1st time HAL lover!: Westerdam Cruise Review by nicki61

Westerdam 5
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1st time HAL lover!

Sail Date: November 2007
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
A bit of history. Husband 56, myself 46. This was our 4th cruise, 1st time on HAL. Booked our cruise with and internet company. Booked a GTY SC and were upgraded to an SA Deluxe suite. I am guessing, but I think the average age of our cruise was about 60. Good age for us.

We spent 2 days pre-cruise in FLL at the Riverside Hotel. This was a wonderful choice and we loved it so much, we booked it for 2 days post-cruise. The Riverside was just the beginning of great choices we made on this cruise. Our room at the hotel 1022 was on the large size. King bed, desk, table & chairs along with a chaise. The balcony over looked the river and was spectacular. We ate at the restaurant for breakfast each morning and loved sitting out on the sidewalk eating. The Riverside is on Las Olas Blvd, the best place to be. Everything was within walking distance and the water taxi was just maybe 1 block away. Stay here and enjoy yourself. We booked this cruise, 1st because of the ports, then the More price, then the line. I then spent months on this board, discussing the cruise line and ports. By the time of the cruise I was totally comfortable with our choices and was looking very forward to sailing on HAL.

Our car ride to the ship was very short, 15 minutes maybe. We got to the ship about 12:15. Our 1st glance at the Westerdam was breathtaking. So grand, so classy so welcoming. As we got out of the car, we were immediately greeted by a porter who very nicely took our bags. We had an SA cabin so we were boarded with a priority tag. We went left and others went right. But either the priority line was long or our people took a long time. But the regular check in was just as quick as our priority boarding. All in all it went quickly and we were walking up the stairs within 15 minutes. We did have some sort of short delay( I think it was the picture taker) boarding the ship, the line wasn't moving very fast. But about 5 minutes later we were on the ship. Our cabin was ready so off we went to see our Deluxe Suite 7062.

CABIN: We were taken away with the size and amenities. Others have gone into all of the dimensions and perks, so I won't bore you. But having a king bed and a sofa was great. The dressing/make-up area was my favorite. I am having my husband build me an area just like that! The rest of the cabin had so many drawers and cupboards, I couldn't fill them all! We did spend the week trying to figure out the light switches! We weren't alone there, some others always clicked the wrong one. The balcony-well it is so large. We loved it. Being right across from the Neptune Lounge was a huge plus also. So nice and handy.

Food: All in all we felt it was ok. I mean, I didn't cook it, clean up after eating or have to shop for it. So that was a huge plus. But most of the entrees I just didn't feel were "OH MY GOSH THIS IS GREAT!" I felt the food was average or less. Everybody has different opinions, but this one is mine. We ate in the main dining room 4 times. 1 time on the lido deck, 1 time at the BBQ and 1 more time on our balcony(which happened to be the best dinner).

PORTS: Since we had not been to any of the 3 ports we were very excited to visit all of them. HMC: We rented a cabana and loved it. HMC was and is beautiful. So calming. The cabana was so worth it. I mean, your own chairs, floats, snorkel gear and then add in the beverages and snacks. Very very nice.

GRAND TURK: Not the fancy, full of high rise resorts you would think. But it was fun. We rented scoots right outside the gate for $50 each. We drove all over the island. Not all that much to see really. We had reserved 2 spots at the GRAND TURK INN and headed there to have lunch and swim. The sisters from the Inn are fantastic and made us feel so welcome. This was another wonderful thing we did. If we had to go to GT again, we would only go to the GRAND TURK INN and spend the day. They served a wonderful lunch of: pea pods, club sandwiches, potato salad, cole slaw. And the best was square hardboiled eggs! Then we had a wonderful desert of chocolate. YUMMO We left the Inn, returned our scoots and headed to Margaritaville to have a drink. We felt we needed to have at least one. We 1 margarita and 1 amaretto and $18.00 later we felt that was enough of Jimmy Buffet for us!

GRAND CAYMAN: We had booked the stingray city tour from the ship. They were the only one that offered a trip ONLY to stingray city and no snorkeling or other tours. So we booked that. All I can say is that had to be the best, most interesting, magical thing I have ever done. You must do this. And at least here on GC they are free, not penned in. After the SC tour, we went to lunch. I think it was called Paradise. We asked a local were to go, she sent us there. It was so good. I can't tell you how good. We had fish sandwiches and ff. Maybe $8? Can't really remember but nothing was too expensive. After lunch we did some shopping while walking back to the tenders. Got back on the ship and headed to our balcony.

COZUMEL: Since there was going to be 5 ships in port we opted to reserve a spot at NACHI COCOM. This was another tender port. We got off the ship quickly and headed to try and rent a jeep. That was so much fun. I think about $90.00 for the day, but so much fun. We headed for town major and did some shopping. We bought some vanilla, which is great and a silver bracelet for our daughter! Jumped back in the jeep and headed off to tour the island. We drove all around the island. The other side of the island is so pretty. We then found Nachi Cocom. Pulled in and were welcomed to their establishment. A photo was taken(that we purchased later). We paid the balance we owed, shown around the place and set down for lunch. Phew I think I am still full! Lunch was awesome. And unlimited cocktails!?! We then went to the beach did some swimming and relaxing. Headed for the pool, swam some more, drank some more and loved every minute of our time here. It was now about 4:45 and time to leave. We changed our clothes and jumped back into the jeep. I think it was about 20 minutes to where we had to return the jeep. Renting and returning the jeep was effortless. We did a little shopping at the port and to our surprise our ship was docked! So off we went to get back on.

ENTERTAINMENT: I must be hard to please but I never find the entertainment all that good. We went to the magician/comedian and he was good. The last nights spectacular was really good. But the best was Julie Barr. She did a late night adult show. I was crying, I was laughing so hard. Don't miss her. All the other acts I either left after they started or didn't bother to go.

ON BOARD ACTIVITIES: We don't partake in many of them. We watch if it is taking place in pool area, but don't bother for most of it. We did go and watch the "Newlywed Game". Now that was funny.

NEPTUNE LOUNGE: The best perk of having a Deluxe Suite. Anything you want, they make sure you get. Breakfast, afternoon snacks and coffee are the best.

Pinnacle GRILL: We ate here one time. Great food, great service and great atmosphere. But I have to say, the main dining room should be just like this too, but isn't or wasn't.

THE SHIP: The ship was easy to get around. We enjoyed much of her, but not everything. The glass elevators, which we dubbed "our" elevators are beautiful. Nothing to complain about at all. She is well kept, clean, friendly and classy.

CRUISE CRITIC MEET & GREET: We had a great group of people here. 52 in all. We had 2 M&G's and both were attended by many. HAL hosted our 2nd on the ship and served us cookies, coffee, tea and bloody mary's & mamosa's! We were very happy at that. Needless to say we all were very impressed.

All in all we had a great cruise. Great pre and post cruise stay in FLL. Great new friends on the ship. And I think we spoiled ourselves by having a deluxe suite. We will sail HAL again. It is a wonderful line. Less

Published 12/17/07

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