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Just returned from Alaska on the Westerdam yesterday. We were so lucky to have sun at every port. This was my 10th sail to Alaska. It was our second HAL experience. We chose this sailing because it included Sitka. I loved Sitka. It was a quaint port. I enjoyed the tour of St. Michaels. It has an interesting history. Sitka should be on every Alaskan cruise. Not sure why it’s not other than maybe it’s out of the way. I always enjoy seeing Mendenhall in Junea. It’s like visiting an old friend. The cottonwood trees smelled beautiful the day we visited. It was an experience to see this glacier with the sun shining over it. What a beauty. Last time it was misty and the top was covered so it was not a clear view. What a treat this year. Ketchikan was also nice to be there when it was dry and sunny. In Sitka and Juneau we did tours. The tour in Juneau was to Mendenhall and back to the ship. It was basic transportation. I have done combination tours in the past and this time I just wanted to see Juneau. In Sitka we did a tour that was run by a local company booked through the HAL but not owned by HAL. We had a historian running the tour who has lived in Sitka for thirty five years. She was full of knowledge about Sitka. What a difference having someone who lives year round leading your tour rather than the flown in college student who lives there to work for the summer. Nothing against college students trying to make a living but getting a local you get more of the flavor. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. I enjoyed the BB King Blues Band. We went to see them almost every night. They were everything you could hope for in a blues band. Entertaining and made you want to jump up and dance. Some passengers did exactly that! We loved every minute of the show. The Casino was small but I loved it so much I gave as much as I could! LOL. The hostess, Ottie greeted me every evening with a smile and welcomed me back always asking what I did that day. She was so pleasant and we shared a lot of laughs. Vista dining room server Sam was wonderful. He was very professional and courteous. We had a wonderful experience with him. He was “old school”, took pride in his work. I rarely do assigned seating for diner but we decided on it for this cruise and I was happy we made this choice. We sat with some interesting passengers and enjoyed our dining conversations. Room stewards were attentive and greeted us with smiles and good wishes daily. Our few requests were met with quick responses. Our verandah had very worn looking furniture but it was adequate for our needs. I was surprised at how work the furniture was though. It was pretty beat up with mold on the chair pads. We covered them with towels so no big deal. My first stop before visiting my stateroom is always the Spa. We did the tour and signed up for the package to use the hydropool, saunas and thermal beds at our leisure for the week. I booked a treatment (usually I book a few for each cruise) and off I went looking forward to these visits. The next day we were at sea all day and I was excited to make use of the Spa and my treatment. I went to the hydropool and it was filled with passengers enjoying it having drinks in glasses, towels thrown all over the floor and chaises. Looked like a party was in full swing. The hydropool was nice but not relaxing, too noisy with the party goers. I thought good for them having some fun but I would come back when it would be more relaxing for me. I went to the saunas and I found them just ok. They were very small, like being in a closet. I was surprised by the hoses for cooling off, they looked like worn out garden hoses without the spray nozels. The thermal beds were what I had experienced on other ships only they faced a wall of glass looking out to the ocean. What an added treat for thermal beds. I was in my robe with my hair wrapped in a turban and as I was resting feeling great I heard some laughing and loud talking. I opened my eyes to see next to me a man fully dressed in jeans with sneakers on in the bed and next to him another man and a woman, all dressed in street clothes laying in the thermal beds. The chuckling and yacking back and forth between them while I was trying to relax was just too much for me. I thought I would come back later when hopefully things quieted down. As I stepped out of the thermal beds I was in the regular hallway and it was easy to see that everyone was traipsing by in their clothes. This spa is not private or secure. It was a disappointment to me. At no time in the spa other than when you went to the desk were staff around at all. I went back the next day and it was pretty much the same experience. I did not return or book any other treatments on this cruise. The one treatment I did have was good. Not at any point in the Spa did staff pass through to clean up or check on things although we did have lots of passengers checking on us from the windows in the hallways. Lido deck: another warning: Inside and outside were both not up to standards. The servers behind the counters seemed surly. One morning I couldn’t help but giggle when I asked for blueberry pancakes and the server put on small pancake on the large plate and handed it to me. I thought of the Oliver Twist story and wondered if I should dare ask for more. This was constant. I heard passengers all around asking for more please. I was also surprised that no one comes around refilling coffee. It was odd to see folks struggling carrying hot coffee cups around. I could not help observe passengers with walkers struggling with carrying food to their tables. I watched one passenger seat an elder and run back and forth with food for both of them to the table. I wondered why the staff was not noticing this. I asked the woman at one point if I could help her and she was so thankful. She said none of the staff asked her at any point during the cruise if they could help on the Lido deck. We discussed the poor service we both noticed. Outside was not much different. Staff congregated around the bar talking with one another and did not pay any attention to passengers. This was something I have never noticed on a cruise before. One passenger commented that the staff on the Lido deck seemed lethargic. I agreed although I would add surly to the comment of the staff serving in the buffet. It was not unusual to see dirty tables and staff walking by them rather than stopping to clean up. Many times at lunch we would sit down at a dirty table and that was the only way to get the attention of staff to clear it off. I was happy to visit Alaska again and I was thrilled that we had a week of sun for this trip. I was disappointed with HAL, it did not live up to my expectations. One thing for sure, they have the selling on the ship down perfectly. Service and food quality need work. My first trip to Alaska was on the Volendam ten years ago, this was not the HAL I remembered. They leave a lot to be desired for cruising. I look forward to cruising again but not on HAL. As far as I am concerned HAL has a lot to learn and perhaps they could take some tips from Princess cruise line. Princess knows how to do it when it comes to service. I will be trying Royal Caribbean this December so it will be a new experience all together for me. Happy sailings. Mimi

Westerdam, Alaska

Westerdam Cruise Review by mimi01

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2015
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Just returned from Alaska on the Westerdam yesterday. We were so lucky to have sun at every port. This was my 10th sail to Alaska. It was our second HAL experience. We chose this sailing because it included Sitka. I loved Sitka. It was a quaint port. I enjoyed the tour of St. Michaels. It has an interesting history. Sitka should be on every Alaskan cruise. Not sure why it’s not other than maybe it’s out of the way.

I always enjoy seeing Mendenhall in Junea. It’s like visiting an old friend. The cottonwood trees smelled beautiful the day we visited. It was an experience to see this glacier with the sun shining over it. What a beauty. Last time it was misty and the top was covered so it was not a clear view. What a treat this year. Ketchikan was also nice to be there when it was dry and sunny.

In Sitka and Juneau we did tours. The tour in Juneau was to Mendenhall and back to the ship. It was basic transportation. I have done combination tours in the past and this time I just wanted to see Juneau. In Sitka we did a tour that was run by a local company booked through the HAL but not owned by HAL. We had a historian running the tour who has lived in Sitka for thirty five years. She was full of knowledge about Sitka. What a difference having someone who lives year round leading your tour rather than the flown in college student who lives there to work for the summer. Nothing against college students trying to make a living but getting a local you get more of the flavor.

The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. I enjoyed the BB King Blues Band. We went to see them almost every night. They were everything you could hope for in a blues band. Entertaining and made you want to jump up and dance. Some passengers did exactly that! We loved every minute of the show.

The Casino was small but I loved it so much I gave as much as I could! LOL. The hostess, Ottie greeted me every evening with a smile and welcomed me back always asking what I did that day. She was so pleasant and we shared a lot of laughs.

Vista dining room server Sam was wonderful. He was very professional and courteous. We had a wonderful experience with him. He was “old school”, took pride in his work. I rarely do assigned seating for diner but we decided on it for this cruise and I was happy we made this choice. We sat with some interesting passengers and enjoyed our dining conversations.

Room stewards were attentive and greeted us with smiles and good wishes daily. Our few requests were met with quick responses. Our verandah had very worn looking furniture but it was adequate for our needs. I was surprised at how work the furniture was though. It was pretty beat up with mold on the chair pads. We covered them with towels so no big deal.

My first stop before visiting my stateroom is always the Spa. We did the tour and signed up for the package to use the hydropool, saunas and thermal beds at our leisure for the week. I booked a treatment (usually I book a few for each cruise) and off I went looking forward to these visits. The next day we were at sea all day and I was excited to make use of the Spa and my treatment. I went to the hydropool and it was filled with passengers enjoying it having drinks in glasses, towels thrown all over the floor and chaises. Looked like a party was in full swing. The hydropool was nice but not relaxing, too noisy with the party goers. I thought good for them having some fun but I would come back when it would be more relaxing for me. I went to the saunas and I found them just ok. They were very small, like being in a closet. I was surprised by the hoses for cooling off, they looked like worn out garden hoses without the spray nozels. The thermal beds were what I had experienced on other ships only they faced a wall of glass looking out to the ocean. What an added treat for thermal beds.

I was in my robe with my hair wrapped in a turban and as I was resting feeling great I heard some laughing and loud talking. I opened my eyes to see next to me a man fully dressed in jeans with sneakers on in the bed and next to him another man and a woman, all dressed in street clothes laying in the thermal beds. The chuckling and yacking back and forth between them while I was trying to relax was just too much for me. I thought I would come back later when hopefully things quieted down. As I stepped out of the thermal beds I was in the regular hallway and it was easy to see that everyone was traipsing by in their clothes. This spa is not private or secure. It was a disappointment to me. At no time in the spa other than when you went to the desk were staff around at all. I went back the next day and it was pretty much the same experience. I did not return or book any other treatments on this cruise. The one treatment I did have was good. Not at any point in the Spa did staff pass through to clean up or check on things although we did have lots of passengers checking on us from the windows in the hallways.

Lido deck: another warning: Inside and outside were both not up to standards. The servers behind the counters seemed surly. One morning I couldn’t help but giggle when I asked for blueberry pancakes and the server put on small pancake on the large plate and handed it to me. I thought of the Oliver Twist story and wondered if I should dare ask for more. This was constant. I heard passengers all around asking for more please. I was also surprised that no one comes around refilling coffee. It was odd to see folks struggling carrying hot coffee cups around. I could not help observe passengers with walkers struggling with carrying food to their tables. I watched one passenger seat an elder and run back and forth with food for both of them to the table. I wondered why the staff was not noticing this. I asked the woman at one point if I could help her and she was so thankful. She said none of the staff asked her at any point during the cruise if they could help on the Lido deck. We discussed the poor service we both noticed.

Outside was not much different. Staff congregated around the bar talking with one another and did not pay any attention to passengers. This was something I have never noticed on a cruise before. One passenger commented that the staff on the Lido deck seemed lethargic. I agreed although I would add surly to the comment of the staff serving in the buffet. It was not unusual to see dirty tables and staff walking by them rather than stopping to clean up. Many times at lunch we would sit down at a dirty table and that was the only way to get the attention of staff to clear it off.

I was happy to visit Alaska again and I was thrilled that we had a week of sun for this trip. I was disappointed with HAL, it did not live up to my expectations. One thing for sure, they have the selling on the ship down perfectly. Service and food quality need work. My first trip to Alaska was on the Volendam ten years ago, this was not the HAL I remembered. They leave a lot to be desired for cruising.

I look forward to cruising again but not on HAL. As far as I am concerned HAL has a lot to learn and perhaps they could take some tips from Princess cruise line. Princess knows how to do it when it comes to service. I will be trying Royal Caribbean this December so it will be a new experience all together for me. Happy sailings. Mimi
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Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    Glacier bay is beautiful and it's a must see. We saw Margerie glacier, Reid glacier, lamplugh and John Hopkins glacier.
    We did not take an excursion in Glacier Bay because none were offered. We did see a small craft with people on it probably a private tour not from the Ship we were sailing.
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  • Mendenhall Glacier
    It was a beautiful sunny day. Driver was not from Alaska and he said he just got into town from Idaho where he attends college. He was very nice but we did wish he was from there so he could tell us more about the area. It was booked as Mendenhall Glacier Explorer, City and Glacier Tour. It was comfortable transportation but not a city tour.
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  • City Tour
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