Winter Getaway - December Southern Caribbean - HAL: Westerdam Cruise Review by cruisequeengoddess67

Westerdam 5

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Winter Getaway - December Southern Caribbean - HAL

Sail Date: December 2010
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We chose the December 3rd Holland America cruise aboard the Westerdam as a chance to relax and get away after the busy Thanksgiving holiday and just before the busy Christmas holidays. We chose this particular cruise for several reasons: the ship, the itinerary, the port (we live in Florida) and most importantly, the price - which was super! We were able completely relax and it was wonderful.

Upon arriving at Port Everglades we were efficiently sent through the process of checking in and boarding - all quite easy and relatively fast. Once on-board we were greeted by very cheerful and friendly staff - all over the ship. It is apparent the folks on this ship are happy to be there and this is evident in their actions and their treatment toward the passengers.

The ship was very clean and well maintained - and it was lovely to see the holiday decorations all over the ship. Of course, there was a great buffet awaiting our arrival. Another impressive thing about the ship More was the hand sanitizers - they were everywhere and people actually used them. We had no flu outbreak due to the ship's diligence. The other nice thing was the plentiful amount of public rest rooms on every deck. They were everywhere and very, very clean. The food was very good, lots of it and always a nice selection to chose from. Some choices were better than others, but all in all the food was great. The filet mignon was always great!

For those who are Mariners, Holland held a brunch for their repeat cruisers and it was so much nicer than the stupid cocktail gatherings most other ships have where you are lucky if you get a drink and an hor d'oeuvre - and even luckier if there is actually alcohol in the drink. At the brunch they also gave us champagne and a lovely gift.

I organized a Meet and Greet for this trip on our first day at sea, and the captain, hotel manager, cruise director, bar manager, events manager and a few other folks actually came by and spoke with us for over half an hour - we took photos etc. It was really nice. Also, the ship provided refreshments.

We did the any time dining which was not the nightmare I envisioned it to be as we have done that a couple of other times on another line and it was a horrible experience. We actually had the same table and waiters the entire week - and they were wonderful! Less

Published 12/14/10

Cabin review: VA7097 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

Our room was extremely comfortable - the bed was one of the most comfortable I have ever slept on (pillowtop matress)- the bathtub/shower combo made for lots of bathing room - the veranda was roomy - plenty of storage space - a nice small couch and chair - and all in all - a great home away from home for a week. Our location was on deck 7 (cabin 7097), starboard aft and we were just a few steps away from the elevators - which made it very easy for us especially with a slightly sprained ankle. We simply walked out of our rooms, around the corner and could be up on the Lido deck (pool and buffet dining area) in seconds, or down to the main dining room on deck 2 in seconds. There was very little - if any -noise or vibration in our cabins.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Port 1: Aruba - Unfortunately, our original itinerary was changed and our stay in Aruba was moved from half a day to 8am to 1am (an entire day). Although Aruba is a very nice island with lovely beaches, it was extremely hot and muggy (about 95% humidity) and unless you were involved in going to the beach or some water activity such as scuba diving or snorkeling there really wasn't a lot there to do - shopping was okay but nothing great. I did speak to some folks who were involved in water activities and found them to be somewhat disappointing.

Port 2: Curacao - this is a wonderful Dutch port - so pretty and so many great places to eat, drink and shop. The island itself is very lovely and colorful. I understand from some of the other passengers that the snorkeling and diving here were really great - just not long enough as our stay was shortened from a full day to half a day. The weather was warm and sunny but we didn't have the stiffling heat and humidity we had in Aurba.

Port 3: Half Moon Cay - this is Holland's private island and it is one of the nicest I have been to. They keep the island immaculate and there is something there for everyone. Unfortunately, our visit here was shortened due to a rather unusual incident onboard the ship - the day before we had to travel 4 hours out of our way to medically evacuate a passenger onto a military helicopter sent out from Jamaica. The captain was unable to make up those four hours so we arrived at the island around noon instead of 8am. The water there was like glass and so, so blue.


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