4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I have gone on 4 cruises; HAL was the worst. First of all, we embarked in Seward at 6:30 pm. After going through the muster drill, we came back to our room to unpack. The steward knocked on the door and introduced ... Read More
My husband and I have gone on 4 cruises; HAL was the worst. First of all, we embarked in Seward at 6:30 pm. After going through the muster drill, we came back to our room to unpack. The steward knocked on the door and introduced himself. My husband told him that the safe did not work. He said someone would get in touch with us. No one ever did. We wanted to close the drapes to go to bed and they were on a motorized track. We were not shown by the steward how to work anything in our cabin. When I opened our cabin door to look for him, he was NOWHERE to be found and that is how it was the WHOLE week. Our bed was made everyday with replacement bathroom towels as well as turned down service every night; however, he never ONCE knocked on our door to see if we needed anything. It just so happened that I found a crew member on our floor and asked him to come in and show us how to close the drapes. The next morning (1st full day of the cruise), I called Guest Services. I was on hold for ten minutes! And that is how it was the entire week. I was on a Celebrity Cruise with 3,500 people and when I called Guest Services, they answered in a couple of minutes. HAL had 1,980 people. I had to go in person to Guest Services and told them about the problem with the safe and that the steward told us that someone would be calling us and never did. She came with me to the room and said a locksmith would have to fix it and it was fixed by mid-afternoon. We stayed in a signature suite with a veranda on the Upper Veranda deck. The room was very nice EXCEPT the tub was way too high to get in or out of. Thank G-d for the bars or I would have fallen. The food was average. We ate in the dining room for breakfast as well as dinner everyday. We ate at the Lido market for lunch and one breakfast and were disappointed. Could never find a seat and the food was fair at best. My husband and I had to order room service because we were not feeling well. We both ordered soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. We could not believe that the "grilled cheese sandwich" was actually two slices of toasted bread with a piece of cheese in between, not melted cheese. HORRIBLE. The trays and dishes were too heavy for us to put outside the cabin door. Again, where was our steward?? The nightly entertainment was very good. BB King's was fantastic. Great singers and musicians. Fitness center was adequate; enough machines for use. I did ALOT of research on which cruise line to go with regarding Alaska. The two cruise lines that were always mentioned in my research were HAL and Princess. I decided to go with HAL since they have been going to Alaska for years. We did a land/sea tour, the land tour being first, starting in Fairbanks and catching the ship in Seward. I give HAL a 10+ on their land portion EXCEPT we had to pay for ALL meals EXCEPT one lunch in a 7 day period which was not totally spelled out on the booking. The tours, the organization, everything was seamless. It was wonderful. However, I will not cruise with HAL again. I did complain to the head of Housekeeping Services regarding the steward. The last day they sent a bottle of wine with their apologies and asked if we wanted another steward. Our cruise was over and the damage had been done. I give bad marks for the crew overall. Service was fair at best. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
We chose the Westerdam for the itinerary from Vancouver to Alaska and Denali addition. The ship was very nice, many small bars or sitting areas for when weather was cool. However we had great weather all but one day! Enjoyed BB King ... Read More
We chose the Westerdam for the itinerary from Vancouver to Alaska and Denali addition. The ship was very nice, many small bars or sitting areas for when weather was cool. However we had great weather all but one day! Enjoyed BB King Blues bar the most - we prefer blues music anyway and enjoyed the band every night. The Billboard lounge has the “dueling pianos” and they were okay. Did not care for the classical music at Lincoln Center. Food at the Lido Market was just average. You really had to work at picking out decent food. The Main Dining Room was much better. The entire staff was VERY friendly and always had a smile and a nice greeting. We had an ocean view obstructed room. It was large enough with plenty of hangers and shelving. Ice whenever we needed and fresh fruit. I thought the ship was sold out, but we never had a problem finding a place to sit. The rooms had a hair dryer and makeup mirror, and we never needed an extra plug for electronics. Also, every step of moving a large group of people went very smoothly from embarkation to transfer to buses, to check in at hotels. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2019
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the ... Read More
In 2015, we did our first Alaska trip, which was an HAL Land/Sea Tour, where we did a land based tour of the Yukon first, and then did a short (4 night) cruise on the Volendam to finish off our tour. This week long cruise on the Westerdam, from Vancouver to Anchorage, paled in comparison to that experience, for a number of reasons. On this trip, my husband and I also brought along my mother in law, who had never been on a cruise or to Alaska, and who stayed in an inside cabin across from our balcony cabin. See detailed cabin comments, below. FYI, if you have never cruised out of Vancouver, there is a pretty extensive "check in" process. Not only are you checking in for your cruise, but if your cruise is heading to Alaska, your first port is the US = customs. So, you actually go through the US Customs process in Vancouver, before you even leave the cruise terminal!! This saves time when you do get to your first US port (which probably doesn't have the capacity to handle customs for so many arriving passengers at once). So, plan for extra time before boarding the ship in Vancouver - you can get to the port around 10:30 or 11:00 am and not be early! The public interior areas of the ship appeared to us to have been recently refurbished. The carpet appeared newer; the seating in the theater was actually comfortable (we have been on several cruises where we had backaches getting up after a show in the theater!). The refurbishment did not seem to extend to the artwork/walls of the hallways and lobbies of the ship. As a matter of fact, that was one of the weirdest parts of this ship - I couldn't figure out the "theme" of the decor - what it was trying to be: a classic elegant cruiser; a ship that featured Greek or Baroque type of art/display; an Asian inspired vessel (there was some brightly colored Asian furniture in the lobbies of the elevator bank closest to our room). It needs some cohesiveness in design. Also, there were no activities or entertainment in the atrium area, as there are on many ships - and again, there was a modern light fixture/chandelier hung above the area, but the rest of the atrium looked more traditional. But, the "artwork" on the walls in our hallway was especially atrocious - it looked like prints that had been installed on the wall when the ship was built and never updated or changed since then, no matter what new carpet was put down, etc. Like prints my grandmother might have framed as "art" in her house. So, we could never get a handle on what the vibe of the ship was supposed to be, which has typically been pretty easy to figure out on any other ship we've cruised on. The exterior of the ship looked fine, to us, and the refurbished parts of the interior were also nice - but there was no consistency in decor, which just made it weird. The theater itself was more intimate feeling than other ships we've been on - not sure how many it seated, but we got good seats for the shows we saw, and had a good view of the productions. Unfortunately, the number of theater shows on this particular cruise was disappointing. We saw one production show with the onboard singers/dancers on night 2, and nothing afterwards. I found out on our last sea day that there were some technical and staffing issues with backstage/tech crew, which meant the normal shows could not go on - which was really disappointing for us, as that is one of the things we look forward to most on cruises - the onboard entertainment. They had also brought onboard an illusionist (who focused on sleight of hand magic) and a pianist/singer/comedian who was a very talented piano player. The illusionist did two shows one night; the piano player did two shows one night, and they did a show together one afternoon or evening (I think to make up for the lack of a second or third production show by the onboard singers/dancers). I am not a huge fan of either of their type of entertainment, but I went to the first magic show (he is very talented at what he does) and the first piano show (again, excellent pianist) but skipped their joint show - just didn't need to see more of either one. The first night we skipped the show in the theater - there was only one at 7 pm, and it was an introduction to Alaska preview (movie?) hosted by the cruise director. The fourth night was a BBC Earth movie about Alaska, with live music playing as accompaniment to the movie - again, only one show that night, at 7 pm. The fifth night was an EXC presentation about Iconic Whales of the Northwest - I think it was a talk by the cruise director - again we skipped it. So, this was, unfortunately, not enough "entertainment" in the main theater for us, and was a major disappointment. We barely heard/saw anything from the Cruise Director onboard. This has not been our experience with other cruises we've taken, so not sure if this is an HAL thing, or if it's just because he is new at the job & with HAL. However, the entertainment in the smaller venues was a highlight for us. The quintet that performed in the Lincoln Center Stage were all young people (20's or 30's) and very accomplished musicians. That small venue was full every time they performed, I think, and they also had a unique themed set of music for each performance - I think their performances were each approximately 45 minutes long (maybe an hour). The Billboard Onboard venue featured the "dueling pianos" concept which I love, and there were even some opportunities for sing-alongs with the crowd. I also liked those two performers and thought they were talented, as well. The BB Kings Blues Club was where we spent almost every evening - there was a great band in there, fronted by both a male and a female lead singer. We really enjoyed their sets, and cruisers were often dancing, too. However, the band themselves seemed to have a lot of technical issues with the sound techs - I think sometimes their monitors weren't working, sometimes a keyboard wasn't working, sometimes a mike or two wasn't working - they just seemed extremely frustrated with the tech crew. It didn't affect the sound quality/performance for the audience, fortunately. And, I know, from walking by in the afternoons, that the band rehearsed earlier in the day, so I'm not sure why the tech team couldn't get the sound right when it came to performance time. But, again, BB Kings was a highlight of entertainment for us on this cruise - we often stayed for all 3 sets they played nightly! For dining - we ate all but our first night's dinner in the Main Dining Room on the "Anytime Dining" program. We were fortunate to be assigned a table that was in the back of the dining room (so, at the back of the ship) with a gorgeous view of the wake of the ship out the huge window. It was a perfect location for us, and we had the same waitstaff each night, who were outstanding and remembered our preferences for drinks, etc. We thought the dinners in there each night were delicious, and had everything from apps through dessert almost every night. I would give the dining room 5 stars! We also enjoyed eating lunch either in the Lido (buffet) or out at the Dive In or the Taco Bar near the main pool. For some reason those burgers and fries just taste better than at home! In the buffet, they offer a pizza/pasta bar, as well as a custom made salad bar - which we chose several times - they prepare it for you, and then add the dressing and mix it up for you, if you like. There was also a dessert area that featured about 5-6 ice creams, frozen yogurts, gelatos, etc. per day, in addition to other individual dessert selections. We also ate breakfast in the Lido each morning, mostly because of the omelet stations - made to order omelets each day, along with many other buffet options (Eggs Benedict, etc.). Our first night, we decided to treat ourselves to the Pinnacle Grill at the special "first night" pricing (note, you need to book this in advance when you board - don't just show up for dinner there and expect to get the discounted price). Although my mother in law and I both had excellent dinners featuring perfectly cooked filet mignons, my husband's entire dinner there was a "fail". He had been wanting King Crab Legs forever, so went for that; but his crab was so awful that he asked to have it replaced with a filet mignon like we had. Then, they brought him his steak, and it was uncooked in the center - like not even warm. So, he asked for it to be cooked more, and they instead brought him a different steak (looked like NY strip) which was tough and overcooked. They also make a big deal about their lobster bisque, which features one tiny piece of lobster in a bowl, then poured over with the bisque - which, as my husband observed, tasted a little bit like gravy. But, the worst part of the meal was that our server was continually looking at other tables he was waiting on, even when he was taking our orders/serving us! And, he never really got the severity of how badly my husband's entire meal service was going. We asked for the manager, who tried to make up for it; but it couldn't really be saved, by that point. We got MUCH better service from our waiters in the Main Dining Room than we did in the Pinnacle Grill. Again, when we went on the Volendam 4 years ago, we had a lovely dinner in the P.C. with excellent service. so, this was a disappointment, and was the reason we couldn't give dining a 5 star rating. The only shore excursion we booked through HAL was in Skagway - the White Pass Yukon RR trip, because the train literally pulls up next to the ship for boarding. I'm not sure it was HAL's fault, but for some reason we had to stand outside for a very long time prior to boarding the train, which was sitting right there! And, each cruise ship is assigned cars, which are labeled for the guests to find! So, not sure why there was such a long delay getting us boarded onto the train and on our way. All other ports/excursions we did on our own. Other random observations: The Lido Pool (under the retractable roof) seemed to be filled with kids on our trip. If you are interested in a more adult pool experience, I would suggest signing up for the Spa experience and using the therapy pool in there - it looked lovely; wish I would have used it at least 1 day onboard! The America's Test Kitchen demos were held in the Blues Club and did have TV screens so you could see what the chef was doing. Unfortunately, there were only 3 demos; one on the first sea day, and two on the last sea day. I had the impression there would have been more. And, I thought the recipes selected were weird - one was Asian Dumplings; one was a take on Tomato Soup and (gourmet) Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I didn't get it...This was something my mother in law was looking forward to, and thought there would be more of throughout the trip. Based on the totality of this cruise, compared to other cruises we have been on (Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival) we probably would not choose to cruise on HAL again (unless it was on one of their newest ships - and not sure why we would choose them over any of these other cruise lines, anyway). Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I choose this 15 day cruise to get away from my regular daily life and it was great for that. 6 days at sea, including 5-6m waves for a couple days. The food ands staff was great as I remember it from my other HAL cruises. But the ... Read More
I choose this 15 day cruise to get away from my regular daily life and it was great for that. 6 days at sea, including 5-6m waves for a couple days. The food ands staff was great as I remember it from my other HAL cruises. But the Westerdam state of repair is sad. So many little things broken. Lights in public bathroom about to fall out, fan in elevator running at full speed as it is burning up (you could smell the plastic melting), hot bench in Thermal Suite out of order since February (3 months). 1 sauna not working at all, 1 sauna on its last leg, including a thermometer just wedged into mount and could have fallen during heavy sea and create tiny glass splinters, etc. etc. The central sound system for the Greenhouse Spa was also broken for weeks and so it was music everywhere or no music at all. This meant on one of massage I asked for music, but it was turned off 2 minutes later as someone else requested it to be turned off. I never was able to relax at all. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Never cruised with Holland And America before heard good reports. Ship size is good do not like really big ships. Cabin smaller than I’d expected. Dinning good had one very slow night put a comment ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary. Never cruised with Holland And America before heard good reports. Ship size is good do not like really big ships. Cabin smaller than I’d expected. Dinning good had one very slow night put a comment card in stating this and was always better after that. We found there are a lot of rooms and she’s on this ship not always being used to full potential. Entertainment on the main stage was average, BB Kings blues club the band and singers were very good, sometimes the band had solo spots which went on too long, only spent two or three occasions in here. Billboard on Board, two piano players and singers here Rachael and Ian very good spent every night with these guys, different era and type of music played each slot, they both had very good voices and soon became very popular. The only problem we found was when these guys had there well earned break nothing else carried on here to encourage people to stay for the next part of the evening, it was the same everywhere one slot finished that was it until their next slot came around. If it wasn’t for Rachael and Ian we wouldn’t have rated entertainment very high on this ship a lot of room for improvement. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
I booked this cruise mainly due to the itinerary it offered to East Asia, the brand of Holland America was the second reason. The Westerdam is a nice, clean and comfortable cruise ship and offered all the amenities that cruise lines ... Read More
I booked this cruise mainly due to the itinerary it offered to East Asia, the brand of Holland America was the second reason. The Westerdam is a nice, clean and comfortable cruise ship and offered all the amenities that cruise lines offer. I enjoyed the itinerary and all the ports visited. However, my experience of the Westerdam was a little disappointing and although the staff were polite and welcoming that really hid the lack of attention to detail and lack of service in some areas. Having spoken to a few guests who had travelled on the Westerdam previously it appeared I was not the only one experiencing a lack of service that would be expected on a ship of this calibre. Keeping it brief I experienced: A wait of over 20 minutes for food from the Dive Inn take-out only to find they had not switched on the little box that notifies you when the food is ready and then served me cold food. Having clothes returned from the laundry where on 3 occasions the clothes were not pressed or part pressed. For the whole cruise (apart form the last 2 nights after I had to highlight this to the waiter) I was not offered any alcoholic drinks with my dinner whilst watching other passengers arriving at their tables with wine, beer or soft drinks waiting for them. Whilst staff would acknowledge you with the obligatory good morning, afternoon or evening the Officers must of believed I was a member of staff because they were arrogant and rude on some occasions and this even includes the Captain who passed me one day and whilst I was attempting to see what his name was I got such a look of distaste, no hello or how can I help you. Being lied to by the EXC team (excursions) in regards to dis-embarkation resulting in many passengers paying $15 for a transfer when in fact there were plenty of options at the dis-embarkation port. The EXC team presented that taxis would be not available and even provided pictures of lines of people queuing for a taxi, there were lots of taxis on stand by! There were other little things which you normally brush off as 'oh well things happen' but a lot of these things add up and just highlighted the lack of control the management had on its staff and service suffered. First time on Holland America and not a good experience. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary included some places we had not yet visited. We chose a Signature Suite because it afforded more room for not a large premium. The veranda, although larger than many ships, was not important ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary included some places we had not yet visited. We chose a Signature Suite because it afforded more room for not a large premium. The veranda, although larger than many ships, was not important since the weather was too cold to sit out there for even a short amount of time. We were very pleased with our cabin choice (8053) as it was very conveniently located. The cabin had a bathroom with a double bowl vanity, shower stall and tub with shower. Unfortunately, storage space in the bathroom is poor and not very convenient to use. There was only one shelf under the sink, so storage could not be organized. Our two big disappointments were the food, primarily, and the entertainment and shipboard activities, but less so. The menu choices were not as good as we have had on Celebrity, which is a similarly rated ship. On several occasions, food had to be sent back because it arrived cold. Entree choices were somewhat limited; however, the entrees available every day could be substituted, although they were not always very tasty. Portions for the most part are skimpy. I ordered rack of lamb, one of my favorites normally, but was disappointed when the entree came with only 3 small pieces of lamb chops, totalling probably less than 4 ounces of meat. Skimpy was typical of most dinner entrees. Desserts always sounded better than they tasted. They too were skimpy most of the time. The entertainment that was brought onto the ship was fairly good, but shows were short, most of the time less than 45 minutes. The production shows were uninspiring and most of the time lasted only 30 minutes or so. One show was stopped with no explanation and was not finished. We suspected a backstage "event" had occurred - perhaps an injury to a performer. The B. B. King Blues Club was very good and the sing along piano bar, with two pianos and male and female vocalsts, was also very good. Programming on sea days was limited and uninspiring. There were computer classes that were 30 minutes long, but not all computers were connected to the internet, making some of the people unable to fully participate. The one enrichment speaker was very entertaining but he seemed to always run out of time and have to rush through his usually good talks. Overall, it was an average cruise at best. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We joined the Westerdam in Shanghai having spent a great week discovering the exciting city of Shanghai. This was my third HAL cruise so my expectations were high. Unfortunately it was very disappointing overall. As a plus Embarkation and ... Read More
We joined the Westerdam in Shanghai having spent a great week discovering the exciting city of Shanghai. This was my third HAL cruise so my expectations were high. Unfortunately it was very disappointing overall. As a plus Embarkation and disembarkation had improved from previous trips. Cabin was standard and clean. Meals were very ordinary and on multiple occasions came to the table cold. Many experienced mariners commented on the HAL deterioration in food/meals compared to previous experiences. Senior staff were informed on several nights but nothing was done. Entertainment by HAL troupe was geared to a younger audience ( screeching, loud nightclub type of music) whenost of the target audience were seniors. Several nights there were excellent classical and pop performers ( one Australian & one English). They made up for the other nights. Initially two nights In Seoul were scheduled but this was changed to one after we booked. Very disappointing. Shore excursions were expensive and most we could have organised ourselves for half the cost ( as we did with Beijing two day trip). I would hesitate to travel with HAL again. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was what we were looking for and the dates suited us. Let's start with the positives. The ship was clean and the staff were generally very good; some of them gave us exceptional service. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because the itinerary was what we were looking for and the dates suited us. Let's start with the positives. The ship was clean and the staff were generally very good; some of them gave us exceptional service. The cabin was very good as was the food on board. We ate in the both the Pinnacle and the Italian speciality restaurants and they were well worth the additional cost. We had one of the drinks packages and the choice of drinks was perfectly adequate, although it did make us smile when we saw the number of drinks priced at just over our $9 dollar limit. We booked an extra night in Singapore before the cruise and an additional night in Hong Kong afterwards and they were both excellent hotels. Having the additional time in the two cities added greatly to the overall experience. Our cruise was for 16 days, not realising there was an option for a further 15 days, but this was plenty and the itinerary was excellent. Both embarkation and disembarkation were very efficient and ran smoothly. We did 3 excursions booked through Holland America and they were very good although expensive (more on this later). Without a doubt the entertainment highlight for us was the Philippino Staff Show. It was excellent and this was reflected in the feedback from the audience. The other big plus was that we made some very good friends on board and we had a great time together. Now for the negatives: As I have said, we booked 3 trips through HAL but their trips were so expensive that we also looked at other options. We booked tours to Ho Chi Minh City and Hue through ShoreExcursions.Asia and they were top class and around half the price. We resolved to do our own thing at most of the stops and we were so glad that we did. It wasn't until we were on board that we found that at a number of the ports a free courtesy bus was provided to run guests into the city/beach. On most sea days, we were given a presentation by Jeremy about travelling independently once going ashore at the various ports and these presentations were excellent. I assume we were not told this in advance because HAL want you to but their excursions but the demand for the information was clearly illustrated by the fact that by the end of the cruise Jeremy was giving two presentations a day and the theatre was packed. The one trip we did do indepenedently that didn't pay off was at Sanya and this was through a Chinese Travel Agency and this was a disaster. What made it worse was that Sanya was one of the destinations where there was a free courtesy bus to the beach! We were also not told in advance about ports where tender transfers were required. This didn't concern us but would have been a real issue for those passengers with mobility problems. The clientale on the Westerdam were generally older and this was reflected in the entertainment and bar facilities that were provided. On other cruise ships that we have been on, the Atrium is the focal point of the ship but this was certainly not the case on the Westerdam. There were aslo a number of random bars and quiet rooms that we felt could be better used. Overall, the entertainment was not that good. The Request Shows by the pianists were a bit of a mockery as they actually played very few actual requests and the shows in the theatre were also nothing to get excited about. One big criticism of the Westerdam was that it was so cold onboard. Despite numerous complaints, this was never resolved. this was also the case with the unpleasant smell emanating from the toilets near the BB King Club. As I said earlier, we had a drinks package and whilst it was expensive, I'm glad we had it. We were told beforehand that a gratuities charge would be applied and this would have added up to $480. However, in common with a number of other English guests we filled the form in to say we would not be paying it and chose to tip those members of staff who served us well. Generally, the staff were very good but this cannot be said of the ship's officers who made little attempt to interact with us. Whether they were more welcoming to the American guests I don't know. Another excessive additional charge, which I understand is not just applicable to HAL, is the wi-fi. This is purely a money-making exercise and on sea days in particular the coverage was very poor. Overall, I very much doubt that we will be travelling with HAL again. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We've been on Holland American several times over the years. It was a far better cruise line before being acquired by Carnival. We were onthe old Niew Amsterdam and the newer one. We also cruised on Zandaam. Anyway, it seems to me ... Read More
We've been on Holland American several times over the years. It was a far better cruise line before being acquired by Carnival. We were onthe old Niew Amsterdam and the newer one. We also cruised on Zandaam. Anyway, it seems to me that most of the industry is dumbing downCruising is not what it used to be. Boarding was slow but OK. Our luggage arrived fairly quickly. Our cabin (8115) was tired and showed it's wear. There was no explanation of the shower fixture and one could easily get burned. For the first few days there was a burst of brown water with the first day's use of the shower. In our 15 days on the ship we had two toilet floods. The cabin was well cared for and the stewards were very pleasant. Our major disappointment was the food. The lido was standard fare with breakfast and lunch being average. The service was inconsistent. It was sometimes good and efficient and not so at other times. As the wait staff does the bussing this is probably a factor. Lunch in the dining room was pretty good although the last time we visited the pasta was inedible. We sat next to a table where there seemed to be no rolls for the hamburger that was ordered. The best I can do here is 3 out of 5. Dinner was truly a mixed bag. We ate there about 10 times. I had only one entree which I would rate as very good. The others were fair to good only. I usually didn't finish any of them. We used room service to start the day. One day we got 5 juices and no coffee. I think the extra 3 juices were delivered rather than the 3 cup coffee order. Another day we got no coffee although it was ordered. The breakfast service was always delivered on time We did not buy any of the ship's excursions although by using Cruise Critic we were able to enjoy some good ones. Skipping our first port Koh Samui Thailand was a major disappointment as we had planned to visit an elephant retirement facility. Skipping KS was not the ship's fault as there was a major storm Bangkok was OK and we stayed in a lovely downtown hotel. The river was a joy. Why we stopped in Sihanoukville Cambodia is a mystery to my. It is a dirty dusty port town with almost nothing to offer. The Chinese are developing it in a big way and my guess is that it will be the next Macau in 10 years. Right now it is the current Cambodia shanty town. Some suggested that the stop was to allow those who wished to visit Ankhor Wat. There has to be a better way to do this. It was an unnecessary and stupid place to visit. All of Vietnam was great and our visit changed my opinion of the country. Socialism and Communism seem to be working. Saigon and Halong Bay were knockouts. We bought private tours. A an aside HA (Carnival) charged $55 each for the Vietnam visas. The going rate for a multivisit Vietnam visa is $5. this is gouging I think, $50 pure profit There was a 1 hour bar happy hour each day. One can actually get two beers for about $9 (plus an 18% tip of course). Other second drinks are also $2 during the happy hour. The bartenders were great We did not attend any of the shows. The port talks were quite good. There was a speaker who gave very good presentations on Indochina and each country we were to visit. I think his name was Hicks. He was very good. He was one of the few ship highlights. I earlier mentioned the dumbing down of the industry. This is certainly true in the dress standards. In the dining room I was not always sure if I were on a 'cruiseliner' or at McDonald's. Enough said on that Sometimes one picks the ship and sometimes the itinerary. This time it was the itinerary. The ship was lacking. The best I can give Westerdam is a 3 out of 5. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ... Read More
First cruise with HAL after 3 RCCL we were wanting : 1. Fewer to no kids - more than we expected 2. Better service- good but no better than RCCL 3. Iternerary south east Asia - Awsome 4. Dinner guests - the best company ever. 5. Decor - a bit outdated in places but others were good like the exploration cafe the old crows nest. 6. Entertainment- average compared to RCCL but enjoyed BB. Kings 7.. Room attendants were attentive with the usual towel animals and lots of smiles but finding black hairs in the bath on arrival. 8. Food in main dinning was ok each night but the wording on the menu was not very clear. Some nights there was lots of differing flavours in each dish but the actual taste was a lttle bland. Many dishes could have been warmer. 9. Efforts for Christmas and new year were a little under whelming with no wow factor it was all ok but seems things had been tempered back compared to previous years after talking to regular cruisers. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not ... Read More
We had travelled as a family with HAL on 4 previous occasions. Always loving it however HAL lost some of their shine for us with this cruise. There appear to have been service / facility reductions compared to previous cruises. I am not sure if this is peculiar to the Westerdam or a trend for HAL. 1) No self service laundry any more - only valet service. 2) No separate disco anymore; has been converted into a games / TV area. 3) New Years Eve celebrations had been confined to Lido instead of multiple options across the ship. 4) The number of hand sanitizers around the ship were far fewer. 5) No prizes anymore for daily activities. 6) Trivia and happy hour no longer located on Observation Deck. No reason to go there any more. 7) Entertainers had far less interaction with the guests than previous cruises. I still rated the service aspect very highly for our cabin staff and waiters in the Main Dining Room. The food was excellent too. Embarkation and disembarkation was very smooth and efficient. The Visa costs for Vietnam and Cambodia added a lot to the cost of our trip. This was handled well by HAL but guests need to be aware of these charges before booking the cruise. On previous HAL cruises we have felt like Royalty. On this one, we felt like a number. I hope these reductions are only on the Westerdam but I fear it might be across the fleet? 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
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
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
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
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
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: 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
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
This was the only one that had a land package available with three days in Denali at the time we booked. We would have preferred a smaller ship. The ship had three maintenance issues during the cruise.The first was the PA system was ... Read More
This was the only one that had a land package available with three days in Denali at the time we booked. We would have preferred a smaller ship. The ship had three maintenance issues during the cruise.The first was the PA system was broken. The boat drill was a disorganized. Another was for, as the captain explained, to fix the breaks. The other would shut off the air conditioning for four hours (not a problem in Alaska). The restaurant served average bland food. When you order seafood, it is mostly foreign imports. The frozen fish and meat is standard fare. All is cooked to a bland person's liking. Nothing was savory of juicy. We tried the 3 "special restaurants", which were just as bland and boring. The Alaskan King Crab legs was the only locally sourced seafood I had, which was good, with a tiny amount of drawn butter. The side of creamed spinach was like baby food. I always had to ask for a take-up plate for shells and a seafood fork. You had to ask for salt and pepper also. They must have a shortage. The full service restaurant was not always available for lunch and if you did not make a reservation for the empty specialty restaurant, you would have to eat at the food toughs. My husband ordered a baked potato and he got a 1/2 of a baked potato upside-down on a plate. There are no rib eye steaks. The shore excursions were hit or miss. I would not do anything that involves a family style dinner or show again. Food was barely shared and you had to beg for someone to pass it down. This include dinner shows, wagon rides & ATV rides. The wagon and ATV rides are in the same place with two dirty outhouses to use without running water. We enjoyed the river rafting in Denali and the hike/canoe to the Davidson Glacier. The outhouses were the worst ever at the Davidson Glacier. The room where the enrichment talks was open to the Explorers' Lounge where there are bar blenders making noise for drinks and people milling about. The lectures were good and well worth going to. I found many of guests on this ship had a lack of manors, hygiene (using hand sanitizer at the restaurants) and talked in an "outdoor voice". We ended up catching a cold from a man who coughed directly on my head during a bus trip. I would go back to Alaska again because it is totally awesome. I just would not go on a large ship ever again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
This was our second Alaskan cruise. We chose this itinerary because we wanted to see Denali and then sail one way to Vancouver rather than just the Inside Passage. We had been on Holland America before on the Eurodam and had a great ... Read More
This was our second Alaskan cruise. We chose this itinerary because we wanted to see Denali and then sail one way to Vancouver rather than just the Inside Passage. We had been on Holland America before on the Eurodam and had a great experience. The Westerdam was not as nice as the Eurodam in terms of the ship's condition. We were expecting more after reading about the refurbishment of the ship. The second deck reeked with a sewage smell. It was the worst the first two days of the cruise before it got slightly better. In fact, it was so bad that we just avoided Deck 2 around America's Test Kitchen for most of the week. All in all, the cruise was great, but the ship's condition less so. Food was delicious on all occasions at all venues, and the servers were wonderful. If you have dietary allergies/needs, the servers and kitchen take very good care of you. In terms of the passengers, it was a much older average age than we were. That was fine for us as we didn't want a wild, nightlife. However, we were mostly to ourselves because of the age difference. Embarkation at Seward was horrendous. All the buses from Denali arrived at once, along with the train. So, almost all the ship's passengers arrived at once and overwhelmed the cruise terminal. This was extremely poor planning and made for a not so nice start to the cruise. All the terminal workers were friendly and made the best of a bad situation, but better planning by HAL was needed. Read Less
10 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
For perspective, we have cruised over 50 times starting in 1981 and are now in our mid 60’s. We are 4 star mariners with HAL and Elite with Princess. We have also cruised with celebrity, crystal, Oceania, Royal Caribbean and a bunch of ... Read More
For perspective, we have cruised over 50 times starting in 1981 and are now in our mid 60’s. We are 4 star mariners with HAL and Elite with Princess. We have also cruised with celebrity, crystal, Oceania, Royal Caribbean and a bunch of lines that have been incorporated into other lines. The great and good. We were impressed with the consistency of the quality of the meals in MDR. We were on select dining rather than fixed. At 7:15 we did not have any wait for a table for 4. We sat in a number of different areas and the service, both wine and dinner were consistent. No wrong steps if I asked the server what was recommended that evening. Wine service showed great improvement since last year. Stewards were knowledgeable and able to recommend comparable and complimentary choices. Very good job. Lunch in Pinnacle Grill is well worth $10 pp. excellent service and selection. The Dive in burgers and fries always good as is the use of pagers. We appreciate that there is no self serve in the Lido - food consistent again - enjoyed creating fresh turkey sandwiches when the carvery had turkey. Freshly prepared eggs, omelets in morning, fresh pasta bar at lunch. We did nit visit for dinner. The entertainment was good, not fantastic but good enough to sit through. The singers didn’t seem to have synergy which affected the performance notwithstanding good voices. I guess they didn’t seem to be enjoying their jobs. The classical quartet at Lincoln centre was excellent. The piano dual were extremely popular as usual. B.B. kings was same as always. Worth a visit. Our cabin service was excellent - the hair dryer “died” on formal night of course and we had a replacement in under 10 minutes. Darn good when he was rushing to get his turn down service completed for early diners. The ship was in good shape with the promenade deck chairs seeming quite new. Everything seemed to be in very good repair. Not so great and good. Having sailed on holland just 12 months previous, the increase in prices for drinks, happy hours, wine packages, wine tastings, sip and savour were surprising, not that there were increases but how large the increases were. Normally, price increases kind of sneak up on you, these increases slapped you in the face. Very limited daily programs - many days at sea and we expected to have morning and afternoon guest lecturers. Basically there was just not enough enrichment offered. It was a problem because we had very poor weather and a nasty Pacific Ocean — so with no library, no morning movies, no matinees at a convenient time yo7 were either forced to stay in your cabin to watch tv. I looked forward to trivia at 1:30 - hadn’t played before so that says something. Minimal inventory in the shops and no fun sales. Duty free was anything but with the prices exceeding what we would pay in a government liquor store. We bought vodka at Walmart in Honolulu and had it checked until we got home. Servicein pinnacle grill for dinner was not up to standard. We were seated at a table just outside the galley door at the service station for a large area. The back of the banquet we were seated a5 held the water jugs for the area. The wine server gave us a bit of snark for firstly not ordering wine off the pinnacle list (we had wine package) and our friends asked to have their bottle brought from diningroom. It arrived but then the steward divided the more than half bottle into their two glasses. It was the lady’s wine. And that was the last we saw of him. We still enjoy the formal night aspect of cruising and we don’t expect everyone else will but I don’t understand why some guests make no effort what so ever. I have never seen such a motley group of travellers. I guess I don’t understand the issue of a gentleman wearing a pair of slacks and a shirt and a lady wearing a sundress or pants and a nice blouse. Something you might wear to a church wedding or special dinner out. Undershirt style t shirts , perhaps not. It’s a part of the tradition. Lastly, and in my opinion only, cruise lines in general need to reassess their policies on tendering. The mobility challenged create an unreasonable risk to themselves, the crew, and other passengers. Our tenders were full of wheelchairs and walkers presenting a hazard should we needed to evacuate the tender., the crew basically are lifting a lot of people on and off. It is not fair to them particularly if there is an accident. And one guest died after falling while trying to get onto a tender. The tender ports are well advertised and it should be acceptable that walkers/wheelchairs and those requiring the same be denied tender service. Everyone knows upfront and may gear 5heir cruises to itineraries with no tendering required. It is just plain scary. An average experience . Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
WE decided to spare Captain Mark Rowden’s blushes. The gallant Yorkshire-born skipper of the Holland America Line’s Westerdam had probably had enough after his vessel was apparently, as the late Frankie Howerd might have said, ... Read More
WE decided to spare Captain Mark Rowden’s blushes. The gallant Yorkshire-born skipper of the Holland America Line’s Westerdam had probably had enough after his vessel was apparently, as the late Frankie Howerd might have said, verily thrice whupped by the Island Princess. Yet earlier, the Island Princess had been the butt of the jokes around his own ship. One of Westerdam lecturers was rash enough to show a map, pointing out: “The Island Princess had to go all the way round South America to reach Panama Canal. Yet it was almost on their doorstep in Fort Lauderdale.” But cliche though it might be ... it is still true that he who laughs last etc. So what happened? Well, the first hint of a reprisal came on the evening of March 16 when we were advised by a letter “there will be two ships in port and we will be sharing the same narrow pier to dispatch the tours”. Followed by a list of what NOT to do. So what happened? Although the Westerdam arrived first next day, the Island Princess had thoughtfully and craftily nicked all the best parking spots in advance for their tour buses in Puntarenas, Costa Rica. The net result was that our tour was dispatched 45 minutes late. The following day, on the run in to the Panama Canal, the Island Princess whipped past us like Lewis Hamilton overtaking a backmarker. This meant, of course, they were tantalisingly ahead of us all day during the passage itself. And all the while there was great honking and tooty fruiting of sirens from both sides. Don’t know enough about ship points scoring even after 20-plus cruises to judge who won that battle. They were at it again in Cartagena, Columbia, where the best someone could do in the face of taunts from the Princess vessel was a rather pathetic sign saying: “Our balconies are bigger than yours.” Which was, fortunately, true. We had sailed on the Island Princess in 2015. The morning after our departure from Cartagena was accompanied by one of those freak weather scenarios where the wind was blowing so hard that it felt as though our balcony door was permanently locked. It took a massive heave from one of our cabin stewards to force it open. The floor of the balcony was littered with bits of detritus, including a pair of knickers. That very same morning Captain Mark was giving a sort of “My Job” talk in the theatre, followed by a question and answer session. Given the proximity of our forward balcony position virtually below the bridge we wondered whether it might be prudent to ask him whether any of his crew might claim ownership of the said undergarment ... or alternately, know who the owner might be. Eventually, after a discussion, we decided to spare him any further embarrassment. The excursions themselves were generally acceptable with the exception of the first rather humble one in a very crowded and noisy Puerto Vallarta. But, annoyingly, all the guides insisted on leading from the front at a pace which would have made them genuine contenders for a 10km walk medal in the Olympics, completely ignoring the average age of their charges. We were reminded of that on the very first day when we entered the Lido Market casual dining area to be greeted by a flustered senior woman steward, busily mopping the floor with tissues and informing us: “Please be careful where you tread. A lady has just peed on the floor.” Or the couple who arrived an hour late for an excursion, blissfully unaware that the time had moved another hour foward the previous night. The ship travelled 4,301 miles from San Diego where boarding was amazingly rapid. Less than an hour after being picked up at our pre-cruise hotel we were in our cabin. Praise was slighly tempered when the ship departed an hour late without a proper explantion. The odyssey ended in Fort Lauderdale where chaos reigned supreme and we parked next to a building site. On the way we visited Puerto Vallarta and Huatulco in Mexico, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala, Corinto in Nicaragua, Puntarenas in Costa Rica, the Panama Canal, Cartagena (Columbia) and Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas, where we might have created a record by catching one ferry out and the next but one back. We admit we’re not beach people and there was no wi-fi on this private Holland America island. And talking of wi-fi ... we were sent pre-cruise data with their prices. The offer of $100 for 250 minutes seemed a fair deal but when we rang the desk to book it, we were told the offer had now been withdrawn. Yes. Thank you. Other niggles: Complete confusion over departure arrangements. We were sent Pink 1 luggage tags and told our approximate departure time. It was just as well we rang the information desk to check something. They then informed us we had been sent the wrong tickets. They should have been Red 1 and new ones were duly supplied with an apology and a different departure time. Plus note: We were were allowed to stay in our cabin and have breakfast there until we got the call. Departure from the ship was amazingly fast, too. It then took an hour to clear customs and and a further hour waiting in broiling sunshine for the coach to take us to Fort Lauderdale airport. Bad one Holland America! Good points: 1.) Sya, the ship’s towel folding star, and his mate Alan were our pleasant and capable cabin stewards. Hope they were happy with their tip. 2.) The courtesy throughout the ship was impeccable. 3.) Top-class live band in B.B. King’s theatre. Fair points: 1.) Entertainment quality rather mixed although we only once used those “bummer” seats next to the aisle in the Mainstage Theatre which enable people to leave without disturbance if the show is a bummer. 2.) We always eat in the Lido-style establishments. It’s quicker and there is a wider choice. It was on the whole, though, only marginally above average in quality. 3.) As so often happens on cruise ships, the temperature was far too cold in some places, particularly the Mainstage Theatre and some of the bars. *The ship was nicknamed the “Westerdram” by the heavier whisky drinkers in Gallery Bar. Not guilty, m’lud! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2018
We had not cruised with Holland America before so we gave it a try. The ship was quite, the bathroom was bigger than the shower rooms on other ships. There were no lectures or line dancing for my wife during days at sea which if it had of ... Read More
We had not cruised with Holland America before so we gave it a try. The ship was quite, the bathroom was bigger than the shower rooms on other ships. There were no lectures or line dancing for my wife during days at sea which if it had of rained there would not be much to do. The shows were not very good only the ventriloquist was worth seeing very funny. the food in the main restaurant in the evening was disappointing not much choice on the menu, the onion soup was disgusting. they only had one specialist coffee which was on deck 10 no coffee card. The on board shop was boring we had $300 dollar on board spend. The crew were excellent always polite and smiling. Very good embarkation/disembarkation but got us to the airport far too early 8 hour wait for our flight and 4 hour wait to book in. 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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