54 Rome (Civitavecchia) Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food ... Read More
We chose this cruise since we enjoy transatlantic cruising. We wanted to experience Holland America and it was a good value. The embarkation was the quickest we had ever experienced. The staff was friendly and appeared happy. Food selections were varied. We did not choose to go to the add on restaurants. My spouse attended the America Test Kitchen classes. It was great to have a Catholic priest on board for Mass. The Spanish ports were enjoyable. We liked our port side veranda. The public spaces were never crowded. We have taken five transatlantic cruises on different lines. Holland ranks right up at the top. Our only complaint was the disembarkation process which was an issue with customs in Ft. Lauderdale. There were six lines for foreign passengers and two for American citizens. The process took over one hour and not the best ending to our cruise experience. Other than this, it was a perfect cruise offering an additional seven hours of sleep! Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all ... Read More
We booked this cruise just 2 weeks prior to sailing because the price was great. We enjoyed the ports, but had been to all of them multiple times. • Ship information o The ship was is in great shape, everything worked and all public areas were kept very clean. There are plenty of places for quiet alone time and small group board games. • Activities o I loved the Americas Test Kitchen as a man who, at 55 is just learning to cook. The demonstrations by professional chefs are fantastic. The Trivia sessions are good, as expected, some folk take it way too seriously. But the cruise director kept a tight rein on it. • Service o Everyone is very helpful and friendly. • Travel to embarkation port o Unless you are the person who needs to be 1st on the ship, wait an hour until after embarkation begins, the wait is so much shorter and the buffet is still open. Unless you have a suite, those folk go straight to the front of the line. • Dining o We had 8 pm dining at a large table every cruise. Every time we have enjoyed our tablemates as they turn into good friends. The main dining room is spacious and well tended. The staff was very receptive to our needs and wants. The food is good to great. The selection is adequate. • Entertainment o The BB King band was excellent. Great energy and great variety of classic R&B. The shows were good with one exception and I feel the need to point this out. A comedian who was marginal at best ended his show with a classic Simon and Garfunkel song that had no business in his show. I can only guess that he loved the sound of his 2 star voice. There were plenty of books available. • Disembarkation o As this was the 1st half a back2back, we just went into Fort Lauderdale to visit relatives. I wish there had some kind of meeting of back to back passengers. They could have given us In Transit information, answered the questions many of us had and we could have visited with folks who were going to spend a month with. Also, other lines will extend a courtesy laundry for ongoing passengers. • Summary o In hind sight, I would do this cruise the same way again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) ... Read More
This was our first cruise with HAL having previously cruised with Azamara, Celebrity (Elite), NCL (Silver) and Princess. We picked this cruise as it was very port intensive, (18 ports in 24 days with overnights in Venice & Athens) and we had the opportunity to see a lot of the Mediterranean in one cruise. The passengers were a 60+ crowd and if you were looking for entertainment to keep you amused throughout the day this was not the cruise for you. Food is a very subjective topic so I’m not going to go into any details besides saying (in my opinion) that is was very similar to what we have experienced on Celebrity. There was lots of variety in the Lido Buffet and the food was very good in The Dining Room. The Good: • Embarkation, we arrived at the port at 11AM and were onboard at 11:30 AM and our stateroom was ready, • Luggage was in our stateroom at 1PM, • All of the ports guides for the entire cruise were in our stateroom, • KK & Brett,EXC staff gave great port presentations. • $30.00 for a bag of laundry and you can put a lot of clothes in the cloth bag if you roll them tight, • Great tender service, they always had 5 tenders running and by 9:30 AM there was no waiting for one, • The Cruise Director provided clear and concise information whenever he spoke on the ship’s PA, • The elevators are the fastest we have experienced, • All of the staff (bar, Lido, dining room) were friendly, polite and willing to provide assistance. • The stateroom attendants were fantastic, polite, and knew our name from day one. They had 29 staterooms to look after. The So So: • When you went to the muster drill you reported to the Lido Deck and stood around your assigned life boat. It was so packed you couldn’t see the life jacket demonstration unless you were right in front of the person providing the demonstration & the announcements on the PA were hard to hear. I found it to be a strange location to hold the drill due to the passenger congestion. On a positive side it only took about 20 minutes to complete the muster drill. • The evening entertainment was ok but nothing special. This was the first cruise I have encountered where they showed a movie on a couple of nights instead of live entertainment for the evening show. The Not So Good: • No pay per minute internet. They only offer packages that are for the entire cruise. So if you only want to use the internet to print you boarding pass on the last day of the cruise you would have to buy a package. • I found the ships excursion staff to be very abrupt and they seemed to be very rushed when I went to see them at the Excursion desk. • The ship just completed a refit this spring and they relocated the Future Cruises Consultant into a small office on the 10th deck in the Explorations area. There is nowhere for her to leave out any pamphlets on any future cruises so you have to make an appointment to see her and get the pamphlets/brochures. It seemed to me that it was a waste of everyone’s time to have to book an appointment just to get brochures. • Prior to the cruise I went on HAL’s website to confirm the dress requirements of Gala Nights in the Dining Room. The website states that men must wear a collared shirt and slacks. Along with others, I wore a collared golf style shirt and was turned away from the dining room. They informed me that the collared shirt has to be completely buttoned down from top to bottom. So you can attend Gala Nights if you wear a buttoned down short sleeve shirt that you bought on your last Caribbean Cruise for $10.00. But, if you wear a golf style shirt that cost $90.00 you get turned away. I went to customer service and showed them the dress requirements on HAL’s website and the reply I receive was that fully buttoned down is implied. On our last Gala night I saw them let in a gentleman who was wearing jeans but according to the dress requirements that is not allowed. If a buttoned down shirt is the requirement then HAL needs to update the dress requirements on their website. • This was the first cruise where I have seen passengers wearing robes and their PJ’s allowed to eat breakfast in the Lido Buffet. All I can say is it is appaling seeing passengers sitting around in robes and PJ’s eating breakfast. This practice needs to stop. • Approximately 10% of the passengers and staff used the hand sanitizer dispensers when entering the ship or eating areas. It appeared that the ship didn’t put an emphases on Hygene/sanitation. This was the worst we have experienced on any ship. All in all it was a very enjoyable cruise, lots of great ports and we would sail with HAL again as we appreciate that they have collector cruises which provide for some interesting destinations. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise because of the ports, especially the Dalmatian Coast. No other cruise line had this itinerary. We've done many other cruises on other cruise lines, but a first on HAL. Never again. Overall the staff and stateroom service is great. No issue there. The ship interiors are nice enough for a mid-size, middle budget cruise line. Where they miss it is food. The worst meals I've ever had. Tasteless. No flavor. I don't believe they even use basic salt and pepper as a seasoning. Truly awful food. The entertainment waivered. The singers and dancers we're about a inch better than watching grammar school kids put on a show. I was actually embarrassed for them. No talent. However the string quartet was fabulous in the Kennedy Center Stage. That was a real treat. I enjoyed the America's Test Kitchen too. Very clever. All the rest were God awful. The staff who run the excursions are ill informed and very unprofessional. I'd fire all of them starting at the top and start over. They contradicted themselves, didn't know, or even attempted to find out if you asked them a question. Terrible. I'll never cruise on HAL again. Even if it were free. Life's too short to waste time on crappy experiences. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, ... Read More
My wife and I booked this 12 night cruise because of the interesting itinerary. It was heavy on our much desired Adriatic coast, but also included great and/or new destinations for us such as Kotor, Montenegro, both Valletta and Gozo, Malta, Dubrovnik, Split, and Korcula, Croatia, and Slovenia. The cruise ended in Venice. As stated, a great itinerary. However, our experience on board was far from satisfactory in several key areas ... and we have Holland America experience since 2007. We are 4-Star Mariners with 213 actual sea days on HAL as we write this review. Our ship, the MS Westerdam, is among the first of the HAL fleet to undergo an extensive renovation/modernization that will fit the new image for all their ships over the next couple of years. (1) The Library is gone. (2) The Ocean Bar dance floor is gone ... all carpet now. There is in fact only one dancing venue on the ship ... the B.B. King's Blues Club. That club is excellent if you like that kind of music ... we enjoyed it and danced to a great live band ... all terrific musicians. They played 5 out of 7 nights, as I recall, with 2 nights off per week and no other music/dance on those nights there. They did not start until about 8PM. However, for those that don't care for blues, there was no other dance venue. The Ocean Bar had a classical pianist ... excellent ... but don't expect to hear any popular numbers that you can dance to ... and that would be on carpet. So, the once great Ocean Bar with the cocktails and dancing to a trio or quartet is gone! (3) No Crow's Nest for dancing and music anymore. The entire Crow's Nest has been transformed into EXC, or Explorations Central. (4) Conventions and/or groups allowed to reserve and take over "common areas". On three evenings that we personally experienced, about half of the Ocean Bar, the part with the pianist, and where most of the chairs and tables are, was closed off to all guests except for the group/convention. Therefore, there was no seating for many guests. We were told by a couple of officers that "all HAL ships are now doing this". What next for a surprise? (5) Sick/extremely ill two times on board ... myself and several days later my wife. Each time that we were sick we only ate on board that day ... and late those nights we were vomiting, etc. in our stateroom (symptoms of food poisoning, but no proof). We spoke to the ship's medical officer/nurse. After 24 hours we were each mostly recovered, but it did ruin that day's ability to go ashore. In general, over the past few years HAL is not what it used to be. Service in general has declined, sharp attention to detail is no longer present. The crew/staff for the most part are, in our opinion, over worked and too few. Many times one is left waiting. Where are the officers to supervise and see that the guests are taken care of in a timely manner? Lastly, we wrote and mailed a letter to the President of Holland America Line in early December, 2017, regarding our experience and suggestions for improvement (HAL has always said that they want to hear from we "Mariners") ... and we have never received a response. Apparently, they do not care how we, as loyal and good customers/guests/Mariners feel! That is our experience. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This was our third cruise with Holland America and first on Westerdam. We have also cruised with Azamara, Oceania, NCL, Windstar, Louis, Katarina and several river cruise operators. This cruise was 12 nights, starting in Civitavecchia and ... Read More
This was our third cruise with Holland America and first on Westerdam. We have also cruised with Azamara, Oceania, NCL, Windstar, Louis, Katarina and several river cruise operators. This cruise was 12 nights, starting in Civitavecchia and finishing in Barcelona. The ship is looking very smart in the public areas. We were in an ocean view cabin on deck 1. The cabin looked a little tired. The job done by our room stewards was not very thorough. On our previous 2 HAL cruises we had found the food to be boring, bland and repetitive. This food on this cruise was no different. The service in the Lido Market was poor – they supposedly served water and lemonade at the tables, but we usually had to go and get our own – it was difficult to attract any waiter attention. Plates were often not cleared between courses. There were no lecturers. The concerts by the HAL entertainers was not to our taste. A guest pianist one evening was very good, and the resident pianist on deck 3 was good. We also tried the chamber music group in the Lincoln Centre on several occasions, which was okay. It became very windy while we were anchored off Monte Carlo. The crew did an excellent job of ensuring passengers were tendered safely on and off the ship. The following day was still windy, leading to the cancellation of the St Tropez stop. The advice that this port had been cancelled was very late – we only found out because of the lack of shore excursion staff in the theatre when we went to join our booked tour. St Tropez was replaced with Villefranche, where the harbour was sheltered and tendering was straight forward. Disembarkation instructions were confusing. We booked a HAL tour with drop off at the airport, but we still received a letter telling us to disembark when our tag colour/number was called. This happened before the reporting time for our tour, and when we went to the theatre for the tour meeting time there were no shore excursion staff there, which made us wonder which instruction we should be following. Eventually someone showed up to allocate bus numbers. This tour with drop off at the airport worked very well, and certainly solves the problem of what to do with the luggage for the day. Holland America would not be our choice of cruise line, but if the itinerary was of interest we would consider it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We were attracted to this cruise because of the itinerary which included many places we had not seen before. And we were not disappointed! The sea was very rough at Monaco, and the staff was very professional and efficient getting people ... Read More
We were attracted to this cruise because of the itinerary which included many places we had not seen before. And we were not disappointed! The sea was very rough at Monaco, and the staff was very professional and efficient getting people on and off the tenders. When the wind and rough seas made it impossible to go to St. Tropez (a tender port), the captain made the wise decision to go to Villefranche which was lovely and very enjoyable. But the refit of the Westerdam was a great disappointment, especially the disappearance of the library. The Crow's Nest is no longer an inviting place. The former comfortable reclining chairs in front of the windows are gone. The board game collection has been greatly reduced and moved to another small room, and it was often closed at 4 PM, so there was no opportunity for a game after dinner. Jo Leggett got it right--the ship is thoroughly average! Like some other reviewers, we had trouble with our air conditioner, and I resorted to wearing ear plugs at night to cut the noise of air rushing through it. After several appeals to our cabin steward, I spoke to someone at the front desk, and then it was fixed. But there should be a way to turn it off if desired. Embarkation was smooth and easy. We stayed in an excellent B&B in the town of Fumicino before the cruise and had a nice lunch in Civitaveccia (there is an excellent gelato shop right on the main street!) before going to the port. We didn't experience the formal disembarkation process because we left the ship on the day it arrived in Barcelona (we had seen a lot of Barcelona at the end of a previous cruise). We enjoyed the meals in the dining room and had fabulous stewards (Jaka and Chukran) who remembered all of our requests from one day to another. The meals were very good, and the portion sizes were just right for us. And the omelets in the Lido at breakfast were delicious! We were generally able to find a table there at breakfast without too much trouble. We did not take any of the ship's shore excursions--they are very expensive. But we had a wonderful day tour with Spain Day Tours to the Alhambra, and we had an excellent local guide there. I also arranged for a private van tour of Marseille and Provence with Alcyon Riviera Tours. They suggested I put a message on the Cruise Critic board for the cruise to recruit three additional couples to share the tour, and that worked very well. Our guide took us to several places the ship's tours did not go which were most enjoyable. For other ports, I read guide books (primarily by Rick Steves) and brought along copies of the relevant pages to give us pointers of what to see. We are 3-star Mariners and have had several cruises with HAL and have thoroughly enjoyed all of them, so the Westerdam was a bit of a disappointment even though the staff does what they can to overcome the problems. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
My wife and I have done numerous cruises of varying durations over the years. Our experience a few years ago on HAL Nieu Amsterdam was very positive so we confidently booked a balcony suite on Westerdam for a 24 night back to back cruise ... Read More
My wife and I have done numerous cruises of varying durations over the years. Our experience a few years ago on HAL Nieu Amsterdam was very positive so we confidently booked a balcony suite on Westerdam for a 24 night back to back cruise recently. The best description of the ship I can come up with is boring. We were so glad that this was not our first cruise experience because, if it was, we would have never set foot on a cruise ship again. The Positives The itinerary was very good with interesting ports and we found our cabin roomy and comfortable. Housekeeping staff were good however we have had better. The Negatives The entertainment on the ship was lacking in all respects. Three piano players, a string Quartet and a Blues Club that was good once or twice but not every night. There were acts on the main stage most nights. Being a back to back passenger we basically got the same shows repeated on the second leg. Same jokes etc etc. ....Boring! Navigation Deck is extremely noisy. Furniture on the deck above is dragged around day and night and we were frequently woken by the rumbling noise when the roof over the pool was closed or opened. The dining room food is reasonable but lacks variety and this only gets worse in the Lido Buffet. Quite often I saw empty trays in the buffet where on previous ships the trays were changed well before getting anywhere near empty. The Lido could be best described as a department store cafeteria that you would find in any big city. Visiting once or twice would be fine but not daily for 24 days. Activities around the ship are kept to an absolute minimum and sail-a-way parties and theme nights with entertainment non existent. There is no way I could give this ship a pass nor could I recommend it to future travellers however I am sure the quiet ambiance of the ship appeals to some people. I feel it is probably best suited to elderly passengers who are not after nightlife, are happy curling up with a good book and prefer their food a little less adventurous. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose HAL as it was our understanding that this was a better standard than the Costa, Royal Caribbean etc we had been on before. This was our eighth cruise in total and sadly was on a par with our disappointing MSC experience 6 years ... Read More
We chose HAL as it was our understanding that this was a better standard than the Costa, Royal Caribbean etc we had been on before. This was our eighth cruise in total and sadly was on a par with our disappointing MSC experience 6 years ago. We boarded in Rome for our 12 day cruise and the process was very smooth and speedy. The ship is lovely - recently modernised and tastefully decorated there is a nice ambience and flow to the ship. The housekeeping and dining staff also very very friendly. The same cannot be said for entertainment staff. Whilst skilled I witnessed three sarcastic comments that weren't meant for client ears. Being brits we aren't used to constant air con and ours was exceptionally noisy. We asked whether this could be tuned off or down on our first night when still trying to sleep at 3am. We were advised this was controlled centrally and nothing could be done. We mentioned this again to the room attendant after being shown a friends cabin and the air conditioning was significantly quieter. One week and about 4/5 hours a night sleep later and not being able to wear contact lenses we again approached reception (in person) who sent a maintenance person who flicked off the vent in the ceiling and proceeded to twizzle a few bits and 30 seconds later the air conditioning flow and noise is reduced. Shame we had to wait a week for this. The food is average - especially when compared to other experiences. Portions are small. Not unpleasant but certainly nothing special. The main dining room has 4/5 choices per three courses. One gala night we had steak and lobster tail. As oppose to previous cruises there is not so much of an emphasis on Gala night - not many passengers appear to embrace the spirit. This may well be our error in choosing the line/ship/route but there is no nightlife. If you find 4 people up after midnight then it's a miracle. Entertainment in general on the main stage is alternate nights of some entertainment and then a movie/film on the following night. No big productions and many evening entertainers lasted about an hour. The spa is very expensive and some gym classes were additional - $12 for a yoga class!! Drinks were as we would expect although a 15% service charge is added to everything PLUS the $12.50 per person per day service charge. When docked in Spain an additional 10% was added on top. No iron or laundry room available on ship therefore items must be laundered or ironed using the ships service. We disembarked in Barcelona. We were forced to leave the terminal on departure from the ship and advised we could not reenter the building. Our pre arranged transfer was 3.5 hours after disembarkation - be warned if disembarking in Barcelona! There is nowhere to get a coffee or snack. Don't travel with HAL if looking for wow as you won't get it. We found them of a lower standard than Costa who at least you know your getting what you pay for (and we did have a good cruise with them!). HAL would like to be luxury but the standard of food, entertainment and customer service does not warrant this tag. We would overall score lower but this would be unfair to the majority of staff who do work very hard to maintain the housekeeping and feed the masses. It's not a line we would choose again or recommend to anyone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
This was my first cruise and the third for my wife, although it was more than 30 years ago. It was at a friends couple’s suggestion to join them on this cruise and we took the opportunity to celebrate my wife’s retirement, birthday and ... Read More
This was my first cruise and the third for my wife, although it was more than 30 years ago. It was at a friends couple’s suggestion to join them on this cruise and we took the opportunity to celebrate my wife’s retirement, birthday and 25th year of life together. It was not our friends first cruise with Holland America and we felt reassured it would be a carefree cruise. We had read a lot of reviews on Cruise critics and they were very helpful. Especially for a first timer: We still brought to many clothes but enough money and a night light with movement detection that was very useful at night in the bathroom. We took the transfer from Rome airport to Civitavecchia Port from Holland America. Easy to find their representatives at the airport but we had to wait for other travelers in the bus (old) with no A/C on. On our way to the port, the water from the A/C started to leak on the head/back of a few passengers. The stateroom (with balcony) was ready early, upon embarking. The Westerdam renovation are partial as we noticed that the bathtub was damaged and so was the table. However, the color scheme is nice. My first surprise. it is cramped in there. We decided to attend the Sail Away Party with our friends after noticing the invitation. Upon arrival on the aft deck, we are offered a welcoming drink…too late, my wife started to drink it and its not free. I choose a beer special, 5 for the price of 4. Upon receiving the bill I notice that there was also a charge for my wife cheap plastic glass. Total 46.86$. During the party, we were offered at least five times Beverage Packages. We felt harassed (especially since, by the end of the day, we were offered packages a dozen times!). Thank you for the invitation and welcome aboard! We had also decided to take the Navigator Package and were told (us and our friends, in separate occasions) by the Holland Representatives in Seattle (not the same one) that we could wait and take it onboard. Wrong. And it became very complicated, frustrating and time wasting. On the first dinner night, we asked for the Navigator Package because it is not available on the Westerdam list of packages. The Cellar Master offered us instead the Cellar Master Package with one diner at the Pinnacle Grill instead of two. However, his proposal was more expensive, but we decided not to spoil our trip over this. Wrong again. On the next day, the hand written invoice amount did not match the charges billed on our account. Furthermore, the « gift set » was also charged (17,70$) - not a gift for sure as it was never credited. We were also provided with Oosterdam and Westerdam Cellar Master Package descriptions, which are slightly different. Why? To add to this comedy of errors, we were also charged for our « included » diner to the Pinnacle Grill. It would require many visits to the Guest Services Desk and we were told countless times that it would be fixed the next day, and the next, and the next… At one point, I wanted to talk to the manager, who, we found out, was always unavailable and obviously hiding behind his/her staff. I never was able to speak to him/her nor received any reply. Overall, all the billing errors (and there were also additional ones) were finally resolved the morning of debarkation. On the positive side, the staff remained polite despite their lack of powers to resolve any such issues. I said to them: « I am not a valued customer! » We took only one tour package with Holland America and, yes, they managed to displease us. First, there was a delay to obtain the disembarkation authorization. Therefore, the guided tour left later and lasted 7h15 instead of the 8 hours (approximately) scheduled. As a result, we could not visit a key attraction. It would be understandable if it was not that we were back at the port 1h45 before the boat departure! On other occasions, we saw the boat departure postponed by 30 minutes to allow for the return of a late tour. We were also unable to visit St-Tropez due to the windy conditions in the morning, another disappointment. Unfortunately, the weather in St-Tropez was perfect in the afternoon. We visited Villefranche-sur-Mer instead. The windy conditions in Monaco showed us the risks of injuries during a tender taken by everyone, especially the staff. In the afternoon, only the fit and able were allowed to go shore. We must command the professionalism of the staff! We were surprised to receive in writing security recommandations for Barcelona only, on our last stop, while mentioning Holland America guided tour. Nothing about Nice however, where we went from Monaco, a 25 minutes train ride. The staff friendliness is uneven. Superb service in the stateroom, uneven at the Lido. There was a group of disorganized and unsmiling staff at breakfast time. No complaint at the dining room and even a few praises. Despite our open seating, we ended up at the fix seating one night and received the best service. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to share our comments with the Manager. The Pinnacle Grill service is what you should expect. It is however a far cry compared to 30 years ago, says my wife. The food: it all depends on your point of reference. If you expect the average, you may not be disappointed. Not the most healthy, excepted for the salad bar and the sushi. We found it too salty, greasy and overcooked at times. And, I must laugh at the two micro scallops I was served as entree, the size of a bubble gum each. However, there was one recipe we asked for and obtained from the Pinnacle Grill. Finally, the transfer process to the airport by Holland America was not explained. We did not know that we had to carry our luggages to the bus and which one was going to our terminal. Based on our experience, we will not recommend Holland America. We met people who did not have any problems but never attended the Sail Away Party nor took any package. We wasted a lot of time trying to resolve frustrating problems Holland America created and never were offered some compensation for our troubles. Furthermore, we felt harassed to buy packages. To us, HAL primary objective is not customer satisfaction, it is profits. We have filled their survey and received a standard reply…but no apology…it says it all! Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We booked through our travel agent using Holland America's "Flight Ease". THAT'S a joke! We booked and RESERVED seats for myself, my wife and our daughter. When we arrived at the airport not only were our seats NOT ... Read More
We booked through our travel agent using Holland America's "Flight Ease". THAT'S a joke! We booked and RESERVED seats for myself, my wife and our daughter. When we arrived at the airport not only were our seats NOT reserved as promised and confirmed, we were informed the airline could not confirm our daughter's reservation from Toronto to Rome. We spent hours prior to boarding attempting to have our travel agent ensure the reservation was confirmed and I spoke to WestJet customer service who deferred the problem to Delta, and Delta informing me they had over sold the flight. We had to fly to Rome and HOPE our daughter's boarding pass would be at the gate. The plane was delayed taking off and we JUST made our connection. The airline lost my luggage upon arrival in Rome which delayed us another 2 hours as we attempted to sort that out and fill out the proper claim forms. Air France lost both mine and my daughter's luggage on the trip home, with my daughter's still missing. The frustrating part to this story is when I personally contacted the President's Office with Holland America Line, I received the following response with respect to our flights: "We certainly understand the frustration and dissatisfaction this may have caused your family. Although we do not own or control the operations of any airline, because we offer flight booking as an optional service, we do take your comments very seriously. We monitor our guests’ satisfaction, or dissatisfaction, with the various air carriers with whom we reserve flights. This helps us, and the carriers, improve the service our guests receive. However, as stated earlier, we have no control over the actual flight operations and while we empathize with your situation, we aren’t in a position to compensate for issues that are outside of our control." So too bad but not our problem. Why advertise as Holland America's "Flight Ease"? During the cruise the meal we had at the Pinnacle Grill was horrible. When we informed the chef of our dissatisfaction he replied, "The prawns are pre-cooked, it's not our fault they are tough." What?? Not your fault, you're the chef, if a customer informs you what you serving is not up to ANYONE'S standard, correct it. The cruise director was absolutely useless. We have taken several other cruises, so we know a good cruise director from a bad one. When four of us approached him asking what he had planned or scheduled during the sea days, his response was, "I have a number of new activities planned." There was nothing planned aside from one trivia game. The staff did an amazing job serving us and taking care of our cabin, however, any situation requiring a manager's input or response was substandard at best. Thank you for making my family feel that the money we expended on flights and the cruise were not appreciated by Holland America Line executives. WRM Read Less
Sail Date September 2017
We chose this cruise as it was 10 days and in Europe so fitted with other commitments and took us to ports we had visited some time ago. We have completed 14 HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam. Some of the changes to ... Read More
We chose this cruise as it was 10 days and in Europe so fitted with other commitments and took us to ports we had visited some time ago. We have completed 14 HAL cruises and this was our first time on the Westerdam. Some of the changes to the Ship seem to be a mistake. The loss of the Library particularly, there are very few books now and the Crows Nest is not conducive to a peaceful quiet read, it was such an adaptable space but is now not as comfortable and well set out although it houses the few books available. There are useful tables which are full of information at the touch of the screen which is a new and useful addition but otherwise not a good change to the ship since refit. We had a Signature suite which was comfortable and well serviced by Rosy and Nana, and we appreciated the TV although disappointed that Port Talks were no longer available on screen, so if you were unable to attend the Port talk there was no opportunity to see it in the stateroom. On board activities were almost non existent, we have had the fun of pool games and indoor "golf" and various well thought out games but nothing in Westerdam. The dining room food was sometimes cold and the service we experienced was slow although we had late dining at a table for 2. Our biggest bugbear was the standard of dress. No one expects "tuxedos and diamonds" when people fly half way round the world to join a ship, but even on formal nights we were surrounded by distressed jeans, t shirts shorts and very beach type "smart casual "wear. It was disappointing for those people who had made an effort to dress suitably. There was always the Lido if folk didn't wish to conform to dress code, but this was not enforced unfortunately. The entertainment on board was at times excellent, we had a wonderful pianist from Istanbul who played for an hour and had his audience spellbound, the comedian and magician were good, but have to say the Westerdam Singers and Dancers were among the worst we have ever seen. The shows were lacking any flair or good costumes and the music was far too loud and racous, the best place to listen was in the Casino! We only did one shore excursion through the ship, their excursions are far too expensive and we object to being herded with a number badge from place to place, but we had some excellent excursion with fellow cruisers which we enjoyed and used hop on hop off buses in several ports which with exception of Messina were excellent value. We were disappointed that so much of the upper deck space is now given over to Cabanas which denied access to the front of the ship to all other cruisers, unless willing to pay for use of The Retreat. Embarkation was well executed, but disembarking was disorganised because too many people crowded the access routes despite it not being their time for leaving the ship. Not sure we would choose to cruise in Westerdam again and sorry her sister ships are due for the same changes. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This is our third cruise. We sailed with Raphosy of the seas and celebrity reflection both were really good and far superior to westredam in any aspect. The Celebrity was the best. We are not fussy in any sense and don't mind if ... Read More
This is our third cruise. We sailed with Raphosy of the seas and celebrity reflection both were really good and far superior to westredam in any aspect. The Celebrity was the best. We are not fussy in any sense and don't mind if things are not perfect but this was just a poor experience. And the sad things is it cost us more than the celebrity cruise. We paid quite a lot of money for this cruise but got nothing in return!! We are a couple in our mid-40s with 2 girls 15 and 9. The average age was probably 70. So many old, unfriendly and grumpy couples that don't seem to like younger people and kids. They just everywhere you go on the ship. Entrainment was non-existent. Poor shows that lasted half an hour. Celebrity had the tenures of rock on for 2 amazing shows and 4 live bands playing all day all over the ship. We sadly had to go to bed at 10 every night and just watched a movie. No discos or parties to go to. No bands in the pool, no pool parties, no activities for younger the crowd. The BBKING band was good but played the same oldies songs every night. The whole place was like sedated. It felt like old age home rather than a cruise ship. The daily activities were mostly talks and seminars about how to fold towels, how to diet and bridge card game. Old people staff all day long. Great basketball court but no activities on it. Food was repeatable. Sma every night. For instance, the celebrity had a theme night. If we docked in Greece they had Greek food and so on. Nothing like that on the Westerdam. Food was always the same. Eating time are very short especially for lunch which was 12-14. If you missed the time then no food! so if you onshore you have no chance of making it back for lunch. How stupid!! Celebrity had the dining room open till 4 for lunch which made life much easier. Not enough staff to clean the tables. They did not have one BBQ party on the pool deck for the whole 10 days!! It felt like the whole ship is running on a really tight budget. The ship is also built really funny. It's an old ship very poorly decorated. Felt like in some sort of a rundown 80s hotel. No central area. Unless you are penthouse VIP passenger. you cannot access the front of the ship at the top deck so it was impossible to watch the ship entering ports from the front ogf the ship. The back of the ship there is a pool, and a bar it was always flooded with water and people were smoking there the whole time which made it really unpleasant. The Gym was but only strech classses which full of old ladies . Destinations were fabulaous. Especially kotor and venice. Bot the ship dont giver you much time onshore. The had to back on the boat by 16:30 and some days it was 15:30! Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
After our 24 Day Adriatic & Mediterranean Dream cruise we are now 'rusted on,' Holland America devotees. The food quality and portions were perfect aboard the Westerdam. The staff have all undergone 'enhanced ... Read More
After our 24 Day Adriatic & Mediterranean Dream cruise we are now 'rusted on,' Holland America devotees. The food quality and portions were perfect aboard the Westerdam. The staff have all undergone 'enhanced customer-service training,' and it shows! Every staff member we met welcomed us with a lovely smile and warm greeting. We love Holland America's decision to retain attentive pool-side and Lido restaurant attendant service. We love the medium-sized ship feel of the Westerdam. We never had to wait too long for an elevator, or join excessively long queues for anything. We loved our room, #6009, and in particular the spacious bathroom with good lighting, double vanities and generous sized bathtub. The large-screen high-definition television made watching in-room movies a treat. Bathroom, bedroom, and living area lighting was excellent, the USB charger points and clever/subtle bedside lights were a treat. It was great to have a selection of pillows and cushions to choose from and prop oneself up with while reading or watching television. It is the little touches aboard the Westerdam that need to be acknowledged. The fresh flowers in room, the fresh palms poolside, the handheld magnifying make-up mirror, the glass verandah balustrading that offer unobstructed views of the ocean. Having undergone a mass refit earlier in the year the Westerdam felt 'fresh,' and extremely well maintained. We appreciated that our balcony was regularly washed down of the salt build-up during the voyage. I really liked the decor in our suite, in the dining rooms and Lido. I really disliked the new decor in the lobby area, (more reminiscent of a veterinary surgery waiting room). The new lobby is one of most unwelcoming spaces with bright white fluorescent lighting the vinyl faux timber flooring. The Billboard lounge and Gallery lounge decor was brash, shinny, brightly-lit and lacking the warmth synonymous with Holland America's 'old world luxury theme.' I don't know anyone who appreciates huge banks of bright and blaring televisions surrounding them while they sip on their drinks. We liked retreating to the 'Ocean Bar,' to socialise with new friends and enjoy the people watching. Another negative unanimous amongst fellow travellers was disappointment on discovering that Holland America has removed the guest library from the Westerdam. We very much hope that Holland America will re-think this decision and reinstate on-board lending libraries and passenger book-exchange areas. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
We like to cruise with Holland America for years and are in general happy with the company. We notice that the signature of excelence is slowly less "readable". Too many changes not really in favor of the customer... The ... Read More
We like to cruise with Holland America for years and are in general happy with the company. We notice that the signature of excelence is slowly less "readable". Too many changes not really in favor of the customer... The changes on the Westerdam are an example for us that the changes are not a big better for us. The librairy is converted in a small amount of travel books in the Crowsnest oh sorry the exploration room. The frontdesk, sorry again, the guests service office is now on deck 1. For your accountprint are two machines available, but the last two days those machines were out of order.... The Indonisian crew is still fantastic, although you notice that there are less people working on the ship. The officers too are very busy! The first invitation was not ery good prepared, we did not see anyone of the officers to meet and greet.... But we still keep on cruising with the HAL!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We were already in Rome and wanted a cruise that left from there. We decided on this cruise because is was 12 days and went to spots that we have never been before and wanted to see. We also like port intensive cruises as we like to visit ... Read More
We were already in Rome and wanted a cruise that left from there. We decided on this cruise because is was 12 days and went to spots that we have never been before and wanted to see. We also like port intensive cruises as we like to visit new places. The food was excellent but I wish this ship had more dining options. We went to the 8 o'clock show one night and waited to go to dinner in the Lido and didn't realize that it closed at 8:30 so we were stuck with pizza as the pasta line was too long. The entertainers were very good but the shows were not as elaborate as the other cruises we have been on. I would have enjoyed a bit more splash. Our cabin was very nice and we were on deck 8 at the very front of the ship and loved our location as well as the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We choose this cruise because of our past cruise experience with Holland America, ie Alaska cruise 2014, the food was excellent. This particular cruise the food was very good, but not quite the same as the Alaska cruise. The ship was ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of our past cruise experience with Holland America, ie Alaska cruise 2014, the food was excellent. This particular cruise the food was very good, but not quite the same as the Alaska cruise. The ship was smaller and the entertainment was below our experience from the Alaska cruise. There was no entertainment on our last night, which was quite disappointing. The staff and wait service (dining room) was very good, of notable dinning room staff were 2 servers, Domas (excellent) and Rai (very friendly with great voice), also the room service was quite good, Martin and Sigit, thank you for their great service. All 4 were very pleasant and stood out for us. Overall the crew and staff were friendly and always said good morning or hello. We had a few concerns and one was with the Spa, we found them to not be as helpful and vague at times in their explanations and choices. We won some spa giveaways and found it difficult to use them since the Spa would not honour them on sea days. We won a couples day in the spa and were only able to go for about 1 hour....disappointing! The dining room Maitre de (host) sat us alone one night for dinner without our travelling companions, he sat another couple with our friends for that dinner. When I voiced my concern, one of the supervisors offered us a glass of red wine, it was terrible wine and very little in the glass! Quite disappointing since this was near the end of the cruise and they should of known that we always had a table of 4, for my wife and I and our friends, who we convinced to cruise with us. We had some problems with a few bartenders who were impatient and vague in their explanations of happy hour and drink choices...we ended up purchasing drinks we did not want and they gave us no options for returning them. Again, very disappointing. We did not use any of the ships excursions, we found them over-priced so my wife and I planned our on excursions for each port. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We had the signature suite Deck 6 Sailed 24 July -4th August Pros The staff dining staff were exceptional, they went over and above to please you. The drinks staff were polite but you got the feeling they were there to push sales. ... Read More
We had the signature suite Deck 6 Sailed 24 July -4th August Pros The staff dining staff were exceptional, they went over and above to please you. The drinks staff were polite but you got the feeling they were there to push sales. Good selection of movies and TV Shows which were available on demand and free. Cons It's a really boring ship....nowhere to have fun. Even the BB Kings lounge music was more about the band enjoying there particular taste in mellow music rather then getting the passengers up to have a dance. I would suggest that if you are between 25-55 yrs you were unlikely to have any significant nightlife at all. Nothing to enhance the sail away experience....no music (or God forbid a live band), and only once did I see canapés being offered by one steward. On the back deck And Lido bistro the music was on a repeat sequence which only lasted at best 45 mins so you heard the same songs and music time and again. The EXC Tour talks should have been broadcast directly into the state rooms. You could not access your stateroom account via the TV. Only via the mobile phone app. The food was repeated every 12 days so if on a 24 day cruise you would get the same menu again. The cabins were not cleaned well and twice cleaning cloth was left in our room. I agree with a previous reviewer that the norovirus cleaning of the stateroom was completely laughable.......nothing was moved from the bench tops in our room. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I just got off the ship from a 12 day cruise. I was disappointed as there was no on board things organised, nothing to do, the food was average, the lido deck where the Buffett was had the same food it was tasteless and tasted the same ... Read More
I just got off the ship from a 12 day cruise. I was disappointed as there was no on board things organised, nothing to do, the food was average, the lido deck where the Buffett was had the same food it was tasteless and tasted the same the restaurant food was average, you had to pay to use the da spa this should be free it was a let down for me I couldn't wait to get off the ship. The excursions were very expensive, the cruise director never had any interaction with guests we never saw her there was boring entertainment and sometimes there was none at all. The cruise director should organise activities, the food should be varied and available all the time, there should be more on board activities and interaction. The excursions should be cheaper. There was no captains dinner, there was no dinner highlights... eg Hawaiian nite. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We choose this cruise because of the ports in this itineray...Most of those ports were new for us like St-Raphaël (France), Ajaccio (Corsica), Almeria (Spain), Ceuta (Spain), Marseilles (France) and Sète (France) and we were happy to see ... Read More
We choose this cruise because of the ports in this itineray...Most of those ports were new for us like St-Raphaël (France), Ajaccio (Corsica), Almeria (Spain), Ceuta (Spain), Marseilles (France) and Sète (France) and we were happy to see the ports we went before like Livorno (for Cinque Terre), Monte Carlo and Barcelona....We cruised a lot in the mediterranean but we were happy to find a cruise with some ports we never did....All those ports are very nice towns and easily walkable so you don't need to have private or ship excursions...On Westerdam they have specialists who describe what to do and see in each port of call without trying to sell excursions..... The service was exceptionnal on this ship (dining room, cabin attendants, service desk....in fact everybody from the cruise personnel on the ship was friendly and smiling....)....The ship itself is old and need some improvements.......The only bad thing about Holland America is the Internet service (it is very disturbing for us) in the ways you have to pay $29,95/day if you want to send only one E-MAIL or to chek-in for your flight back home.....In St-Raphaël we walked from the port to Frejus and back to St-Raphaël and it's a very nice town....In Ajaccio we walked around the town and took a bus to visit some Islands out of the town and we liked it....In Almeria we walked to the fortress Alacazaba and it was worthed it's so nice and we walked around the town it's very pretty.....In Ceuta we walked from the port to monte Hacho and back around the town (we could see Gilbraltar from the ship and along the coast) and we likes very much this town.....In Marseilles we walked to the cathedral Notre-Dame de la Garde and back around the town and we took a tour to Aix-en-Provence and we loved it ....and at Sete we took a tour to Montpelliers and we walked around the town after the tour and we loved it.... Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
I chose this cruise because I sailed on Holland American before, liked HAL very much. The timing and port of calls fit our schedule and interests. Food on HAL is wonderful, crew are hard working and friendly. Not much on-board activities ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I sailed on Holland American before, liked HAL very much. The timing and port of calls fit our schedule and interests. Food on HAL is wonderful, crew are hard working and friendly. Not much on-board activities on this trip but it didn't matter to us because we went on shore every time the ship docked. In fact I think less on-board activities helps bring down the overall price of the cruise, which is better for us. I participated "walk on deck for cause", glad the ship arranged such activity that is close to my heart, and enjoyed it. However the amount of fund raised wasn't announced, or wasn't made aware in a noticeable way. No matter how little the amount raised was, it should be announced because it's inspiring. Over price/cost is another important reason why we chose this cruise. We booked when it was on promotion. Glad we did. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Hal should not of done away with the library. The food was excellent but lacks adequate staffing for the tables in the Lido at dinner time. Pinnacle grill not up to its usual standards steaks not too great. The ports were terrific. ... Read More
Hal should not of done away with the library. The food was excellent but lacks adequate staffing for the tables in the Lido at dinner time. Pinnacle grill not up to its usual standards steaks not too great. The ports were terrific. Cabin was good. This was more of a family cruise with plenty of children. They would run up and down the halls and at the Lido. Staff was instructed to just let them do their thing. The future cruise consultant was hidden up on deck 10. She could accommodate only two people by her desk. The guests waiting to see her would be left standing in the hallway outside her office, not a good way to sell future cruises. It seems HAL has lost their direction in what it wants to be. It is stuck between the older generation that doesn't spend a lot of $$$ on amenities and the newest generation that want things to do on the ship. The new T.V. system is awesome. Put it on the longer cruises. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the ... Read More
We have cruised on other lines. This was the first cruise in Holland America and will also be the last. By comparison to Princess, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean this ship was a disappointment. The stateroom steward was excellent but the other service on board was not nearly as good as what we have experienced before. The Guest service desk seemed very inexperienced and did not live up to commitments made. The booking agent also did not provide us with the same deal they gave our travel companions. The tour groups were very large and tour guides could not be heard. Not all wore microphones which were definitely needed with 50+ people in one group! The disembarkment process was clearly a message that Hollland America was no longer engaged with theur customer. They had us to the airport 2 hours before the line was even open for check in. We were dropped off and had to walk about 15 minutes (with our luggage and no porters) to get to the terminal. We were told a Holland America rep would be inside to assist. There was no one there to help us. Very disappointing. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) ... Read More
First of all I want to say about the Pro's and then the Con's Pro's 1) Good quality of food 2) Most of the staff were friendly. 3) The cabin was ok. 4) The dinning experience was good. Con's 1) Doesn't have a dance club or a place for dancing. 2) 24 days and we only enjoy two shows. 3) The entertainment is only for older adults doesn't have dancing music, karaoke or any other kind of entertainment. 4) The gym is a joke, too tiny and close too early. 5) Only have 12 days variety of food. 6) The sports desk is too limited and only have two ping pong tables. 7) I try to organize a dancing space but the entertainment director was very rude. 8) The sauna is so tiny that only have space for two people and close early. 9) No free steam room, you need to pay for thermal pool package that it is not worth it. ($149 for single person, $299 for couples for 12 days). Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 4.0 3.6
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 3.9
Rates 4.0 4.2

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