Great cruise in every way: Westerdam Cruise Review by inheaven

Westerdam 5
Member Since 2009
8 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Great cruise in every way

Sail Date: February 2011
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)

Our dinner seating was the "Open Seating" option. It worked out just fine and we never waited to get in. You can also call each day to reserve a table at a particular time. The Canaletto Restaurant was also very good. We actually wnet there 3 times. I loved the pasta w/white sauce and shell fish, while their lasagna was also great. The Lido (buffet) food was also excellent and the room was the nicest buffet atmosphere we have ever experienced on a cruise ship.


Of course on a 14-day cruise, the concern is having enough clean clothes. HAL has an option for unlimited laundry service for $49 per cabin, per week. We opted for that in our 2nd week and ended up returning home with mostly clean clothes. You sign up at the information desk on the first deck.


At home we are spoiled on good coffee. The first cruise week, the coffee was good only the first few days and then very terrible for the rest of the week. On our visit More back to Ft Lauderdale after the first week, I bought some instant coffee so I could doctor their weak brew. Then second week, it was always ok. Perhaps they had run short during our first week. Room service coffee was always available but not always good. There is a Explorations coffee brew shop adjacent to the library on the 10th deck (a little inconvient) which has excellent coffee but is only opened limited hours and is charged extra to your room.


All good and we felt very safe. The HAL private island is a great place to rest up. The beach and water is delightful. Unfortunately, we were not able to rent bicycles or kayaks without being on an excursion. Make sure you rent a Clamshell from the excursion desk on the ship at least a day in advance. You cannot make arrangements for one when you arrive on the island.


Shows were very good and the little games and fun during the day was also light and entertaining. There are TVs in every room with DVD players. You go down to the info desk on the first deck to pick up free DVDs to watch, although there were several good movies also playing on TNT and several other channels. A few of the movies were recent releases. There are also daily new-release movies in the showrooms.


There are free computer classes. Aiden, the computer class teacher is very good and very patient. He teaches about 6 classes a day at various times.

There are also free cooking demonstrations and also some other hands-on cooking classes that charge a small fee. I learned several new techniques in the free classes. Chef Andre is very entertaining.


These really make the upcoming visits to the ports even better. HAL staff did an excellent job and were always available to give port advice, even if you planned to "do your own thing" in port.


Liked him very much and reminded most of us of a young Johnny Carson. He was funny and knew when to get down to business.


Excellent with minimum amount of lines. Once we got onboard we went for lunch in the Lido and our bags were in our room by about 2pm.


Loved the mint body wash in abundant supply in the cabin shower. The shampoo was also good but I did not like the smell of the conditioner and used my own. The hand soap was lemon glycerin soap. The shower is a bathtub/shower combo so bring some bath salts or bubblebath if you desire.

The ship and the passengers were fairly sedate. Everything really quieted down after about 10 or 11pm. After running aroung the ports all day, we were pretty tired anyway, so it was perfect for us.

The beds were comfy with several pillows of different sizes and fullness.

We had an outside room, obstructed view. A lifeboat was hung right outside our room but we still were able to see the full view through the large lifeboat windows.

We brought a case of water on board but found the water on Holland America tasted great, unlike some of the other cruise lines that have off-flavors, like sulfur or salt. My feet never swelled during this 14-day trip so their desalinization system must work well.

THANK YOU TO CRUISE CRITIC member reviews. I read several of the reviews before getting on the ship so I was well prepared. Less

Published 03/05/11

Cabin review: HH4096 Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views)

Westerdam 4096 was an obstructed view outside cabin. The price was right and we still could see the view through the windows of the lifeboat parked outside ourcabin, no problem. There were about 2 times the drawers and closet space than what we used with our 14-day belongings. This room is over the atrium and a bar so we could hear the music from about 6pm-10pm, and liked it although that may not be perfect for others. Other than that, we generally did not hear people in the adjacent rooms. 4096 is midship and 3 cabins from the stairwells and elevators. The elevators travelled quickly and there was rarely a bunch of people waiting, as we have expereienced on several other cruise lines.

Read All Large Outside Stateroom (fully obstructed views) (HH) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Wanted to take the public bus to the white sand beaches first thing but the line of passengers waiting was very long so we walked along the shops, park and hotel area for the morning. The Renaissance Hotel and grounds are beautiful with a shopping area built into an old fort. We saw a bar about 4 stories up with a great view of the coast and stopped for a passionfruit mojito, made with a real passionfruit. I wish I could give you the name of the place and the lady bartender that crafted this concoction for us-she should win a Olympic Gold Medal for it. Hope you can find it in the Renaissance shopping area...just look up for a great view. In the midafternoon, the #10 buses to the beaches were available and we rode up that way and past the California Lighthouse. On the way back, roadwork had closed the roadway the bus would normally take so the driver had to detour into the residential area. It was an added bonus. Lots of the locals got on the bus after their day at school or work, since it was after 5pm. It was a very enjoyable ride.
Read 1289 Aruba Reviews

This was our favorite!! It is a very walkable city. There are two sides of the town separated by a deep channel. It is surely a great photo spot. The buildings are all painted in the most delightful Caribbean colors. Ahhh!!! I want to go back already. The shops had the cheapest and most authentic souvenirs of all the ports. There were lots of local crafted items.
Read 917 Curacao Reviews

Took a taxi to the Harbor Shops, walked around and then took the City Trolley along the beach and to the Galleria Mall. I got my hair cut at Regis by Amy Ambrosia. She did an excellent job on my modified-bob, while my hubby checked out some of his favorite stores in the mall. We walked or bussed to a few more shopping areas and then headed back to the ship with about an hour to spare.

There is lots to do in Ft. Lauderdale and the public transportation is good once you get out of the port area. You have to take a taxi a few miles to access the bus/trolley system. I recommend that you look at the Broward County bus system map ahead of time to get some info.

We took a little van into the main part of the town and then walked around. The town was still pretty devastated from a couple hurricanes that hit in the last 5 years. The natives were congenial.

Read 1701 Grand Turk Reviews

Took a trolley bus into old San Juan and to two large forts. They were a must- see. Walked around a good portion of old San Juan but it rained off and on so our progress was slow, darting in and out of little shops to avoid the rain. Travelling on the local bus is nice because you get to see the locals in action. Traffic is VERY heavy in the city, especially at rush-hour. The are so many great photo opportunities. Most locals speak English.

Read 2976 San Juan Reviews

It's easy to walk around the town and there are lots of little shops. Make sure you get a rum drink at GuavaBerry. It was a little hard to find in the town but well worth it. Another vacationer told us he never misses going there. The drink was heaven. It's a very cute town. We were a little surprised by all the shops owned by Indians and Mideasterners, though.

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Member Since 2009
8 Forum Posts
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