Our group made it worth it but....: Westerdam Cruise Review by JB101FL

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Our group made it worth it but....

Sail Date: March 2014
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
Having cruised exclusively on Royal Caribbean, we thought we'd try HAL with a group of friends. The friends made it worth it but we won't cruise on HAL again. The food was either very good or very average. The Lido buffet was very boring and the quality was average at best. Service at dinner was ridiculously slow and caused us to miss the late show several times (this turned out to be extremely bad - see below). We watched other large tables come in after we had ordered, eat a four course meal and leave long before we received our second course. We asked repeatedly to "speed things up" but it didn't work. The appetizers are tiny (1-2 bites), entrees were often not as described and the portions were on the small side. I found the desserts unimaginative. The soups however, were excellent - especially the fruit and vegetable soups. The wine steward thing was really strange. We tried to order a bottle of wine but were only allowed to do so through the wine steward and there was only one More on staff (or seemed to be) so we had to wait a very long time (we were eating our entree when he finally showed up). Then we had to wait for the wine steward to refill our glasses - the waiter politely, but firmly, refused to do so. We then waited more than 20 minutes for a refill while the bottle sat two feet away (and I was admonished for reaching over and refilling my own glass apparently, that's just NOT done!). Really??

Finally, we follow a gluten-free diet due to necessity and the only veggie they seemed to offer was a baked potato. I was never offered anything to go with it: butter, sour cream, etc. Actually "offer" assumes we were asked and we weren't - the potato just arrived by default. It was very odd.

All of the entertainment was very good: the piano bar, the classical music arrangements, the BB King group the singers and dancers. The drinks were good and reasonably priced. The ship was very clean and the staff attentive and friendly. The private island at Half Moon Cay was the highlight of the entire trip - I just wish we could have spent an entire day there instead of a few hours.

My other comments are these: You'd better be an "early to bed" kinda person because everything starts shutting down at 9:30 and by 10pm, it's a ghost town. When the "late" show gets out at 10:30 or 11, there is NOTHING to do except go to the casino. They have all these bars and lounges but they're almost always closed except for 2-3 hours before or during dinner (5pm - 8pm) which is weird since that's when everyone is at a long, drawn-out, formal dinner. Also, people can smoke just about anywhere they want which means that there's a faint cigarette smell everywhere (the casino just reeks). The ports were what they were but I couldn't understand why the time in each port was so short.

The bottom line (in my opinion) is that if we hadn't been traveling with a large group, we would have had a terrible time. I would not recommend this line to anyone under 75. Less

Published 03/18/14

Cabin review: 5002

This is a handicap accessible room and is therefore larger than a typical superior suite. We received this as a "stateroom guarantee". There is only 1 light in the bathroom (over the sink/vanity) which means it is extremely dark when the shower curtain is pulled (this is true for both the bathtub or the roll-in shower). I believe this is dangerous. Due to the way the bathroom is designed, and due to the fact that it is all the way forward, there is significant vibration when the ship uses its bow thrusters. It sounded, and felt, as though the entire ship was shaking itself apart. The rattle of everything in the bathroom was so loud that my husband never heard me yelling at him - I had no idea what was going on (I was in the shower when the ship started moving). I mention this because 1) it was really scary and 2) it explains all the cracks in the grout and tile in the bathroom which gives the appearance of the room being a lot "older" than it probably is and it looks unsafe since all the cracks are around the hand rails.

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