Does the Westerdam need a repair of the Bow Thrusters?: Westerdam Cruise Review by phinu

Westerdam 4
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Does the Westerdam need a repair of the Bow Thrusters?

Sail Date: December 2013
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Embarkation: Went very smoothly about 20 minutes to get onboard.

Cabin: Was on deck 5 forward on Port Side in a verandah state room. Room is about 174 Sq. Ft with a 50 Sq. Ft Verandah. Cabin was in good shape.

Food: I have read several reviews about the food being not seasoned etc. Holland America caters to an older crowd with many types of dietary restrictions. You can add salt and pepper if you like but you cannot take the seasoning off. Jamaican night provided some very spicy dishes as did Thai night. Every night you have the option of Onion soup, grilled chicken, NY strip steak and Broiled Salmon. There is always a choice for everyone. Portions are not large but your server will bring you as many as you wish. I found that with the portion sizes I could eat each course, and not be overly full at the end of the meal. We ate in the Vista Dining Room for the first seating as our friends had health issues to be dining around 6 pm daily. This worked out well for us. More

Ports: Grand Turk, This is a very small island with under 5000 inhabitants. As you get off the ship there is a very nice beach with lounges so you don't have to go very far. There is also a very nice shopping area with the best liquor prices. Their liquor was considerably less expensive than that on the ship.

San Juan; We have been many times, the old city is very nice to walk around. HAL only offers a few tours in San Juan.

St. Maarten: We took a tour called Art around the Island. We visited 5 artists either at their homes or at their Studios. This tour got very good reviews on HAL's website my wife and I enjoyed it very much as did the other members of our tour.

Now for the Bow Thrusters. Docking at Grand Turk, we were shaken awake as our bed was vibrating like crazy. Also the rest of the cabin was creaking and the ceiling panels were vibrating so much that they were making a racket. The next day docking in San Juan it seemed that the bow thrusters were not functioning very well at all. There was some wind, the captain came on the loudspeaker and said he was calling for a tug to help push us to the dock and the wind was so strong. That was interesting as the two large cruise ships arriving right behind us had no problem docking unaided. Finally this morning as we were docking in Port Everglades we were violently shaken awake before 6 AM as they attempted to turn into the channel where we were berthed. Funny we needed a tug again to push the ship up to the dock. We were in a channel with no waves and there was minimal wind and whatever wind was coming from the ocean pushing the ship towards the pier. I asked some of the crew but they all shrugged their shoulders. This is another example of the paying customers not being kept abreast of any issues.

Disembarkation: Unfortunately we were at the mercy of Customs and Immigration, for the first hour they only had 2 agents checking people coming off the ship. We were an hour late getting off the ship, and by that time there were 5 agents so it only took 10 minutes once we got our luggage. Our friends who got off earlier said they waited in the customs line for close to an hour. This of course is not the fault of Holland America but people were worried they would not make their flights.

Rough seas: My wife and I have been on 35 plus cruises, this one was the worst for the roughness of the ocean. We never did a transatlantic so we cannot compare to those rough seas but this seemed to come close. Some days with the ship's speed and oncoming winds over 30 knots, would give an apparent wind speed over 50 knots. One day out of 7 the seas were relatively calm with 1-2 meter seas. The rest of the time it was rough. Again, not the roughest but constant rough seas. Less

Published 12/23/13
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