Westerdam Cruise Review by aglow
- Sail Date: August 2012
- Destination: Alaska
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Turned out that even for someone like me, who, to quote Woody Allen, is "two with nature", there were still lots of things to enjoy on an Alaska cruise!
While he went on floatplane trips to fish for salmon and to sit by a creek for 2 hours (quietly! - ugh - not my thing!) to watch bears in the wild, I fully enjoyed a bus trip to see the Mendenhall Glacier and the catamaran whale watching tour in Juneau. Nice px to prove that I had been to Alaska.
We both enjoyed a "cultural" tour of the Russian America in Sitka, saw a fun and somewhat exotic Russian folk dance show by a local amateur troupe, which even to me, who was born and grew up in Moscow (!), looked pretty authentic and fun.
I got my fill of wildlife viewing (which is what you are supposed to go to Alaska for, by going to the Bear Fortress in Sitka to see almost tame bears who were rescued when their mothers died. On a sunny pleasant afternoon, close by, fun. Glaciers - IMHO, the best way to see them was from the Crow's Nest on the ship through glass and while listening to quite interesting presentations by a naturalist. I still do not "get" it. I sort of expected Galcier Bay to look like the Superman's Fortress of Solitude, all shiny spikes, tall sparkly mountains. Instead there were flat rivers of ice, some white and blue, some grey and black, not even close to the glaciers I had expected, but still got px to prove.
What I really enjoyed, is the digital workshop. The Microsoft geek who taught several free classes on this boat, Tony, was top notch. Entertaining, helpful, fun. Learning how to retouch a portrait of Don Juan to make him look sexy again for Facebook?! Learning easy tricks (simpler than Phtoshop) to impress one's grandkids! Fun, fun, fun.
Plus we caught a ballroom dance class, a standard magic/comedy show and a few production shows, which were OK.
I still felt that food while nice, had been better and more imaginative on Carnival. Same for shows.
But then, they did not have glaciers! And bears! :))
Some advice: if you can avoid cabins which have metal barriers on the balcony (I think they are VF and VH types, check on the Westerdam deck plan). On these balconies you can see the whole picture only if you stand up. Splurge on the full view balcony or save and get an inside cabin and watch the views from public spaces.
Also - pack warm comfortable clothes. Surprisingly, it was very cold inside the ship while it was warm and sunny on shore. Women wore parkas to the dining room - over their formal night finery! I spoke with several guests who were not happy at how cold the dining room and the theater were.
All in all, it was pleasant and fun. I did not visit the spa or casino, order movies, borrow books from a pretty extensive library on board, had enough to entertain myself otherwise.
Next time - HE owes me south seas! :))
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