Westerdam - Alaska: Westerdam Cruise Review by Karen2cruz

Westerdam 5
Member Since 2003
1,408 Forum Posts

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Westerdam - Alaska

Sail Date: August 2006
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
From a new HAL cruiser here is my review- Me, 50-something mom& and son, 18, hard-working college student.

Embarkation A: Arrived from very early flight to port at 10:15 am. Only had to wait 15 minutes before they took our luggage and allowed us to check in. By 11 am we were on the ship. Very smooth embarkation. Did not see anywhere to drop off carry ons.

Lido A-: Went directly to Lido for lunch. Excellent selection which included choice of main entry, deli, Italian, Asian, salads, grill (hamburgers), or taco bar. Wonderful contrast to the other lines we have been on, including the fact they did not push soda cards, ever. Soda cards were 20 drinks for $20 inc tips. Oh, how could I forget the dessert bar with the great ice cream and waffle cones!!!Main Entrees, Italian and Asian food changed daily. Pizza not our favorite. Drink carts came around on a regular basis. Seating was hard to find at peak hours. Shared a table with others on different occasions after More circling the area a few times.

Spa/Gym B+ We then went to the spa to make our reservations and visit the gym, to sign up for some classes. Compared to other lines the classes offered were priced very moderately, such as only $40 for 4 pilates classes. Gym area not huge but very nice equipment. Class floor space was limited. Spa treatments were wonderful and both my son and I enjoyed our massages. No hard selling of products; there was a slight mention and then if we were not interested they did not keep pushing them, nice.

Room A-: We had a V category, or a regular balcony, about mid-aft, 5th deck, starboard (right) near elevators. We were grateful it was low and mid with the few rough rides we had on the cruise. For us, it could be compared to being rocked to sleep like a cradle side to side. Others said the fore and aft cabins were a lot rougher ride. Great view!

My first impression was that it was small compared to other balcony staterooms I had been on, but as the week progressed, decided they were much nicer than most other line's balcony categories. Would not put more than 2 people in a room this size. We had bed made up as one, so had to hunt down our steward, Edy, who promptly changed it to two, for my son and I. Plenty of storage for us, but we each only took 1 checked and 1 carryon. We are not big clothes horses and mix and match. There were drawers under sofa and beds. The balcony, though small, had nice chairs, ottoman and a little table. We liked the actual decking vs the spongy stuff of other lines. We had the mini fridge emptied so we could put our snacks in.

Bathroom had the Elemis products, medicine cabinet with 3 shelves, under sink had huge shelf. Bathrooms were tub/shower combo; but most important was the adjustable height shower head for 5'5" mom and 6'0" son to share. Included robes were very comfortable. Bedding was so comfy,.loved to take naps just to curl up under the covers.

Dining A- Food selections were limited but always good. Best steaks we've had in a regular dining venue on any ship. Salads were limited. Caesar salad was always available. Desserts were average, but the no sugar desserts were very good. Dining stewards were efficient. The bar steward to a liking to my son and never punched our soda cards once for our nightly sodas. We are not drinkers but others at our table seemed fine with the drink and wine selection on board.

Room Service A Is the absolute best. Triple decker club sandwich was a daily snack, since we had last seating dining. That in combination with the chocolate cake or apple tart. We always tipped for room service breakfast and snacks. They would call us every time, to make sure we were happy and ask if we needed anything else. Even called us on disembarkation day to make sure we were happy with our breakfast! Told them I would be perfectly happy if they would come home with us, and they laughed heartily.

Activities/Entertainment C+: Same old-same old&casino, bingo, trivia, karaoke, comedians, magicians, dancer/singers, art auctions, etc. Had two dance classes and announced two more but then they didn't do them. Son was disappointed. Classes were jam packed, so it couldn't have been from lack of interest. No place for 18-30 singles to really hang out. Even dancers/younger American crew members said there was no place for them to really hang out. My son did teach some of the crew a new line dance late one night at one of the lounges.

Shore Excursions B+ The companies HAL use all seem well-run; everyone seemed to have a good time. There are always more people on a cruiseline excursion than when booking your own. Had a great time with Orca Enterprises (Capt Larry and Coastal Helicopters) in Juneau, used cruiseline excursion for Sitka-Sea Otter Quest (Allen's Marine) and used Island Wings for misty Fjords floatplane trip, (which was cancelled but still had trips available closer to port.)

(Misc) fruit baskets, free dutch hats, free tote bags, and tiles (can't wait til next time for the tiles). Lots of little things that make a difference. Dress Code-maybe 1/4 wore tuxes & formals, Most wore nice dresses/pantsuits and suits. Some just didn't get it, sigh. EVERY night in the Lido was DESIGNATED CASUAL FYI. About ½ continued wearing nice dinner clothes to later functions.

Disembarkation A Perfect system in my mind. We had room service breakfast, waited in stateroom until our specified time and left. I had booked Thrifty rental car for the day. Shuttle picked us up at Pier 30- took us to pier 48 and we were at the Space Needle by 9:45 am.

The CD said they were trying a new system whereby they did not call out colors but stated in our disembarkation letters our times to leave, and we were on an honor system. The luggage tags were still coded and the CD said that if we left before our time that the luggage would not be ready for us. We did note that people were not following that honor system (based on colored luggage tags) We were Red 1 for 8:15-8:30 am and noted Red 4s and up leaving at our time.

Overall  if the same itinerary and pricing came up for a cruise, I'd lean to HAL or Princess

Rating: 1. Princess (mini suites are great, personal choice dining, and nice rewards for repeat customers) 2. HAL very, very close 2nd 3. tie -RCCL (Royal Caribbean) and Norwegian (NCL) 4. Disney great ship/staterooms, kids activities  limited itineraries, too pricey $$$$ Less

Published 10/03/06

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