A newbie HAL cruiser returns from the Westerdam yesterday: Westerdam Cruise Review by Theclows

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A newbie HAL cruiser returns from the Westerdam yesterday

Sail Date: June 2013
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
First of all, thanks to all of you who answered questions and offered advice prior to our trip. In many instances it made all the difference! At any rate, here's my review and helpful hints of my own.


We left the hotel at 11:00. Security was a breeze, but then there was some "hurry up and wait". If you can, arrive after 11:30. The wait is a little shorter at that time-we learned that after cruising Princess from the same pier last year. Regardless, we were still on the ship, carry-ons duly deposited in our cabin and at the Mariner lunch by 12:30. Lovely!


We received a SWEET upsell/upgrade from a guaranteed VH to a VA and were in stateroom 8027. My DM and DF were in 8033. The cabins were roomy and our steward, Nyoman, introduced himself right away and never failed to call us by name and/or ask after my husband if we weren't together. The cabin was always maintained impeccably. Helpful hints-there are LOTS of hidden drawers! Not only More the ones in the nightstands (which come with keys to lock them-a great touch allowing us to lock up our IPads) and under the foot of the bed, but also under the sofa! Helpful hint 2-our verandah was about 2 feet shorter than my parents' verandah a few doors down. Not a big deal, but it did end up with less of an overhang and was often wet while theirs was completely covered and stayed dry. This seemed to keep their cabin a smidge cooler too, since the sun didn't beat in quite as much. Helpful hint 3-bring in your chair cushions at night...they'll be soaked with dew/fog/rain, depending on the weather.


I'm not a foodie, and generally love food that I don't have to cook or clean up after. The beef dishes in the MDR was almost always great and done to order. While there were always things I tried and didn't love, there were MANY, MANY great things to eat. We generally tried to stay out of the Lido for the first 48 hours as many people here mentioned the LONG lines there as you're being served by the staff. We gave up after trying lunch in the MDR...very slow service...and very different from the service at dinner-our waiter, AA, was phenomenal. I liked the food in the Lido just fine, but did find it interesting that there were periods of time that it was closed, particularly when returning from Victoria. They had some pizza and ice cream available prior to setting up the "evening snack" that night which was hamburgers, but other times it was closed at odd times. Fortunately I didn't need any more food! Tried room service too...food was often delivered a little early.


The entertainment was ok...some of the shows a little hokey. The country/western one was pretty good and the magician was great. The comedian only did two shows, both at odd times, which was disappointing, as we usually enjoy the comedian and couldn't see him. Didn't do any spa treatments, but DH used the fitness center and felt it was crowded, but okay. He couldn't always get on all the machines that he wanted to so he compensated with a walk around the deck-3 times around the Promenade deck equals a mile. I did a few yoga classes. They were comparable in price to most classes in studios at home, although they were much shorter. The instructor did a nice job tempering the poses to the experience and flexibility of the group who attended. Interestingly, there isn't a "package" of yoga classes-you pay as you go, but if you sign up and come to the first class, you're given priority for future classes in case they're too full. Helpful hint 4-if you have a yoga mat that you can bring, do it. I brought a yoga towel to put over my mat. They ask you to wipe down your mat afterwards with antibacterial wipes, but using a mat that God-knows how many people have done a half-pigeon on? Just, well, ewwww.... The casino was fun...a woman hit the jackpot on video poker one night-wish it would have been me, but it was fun to watch the fuss. Bingo was fun too, but I didn't win that either. DH loved the culinary presentations and took a computer class too that he said was pretty good. If you partake in such, there is a priest on board and Mass is said daily with interdenominational services as well. He was pretty funny to listen to and did talks of his own throughout the week. They're not posted in the daily program, so we could never find them. They sounded like they'd be interesting though and he was an enjoyable speaker, so I'm kind of sorry I didn't get to see him.


It rained hell-bent in Juneau. In fact, they said that they hadn't had rain like it in weeks. Made for a VERY wet gold-panning expedition. The guide clearly loved his job and catered to the kids on the trip, but got us back to the ship very, very late. So late, in fact, that DH, DM-I-L and DF-I-L had already finished dinner. Our waiter, the fabulous AA, brought us dinner in record time. Glacier Bay is gorgeous and defies description. Sitka and Ketchikan are sweet towns. We didn't do any excursions there and just walked around instead-nice quilt shops in each port too, if you're interested. Victoria was beautiful with amazing weather. We booked a tour through Victoria Classic Car tours. We were picked up by Dale in a 1954 Cadillac and got a private tour. I have the contact information, but don't know if I'm allowed to post it here. If I am, I'll be happy to share. FYI...the waits for leaving the ship are HOT....and long. Helpful hint 5-dress in layers.


We did the Luggage Direct option with the airport transfer. Worked like a dream. We were off the ship by 7:50 and at the airport by 9:00. Helpful hint 6-at about 7:25, open your cabin door if you're still in your stateroom. You won't hear the disembarkation announcement otherwise.

By the way, we had NO days of the week mats in the elevators and NO disembarkation talk. If anyone has any specific questions, I'm happy to answer! Less

Published 07/09/13

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