12 Rome (Civitavecchia) Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

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
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
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
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
We had a really nice trip on the Westerdam. However, it is a far cry from the Holland America trips of the past and really leaves a lot of room for improvement. Let's start with the good: - Great cabin upgrade to the Neptune ... Read More
We had a really nice trip on the Westerdam. However, it is a far cry from the Holland America trips of the past and really leaves a lot of room for improvement. Let's start with the good: - Great cabin upgrade to the Neptune Suites. Really, these rooms look amazing. The difference in the decor is a great improvement! These cabins are by far our favorite (with the only exception being the Pinnacle Suite of course) - Staff on this ship was amazing. Everyone was friendly and seemed very happy. Our room stewards were out of this world, and our dining room server and assistant were amazing as well. Club HAL was amazing with our daughter even if it was underused by others who had kids on the ship! - We really loved the new addition of the EXC travel area on level 10, and the ability to access and book tours via my cell phone was super easy and convenient! - The new television system was super nice! Being albe to watch movies on demand as well as any news channels was awesome! I loved this new addition! - The itinerary was a great one, and we had a lovely time in all of the ports. It was especially nice having the late times in port at quite a few of the locations which allowed for a very unique experience of many of the cities we stopped in! - HOORAY!!! The casino is FINALLY SMOKE FREE!!! I am beyond thrilled about this, as we were finally able to enjoy an evening in the casino and all over the ship without having to worry about smelling like smoke! Seriously.....this was a HUGE benefit of this ship! Ok....now on to the NOT GREAT parts: - The laundry service on this ship was by far the worst we have had in the past few cruises we have been on over the last 12 months. It was incredibly slow, and on the last day we were on the cruise, I had to call the Neptune Lounge at close to midnight to find out where the rest of our laundry was. NOT what I have experienced in the past at all, and VERY disappointing considering that this is part of what you pay for with a suite. - The spa was also a HUGE disappointment (as others have stated). I have stopped using them after past experiences....especially on this particular ship. However, my husband always looks forward to it, and how can I say no. It's his vacation, and he enjoys relaxing in the hydro pool especially after a long day of walking. Well, he wasn't allowed to use the spa for THREE NIGHTS on this trip which was 100% unacceptable. No notifications, nothing. One night it was closed to be cleaned (not sure why it wasn't cleaned between when we arrived and got on board), another night it was closed for Lady's Night which we have continually told HAL to stop doing because it's ridiculous, and the last night we weren't allowed in because Holland America had booked a VIP event on board where they were trying to show off the ship to bloggers and news people. The last one made me more mad than any, because my husband wasn't allowed to use something he paid for so that Holland American could promote their own ship. RIDICULOUS. The president of Holland America was on board, and he should be ashamed of himself for treating customers like this!!!!!!!!!! - We had more issues on this ship than any other when it came to my husband's Gluten Free eating requirements. I have no idea why, but we filled out all of the paperwork over 6 months in advance of this trip. There was NOTHING Gluten Free available in the Lido and nothing in the Neptune Lounge. We had to work everything out after we got on board and were then told it would take 24 hours to arrange for everything. NOT OK!!! With what was paid for this trip as well as the fact that they new 6 months ahead that this was a requirement of ours, it should have been handled over the phone prior to us arriving on our trip or atleast the day we got on board. The Lido usually has signs saying that they have gluten free pasta and other gluten free selections available, but there was NOTHING and everything at the midnight buffet WAS NOT gluten free. So, my daughter and I had no problems, but my husband was VERY limited with what he could eat...which should not happen when you fill out paperwork for a dietary restriction. - This ship decided to refuel while we were on our last day of the cruise in Barcelona. We were essentially staying overnight in the city and then disembarking the next day. I was a little peeved about this, because we had a very noisy refueling ship sitting outside our balcony the entire afternoon we were in Barcelona on our last day of the cruise. This is an INCREDIBLY POOR decision on management's part period. We paid for a full 12 day cruise, and for an entire day I was not allowed to use the balcony unless I wanted to listen to a refueling ship. I cannot understand why they wouldn't have waited to refuel until the following day when everyone was getting off the ship and new passengers were getting on. I have never had this issue before, and I was NOT happy about it. - Changes to the in room dining SUCK big time! It used to be that you could order bay shrimp salads, great sandwiches, beautiful salads, etc. through in room dining. It has become VERY limited, and I found it hard some times to pick certain things off of the menu vs in the past. Not that we use in room dining all the time, but seriously to not offer kid type foods until after 5:30pm. What are you supposed to do if you are traveling with a child??? We also had a huge issue with my husband getting something that should have been gluten free (he ordered it the day before) and it wasn't. It caused him to get incredibly ill...which was NOT COOL! Overall I am still pretty happy with our experience with Holland America Line, but there were by far some HUGE differences between when we cruised in December vs. this cruise. NOT for the better either. You can tell where they are skimping, and it is not in the areas where they should be. The food was good, but I have had bigger portions and BETTER food on past cruises. So not sure if it is something that has changed this year or not. They seemed to run out of certain things on this trip too, which we have never experienced before (for example....running out of Coconut ice cream and Cheddar Cheese???). I have been on this ship twice. Once when it was older and now once after the rehab. I have to say that while the rehab is nice, I am still not a fan of this ship for all of the things listed above. My guess is that it has to do with management. The real issue is that some of these issues we had previously on the Westerdam, so I am assuming that it just has to be management on this ship. For this reason, we will probably be looking for cruises on other ships.....but will probably not be back on this particular ship again. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
We wanted a cruise that visited Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Venice and this one fit the bill. We had a fantastic experience with the Royal Princess last year and were hoping to repeat or excel that with this cruise. Unfortunately this ... Read More
We wanted a cruise that visited Barcelona, Dubrovnik and Venice and this one fit the bill. We had a fantastic experience with the Royal Princess last year and were hoping to repeat or excel that with this cruise. Unfortunately this ship fell down in many areas The onboard experience was very staid and dull, the food monotonous and bland. The options nowhere near the Princess cruise which had 14 different venues versus 5 on Westerdam. The staff however were great, very polite and friendly. There were issues with the cabin with the air conditioning 4 nights and the toilet over flowing 2 other times. There was the outbreak of Norovirus which affected myself and I felt that the ship just paid lip service to the sanitisation of the cabin or perhaps it was just my sanitation crew. I had to instruct them to wipe down the surfaces which was done reluctantly. The excursions are very expensive and the ones organized through the roll call on cruise critic were smaller and much better value for money. The hot tub/whirlpools did not work after the first week. The renovations seem to have been done nicely however. I would not book another HA cruise after this one. Read Less
Sail Date June 2017
Based on my experience with the Veendam and now the Westerdam, Holland America Corporate doesn't give its ships enough time in drydock to finish repairs and modifications. That caused major problems for some passengers from broken ... Read More
Based on my experience with the Veendam and now the Westerdam, Holland America Corporate doesn't give its ships enough time in drydock to finish repairs and modifications. That caused major problems for some passengers from broken glass in uncleaned rooms to no electricity in the room or no water or no ability to raise the temperature above 58f. (We were relatively lucky. Our key cards didn't work, but our steward let us in the room until the locksmith came. Our veranda was repainted 2/3rds into the sailing, so we could no longer use it b/c of fumes, but upon asking, they provided us with a fan, so there were no fumes in the room.) Lines of angry passengers were long at first, and it seemed like, with numerous workers hammering away at modifications to Deck 10 and taking up crew beds, that the Westerdam was short staffed and unable to handle issues quickly. Nevertheless, good weather and good ports improved spirits and this was a good sailing. The quality of the food was adequate though people thought changes to the buffet were odd. There's very little that's self-serve now, and the variety of options seems to have diminished. Entertainment and enrichment were also adequate. Classical music in the Lincoln Center Stage venue was exceptional. The dueling pianists in the piano bar were loud and off-key, but hugely popular. They must have been doing something right, but what it is, I'm not sure. Trivia with Jake was fun. Tom, the port lecturer, did a great job helping people NOT on shore excursions figure out how to get around the various destinations and learn about what to see. By the end of the cruise, his talks became more akin to sales pitches, but he was available to answer questions mid-day. That was good because people complained his talks were scheduled in the middle of dinner. He was highly knowledgeable and an asset to the ship though this sailing could definitely have used more in the way of enrichment. The condition of the ship was less than stellar. A fair amount of mess created by the new carpet, a crop of technical difficulties, leaks causing minor floods in several areas, and inadequate replacement venues for the unavailable Observation Deck all led to furrowed brows. Hopefully, all that can soon be fixed. On the other hand, flow felt counter-intuitive. Why must people tramp through the spa to get to the Lido? Lack of staff led to confusion at disembarkation, too, and made it harder for people with limited mobility. Good things about the ship: The refurbishment means it's not at all smoky. Elevators are plentiful. The beds were comfortable, and in our room at least, the air flow was excellent. This was my second HAL cruise and compared to Princess, HAL seems much better about not creating a high-pressure sales environment for jewelry and art. Pre-cruise arrangements (airport transfer, hotel stay) with HAL were organized and efficient. After the initial hiccup, service was great. They did a markedly better job than the Veendam of keeping track of my dietary restrictions - really impressed. Stand out crew members include Wisnu in the buffet, Rirus in the dining room, Darius at guest services, and our stewards Eko and Juns. Overall, a cheerful and earnestly friendly crew. Fellow passengers were mostly friendly and, after the first three or four days, smiling and having a good time. Most ports were excellent and considering the crowds we've heard to expect in Croatia in the summer, going to the Adriatic in late April/early May, before high season, was a good idea. Enjoyable overall, and I'd sail with HAL again, but if at all avoidable, not right out of drydock. Read Less
Sail Date April 2017
Our party consisted of two couples who had not sailed on Holland America in 20 years. When we saw the itinerary and price of this cruise we decided it was time to see how Holland America had changed. It has changed and not all for the ... Read More
Our party consisted of two couples who had not sailed on Holland America in 20 years. When we saw the itinerary and price of this cruise we decided it was time to see how Holland America had changed. It has changed and not all for the better. Holland America bills itself as an upscale line and it certainly used to be one of the more upscale lines, but it is now just a middle of pack cruise line that no should be regarded as high end. I will not review the ports of call in this review, but have posted recommendations under specific ports. This review will concentrate on the cruise itself and is pretty long. Embarkation We sailed from Rome and had airfare and transfers provided by HA. Usually, I book my own air, but the deal HA was offering was too good to pass up. Surprisingly the air schedule was very nice. FLL to ATL-- a two hour lay over and then nonstop to Rome on Delta. The flight was very nice. We arrived in Rome at 7 AM. After getting our bags we began looking for the HA rep. Finally found her, but Princess had people all over the place. The HA rep said to get our bags and meet her under the clock. We did and were then informed that we had to lug our bags out to a waiting truck in the rain. Princess was collecting all the bags inside and taking them to the truck for the passengers--much nicer. We then had to hike back inside and find out that the bus would leave in 45 minutes. Not too bad we had a cup of coffee and a light breakfast. The bus ride to the port was fine--about and hour and 20 minutes. When we got to the port we were told to go wait inside. Inside was a warehouse type building and we were told that boarding would begin at 11:30am. I understand why, but they could have provided coffee and snacks or at least have heat since they knew a ton of people would be getting there around 9 am. Once boarding began, it was quick and easy. On boarding the ship, the first thing we all noticed was that the old HA met you with a white gloved guide to your room. Not any more. There wasn't even someone to greet you or direct you to your room. We did find our room and headed off for lunch. The advertised dining room lunch for Mariner members did not exist so you had to go to the Lido for a buffet lunch. Not a problem, but it was the first of many broken promises. Room Our room was the largest and best arranged we have had on any ship. Very clean. Nice beds. Set up the way we requested and the best cabin stewards we have ever had. This was certainly up to the standard we expected from HA. Could not have been better. Public areas Very nice. The only area that was not very good was the shopping area. Strangely arranged and not much in the way of merchandise. Very clean ship. Maybe the cleanest we have sailed on. Great maintenance and they still had the wooden deck chairs with pads. Show room very nice. Facility wise, still among the best ships afloat. We really like sailing on a mid size ship. Dining Service Here was the first area we really noticed that HA has fallen way down. The dining room service was adequate to poor. Often got orders wrong and you just did not have attentive service. Not sure if anytime dining is the reason for the decline or automatic gratuities, but the service was really not very good. The Pennacle Grill, for which there is a $20 pp service charge was the poorest service we had on the ship! The Lido buffet has some nice touches, like table clothes at night, but seemed to have a real organization problem. Often ran out of coffee and plates and drinks. Many machines always seemed out of order. One person with one grill cannot keep up with grilled sandwich demands. So you have big bottlenecks in the line. Some days they had people wandering around with refills, other days not. You never knew what you should do and what they would do and DO NOT make a suggestion-- not welcome. The service in the Canaletto was much better. Food Very good-- not excellent, but very good variety and a few outstanding items. The onion soup was great. The steaks were very good. They do not have a clue how to cook a lobster. The food in the Lido, pretty much mirrored that served in the dining room. The breakfast in he Lido had anything you could want. The outside bar b q one night was not great. Could improve their pizza, but all the dishes in the Canaletto were good. Coffee is better than Princess, but still not great. Room service was prompt, but stick to cold items in the morning. Everything is cold in the morning from room service. Deck Service Very nice. Our ship was not full and so there was never a problem getting a chair and there were plenty of towels and bar service. Lots of places to sit if you did not want a deck chair. Very pleasant with the covered pool. Purser's desk This was the source of the first and maybe the biggest problem we had on board. We were suppose to receive an on board credit and some wine and soda cards. They were not in the room and when I went to check on them, with my printed receipt, they said they had no record of any credit. Well I showed them the receipt and they said they would check. Next day they said I would get nothing. I said why? They said you can't combine things with the low airfare. I said why didn't you tell us? They said contact your travel agent. So I sent an email. Travel agent said they sent the paper work in and HA was crazy that the airfare had nothing to do with the amenity package. Well to make a long story short. It took 5 days and a transatlantic phone call before the problem was resolved. HA did NOTHING to help except to tell me I should have booked directly with HA and not use a travel agent. I pointed out that their rate was $400 pp more than my travel agent. They said well you get what you pay for! Just were not helpful at all! In dealing with minor things they were fine. On Board Services Internet is a joke. Because HA won't buy more band width, service can be very slow when a number of people are on. It took me 25 minutes to load the front page of the NY Times. Thank goodness it was on the free portion. Internet was pretty fast at 4 am. Can get wireless in your cabin sometimes. Just very unreliable. On board port "expert" was worthless. Could not tell us how much the hop on hop off bus was-- response to "is there an internet cafe near the ship?" Well they do have them in Spain! Lots of help. If she was not reading from her prepared script, she was worthless. Photographers were good, but $20 for a 5 x 7 was a bit high. But they did not pester you. On board cruise consultant was OK, not real deals, but not his fault. Limited hours. Shopping on board was minimal. Make sure you take your own medications, because all they have is aspirin. Library was very nice and the Explorer's Lounge is a truly nice room. Again the ship is great, just not great service. Entertainment The worst I have ever seen. The singers and dancers could do neither and were saddled with really bad production numbers. The guest entertainers were better, with The Unexpected Boys really very good. But the on board entertainment was not even good. People just stopped going to the production shows. Otherwise the activities were very limited. Seldom was there more than one activity going on at a time and the daily schedule could have been Xeroxed. Nothing changed. Same thing very day at the same time. Often a time you could not figure out. They had a good program fro helping you with your photos and using your computer to store and enhance them. Held 3 pm while in port?? Or in the middle of the dinner hour?? Cruise director was a nice young man, but organization was not his strong point and he seemed to not have much help?? He hosted almost every event! No staff. This was a 18 day cruise and I can say that a lot of books were read-- nothing else to do. There was also no place on the ship to dance unless you liked to dance to progressive jazz. If you asked for a different kind of music you got a blank stare and then they made fun of your choice. The passengers on this ship were in the 50s to 70s and might appreciate a little slow dance music. Again just not good on passenger service. Conclusion Overall a very nice ship. Very clean. Good room service. Everything else was just adequate and you could see HA cutting corners. Most of the old time HA passengers I spoke with were not happy. It is too bad, because with a little better organization and little more emphasis on pleasing the passenger rather than the bottom line, HA could be great. But it is losing ground to Princess and RCCL and Celebrity and may go the way of Home Lines and Sitmar. Read Less
Sail Date October 2010
My husband and I traveled on the Westerdam. We were a bit disappointed in a few aspects of this cruise. When we arrived the air conditioning was down. They did not have it fixed for about 5-6 hours. I was amazed at the fact we had to ... Read More
My husband and I traveled on the Westerdam. We were a bit disappointed in a few aspects of this cruise. When we arrived the air conditioning was down. They did not have it fixed for about 5-6 hours. I was amazed at the fact we had to endure this w/ very little mention or apology from Holland American staff...(not a big deal? try unpacking in a room that is 80 plus degrees and you cant open a window..the room being 300 sq ft!) We were thankful when it was fixed and because of the heat it did not become comfortable till the next day. The age level on the ship are severely ELDERLY. We are middle aged 30's and everyone there looked like my grandparents. Sweet but pretty much lights go out at 10:30! I didn't mind that too much but if your looking for any sort of adventure you better find another cruise line. WE didn't want a Carnival and party cruise but we would have liked to see more people there our own age. The food was fabulous but you get this feeling that Holland America is nickel and diming you to death. NO water then hey you have their 6 dollar bottles! Its a feat to get the pitcher of ice water...we didn't give up we just kept ordering it every few hours but I really never felt like I could get enough water in our room that was drinkable. If you want good food its extra..30.00 cover charge, if you want food other than the room service (that is not near the quality of the lido or the dining) then you need to make sure you hit their exact times on the lido. The food there some is good some is substandard...like the Sushi was gross! but the pizza or pasta dishes were pretty good. Buy their tours you get off sooner, need contact lens solution? be ready to be gouged and pay 10 bucks. I mean it got pretty old after a while the continual sell job. I dont like their tip system. They give the ones who really work hard to service you only like 3 bucks a day from your 10 bucks...the rest will go to the chef... NOW you tell me do you tip the chef at your local restaurant?? of course not but you do here... I mean can holland america not pay their people or can we get a discount on their rates? I dont know it wasn't as nice as described on the site (no special dvd tv..that ate up too much room the old tv) how hard would it have been to get it and then advertise it? Do they discount when they dont come through?? no! The internet service was the biggest rip off to me My husband paid to work it was 11 mpbs and took 8 times as long to do anything to send one -7 emails it took him 45 minutes. thats not writing thats just trying to upload ! know how much they charge? 75 cents a minute for substandard internet. Want a cappuccino...2.60 please! I mean come on! So no holland american... maybe before carnival took over they were better off but now no way Id go this line again. Read Less
Sail Date May 2007
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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