First time cruisers-Anniversary: Westerdam Cruise Review by

Westerdam 5
Member Since 2011

Overall Member Rating

First time cruisers-Anniversary

Sail Date: July 2011
Destination: Alaska
Embarkation: Seattle
BACKGROUND INFO:  Overall, our experience was a REALLY positive one! We are first time cruisers so the fear of the unknown was a really big factor!! I booked from Holland directly- i had a cruise consultant(Jason) who I believe could have been more helpful than what he was. He was very vague at answering my questions and when I spoke to someone else- he got "upset"- stating that HE was MY cruise consultant and that he had ALOT of EXPERIENCE doing this- so if I wanted to make changes or ask questions, I had to go through HIM! Next time, I think Ill book from another source. We ended up staying in a Deluxe Verandah Suite. However- we started with an interior stateroom and kinda of worked my way up- which could have been avoided if I had more experience and if Jason would have been more helpful. Booking one and than trying to change to another room was a BIG challenge!! I booked early thinking I would get the best prices- little did I know that the best prices are posted closer to More the cruise date! however, its a gamble because the rm you want may already be taken. We also learned alot from speaking to other guest while on the cruise. we met a couple that this was their 25th cruise! they payed something like $400 p/p for a rm with view. They shared info that we will certainly use in our next cruise.

I have to say that we were not disappointed though!! the ship is beautiful and very clean. the food was very good and diverse. the ladies at the Neptune Lounge were so nice and always willing to assist. The Wine Cellar Master was really friendly and helpful when it came to any "wine issues". Our stewards were excellent as well. Room service is not very good- but we were hungry at 3:00 am so, it was alright. the wine packages are extremely over priced!! there is not a bottle in navigator's nor in the Admiral's that is regularly more than $15. we ended paying up appx. 3x as much per bottle!! but we had no choice and we were having a good time so, we bought in!! They do allow you to take in your own bottle which I STRONGLY recommend, however- unfortunately we did not have the opportunity to do so prior to boarding. Our room was really nice- with the exception of carpet stains! we had plenty of room and storage. Its true-the overall crowd in the ship is "older" however, people tend to stay with age groups at times. We did not really feel out of place! If you are looking for a party ship though- this IS NOT IT!! we did dance practically everyday at the Norther Lights- the DJ there pretty much plays genre of music that he sees the crowd is enjoying. Not alot of people went there so it never felt crowded.

ENTERTAINMENT/ACTIVITIES/DINNING:as far as entertainment on board is concerned- they had some comedy shows- they were ok. some of the dancing shows we found boring. Jenny and the Hal Cats were a pretty good band. they also played at the queens lounge- that was fun and like I mentioned before, the Norther lights for us was nice because we did dancing which we normally dont do but really enjoy.

the activities on board- some were fun to watch- like a group of people diving into the cold water pool in some contest or other- we did the kitchen tour- that was interesting and entertaining. we also did the wine tastings- and we attend mass a few times as well as use the gym. There was a 5k walk on board to raise monies for breast cancer- that was alot of fun. I was surprised to see that many people participated. we mostly hung out at the crows nest in the evenings- they had a few things going on there like music trivia (we didnt participate) but we sat there to mingle with other guests and enjoy the fantastic view from indoors.

The Spa- i did a couple of treatments at the spa. they were ok but not great for the price. the facial was alright. the full body massage was ok- the best part was overseeing the ocean and actually saw a whale while i was there!!

Very cool!! i did the tour on day one and that's what got me to buy the stuff- however, be careful when buying and scheduling yourself for spa treatments. know for sure what you will be doing that day- and you don't get your explorer (daily activities listings) before hand so wait and see if there is other things you would like to do and schedule the spa treatments on your "down time". the hydro pool and those chairs and the saunas were great except that since they sell it hard day one- most guest take the weeks pass- which means that most than likely the pools and the lounge chairs will be full most of the time!!! and people really don't respect the "15 minute" recommended time of use!! Another thing- wait for the daily specials which will be in your documents left in your room and book then. as the days go by- the specials get better for the spa as well as for everything else.

the on board store sells all their clothing items at 50% off the last day so dont buy until then. they will not run out of anything. if you forget a shawl and/or nice clutch for your formal nights- no worries, they have really nice ones for $10 a piece. I was surprised- $10 for a clutch and some of them are REALLY nice!! They sell alot of jewelry- we weren't buying any- wasn't about to go invest $$ on jewelery on a ship. but i heard if your interested, they have very personalized service- they will have a showcase just for you and personalize it to your interest as well as meet with the "diamond specialist" to purchase your stones. like i said- not for us!!

as far as dinning- make your reservations for the main dinning room day one with the concierge if you can. the pinnacle is definitely worth the price. and you've got to try the canaletto (not much of Italian food lover- but it was very good dinning). the location for the canaletto is weird- its located in the lido deck- in the morning it is part of the buffet but by evening the section a part off and it transforms in to a separate restaurant. by far my favorite was the pinnacle and since we had the Deluxe Verandah Suite- we had breakfast there as well. Personally the buffet at the lido is not my style- TOO much food and too many people- but it was good. they push the wine and drinks to much- they kept coming over and over! some people thought it was part of the buffet i guess and ordered wine and beverages- however when they would ask for their room card- they sent it all I thought that was funny- we saw it at least like three times. I guess since they keep asking if you want some... well, anyway. we went to the lido buffet like twice only.

CHILDREN'S CLUB: we did not travel with children so can comment. there were not many children on board- we may have seen no more than 10 children ranging from toddlers to about 10 or so.

DISEMBARKATION: they asked us to have our bags ready and outside our cabin by no later than 1am that night. it would not have been a challenge except that we were in Victoria until midnight so we were kind of rushing to have the bags ready. I suggest you pack before getting off in Victoria so this wont happen. it was kind of difficult having to make sure we had all necessary item for following day- we didn't want to pack it and then realize we were missing something! so word of advice- do it before Victoria. In the morning of disembarkation- again no problem. it was a breeze- got a taxi which took us to the airport. we had an early flight (11:15am). we got there with enough time. I do have to say that the taxi was expensive!! we payed $50 for that ride!!! so if you have another option-take it! we just wanted to make sure we got there in time and the shuttles or buses may have to wait until all passengers are in, cleared, load luggage, etc. if you are under no time constraints- take an alternative mode of transportation other than a taxi!

SUMMARY: Awesome time! No regrets, and were doing it again for sure!!

hope my review help you out some- just remember to have a great time!!

Oh- almost forgot, i did put of the wrist bands, took the motion sickness pills (Dramamine and bonine) as well as take ginger supplements and i used the patch!!!! i took it all- i did not want to be sick- and i wasn't!!! except for one morning that mostly everybody felt it. i felt a little queezy but it didn't stop me from anything. I recommend that you take it all and then decide what to use- whatever is best for you. I used the patch and the pills as well. they said that keeping hydrated and green apples also help- so I did that as well. My husband took nothing and he was fine the whole time.

good luck:-) Less

Published 08/11/11

Cabin review: SA8147 Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite

SHIP INFO/CABIN/SERVICE:Our cabin was a Deluxe Verandah Suite #8147 located in the 8th floor the Navigation deck. Over all it was a GREAT cabin. It was very spacious. It had plenty of storage. it has a king size bed which was important to us! I like to sleep in comfort!! pillows and sheets were clean and comfy. there is a couch and two chairs as well as a center table and i think there is two ottomans as well. The couch is not comfortable but we really didn't use it that much. we ate there late at night and I sat there to look at the explorer to plan our day. Outside the balcony is huge! its a wrap around balcony that fits a round table 4 chairs an 2 lounge chairs. we used the table and chairs several times. we never used the lunge chairs. most of the time we would just stand on the balcony and admire the GORGEOUS view. downfall is that the room is right below the lido deck so it can get kinda noisy. and sometimes people from the top can see down into your balcony. But I guess it is the same for all!! Really not a problem for us. It is Alaska and it rains alot and its cold-so we did not spend TOO much time out there as I would have preferred. then again, we are from Texas and had left 110F that Friday- and our winters are in the 40/50s so that was cold for us!! it was really nice to have a space to get ready- the mirrors were excellent for me to use while doing my hair and make up, getting ready for bed, etc. there is closet space in that same area as well so that was pretty much my area to get ready for whatever we were going to do. I really liked that. we really didn't watch much TV. to me, TV was small and outdated- but I really didn't care much. this room is at on end of the ship so- you WILL walk! I underestimated that when I wore my heels! there is an elevator close by though but most of the time we opted for the stairs. I would probably not make the expense for such a big balcony for ALASKA however, the amenities of getting a Deluxe Verandah Suite were nice! We had access to the Neptune Lunge which is located on the Deck 7. We went there everyday for cafe lattes and "snacks". the amenity i think i liked the most was- free laundry and dry clean. so we did not being any dirty clothes back home for once!! they did loose one of my blouse- however, they did reimburse me for it. It was settled at the end with our bill. they were so apologetic and nice about the whole thing that i was OK with the resolution. The concierge took care of everything- i just presented verbally the description of the blouse and the brand. I also had a picture with it- she asked me how much i payed for it and that's what they reimbursed me- no questions asked!! although i do believe she must have researched it up on line or something because she did ask if it was last years or this years purchase- i presume to browse through the designers collection- any way, it was no big deal. the internet- i did not use!! we were determined not to work at all during our time off!! we used our own cel phones when we got to the ports (we have nation wide coverage for minutes and internet) to touch base with our families but that was about it. they do have internet access at a price though. SUMMARY: Awesome time! No regrets, and were doing it again for sure!! hope my review help you out some- just remember to have a great time!! Oh- almost forgot, i did put of the wrist bands, took the motion sickness pills (Dramamine and bonine) as well as take ginger supplements and i used the patch!!!! i took it all- i did not want to be sick- and i wasn't!!! except for one morning that mostly everybody felt it. i felt a little queezy but it didn't stop me from anything. I recommend that you take it all and then decide what to use- whatever is best for you. I used the patch and the pills as well. they said that keeping hydrated and green apples also help- so I did that as well. My husband took nothing and he was fine the whole time. good luck:-)

Read All Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite (SA) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

PORTS/EXCURSIONS: We had a fantastic time just being there enjoying the views and relaxing. however, we did sign up for excursions once we were on board- again, not knowing that the good ones would fill up fast. so by the time we wanted to book- they were closed. for example the dog sledding in Juneau. we opted for the next best thing which was the helicopter/glacier walking. we had some time before our excursion began so we walked around the town for a while and did some souvenir shopping. It was disappointing though to find out that due to the weather, our excursion got canceled and it was too late for us to book anything else. Not even the sightseeing tour;-( but it was raining and foggy and it did get worst so for safety, they cancelled. It was disappointing but we were ok. You do need a rain coat and layers!!!! as well as an umbrella, and a hood or cap. I didntt take one so we ended buying one there for like $5. take a good camera and lots of memory because there is lots of "kodak moments"!

Day 2 we cruised until we got to the glacier. Now for me that was the highlight of the entire trip. like i said im from texas and we never see rain, snow nevertheless ice glaciers!!!! it was great being up in the front of the ship just gliding in to the glacier!!! Loved it- loved it!! we got great pics and video of the ice calving!! ohhh- its just wonderful! it left me breathless i swear. Just beautiful to see and experience the whole thing!! once we were heading out of there- we went to our room (8147) and opened a bottle of wine and sat outside our balcony just admiring the marvelous view- Very romantic and intimate!! you feel "one with nature". it just makes you appreciate this earth we live in a little bit more- and you feel like you are just one tinny winny speck in this earth!! I'm glad i got to experience this and even more grateful that i did it with my wonderful husband right next to me:-) very lucky woman!! I hope you have the same experience and take your own personal "message" from it. it is COLD there so cover your ears and hands!! aside from your jacket of course. and if you want a really good view, go up to the navigation deck 8 or Deck 7 (i don't remember). there is a couple small doors at the end that lead to outside and you can see the glacier the ship approaching the glacier from high above- there is also not that many people there so you don't feel crowded. take your coffee or hot chocolate with you cause you will be outside for a long time. take your video and camera as well. and if you can, carry your binoculars as well. if you are in a suite- you have binoculars and umbrellas in your room to use- however if you are not booking a suite, don't forget to take them.

Read 1204 Juneau Reviews

at Ketchikan we arrived very early!! so you have to be ready- we had booked an excursion that started promptly at 8am. so we rushed to get there to find out that once again- cancelled due to weather safety issues. our excursion was a 50 mile long ride on Harley Davidson Motorcycles. It would have been great but- maybe next time. we booked a sea otter and wildlife thing- it was OK but not WOW!! the best thing there was that we saw several eagles. and one flew right in front of us and dipped to get a fish and then flew back to the same rock!!!! IMPRESSIVE- those things are huge and the Wings- spread out that way was really a sight!! Great pics!! the weather that day though was horrible!! it was none stop rain and cold.

Read 1363 Ketchikan Reviews

HOTEL/TRAVEL TO PORT FOR EMBARKATION:We were scheduled to depart on Sat at 4:00pm. We got to Seattle on Friday night/Sat early morning. We opt to stay at the Hilton near the airport and bought the transfers to the pier with them-As opposed to staying at a hotel trough Holland. They are downtown but VERY expensive! and since we were not going to have time to explore Seattle downtown- it really did not make a difference to us. the Hilton was very nice. We had to call the shuttle from the airport and they picked us up- they knew we were gooing to have a late arrival. the front desk lady was very nice and process was a breeze- everything was ready for us and we went right to bed!! That day- We had last minute errands in the morning, driven two hours to the airport to take our flight at 8:00pm, changed planes (with hour and half delay) in San Fransisco, so we ended up getting to Seattle about 2am their time- so we were TIRED! in the morning- the shuttle was leaving at 10:45 am-it did make like 3 other stops before we got to the pier. It took us about 30-40 minutes or so to get there. Not that bad. Once there- there was two ways to go- one side for Holland and one for Celebrity (i think). there is cruise line personnel that greet you as soon as you step of the vehicle to guide you. we went in- got processed- and we were boarding in no time. Whole boarding experience about 20 minutes.

Read 537 Seattle Reviews

Sitka is just beautiful. you have to be in your balcony when your pulling up- it looks like the ship is going right into the town!! we didn't have an excursion here- we just walked around and had a few drinks. again more souvenir shopping. we actually boarded earlier than the time allocated- we were hungry we had dinner reservations and had to get ready. Reason why you should really plan out the day taking everything into consideration!!! Now I know for next time.

Read 254 Sitka Reviews

our last stop was Victoria- we went to see the gardens. if your into flowers, this is the place to go. It is beautiful! the smell and the colors are gorgeous!! however, it got dark right away- we had a good camera so we continued to take photos but most people complained that there is just not enough time to see all of it. by the end, you don't have time to shop at the souvenir store because they are closing so do it right when you go in if you really want something. oh and just FYI- i bough a coke bottle and a water bottle and I payed slightly over $8!!!! Wow- I think it was even more expensive than the ship!!!! If you can just stay and walk the town- there is alot to see just around the pier. it gets dark right away so excursions are really not worth it unless they are indoors. the place is very quaint and colorful. very clean too! very picturesque- nice place to visit.

Read 893 Victoria Reviews

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