sugar free" meant, and the sugar free is always grainy and frozen and melted too many times so it's no good anyway. Save the calories. Good news, though, the chocolate chip cookies are small and good. There is no sugarfree drink except black tea, coffee or water. Squeeze a lemon wedge and add sweetener for lemonade. Bring baggies from home each with a teaspoon of cocoa powder. Mix with cream and sweetener, likely three sweeteners, then top up with hot water. The waffles are often cold, not very good anyway and they dole out whipped cream by the level teaspoon. Save the calories and don't bother. The sugarfree chocolate chip muffin was messy but pretty tasty. The flourless chocolate cake is so delicious it is evil for diabetics. I ate most of it anyway and it was my one splurge. Plan to walk a few laps of the deck to burn it off. Peanut butter was easy to find and plentiful for morning protein if you don't want bacon, eggs etc. The omelettes were good, never raw in the middle. Crab and avocado were both offered as add ins. They did offer plain yoghurt that wasn't too high in sugar. I added Splenda and fruit which helped a lot. Sort of. Cottage cheese if often offered across from the beverage stations. Oddly they often sprinkle cinnamon on it. Another protein choice for breakfast after I scraped off the cinnamon. The MDR main courses are no longer too big. I skipped whatever carb they put on the plate so I could have a brown bun from the bread basket. This worked pretty well for me. I was able to eat pretty well and get lots of wholesome exercise on the Westerdam. All things considered, I would probably do Westerdam again, but I would bring more books and resign myself to it's inadeqacies in advance. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2017
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks prior to sailing because it was the 2nd half of a back to back. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to most of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 4 weeks prior to sailing because it was the 2nd half of a back to back. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to most 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. As we were already on the ship the in Transit system was poorly organized. According to others, there was a huge delay in boarding due to the immigration checks taking longer than expected. We zoomed to the front of the line passed upset onlookers at about 3:30 or so. • 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. The variety was adequate and for those who take the time to review the “When and where” pamphlet everyday, keeping busy is not a problem. • Disembarkation o We walked off the ship with our luggage which saves a lot of hassle IMHO, but I get those that do not. San Diego is a great port as all the transportation options are very close bye. We chose to walk to the train station 2 blocks away and everything went smooth except for my oversized bag that Amtrak charged me $20 to carry on. • Summary Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food ... Read More
We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food selections were varied. We did not choose to go to the add on restaurants. My spouse attended the America Test Kitchen classes. It was great to have a Catholic priest on board for Mass. The Spanish ports were enjoyable. We liked our port side veranda. The public spaces were never crowded. We have taken five transatlantic cruises on different lines. Holland ranks right up at the top. Our only complaint was the disembarkation process which was an issue with customs in Ft. Lauderdale. There were six lines for foreign passengers and two for American citizens. The process took over one hour and not the best ending to our cruise experience. Other than this, it was a perfect cruise offering an additional seven hours of sleep! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
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
5 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
2 Helpful Votes
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
3 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
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

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