We sailed on the Westerdam this last July 2007. It was FABULOUS!! Embarkation was smooth and easy, very organized. Once we got on the ship which was early, we went right up to the Vista dining room and had lunch. The food was very good and plentiful. By about 1 PM our room was ready. We were in a deluxe veranda stateroom. It had a balcony but no plexi glass, which was fine. We just stood up and looked out to see everything.
The ship left Civitavecchia port at around 6PM. We went to dinner that night and the food was just outstanding in the main dining room. We had the 8PM seating which is really the best one to be at. After a long day in the ports, it was nice to come back and relax and shower before having to go to dinner. The service again was outstanding....they couldn't do enough for us. The dining room is clean, new, and lovely. A very nice and classy group of people on this ship also. We traveled with our two teenagers and they enjoyed it very much.
The Ports: Monte Carlo: We got the half day tour to Nice and Eze. First they took us around on a bus all over Monte Carlo, then we went to Eze and Nice. Went to the flower market at Nice and it was really beautiful.....I highly recommend that. After the tour, we walked up to the Palace and saw Princess Graces grave, where she was married and all that. We even saw Prince Albert drive by in his Bentley! What a thrill! Florence: Florence was just wonderful! We took the bus in to Florence where they just dropped us off for the day. What a wonderful city! We ate gelato, went to see the statue of "David", and just walked all over the city...had lunch in a cafe. I highly recommend this. Barcelona: We did not book a tour, we just took a city bus from the port to the city and then walked all along the "Gothic Quarter". This area is only a couple streets to the right of "Las Ramblas Blvd." It is much better, not as touristy, has much better food and sangrias. We bought tickets for the "hop on hop off" bus and rode all over the city which was great, got to see a lot, even went right by the "Sagrada de Familia". You can get off there if you want and go tour it, but there was a huge line so we didn't. Then we got off the bus and walked up "Las Ramblas". It is very touristy and busy and we stopped for another Sangria and some appetizers, but the food and such aren't nearly as good there. Mallorca: We did not get a tour here either. We just took a taxi from the port to the beach and sat on the beach all day and swam. Right across the street is places to shop and eat. We ate spanish "paella" at a restaurant that overlooks the beach there. What a view! Then we took a taxi back to the ship. Tunisia: We actually did not get off the ship here. We were very tired from all the touring, and thought this would be a good time to stay on board. Several people who got off the ship said it was just "OK". They are much more aggressive here, like trying to get you to come into their shops and buy something. No one felt unsafe, it was just something that we as americans are not used to, that's all. Sicily: We took the half day tour to Cefalu. And I highly recommend this. Cefalu was probably one of my most favorite places. Its a really neat seaside town, about an hour out of Palermo. Busy, but not super touristy. Great little shops, cafes and the best gelato we found...homemade! Try the Melon...it's fabulous! Sicily is beautiful! Then we went back to the ship for a rest, then we walked back over to Palermo. It's literally right across the street from where the ship is docked. We went in and did some shopping and had a nice sicilian lunch at a sidestreet cafe of olives, pasta, eggplant....and some great beer! Naples: We took the all day tour that stopped in Sorrento and then drove us all the way around the Amalfi Coast. Sorrento was really a neat busy town. We bought handmade wood boxes in a shop there. Then the drive to Amalfi took us thru Positano and all along the coast. It's very windy and up high right next to the cliff.....so if this doesn't bother you, then it's just beautiful! When you look below, you can see some yachts that the rich and famous come here to vacation on, and the town of Positano is just like a postcard...really beautiful! Then we stopped in the town of Amalfi for about an hour. What a beautiful place! Kind of reminded me of an italian "Rodeo drive". Had some iced cappuccino and gelato there. Then we drove on around to Salerno and then back to the ship. Was just lovely! After that we docked back in Civitavecchia. Then we spent 3 days in Rome which was fabulous! I really have nothing bad to say about the Westerdam or this whole cruise. The service was great, the shore excursions were planned and organized just perfect.