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The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting travel gears to do more cruising in the future. Two thousand passengers is a whole lot of people to confine in close quarters for a lengthy sea voyage, but with a balcony as respite from the 'Madding Crowd' we were OK with that. The ship is lovely, well appointed, after removal of the atrium concept others have, felt more like a real ship. The 2017 refurb left things very spiffy looking and well functioning. As it was a longer cruise the travelers were all adults...no kids or teenagers and mostly the crowd was 50+ in age. While that made for pleasant company, it also meant more passengers needing quite a bit of assistance and slower elevator times. Again, not a problem but a consideration. I felt there could have been more staff available to assist in the buffet area, however. Not easy leaning on a cane or pushing a walker with a plate of food!! Just a minor note! If I have any criticism at all it is this: the entertainment was in most cases not what I would assume an older crowd (and I am in that group) would appreciate. The shows generally were very "Las Vegas" meaning loud, glitzy and over amped. We attended those which were a bit more aimed at our taste. Also, the enrichment programs were scanty and poorly done. One major exception: THE HAWAIIAN AMBASSADORS aboard ship were amazingly knowledgeable and presented fascinating lectures and programs for us all. The trip home offered nothing along the lines of 'enrichment'. The staff in the MDR seemed overwhelmed at times with the amount of work. I frankly don't know how they coped, so despite what other reviewers may say, I found the food amazingly good: properly prepared, professionally served, and pleasantly tasty. I honestly believe most of the severe criticism I read is based on some assumption that the MDR is supposed to be a five star experience. You honestly cannot expect that when it comes to feeding 2,000 people a variety of foods. The food in the buffet was tasty and offered a wide variety. I was, however, chagrined to see passengers filling their personal coffee and water bottles/containers at the urns, despite a prominent sign asking them not to do so. A crew member standing guard and making sure it didn't happen might have helped. The whole concept of doing this is, to me, a bit outrageous. All the staff were very helpful and ready to fulfill any request....there just didn't seem to be enough of them...that is HAL's failing as I don't think it is limited to the Westerdam. Over all, would I sail again on HAL. Yes, depending on the itinerary and ship size--the smaller the better. Thanks for listening!

The long road to Hawaii and home!

Westerdam Cruise Review by Coronado92118

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2018
  • Destination: Hawaii
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
The Westerdam Circle Island cruise was a perfect choice as it was literally round-trip from our hometown.... Also, we'd heard good things about Holland America and figured we would give it a try...as we are in the process of shifting travel gears to do more cruising in the future.

Two thousand passengers is a whole lot of people to confine in close quarters for a lengthy sea voyage, but with a balcony as respite from the 'Madding Crowd' we were OK with that.

The ship is lovely, well appointed, after removal of the atrium concept others have, felt more like a real ship. The 2017 refurb left things very spiffy looking and well functioning.

As it was a longer cruise the travelers were all adults...no kids or teenagers and mostly the crowd was 50+ in age. While that made for pleasant company, it also meant more passengers needing quite a bit of assistance and slower elevator times. Again, not a problem but a consideration. I felt there could have been more staff available to assist in the buffet area, however. Not easy leaning on a cane or pushing a walker with a plate of food!! Just a minor note!

If I have any criticism at all it is this: the entertainment was in most cases not what I would assume an older crowd (and I am in that group) would appreciate. The shows generally were very "Las Vegas" meaning loud, glitzy and over amped. We attended those which were a bit more aimed at our taste. Also, the enrichment programs were scanty and poorly done. One major exception: THE HAWAIIAN AMBASSADORS aboard ship were amazingly knowledgeable and presented fascinating lectures and programs for us all. The trip home offered nothing along the lines of 'enrichment'.

The staff in the MDR seemed overwhelmed at times with the amount of work. I frankly don't know how they coped, so despite what other reviewers may say, I found the food amazingly good: properly prepared, professionally served, and pleasantly tasty. I honestly believe most of the severe criticism I read is based on some assumption that the MDR is supposed to be a five star experience. You honestly cannot expect that when it comes to feeding 2,000 people a variety of foods. The food in the buffet was tasty and offered a wide variety. I was, however, chagrined to see passengers filling their personal coffee and water bottles/containers at the urns, despite a prominent sign asking them not to do so. A crew member standing guard and making sure it didn't happen might have helped. The whole concept of doing this is, to me, a bit outrageous.

All the staff were very helpful and ready to fulfill any request....there just didn't seem to be enough of them...that is HAL's failing as I don't think it is limited to the Westerdam.

Over all, would I sail again on HAL. Yes, depending on the itinerary and ship size--the smaller the better.

Thanks for listening!
Coronado92118’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VA 5066
The cabin was nicely appointed and quite comfortable...the bed, bedding and sofa were also quite nice. The bathroom, surprisingly large for a cruise ship...tub with overhead shower. The controls were European and so a bit tricky to figure out at first, but the shower was great!!! Lots of storage space provided in bath. Plenty of hanging space in two closets, but no drawers, just shelving---again, a European concept.
Although we booked a balcony we were unable to enjoy it due to weather: cold and overcast the entire voyage...but, plenty of fresh air when wanted!!
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