Took the 14 day leg on the HAL Westerdam from Hong Kong to Singapore chosen due to a great itinerary.
My first ever cruise and I had been told by my companion, a seasoned cruiser, to expect entertainment, activites, music on deck and shows galore. Sadly this was not the case on the Westerdam and the HAL entertainment was very disappointing. Sea days were quiet with very few activities. Those that we did attend, like the Hair Styles or Secret to a Flatter Stomach, were selling sessions to promote products and services like hair creams and derma fillers! No library on board apart from a handful of books on the Exec Deck 10 that I found on the last day, a bit woeful though. I would like there to have been music on deck for a sail away parties, or evening deck entertainment when weather permitted, more dance options. The singers in BB Kings were very good but entertainment finished early and the entire ship seemed to be in bed by 11pm. Drinks were expensive. I should note that Happy Hour is not the usual buy-one-get-one free, happy hour on the Westerdam is buy one and pay US$2 plus service charge for the 2nd drink.
The 2 piano players were good, but the music variety was very old, 1960s stuff to suit the ship's more mature clientele. We did sit there as there wasn’t much else to do. The ship singers and dancers were very good but only on 3 times, would be nice to see them for a few more shows as we didn’t personally find the ventriloquist and magic acts to our taste. English newspapers disappeared very quickly so could be a few more put out please.
Our cabin stewards were very friendly, greeting us by name every day and attending to our room to a very high standard. Cabin VF-8120 aft, port side with balcony. The cabin itself was a little dated and old fashioned but well equipped with a hairdryer, little sofa, TV (with movies), bath with shower and desk. The mirrors in the room had a strange smokey brown tint which were very hard to use when putting on make up. On the whole very happy with the cabin.
Full day boat trip of Halong Bay with a small group of 14 on a boat which had capacity for 40 so it was roomy, intimate and a fabulous day. Booked independently with fellow cruisers on the CC website using Travel Authentic Asia who I would highly recommend. Picked up from the port gate (yellow building which was a few mins walk from docking or shuttle). Great guide, mini bus to the pier then boat around the stunning islands of Halong Bay. Our day included stops to get off and see Sung Sot Cave, next stop Luon Cave where we all got on a row boat to be taken around the lagoon and see the wild monkeys (a few people opted to kayak themselves). Stop at a floating Pearl Farm. Climbed up the steep steps on Ti Tov Island which had the most stunning views. A fabulous lunch was included served on the boat. Taken back to the ship in good time. This day trip was the highlight of my 14 day cruise.
We didn't book any trips as we were only here briefly. We chose to walk around the streets near to the port.