4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise ... Read More
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise North and Southbound on the Westerdam came by, we did not hesitate to book the cruise. However, what we experienced was far from our previous HAL experience. It was the total opposite that I am compelled to write this review. 1. Maitre d and Chef were unaccommodating to special requests unlike Niew Amsterdam wherein they were so pleased to fulfill any requests. The Lido servers in contrast were the friendliest and the only saving grace of this cruise. 2. Check-in was a pain. Their computer system had issues and therefore all the information I had filled in prior to the cruise was erased and had to be re-done. By the time we were assured that all information was complete and that both North and Southbound cruises were linked including our payment credit cards, etc, it was already over an hour. 3. Despite reassurances that all is well, when we got to immigration and looked at the key cards we were given, it said roundtrip FLL instead of Alaska! We did not even bother going back to queue again just to change our key cards- Florida it is. 4. The next day of our vacation, we were woken up very early at 6 AM! by incessant knocking on our door despite the privacy notice on our door. It was room service insisting we ordered breakfast at 6! We told him he had the wrong cabin whereupon he checked and he was indeed in the wrong cabin. Geez... 5. On several occasions, we tried calling reception for information; or room service; or anyone in the ship and we are always put on hold. When I asked other pax, I was told the same thing to the point we just give up and cancel the call. It really feels like the ship is short staffed! 6. Southbound: Well, despite reassurances during check-in, my key card no longer works. Security had a problem with it when I was about to leave the ship for a shore excursion- had to take photos again, etc. 7. After a long and very tiring day of excursion, the new key card I was given DID NOT WORK- NOT one time when I returned to open my cabin door, NOT the second new card, NOR NOT the third new card! Each time, I had to walk from my cabin down to reception and back 3x. All I wanted was to shower and sleep but with my key card not working, I could not get into my cabin. The cabin attendant felt so bad for me and he let me into my cabin. (Even the, I will still have to get a key card that works.) When finally a couple people from reception came up to the cabin, they key they brought with also DID NOT WORK. They wanted me to go down again and get a new key whereupon we requested that they are the ones who should bring the key up to us so they can also check if the 5th key card will work. NOT make me walk a 4th time roundtrip to their desk and my cabin. What if the 5th key also does not work? Walk roundtrip a 6th time?! This is a basic of CUSTOMER SERVICE. One should take care of the problem for the customer and not have the customer do the run around for you. 8. We waited a couple of hours whereupon I called reception to follow up (thank goodness someone answered the phone after ONLY 14 minutes on hold) and they said they will bring the key cards for both of us up. We had the PRIVACY PLEASE note on the door, but regardless, they knocked and despite our reply, they barged in anyway without waiting for us to say come in or go to the door. I was fresh from my shower and hastily had to dive into the bed for cover. 9. Despite all the issues with key cards, one would think there would be no other issues. However, the next day, I got a call from reception early in the morning to ask how I would like to pay for our account! I groggily informed the caller that they have my credit card all along since the Northbound trip and do not understand why they are waking me up for this information. But of course, system issues, bla bla, I later had to go down and given them the same credit card again. 10. Next day, guess what? Another early morning call. On vacations, we are hoping to sleep in and not wake up early-- after all, that is what we look forward to. This time the call was to ask if I was joining one of the excursions. Well, the excursion ticket was already delivered to my cabin a couple days prior so I am wondering what the question is all about. Turns out, they do not even know if I was going on the excursion or not when I informed them that they had already delivered my ticket! WHAT A MESS HAL's SYSTEM IS! 11. Did I mention none of their ship clocks on each floor on their stairwell work? Despite notices that the ship's clock would be one hour ahead or fall back for time changes, their clocks do not work.--- Not the entire 14 day cruise. The ship itself is good, facilities are well maintained by the crew. The cabins are good as well. Dining at Lido during lunch is a pleasure but dinner offerings are pretty much the same each night of the 14 days we took the cruise. With regards to information regarding wildlife, etc, I received far more information when we took the same North and Southbound Alaska cruise last year through Star Princess. To the point that other passengers followed me as I have a map from Princess showing waypoints where wildlife sightings are expected. I love wildlife and my hobby of photographing them calls me to cruise to Alaska each year. Next year, I will likely go back to Princess or try other lines for different ports. The saving grace as mentioned were the servers at the Lido including the Dive In personnel from the Philippines. They were most friendly and accommodating. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We chose this cruise primarily to visit Japan at a specific time of year.Now regretting choice of cruise line.READ on what to find out what you can expect. PROS. First of all the ship is clean although ageing. The signature suite ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily to visit Japan at a specific time of year.Now regretting choice of cruise line.READ on what to find out what you can expect. PROS. First of all the ship is clean although ageing. The signature suite we had was clean and comfortable although its furnishings were dated ,the sofa bed was also past its best. Crew and staff generally ok no problems. CONS (litterally in respect of wine package) Bottled water is available in your room at $5 dollars a bottle and on going ashore. .Reluctantly we purchased a signature drinks package ($1486 plus %15 service charge ).You have to buy 2 if you are in a two person cabin..The drinks package. allows you to get any wines on the wine menue at $9 dollars or under. However most of these are undrinkable and even then you only have two choices of a white wine or three of a red.Within a few days of sailing they even ran out of a cheap white leaving you no choice unless you paid an extra full price for a wine above $9.. One.,evening we were even charged full price for a higher priced glass of wine that we had paid extra for even though they had run out of it.( we were given a cheaper plonk in its place) .'In previous reviews it has been stated that the food in the Lido Market is cold , unapettising and very repetitive.Apparently on this ship it is difficult to keep warm so you need to go early to take advantage of the hot food at the start. OK if you like to eat early.In the evening by 8pm they are closing down.Having said that, after visiting several more times every hot item is almost cold A word of warning for those of you who want a spa bath. The water jets in the bath initially spewed out a torrent of dirty water leaving the bottom of the bath full of scumand slime..Advise you run it several times before use with soap. Internet cost $170 dollars for 14 days and is very slow. A bagfull of laundry cost $30 dollars. but came back clean and pressed within 24 hours..Apparently the self service laundry on this ship was removed several years ago .(presumably so that they can extort more money out of you).. All the above issues have been raised with customer services but the ship is what it is. One other thing that needs mentioning is that at 11pm at night save for a few areas the ship is like the Marie Celeste IT DOES NOT OFFER VALUE FOR MONEY AND WE WILL NOT SALE WITH HOLLAND AMERICA AGAIN Generally entertainment on the ship is ok ,the resident band is very good with no complaints.The service is variable.. depending on what part of the ship you are in.. We have not been on any excursions as we feel they are overpriced Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have previously sailed with P&O, Princess and APT. Embarkation was very crowded and took a long time. I don't understand why the times aren't staggered to prevent hundreds ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. We have previously sailed with P&O, Princess and APT. Embarkation was very crowded and took a long time. I don't understand why the times aren't staggered to prevent hundreds of passengers arriving at the same time. We chose a signature suite and paid the extra $$ for the larger cabin and the location on the ship. Our expectations were a lot higher than what was delivered. We were very disappointed when we entered the cabin because it had a filthy odour and was very worn and used looking. Certainly not up to the standard of previous suites we have stayed in. Not a good start to the holiday! I cannot fault our room stewards because they can only work with what they are given. We prefer to have a more relaxed holiday and not do a lot of fine dining, so we only visited the dining room a couple of times. The food was OK but not remarkable. The drink service was very slow. The food in the Lido dining area was very repetitive. However, I did like the idea that we were served by the staff so that it wasn't a buffet type area. However, there seemed to be a problem with the food as my husband and I had gastrointestinal problems twice. The 2nd bout was definitely from the food eaten on the ship as we had not been onshore, so I am also attributing the 1st bout to that as well. It was not the norovirus because ours responded to antibiotics. We could not fault the Doctor or the medical staff. From our observation it seemed as if a lot of passengers were experiencing the same problem as we were. We also noticed that the hygiene was not up to health standards as far as passengers sanitising their hands before entering the dining areas. On previous cruises there are staff allocated to the entries to make sure that everyone who enters the dining areas are given the hand sanitiser. The entertainment on the main stage was very poor. The corridor leading to the mainstage and the BB kings bar emanated a very unpleasant odour. I had been told that it had been reported but nothing was done to alleviate the problem. We found the gratuities charge was not worth the value that was being charged. As did many other passengers, we also chose to opt out and decided to personally pay staff that served us well. The beverage packages need to be reviewed. It is completely unreasonable that everyone in the same cabin has to have the same beverage package. The tour desk weren't fully informed about certain aspects of different ports. e.g. not informing passengers about shuttle services at different ports. Disembarkation was a disaster! If you are disembarking at Kai Tak terminal do not take any notice when the tour staff produces photos of long queues and saying there will be no taxis available. We were told that it was too far out of town for the taxis to come. We were then offered to be transferred by bus for $US15 to the airport express station in Hong Kong. BUT surprise, surprise, as we exited the terminal at least 50 taxis were waiting. We then had to walk at least a kilometre to a bus that didn't have enough storage space underneath for the luggage. SO we were packed into the bus with the excess luggage piled on top of one another on the seats. A very dangerous situation if the bus had to brake suddenly! HOWEVER, it only gets better!! As the bus was driving to the station the luggage door on the outside of the bus opened and luggage spilled onto the road. NOT happy travellers! Another example of the tour staff being out of touch with what is available at terminals. Or is it just so they can fill the buses?? Surprisingly there was a survey waiting for us when we returned home. We truthfully answered all of the questions. However, it seems they choose to ignore unfavourable feedback as we have not had a response from them. Our advice if you are considering cruising on Westerdam…… 1. DON'T waste your money. There are so many nicer ships to holiday on. 2. Take plenty of immodium with you. ( prescriptions are extremely expensive compared to Aussie prices ) 3. Have travel insurance. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
I only awarded two points to Westerdam on the 31-day cruise because what little they did well should be expected on a cruise ship of their category, there were many things wrongly done and mishandled by their officers and after many ... Read More
I only awarded two points to Westerdam on the 31-day cruise because what little they did well should be expected on a cruise ship of their category, there were many things wrongly done and mishandled by their officers and after many passengers complained in an consistent manner, They tried to improve absolutely nothing. Other passengers claimed that these problems arise from previous cruises in Westerdam but there is not the least concern for an improvement. What they did well and should be expected: 1.- In my case I did not have any problem in the room. It was noted its continued use for a long time, but had no problems. There were many plumbing problems in other people's cabins. 2.- The dinners in the formal dining room were not very good on most nights, although sometimes the service was very slow. 3.- Protection of passengers in the sense of fumigation of the room and fumigation of the dining room when there was an incident in that area. 4.- The attention in the room was always good. The efforts of waiters in the main dining room also. 5.- Pianists in Piano Bar were good and did their best effort. 6.- Invited artists were good: The violinist Mackay and singer from England. 7.- We chose this boat basically for the itinerary and we had the great opportunity to visit many countries. Offered tours were good but expensive. What I did not find in Westerdam and I have seen and enjoyed in other lines of the same level: 1.- There was no music in the ship, it was a cruise that seemed dead. In other vessels the atrium is the central point of activities for passengers. There were no activities in that area and there were zones of the boat that were not used at all, they were wasted. In other lines I enjoyed excellent music at the pool (before noon), during lunch, in the afternoon at the pool, before dinner in the atrium and many people danced, after the night show and after dinner and until after midnight at the disco. I do not talk about cruising for young people but for seniors. 3.- If my husband bought a package of beverages, I should buy the same and for health reasons, I should limit my consumption of alcohol. We do not buy it. 4.- They do not have musical groups of 3 or 4 people as in other lines that make the ship happy with music and songs. The dance group was without energy, tired, not wanting to work, Their scant and mediocre presentations were 30 minutes ....... Incredible !! They did not have choreography to make their presentations. The choreography was bad and minimal. 5.- The officers did not have the capacity to solve problems. Passengers talked to them and they were slow in resolving matters ..... without results. 6.-The tendering was a disaster in the first port in Thailand. At least 700 people got soaked in water for an hour and a half and the officials did nothing ... They looked at each other's faces and put the blame on the port authorities. In the second tendering there was 600 people waiting for an hour and a half on the boat trying to leave. There was good sunny weather and no wind. I heard in the night that it was said that the sea was rough and the wind very strong and therefore it was impossible to do a normal tendering. Similar situation occurred with the courtesy buses for 2000 passengers. They appeared 3 buses of 70 passengers each one and then ............. to wait another hour to see if the transport arrived. The responses of Holland America ........ NONE. 7.- The food in the LIDO was of medium quality for bad. And the fact that we have to wait for the employees to serve delays the process further. In my opinion food has no creativity or energy to create it. The Italian food area always has too much salt. I am a person who likes cooking and knows how to prepare it. Cutted Small cakes make them dry in a few minutes. It is the same with fruit or cheese served in small plates. 8.- Officers did not do the minimal effort to interact with passengers only to fulfill their duties. What a difference with Officers in other cruises 9.- I saw cruise directors with a lot of energy and personality that irradiate happines and energy to passengers. It was not the case in Westerdam The cruise director did not motivate anybody for the daily activities. 10.- Horrible odor in the halls close to B B Kings. It seems that below that area accumulates all the waste of the ship. The captain was informed at the beginning of the cruise WITHOUT ANY RESULT. 11.- The only place to dance after 10 o'clock at night was BB kings, where the musicians and entertainers never connected with the public. In addition to the terrible smells. The only thing that remained after dinner and going to the piano bar was going to sleep. Other passengers informed me that the option to dance after dinner was eliminated to create .......... A COFFEE BAR on the 10th floor ?. Who takes these decisions ???? I will recommend HAL to friends and family? DEFINITELY NOT!! Will have another cruise with HAL? NOT!!! Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2018
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we wanted an Asian experience and it fitted the dates we could travel. Overall the ship is tired, but in saying that it is clean and well presented. Before we booked I read that the ship had had a make over recently. This is not true. Only one place had been done up and that is what used to be the Crows Nest Bar. It is now a coffee lounge and the EXC tours are run from there. According to the crew (spoke to many) it used to be the best place on the ship. Its now just a boring coffee lounge. The whole ship is badly designed from other cruise ships we have been on. There is lots of wasted space, and the ship is a rabbit warren. It took us until day three to work out our way to navigate around the ship (usually only takes a couple of hours). The Food was really really bad. The Lido was badly organized and unless you walked in there at opening, it really did just look like a pig trough. We had open seating in the dining room, but never got a chance to use it. The reason for this, is that every time we went down to the dining room, there was over an hour wait for a table, so in the end we just gave up and went back to the pig trough. We are fully aware that this was an Asian cruise, but we were not expecting the amount of Chinese that there were to be on board. The ships holds approx 1900 passengers. 1400 were Chinese. HAL is traditionally a cruise line that supports the western market so it was a shock. The cultural divide was immense. Even the crew really really struggled with it. The Chinese don't drink alcohol, so the bars were always empty. So there was no atmosphere at all. The Chinese didn't understand the traditional activities and entertainment on board provided by HAL, so didn't go or would walk out half way through a performance spoiling the show. Also the Chinese do not believe in queues or lining up. It was just barge on through. Probably why the Lido looked like a pig trough most the time. It was also a nightmare getting off the ship. Once again the Chinese would just barge on through. There is a huge cultural divide there. HAL has every right as a company to target the Chinese market, but they should not do it at the expense of their traditional market. The first 4 ports we went to were great, Japan and Taiwan, but Manila was a hell hole. I really cant understand why any cruise ship company would want to go there. On the tour we did, it took us 2 1/2 hours to travel 8 miles through the traffic. There was no toilet on the bus and my partner was seriously considering using a bottle at the back of the bus. The only major positive from the ship was our state room. Though dated, it was comfortable and had all the facilities we needed with our state room attendants being fantastic. Maybe on a different cruise it would have been better, but I do not think I will sail again on HAL in the future. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for ... Read More
We chose this cruise to visit most of the ports that I had never visited before. Therefore 1st remark, Cruise says it stops in Bangkok, but Bangkok is 3 hours away by car. Had to group together with others and still paid $100 for 2 for the round trip. Was very disappointed by Bangkok and would have prefered to have spent the day in Pattaya, which was right next to the ship. We visited Pattaya the second day, by ourselves, by taxi which is inexpensive $75 for 2, private tour all day. We booked for our selves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. Cambodia is really a surprise and we cannot understand why it is even a stop on the route. Its dirty and poor, the taxi cab drivers or tuk tuk drivers throw them selves on the shuttle bus that takes you into town and most of the people on the bus refused to get off. There is NOTHING there, a big dirty market, no bargains,, same products as found everywhere. A waste of time. We booked ourselves the elephant ride, and the floating village tour. The ship itself, is old and they may say its been refurbished or renovated but where? The fitness club?? The entertainment was non existant. Even the cooking show that they seem to think is the main theme of the cruise was not allowed to give out any food as it was located in the same room as the night club so didnt pass health inspection, If thats the case, move the night club!! The only saving grace we had was that the movies which were free in the cabin for all and they had a lot of them and newer films. Thank goodness. Remember every other day is a sea day!! HAL wants to attract a younger crowd, I really dont see it happening!! The only good show they had was the 2 comedians, and I heard they had played a few extra days as the dancers all got sick. What a break for us. The singing and dancing team looked like amateurs out of high school, certainly no extra money was spent on good entertainment. The one good thing they did have onboard was the guest services crew and the excursion crew, that really didnt push the excursions and were available for advise in all the ports. That was very helpful. The suite we stayed in is very large and agreeable, so is the balcony. It was our first trip on Holland America and hopefully our las and we are very seasoned travelers. the problem is the cruise started off badly as I had booked the trip one year in advance and by the time the date for the trip came around they had lowered the price for the balcony room that we choose down $1140 for 2 of us, I of course complained immediately, I wanted the money difference back but to no avail. They made me a deal to up grade me to a suite at a discount price. I received $200 onboard credit, thats it. Why bother to book in advance!! Never again. If you book this cruise with the same ports, be aware there are free shuttles at a lot of the stops into town, to save you money. You can book most everything in advance on line without the high excursion prices that the ship offers. We took a junk cruise at Halong in Vietnam, it was fun, though it rained, I had booked this myself problem was the tour company didnt give a very good address or directions so with the taxi it was a little difficult to find the correct port as that is the main activity to visit the beautiful Halong bay. We took a luxury cruise which was maybe $20 more per person but it certainly had better quality food and some extras. Booked thru Classy Travel online beforehand, would definitely recommend them. For all additional info or tips send me an email I will be happy to answer all questions. Vickiducanois@gmail.com Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done ... Read More
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done something slightly different: change in port Skagway to Sitka, change in glacier, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm/Endicott. Embarkation took about an hour, there were only 2 ships departing on the 23rd (Westerdam and Noordam). We have experienced longer. They had more lines moving and sorted out passengers better than on previous trips. Luggage was in the cabin when we boarded. Disembarkation was quick. Since our last trip HAL has changed the way things are done. We chose our timing to go with the pick up time for our bus back to the island. We waited in the cabin until our color was called and then headed for the gangway. We took all of our luggage with us this time. Customs took about 30 seconds as I had the form fully completed. The ship: Well maintained. The crew: Excellent. We are still trying to figure out how the cabin stewart knows we are out, we have only caught him in the cabin once and that was because we came back for something. The entertainment and activities: Very good, this trip we had a comedian and a magician. The HAL dance crew were fun to watch. We love to play trivia (music and other), there were several times available and we hit most of them. The ECO talks that we got to were informative, wish they could have done them more than once on the trip as we found there were conflicts with other activities. Captain Mark did a talk about his duties and how the ship runs, very interesting. It was also his birthday that day so the entire audience sang to him, then the cruise director and some of the officers presented him with a gift. His slide show of the bridge was hijacked by the CD and pictures of Capt Mark were inserted into the show. Lots of fun and he took it well. He is very well liked by the crew. Dining: The main diningroom was excellent, we chose anytime dining so we didn't sit at the same table twice so didn't get the same waiters. I booked each morning once we had looked at the daily activities and the menu and was successful in getting a table for 2 each time. The Lido was a bit of a disappointment. The menu was varied, lots of choices and the servers were very nice and helpful. The downfall was the temperature of the food. We found the entrees lukewarm at best. So to get hot food we ordered made to order omelettes or other made or order items for breakfast. Lunches we did the same. The Dive-In was excellent as usual. Love the dive-in sauce for the fries. Really like the taco bar. Ports and excursions: Juneau was wet, only rainy day tho; not bad for the end of September. We did the Alaska Brewing Company tour on our own, always a good time. Went to the library to get the wifi to check email. Skagway was fairly warm. We did the HAL excursion to Dredge Town. It is a little cheesy but the PUPPIES were fun; they made the excursion worth while. Tracy Arm/Endicott. We couldn't get as close to the glacier as we wanted as there was a lot of ice in the way; some of the ice was as large as a semi trailer. We were still able to see the glacier with binos. The trip in and out was beautiful. First time we had seen Endicott. Ketchikan. It WASN'T raining!! :). We didn't get to go up the funicular as it was down for repairs. We did go on a non-HAL excursion just a quick city highlight with a trip out to the fish spawning grounds. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we did. Having sailed 5 or 6 times before on HAL, we were shocked and disappointed by the food, the lack of entertainment and many amenities that once were included that are now nickle and dime you to death. All of the excursions are nearly double or more than what you can book them for online yourself. The cruise itself was fine. Glacier Bay was amazing. The amenities, food, and entertainment on board were way below our expectations and experiences on other cruise lines. This includes HAL cruises in the past were much better. The HAL hotels they put you up in while doing the Land part of Alaska are below sub standard. Dirty and musty smelling Westmark in Fairbanks. Complained to front desk twice and even call Joanna Reinard (HAL cruise consultant) and wasn't even acknowledged. No amenities included in the Land Portion. Hotels do not offer coffee. You must buy every cup at 4.00 plus. No continental breakfast anywhere on the Land portion. There were more negatives, but this gives you an idea. This was our Last trip with HAL. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2018
We were advised that Holland America was the only way to cruise. This is a smaller ship which was just what we wanted and the Panama Canal had been on our bucket list for some time. We extended our cruise up to Vancouver bringing it up to ... Read More
We were advised that Holland America was the only way to cruise. This is a smaller ship which was just what we wanted and the Panama Canal had been on our bucket list for some time. We extended our cruise up to Vancouver bringing it up to 19 days in total. The crew were the best we have ever encountered on any cruise line and couldn't have been more helpful and friendly. Unfortunately the ship disappointed right from embarking in Fort Lauderdale. The first thing we noticed was the rust all round the glazed areas, not just the usual mooring scrapes that all ships suffer. The floor of our veranda was rusted and pushing up the non slip surface. Hand rails in corridors were falling off, the thresholds at fire doors were sticking up and frequently caused people to trip. Sections of the decking were either rotting or the steel floor beneath was rusting away. Deck furniture had wonky arms and legs though in fairness some of them were replaced during our journey. The wash basin in our cabin was badly cracked, the shower leaked and ran out on to the floor. The silvering was fading off the mirrors. General maintenance appeared to be virtually nil, even down to simple things like faulty lighting. Wall coverings were worn and shabby. The overall appearance of the ship was of a one time grand old lady in her death throes and her owners were not prepared to spend any money on maintaining her. Virtually every passenger complained about the cold in the public areas. Passengers would sit in the stage and bar areas with pullovers on and rugs around them. The food was excellent with a very good menu and was very well cooked. Unfortunately it was always cold by the time we were served and this was exacerbated by serving on cold plates. This would have been a wonderful cruise if it had been run by anyone other than Holland America. They couldn't even be bothered to clean the glass on the observation deck so the passengers could see the Panama Canal. This was despite their being a decked access area directly below it. They ask you to tell them about your experience so they can improve it yet they don't even offer an excuse never mind correct the problem. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
14 of us book a cruise from our bridge club. We notified HAL we needed a table and bridge supplies and they said "no problem" Had we known they wouldn't supply anything we could have brought our own stuff. This where the bad ... Read More
14 of us book a cruise from our bridge club. We notified HAL we needed a table and bridge supplies and they said "no problem" Had we known they wouldn't supply anything we could have brought our own stuff. This where the bad started. LIES, LIES, LIES after they get you money your just screwed. At one point of the cruise at port the closed the kitchen for hot foods saying the power went out. MORE LIES. There was hot food available for people willing to pay extra. The port times were really short and to far away from most things. Best way is to buy the excursion from the ship and shop on the internet before you go. They DO guarantee price matching. It was by for the best part of the cruise. Sad to say. The entertainment was crap. A talking dummy, ventriloquist. That's the best they could do. One night they even made the crew put on a show. SAD The pool in the back of the ship often got blasted with black blobs burnt oil from the diesel engines. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff and stateroom service is great. No issue there. The ship interiors are nice enough for a mid-size, middle budget cruise line. Where they miss it is food. The worst meals I've ever had. Tasteless. No flavor. I don't believe they even use basic salt and pepper as a seasoning. Truly awful food. The entertainment waivered. The singers and dancers we're about a inch better than watching grammar school kids put on a show. I was actually embarrassed for them. No talent. However the string quartet was fabulous in the Kennedy Center Stage. That was a real treat. I enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen too. Very clever. All the rest were God awful. The staff who run the excursions are ill informed and very unprofessional. I'd fire all of them starting at the top and start over. They contradicted themselves, didn't know, or even attempted to find out if you asked them a question. Terrible. I'll never cruise on HAL again. Even if it were free. Life's too short to waste time on crappy experiences. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2017
My wife and I have done numerous cruises of varying durations over the years. Our experience a few years ago on HAL Nieu Amsterdam was very positive so we confidently booked a balcony suite on Westerdam for a 24 night back to back cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have done numerous cruises of varying durations over the years. Our experience a few years ago on HAL Nieu Amsterdam was very positive so we confidently booked a balcony suite on Westerdam for a 24 night back to back cruise recently. The best description of the ship I can come up with is boring. We were so glad that this was not our first cruise experience because, if it was, we would have never set foot on a cruise ship again. The Positives The itinerary was very good with interesting ports and we found our cabin roomy and comfortable. Housekeeping staff were good however we have had better. The Negatives The entertainment on the ship was lacking in all respects. Three piano players, a string Quartet and a Blues Club that was good once or twice but not every night. There were acts on the main stage most nights. Being a back to back passenger we basically got the same shows repeated on the second leg. Same jokes etc etc. ....Boring! Navigation Deck is extremely noisy. Furniture on the deck above is dragged around day and night and we were frequently woken by the rumbling noise when the roof over the pool was closed or opened. The dining room food is reasonable but lacks variety and this only gets worse in the Lido Buffet. Quite often I saw empty trays in the buffet where on previous ships the trays were changed well before getting anywhere near empty. The Lido could be best described as a department store cafeteria that you would find in any big city. Visiting once or twice would be fine but not daily for 24 days. Activities around the ship are kept to an absolute minimum and sail-a-way parties and theme nights with entertainment non existent. There is no way I could give this ship a pass nor could I recommend it to future travellers however I am sure the quiet ambiance of the ship appeals to some people. I feel it is probably best suited to elderly passengers who are not after nightlife, are happy curling up with a good book and prefer their food a little less adventurous. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
We had the signature suite Deck 6 Sailed 24 July -4th August Pros The staff dining staff were exceptional, they went over and above to please you. The drinks staff were polite but you got the feeling they were there to push sales. ... Read More
We had the signature suite Deck 6 Sailed 24 July -4th August Pros The staff dining staff were exceptional, they went over and above to please you. The drinks staff were polite but you got the feeling they were there to push sales. Good selection of movies and TV Shows which were available on demand and free. Cons It's a really boring ship....nowhere to have fun. Even the BB Kings lounge music was more about the band enjoying there particular taste in mellow music rather then getting the passengers up to have a dance. I would suggest that if you are between 25-55 yrs you were unlikely to have any significant nightlife at all. Nothing to enhance the sail away experience....no music (or God forbid a live band), and only once did I see canapés being offered by one steward. On the back deck And Lido bistro the music was on a repeat sequence which only lasted at best 45 mins so you heard the same songs and music time and again. The EXC Tour talks should have been broadcast directly into the state rooms. You could not access your stateroom account via the TV. Only via the mobile phone app. The food was repeated every 12 days so if on a 24 day cruise you would get the same menu again. The cabins were not cleaned well and twice cleaning cloth was left in our room. I agree with a previous reviewer that the norovirus cleaning of the stateroom was completely laughable.......nothing was moved from the bench tops in our room. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2017
I just got off the ship from a 12 day cruise. I was disappointed as there was no on board things organised, nothing to do, the food was average, the lido deck where the Buffett was had the same food it was tasteless and tasted the same ... Read More
I just got off the ship from a 12 day cruise. I was disappointed as there was no on board things organised, nothing to do, the food was average, the lido deck where the Buffett was had the same food it was tasteless and tasted the same the restaurant food was average, you had to pay to use the da spa this should be free it was a let down for me I couldn't wait to get off the ship. The excursions were very expensive, the cruise director never had any interaction with guests we never saw her there was boring entertainment and sometimes there was none at all. The cruise director should organise activities, the food should be varied and available all the time, there should be more on board activities and interaction. The excursions should be cheaper. There was no captains dinner, there was no dinner highlights... eg Hawaiian nite. Read Less
16 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
We wanted a cruise that visited the ports of Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona and this one fit the bill. The ship was disappointing - we sailed on the Royal Princess last year and that was a far superior experience in every sense. The ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that visited the ports of Venice, Dubrovnik and Barcelona and this one fit the bill. The ship was disappointing - we sailed on the Royal Princess last year and that was a far superior experience in every sense. The onboard experience was dull and uninspiring from the shops to the entertainment and the food. The excursions that we organized externally were great and the people that we met lovely. There was a norovirus outbreak and a lot of the passengers were affected and I was one of them. I felt that the ship gave lip service to the sanitization or perhaps it was just our sanitation crew.I had to ask them the wipe down the tables etc which was done half heartedly. I did not see the cleaning of the lifts and public stair rails and doors like the Princess staff did regularly. The food was boring with little change to the menu for the 24 days. I have never had chicken cooked so badly I tried it a few times but it was like chewing cardboard. We tried to have breakfast on the aft deck a few mornings but this was overtaken by smokers. We had issues with our cabin airconditioning 4 times and we even tried to sleep on the balcony to get away from the roaring noise of it. The toilet over flowed twice. The fridge did not work but they were insisting that it did - I had to ask them to bring a thermometer in to prove it to them that 55 degrees was not cool enough. The only saving grace with the ship was the staff they were lovely, courteous and friendly. We did receive 2 x $100 beverage vouchers which was a nice gesture but I would much rather have had peace and quiet and been able to sleep. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) ... Read More
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) Doesn't have a dance club or a place for dancing. 2) 24 days and we only enjoy two shows. 3) The entertainment is only for older adults doesn't have dancing music, karaoke or any other kind of entertainment. 4) The gym is a joke, too tiny and close too early. 5) Only have 12 days variety of food. 6) The sports desk is too limited and only have two ping pong tables. 7) I try to organize a dancing space but the entertainment director was very rude. 8) The sauna is so tiny that only have space for two people and close early. 9) No free steam room, you need to pay for thermal pool package that it is not worth it. ($149 for single person, $299 for couples for 12 days). Read Less
26 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of ... Read More
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of expectations in terms of customer service and dining. We had a truly awful experience on our cruise from Venice in early May, and based on this experience would not choose Holland America again. Embarkation was quite easy in Venice. However, I should point out that we had a baby with us, and we were therefore expedited through and placed within boarding group 1, so we boarded rather quickly and without issue. From what we heard from other fellow passengers, our experience was not the "norm" for that day, as many folks stated their experience in the groups behind us was truly disorganized, slow, and painful. It should be noted that it was unclear as to whether Holland America or the local authorities were responsible for that pain, but what is clear is that Holland America clearly wasn't front and center to assist. The fun began the instant we walked onto the ship. With our stateroom keys in-hand, we went straight to our cabin so that we could drop our carry-on bags and start to get settled. Unfortunately, we discovered our stateroom keys were not functional, and when we went to the Customer Services desk, we asked if they could re-issue our keys since they weren't working. To my amazement, the person at the desk rudely snapped back and stated: "well, I don't know what is wrong with your keys. They should be working. Please go back and try again." Astonished at this response, I stayed put and reminded her that we had just been "trying again" at the door for over 10 minutes, and they needed to fix the situation. FYI, this theme of Customer Service not taking responsibility will be consistent throughout this review. The woman then decided to take my keys and attempt to reprint them, only to find that her machine at the desk was not working and could not print new keys. She then told me to sit in the lounge area while she tried to fix the situation. Over the course of 30 minutes, several other cruisers came to the desk with the same situation, and once the desk realized this was a systematic issue, they clearly started a triage type arrangement to deal with it. Unfortunately this meant that all of us had to hang around the lounge for over an hour until Customer Service realized they could start letting people into their rooms via the master key cards the Stewards have, at least allowing one-time access to the rooms for everyone. It ended up that 75% of the people on that cruise suffered from the systematic problem with the keys, and it took over 5 hours for it to be completely resolved, with people being forced to hang around the lounge area to receive keys in lieu of enjoying the amenities of the ship. Not once did we get an apology for the situation, only stressed out Customer Service agents literally tossing the keys to us when they were ready. Then there was the baggage situation. Most cruisers know to expect it will likely be a couple of hours before bags start to arrive at staterooms. However, at the 5 hour mark, we started to question what was going on, especially considering the keys fiasco. Once the Customer Service desk had thinned out from the key situation, I walked over and simply asked if they knew the status of the baggage and when they expected the delivery of all bags to complete. The reply from the person at the desk, yet again rude, was: "how should I know?!?!". The Manager standing behind her must have seen my facial expression, as he quickly jumped to push her aside and calmly state that they expected all bags to be delivered within the next 2 hours. That's how it should have been handled to begin with, and I certainly did not appreciate the tone of that Manager's staff through the first 5 hours of the cruise. All of the other cruisers I spoke with during that period, and throughout the entire cruise as it turns out, had the same feedback about that desk. On to the dining experience. I've had airline economy class food and service that blew these guys out of the water. Our first experience was with in-room dining. Our infant daughter had fallen asleep, and my wife was looking for a solution to grab some dinner without waking her. My wife decided to walk to the Customer Service desk down the hall (already on edge from our previous CS Desk experiences), and ask them if they could help her order "in room" dining, but have the food delivered to the lounge area instead of the cabin so as to not wake the baby. Happily, they actually jumped in and helped her, assuring her that the order was placed and specific instructions had been provided to the dining service to deliver to the lounge and not to the room. 1.5 hours later, the food had not yet arrived, so my wife went back to the desk to ask about status and to confirm again that the food would not be delivered to the room. They assured her it was coming soon, and it definitely would not be delivered to the room. 20 minutes later, I received a giant series of thumps on the cabin door, followed by "in-room dining!". Our daughter was instantly awakened and scared, so she of course began to scream out. I couldn't believe it, so I picked up my daughter and opened the door to find the dining guy standing there with a tray of food. I demanded to know why he was here and not at the lounge down the hall with my wife, and he just shrugged and left the food on the floor. No apology of any kind. I ran down the hall with my screaming baby, collected my wife from the lounge and we all headed back to the room to calm the baby and allow my wife to eat after nearly 2 hours. As it turned out, the order was incorrect and wife received nothing that she had ordered, and the ticket on the tray clearly indicated "DELIVER TO CS LOUNGE. BABY SLEEPING. DO NOT DELIVER TO CABIN". Once the baby was down, I went straight to the CS desk to inform them of the situation and demanded to speak to the Dining Manager. The desk agents just stood there and looked at me stunned as if they had no idea of how to handle the situation. One went and got the CS Desk Manager, so I got to re-explain the situation again, and again ask to speak to the Dining Manager. The response I got was: "the dining manager is very busy and not available. I will send him a message regarding the error. Have a nice night". No apology, no resolution. Simply amazing. The next night, we decided to try a different approach. During our appointed dining room seating, we all went up to the dining room. The baby was fussy, so my wife decided she would order, and then ask the dining room to send the food straight down to our cabin, prior to our baby going to sleep. The waiter happily stated they could enable that, took her order, and came back to the table stating that they had placed the order with in-room dining manager, and they were in the process of preparing the delivery. Content with that, my wife headed straight down to the cabin. Two hours later, I returned to the cabin, only to find a sleeping baby and my wife sitting there reading with no food remnants in site. The food had never arrived, and she was starving and unable to leave or make calls to inquire without waking the baby. Stunned again, I went back up to the dining room to inform our waiter that my wife's food had never arrived, to which his initial response was: "Are you sure?!". Of course I was sure!! He scrambled back to the kitchen, and emerged with the Dining Manager. At long last, I was able to see this mystery man face-to-face! The manager's initial statement to me was: "Sir, our records indicate your wife's food was delivered. I don't know what to tell you." I replied by asking if he would like to accompany me back to our stateroom so that he could physically see that my starving wife indeed has no food. Realizing the stupidity of his comments, he scampered back to the kitchen, and re-emerged with two things: (1) the food which I could hand carry back to my wife, and (2) a confirmation that they had mixed up the cabin, and the food was delivered to the wrong place. I took the opportunity to inform him of how poorly his team had performed the previous night, and that this performance on the present night was equally unacceptable. Finally, someone on the boat took responsibility, and he personally apologized and stated that he was taking my feedback seriously, but it was after we had personally been challenged as to the validity of our claims. Now to the food quality itself...dog food is the best way to describe it. On the first night, our group got up from the dining room table and left mid-meal due to how awful the food quality was. It was cold, disheveled, some plates were missing entire ingredients, and there was no flavor. We all went to the buffet market upstairs, which comparatively had superior options. The second night (the night of the botched dining room delivery), was equally bad. After that, the group decided never to return to the dining room due to the atrocious quality. On day 5 of the cruise, some fellow cruisers had indicated that they had just come from the dining room and they felt the quality standards had come up since day one, albeit only marginally, so we decided to return to give them one last chance. We agreed that the quality had come up since days 1 and 2, however, our opinion was that it was now only on par with the buffet upstairs, and far short of what we had come to expect from previous Holland America quality. Overall, the customer and dining services came across as though the teams were total rookies and were not yet fully trained to handle a ship full of customers. 100% of our interactions with both teams yielded some kind of error or poor performance (messages not delivered, rude personnel, missed kitchen quality, incorrect orders, excruciatingly slow wait staff, watered down drinks, etc, etc), mostly coming from a lack of listening to the customer, and execution. Our fellow cruisers shared the same feedback. There were a few bright spots to the cruise: (1) The room Stewards were fantastic. Very friendly, attentive, engaging with our baby, and the rooms were always in perfect form. They checked in with us often, but not too often, and were a pleasure to work with. Kuddos to that team! (2) The ladies in the group reported that the Spa was an excellent experience. Great masseuses and high quality massages. Nice relaxation pool and changing rooms. (3) Ports arrivals/departures were well handled. We docked in 3 of 4 destinations, and were on tenders in Santorini (standard). Dubrovnik was a stunning place, safe, and plenty to see (recommend the wall walk and exploring the side alleys for food and shops). Kotor (Montenegro) featured a stunning fjord approach and departure, and the small ancient town was fun to walk through, including the hike up to the old fortress (1500 steps each way). Ravenna (Italy) was a pleasant surprise, as it was a quaint, relaxed town with ample historical sights and an overall non-touristy feel. Tenders to/from the ship in Santorini were frequent and efficient. This was the one day we chose to sign up for a shore excursion, as we wanted to get to the far town of Oia straight away. We paid $50/adult for the bus ride and tour guide to Oia, had 2 hours of open exploring time, and then rode the bus back to Thira where the excursion ended. The value in that excursion was entirely in the time saved by having a dedicated bus instead of tendering to shore and finding a cab. At the end of the day many folks complained of only having 2 options for getting back down to the tenders from town, but anyone who researched or read the Holland America notice about Santorini knew this would be the situation, and it has nothing to do with Holland America. Either a 2-hour wait for the cable car, or 400 paved steps (with donkey droppings) down the cliff. We chose the latter, and it was just fine provided you are in decent enough physical shape to descend the steps. It took us about 35 minutes to walk all the way down. Note of caution though: we did come across an out-of-shape gentleman who was rushing his way down and ended up slipping and breaking his ankle. Care should be taken all the way down, with deliberate steps, especially towards the bottom when you are more fatigued. Also, a note about Santorini overall: Based my experience from a previous dedicated trip to the island, 9am-5pm is not nearly enough time to get the full/true experience of the island, and you'll only get the "cruise ship" experience of having only enough time to explore the two main walkways with shops and restaurants in Thira and Oia. That has everyone in port that day (at times as many as 5 cruise ships at a time!) crammed into two small areas, so it's overly crowded, and not really enjoyable. Try to find a cruise that gives you the time to explore away from the main streets (ex: the beaches, the ancient ruins, the wineries, etc), or perhaps just choose to make a dedicated trip to Santorini...it's worth it. Overall - very disappointed in Holland America on this cruise, and we have no plans to return to them soon. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Well, except for some small points about the shipping company and the boat as: The reserved cabin, Signature Suite category SY "guaranteed", does not correspond with the awarded (6108) Suite SS category, supposedly superior ... Read More
Well, except for some small points about the shipping company and the boat as: The reserved cabin, Signature Suite category SY "guaranteed", does not correspond with the awarded (6108) Suite SS category, supposedly superior category, but being special for people with disabilities, the configuration of the cabin is different: It has no bathtub Hydromassage, no shower with screen, no double sink. In addition it was damaged twice, having to make use of the public. And it was not bad because it is supposed to be configured to facilitate the mobility of a disabled person and / or wheelchair: It does not have the usual step of entry to the bathroom, handles in the bathroom on all sides; For access to the terrace has a small ramp to save the door frame. But, as I said, it does not match the characteristics of what I booked, even though they told me that I had been upgraded.  The Spa pool was inoperative for two days and at the time I wanted to use it, for maintenance. That I say: could not they do the maintenance at night, after closing? At Westerdam you can see the years in spite of the remodelings and lifting that is carried on. In fact, from deck 10 up was closed the whole cruise because they continued working renovating / expanding staterooms, spaces, etc. Unfortunately, from what we were told, work on 25 new cabins added to deck 10 was not completed as planned prior to our departure as well as some additional finishing work. This meant that the Crow's Nest and / or the Explorations Café were not available. The racking of new mattresses, boxes etc. Was evident occupying the elevators until the cover 9 and of this one towards the 10 by stairs. Do not ask me why. In the restoration aspect, being generous, I give it a 5. Of course, when one has tried the excellence of a Koningsdam last year (for not changing company), any comparison is odious. But it is inadmissible to order a drink, when you sit in the dining room, and that you serve it when you go on the second plate: No, I do not want it now. Either the salmon is ironed, or the breakfast card in the cabin is so minimal. Regarding the scales, except for Koper that does not have much in itself, the others are fine. In Messina, Dubrovnik and Venice we had already been on previous cruises; Of Malta, Mdina; Corfu surprised us; Kotor and his surroundings reminded us, saving the distances, to Flam; And amazing Split that will stand up after so many years. All the scales we made by our account and are easy to do. As far as I can see, I have the impression that the space dedicated to the Rijksmuseum at sea and the B.B.King Club were still to be defined. In particular, the Sala B.B.King used it both for this music and to congregate the passage before disembarking in tenders, as well as to listen to the explanations of what to see in the scales of the following day by the Guide of the excursions department. By the way, I would highlight the B.B.King band, the rhythm section (bass / drums) and the wind section (sax / trumpet). The guitar somewhat loose and the keyboardist complies without great frills. As for the voices, Olivia stands out above all, for my taste. To have a good coffee, you have on the main deck a slight representation of what will be the Explorations Café of deck 10, in a corner enabled with a bar that I do not think that goes beyond 3 meters: Queue and few tables. The indoor and aft pools if I could try: divine, all for me. And free sunbeds all you want. About the occupation, it was supposed to be full. Or at least it was what they told us when we asked to change our cabin: there was no free of our category (or superior? I do not know, I do not know). At times, in the buffet, more than the lack of tables, what were missing were plates and cups !, amazing !; As well as a near-British closing schedule. To be fair also, I have to say that because we could not use the common spaces on deck 10 upwards for the theme of the renovation, we were paid $ 200 per person on our bill (I think the whole passage). And in our particular case, the Spa Access Bonus for all the days of the cruise that we hired on the first day (perhaps having had a whirlpool bath in our cabin, we would not have hired it), we were compensated, paying the amount of the expense in our account. Something of reason we should have. It can be said that the "Adriatic Dream": sailing along the Adriatic coast, the scales included and the good weather we had, was fulfilled. I'm sorry to comment on this bittersweet flavor, but we've lived like this. Read Less
23 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2017
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also ... Read More
On March 4, 2017, my wife and I disembarked from an 18 Day round trip cruise from San Diego, CA. to Hawaii aboard the Holland America cruise ship ms Westerdam. First let me tell you what we liked about our journey, because I also want to let you know what we DID NOT like, and why we were very disappointed in this overall cruise experience. The 2 young men, Rozi and Nana, that took care of our cabin were outstanding and treated us with respect and made us feel like VIPs. The Cruise Director Simon and his Assistant Taylor were also outstanding. They genuinely enjoyed their position, and worked very hard at entertaining the passengers. The nightly shows were very entertaining, especially Viviana Guzman and Rob Watson. Our dining room waiter, Riris, was very professional, and accommodating to all of our wants and needs. We booked our cruise through CostCo Travel. We had originally booked a Balcony Stateroom, Stateroom Room # 5076. During the time we first made our reservations on March 18, 2016, until January 11, 2017 my wife’s medical conditions deteriorated to the point where she now required a Mobility Scooter. We contacted CostCo Travel to inquire about getting a handicap room large enough to accommodate the Mobility Scooter . Unfortunately, NO handicap rooms were available. We had CostoCo Travel further inquire if there was someplace other than in our room to park the scooter since there was not sufficient room in our cabin to park it. At this point we were told NO, and the only option was for a larger stateroom. When I inquired about the upgrade, I was told it would cost an additional $ 3760.00. At first I declined, thinking I would just have to dismantle the scooter to store it in the room every night. The scooter comes apart into 5 pieces. I really didn’t think the additional cost was a good value for the little extra space provided, however my wife convinced me to upgrade to the Signature suite. So Now we are aboard the ship in a $10,767.66 Signature Suite # 8058 with a scooter. On our way to our cabin after the Vista Lounge show, and what do we see. Two scooters parked in the forward elevator area. We were told that there were NO areas where we could park a scooter outside of our cabin, yet here are 2 scooters, and we paid an additional $3,760.66 for a larger room for us to park our scooter inside the cabin. I was very disappointed with the service in the Lido Market. I was hoping to get some assistance with getting food for my handicapped wife. Why aren’t trays available for people to use to pick up their food in one trip instead of having to make several trips through the lines to get ones food? Not once did I receive assistance carrying several plates for me and my wife to the table. The Lido Waiters seemed more interested in filling glasses with tea and lemonade than assisting folks. I believe there was an exceptional number of a folk with handicaps on board this cruise. We chose this cruise because we live in San Diego, therefore No Airports, and NO Airplane travel required. We didn't realize it was a Senior Cruise until we got on board and got a look at the other guests. Not a problem, we are 75 years old. If I had to guess the average age of the guests on board this cruise, I would say it was 77. Breakfast: For 18 days, there was “LUMPY” and “WATERY” oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits. I’m not a cook, but it quit apparent what was going on. Whoever was making these items was doing it backward. You do NOT pour the hot water into the pot of dry oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits, but you stir the oatmeal, cream-of-wheat , and grits into the pot of HOT water to prevent Lumps. Because the dry ingredients did NOT absorb the liquid properly, the mixture was watery. We don’t eat eggs every day for breakfast at home, so we applied the same rule to the cruise. The days I ordered an omelet, I received what looked more like a scrambled eggs. When the cook went to flip the omelet it just fell apart. I don’t know what they mixed into the omelet batter, but it was obvious there was something in there besides just eggs. The egg batter looked clabbered, and also tasted strange. Lunch: We are soup for lunch people so we were looking forward to a nice tasty bowl of soup during the cruise. I don’t know if the cook thought he was making GOURMET soups, but his concoctions were terrible. You don’t mess with Chicken Noodle Soup, it does NOT NEED anything added to it, just serve tasty chicken noodle soup. The same goes for chicken with wild rice. Beef barley if done right doesn’t need anything else added. The worst was the “Navy Bean Soup” Why would anyone puree all the beans and call it soup. On the other side Broccoli soup taste much better as Broccoli-Cheese soup. Pureed broccoli in a cream base is BLAH! Diner: If you are going to serve fish, you need to have a cook that knows how to cook fish. Over cooked fish is unacceptable. The salmon, mahi mahi and other fish that were served were over cooked and dried out. The Mexican Food served on the Friday we docked in Mexico was SO BAD, I couldn’t believe it was being served. You would have been better off going to CostCo and purchased their ready made burritos and enchiladas heated them up and served them. I have to question the ability of the cooks you hire. I have lived in San Diego for over 50 years, so Mexican Food is something we have frequently. The Chicken Marsala I ordered that was on the menu in the main dining was very disappointing. Chicken Marsala is already a tasty gourmet dish, and should not have anything added to it. The dried cranberries that were in the dish I was served diluted the flavor of the Marsala sautéed mushrooms. If the cooks do not know how to cook, they need to at least try following a recipe. Due to the taste and quality of the food served on this cruise, it created problems for my diabetic wife. She had a difficult time finding things to satisfy her TASTE and maintain her blood sugar levels. I sincerely hope someone looks into these matters and does something to correct them. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
My wife and I (a senior couple) chose a back-to-back on the Westerdam in January to Mexico and Hawaii to try to get away from the cold, wind, and rain of a Victoria January. We had sailed once before with the line, on the old ... Read More
My wife and I (a senior couple) chose a back-to-back on the Westerdam in January to Mexico and Hawaii to try to get away from the cold, wind, and rain of a Victoria January. We had sailed once before with the line, on the old "Noordam" in 2003. That trip had been a disaster - the ship was long after its "Best Before" date (and was retired within a year). We had been promised an early dinner seating, but were given 8:30 pm with no option to change on board. The ship was very dusty (we both have dust allergies). I got some sunstroke in St Lucia and the ship's doctor quarantined us both for three days in our 'stateroom', after which she especially was quite sick. Between that trip in 2003 and our latest trip in January on the Westerdam, we have taken around 70 cruises, all on other cruise lines. However, we decided to give Holland America another chance. Sure enough, the Westerdam was also past its "best before" date. Part of our window sill had rotted. Some doors did not close (I even found two toilet cubicles with doors that didn't lock. It turns out the ship will have a refit in March, too late to do us any good. The service was uneven, sometimes very good, sometimes poor. The ship was the second worst we have been on at dealing with my soy and corn allergies, and as a result we left the ship after the two cruises with my right arm completely broken out with eczema. The ship refused to recognize that we were returning passengers, not that we necessarily would have attended their "Mariner" functions, but we should have been invited. The shuffle board was a disgrace - it was impossible to get the rock more than half way to the house! Twice the salmon dish ordered by my wife arrived with the center completely raw. We found that the coffee shop, which offered both ordinary lattes and soy lattes, did not clean the machine properly between the two types. We also found enormous lines to disembark the ship. There were positives - to our surprise, the ship offered a digital workshop, which included excellent lectures on Windows 10. And, when the captain found that, due to high swells, it was not safe to go to all five of the scheduled ports, he scheduled a night time pass within a mile of the place where Kilauea volcano flows into the ocean - a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2017
From January 7-31, a friend and I spent 24 days aboard Holland America’s Westerdam on a Collectors Cruise to Mexico and Hawaii, followed, three land-days later, by a 15-day cruise through the Panama Canal aboard the Island Princess ... Read More
From January 7-31, a friend and I spent 24 days aboard Holland America’s Westerdam on a Collectors Cruise to Mexico and Hawaii, followed, three land-days later, by a 15-day cruise through the Panama Canal aboard the Island Princess (February 3-18). Below are my thoughts about the two cruise lines. It was apparent on all three cruises that, with the exception of some very weak and generally irrelevant lecturers (topics included the death of Marilyn Monroe and rich LA kids who killed their parents!!), both ships have virtually eliminated all their contracted passenger-activity providers (bridge directors, ballroom dance instructors, etc., even -- on the Princess -- religious personnel). The difference between the two ships was that on Island Princess, Cruise Director Simone Smith and her highly visible and tireless staff (Greg, Hannah, DJ, in particular) made every effort to pick up the slack and provide activities for every fitness level. They offered Zumba, line dancing, ballroom dancing, martini-making demonstrations, sail-away parties, seemingly impromptu demonstrations, contests, and dancing in the Atrium, as well as many other passenger-participation activities. On the Westerdam, on the other hand, the cruise director and her staff were not a highly visible presence on the ship. Physical activities for passengers were virtually non-existent. There was only one free exercise (abs) class a day -- at 7 am. In fact, there were very few activities that didn't either cost money (yoga, speed cycling, bingo) or were geared toward making money (the casino, art and jewelry sales). There were no sail-away parties to speak of. (Really? They can't start a 17-day cruise to Hawaii by handing out a few leis and offering a discounted tropical drink? There was neither live music nor a photographer nor a single member of the cruise director's staff on deck for the sail-away, although there were a few munchies.) In my opinion, the Westerdam staff consistently failed to engage the mentally and physically active 60-70 somethings (and younger) aboard the ship, most of whom probably preferred to balance the excessive eating and drinking on board with some actual physical activity. This was particularly inexcusable on the cruise to Hawaii, which included 10 cool and cloudy sea days that were not conducive to lying by the pool or swimming. Island Princess formal entertainment was also terrific. The in-house shows were Broadway worthy, the in-house musicians were first rate, and the contracted musicians, magicians, comedians, etc. were excellent. Each of the contracted performers also performed one night in one of the lounges in addition to his/her performance in the main theater. This gave passengers who'd missed the first show a second chance to see the performer and also increased the nightly entertainment options. I'm not sure why every ship doesn't do that. Clearly, Island Princess has an exceptional entertainment director and staff as well! Some other comparisons between the Westerdam and Island Princess: The Westerdam had better tasting food in the dining room. Island Princess had a greater variety of dinner selections in the buffet. I loved the salad and taco bars and the burger shop on the Westerdam. The specialty restaurants on the Westerdam were much better than those on the Island Princess. Overall, the Westerdam won in the food categories, although both ships could benefit from offering true low-cal options. The Westerdam room stewards knew our schedule our second day on board and took care of our rooms without us ever seeing them. Also we got the traditional towel animals along with our chocolates every night. Island Princess room stewards were very nice, but required us to put the Please Refresh Room card in the door when we left the cabin, morning and evening. They never did figure out our schedule. And no towel animals were left with our chocolates : ( Neither was a big deal, just worth noting the different attitude toward customer care.) The dining staff on the Westerdam was better. Island Princess clearly required their dining staff to push purchases of specialty drinks and wine tastings, which often seemed intrusive. Also one evening on Island Princess, we were refused a new bottle of wine from our wine package because we had left our punch card in our cabin. (Did they think we were going to jump ship?) The Westerdam wine steward kept track of our wine packages in the dining room and didn't require us to carry a punch card. (Again a minor but telling difference in attitude toward passenger comfort.) The gym on the Westerdam was much bigger and more attractive that the one on Island Princess (which is a good thing since the Westerdam provides few other options to stay fit on this 24-day eating and drinking binge). Island Princess also has blocked off the back of its Promenade Deck to offer more balcony cabins, which means the only way to actually "promenade" around the deck is to cut through the back of the ship. I don't know about the Westerdam's Promenade Deck. I used the treadmill in the gym on that ship. Island Princess has a large movie screen over the outdoor pool, showing movies and concerts during the day, and fairly recent popular movies (with free popcorn!) around 9 pm every night. The Westerdam does not have a movie screen on deck – although it is due for an upgrade this spring. Not sure what that will entail. So, the Westerdam actually beat out the Island Princess in several categories that may matter to you. (Although the differences in those categories were minimal.) But the bottom line for me is that I was bored to tears during the many sea days on the Westerdam and do not intend to ever again choose to cruise on HAL, which I believe is in danger of losing an entire generation of future passengers by catering exclusively to their current very elderly and sedentary passenger base. I had a great time on Island Princess because of the very hard work of the cruise director and her staff and the entertainment director and his staff. I'd be happy to sail on Princess again. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2016
This is our 12th cruise 2nd on holland America Embarkation and disimbarkatio not we're very smooth The Westerdam is a worn out ship no matter where you go on the ship there are items in disrepair Our was mini balcony suite ... Read More
This is our 12th cruise 2nd on holland America Embarkation and disimbarkatio not we're very smooth The Westerdam is a worn out ship no matter where you go on the ship there are items in disrepair Our was mini balcony suite and was very nice This ship has a lack of entertainment We never really what was going Normally the cruise director is all over the ship with activities but only ran into the cruise director 1 time maybe he was new and didn't know how to deal with cruise directing The dining Holland America has very good quality food The buffet was very well handled with good service I liked thee fact that they serve you from behind the line instead of cruise passengers shoveling there own food We ate at cannelto and the food was great and the service was the best on the ship worth the money Now the main dining room They give you the option of open seating I guess to compete with there competition We ate there 3times and gave up at least 1hr wait for open dining this never happens on other ships Now the worst is the service is the worst I have ever seen They never refilled drinks we experienced up to 30 min between courses and they lacked cleaning the table off between courses .our food would come in spurts so we were never eating at the same time All the workers were very busy which leads me to believe there is very bad management and lack of organization The employees for the most part make you feel like they don't want you there Exterior wood benches on observation deck in disrepair really? Ceiling panels in library look like they might fall down really? The shore excursions were good snorkeling Cabo/stone island Mazatalan/and the absolute best las calletas Puerta Vallarta don't miss this one Al and all we had a good trip despite the ship and its lack of the normal holland America standards Would suggest looking for Norwegian or princess with same itenary Very disappointed in holland America this. Time our first cruise with holland was the med and everything was perfect think I will pass on holland am in the future Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We have sailed HAL before and were satisfied. This was our first seven day Mexican Riviera cruise and it was at an optimal time of the year for us. Problems began before the cruise. We asked for late seating at dinner, preferably at a ... Read More
We have sailed HAL before and were satisfied. This was our first seven day Mexican Riviera cruise and it was at an optimal time of the year for us. Problems began before the cruise. We asked for late seating at dinner, preferably at a table for 6. Instead we were allocated open seating. Multiple complaints by phone resulted in rude retorts by HAL personnel. Eventually a written complaint was acknowledged and we were assigned late seating. However, upon arrival we found that we were still assigned open seating. This meant standing in a long line to complain aboard the ship. We were eventually assigned late seating, but only after senseless round of complaints. Late seating was not filled and our table for 6 had only four. We were given key cards upon arrival. Following lunch, we went to our room to find that these cards were defective. Again, more waits in long lines to get into our room. Dining service during lunch was another series of problems. The main dinning was closed for lunch most days. This meant long lines and poor service in the buffet. Also, dining service in the buffet was being shut down by 2 PM, just when we were returning from shore excursions. Service staff were rude and unhelpful. HAL is not noted for their entertainment and activities, but these were below expectation. HAL needs to understand that attention to detail is critical. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Staff- friendly, accommodating and smiling. Neptune Suite- worth the money for the space-bed is comfortable- needs updating, countertops/tub/shower cracked. Ship is dated and smells- lack of staff cleaning regularly in common areas ... Read More
Staff- friendly, accommodating and smiling. Neptune Suite- worth the money for the space-bed is comfortable- needs updating, countertops/tub/shower cracked. Ship is dated and smells- lack of staff cleaning regularly in common areas until gastrointestinal virus hit the ship. Then procedures were put in place to keep all guests from being infected. More cleaning, servers at all food and drink stations, no items on tables that could be passed, (salt and pepper, bread, etc) disinfectant being given to each person entering all restaurants and dining areas. Food-Burgers are great at Dive IN poolside, Pinnacle Grill is worth the money, but reservations must be made before you get on ship or you won't get in unless you are a suite guest. The dining room food wasn't that great and the buffet, needs an overhaul. As well as the seating in the dining room, too many tables, sitting on top of one another. Seattle- great city worth seeing plan some extra time to see there and Pike's Place. Juneau- nice little town, walkable, Glacier Gardens is worth a see. Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake is good. Sitka- also nice little town, but could have passed this one to have a full day in Victoria...as opposed to getting in there at night and having no time to see anything. Ketchikan- great little town, walkable, lumberjack show -didn't see the fascination the reviews on here had given..really a waste.. Victoria- need more time there and daylight hours. One thing about the dining on this ship- baseball hats, flip flops and cargo shorts in the dining room was allowed, which was new to us. I suppose Holland has relaxed their dress requirements. Entertainment- BB Kings- a definite yes and a different show each time- lively, not too loud, dancing if you want, great music and great talent. Westerdam dancers- some good talent and nice shows Jesse Kazemak show- fantastic- he should have done more Magic show- could have passed on that one Stryker- piano bar- didn't get this one- all the music sounded alike...reviews were over the top,not our cup of tea, went back to the BB King show. Cooking class- great Casino- okay- nothing great A lot of upselling on this ship everywhere you turn from drinks to spa to casino...got old..not relaxing. Read Less
31 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
Let me start with this trip was a 71st birthday celebration for my husband. A cruise to Alaska has been on our bucket list for some time now. So here’s the good, bad and ugly about our Holland America trip to Alaska last week aboard ... Read More
Let me start with this trip was a 71st birthday celebration for my husband. A cruise to Alaska has been on our bucket list for some time now. So here’s the good, bad and ugly about our Holland America trip to Alaska last week aboard the Westedam. The good – the Pinnacle restaurant was fantastic! The food, service and personnel were all outstanding! The rooms were quite spacious with lots of storage space and a large bathroom. Alaska itself was beautiful. Glacier Bay was breathtaking and the whale watching excursion that we went on was amazing. The bad – Constantly pushing the shopping. There was a huge push to buy diamonds and jewelry from their onboard shops and within the ports we went to. We were told the cruise line owns the jewelry store in port. Every day there was more information in our mailbox outside our door about shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I didn’t go on a cruise to shop! Way over the top. The food in the cafeteria style dining room was ok but nothing to write home about, you have to fight for a table on the Lido deck and it's hard to get service there. My other pet peeve is that there was not enough time in the ports to see Alaska. Most of the time was spent on the boat. The ugly (and it was ugly) There were drawers under the foot of the bed. I know this because one night about half way through our cruise the housekeeper didn’t close the drawer all the way and I ran into it barefoot breaking one of my toes. The break was confirmed via x-ray by my podiatrist as soon as we returned with an 8 week recovery time. It happened at night right before bed and when I woke in the morning I could not put any weight on my right foot. We had an excursion that morning and my husband went down to the excursion desk to cancel since I could not walk. No one was there so he left a note and then we called and left messages but no call back that day. I called down to the infirmary and was told that there was nothing they could do for a broken toe. I asked if they had crutches they said they recommended a cane. My husband went down, since I was unable to walk, to get a wheel chair, they didn't have any, so he got a cane instead and asked for some adhesive tape to stabilize my toe and foot. He was unable to get any tape from the infirmary or ships store. My husband spoke to many people on the phone and in person trying to get a wheel chair and trying to get a refund for the tours we were not able to go on. Everyone took an "I am not authorized" posture. You would think that the safety and satisfaction of their "valued guests" would be of utmost importance but that was clearly not the case. At every turn the response was “how do you know you didn’t leave the drawer open” or “we are not authorized to do that”. Very disconcerting. So I spent the day Thursday in my room with my foot propped up and my poor husband running around the ship trying to get me some help. I had my husband take pictures of my discolored and swollen foot on the ship so there would be no question of when it happened. I tried to include them here but couldn't. Since we had dined so often in the Pinnacle Grill always at the same table we had made friends with our servers Stewart and Pol. Stewart's girlfriend also worked on the ship as a dancer although we had never met her. My husband was in the elevator and started talking to someone after they asked about our cruise and he told her what happened. It turned out to be his girlfriend. She was upset by what had happened, made some calls and was able to get me a wheelchair. Without her help I would not have been able to leave my room. I was then able to go to meals but still not able to go on the excursions. The utter lack of caring for me by the management of the ship was unbelievable, unprofessional, and unacceptable. The GRM (Guest Relations Manager) and Excursions Manager could not have been less helpful. The excursions manager was confrontational which really upset my husband. I have never been treated so poorly while on vacation. The wait staff in the dining rooms were so accommodating, the front office staff in helping us was just the opposite. Very, very poor experience. Customer service by the management on that vessel was lacking. Instead of trying to help turn the situation around they just ignored it using the “I’m sorry I’m not authorized to do that” mantra. I was shocked that Holland America did not step up, take responsibility and try to help. So what could have been a great birthday vacation experience that you tell all your friends about it turned into the vacation from hell. I spent half of this trip with my leg propped up in immense pain. The lack of consideration and indifference by the front office staff was unbelievable. This was a very expensive lesson and not a very fun birthday! Moral of the story – if something goes wrong on your trip BEWARE you will get no help from Holland America to make things right. 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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