Westerdam - Trans-Atlantic: Westerdam Cruise Review by cands

Westerdam 5
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Westerdam - Trans-Atlantic

Sail Date: October 2005
Destination: Transatlantic
Embarkation: Rome (Civitavecchia)
Summary. This was a fantastic voyage on a first class ship.

Embarkation. The port in Civitevecchia is an industrial port. The HAL terminal was a series of tents. These were very well organized with air-conditioning and lots of places to sit. We arrived at about 1:30 pm, having caught the train from Rome.

Check-in was smooth, efficient and completed in about half an hour.

The Ship. The ship is beautiful. Even though she is very modern, she retains many nautical features such as teak decks, wrap around promenade, wooden doors and lots of varnished railings. The public rooms are mostly on an intimate scale, with nooks and crannies everywhere. It was very easy to find a quiet place to sit, even though the ship was pretty full. The artwork was amazing. We were still finding new pieces to enjoy at the end of the voyage. The fresh flowers everywhere were a nice touch. There were many interesting arrangements and they seemed to be changed regularly.

The More Cabin. We were in cabin 4174, an Aft VA verandah. The cabin and verandah were huge compared to a regular VA cabin. This cabin is about 6 inches narrower than a regular cabin. This was noticeable in the bathroom/closet area. This didnt worry us too much, as there was a lot of extra length in the living area, which more than compensated. The verandah was very large with a full lounger, arm chair and two regular chairs. There is noticeable vibration in this cabin, especially when coming into port, or when the ship is running at high speed (above 20 knots). We became accustomed to it within a day, so we didnt consider it a negative. We did have to take some care on the verandah as there was some soot from the exhaust from time to time. There was no problem with being overlooked on the verandah  we simply didnt look up!

The Food. Discussing food on ships is fraught with danger, but here goes. We thought the food on this voyage was amongst the best weve had at sea, both in the dining room and the Lido. (cant comment on Pinnacle - we didnt want to miss a meal in the dining room). This ship seems to cater for varied tastes. Even though you could have beef at every meal if you wanted, there were many alternative choices to keep the eclectic eater happy. (even an Asian styled breakfast in the Lido which was very good). The Dutch/Indonesian influence was evident in several of the menus. My only negative comment about the food is the amount of salt used in its preparation; it was way too much. Its easy to add salt at the table, but you cant take it out.

The Service. The service on board was by far the best weve had at sea. Everyone was friendly and helpful at all times. Our room steward and waiter/assistant waiter were all excellent. The bar staff were friendly, but not pushy. The ship seemed very clean.

Entertainment. Well, it is a ship! I cant say we saw too many shows, but the ones we did see were okay. The musicians performing around the ship were competent. This was a big band cruise with the Nick Ross Orchestra from the UK. They were really good, and seemed to be performing all the time. They did shows in the Vista Lounge, sets before and after dinner in the Crows Nest, and lunchtime shows by the pool.

Ports of Call. Gibraltar Good. Took a tour by mini bus to the top of the rock. Cadiz Lovely town. Went by train to Seville  beautiful Casablanca An acquired taste. Bought a leather jacket in the Medina  bargain Madeira Just beautiful  full day tour by mini van. St Maarten Under the weather  missed it! Half Moon Cay Nice way to finish the cruise. Took a Hobie Cat out for an hour.

Disembarkation We had late disembarkation as we were transferring to Celebrity Summit for a Panama Canal cruise. We stayed in the cabin until the designated time. The ship was deserted by the time we left (10:15), and we breezed through immigration and were off the ship in about 15 minutes.

Epilogue. Well, this was our first HAL cruise. We were very impressed and rate it 9.5 out of 10. Less

Published 01/23/06
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Cabin review: VA4174 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

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