27 Venice Holland America Westerdam Cruise Reviews

This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas ... Read More
This was our eighth cruise with Holland America and our second on a Vista Class ship. By far, the Westerdam is at the top of our list and we would sail on this ship again. The ship recently came out of dry dock and all the common areas have been nicely refurbished. We do, however, miss the library and hope that Holland will find a way to incorporate that feature in the future. Our shipboard experience was very good. We had a wonderful captain, Mark Rowden, who consistently kept us updated and informed. He would also break in with announcements at various times to let us know if there were particular things that might be of interest, such as a wonderful sunset off the port side or the time we would be cruising the Gibraltar straights. The cruise director, Nathan Hinojosa, was one of the best we have ever sailed with. He took it to heart that it was his job to ensure that everyone was having a good cruise. The food generally on the ship was very good. Our waiter and wine stewards in the main dining room did an excellent job for us. The buffet at breakfast and the few times ate dinner there was very good, though lunch options were merely okay. We varied the routine by eating at the burger bar by the pool several times and occasionally in the main dining room. Dinner twice at the Pinnacle Grill was worth the upcharge. The first portion of the cruise – Venice to Cadiz – was very port intensive (thirteen ports in seventeen days). And while the second part of the cruise – eight days at sea – might seem excessive, we were in need of rest and found ourselves packing up for Fort Lauderdale before we knew it. We were blessed with wonderful weather. While we sailed from Venice in a dense fog, we had sunshine and blue skies in every port. Temperatures ranged from the low 60s to mid-80s, so never too hot or too cold. There was one very rough day at sea between Santorini and Naples; the captain gave plenty of warning so we could prepare. There was also one day of rain on the Atlantic crossing, but that was it. We had never cruised the Mediterranean before, so all the ports were new to us. In general, we enjoyed the ports in Spain (Cartagena, Malaga, and Cadiz) a bit better than the ports in Italy (Rome, Naples) and in Italy a bit better than the ports in Greece. That said, we did wonderful activities through the EXC shore excursions in all ports. We did only some of the activities on the ship. We enjoyed "Sip and Savor" with Alvin, one of the most personable cellar masters we have ever sailed with, as well as several of the wine events, such as "Wines of the World." We liked the general trivia games (though found the BBC Earth trivia boring in the extreme). Several guest lecturers were worthwhile, and the highlight of the trip was hearing Captain Albert speak about the history of Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. ... Read More
My wife and I have wanted to do a cruise for sometime. The ports of call were mostly what we wanted to do so picked this cruise. Liked most of the shore tours but would do less full day tours and spend more around the towns visited. Overall really enjoyed the experience. As we wanted to have a fine dining experience went to Pinnacle and Pop up 3 star dining, food was great. However, was disappointed when we were one of the very few who seemed to make an effort by dressing up. If you have a dress code enforce it or let people know it's causal so they don't overpack. Carted a suitcase of non neccessary clothes through Italy after the cruise. Also, did not like the upsell with the fitness centre and spa services, which were way overpriced in the first place. In addition, when a shop has two items on a pedestal and one price tag I would assume that is the price for both items, NOT SO! Felt as though we were being gouged. Fairlly small whinge as overall we had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK ... Read More
The ports were of interest, lots of historical interest. 10 out of the 12 days were port days, I could have stood another day or two at sea as we were very busy. We loved the Lincoln Center and BB Kings, the main stage shows were OK but really not our thing. We ate every night in the dining room and they allowed me to order my meal the night before as I am celiac which was a huge bonus. They had great gluten free bread every night which was a nice touch. The staff were fantastic and very attentive. We loved the salad bar and the omlete bar and there is even a gluten free station with gluten free pasta and at breakfast they can make GF waffles etc! They even can make GF pizza. All I would say is that they don't advertise it enough as we didn't know about it until half way through the cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2017
This is our third HAL cruise. We like the atmosphere and the service on HAL. The Westerdam is very nice, recently refreshed. The cabin was comfy, and big enough for the two of us. There is a small safe in a closet, plenty of hangers, ... Read More
This is our third HAL cruise. We like the atmosphere and the service on HAL. The Westerdam is very nice, recently refreshed. The cabin was comfy, and big enough for the two of us. There is a small safe in a closet, plenty of hangers, and bathrobes, which I was happy to use. The bathroom was big enough, the tub and shower were easy to regulate, and there were plenty of towels. We had open seating in the dining room, and we always shared a table. It was fun enjoying dinner with people from all over the world. The menu has been changed, I guess upgraded as the meals are designed by noted chefs. I always found something fun to try. The dining staff are very accommodating. I noticed menus were given to people with food allergies the at dinner for the next night. They could select their firsts, amins and desserts and make note of any required changes. It seems that HAL has contracted a company called EXC to manage tours. I'd purchased two ahead of the cruise and two while on board. I'm not entirely happy with the tours and shared my concerns with the tour management. No big issues, but bothersome, e.g., a tour of the Acropolis and Athens was done in reverse order. We spent two hours touring the city before we got to the Acropolis. By that time it was nearly 11AM, hot, and the Acropolis was very crowded. Better to go to the Acropolis first when it was earlier in the day, cooler and far less crowded. We only went to the nightly entertainment a few times, but enjoyed it each time. HAL has embarkation and disembarkation down to a science, and gathering for tours is handled pretty well. Service is fab in all of the lounges, and on the Lido deck and Exploration Lounge on deck 10. There are some fun digital displays so one can get info about where the ship is, and also about upcoming ports. We've been on the Oosterdam, the Zuiderdam, and now the Westerdam. We are looking forward to next year's cruise on the Nordam, so we will have been on all four compass point ships. Definitely looking forward to the Nordam. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
I travel mainly Holland America line as I like their itineraries. I have travelled a lot on HAL, and am now 4star mariner. I see evidence of many cut backs in service but this cruise was the first in the last five years that I can say I ... Read More
I travel mainly Holland America line as I like their itineraries. I have travelled a lot on HAL, and am now 4star mariner. I see evidence of many cut backs in service but this cruise was the first in the last five years that I can say I enjoyed thoroughly. The staff tried their very best to make sure passengers were looked after well. The two complaints I had were dealt with quickly and followed up with phone calls to make sure the problems were resolved. I enjoyed the live entertainment mix offered on the ship. I did very much miss the dance floor and band in the Ocean bar as BB King's dark ambience and jazzy music is not to my taste at all. I loved the duo pianos in the Billboard Onboard which replaced the piano bar on other ships. Classical type music was supplied by a quintet in their own space. There were a number of small bars which were cosy and enjoyable to visit. The entertainment was hit and miss in my opinion. The production shows were beautifully choreographed and the costumes appropriate but the singers performed as if volume was the most important essence of the music. I could only make out an occasional word in the lyrics. Shouting was predominant. I actually walked out halfway through a show, the first time ever! Two headliners were sensational. One was Harry the Piano and he was absolutely incredible. He played melodies of many different songs and strung them together so smoothly it was difficult to detect the change. And he played so many genres in one song. At the end of the performance, he asked for audience participation to call out songs and the genre to play them in. My partner called out Happy Birthday by Chopin and he incorporated it into a long string of music composed in his head, called out by other audience members! Truly incredible and an impossible act to follow. Another top notch headliner was a singer by the name Siobhan Phillips. Her voice was like deep dark liquid gold and her comedic asides were rib splitting. The rest of the headliners were lack lustre at best. They even resorted to playing a movie one night, in the theatre, as the entertainment. Very very disappointing. The ship was always clean and it looks like it has been very recently refurbished. I have numerous food allergies and after giving the assistant dining room manager my list, they gave me a menu each evening for the next day so I could order and they could make it special, if they could. I felt very safe! And I especially enjoyed the chilled fruit soups. They make going on a cruise special for me and HAL does them so very well. As a result of such a positive cruise, I have booked a longer cruise in January with HAL. I do hope it lives up to this Westerdam cruise. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was our first official cruise (other was a get on-get off style), so we just went with friends' recommendation they'd never been disappointed with HAL. Overall, it was a good experience. I cannot commend the staff enough. ... Read More
This was our first official cruise (other was a get on-get off style), so we just went with friends' recommendation they'd never been disappointed with HAL. Overall, it was a good experience. I cannot commend the staff enough. From our room stewards, to the food and bar service folks--basically, all those people keeping things tidy, filled, emptied, or whatever--we haven't a single complaint or even hint at below par service. Next cruise (whether HAL or other), I'd shop for independent shore excursions. While those we got were fine and most likely the same as we'd get independently, the price was a bit high. That's only from things I learned afterward. The harsh cancellation terms (e.g., pay 100% for not going) could be softened a bit. I also suggested to HAL that if there were going to re-paint the verandas, making them unusable for a couple of days, a bit of compensation would be in order. After all, we paid for that veranda for the full trip, not just part of it. Internet price sucked. I'd suggest providing a shorter term service such as 12 hours for half the price of the 24-hour service. After all, we have to sleep sometime and end up paying for time we're unconscious. Too many of these little fee dings tend to leave a sour taste. Yeah, HAL needs to turn a profit, but I'm suggesting ways to make guests more comfortable without it costing much to do so. On the whole, however, it was a good cruise. We saw lots of good stuff. The stops were in good places. Staff was fantastic. Both of us getting sick and having lousy return to USA flights are a separate issue and not HAL's responsibility. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This cruise was actually two -- we in Australia did not realise this until the Rome voyagers joined us. Was it targeted advertising to different markets? We had been attracted by the Greek Islands, and Albania (after Turkey was ... Read More
This cruise was actually two -- we in Australia did not realise this until the Rome voyagers joined us. Was it targeted advertising to different markets? We had been attracted by the Greek Islands, and Albania (after Turkey was cancelled). Having been with Queen Elizabeth in the Mediterranean on another cruise , the chance to see Corsica and Spanish Morocco was a further lure. Itinerary really good! The cabin ( upper verandah deck) was not bad. It all seemed a bit tight -- as though there had been a refit with a view to squeezing in a few more "staterooms". We have been on many cruiseships before, but had not been on Westerdam and we were very surprised to be on a cruise ship with no library. Extraordinary. Not sure what this says about the clientele. We liked the laundry options, and the internet was not too badly priced. The food was fair. The portions were just about right. The variety offered was pretty poor, really. There seemed to be no use of the local produce and some dishes were almost tasteless.This goes for both the Lido and the restaurants. The wine was exorbitant! Holland America needs to realise that Australians know the price of their wines.And resent being ripped off. We liked the idea of the piano quintet, the only classical music on the boat. But in order to see/hear them, we had to arrive late to dinner ( after 8.15 pm ). It was also irritating, but not surprising , to find that they were not encouraged to play a straight classical concert. Apparently there was an assumption that these passengers did not want, or could not cope with, that. We went on three Holland America excursions, and all were good ( Albania, Corsica and Morocco). Fairly priced, well-organised and met expectations. We are "oldies" so the lack of late evening entertainment did not matter to us. But we did notice that on sea days, there was not a lot to do. We appreciated the chance to have a quiet fine scotch after dinner (Explorers bar? level 2). Service was excellent in room, restaurants, bars and reception. Holland America enabled us to expeditiously ring our bank in Australia when a credit card was hacked. Would we go again on Westerdam? Not sure -- we are seeing the Carnival effects on too many of our favourite cruise ships ( Cunard, Holland America). The emphasis on "saving a dollar" taints the whole experience.We feel cheapened. Sandra and Bill Watson. Read Less
Sail Date August 2017
This was my first ever cruise so I do not have any reference to another ship. The ship to me was in great shape, everything was clean and new looking. The crew was fantastic always smiling and very helpful. they all seemed to remember ... Read More
This was my first ever cruise so I do not have any reference to another ship. The ship to me was in great shape, everything was clean and new looking. The crew was fantastic always smiling and very helpful. they all seemed to remember our names and what we needed. See my Cabin Review for my thoughts on the cabin. The food options to me where very good. I am not a foodie so i am not going to complain about the food options I enjoyed them all. The Lido market was fine lots of options, i liked the English breakfast they had including baked beans and black pudding, We ate on time at the pinnacle and it was very good the service was great. had one meal at the Italian restaurant and the food was good. MDR was good every night I have no complaints. The Entertainment was a little dull, I saw a couple of shows in the main stage and only the two magicians i liked, The singers where ok but the show seemed out of wack there did not seem to be no reason to it. The BB king band where good but it was the same thing every night. the billboard on board was just not that impressive. about 10:30 pm the ship seemed like a ghost ship. bars where empty entertainment done. there was a novo virus breakout two days before the end that made things a little different. you could not pick up food on lido they would bring your cups and silverware. It was a bit of an inconvince on the last port Naples where we where not allowed to leave the ship for a 1 1 /2 delay The ports where great except for two Sardene Albania was not much fun nothing much to do there. I did not do an excursion but i did take a cab to the castle. The only real complaint i had was the excursion to Capri. it was $400 for two of us. The description was deceptive. Example " Enjoy a jet boat to the island looking at the panoramic views of the island" Reality they put us on a ferry that held about 300 people all inside i did have a window it was so dirty you could not see out of it .. nothing special. at that price i thought they might have there own boat. when we got there. we had to wait 30 min in the hot sun for public transport to get to the top and they can only hold 20 people so we had to wait for two... I wont go on about this but all they did is took us shopping for 45 min free time. bus down then lunch and then back to shopping and to a park.the guide really did not have much to say he was nice but not worth $400 over all i loved the trip and would not hesitate to go on the westerdam again Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
As always, service from staff & crew on Holland America defines the excellence of the trip. Crew was always friendly and ready with a greeting, even when it was clear that they were busy, overworked, and dealing with a lot of stressful ... Read More
As always, service from staff & crew on Holland America defines the excellence of the trip. Crew was always friendly and ready with a greeting, even when it was clear that they were busy, overworked, and dealing with a lot of stressful situations. What I can't fault HAL for is my fellow passengers, but the biggest negative of this trip was the majority of other people sailing on this itinerary. They were pushy, loud, rude, impatient...everything you don't want when you're stuck on a ship with them for 12 days. There were multiple negative or stressful "situations" that occurred on this sailing, all of which the staff and crew handled to the best of their ability: -Strong winds on Mykonos created a problem with the tenders going to the ship, and resulted in a huge line at the harbor (some people waited 2+ hours in the hot sun and stiff wind). We were on one of the initial tenders that they attempted to send back to the ship and the waves were so high and strong we had to turn back to the harbor. It was quite frightening. The captain moved the ship to a better position and instead of the tender lifeboats, HAL used the local "seabus" boats to ferry folks back to the ship. -There was a 90+ minute delay the morning we docked in Naples, due to difficulty in getting authorized from port authorities to leave the ship. Many hundreds of folks waiting to go on their EXC Tours waited in the Mainstage at this time. While the cruise director and EXC staff provided updates as they were available, it was still a very long wait. I'm not sure how they could have better handled this situation though, since as soon as we gained clearance they started to allow the EXC Tours off the ship. It was just a frustrating inconvenience that was out of the hands of the ship's crew. -Two days before the end of the itinerary, we went into Red Alert for Norovirus. The staff and crew took all necessary precautions, which yes, is slightly inconvenient, but preferable for those of us who would rather not catch a highly contagious gastrointestinal illness. Food was consistently very good, with a few rare "misses"--one or two times of bland or too-salty dinners in the MDR. Otherwise, as a pescatarian, I very much enjoyed all of the offerings available in both the MDR and Lido. The updates made to the Westerdam in dry dock were, in my opinion, very good. I really like the minimalist modern decor and aesthetic, so I think the changes were very nice. As always, the BB King Blues Club entertainers were fantastic and at the top of their game. The two entertainers at Billboard Onboard were fantastic and fun. We really enjoyed the presentations from America's Test Kitchen and learned a lot. It was great that they provided recipe cards so I can try the recipes at home. The only part of the "entertainment" staff that was not enjoyable was the cruise director, Jude. She seemed very fake, and never really present to speak with or meet guests. She would just pop up around the ship from time to time to introduce a show or event and then disappear. If a ship has a cruise director, they should be out there meeting guests and ensuring that they are having a great vacation. In conclusion, we had a great time despite the annoyance of the other guests and setbacks that were out of HAL's hands. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
This cruise was planned 2 years in advance with some relatives. The Westerdam was in excellent condition, the crew friendly, in fact everyone was friendly. I would recommend the ship and crew anytime. There was a little sickness on ... Read More
This cruise was planned 2 years in advance with some relatives. The Westerdam was in excellent condition, the crew friendly, in fact everyone was friendly. I would recommend the ship and crew anytime. There was a little sickness on board, the crew handled it, making sure all these people that don't wash their hands use the anti-bacterial spray before entering the buffet, dining room, etc. Even with the crew trying to get a handle on it, there were still people trying to get in without using the anti-bacterial spray, trying to grab food with their bare hands, etc. It doesn't matter what the age, people can be disgusting and it's with every cruise line. The crew really jumped into action on this. The ship was in great shape! The ship was lacking organized games and things on board, with a 24 day cruise and only 4 days at sea, they could have had something going for those 4 days. We would sail anytime on this ship. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
My sister and I had sailed two years ago at Christmas on the Rotterdam and it was such a good experience, we decided on Holland America for our Greece, Italy trip and we were not disappointed. The cabin service was superb, the reception ... Read More
My sister and I had sailed two years ago at Christmas on the Rotterdam and it was such a good experience, we decided on Holland America for our Greece, Italy trip and we were not disappointed. The cabin service was superb, the reception desk exceptionally helpful, the excursions outstanding and the bar service just plain terrific. The talent on board, especially the two piano players were amazing. We had open seating and shared every night and met some amazing people. There were a lot of Aussies and Kiwis on board and they sure know how to travel and have fun. When we were in Mykonos we tendered ashore for an excursion and in the afternoon the wind came up and made for very rocky seas. The captain immediately hired bigger tenders on shore to haul people back and stopped anyone else going ashore,. I felt totally safe with how everything was handled. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We chose this ship because of the itinerary: 24 days of Mediterranean allowed us to see all there is to see in that part of the world. Port host Tom from Seattle did an outstanding job of highlighting the upcoming ports and had one of the ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the itinerary: 24 days of Mediterranean allowed us to see all there is to see in that part of the world. Port host Tom from Seattle did an outstanding job of highlighting the upcoming ports and had one of the better attended daly activities in the vessel. Embarkation and disembarkation are perfected down to the science and you can wait in your room till your scheduled time. Freshly prepared high quality food is offered in formal dining rooms and buffet offers the same thing in a dried out version. The big stage entertainment is a disaster, in the 24 days we literally had only one high quality show in Athens, Greece where the local bouzouki band "4 Georges" and their dancers came onboard to perform. So no, I'll not return for the entertainment. Service was outstanding on all levels. Shore excursions were hit and miss, especially in Greece. One runs out of things to do on the islands so they are working hard on reinventing the same old excursions at $100 per person. Waste of money! In larger cities such as Marseille and Barcelona the best bang for your buck is get on Hop-on-hop-off bus for around $30 and see it all on your own terms. Where to go and what to do is explained nicely the night before by the port expert Tom. Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
We were on a 12 day Greek Island cruise that started in Venice and finished in Rome. We chose the Westerdam because of its ports and day trips. The ports were everything we hoped for. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Olympia, Delos, Naples were ... Read More
We were on a 12 day Greek Island cruise that started in Venice and finished in Rome. We chose the Westerdam because of its ports and day trips. The ports were everything we hoped for. Athens, Mykonos, Santorini, Olympia, Delos, Naples were all wonderful. We had a Neptune Suite in cabin # 7151. The ship had been recently refreshed and as a result the cabin was quite nice. Spacious, clean and lots of closets. This is a corner cabin at the aft of the ship with an amazing wrap around balcony. Our cabin steward was very friendly and attentive. We enjoyed breakfast on our balcony every morning. The food was always delivered on time and was clearly the best meal of the day. Dinners in the main dining room were very poor. The waiters were pleasant but they did not make up for the flavourless, over cooked food. Salads were frequently delivered with brown lettuce. We ate 5 nights in one of the two specialty restaurants. The food was better in the specialty restaurants but it was still over cooked and tasteless. As hard as it is to believe the buffet was probably the best choice for the freshest, best tasting food. The BB King bar had a very good band that played on 7 or 8 nights. It was well attended and full every night. The piano bar was quiet and boring. There was very good chamber music playing most evenings and it was very well attended. The main theatre entertainment was horrible. If you are expecting the large stage shows most other cruise ships have you will be very disappointed. I spoke with several fellow passengers who said they had never spent so many nights in their cabin watching movies on any other cruise. The ship uses its own life boats as tenders when in port. This is not a problem until there is wind and rough water. The life boats bounce around like bobbers in waves. While tendering passengers to the ship from Mykonos two life boats bounced around for an hour trying to get passengers back on the ship. After an hour of trying the life boats with their passengers were returned to Mykonos. The passengers were terrified!! Kids were screaming and crying!!! Most passengers were wearing their life jackets. I saw all this myself and know it to be true. This is a very unsafe practice and more than anything else will prevent me from using Holland America again. On the 10th day of our cruise the captain announced on the speaker system that Norovirus was present on board and many people were seriously ill. This was our 6th cruise. We have cruised with 4 different cruise lines. This was the worst cruise we have been on and we will never cruise with Holland America again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2017
Loved this cruise and Holland did not disappoint, except for Tom and his assistant who were no help at all in questions and clarifications concerning an area( in how to get there ) in Naples which HE recommended in his talk. We met so ... Read More
Loved this cruise and Holland did not disappoint, except for Tom and his assistant who were no help at all in questions and clarifications concerning an area( in how to get there ) in Naples which HE recommended in his talk. We met so many fun, nice, interesting people on the ship which I hope we will be able to sail with again, especially the Aussies!!!! We loved the ports of call, each different and interesting in their own way. Especially Mykonos, Greece. We wanted to go to a beach on the other side of the island but due to shortage of taxi drivers, rented an ATV instead which was much more fun! Went to Psarou Beach, laid on beautiful lounges under umbrellas, served wonderful food from the restaurant, beach beautiful, especially looking at the large yachts which had anchored in the bay. There are no words to describe Venice, Athens, or Rome. I had only seen pictures of them before, but could not believe all of the sites I saw. Only wish we had more days to spend in each city. Really want to go back! A highlight of the trip was using JG Athens Tours for a 6 hour private taxi tour of the city. Especially Jack, our driver, who was professional but personable , very knowledgeable concerning history, flexible in our time in what we wanted to see and not and the restaurant he recommended after we told him what we would like (local not touristy) was beyond wonderful. The manager kept bringing out dish after dish for us to try of local favorites and our bill was only $22 each! The Holland staff was great, especially Nom, our room steward, who always kept everything so nice, clean, and supplied. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We wanted a long holiday in Europe and the idea of only unpacking once is such a bonus as you get older, we are in our 60's. We stayed in Venice for 2 nights before departure and 2 nights in Barcelona at the end of the cruise, ... Read More
We wanted a long holiday in Europe and the idea of only unpacking once is such a bonus as you get older, we are in our 60's. We stayed in Venice for 2 nights before departure and 2 nights in Barcelona at the end of the cruise, everything went smoothly. We were offered an upgrade to a suite from a balcony cabin a couple of weeks before sailing at 50% discount which we took as it was so much more roomier and with a double shower and sinks, very nice indeed and worth paying the extra $1500 for especially as the cruise was such a long one. Also the cabin was midship and we did not know when the ship was docked or when it was moving.....no motion at all! The food on board was lovely, as was the service. We didn't see any shows but loved the B.B. Kings Blues Bar. Most of the ports were beautiful, a couple not so good, we preferred the small towns to the big cities and picked our excursions carefully so that we got to see places we haven't been to before. Would definitely cruise for that length of time again, our only advice would be to pick the cruise which has the ports you want to visit because that's what it's all about. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
The Itinerary was just what we wanted. Holland America does a good job of highlighting the ports and their history and culture. The ship had just been renovated and I did love the new 'Music Walk' which was one deck with a ... Read More
The Itinerary was just what we wanted. Holland America does a good job of highlighting the ports and their history and culture. The ship had just been renovated and I did love the new 'Music Walk' which was one deck with a duel piano bar (Billboard Onboard), a BB King Blues Club venue and a Lincoln Center Stage venue. All of the performers were very talented and we enjoyed all of the venues as well as the shows in the main showroom. The Lido Marketplace (buffet) area had a great Salad Bar station where they would make a to order salad with very fresh produce and it was served in a nice size bowl which allowed for easy mixing of ingredients. I appreciated Holland America's new smoking policy which only allows smoking on one side of the back deck. Much better than allowing people to smoke on the promenade deck where others are trying to walk or relax, or on their verandahs, which can drift to other cabins. This itinerary included an overnight in Athens which was great for seeing quite a lot of this great city. The captain also extended our stay in Mykonos by one hour so that we were not rushed, which I appreciated. We also did a slow cruise at night around the Stromboli Volcano, which was erupting, and that was beautiful. I did miss the great library that was present on the other two Holland America cruises we have been on. They had books on the Observation Deck, but they had signs that they could not leave the room. How are you supposed to read a novel when it can't leave the room? (Although there were very few novels to choose from. Most of the books were of the coffee table type). I appreciate that Holland America still serves traditional afternoon tea and that they have a port expert on board (not just a port excursion staff), to give us information about our destinations. I enjoyed the meals in the dining room and the service there was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the quality of the food/service on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful! We did not choose to do any of the ship excursions, but we did a lot of excursions with fellow travelers. ... Read More
I chose this cruise because of the itinerary and the quality of the food/service on Holland America. The itinerary was wonderful! We did not choose to do any of the ship excursions, but we did a lot of excursions with fellow travelers. The ship was nice and fresh from drydock. I do think that some of the new decor is a bit modern for the style of the ship, but that could just be me. I found the food in the Lido lacking. The quality wasn't very good and the service was poor. The main dining room was very good for the most part, but service could be slow. Some of the food was uninspired, which I found surprising. The personnel on board were very friendly and polite. It did seem that the ship was short staffed. Embarkation was horrible! It took forever to get on the ship and then forever for our luggage to arrive in our room. Disembarkation was very easy and only took a matter of minutes, although the ship personnel said it would take 45 minutes. We did self disembarkation. The entertainment was so so. What they did have was top notch; it was just a bit low key for my tastes. We did enjoy the in room movies and most nights watched a movie so we could get to bed early for our excursions. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of ... Read More
We were informed this voyage was the 2nd voyage for the ship since coming out of dry dock for restoration and refresh. While the company certainly did a brilliant job with the refit of the ship, they appear to have fallen far short of expectations in terms of customer service and dining. We had a truly awful experience on our cruise from Venice in early May, and based on this experience would not choose Holland America again. Embarkation was quite easy in Venice. However, I should point out that we had a baby with us, and we were therefore expedited through and placed within boarding group 1, so we boarded rather quickly and without issue. From what we heard from other fellow passengers, our experience was not the "norm" for that day, as many folks stated their experience in the groups behind us was truly disorganized, slow, and painful. It should be noted that it was unclear as to whether Holland America or the local authorities were responsible for that pain, but what is clear is that Holland America clearly wasn't front and center to assist. The fun began the instant we walked onto the ship. With our stateroom keys in-hand, we went straight to our cabin so that we could drop our carry-on bags and start to get settled. Unfortunately, we discovered our stateroom keys were not functional, and when we went to the Customer Services desk, we asked if they could re-issue our keys since they weren't working. To my amazement, the person at the desk rudely snapped back and stated: "well, I don't know what is wrong with your keys. They should be working. Please go back and try again." Astonished at this response, I stayed put and reminded her that we had just been "trying again" at the door for over 10 minutes, and they needed to fix the situation. FYI, this theme of Customer Service not taking responsibility will be consistent throughout this review. The woman then decided to take my keys and attempt to reprint them, only to find that her machine at the desk was not working and could not print new keys. She then told me to sit in the lounge area while she tried to fix the situation. Over the course of 30 minutes, several other cruisers came to the desk with the same situation, and once the desk realized this was a systematic issue, they clearly started a triage type arrangement to deal with it. Unfortunately this meant that all of us had to hang around the lounge for over an hour until Customer Service realized they could start letting people into their rooms via the master key cards the Stewards have, at least allowing one-time access to the rooms for everyone. It ended up that 75% of the people on that cruise suffered from the systematic problem with the keys, and it took over 5 hours for it to be completely resolved, with people being forced to hang around the lounge area to receive keys in lieu of enjoying the amenities of the ship. Not once did we get an apology for the situation, only stressed out Customer Service agents literally tossing the keys to us when they were ready. Then there was the baggage situation. Most cruisers know to expect it will likely be a couple of hours before bags start to arrive at staterooms. However, at the 5 hour mark, we started to question what was going on, especially considering the keys fiasco. Once the Customer Service desk had thinned out from the key situation, I walked over and simply asked if they knew the status of the baggage and when they expected the delivery of all bags to complete. The reply from the person at the desk, yet again rude, was: "how should I know?!?!". The Manager standing behind her must have seen my facial expression, as he quickly jumped to push her aside and calmly state that they expected all bags to be delivered within the next 2 hours. That's how it should have been handled to begin with, and I certainly did not appreciate the tone of that Manager's staff through the first 5 hours of the cruise. All of the other cruisers I spoke with during that period, and throughout the entire cruise as it turns out, had the same feedback about that desk. On to the dining experience. I've had airline economy class food and service that blew these guys out of the water. Our first experience was with in-room dining. Our infant daughter had fallen asleep, and my wife was looking for a solution to grab some dinner without waking her. My wife decided to walk to the Customer Service desk down the hall (already on edge from our previous CS Desk experiences), and ask them if they could help her order "in room" dining, but have the food delivered to the lounge area instead of the cabin so as to not wake the baby. Happily, they actually jumped in and helped her, assuring her that the order was placed and specific instructions had been provided to the dining service to deliver to the lounge and not to the room. 1.5 hours later, the food had not yet arrived, so my wife went back to the desk to ask about status and to confirm again that the food would not be delivered to the room. They assured her it was coming soon, and it definitely would not be delivered to the room. 20 minutes later, I received a giant series of thumps on the cabin door, followed by "in-room dining!". Our daughter was instantly awakened and scared, so she of course began to scream out. I couldn't believe it, so I picked up my daughter and opened the door to find the dining guy standing there with a tray of food. I demanded to know why he was here and not at the lounge down the hall with my wife, and he just shrugged and left the food on the floor. No apology of any kind. I ran down the hall with my screaming baby, collected my wife from the lounge and we all headed back to the room to calm the baby and allow my wife to eat after nearly 2 hours. As it turned out, the order was incorrect and wife received nothing that she had ordered, and the ticket on the tray clearly indicated "DELIVER TO CS LOUNGE. BABY SLEEPING. DO NOT DELIVER TO CABIN". Once the baby was down, I went straight to the CS desk to inform them of the situation and demanded to speak to the Dining Manager. The desk agents just stood there and looked at me stunned as if they had no idea of how to handle the situation. One went and got the CS Desk Manager, so I got to re-explain the situation again, and again ask to speak to the Dining Manager. The response I got was: "the dining manager is very busy and not available. I will send him a message regarding the error. Have a nice night". No apology, no resolution. Simply amazing. The next night, we decided to try a different approach. During our appointed dining room seating, we all went up to the dining room. The baby was fussy, so my wife decided she would order, and then ask the dining room to send the food straight down to our cabin, prior to our baby going to sleep. The waiter happily stated they could enable that, took her order, and came back to the table stating that they had placed the order with in-room dining manager, and they were in the process of preparing the delivery. Content with that, my wife headed straight down to the cabin. Two hours later, I returned to the cabin, only to find a sleeping baby and my wife sitting there reading with no food remnants in site. The food had never arrived, and she was starving and unable to leave or make calls to inquire without waking the baby. Stunned again, I went back up to the dining room to inform our waiter that my wife's food had never arrived, to which his initial response was: "Are you sure?!". Of course I was sure!! He scrambled back to the kitchen, and emerged with the Dining Manager. At long last, I was able to see this mystery man face-to-face! The manager's initial statement to me was: "Sir, our records indicate your wife's food was delivered. I don't know what to tell you." I replied by asking if he would like to accompany me back to our stateroom so that he could physically see that my starving wife indeed has no food. Realizing the stupidity of his comments, he scampered back to the kitchen, and re-emerged with two things: (1) the food which I could hand carry back to my wife, and (2) a confirmation that they had mixed up the cabin, and the food was delivered to the wrong place. I took the opportunity to inform him of how poorly his team had performed the previous night, and that this performance on the present night was equally unacceptable. Finally, someone on the boat took responsibility, and he personally apologized and stated that he was taking my feedback seriously, but it was after we had personally been challenged as to the validity of our claims. Now to the food quality itself...dog food is the best way to describe it. On the first night, our group got up from the dining room table and left mid-meal due to how awful the food quality was. It was cold, disheveled, some plates were missing entire ingredients, and there was no flavor. We all went to the buffet market upstairs, which comparatively had superior options. The second night (the night of the botched dining room delivery), was equally bad. After that, the group decided never to return to the dining room due to the atrocious quality. On day 5 of the cruise, some fellow cruisers had indicated that they had just come from the dining room and they felt the quality standards had come up since day one, albeit only marginally, so we decided to return to give them one last chance. We agreed that the quality had come up since days 1 and 2, however, our opinion was that it was now only on par with the buffet upstairs, and far short of what we had come to expect from previous Holland America quality. Overall, the customer and dining services came across as though the teams were total rookies and were not yet fully trained to handle a ship full of customers. 100% of our interactions with both teams yielded some kind of error or poor performance (messages not delivered, rude personnel, missed kitchen quality, incorrect orders, excruciatingly slow wait staff, watered down drinks, etc, etc), mostly coming from a lack of listening to the customer, and execution. Our fellow cruisers shared the same feedback. There were a few bright spots to the cruise: (1) The room Stewards were fantastic. Very friendly, attentive, engaging with our baby, and the rooms were always in perfect form. They checked in with us often, but not too often, and were a pleasure to work with. Kuddos to that team! (2) The ladies in the group reported that the Spa was an excellent experience. Great masseuses and high quality massages. Nice relaxation pool and changing rooms. (3) Ports arrivals/departures were well handled. We docked in 3 of 4 destinations, and were on tenders in Santorini (standard). Dubrovnik was a stunning place, safe, and plenty to see (recommend the wall walk and exploring the side alleys for food and shops). Kotor (Montenegro) featured a stunning fjord approach and departure, and the small ancient town was fun to walk through, including the hike up to the old fortress (1500 steps each way). Ravenna (Italy) was a pleasant surprise, as it was a quaint, relaxed town with ample historical sights and an overall non-touristy feel. Tenders to/from the ship in Santorini were frequent and efficient. This was the one day we chose to sign up for a shore excursion, as we wanted to get to the far town of Oia straight away. We paid $50/adult for the bus ride and tour guide to Oia, had 2 hours of open exploring time, and then rode the bus back to Thira where the excursion ended. The value in that excursion was entirely in the time saved by having a dedicated bus instead of tendering to shore and finding a cab. At the end of the day many folks complained of only having 2 options for getting back down to the tenders from town, but anyone who researched or read the Holland America notice about Santorini knew this would be the situation, and it has nothing to do with Holland America. Either a 2-hour wait for the cable car, or 400 paved steps (with donkey droppings) down the cliff. We chose the latter, and it was just fine provided you are in decent enough physical shape to descend the steps. It took us about 35 minutes to walk all the way down. Note of caution though: we did come across an out-of-shape gentleman who was rushing his way down and ended up slipping and breaking his ankle. Care should be taken all the way down, with deliberate steps, especially towards the bottom when you are more fatigued. Also, a note about Santorini overall: Based my experience from a previous dedicated trip to the island, 9am-5pm is not nearly enough time to get the full/true experience of the island, and you'll only get the "cruise ship" experience of having only enough time to explore the two main walkways with shops and restaurants in Thira and Oia. That has everyone in port that day (at times as many as 5 cruise ships at a time!) crammed into two small areas, so it's overly crowded, and not really enjoyable. Try to find a cruise that gives you the time to explore away from the main streets (ex: the beaches, the ancient ruins, the wineries, etc), or perhaps just choose to make a dedicated trip to Santorini...it's worth it. Overall - very disappointed in Holland America on this cruise, and we have no plans to return to them soon. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd ... Read More
We were already in Europe on an extended vacation to see friends when we saw this cruise pop up at a discount price for last minute--two weeks away. I had cruised about 15 cruises, however, never on Holland America. I was afraid the crowd may be too old for us as we are in our 50's...however, the price and the stops convinced us to go. It was FANTASTIC!! Everything I have heard about Holland was false...they are a 5 star plus line. The cruisers were all ages, from all over the world..a big surprise to us. The food and service was the best in many years...and the Ports to die for...Santorini, Greece is fabulous, Dubrovnik..all of the Greek Islands were interesting and two days in Turkey was absolutely wonderful..we arranged tours with local tour operators and had 4-6 people in our tour groups for two days...met lots of great people and this is definately the best cruise we have ever taken..thanks HAL! We will be back...and to top it off...we won a cruise playing BINGO :-) The MEd cruises are so different as they become your 5 star hotel while we were at port all day and many times exhausted by night..beats a tour with a company any day! Read Less
Sail Date August 2013
This cruise was the second half of a back to back itinerary across the Atlantic and then around the Med. (I`ve reviewed the first part of the cruise separately.) We really loved this cruise`s ports of call. Before the trip I was most ... Read More
This cruise was the second half of a back to back itinerary across the Atlantic and then around the Med. (I`ve reviewed the first part of the cruise separately.) We really loved this cruise`s ports of call. Before the trip I was most excited about getting to Turkey and Greece, but it turned out that Croatia and Italy were my favourites. This was an interesting surprise for me. Because of the back to back itinerary, we had multiple days in Venice and two days in Split. I recommend getting out to Trogir while stopped in Split and visiting Burano while in Venice. Both places are beautiful, albeit of course in very different ways. I`d also recommend going to the Amalfi Coast while stopped in Naples and visiting Taormina while in Sicily.Another highlight of this trip was simply sitting on our balcony and watching the many islands off the Dalmation Coast go by. These islands are gorgeous. We also really loved the arrival at Thira/Santorini and the view of Mykonos town in the evening as we sailed away.One problem I noticed during this portion of our time on this ship, which wasn`t an issue during the previous transatlantic crossing, was smokers. There was a large group (I won`t mention which nationality) that took over a big section of the aft pool area every day and then smoked so much it stank up the entire area. Please, HAL, make your ships non-smoking.Also, healthy options in the food selections were again a disappointment. Why was it nearly impossible to find whole wheat or multigrain bread? Why have such a limited salad bar in the Lido in the evening? I really like the fruit and cheese spread HAL has at the Lido at breakfast. I'd appreciate something like that in the Lido again in the evening. I'm a vegetarian, and I'll say that HAL does only passible vegetarian options- I saw nothing above a C grade in that regard. However, to balance out my complaint, I'd admit that HAL's food isn't all bad. They did offer up an excellent tiramisu one night (nice a boozy, just as it should be!) Finally, disembarking the ship was simple and fine. However, Venice's airport was overrun. There was no organization and we had to stand in various unorganized line ups for multiple hours only at the very end to be told that staff person would not check us in as she had switched her line to First Class a few passengers ago. I travel a lot and this was the worst airport experience I have ever had. Then, on the flight from Venice to Frankfurt we had the rudest behaved passengers. Again, I fly a lot and I have never witnessed this kind of disrespect of fellow passengers and crew before. They yelled at each other, shoved people, stood up when they weren't meant to, and outright disobeyed flight attendant direction. Sadly I think the majority of the plane's passengers were other HAL cruisers who had just got off the Westerdamn. I was really happy to leave that group behind when my mother and I continued our journey on land in Germany. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
I wish I could say this was a good cruise that met my expectations, let alone exceed them, but as a repeat HAL passenger I am sorely disappointed in our most recent experience with their product. I am grateful the ship's Mediterranean ... Read More
I wish I could say this was a good cruise that met my expectations, let alone exceed them, but as a repeat HAL passenger I am sorely disappointed in our most recent experience with their product. I am grateful the ship's Mediterranean Romance port itinerary was a distraction from the shipboard experience because had it been in the relaxed Caribbean or Mexico, the cruise would be labeled a waste of hard-earned vacation spending. It was a classic case of a bunch of ongoing small details adding up to a mediocre cruise experience. The ship's condition upon embarkation was probably our first ominous sign. Despite a recent refurbishment before heading to Europe, general maintenance seemed lacking. Filthy windows everywhere, from our first walk into our verandah cabin to the floor-to-ceiling Crow's Nest vistas - cloudy and spotted windows (some looking like tar) just showed negligence. While a norovirus outbreak on the previous cruise might have distracted crew from some exterior ship maintenance on transition day, I could not see why cleaning efforts later in the 12 day itinerary could not be undertaken. I will say that the stateroom cleanliness (windows and other issues) were quickly addressed by the stateroom staff. Also our stateroom air conditioner problem (a unit seemingly set to "permafrost" despite the warmest thermostat setting) was handled and corrected by the engineering staff with concern and expertise. In terms of daily onboard experiences it just felt like the ship was short on staff. No cruise director until day 9 (we had an "emcee" in his place), the Executive Chef seating patrons in the dining room, and a basically absentee cruise staff all contributed to a feeling of neglect by those in charge. Frequently we heard this was the last cruise before a charter of the Westerdam to South Africa for the World Cup. Did this account for the scarce staffing? Or was staff being re-routed to a new HAL ship coming on-line shortly? Both? Who knows? But the mere fact that Holland America does not seem to try to provide a top-notch experience for EVERY cruise says a lot in my opinion. This was no discount cruise. This was not a repositioning cruise. But it had the feeling of "let's just get through this one." The historically much enjoyed Ship Info channel (with weather conditions and global positioning) was not working the entire cruise. The first few days the channel was on but continued to show the ship's position back in Venice, along with outdated info on the previous cruise itinerary. All the weather conditions were "N/A". Not much help there for passengers interested in this extended itinerary with a variety of fascinating and diverse ports. Very disappointing to not have this information resource. Other alternatives or efforts to share this information in another way were not offered. Like the ship info channel, the whole cruise never seemed to hit the "reset" button in a variety of areas. Selection in the shops was poor and limited, and the sales staff was frequently surly or looked downright bored out of their minds. In need of a new digital camera due to a malfunction in Venice, we were told the ship was completely "out of stock". Again, mention of the charter came up as the reasoning (since the ship will be docked permanently for a month or so I can understand that shopping will be prohibited, but must it affect the cruises leading up to the charter?). Both service and food in the dining room have slipped in the four years since our last HAL vacation. Initially I thought it might be related to our choice of open seating dining versus traditional, but when crowding in the lower level caused us to be seated upstairs amongst the Traditional diners on a few occasions, there was no discernable difference there either. Little supervision was evident and a lack of the usual team effort between waiter and busperson seemed the culprit, although behind it all was a lack of the traditional Holland America service training. I can count on one hand how many times I was asked how my food was or whether a waiter introduced himself to the diners at the table (there were cards on the tables with their names but that seemed impersonal). Alternatively I need the hands of a large crowd to count the minutes I would sit with a drained water glass or have a waiter reach in front of me to serve someone else. The delivery of the courses themselves was punctual, perhaps too punctual since most meals felt rushed (again a symptom of open seating?). No major complaints about the food although the desserts were pretty tasteless. The more flowery the description on the menu, the more I grew to mistrust the choice. There was no variety in the bread basket choices each evening - very tiresome and not at all creative for a fan of pre-dinner nibbling. I won't belabor other details - I am the first to admit vacationing is very subjective and what is important to one is immaterial to another. While this is my first public review after cruising for many years, my motivation is to advise seasoned travelers of a potential diminishment in the HAL experience for the traditional cruiser. Many issues in my opinion reflected a lack of attention to traditional Holland America detail I had grown to expect. The poor presentation and preparation for the Mariners "sit yourself wherever" Luncheon confirmed for me that the traditions of HAL from years past are gone and their repeat passenger clientele are not that well regarded. Premium bedding and a Signature of Excellence program focusing on dEcor are nice, but I feel they need to focus on their Excellence of Service a bit more. Maybe they do smaller ships better than large ones - previous Ryndam and Maasdam experiences were top notch. But I am disappointed that HAL is no longer in my top three of cruise lines and I won't be sailing anytime soon with this line. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
In May 2010, five friends and I had the pleasure of going on a Mediterranean cruise, with two days pre-cruise in Venice, and a four days post-cruise in Barcelona. Through Holland America, we prebooked tours in all but two ports. Each tour ... Read More
In May 2010, five friends and I had the pleasure of going on a Mediterranean cruise, with two days pre-cruise in Venice, and a four days post-cruise in Barcelona. Through Holland America, we prebooked tours in all but two ports. Each tour was fabulous and flawless, and even the weather was perfect, although it rained one day in Venice, but that just made it more fun. The Westerdam had been beautifully re-decorated since I had last been on it, and the staff were as warm and curtious as ever. Our room was a little small for the three of us, but the excellent service from our cabin stewart made up for this. When we disembarked in Barcelona, Spain, we had hired a private company to pick us up (immaculate, comfortable van); take us on an extensive City Tour; then up to the amazing Montserrat Monastery; and drive us to our hotel. Carlos, of Barcelona Great Tours, was prompt, professional, well-grommed, and delightful. Carlos was such an excellent driver and guide, so kind and considerate. His knowledge and love for Barcelona was remarkable. It is such a beautful, clean and safe city. This was a perfect ending for our cruise, and, beginning of our post-cruise stay. Carlos was so helpful again in getting us to BCN airport at 3:00 in the morning to catch our flight home to Canada. Without doubt,I would hire Barcelona Great Tours if I had the good luck to return. Read Less
Sail Date May 2010
We were on the Westerdam's second-ever cruise, 12 nights, Venice back to Venice, May 2004. Food: average, but the service was slow. Cabin: great closet space, good beds, but repeated attempts by cabin attendant and a service man to ... Read More
We were on the Westerdam's second-ever cruise, 12 nights, Venice back to Venice, May 2004. Food: average, but the service was slow. Cabin: great closet space, good beds, but repeated attempts by cabin attendant and a service man to solve a urine smell in the bathroom failed and my wife became ill. Front desk: awful; they were not interested in helping anyone. Cruise staff: snooty officers, not nearly as friendly as those on NCL and Cunard. Ship decor: bright almost garish. Ship "ride": very smooth, hardly any sense of motion. Entertainment: spotty; some good, some so bad many people walked out. Cruise price: good, but book your own air and save. Ports of call: good, but as on most ships the shore excursions are over priced; go on your own or find another couple to share expenses with and save; we rented a car in Samos and had a wonderful day ashore. Internet service: a real ripoff at 75 cents a minute! Cabin attendant: all smiles until after we had submitted our comment card on last night of cruise; next morning, he was downright nasty, as he knew we had already paid our bill and his tips. Overall atmosphere on ship: impersonal, probably due to the large number of passengers. Embarkation process: good; Disembarkation process in Venice: fair to poor; we waited in line for half an hour before a HAL staff member showed us where the charter bus we had paid for to P. Roma was; we had waited in the taxi line; then bus driver forgot our destination and got halfway to airport before making U-turn in heavy traffic and turning back for P. Roma. Would we cruise on this ship again: NO!! Read Less
Sail Date May 2005
EMBARKATION VENICE : Unorganized, luggage dropped off in a far away shack, walk to the check in pier across unmarked storage are. We arrived by taxi. FOLLOWING IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AFTER CRUISING ON 19 LINERS. The Ship is very ... Read More
EMBARKATION VENICE : Unorganized, luggage dropped off in a far away shack, walk to the check in pier across unmarked storage are. We arrived by taxi. FOLLOWING IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AFTER CRUISING ON 19 LINERS. The Ship is very pleasantly furnished,plenty of Lounges,the Atrium does NOT TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY and one might say is this it ? On this ship the WOW or AHA effect is MISSING ! The library did not offer books in different languages as common on Intl Cruise lines.NO daily programs offered in foreign languages and the menu only after inquiry. CABIN : Deluxe outside/balcony good, but small than described. Regular door to balcony (not sliding doors, therefore you need a chair to keep it open ).  Cabing is not frunished very efficiently-little  space, not even a drawere in the desk where most space is occupied by a TV! Not enought light in the small hallway, so dark in the closets. Air conditioning is the worst of all the19 cruises I have taken. Cold/warm no possibility to control air flow or shut it off.  The air blows E X T R E M E L Y, right down on the bed, resulting in heavy colds for both of us! Inquiry at the front desk: no reaction, no information, despite inquiring all over again. The very wise cabin steward helped us by fixing a shaped cardboard over the air conditioner housing, thanks Ruben! I don't know what kind of engineers HAL employs on board? Toilet odor in the bathroom (and somee areas near dining room) !!! But you will find a short tub with a shower curtain. Inquiry at front office, answer: We can't use leaning detergent. No interactive TV, no way to check your account in the cabin like on any other G O O D ship! You may pick up a printout at the front office, and you know what that means at the end of a cruise! Telephone (Message center always out of order, so stated by the front office).   FOOD : The Lido just STANDARD minus. Why be served mostly cold food and the plates covered when it is cold anyway. For that you even have to stand on line instead serving yourself like normal ships have??? DINING ROOM: Average cold food most of the time (TABLE 78 first sitting) even cold after serving it the 3rd time. Wine warm, glasses half full, pepper comes after you're done eating, lobster tail you de-shell yourself! Wines too expensive. Why have nice table settings rosenthal dishes and WMF silverware and serve beer in a tin can? The much advertised cakes etc etc by HAL just looked good, but all tasted the same ordinary way. ENTERTAINMENT: Good, mostly one man shows but like most ships too loud! Explorer lounge and the flambee after dinner was good specially with the classical strings. Can anyone explain why the flambee is part of the menu in the dinning room, but to be had in the Explorer Lounge only there, you have to pay for the coffee which you normally have with your crepe, don't you?    The staff at the front office absolutely unfriendly, not helpful, never there (GRM = guest relation manager). Unfortunately my partner broke a shoulder on shore and we encountered these people more than we would have liked!  She was taken care of by the ships doctor, only to find out, that the ship had no xray equipment available. The situation is under doctor's care here in Germany now.  Westerdam wanted no part of it, except offer us to get off the ship. Under what conditions they never mentioned (GRM). Disembarkation in Venice: very well organized by the ship up to where the lines for the taxis etc started. It seems like Venice only has a few taxis, most of them can only hold 3 suitcases. We then took the ATVO Blue Line Bus from Piazza Roma to the airport. The first bus did not accept our ATVO return ticket purchased at arrival, but the next one did---that is the Italian way. Disaster at Marco Polo Airport. We checked in 2 hrs prior to departure. We stood there over 1 hr  (Only 1 family from California in front of us) my wife with her arm in a sling, and were told no seats, then stood there. No more information from absolutely unqualified air dolomiti counter personnel. Finally made it, sitting apart, so I could not help my partner, but 2 seats were empty in the aircraft! I COULD GO ON AND ON. MY ADVICE : JUST TRY TO AVOID VENICE ! Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
We flew to Venice through Vienna on Austrian Airlines from Canada. Three days in Venice prior to the cruise put us in the mood for Europe. We spotted the Westerdam on the date of boarding and were very impressed. The boarding was without ... Read More
We flew to Venice through Vienna on Austrian Airlines from Canada. Three days in Venice prior to the cruise put us in the mood for Europe. We spotted the Westerdam on the date of boarding and were very impressed. The boarding was without incident, taking in the fact that we did not receive any documents and that was our first cruise. We were impressed with the cabin and I had little trouble finding it with all the research I did on the internet prior to leaving Canada. The cruise gave my wife to do what she wanted to do......relax and I did what I wanted to do......photos, exploring and meeting and greeting. Neither of us are gamblers, so we only walked through the casino. I fell in love with the Greek Islands and Turkey, it is everything I thought it would but except better. Malta, what a surprise, so much history, great churches and very pleasant people. The ship, it was a large greyhound. Fast and sleek filled with a surprise around every corner. The shops were interesting with different sales each day. The crew of this ship are diamonds. The cabin, dining room, deck crew and the officers on this Holland America Ship were way above and far more than anything I would expect. The required tipping system was a little surprise. Required tip collected daily $10x2x12= $240 US. The tips, we are told are divided evenly among each and every member of the crew. The crew's salary dropped when this required tipping was set up. I have some wonderful memories of this ship and cruise. Read Less
Sail Date May 2004
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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