284 Holland America Line Westerdam Cruise Reviews

We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland ... Read More
We booked the first 16 days of the Far East Discovery because of the amazing itinerary and we were not disappointed. From Singapore to Hong Kong, every port had something wonderful to offer. This was our 8th cruise and our first on Holland America. Unfortunately, the embarkation was horrible. We had a 12:00 check in but had to wait about two hours in the cruise terminal before we could check in. We were denied access to the Orange Club line because it wasn’t printed on our cruise documents and by the time we checked in and then straightened out the Orange Club situation, it was 3:00 and we were hungry. Luckily, the hamburgers out by the pool are delicious, but we were pretty upset that we spent our first day onboard straightening out problems and waiting for service. Luckily, the cruise improved after that. Cabin Our cabin was 7147, an aft verandah cabin. It was very spacious with a comfortable bed, a couch with a table, and a desk. The shower was in a small bathtub and was much more roomy than what we’ve experienced on other ships. There was plenty of storage, oodles of hangers, and nice verandah chairs with footstools. With a large TV, access to a few tv stations and many movies, it was a comfortable place to hang out on sea days or when tired. Our steward kept us well supplied with ice and fresh towels throughout our cruise. Ship Activities and Entertainment The public spaces are very comfortable, with nice chairs and comfortable bar areas. The Gallery Bar is especially pretty. The drinks in the bars were not especially good, even a basic dirty Vodka martini just didn’t taste right and the glasses never matched the drinks appropriately. It was weird. Luckily, we had pre-ordered a bottle of vodka and some tonic so our best drinks were those we mixed in our cabin for the first week of the cruise. During the second week, we took advantage of Happy Hour when you can get two identical drinks by paying for the first and just $2 for the second. We were disappointed with the activities and entertainment aboard. It seems that Holland caters to an older crowd than we are used to and the only “fresh” entertainment every night was the chamber music in the Lincoln Center, which was always well attended. We hoped to find BB King’s Blues Club to be a regular stop, but after a few nights it seemed the program didn’t vary much and since each set was only a half hour, we found ourselves going there less and less. We did enjoy the wine tastings and were disappointed when the third wine tasting that had the best wines was cancelled due to a low turnout caused by conflicting popular activities. The port talks were very good but you had to arrive early because the theater was filled every time. We wanted to experience the test kitchen where the chef was preparing local dishes, but never could find a seat. It was immensely popular. I was hoping for a little more destination related travel and we did enjoy the Thai dancing, even though it was only a half hour. One of our favorite days was the day we booked a cabana. We arrived after breakfast to find that the cabana attendant would have served us that too! We were able to enjoy the heat of the day while lounging around reading and playing on the internet. The attendant brought us lunch and also some fruit and Prosecco in the afternoon. Only about four cabanas were booked so we had the deck almost to ourselves. It was very relaxing. Dining We ate most of our meals in the Main Dining Room. Each meal was beautifully presented and there was always a choice of fish, chicken, red meat, and pasta, with two or three choices of some on many nights. Most dinners were prepared with sauces and by the end of the cruise, I was yearning for some simpler fare. The breads were especially delicious. We took advantage of the Cellar Packages and found #1 to have enough good wines to meet our needs at a wonderfully reduced price compared to buying a bottle at a time. We had one meal at the Pinnacle Grill on the Rudi’s Sel de Mer night. The food was very good, but honestly, the service in the MDR was much more attentive. We enjoyed our special night and decided to stick with the dining room after that. We ate a few lunches and breakfasts in the buffet. There was a huge selection and everything we ate was very tasty. It was hard to keep a full cup of coffee in the morning and a lot of tables sat empty with dirty dishes. The atmosphere just wasn’t that great. Our favorite thing was room service breakfast. The menu was very large and we had to stop ourselves from overeating! As part of the Orange Club, the choices included mimosas and smoothies and we took advantage of both several times. Orange Club We were offered a discount on the Orange Club the week before the cruise and we decided to try it. As already mentioned, it was a bit of a trial to get the recognition and appropriate key card. The first night we did not get the Orange Menu in the dining room. (I think a lot of the crew were new.) We didn’t have robes in our room. No one seemed to know about the welcome glass of bubbly. It seemed like no one knew what the Orange Club was all about and we had to advocate pretty heavily for ourselves. But after the first day we enjoyed our in-room breakfast choices, ate in our Orange Club robes, used the Orange Club priority lines at Guest Services and the MDR, and were treated very well. Most nights we were seated at a window and the host remembered us by name and room number within three days. We only tried one or two of the Orange Club dinners because the choices on the main menu were so good. We were also treated to a tour of the galleys and store rooms which were amazing. For a first time Holland Guest, it gave us a few of the perks more frequent cruisers enjoy. It was nice. Ports and Excursions Singapore We arrived three days before the cruise which gave us some time to adjust to the time change. We stayed at the Amoy Hotel near Chinatown which offered an airport pickup. It was just across the street from an MRT station and was the perfect spot to explore Singapore. Glad we took the three days. Nathon (Koh Samui), Thailand We booked the EXC Explore Buddhist Temples tour which included four different stops at Buddhist temples, each quite different. At the Big Buddha there was an opportunity for some shopping, some of the best of the whole trip. It was a great introduction to Buddhism in Thailand. Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand We were here for two days and quite a few people took advantage of the opportunity to stay overnight in Bangkok, which is nearly two hours from the port. We did not. The first day we took the EXC Hidden Treasures with Tuk Tuk tour because I wanted to see the large reclining Buddha. We also visited other temples and Elizabeth Hall. The tuk tuk ride was surprisingly fun. The tour included a lunch of pad thai and other Thai foods. Delicious! The second day we booked the EXC Footsteps of Pad Thai tour that took us into the Nam Tan Sat village, a sugar palm plantation where we watched the farmer scale the palm tree, the Golden Temple with a Standing Buddha, the Wat Pho Bang Kla temple with bats, an organic Botanical Garden with delicious Thai snacks (practically a meal), and a cooking demonstration for Pad Thai and Papaya Salad. It was a super busy day which also included a ride in a long tail boat from the Golden Temple to Wat Pho Bang Kla. We really felt like we saw some authentic Thai life on this tour and were happy to support the local businesses. Tip: Carry toilet paper. The bathrooms do not have it. Sihanoukville, Cambodia This top was both the best and the worst. We took a cooking class I found on TripAdvisor and with only two of us in the class, we had four hours to talk with the chef and learn all about life in Cambodia in a very intimate way. On the other hand, Sihanoukville as a city is a mess and the tuk tuk ride to the class was bumpy and very uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do anything in Sihanoukville without a tour. Phu My (Saigon), Vietnam We booked a private tour with ITourVietnam and it was fantastic. Part Foodie Tour and part History Tour, we were treated to sights, sounds, and tastes all day long. It was a chance to really get into the market and check “eating pho in Vietnam” off the bucket list. Nha Trang, Vietnam We took the EXC Cooking Class in Nha Trang which included a chance to learn to make spring rolls, banana flower salad, and cabbage package soup before we ate the chef prepared lunch of the same dishes. In addition, we got to walk through a dry and wet market (very quickly!) and see some Cham art at the resort where the class was held. DaNang, Vietnam This was a two day stop so the first day I booked a tour from TripAdvisor that included My Son, the Marble Mountain, and the Lady Buddha. It was a lot of walking and climbing, probably our most intensely physical day. We stopped for noodles at a local shop and they were delicious. The second day we joined a Cruise Critic group for Hoi An, the Marble Mountain, and the Cham Museum. Hoi An was primarily an opportunity for shopping and we skipped going into the Marble Mountain since our thighs were still sore from the day before. The Cham Museum was incredibly interesting and really added to our understanding of what we had seen the first day. Halong Bay, Vietnam This was our favorite port. We joined a Cruise Critic group and spent the entire day cruising the beautiful karsts. We also saw a remote fishing village and a pearl farm which were both very interesting. After the hustle and bustle of all the surprisingly large cities of the Far East, this opportunity for relaxation and nature was a real treat. Hong Kong I had booked a hotel near the airport so we took advantage of the EXC Hong Kong Tour with Airport Transfer. Disembarkation was very easy and well organized. The tour itself wasn’t really very good, but it did give us a chance to see Victoria Peak and Aberdeen. The fishing village was really just a marina around the Jumbo restaurant and the jewelry factory was a jewelry store where we were trapped for about a half hour. After being dropped at the airport, we took the Novotel Citygate shuttle to the hotel, which was great. The hotel is connected to the Citygate mall and also provided easy access to the transportation hub of Lantau Island. We stayed two nights and made the trip up to Tian Tan (Big Buddha), which made for a perfect final day. Summary Our first cruise with Holland was a success, primarily because the itinerary was so interesting. The service aboard was fantastic and we were able to name several of our favorites in our survey because they provided such great service. The rooms were comfortable; the food was good. Even still, we probably we wait a few years before we cruise Holland again so that we can age into what they offer. For now, we still like a ship with a little more vibrancy. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had college professors in Geology and History that packed the theater with their amazing quality. We also had short language classes before ports to practice how to say hello and thank you. I started to tell people that HAL was "cruising for smart people". I asked several HAL veterans on board and they told me that what I experienced the first time is the norm. When asking the crew on the Westerdam about this, I had several different responses. One was that "HAL has changed", another said, "We had professors booked but because of the holidays they cancelled". I was really disappointed to find out that I would not be learning much history or language basics which would have been awesome for this itinerary. I was on the Westerdam for 28 nights- Hong Kong north to China/ Japan/ Taiwan then from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. This itinerary is fascinating, though it became tiresome toward the end, mostly because these ports are often far from the main sites and involved a daily haggling with taxi drivers that is perpetually a pain in the butt. In the few ports that we could walk off the ship into an actual town, they became most people's favorites. Independence and simplicity leads to more exploration and happiness. My favorite part of the ship would be the people. The "Cruise Director" now called "EXC something", was a very friendly and informative host named Jeremy who gave the port talks to a packed audience and was great at this. He also hosted a book club which was nice, but HAL has screwed this up by calling it "Oprah's Reading Room" which is not at all obvious that it is a book club discussion. My first 2 weeks I just happened to see it because I wanted a quiet place to read, and so I joined for the 2nd 2 weeks and only 2 passengers showed up for the discussion. The other gem is Phil the "EXC Port Specialist". He does not sell tours, he knows nothing about them, but if you want to know the cost of a taxi, or the walking distance to a temple, this guy knows it all. He had a desk that people would gather around, and it was awesome just to stand around listening to the questions so you could make your own plans. Thanks to Jeremy and Phil, I did all of my port excursions on my own except for 1 tour (and that was a disappointment and waste of money). Julie, was another stand out for me, I am not sure of her title, but she was there for each ports disembarkation and was the organizer and boss, I really liked someone taking control and making sure people were in the correct queue, had their ID ready. We needed that. The captain, Vincent Smit was present in a good way- not just social but if there seemed to be a problem he made his presence made. One example I have- in Nga Trang we had to tender to our port. He was concerned about possible winds and made that very clear the day before, and he was by the tenders making sure of the weather. Unfortunately I was on the first tender to shore and the tide was low, making the departing step extremely high (imagine doing a lunge to the step and then limbo your head under the roof of the tender). Every person was able to make this step with assistance but because I have a disability, it seemed very dangerous for me to attempt it with crew who did not know my strength. I went back to ship, not angry because my disability always leaves a possibility for me to miss out, but when the captain saw I had returned he seemed upset and asked me what happened. He explained that the port is responsible for the dock and he has asked for a floating dock which would not change with the tides, but it has not happened. He then showed me the tidal charts and explained the best time to go (waiting 3 hours), but I decided not to risk it. The entertainment for this cruise was just so-so. I think it is because there are not as many options in Asia and there isn't the chance of new blood at each port. We did have an amazing female pianist that was so good that I cried to think she was wasting her talent on cruise ships. But, we also had a "mentalist" so bad that I groaned when I saw he was returning another night! Overall, this is the first cruise I've been on that I skipped the theater a few nights- not just the poor entertainment but also the crowd who thought that heavy perfume and talking the entire show was acceptable. I know companies don't want to upset people, but for health reasons we could ban perfume just like public smoking. All that coughing in the theater would decrease. I loved BB Blues Club- the talent on that stage was incredible. I guess if there was one complaint it was that the songs get repeated less- I went as often as I could in 28 days, and the same songs would repeat every 2 days or so. Loved Billboard's Dueling Pianos- super talented duo that put on a great show. The Lincoln Center was nice, but I was not overwhelmed with their talent. America's Test Kitchen I never went- seems like you could just watch food network with your time. Food- the dining room was above and beyond for me. Great staff, lots of options, and quality. I am a foodie and was impressed, and also happy that it was not overly salted like some cruises. The burger place by the pool was also very good. The Lido was disappointing as far as quality and compared to my last Rotterdam experience, but it was fine because I rarely went, and must have been good enough for the general hoardes because it was often packed. Tours. I took one and was not happy. First, the tour desk people were not very educated about what they were selling. They had not taken the tours themselves so they would call a guide for questions. I booked my one tour online, it was listed as "Easy", but later I happened to be at their desk and saw that the tour was listed as "moderate". When I asked, they said, "Oh, always look at the book, it is the most accurate." They then clarified with the guide that the tour was listed as moderate because it was 7 hours long (lots of bus time), and we would have to get on and off the bus 4 times, but the total walking was less than 1 mile. So, I went, but had 2 falls. I have been to Cambodia before and I am aware of the primitive conditions, but I did not expect a HAL tour to go into a market with uneven tiles that flipped when you walked on them or to walk us along the shoulder of a highway as trucks zoomed by inches away. The tour was chaotic with 1 guide for a bus load of people as we navigated the busy market and later a little village. We had a nice lunch but paid $270 for this day. Holidays- this was a Christmas and NYE cruise and I was really impressed with these events. There was a Santa day for the kids, we sang Carols by the tree one day, decorations throughout the ship were very festive, and the dinners and special treats were great. I know one person here complained about New Years. NYE was a port day- overnight in Bangkok which a lot of people took advantage of. I was back on the ship for dinner- a very nice one- and I will admit that after dinner there was a slight lack of entertainment. But, that is all understandable given that the entire ship was involved in a show that started at 11 and went well into the early morning. Up on the top deck the BB King Blues Band played an excellent set. The captain, officers, and their families were there and the crew put a great effort into making an ice display, handed out free champagne, and there was a special buffet in the Lido. I was impressed! I expected a 1/2 glass of free champagne but was instead offered several refills. The music, the decor, the happiness of everyone around was very special. If anyone says there wasn't entertainment, it was because they went to bed early! Overall the ship was nice, though a little old. My inside cabin was one of the smaller cabins I have been in for a while. But, the Westerdam makes it up with such pleasant crew and cleanliness. I know I made a choice in choosing the cheapest cabin, and I guess I have been a bit spoiled by getting upgraded by other cruise lines, so I can't complain. Overall, I would choose this ship for sure- mostly because of the live music options. But, I would only choose HAL over other lines in the future if I am sure that the educational component is back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were ... Read More
This was our first time in a Neptune Suite. We loved the convenience of the concierge just down the hall, the priority dining seating, and breakfast in the Pinnacle Restaurant. We originally signed up for a Signature Suite, but were offered an upgrade to a Neptune for just $250 each on a 15 day cruise. It was well worth it. It will be hard to cruise in anything less next time. My wife loved the make-up table off the bathroom, though it was a little difficult for me to access the bathroom while she was seated there. Still a nice feature. One complaint was the size of the shower. Sure, we could have taken showers or baths in the tub, but I much prefer a walk-in shower. This one was tiny, and had only a curtain. It was hard to turn around, and we had to be very careful to prevent water from leaking past the curtain. Holland America's WiFi package is unreasonably expensive at $15/day for just texting capability and $30/day for higher speed. Many cruise companies include texting for free, especially in a higher level suite. Dining was excellent. We had a reserved table each evening, and got to know our server pretty well. He was friendly, funny and efficient, though it took quite a while sometimes for the food to come out of the kitchen. When it arrived, it was invariably delicious. This was probably the best dining I have had on a cruise ship. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding ... Read More
Have been on HAL cruises before and wanted to see some Asian ports. Would not recommend cabin 4166 if you are inclined to suffer seasickness. This ship was very clean and staff were cheerful and helpful. Our cabin stewards were outstanding and the well trained dining room staff always make sure your dining is enjoyable. Also,The Pinnacle is well worth the extra expense for at least one night. Didn't have one meal that wasn't of a high standard and am missing being spoiled now that we are home! We thought the entertainment was very good, especially the singers and dancers. Didn't expect the comedian to be as good as he was...a very pleasant surprise.Billboard on Board had two very talented people and BB King's Blues Club has a great band of eight. On port days there wasn't as much entertainment but we were tired after excursions so didn't really mind. Disappointed there is no longer a decent library on board. Jeremy's presentations of what to do in the ports, along with the history of the area, is very informative. We did some HAL tours and some independently organised tours. There are for and against for both, but the ship's tours are more expensive than they should be, so check out other options before you book. Our embarkation time was well after lunch so we were not happy with that and once on board we had the emergency drill so it felt like the day was wasted. This cruise we used the gym and participated in the stretching classes as well. Other interesting activities included flower arranging and of course the very popular America's Test Kitchen. We are already looking at where we would like to cruise to next, and yes, it will be on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone ... Read More
Booked this cruise for its itinerary to asia. Rooms are bigger than usual but Westerdam is smaller than other ships we have sailed with so we felt more rocking at sea. Service was excellent, our safe stopped working and they sent someone to fix it within 5 minutes. Food in the dining room was very good and much better than the Lido buffet. Pizza was good but pasta and lasagna were terrible in the Lido buffet. Entertainment and activities were geared towards an older crowd. The Westerdam's shore excursions in Halong Bay and Da Nang were very good but expensive. We did taxi tours in other ports because they were half the price of Westerdam's shore excursions. We also pre-booked a tour in Phu My port going to Vung Tau and Minh Dam mountain with Zoom from dungzoom@gmail.com which turned out to be way better than any of Westerdam's shore excursions and at less than half the price. Not only did Zoom provide free bottled water , but his tour was flexible and did not stop at any unwanted jewelry/art shops. Westerdam's shore excursions did not provide free bottled water (ship charged $5USD for a bottle of water), and made unwanted stops at overpriced jewelry/art shops. Zoom's tour was the best of all the tours we went on. The worst tour that we went on was the Hong Kong tour and airport transfer offered by Westerdam. It only made two stops at tourist sites for less than half an hour each. At the second site, we were told that we would have to pay extra for the taxi boat ride. Then it made a stop at an overpriced jewelry store for an hour. That was our whole tour! We weren't too happy that we paid $99USD per person to be forced to waste an hour of our time at an overpriced jewelry store. We spent more time at the jewelry store than we did at any tourist site. We would've done much better had we taken a taxi. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this 28 day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We saw Shanghai, 5 ports in southern Japan, 2 ports in Taiwan, Manila in the Philippines, Hong Kong, 4 ports in Vietnam, 1 in ... Read More
We chose this 28 day cruise from Shanghai to Singapore because of the itinerary and we were not disappointed. We saw Shanghai, 5 ports in southern Japan, 2 ports in Taiwan, Manila in the Philippines, Hong Kong, 4 ports in Vietnam, 1 in Cambodia and 2 in Thailand before reaching Singapore. This is a great way to see Asia - from very modern cities, to 3rd world countries. We had 3 days in Shanghai before embarkation - and were able to use the 144 hour visa free transit which went smoothly. There were no delays with embarkation, or disembarkment at the end of the cruise. The ship is looking a little tired in some areas, and is not as modern or lavish as some of the newer Holland America ships. The Crow's Nest area could do with some updating. The verandah cabin 5003 that we had was quiet and spacious, and we were very happy with it. The food was excellent, especially in the dining room, and there was a lot of choice in the Lido Buffet area. The entertainment on the main stage was a mixed bag - we enjoyed the Westerdam entertainers and visiting singers and musicians, but we didn't go when Comedians or Illusionists were on stage. We loved the Billboard area with 2 talented pianists, and there also was the Lincoln Centre Stage and a Jazz Band as entertainment options. We didn't do many of the on board activities - we did go to Flower Arranging, a cultural talk, some of the Microsoft classes and Americas Test Kitchen. We also used the outdoor spas and pool. The staff were excellent and did a top job, especially our 2 cabin boys. Ports: Shanghai - the port is a fair way from the city so we took a shuttle bus into the Bund from the ship for $20US each. From here you can spend the day in the city, and walk to a metro station. The metro has station signs in English as well as Chinese, and is easy to navigate Fukuoka - we did our own thing and caught a taxi to JR Hakata station where we caught a train to Kido Nazoin-Mae Station to see the Giant Reclining Buddha, which was very good. We returned to city and visited Canal City and Hakata Kawabata Shopping Arcade - more traditional and interesting shops. Lastly we saw Tochoji Temple and Pagoda, and several other Temples in the vicinity. We enjoyed this port. Kagoshima - we caught the cruise shuttle bus to Dolphin Park near the Sakurajima Ferry Terminal, and bought a Cute Pass which covers transport in Kagoshima. We took the ferry to Sakurajima Island, then went on a 1 hour bus tour circle. The Island View buses only stop at 1 Observatory now, so not as useful for sight seeing as previously. After this we walked along the coastal footpath for sea views and a stop at the footbaths. Back on the mainland we shared a taxi to Senganen Garden - a Japanese style landscape garden which we enjoyed. Amami - we docked here - it's no longer a tender port. We hired a car and spent time at Uttabaru & Sakibaru Beaches-good for swimming and Tomori beach - good for snorkelling. We also went to Cape Ayamaru Park, a lighthouse and Ohama Seaside Park. We loved our time here! Naha - we went on an all day snorkelling tour to the Kerima Island. Loved it! Ishigaki Island - we docked here - this is no longer a tender port. We hired a car and explored the whole Island, stopping at beaches, lighthouses, lookouts and and Kabira Bay, where we did a glass bottom boat tour. The Island is stunning and you can see most of it in a day. Loved Ishigaki! Keelung - we docked a couple of hundred metres from Keelung Train Station - so we caught the train into Taipei and did our own sightseeing. We went to the Flower and Jade Market, Liberty Square and Chiing Kai Check Hall and surrounds, and Longshan Temple. We climbed up lots of steps to Elephant Hill for city views, then went to Martyrs Shrine for changing of the guard. We stopped at Shillin Night Market for some food, then visited Confucious Temple. A long day but we loved it!. Next day we spent around Keelung - visiting the temple and Buddha on the hill, local shops and Zhengbing Fishing Port. Kaohsiung - we shared a taxi to Fo Guang Su Monastery - but because it was Tuesday the museum part was closed. Next we caught the Harvard Express Bus back into Kaohsiung and then a bus to Lotus Lake with Tiger and Dragon Structures, Buddhas, Temples and Pagodas - very interesting area and well worth a visit. We also took a quick ferry ride from the port to Qijin Island. Manila. We docked within walking distance of Intermuron, the old town. We did a 2 hour Bamboo Bike tour, which visited the main old city sites. We didn't really enjoy Manila, and it was very hot and humid. Hong Kong - the cruise port is a long way out so we took the free shuttle bus to Diamond Hill Shopping Centre and station. We did our own touring using public transport - Peak Tram, markets, Ding Dong Trams, Aberdeen Fishing Village, Star Ferry and Sunset at Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront. We enjoyed our time here. Halong Bay - this is no longer a tender port, we docked here. We did an 8 hour Halong Bay Cruise and the scenery is stunning. We stopped for swimming, walked through a magnificent cave, had fishermen row us in small boats into a lagoon and relaxed! Danang - we hired a driver for the day and had a wonderful day - visiting Monkey Temple, north over the mountain to beaches, back to Da Nang to the Dragon Bridge and past city sites to Marble Mountain, where we spent time exploring the caves. Lastly we went to Hoi An Old city at dusk and spent a few hours wandering around- lots of tourist shops, boats on the river and lanterns made it a beautiful place. You do now have to pay the old town entrance fee, but well worth it. On our second day in Danang we had a driver take us back to Hoi An where we did a bicycle tour with Buffalo Tours which was excellent. We rode in bamboo boats, went fishing in the river with a net, had fresh coconut to drink and made our own lanterns. We rode through fields where they grow rice and past little villages....and there ended up being only us and the guide! Nha Trang - the port is a fair way south of Nha Trang and for our boat a tender port, due to a cable car crossing the harbour to Vin Pearl Island! We shared a taxi into Nha Trang and visited Dam Market, then we had a massage booked so we enjoyed this very much. Next we visited Po Cham Towers and a lovely Japanese Bar/Restaurant on the River. Enjoyed our time here. Phu My - the port is 11/2 hours from Ho Chi Min City, so we had an organised tour here - visiting the main sites. Bustling city with thousands of motorbikes! Sihanoukville - this is a 3rd world country but there was construction going on everywhere, mainly by the Chinese. Roads were being sealed and lots of hotels /casinos being built. There was garbage everywhere, but the people were lovely. We did an organised tour visiting a fishing village, temples and pagodas, a Waterfall, beaches, and the central market. Unsealed roads are full of potholes, and it takes quite a bit of time to travel a few kilometres. Interesting to see but not somewhere I would like to return to. Laem Chabang - this port is about 2 hours from Bangkok. As we had 2 days here we elected to stay overnight in Bangkok. We had a private guide and had a wonderful time visiting the main sites. On the 2nd day we used trains and ferries to do more sight seeing on our own - so much to see here, we hope to return to see more. Ko Samui - a tender port. We did a tour here which was fine, but in hindsight would have been better for us to arrange our own transport and spent more time at the beach. Singapore - we spent 3 days here after disembarking from the cruise. We have been here several times before and we caught the metro to our hotel. Sightseeing this time included The Bird Zoo, Pulau Ubin, Jewell at Changi Airport, and the Flower Dome and the new Floral Fantasy, among other things. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
We did 2 back to back cruises from Vancouver to Shanghai on the westerdam. The staff as usual were friendly and very efficient from the room stewards to the waiting staff they were all very pleasant and full of smiles. The food ... Read More
We did 2 back to back cruises from Vancouver to Shanghai on the westerdam. The staff as usual were friendly and very efficient from the room stewards to the waiting staff they were all very pleasant and full of smiles. The food overall was a good standard in all dining locations though a little salty for our liking at times but great presentation and choices. We had a signature suite which was very nicely decorated and still looking fresh after the refit a couple of years a ago with great bed and large tv with on demand movies. The entertainment was disappointing with the two pianists in the Billboard lacking any personalities and no feeling of atmosphere, the singers and dancers put on 3 good productions and the BB King band were fantastic but the ship died at around .11pm as the enteruhad stopped and the bars closed. There were 2 trivia’s a day which were well attended but apart from that there was very little entertainment during the day and many passengers commented on the lack of things to do during the day.. The lack of a library onboard was a huge disappointment and lots of complaints from the guests. The drinks onboard were very expensive and the bars very quiet and unfortunately there was no cocktail hour music and dancing only to prerecorded music tucked away in BB King so many nights we were sitting in the bars by ourselves before dinner. It is a shame HAL is cutting back on so many things that made people want to come back as we are 4 star mariners but are already looking at alternatives to spend our money on. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very ... Read More
This was our fourth HAL cruise in the Asia-Pacific region and we enjoyed it. Westerdam has been refitted in recent years and the ship was in very good shape. Carpets and furniture were clean and well maintained. Public spaces were very pleasant. We had a verandah cabin which was nicely maintained with a modern flat screen TV on the wall across from the bed, and a good bathroom with tub/shower combination. This repositioning cruise spent 7 days on the North Pacific between Vancouver and Japan, and the crossing had both choppy and calm seas. An unexpected re-routing around Japan was necessary to avoid Super Typhoon Hagibis but the captain and crew did a great job of keeping us informed and safe. After two missed port calls and one-day delay in reaching Yokohama due to the storm, the subsequent 2 week itinerary stopping in Japan, South Korea and China was excellent. HAL is known for its older crowd, and this was certainly the case on this cruise. If you don't like spending a lot of time with mostly seniors this isn't the cruise line for you, but what the passengers lack in youth they make up for in travel experience. Most have been all over the world and make for great conversation any time you are wanting to chat. Food aboard was great. We mostly eat in the dining room and find the menus to be varied and quality of the food excellent. We generally eat late (8pm or later) and tables for 2 were always available at that time, which made it very relaxing. The Lido Market cafeteria usually had seating available and the range of food for breakfast and lunch was good, but we found the offerings at dinner were not spectacular. HAL seems to have improved its entertainment and we enjoyed the shows on the Main Stage. The variety was good, from full dance and music shows to comedians, and individual musicians. America's Test Kitchen daily presentations were great. Some of the cultural lectures were better than others (a function of who was doing the presentations) but overall set the stage for our ports of call. And port information sessions provided in advance of each port were excellent, not just designed to sell the cruise line's tours. The best thing about HAL's ships is the mainly Indonesian and Filipino crew. They are very friendly and helpful. We are always greeted with a smile. Cabin staff were excellent. Food servers and wine stewards were cheerful and efficient. It's always amazing how the servers and other staff remember your name and your preferences. HAL shore excursions are, as usual, high priced and sometimes lack quality, but it's possible to organize a mix of cruise line tours and private tours. We used a lot of HAL tours for the China portion and most were very good to excellent. Overall a very good Asia-Pacific cruise this time around on Westerdam. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table ... Read More
We sailed Sept 22-29th 2019 and had a positive travel experience made so by the excellent serving staff throughout the ship, in our cabin (thank you Ricki and Ahmad), and dining service (thank you Ari Komang Joseph Izebb and Sudika table 311). Among ourselves, we commented daily on how hard working and pleasant all the ship’s staff were. We ate breakfast and dinner in the dining room, and used the Lido Market and Lido Dive In for lunch. We chose a wine package so that we could enjoy a bottle of wine with dinner. This was much more reasonable in price than any of the drink packages. Any cocktails we wanted were purchased a la carte. Embarkation was a long but necessary process, again with excellent staff and lots of helpful agents to answer our questions. Disembarkation was extremely smooth. Well done Westerdam! We arranged tours in Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan through Holland America. The tours were a little pricey for what was offered. They were pretty basic. Again the staff assisting with the tours and security check in. Our only complaint is Westerdam’s outrageous charge for internet and bottled water in the room. Westerdam, you’re taking advantage of a captive market by charging these exorbitant fees! Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. ... Read More
I selected this for the land tour as we had never been to inland Alaska. Was what I had hoped for. Weather excellent for land, but some rain on cruise. Included Excursions , especially Denali bus and train to Anchorage were spectacular. The road in Denali is fast falling away, so may not be available for too long. Saw moose, bears, caribou, sheep. Accommodations were as expected, lodges fine, Anchorage hotel a little older and tired. Holland America’s logistics are excellent, including meeting our plane at 2:30 am. Luggage always where it was supposed to be. Check in was 5 minutes. Ship looks in excellent condition, and food excellent. A real upgrade since our last HAL cruise in 2014 when we found it stodgy. Entertainment good but could benefit from more choices like a piano bar or dance band in the pre dinner hour. Excursions, as always, over priced. Do at least one boat trip and one glacier. The Kenai Fjord was great with all the expected birds and animals. I left HAL after many of their cruises, feeling they were stuck in the past. After this successful trip, I will be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, ... Read More
We have sailed on a number of HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam, one week Alaska Inside Passage followed by a one week land tour. The Westerdam was remodeled last year and we were impressed with the tasteful decor, (except the odd colorful benches on each floor by the elevators). The decor is understated elegance, neutral colors, with many comfortable public spaces to relax. Our mini-suite 6190 was very roomy, more storage than I could fill, lots of room between the bed and the furnishings. Bathroom was also very large, double sink, separate shower and jetted bathtub. A wall of closets/shelves too. Once of the nicest staterooms we've had in our 14 cruises. Food was very good though the service in the dining room for dinner was a bit slow. Entertainment also exceeded our expectations with the exception of the HAL dancers/singers who's performances were a bit too theatrical rather than light and upbeat (this is the fault of the director, not the singers). The public spaces did not feel crowded, perfect size ship for our sailing. The EXC presentations on the Iditarod, Whales and Salmon were excellent as were the cooking classes presented by the chef for America's Test Kitchen. Very enjoyable cruise and highly recommend this ship for an Alaskan cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. ... Read More
Loved the Westerdam. Great cabin 10018 with excellent location. Good viewing when on a southbound cruise. Entertainment great and went late into the night. BB Kings good. The 2 piano players in the Billboard Bar were also great. Food good. Only disappointment was lunch in the Pinnacle Restaurant. Not worth the extra $. Not sure why a Coconut Trifle would gave 2 layers of rich chocolate that overpowered the taste of anything else...inedible. Strawberry pavlova...better pavlova in the Lido. Crab cakes for appetizer were excellent. Entrees (mains) pretty ordinary. Dinner may have been better. Santos and Otto did a great job in looking after us in our stateroom on Deck 10. Recommend this Stateroom, in particular location. Great service with a smile everywhere. Plenty of updates from the Captain. Smooth sailing. Embarkation was easy and we were able to board earlier than designated. Disembarkation needed more signs for lines of group colours. Easy to look up everything on TV in cabin, e.g. account and dining menus for the day. Good movies too. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
The Holland American Alaska Land & Sea Cruise was a marvel in it's organization from Fairbanks to Seward on land and Seward to Vancouver at sea. The hotels, ground transport, buses and train moved us with without any problems. ... Read More
The Holland American Alaska Land & Sea Cruise was a marvel in it's organization from Fairbanks to Seward on land and Seward to Vancouver at sea. The hotels, ground transport, buses and train moved us with without any problems. The weather was exceptional for May. The Panning for Gold, Steamboat Cruise, The Denali Outback was 102 miles filled with moose, brown bear, caribou, sheep was great. The sea excursions the White Pass Train and Salmon Fishing was outstanding. The transfers from airport and to ship were again very On the ship the Neptune Lounge, staff, the stewards, our waiters, wine steward, and the entire crew were helpful and friendly. They tried their hardest to improve the food that was being served and it did improve a little. The quality of menu was terrible. The managing chef his menu lacked any inspiration. His plate pairings were off the wall. His line chefs plaited the food poorly and no one was tasting the food or were uneducated with what good food should taste like. The quality of the food has been reduced to the level of it's parent company Carnival. It was not like this on my previous sailings with Holland American. Even the cafe was dull and tasteless and the specialty restaurants were only slightly better, just OK that's all we can say about the food. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, both sea and land portions along with Holland America's experience in Alaska. Our first time on HAL. We really appreciated the opportunities provided by HAL to upgrade our cabin and ... Read More
We chose this cruise primarily for the itinerary, both sea and land portions along with Holland America's experience in Alaska. Our first time on HAL. We really appreciated the opportunities provided by HAL to upgrade our cabin and ended up in a Neptune Suite for a nominal fee. Our room steward and Neptune Lounge concierges were fantastic. Pre-cruise in Vancouver at the Pan Pacific hotel was perfect. Embarkation was good except for an hour delay due to a surprise Coast Guard inspection. We liked being able to use our Signature Beverage Package in the Neptune Lounge. However, we were misinformed on what we could order. We were told beverages up to $9 but learned after the cruise it was $11. We booked two excursions through HAL - the Discover Whale Watch in Juneau and Husky Homestead in Denali. Both great - well organized and delivered as promised. We planned to participate in more onboard entertainment but only managed to make it to Billboard Onboard, the casino, and a couple EXC presentations. All good! Some of the presentations offered in the EXC lounge were standing room only. Dining overall was good. We tried the Main Dining Room, Pinnacle Grill, Room Service, Lido Market, Dive-In and taco bar. We only tried a couple of the bars because we primarily used the honor bar in the Neptune Lounge. We cruise primarily for the destinations and excursions, not the ship itself. However, all were very good. The only significant negative was the hotel in Anchorage. Holland American needs to seriously renovate this hotel. Read Less
Sail Date May 2019
We chose this cruise to experience Japan in Cherry Blossom season and experience the culture and history of the country. The tours provided by EXC (HA's onboard service) were good. I feel I saw most of the attractions I wanted ... Read More
We chose this cruise to experience Japan in Cherry Blossom season and experience the culture and history of the country. The tours provided by EXC (HA's onboard service) were good. I feel I saw most of the attractions I wanted through these tours, while being guaranteed I wouldn't miss the boat at the end! The price was up there, but after sorting out some private tours at either end of the cruise, the costs were comparable for the amount we experienced. The ports we stopped at were new for Holland America. There really weren't any ports that were in the centre of town. It was at least a 20 minute bus ride into the town centres if you were wondering around by yourself for the day. The frequency of busses was adequate. Due to Japanese law we had to visit a different country at least once before we made it the whole way around Japan. This is the only reason why we went to Russia for one day. The port was Vladivostok. Don't bother doing a tour here, the town is run down and you have to go on a HA tour for Visa reasons. The customs debacle for this one day out of Japan was appalling. I understand all customs issues are never fun, but HA was definitely did not make it any better. For a cruse company that is meant to be professional at this stuff, they could have made their clients a lot more comfortable through the process. We had a lot of older guests on the ship, I felt horrible for the them. The quality of the ship was a little tired, with maintenance undertaken at every port we stopped at. Sometimes this was an inconvenience to the patrons. We were on level 8 in a stateroom. They had asked us if we minded being in a an 'accessible/disabled' stateroom before the cruise. We agreed, but we would not do this again. Mum and I were twin sharing, but if this room was used for a disabled person, you could only fit one person in there. We missed out on a good shower, cupboard space and a sitting area because of this, and we paid jut as much as the other guests. The food in the main dining areas was good, tasty and well presented but not as fresh as I am used to. The dining experiences in the premium restaurants was much better. Don't worry about the special events like seafood nights or degustations and wine pairing, these are much steeper in price and not much better in quality to any other night. The hospitality, bar and dining staff were great, nothing was a problem, my mother and I came down with illness on the ship and they were very accommodating. Our waiters and bar staff knew us by name from the second day and remembered what we liked to drink - which was an extensive list! Drinks packages - definitely get one. we got the 'Signature' package for approx $50USD/day. The wine options were a little too limited for us, if we had the time again, we would have purchased the top drink package for approx $10USD/day extra. The most disappointing this was the accounts department of HA. We printed our statement every morning to check our account. Almost every second day there were charges on there that shouldn't have been - we were charged for drinks that were covered in our pre paid package, room service charges that we didn't order, etc. On the last night, the whole cruise was taken over by chocolate and towel animals as a bit of fun, but I can't help thinking this type of activity is to 'smooth everyone over' at the end so we leave happy and recommend them to our friends. At the end of the cruise, we went to pay our bill, and they held the amount on our credit card. On the last day we received an account that they had charged us. This was fine, apart from they still had the amount on hold as well, effectively holding twice the amount of money they owed us. This can be quite debilitation if you are only half way through your entire holiday. Through waiting for statements to reflect charges and calling HA a couple of times to sort it out, I am still waiting for this money to be released 7 days after disembarking their ship. The HA girl assured me this would be released no later than 72 hours after the cruise finished. After trying to explain that didn't happen, I am also chasing this through with my bank. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. The first 14 nights were spent cruising around Japan with a stop in Vladivostok. The next 15 nights included two more ports in Japan and then 6 sea days crossing the north ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the price. The first 14 nights were spent cruising around Japan with a stop in Vladivostok. The next 15 nights included two more ports in Japan and then 6 sea days crossing the north Pacific to our first port in Alaska, Kodiak. I have to say, the first 14 days were very busy with tours and I really enjoyed the sea days to rest up! I flew into Narita Airport and took the Limousine Bus directly to my hotel in Yokohama. The desk for Limousine Bus was directly across from where you exit the secure area of the airport. The ticket to Yokohama was around $35. The bus picked us up right outside the door. Very convenient. It was about a two hour ride to the New Grand Hotel in Yokohama. We were dropped right in front of the hotel. I had a double room in the tower for about $260 per night. Right across the street from the hotel is a pretty park and the harbor. The cruise ship terminal is within walking distance, but I chose to take a cab, about $7. Getting on board was pretty efficient. My first stop was the Lido Buffet for lunch. The buffet is not self serve, but seemed to move along quite well. The buffet staff were very helpful and were happy to fetch anything you may have forgotten to pick up as well as replenish drinks. Most of my dinners were in the main dining room. I had anytime dining and was traveling by myself. I was always seated at a table with other English speaking travelers. The staff in the dining room were great! They were so friendly. Of course with anytime dining, you don't get that personal touch that you would get with fixed time dining. My favorite food place was Dive In, the burger joint out by the pool. The burgers and hotdogs are done as you order them and are great. The French fries were the best. Overall, the food was very good. However, I didn't care for the lasagna. I had one dinner in the Pinnacle Grill and it was outstanding. Get the soufflé for dessert. I was very impressed with the crew on this ship. They were all so friendly and helpful. I had the best cabin stewards, Wayan and Alex. Entertainment was your usual comedians, magicians, singers and dancers. One night a local group of Japanese girls came on board for a Taiku drums show. This was one of the best shows I have ever seen on a cruise ship and I've been on 36 cruises! These girls were fantastic! The audience was mesmerized by their performance. I'm so glad I saw this show. I was in a verandah cabin. I liked the layout of the room. As you entered, the closet was on the right and the bathroom was on the left. On the newer ships I've been on, the closets are next to the bed and awkward to access. My biggest cabin complaint on this ship and most others cruise ships is that the hairdryer and outlet for a curling iron are at the desk where the lighting leaves a lot to be desired. The lighting in the bathroom is great and it would be nice to be able to do my hair there. I wish the desk would have had some drawer space. However, the desk actually had a real chair instead of some uncomfortable stool to sit on. I found the ship to be well maintained and clean, but I was not impressed with the décor. The ship seemed dark. I loved the aft pool and deck area. It was a great place for sail away. You could bring out your food from the Lido buffet as there were tables and chairs here as well as loungers. The biggest disappointment for me and many others that I talked to was the lack of a library. I love the library on ships. Not everyone has a Kindle nor do they want to be bothered with one and rely on the ship's library for their reading material. There was so much wasted space in the Crow's Nest and a library would have been welcomed there. I was on the Rotterdam last year and that ship had a wonderful library. Please don't change it! I won't discuss ports as there were so many of them. I do want to offer one tip for the port of Shimizu. When you sail into Shimizu, you will get spectacular views of Mt. Fuji on the star bird side of the ship. Sailing out of port, it will be on the port side. If you're lucky, it won't be covered with clouds! All in all, it was a great cruise and I could have stayed on the ship longer. The Japanese people were friendly and polite. Language was not a problem in the tourist areas. Would I do this cruise again? No, because there are so many other places to see, but I enjoyed every minute of this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date April 2019
We selected this cruise because we had never been to Japan. We typically cruise with Holland America but have found on our last couple of cruises that their standards are starting to slip. The quality of the food and the ... Read More
We selected this cruise because we had never been to Japan. We typically cruise with Holland America but have found on our last couple of cruises that their standards are starting to slip. The quality of the food and the selection/variety is not what it used to be. As well, even though the staff are all dedicated and hardworking and do their best to keep the cruisers happy, HAL seems to have reduced the number of staff and so the service is also not what it used to be. Embarkation, in our opinion, was poorly handled and slow and we spent a lot of time simply standing in line. Disembarkation, on the other hand, was quite efficient and quick. The selection of ports for the 14 day Japan portion of the cruise was very good and we enjoyed all of them. We arranged private tours for all but one of the ports and so were always in a very small group, which meant we had more flexibility and usually were able to see more than the large groups. We had an inside cabin and it was quite comfortable and our room stewards were great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the 2 day stop in Shanghai and Beijing and ending in Japan. This was our first time cruising on HAL. It was just the 2 of us cruising and we stayed in a balcony cabin, which was very nice. We arrived at embarkation to find out we needed copies of our Passports and Visas on separate sheets of paper. We waiting in a line for 15 minutes + to have this done. If we knew prior to arriving, everyone would have these copies available. There were numerous agents to check us in and was quick. Unlike other cruise lines we've been on, the ship does not have a bright center atrium. It's quite small and dark. The ship as a whole in the interior is dark, the evening entertainment is just so-so, MANY people walk around with their bathrobes on visiting the pool/spa/buffet which we found strange and their were limited activities on sea days, All our tours were private with 8 people so can't comment on the ship's tours. We did attend several information sessions about ports, culture and various topics and found them well done and interesting. The service and food options in the Lido Marketplace, buffet, was very good. We ate our meals here for the variety and did not participate in the formal nights. We met friendly people since most times you share a table in the Lido Marketplace. For the first time ever, we took our luggage off by ourselves since we had reserved tickets for the bullet train. This worked well since we each only had 1 suitcase. Depending on the ports/cost, we would consider going again on HAL. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We have traveled on many HA cruises and still believe that it offers value; but over the years there appears to be a greater focus on profit and less on quality of service. They have definitely lost out to the more luxury lines and it ... Read More
We have traveled on many HA cruises and still believe that it offers value; but over the years there appears to be a greater focus on profit and less on quality of service. They have definitely lost out to the more luxury lines and it shows. We selected this trip as the ports were exotic and the cost of cabin reasonable; and that proved to be true. What changed is the up-charge for everything from bottled water to premium steak in the dining room. We were actually told that on some HA ships that top-of-the menu and second portions are at an added charge; and that this is scheduled to implemented on all ships later this year. The wait staff in both the dining room and the Lido deck were attentive and well trained; there was always someone at the buffet willing to help either carry a plate or find a table. The Lido menu was a bit boring and would imagine to be redundant to those passengers on for 28 days. At times the food on the serving line looked old and dried out but that is likely the effect of heat lamps on less popular dishes that are not replenished as often. Additionally thee should be better crowd control at the more popular food stations as wait times are long and crowd gets anxious. The 3rd deck main dining room is rarely filled and the menu is much leaner than on past cruises. Gone are the cold soups and a lack of a greater variety of appetizers. While steak, fish and chicken plus a vegetarian offering are available every evening, the variety is sometime lacking. I do not cruise to eat meatloaf, fried chicken and liver. The cabin attendants were friendly and did a reasonable job replenishing towels and linens. In earlier cruises HA always supplied a "goody basket" in the BR but that is long gone, as is additional bars of soap. We were in a veranda cabin and unfortunately the weather generally was not conducive to using it but on the one day that we could it was so grimy with sea salt that one wondered if it had been cleaned between cruises. Otherwise ship was older but appeared maintained; public spaces were a bit cramped and lacked areas where one could sit and read or just relax without traffic. We will sail on HA again but only if the trip entices us and the price is right. Read Less
Sail Date March 2019
We chose this cruise because we love cruising in Asia and we prefer cooler weather over hot and humid weather. Holland America has a kind of a laid back atmosphere that we enjoy but their sea days are lacking in things to do. We did enjoy ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we love cruising in Asia and we prefer cooler weather over hot and humid weather. Holland America has a kind of a laid back atmosphere that we enjoy but their sea days are lacking in things to do. We did enjoy the lecturers on the various ports of call. They have worked on having better entertainment with piano players in the billboard on board lounge and BB King in the other lounge which was really good. The main show room was kind of a hit or miss, sometimes good and other times not so good. The singers and dancers from the ship were talented but the routines they did needs improvement because they sang a lot of songs we didn't recognize. The food in the Lido and Main Dining room was above average but a lot of the same kind of food. We did enjoy going to the Pinnacle Grill Restaurant (specialty restaurant) to have their crab legs and that was really good! The crew's overall service was very good. Had trouble 3 times with the guest services, 1st one was with exchanging money, they had me stand in 3 lines which took up a lot of time waiting, 2nd was when we received a note saying that after the first leg of our cruise (14 days, we were upgraded to 4 star Mariner), sent our laundry out but they charged our room for the service, eventually they took if off our bill but have to meet with them twice before it happened. 3rd, we received a note stating that on disembarking if we needed a wheelchair to report to the Pinnacle Bar 15 minutes prior to when we want to get off. We did report with other people but no one there with wheel chairs so I went to guest services and they said to just go back to the Pinnacle Bar and someone will meet us. We waited another 1/2 hour (1 hour by now), no one came so we decided to get off since we made private transportation reservations only to find the wheel chairs located on the second floor at the Ocean Bar. It was upsetting because when we got there and asked to have a wheel chair, the staff said there were a lot of people waiting and we would have to patient and wait our turn and that our color and number has not been called yet which really upset me. I told her our number was called over a hour ago and then she gave us the next wheel chair that was available. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The ... Read More
The ports on this cruise were fabulous. Even though it was cold for the first few weeks, it was well worth going. The crew on Westerdam are some of the best I've come across on any HAL ship. ALL of them were wonderful. The cabins however, are tired & need an upgrade. Our bath had a crack in it & poured water all over the floor every time we had a shower. We tried to get them to fix it but, in the end, we fixed it ourselves with gaff tape!! The public rooms however, had been upgraded & were excellent. Food in the MDR was great, as was the service. The Lido however, was another story. Food was usually cold or luke warm & some of the service attendants less than friendly, so we stopped eating there. The entertainment was OK. Production shows were ordinary & so were the guest entertainers. BB's Blues club band were fantastic but played VERY little blues so we stopped going!! The ports were excellent & the guest lecturer Master Kam fantastic. Also, they are now giving lots on talks with info about upcoming ports which, if you are an independent traveller, is invaluable going ashore by yourself. The ship's shore excursions that we went on were all good. Only problem, of course, is rude inconsiderate people who WON'T be back at the bus at the specified time making everyone else wait for them & losing sightseeing time at the next stop. Read Less
Sail Date February 2019
It was a great overall experience. The itinerary is what attracted us to this cruise as we had done China, Korea, Japan and a Transpacific to Vancouver in 2015 and this cruise offered new Asian ports - just the 16 day itinerary. The ... Read More
It was a great overall experience. The itinerary is what attracted us to this cruise as we had done China, Korea, Japan and a Transpacific to Vancouver in 2015 and this cruise offered new Asian ports - just the 16 day itinerary. The service as is always the case with HAL was above average. Quality of food was very good, loved the food the artwork and gorgeous flower arrangements. Entertainment was the weakest point on this trip but Planet Earth really stood out and the BB King show was lively and very enjoyable made up for the Theatre offering. Just took one tour with HAL, Koh Samui, the day we got soaked. HAL tours are good but too expensive. I am a regular cruiser with HAL love the cruise line but the cost of the tours is never addressed. Shame. The cabin was as expected, always clean - excellent service. We are Looking forward to our next cruise with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our first time sailing on Holland America Line, and we were pretty impressed. We’re younger than the typical HAL cruiser, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying all that the MS Westerdam had to offer. We selected this ... Read More
This was our first time sailing on Holland America Line, and we were pretty impressed. We’re younger than the typical HAL cruiser, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying all that the MS Westerdam had to offer. We selected this cruise for the itinerary first. We'd also heard good things about the food and service on HAL, so we were interested in giving it a try. The ship was great. We love the intimacy of a smaller ship, and the renovations HAL has done on the Westerdam seemed tasteful and appropriate. The entertainment was interesting. We didn’t care much for the production shows, but the live music (especially Lincoln Center) was quite good…and a nice change from the typical cruise fare. The itinerary was wonderful – the perfect ratio of ports to sea days for our taste. The food was quite good, especially in the Pinnacle Grill. The service was mixed. We LOVED the staff in the Neptune Lounge and Pinnacle Grill. Our room stewards and service team in the dining room were a mixed bag…not all of the staff seem to engage with the guests in a meaningful way, which I really crave. We only took one ship excursion. We weren’t really interested in the excursions offered by HAL for most of the ports – somehow they felt limited or too basic for us…we really like to dive in head-first to new places. The excursion we DID do through HAL was quite boring and a significant amount of time was spent on a "shopping opportunity” that would have been better spent seeing more of Siagon. Overall, we’d definitely sail HAL again (we actually are booked on a Baltic cruise later this year because of an excellent deal), but it wouldn’t be our first choice. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every ... Read More
We chose the Westerdam because we had sailed on this ship before and were familiar with it. We stayed in a Neptune Suite Aft, level 7, corner suite with a verandah....which was very nice. Our room stewards were wonderful and met every one of our needs! The Itinerary was great, except Sihanoukville in Cambodia. This port is in it's infancy as far as tourists go, but we joined the ship that day they docked after leaving from the Bangkok excursion to go off on our own to visit Siem Reap and Angor Wat. We planned the excursion on our own (way less expensive than what was offered through Holland America) and found that city in Cambodia to be delightful. If Cambodia is judged by a traveler, only on this port, Cambodia is getting the short end of the stick....Siem Reap was wonderful. The food was good on board and plentiful, especially the Asian themed on the Lido deck, and in the Dining Room. We ate at the Specialty Dining three times....Rudy's Fish (not to our liking at all...probably what we ordered, versus the quality) and at the Pinnacle Grill Twice (food was excellent). We only went to one show, and it was only MEH, in our opinion. Very talented kids doing the same or similar shows we had seen before five years ago. We heard the comic/impersonator was awesome, but he missed that. As a Neptune Suite, we had the use of the Neptune Suite Lounge which was awesome...they had juices, coffees, light snacks, treats, small plates all day long for our consumption, and a wonderful staff (Gabrielle, Paolo) who answered any questions we had. Very kind. Also had unlimited use of the laundry services, which were done in one day, and nice to have (I would've packed way less and had more room for the huge amounts of stuff I bought in ports!) We also had priorty tendering, embarkation, and disembark. Avoiding lines was a positive to that benefit. The cabin was nice, large and suited our needs. HA probably needs to look at refurbishing the overall ship decor sometime soon however as it's a little dated in my opinion. Our dressing mirror was cracked and the tub and shower couldve used a little caulking update, but I'd give the room an A-. Now, the only real negative I have is the smoking issue. My husband and I both smoke. Before we booked this cruise, we most surely asked our cruise consultant about the availability of smoking areas. We were given six or seven spots as smoking areas, plus we were told we could smoke in the Casino. Imagine our surprise when we got on the ship and were told there was only one area to smoke....Lido Deck 9, aft. Thats it. No smoking in or anywhere near the Casino. (sorry Holland America but you lost a ton of money I would've spent had I not gotten up to go for a ten minute walk to smoke every few hours). I am fine with no indoor smoking totally, I get it, but the smoking area consisted of four tables that seated maybe 8 people, and they were hard as hell...no cushions, HARD, SLATTED TEAKWOOD BENCHES & SEATS. Considering the fact that we paid 4k plus each to be there, we were pretty annoyed. You had nowhere to layout where you could smoke. Obviously it took us a few days to kind of work through the annoyance of the misinformation we were given by our HA cruise consultant. Apparently there has been NO SMOKING in the casino and other spots for over 2 years on this ship. (Can't wait to review our cruise consultant on that one.) I think Holland is missing the boat (pun intended) by not having a reasonable accommodation for Casino players closer to the Casino. Another negative, was the fact that they decreased the size of the casino and put the Dueling Piano guys (who had a great show by the way) RIGHT NEXT TO THE BLACKJACK and POKER tables. I swear....it was a pretty popular show, and pretty crowded, but for GOD's SAKE...put a wall up between the two venues. I didn't mind hearing them, but I also liked hearing what the dealer had to say, or delight in the witty banter between players....not possible with two guys pounding out Piano Man just ten feet away! By the way, the casino staff were awesome....very service oriented and fun as well! One of the best choices we made was to come to SIngapore for a few days before the cruise, and to stay for an additional day the day before we flew home. SIngapore was lovely, had tons to do, was clean, great food, great shopping, etc. I loved all of the ports we visited, and we used Tours By Locals and Trip Advisor to find local guides so we could avoid the herds of folks on the busses to the touristy stuff. On each ofour excursions, we got a local flavor, and a real feeling of the culture and people we went to see. HaLong Bay was wonderful, loved Bangkok, my favorte spot was the visit to Da Nang- Hoi An Might Market (Amazing). Would we go again? Hmmmm.....I would go with Holland again, but not this ship...I, for personal reasons, would like to be able to smoke in a Casino, and have a reasonable accommodation and comfort when I do. At the end of the day, we met great people, saw wonderful things, and the vacation was a B+ in my book. Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
This was our 5th cruise , our second with Holland America and as always we chose it for the itinerary which offered 3 different Asian countries including 4 in Vietnam and overnight stops in Bangkok and Danang with a round trip from ... Read More
This was our 5th cruise , our second with Holland America and as always we chose it for the itinerary which offered 3 different Asian countries including 4 in Vietnam and overnight stops in Bangkok and Danang with a round trip from Singapore offering the extra opportunity to celerbate the New Year there . Surprisingly the ship was just over half full which meant that the public areas , pool, bar and especially the Lido were easier to navigate than is normally the case. We found the ship and our stateroom to be immaculate. For details of our cabin see below . Service by all the members of staff was excellent - with the obvious note that around the pool and in the buffet is can be a bit slower than elsewhere because of the number of people vying for attention but in general is was better than our experience on other boats . We found the layout and design on the ship pretty friendly in particular the number of different bars and place to hang out - the Gallery bar and the Crow's nest were particular sanctuaries. Even the 4pm happy hour didn't seem overly crowded. We thought the food was pretty good overall. We had one poor experience in the main dining room with an overcooked steak . One poor lunch time service I think because we skipped the starters and somehow that meant our main course still only arrived with everyone else's and one breakfast in the cabin with cold tea - but otherwise service and standards were very acceptable for this kind of ship. The menu choices were good for us and we always had a few options which appealed. Regarding the itinerary - we had to skip Koh Samui due to a tropical storm so we started with two sea days the rest went according to plan .Be aware that most of the ports are not closely located to the key sites , they are industrial container ports and there is nothing to do within walking distance. For Bangkok and HCMC it is a 2 2 1/2 hour drive to the city so you can only really do the highlights. If you want an in depth visit then go by land and not by boat. On the other hand Halong bay is now a docking location and not a tender port which is a big bonus . We had problems with disembarking on two occasions ,one in Nha Trang due to problems with the tenders and once in Hoi An which I think was a late arrival . These delayed us by 1 hour on each occasion and communication from the ship could have been improved in each case leading to crowding in the disembarkation area. The Vietnam stops were excellent in particular Halong Bay where we took a day tour with Indochina junk which was fantastic. Danang - where we went to the utterly charming Hoi An and the ancient city of Hue ( Tour with Shore Excursions Asia ) - was also excellent. We stayed overnight in Bangkok which I would recommend to make the most of the time . With a private transfer ( Oriental Escape) and an overnight hotel stop ( Eastin Sathorn) this was still pretty cost effective and allowed us to have extra time. Cambodia was a big disappointment , the town of Sihanoukville is overdeveloped and dirty and frankly an unpleasant place to spend any time . It was a great shame and i felt sad for the residents . It is not a good reflection for the rest of the country which is worth seeing . We didn't do any ship tours we used Cruise Critic contacts to make groups in all locations and process that worked very well and helped us meet people on board. We probably saved in excess of 500 USD per person through this process. Entertainment on board was OK . On this ship the show times are 20.00 and 22.00 . I didn't like this set up .As a late diner this meant there was nothing to do in the early evening ( 16.00 happy hour a bit early to start if you are n't dining till 20.00 ) and since we had a lot of early morning tours we missed most of the 22.00 shows. I prefer the early show at 18.00 and the late one at 20.00 followed by happy hour from 21.00 for everyone . There were just 4 shows in the two week itinerary and the rest were guest entertainers . Nothing the write home about . The Port experts Jeremy and Kevin ( i think ) and their port talks were EXCELLENT . A great resource not focused on selling the ships tours but helping you make the most of the destination however you are travelling. A real highlight for us . I personally didn't enjoy the ships lecturer Michael HIcks but others I spoke to enjoyed his talks so I guess it is a question of each to his own . The did enjoy the America Test Kitchen and the Trivia Games too . Overall I think the onboard activities were in line with what we expected , not everything to everyone's taste but enough to have something that will appeal to you. We didn't use the SPA or buy a photo package because I felt the prices were just too high . It didn't look like either service was very busy so I don't think I was the only traveller who thought this . Embarkation and Disembarkation at the beginning and end of the cruise worked well . The embarkation desks in Singapore where they do check in are strangely cramped inside a large area leaving everyone huddled around a little desk which could be improved but it was quick and efficient. I think we would travel again with HAL - overall we liked the ambience and thought the service and activities were good for this size and rating of ship. I would in particular recommend the Vietnam itinerary to other travellers . Read Less
Sail Date January 2019
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.5 N/A

Find a Westerdam Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click