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We chose the 24-day Mediterranean Adriatic cruise on HAL Westerdam for three reasons: friends had taken it and recommended it; it was going to several ports in Croatia and we were interested in sampling that country; it began in Barcelona and ended in Venice, two of our favorite cities and we spent extra days in each. We had never taken a cruise before, except for a 7-day gulet in Turkey, which we loved. Primarily independent travelers who usually rented a car and apartments while we explored one country for 4-6 weeks, we had not considered cruising. As we aged, however, I wanted to experience being taken care of rather than having to do so much planning. Therefore, this review is mine; my husband would have a different (more negative) view. What I liked: -the size of the ship (1900 people) and configuration never felt crowded or too big; -never having to plan or prepare meals; access to free 24-hour room service; good to excellent food; food stations in the Lido instead of buffet; eating breakfast or lunch on the Lido deck; -open seating so we could meet different people at dinner every night; -comfortable, clean cabin; good selection of in-cabin movies; "ask and you shall receive" attitude; the veranda; -walking on the promenade deck; watching some ship operations, like bringing up the tenders; -adequate time in most ports; having to tender only twice; -BB King All-Stars where we could dance and, especially excellent Lincoln Center Stage quintet. What disappointed me: -poor amateurish entertainment in Main Stage; lack of other dance venues and variety of music to dance to; -HAL was noted for providing good port information but we found very poor lectures geared to independent travelers on the ports; lack of helpful printed maps with street names and large enough to read prior to going ashore which meant wasting time finding a town map and planning a day; -no way to communicate with other passengers, such as to find other cab sharers or poker players; -too many uninteresting ports; too few at-sea days; lack of interesting day activities (e.g. dance lessons, art lessons, etc.) on board; the library which we had expected and so didn't bring books no longer existed; -absence of a rabbi for the Jewish High Holidays -being "nickel and dimed" like $18 corkage fees, $30 (used to be $20) for a filled laundry bag, etc. -having to pay for shuttles to the ports that we couldn't walk to;

First Time Cruise Adventure

Westerdam Cruise Review by marshajc

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2017
  • Destination: Mediterranean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
We chose the 24-day Mediterranean Adriatic cruise on HAL Westerdam for three reasons: friends had taken it and recommended it; it was going to several ports in Croatia and we were interested in sampling that country; it began in Barcelona and ended in Venice, two of our favorite cities and we spent extra days in each.

We had never taken a cruise before, except for a 7-day gulet in Turkey, which we loved. Primarily independent travelers who usually rented a car and apartments while we explored one country for 4-6 weeks, we had not considered cruising. As we aged, however, I wanted to experience being taken care of rather than having to do so much planning. Therefore, this review is mine; my husband would have a different (more negative) view.

What I liked:

-the size of the ship (1900 people) and configuration never felt crowded or too big;

-never having to plan or prepare meals; access to free 24-hour room service; good to excellent food; food stations in the Lido instead of buffet; eating breakfast or lunch on the Lido deck;

-open seating so we could meet different people at dinner every night;

-comfortable, clean cabin; good selection of in-cabin movies; "ask and you shall receive" attitude; the veranda;

-walking on the promenade deck; watching some ship operations, like bringing up the tenders;

-adequate time in most ports; having to tender only twice;

-BB King All-Stars where we could dance and, especially excellent Lincoln Center Stage quintet.

What disappointed me:

-poor amateurish entertainment in Main Stage; lack of other dance venues and variety of music to dance to;

-HAL was noted for providing good port information but we found very poor lectures geared to independent travelers on the ports; lack of helpful printed maps with street names and large enough to read prior to going ashore which meant wasting time finding a town map and planning a day;

-no way to communicate with other passengers, such as to find other cab sharers or poker players;

-too many uninteresting ports; too few at-sea days; lack of interesting day activities (e.g. dance lessons, art lessons, etc.) on board; the library which we had expected and so didn't bring books no longer existed;

-absence of a rabbi for the Jewish High Holidays

-being "nickel and dimed" like $18 corkage fees, $30 (used to be $20) for a filled laundry bag, etc.

-having to pay for shuttles to the ports that we couldn't walk to;
marshajc’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VB 5149
Very comfortable, quiet, stable, and clean. Adequate outlets for charging phones, computers, etc. Decent reading lights. Plenty of storage and closet space. I'd read about bringing magnetic hooks and clips and did so, which was a great idea. I also brought a laundry line with plastic clips, and liquid Woolite packets (Amazon for both) and did my own underwear and socks weekly, hanging my line between deck chairs on the veranda, as well as using the line in the shower. The location of the cabin is very close to an elevator bank which we liked. My only complaint is that the table in front of the settee was too small to accomodate a full room service tray.
Observation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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