Wonderful relaxing cruise. Best food ever!: Westerdam Cruise Review by alwaysckb

Westerdam 5
Member Since 2012

Overall Member Rating

Wonderful relaxing cruise. Best food ever!

Sail Date: April 2012
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Our cruise was wonderful! This was our first time on HAL. The first thing to mention is the food. We've been on other lines, but so far Holland America wins, hands down on the food. The selection, the quantity, the quality of the food was superb. Of course, there is always room for improvement, but overall, it was stunning. We felt like we were eating at a five star establishment every single night. Even the breakfast was a step up. They had multiple, and I mean multiple versions of eggs benedict's. That's unheard of.
Embarkation was usual. Lots of people crammed in to a small space, trying to get their ship card, etc.

The room was spectacular, as we had the superior verandah, and we can say it definitely felt superior. We loved the extra room, the balcony, the double sink, the whirlpool bath and separate shower. Of course HAL promotes the room to be a little more than what it actually is. They state that there is a dressing area and walk-in closet. This walk-in closet is More simply a curtain drawn between the main part of the room and the closet area. Not exactly what I would consider a "walk-in closet". Then the fresh flowers in the room. Yes, when we came in there were three very small flowers in a very small vase. However, the flowers were changed at the end of the cruise, and only after the old ones died a withery droopy death. However, these are just minor details, overall, the room was fantastic. The service, the cleanliness of the ship, the service is all superior to the other lines, in my opinion.

One thing to mention is that this ship has a policy that you cannot serve yourself any food for the first 48 hours on board. They do this in precaution of the Norwalk and other diarrhea causing viruses that can follow passengers on board. Yes, this can definitely cause longer than usual waits for food in the buffet areas, but it's there for our safety, so not much to be upset about. We did notice that even after the 48 hour time frame was lifted, a lot of the major food items were still being prepared and served by the staff. Like an assisted buffet. It was nice having juice included on the cruise and different kinds of juice. Not just at breakfast, but at all times of the day. Furthermore, getting champagne at the captain's toast and the mariners lunch was a wonderful touch. We definitely didn't feel nickled and dimed on this cruise. My first time doing afternoon or "high" tea. Highly recommend it. The snacks alone are worth it, and the Indonesian teas were amazing.

Lastly, all the rumours and statements that HAL is only for "old" people wasn't our experience. Perhaps it was the time of year, who knows, but there was definitely a mix of all kinds on board. This was a no pressure, not in-your-face, no announcements-every-10-minutes, relaxing, low-key cruise, and we absolutely loved it! Less

Published 04/17/12

Cabin review: SS6069 Signature Superior Verandah Suite

We were in SY6069. It was a wonderful room. The whirlpool bath tub was wonderful and the separate shower was very nice. The double sink gives lots of room in the bathroom with ample storage space. They changed the towels all the time, which I like, because it can be complicated to track when the towel was used, or whose towel, etc. They had lots of chairs and the couch inside the cabin so you didn't have to end up sitting on the bed, until it was time for bed. The balcony was nice as well. Instead of the loungers there are wicker chairs with foot rests. We thought it was fine, although some would probably prefer the loungers. They cleaned the balcony regularly which was good, to get rid of the build-up of salt from the day/night before. Lots of closet space, which is great for hanging up clothes and lots of storage underneath the bed so the suitcases could be out of the way. Location was great. Nice and quiet. The boat does not dock on that side, at least for our stops, so it was usually very private balcony. Overall, excellent room, definitely would stay in one like this again.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Island Tour

Great small group tour. Very friendly guide, very knowledgeable and patient. My only issue is that we didn't get to the beach. We specifically asked about the beach through email, and he stated that we would definitely go swimming, but for some reason we never got around to it. We were disappointed about that glaring omission on our tour. Otherwise, very nice.

Beautiful and picturesque island. Lots and lots of shopping for all kinds of shoppers. Local shops as well as tourist high end shops and everything else in between. Went to a nearby beach which we had to pay for, and then after two hours told that we had to pay for the chair. Which we didn't and decided to move to another part of the beach. However, no one tells you that no matter where you go on the stretch of beach you have to pay for a chair. Just annoyed that they waited until after an hour to tell you that. The one stretch of beach is also split in to three sections, that you cannot see or would not know, so therefore different prices for chairs depending on what section of the same small stretch of beach. Furthermore, the beach is man-made, crowded and not as nice as you would expect in the Caribbean. In the end we were frustrated and went back to the town. The slave museum was phenomenal and a definite highlight of Curacao. I recommend it to everyone. It was such a tangible piece of history that will not be seen anywhere else. You could actually touch most of the artifacts. I wish we had more time to spend at the museum. At least two hours I would recommend, or more if you like to read and understand the multiple exhibits.
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Loved this port. Remember this is a private island, so no local life here. Simply designed for cruisers. The beach is spectacular. We've been to MANY beaches in the Caribbean and this is by far one of the nicest beaches there is. The stretch of beach is massive, so if you want total complete privacy you can definitely get that. However, we were with most of the cruisers, and it wasn't crowded at all. The tender is a large double decker boat, so nice and stable. The food, barbecue style which was provided by the ship was awesome. Overall, if any cruise line is stopping in Half Moon Cay, I would go again.

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