Great experience on the Westerdam!: Westerdam Cruise Review by max&toni

Westerdam 5

Overall Member Rating

Great experience on the Westerdam!

Sail Date: March 2011
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
We have never sailed Holland America before. We have sailed Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean. HAL ran some great last minute deals, and we decided to give it a try. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. Very well maintained, and the service was terrific. Every crew member that we encountered had a pleasant demeanor and went out of their way to be helpful.

We flew in the night before and stayed at the Hyatt Place North. It was close to the cruise terminal. We used our points, and I really don't know how much it would normally cost. It was clean, the staff was friendly, and it was convenient. We took advantage of HAL's policy to bring wine and soda on board. We also pre-ordered a bottle of liquor to be delivered to the cabin. The price was reasonable, and how convenient!

Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze. I've experienced much worse on other crusie lines.

Overall, the food was excellent. We ate most of our dinners in the Vista dining room, and we tried More the Pinnacle and Cannaletto (sp?). We did not have a bad meal on the ship, although I would say that you could skip the Cannaletto. It was just okay. The Pinnacle was outstanding. We were also pleasantly surprised by the selection and quality in the Lido restaurant. We were used to cafeteria quality on the other cruise lines, and HAL knows how to do it right.

The entertainment on the ship was pretty good. We saw almost all of the shows. The singers and dancers did a fine job. We saw the comedian Barnaby and really enjoyed him. Very funny guy. We checked out the disco a couple of nights, and apparently, this just wasn't the crowd for dancing. There were only a few people dancing at any given time. Half of the time, the DJ was wandering around other areas of the ship. The casino was always crowded.

There isn't much in the way of shopping onboard. This cruise line does cater to folks who want to spend a lot of money on jewelry. They have a nice private area set up to look at jewelry in private. We did not take advantage of that :)

We hope this review is helpful. We really enjoyed our cruise, and we will definitely sail on a Holland ship again. Less

Published 04/06/11
1 Helpful Vote

Cabin review: VD6140 Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

The size of the cabin was sacrificed for a larger balcony. I loved the balcony, but would have like a little more space in the cabin. We were located aft, port side on deck 6. Good location; not noisy at all.

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Port and Shore Excursions

Carnival did a great job with creating this port. Because of the limited time in port, we decided to stay at the "Carnival Compound" rather than venture into town or to a nearby local beach. We spent about an hour on the beach and then moved to the pool, which was fantastic. The poolside bar service, provided by Margaritaville staff, was very good (albeit pricey) and convenient. It was very relaxing. We checked out the cabanas, which are located right by the pool. They were nice, but I'm glad we didn't rent one. There are plenty of chairs and umbrellas poolside. If you are traveling with young children, you will love the pool.
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We've been to San Juan a couple of times - all at night - and this was the first time we made our way to the forts. It's very easy to do by yourself, and you'll save some money by not booking an excursion. You can walk to one of the forts (San Cristobal, I believe) in about five minutes, and there is a free trolley that will take you to the other fort. The cost to enter both forts is $5 per person (or $3 for one). The trolley then took us very close to the port. We enjoyed some beer and mojitos at a restaurant with outdoor seating (Bar Moreno) that was in the heart of the downtown area. Service was good and prices were reasonable.
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We decided to rent a car through Budget, which we did online. We rented a mid-size SUV for around $90 with taxes included. We made our way around the island, starting with Orient Pond, then Grand Case and finally Marigot. Our goal was to visit some of the art galleries on the island. When we arrived at Grand Case at around 9:00am, we found many of the shops, galleries and restaurants closed. Apparently, this place starts moving at 10am and the night life must be pretty good since many restaurants open at 5pm. There are a lot of restaurants that are right on the water with spectacular views in Grand Case. By the time we got to Marigot, which was right before noon, the place was packed and we could not find a place to park. Traffic was very congested. My advice is that if you want to rent a car and go to Marigot, you hit this place first so that you can find parking. Then, make your way to Grand Case for lunch.

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