21 Holland America Line Westerdam Alaska Cruise Reviews

This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad ... Read More
This was our first cruise--and we chose it based largely on reviews here and on other sites which gave it high marks for food. We beg to differ. Among the low-lights: burned omelets, over-cooked fish, under-cooked pasta, laughably bad fried chicken and pathetic attempts at caesar salad. In fairness--the desserts on board were fabulous--but the only truly good meal we enjoyed came during an on-shore visit to a non-affiliated restaurant. The food was not the only disappointment. Drinks were exorbitantly priced and the constant badgering to buy jewelry of unknown origin and quality was extremely annoying. Add to that--easily 1/3 of the guests were ill by the end of the cruise--easy to recognize by the hacking and wheezing. Rumors were rife that the on-board medical clinic was charging highly excessive fees for such basic treatments such as Tamiflu--which may well explain the spread of the illness. We felt--and this was echoed by many of our fellow travelers--that Holland America was trying to relieve us of more money at every possible opportunity. If this is typical of cruising--we have done our first and last. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as ... Read More
As a former Hal loyalist, I was excited to cruise again after a short 2-3 years break. I grabbed my son to go with me as my hubby didn’t want to visit Alaska for the Nth time. The first indication that things weren't as rosy as I’d remembered was our embarkation lunch at the Lido. We selected a variety of items from the Asian section (Thai) and the meat was dry, tough and too salty. We thought, "Ok, maybe this is because it's embarkation day so quality control isn't as thorough..." How naive we were. Over the next couple of days, we realized that the Lido had severe issues. The Asian station's meat was consistently too dry, tough and salty. The pasta tasted like pure salt and no other flavours. Desserts usually had raw tasting dough. The waffle cones tasted stale. The printed menu on display was frequently wrong (as in the wrong menu was put up altogether or ingredients were missing compared to the printed version). And the plates are often too hot to hold. The only consistently decent hot food was from the Homestead station! How about the MDR food? Well, the taste there was quite a bit better but we found that the only thing consistent about the kitchen was their inconsistency... and their overly salty soups (we end up asking for half a bowl of soup and diluting it with hot water whenever we felt like soup). In the MDR, we've had two orders of the same item come differently(missing ingredients), a salmon filet filled with bones and pasta the texture of soggy cardboard. Our warm/hot water has come smelling/tasting like the pool and a medium-rare steak arrived overcooked. The most disappointing thing was the prime rib I ordered - it came was so filled with those fatty hard-to-cut parts I ended up not having a single bite because I literally could not cut the beef with my knife... even after I requested for another steak knife! Other than food issues, we've noticed the effects of budget slashing coupled with a lack of proper planning/training. We had to visit the photo gallery three times to receive our complimentary mariner picture of the shop and received a different answer/information each time. The Exploration Cafe didn't offer ceramic cups until the third day - the paper cups offered were completely inadequate: hot drinks were scalding to hold even using two cups. The paper cups were also prone to crumple if you kept cold drinks in them! Ordering hot water kettles from inroom dining resulted in kettles with hot handles most of the time.... The women’s washroom on Deck 3 was had completely unusable toilets one day (all of them!). Hotel management seemed a mess because we received the wrong information documents to our cabin... But although all these issues were disappointing, they weren’t completely “vacation ruining”. We can choose to eat the decent stuff in the Lido and the crew usually tried their best to fix things when problems happen (which was fairly often... we became VERY well acquainted with Guest services). It was our experience with the beverage manager that utterly ruined our vacationing mood. Here's the background: we aren't heavy alcohol drinkers so we purchased the quench beverage package planning to avail ourselves of mocktails, smoothies and specialty coffee. Unfortunately, we immediately noticed that all the bar menus on-board had been revamped for the worse. The drinks' description were removed, and most pertinently, the section on mocktails and smoothies disappeared. Not a problem, we can still ask the bar to make the drinks right? Well... Sort of! Turns out the bars no longer make drinks using real fruits. Instead it's "syrup" all the way! This caught us off-guard because we've had real fruit smoothies on previous cruises and during our cruise planning we saw another cruiser's May 2019 beverage menu and THAT one (multiple ones actually) still had drinks with detailed descriptions and real fruits stated. As we weren't reconciled to having only "syrup" ( corn syrup with a small % of real juice plus other favouring ingredients and preservatives) drinks, we wrote in to guest services and after a series of back and forths... we finally ended up speaking to the beverage manager in person. Horrible mistake. The beverage manager ( Cyrill?) had the worst service attitude ever and was confrontational to boot. He stated that he was the one in charge of ordering everything related to drinks. When asked about using real fruits in drinks, he basically implied we were lying about having it before or that it was some special one-off service. He swore that in all his 20+ years of service across multiple ships that he has NEVER ordered fruits to the bar and that drinks made due with just syrup. He even grabbed one of the bystanding crew members to collaborate his claim. Really? Was the poor guy going to contradict his BOSS to his face?! Talk about abuse of authority. When pressed, he told us to try the inroom dining... MAYBE they could make us a real fruit smoothie. As for if there was a charge there? He said he wasn’t sure. What kind of manager are you...? So after giving us a "that's that" attitude with no effort to apologize or make things better, he left and all we felt was incredulity. How did someone like this become a manager?! Was nepotism involved somewhere...?! On the spot, we weren't able to refute his highhanded claims but we afterwards we found the website with photo proof of previous/other ships having fruits in their drinks. (That url previously mentioned) We later also spoke privately to older bartenders who acknowledged that yes, they used to make drinks with real fruits. In fact, they still did so on their last contract a few months ago! So, the beverage manager straight up lied to our faces while trying to browbeat both us and his staff into accepting HIS way. This encounter with that disgrace of a manager completely destroyed any goodwill we felt towards HAL. In fact, because it's the beverage manager who has been such a disappointment, it's affected my impression of the whole beverage department and more... I know I’m sort of on the emotional side (really, most women are right? XD) but I ended up going out of my way to NOT walk by the bars if I could. Of course, we responded to Guest services about the horrendous treatment we received and the next day we met with the Food and Beverage DIRECTOR (one step up the chain?). He was a lot more gracious and friendly. We were given complimentary freshly made juice for breakfast/dinner (MDR) and one mocktail/smoothie of our choice each day for the remainder of the cruise. So in summary: - the kitchen was consistently inconsistent: the food was missing ingredients, under-cooked, over-cooked, too salty, wrong portions, etc - drinks from the bar for non-alcoholic drinkers nowhere near a “premium” experience - hotel management seems to have a systematic issue with procedures/training - crew was still great and did their best... except for ONE notable counterexample Final rating: Would not recommend and we’ll be trying other cruise lines in the future. Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise ... Read More
HAL Westerdam July 14 to 28 Alaska We were on Niew Amsterdam in 2016 and found it to be excellent. We loved it so much, both managers and crew were very friendly and accommodating. Therefore, when an opportunity for an Alaska cruise North and Southbound on the Westerdam came by, we did not hesitate to book the cruise. However, what we experienced was far from our previous HAL experience. It was the total opposite that I am compelled to write this review. 1. Maitre d and Chef were unaccommodating to special requests unlike Niew Amsterdam wherein they were so pleased to fulfill any requests. The Lido servers in contrast were the friendliest and the only saving grace of this cruise. 2. Check-in was a pain. Their computer system had issues and therefore all the information I had filled in prior to the cruise was erased and had to be re-done. By the time we were assured that all information was complete and that both North and Southbound cruises were linked including our payment credit cards, etc, it was already over an hour. 3. Despite reassurances that all is well, when we got to immigration and looked at the key cards we were given, it said roundtrip FLL instead of Alaska! We did not even bother going back to queue again just to change our key cards- Florida it is. 4. The next day of our vacation, we were woken up very early at 6 AM! by incessant knocking on our door despite the privacy notice on our door. It was room service insisting we ordered breakfast at 6! We told him he had the wrong cabin whereupon he checked and he was indeed in the wrong cabin. Geez... 5. On several occasions, we tried calling reception for information; or room service; or anyone in the ship and we are always put on hold. When I asked other pax, I was told the same thing to the point we just give up and cancel the call. It really feels like the ship is short staffed! 6. Southbound: Well, despite reassurances during check-in, my key card no longer works. Security had a problem with it when I was about to leave the ship for a shore excursion- had to take photos again, etc. 7. After a long and very tiring day of excursion, the new key card I was given DID NOT WORK- NOT one time when I returned to open my cabin door, NOT the second new card, NOR NOT the third new card! Each time, I had to walk from my cabin down to reception and back 3x. All I wanted was to shower and sleep but with my key card not working, I could not get into my cabin. The cabin attendant felt so bad for me and he let me into my cabin. (Even the, I will still have to get a key card that works.) When finally a couple people from reception came up to the cabin, they key they brought with also DID NOT WORK. They wanted me to go down again and get a new key whereupon we requested that they are the ones who should bring the key up to us so they can also check if the 5th key card will work. NOT make me walk a 4th time roundtrip to their desk and my cabin. What if the 5th key also does not work? Walk roundtrip a 6th time?! This is a basic of CUSTOMER SERVICE. One should take care of the problem for the customer and not have the customer do the run around for you. 8. We waited a couple of hours whereupon I called reception to follow up (thank goodness someone answered the phone after ONLY 14 minutes on hold) and they said they will bring the key cards for both of us up. We had the PRIVACY PLEASE note on the door, but regardless, they knocked and despite our reply, they barged in anyway without waiting for us to say come in or go to the door. I was fresh from my shower and hastily had to dive into the bed for cover. 9. Despite all the issues with key cards, one would think there would be no other issues. However, the next day, I got a call from reception early in the morning to ask how I would like to pay for our account! I groggily informed the caller that they have my credit card all along since the Northbound trip and do not understand why they are waking me up for this information. But of course, system issues, bla bla, I later had to go down and given them the same credit card again. 10. Next day, guess what? Another early morning call. On vacations, we are hoping to sleep in and not wake up early-- after all, that is what we look forward to. This time the call was to ask if I was joining one of the excursions. Well, the excursion ticket was already delivered to my cabin a couple days prior so I am wondering what the question is all about. Turns out, they do not even know if I was going on the excursion or not when I informed them that they had already delivered my ticket! WHAT A MESS HAL's SYSTEM IS! 11. Did I mention none of their ship clocks on each floor on their stairwell work? Despite notices that the ship's clock would be one hour ahead or fall back for time changes, their clocks do not work.--- Not the entire 14 day cruise. The ship itself is good, facilities are well maintained by the crew. The cabins are good as well. Dining at Lido during lunch is a pleasure but dinner offerings are pretty much the same each night of the 14 days we took the cruise. With regards to information regarding wildlife, etc, I received far more information when we took the same North and Southbound Alaska cruise last year through Star Princess. To the point that other passengers followed me as I have a map from Princess showing waypoints where wildlife sightings are expected. I love wildlife and my hobby of photographing them calls me to cruise to Alaska each year. Next year, I will likely go back to Princess or try other lines for different ports. The saving grace as mentioned were the servers at the Lido including the Dive In personnel from the Philippines. They were most friendly and accommodating. Read Less
Sail Date July 2019
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done ... Read More
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done something slightly different: change in port Skagway to Sitka, change in glacier, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm/Endicott. Embarkation took about an hour, there were only 2 ships departing on the 23rd (Westerdam and Noordam). We have experienced longer. They had more lines moving and sorted out passengers better than on previous trips. Luggage was in the cabin when we boarded. Disembarkation was quick. Since our last trip HAL has changed the way things are done. We chose our timing to go with the pick up time for our bus back to the island. We waited in the cabin until our color was called and then headed for the gangway. We took all of our luggage with us this time. Customs took about 30 seconds as I had the form fully completed. The ship: Well maintained. The crew: Excellent. We are still trying to figure out how the cabin stewart knows we are out, we have only caught him in the cabin once and that was because we came back for something. The entertainment and activities: Very good, this trip we had a comedian and a magician. The HAL dance crew were fun to watch. We love to play trivia (music and other), there were several times available and we hit most of them. The ECO talks that we got to were informative, wish they could have done them more than once on the trip as we found there were conflicts with other activities. Captain Mark did a talk about his duties and how the ship runs, very interesting. It was also his birthday that day so the entire audience sang to him, then the cruise director and some of the officers presented him with a gift. His slide show of the bridge was hijacked by the CD and pictures of Capt Mark were inserted into the show. Lots of fun and he took it well. He is very well liked by the crew. Dining: The main diningroom was excellent, we chose anytime dining so we didn't sit at the same table twice so didn't get the same waiters. I booked each morning once we had looked at the daily activities and the menu and was successful in getting a table for 2 each time. The Lido was a bit of a disappointment. The menu was varied, lots of choices and the servers were very nice and helpful. The downfall was the temperature of the food. We found the entrees lukewarm at best. So to get hot food we ordered made to order omelettes or other made or order items for breakfast. Lunches we did the same. The Dive-In was excellent as usual. Love the dive-in sauce for the fries. Really like the taco bar. Ports and excursions: Juneau was wet, only rainy day tho; not bad for the end of September. We did the Alaska Brewing Company tour on our own, always a good time. Went to the library to get the wifi to check email. Skagway was fairly warm. We did the HAL excursion to Dredge Town. It is a little cheesy but the PUPPIES were fun; they made the excursion worth while. Tracy Arm/Endicott. We couldn't get as close to the glacier as we wanted as there was a lot of ice in the way; some of the ice was as large as a semi trailer. We were still able to see the glacier with binos. The trip in and out was beautiful. First time we had seen Endicott. Ketchikan. It WASN'T raining!! :). We didn't get to go up the funicular as it was down for repairs. We did go on a non-HAL excursion just a quick city highlight with a trip out to the fish spawning grounds. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we ... Read More
We picked this cruise because we were sailing on the Rotterdam and thought we were getting a good deal booking while sailing. We actually found out that people who booked through and 1st time sailings on HAL got a lot more perks than we did. Having sailed 5 or 6 times before on HAL, we were shocked and disappointed by the food, the lack of entertainment and many amenities that once were included that are now nickle and dime you to death. All of the excursions are nearly double or more than what you can book them for online yourself. The cruise itself was fine. Glacier Bay was amazing. The amenities, food, and entertainment on board were way below our expectations and experiences on other cruise lines. This includes HAL cruises in the past were much better. The HAL hotels they put you up in while doing the Land part of Alaska are below sub standard. Dirty and musty smelling Westmark in Fairbanks. Complained to front desk twice and even call Joanna Reinard (HAL cruise consultant) and wasn't even acknowledged. No amenities included in the Land Portion. Hotels do not offer coffee. You must buy every cup at 4.00 plus. No continental breakfast anywhere on the Land portion. There were more negatives, but this gives you an idea. This was our Last trip with HAL. Read Less
Sail Date July 2018
Staff- friendly, accommodating and smiling. Neptune Suite- worth the money for the space-bed is comfortable- needs updating, countertops/tub/shower cracked. Ship is dated and smells- lack of staff cleaning regularly in common areas ... Read More
Staff- friendly, accommodating and smiling. Neptune Suite- worth the money for the space-bed is comfortable- needs updating, countertops/tub/shower cracked. Ship is dated and smells- lack of staff cleaning regularly in common areas until gastrointestinal virus hit the ship. Then procedures were put in place to keep all guests from being infected. More cleaning, servers at all food and drink stations, no items on tables that could be passed, (salt and pepper, bread, etc) disinfectant being given to each person entering all restaurants and dining areas. Food-Burgers are great at Dive IN poolside, Pinnacle Grill is worth the money, but reservations must be made before you get on ship or you won't get in unless you are a suite guest. The dining room food wasn't that great and the buffet, needs an overhaul. As well as the seating in the dining room, too many tables, sitting on top of one another. Seattle- great city worth seeing plan some extra time to see there and Pike's Place. Juneau- nice little town, walkable, Glacier Gardens is worth a see. Mendenhall Glacier and Salmon Bake is good. Sitka- also nice little town, but could have passed this one to have a full day in Victoria...as opposed to getting in there at night and having no time to see anything. Ketchikan- great little town, walkable, lumberjack show -didn't see the fascination the reviews on here had given..really a waste.. Victoria- need more time there and daylight hours. One thing about the dining on this ship- baseball hats, flip flops and cargo shorts in the dining room was allowed, which was new to us. I suppose Holland has relaxed their dress requirements. Entertainment- BB Kings- a definite yes and a different show each time- lively, not too loud, dancing if you want, great music and great talent. Westerdam dancers- some good talent and nice shows Jesse Kazemak show- fantastic- he should have done more Magic show- could have passed on that one Stryker- piano bar- didn't get this one- all the music sounded alike...reviews were over the top,not our cup of tea, went back to the BB King show. Cooking class- great Casino- okay- nothing great A lot of upselling on this ship everywhere you turn from drinks to spa to casino...got old..not relaxing. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Let me start with this trip was a 71st birthday celebration for my husband. A cruise to Alaska has been on our bucket list for some time now. So here’s the good, bad and ugly about our Holland America trip to Alaska last week aboard ... Read More
Let me start with this trip was a 71st birthday celebration for my husband. A cruise to Alaska has been on our bucket list for some time now. So here’s the good, bad and ugly about our Holland America trip to Alaska last week aboard the Westedam. The good – the Pinnacle restaurant was fantastic! The food, service and personnel were all outstanding! The rooms were quite spacious with lots of storage space and a large bathroom. Alaska itself was beautiful. Glacier Bay was breathtaking and the whale watching excursion that we went on was amazing. The bad – Constantly pushing the shopping. There was a huge push to buy diamonds and jewelry from their onboard shops and within the ports we went to. We were told the cruise line owns the jewelry store in port. Every day there was more information in our mailbox outside our door about shopping, shopping, and more shopping. I didn’t go on a cruise to shop! Way over the top. The food in the cafeteria style dining room was ok but nothing to write home about, you have to fight for a table on the Lido deck and it's hard to get service there. My other pet peeve is that there was not enough time in the ports to see Alaska. Most of the time was spent on the boat. The ugly (and it was ugly) There were drawers under the foot of the bed. I know this because one night about half way through our cruise the housekeeper didn’t close the drawer all the way and I ran into it barefoot breaking one of my toes. The break was confirmed via x-ray by my podiatrist as soon as we returned with an 8 week recovery time. It happened at night right before bed and when I woke in the morning I could not put any weight on my right foot. We had an excursion that morning and my husband went down to the excursion desk to cancel since I could not walk. No one was there so he left a note and then we called and left messages but no call back that day. I called down to the infirmary and was told that there was nothing they could do for a broken toe. I asked if they had crutches they said they recommended a cane. My husband went down, since I was unable to walk, to get a wheel chair, they didn't have any, so he got a cane instead and asked for some adhesive tape to stabilize my toe and foot. He was unable to get any tape from the infirmary or ships store. My husband spoke to many people on the phone and in person trying to get a wheel chair and trying to get a refund for the tours we were not able to go on. Everyone took an "I am not authorized" posture. You would think that the safety and satisfaction of their "valued guests" would be of utmost importance but that was clearly not the case. At every turn the response was “how do you know you didn’t leave the drawer open” or “we are not authorized to do that”. Very disconcerting. So I spent the day Thursday in my room with my foot propped up and my poor husband running around the ship trying to get me some help. I had my husband take pictures of my discolored and swollen foot on the ship so there would be no question of when it happened. I tried to include them here but couldn't. Since we had dined so often in the Pinnacle Grill always at the same table we had made friends with our servers Stewart and Pol. Stewart's girlfriend also worked on the ship as a dancer although we had never met her. My husband was in the elevator and started talking to someone after they asked about our cruise and he told her what happened. It turned out to be his girlfriend. She was upset by what had happened, made some calls and was able to get me a wheelchair. Without her help I would not have been able to leave my room. I was then able to go to meals but still not able to go on the excursions. The utter lack of caring for me by the management of the ship was unbelievable, unprofessional, and unacceptable. The GRM (Guest Relations Manager) and Excursions Manager could not have been less helpful. The excursions manager was confrontational which really upset my husband. I have never been treated so poorly while on vacation. The wait staff in the dining rooms were so accommodating, the front office staff in helping us was just the opposite. Very, very poor experience. Customer service by the management on that vessel was lacking. Instead of trying to help turn the situation around they just ignored it using the “I’m sorry I’m not authorized to do that” mantra. I was shocked that Holland America did not step up, take responsibility and try to help. So what could have been a great birthday vacation experience that you tell all your friends about it turned into the vacation from hell. I spent half of this trip with my leg propped up in immense pain. The lack of consideration and indifference by the front office staff was unbelievable. This was a very expensive lesson and not a very fun birthday! Moral of the story – if something goes wrong on your trip BEWARE you will get no help from Holland America to make things right. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
Very disappointing onboard. Would definitely not recommend HAL. Everything was below average in terms of quality of service, food and especially lack of concern or caring by anyone in the "front office." If you have a problem ... Read More
Very disappointing onboard. Would definitely not recommend HAL. Everything was below average in terms of quality of service, food and especially lack of concern or caring by anyone in the "front office." If you have a problem onboard you are on your own. Crew is from Asia and they are hardworking but you get lots of "smiles" and very little actual service. The feeling onboard is "mass market" you're just a number. They are constantly trying to get in your wallet- from selling raffle tickets to "Special Hot Cocoa in Ship's Mugs for $20)…it's the same feeling as walking down the Vegas strip and getting pitched every five feet. Food was same quality as a Chamber of Commerce hotel banquet- service the same. The only exception was the luxury restaurant where service and food was great- but at an extra price. We are all equal in stature and I'm certainly no better than others but your fellow passengers on this boat were high in age, average weight and lack of manners- do not get in between them and a donut in the morning breakfast buffet- you'll get run over. This is not the way to see Alaska- half the trip is at sea looking at fog and overcast skies. Now Alaska is incredible when you get away from the Cruiseline owned T-shirt, curio and Tanzanite shops at the dock. Tanzanite is from Africa not Alaska. Fly to Alaska and see the real Alaska. We've been on HAL twice- first & last time (and that was on one cruise). I've had difficulty posting this review. Wonder if Trip Advisor editing negative reviews Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
We chose this line to go with our friends it was our first time on Holland America. I probably not go on this cruise line again we had a nice trip because of our friends not because of the cruise line. The first night it took us 25 ... Read More
We chose this line to go with our friends it was our first time on Holland America. I probably not go on this cruise line again we had a nice trip because of our friends not because of the cruise line. The first night it took us 25 minutes to get water in the dining room. There were 4 tables of 6 each of our friends and we all had to wait. Our waiter was very grumpy and didn't smile or great us. We all were taken aback as we all are experienced travelers and had never had this type of service before. The food in the dining room was sub par to say the least, many dishes were tasteless and in very small portions. The food in the buffet was better but we prefer to eat in the dining room. The service was better too. The ship seemed outdated and small. The rooms were old and cramped. We did have a nice cabin steward he was very attentive. Our veranda was small too. The pool was always filled with children who liked to scream and make noise all the time-no adult swim! Read Less
Sail Date August 2016
Do not go on this ship!!! But do go to Alaska! This was a very poor experience, almost from day one. Before I start just let me say that I have been on about 10 cruses now with 5 different lines. The ship is outdated, and in need of a ... Read More
Do not go on this ship!!! But do go to Alaska! This was a very poor experience, almost from day one. Before I start just let me say that I have been on about 10 cruses now with 5 different lines. The ship is outdated, and in need of a remodel, with that being said the ships décor was not why I was onboard, Alaska was. The problems were with food, billing, and lack of communication between the ships departments. The lido deck food was terrible for lunch and dinner, breakfast was ok. The selection is terrible, the food was barely palatable. They were always out of food, or had one side shut down so the lines were very long. I can't tell you how many times they were out of desert, and the hours are very short. There is a hamburger/hotdog walk through window that served terrible hamburgers!! (The fries were ok.) They need to drop the cook in America for a month to learn what a hamburger should taste like. Main dining was hit or miss. The specialty restaurants were fine, when they say its a steak house order the steak, not the fish like I did. The billing was a huge problem. There was an issue with a PREPURCHASED excursion through Holland America that the ship had nothing to do with. We printed our folio the first night to check the account credit we should have and saw that all of our excursions had been canceled and rebooked with the balance being billed on our folio. We talked to front desk, they were USELESS!!!! Told me to speak with the shore excursion desk, they had to go the night auditor. Check the next day nothing was done, went is the same circle, day three same circle, no department would let me speak to a manager. We finally got the person over the shore excursions on the second to last day of the trip and she was able to get it fixed. I waisted over 6 hours of my vacation on this. Check your bill, frequently! We had a light in our bathroom that kept going out, we told our room steward everyday. I think the English translation was not getting to him. We put a work order in at the front desk, when they came it was working, and they did nothing. 4th time it went out we told our steward, 3 hours later after not seeing anyone we were on our way to the front desk when we passed the Third Mate who was on a date, and some one was in our room in 3 minutes and the problem was fixed, why did we have to go to the Third Mate? Don't get me started on the last port. It was windy so the captain decided to not make port. My issues with this are two other ships made port, one arriving after us. The second was they put a lifeboat in the water and delivered our paperwork so for TAX reasons it shows we ported in a different country. Can we say tax evasion? The worst part is that there was no communication with the other departments on the ship, there was not food, since they thought everyone was getting off, the shops were closed, the casino was closed, we were trapped with nothing to do but play cards. Or see a very blurry showing of the Jungle Book. Embarkation, a disembarkation were easy. Wild life was great, hundreds of wales, eagles, seals, sea lions, one bear, and otters everywhere. I will do Alaska again and again, but never will I pay for Holland America ever again! Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
We love cruising to Alaska and chose this cruise because it's easy for us to get to Seattle. We have cruised with HAL 3 times prior. We were unfortunate enough that our balcony stateroom was just above someone who was a prolific cigar ... Read More
We love cruising to Alaska and chose this cruise because it's easy for us to get to Seattle. We have cruised with HAL 3 times prior. We were unfortunate enough that our balcony stateroom was just above someone who was a prolific cigar smoker. That completely ruined our use of the balcony. The ship is showing some wear and tear. I was trapped in the elevator and was stuck until help arrived. Thankfully it only took about two minutes for them to let me out so it wasn't too scary. The carpet was pulling back in some areas and the drapes in our room had holes in them. There were a lot of families on board and many of the children had little to no supervision. That, of course, is just supposition based on how awful the kids were behaving. We saw some who were climbing on top of the dolphins at the pool in order to jump off and into the pool. Many of them were also going barefoot into the Lido restaurant. No rules were enforced on this trip. Kids were in the adult only pool, barefoot in the restaurant, leggings and flip flops on gala night. This was, by far, the worst experience we've ever had aboard HAL and we will not be back until the smokin policy is changed. Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
I went with Holland America because I had never cruised with them and had been told they were the best. Well if this cruise is any indication of the customer service that Holland offers, it will certainly be my last cruise with them. ... Read More
I went with Holland America because I had never cruised with them and had been told they were the best. Well if this cruise is any indication of the customer service that Holland offers, it will certainly be my last cruise with them. The pickup at the airport was not as smooth as you would expect, with them herding people into lines with no place to sit or really get out of the weather. There were long waits and we finally boarded a bus that had been there for the entire time we had waited. The embarkation at the cruise terminal went smooth and was fine. Our first indication of the customer service we were going to get came shortly after we had sailed, when my BIL and Sister found they had forgot to bring their toothbrushes. A minor thing for sure that could be fixed with a quick trip to the store on board. So you would think, but no that was not the case. They were told that the toothbrushes were locked up and they would not be available for purchase until the next day. The next day when they went down to buy some they were told to come back in an hour (three times) and then they were told very rudely that there were no toothbrushes on board for purchase. When we finally took the issue to the main desk they called and told them to go get some toothbrushes and make them available. They had been there to whole time but the one clerk who we had to deal with was too lazy to go to the storage area and get them. The food in the Lido was adequate if you could get them to give you enough to taste. The other cruises I have been on there was plenty of food. This cruise I felt like I had to beg for the food. Small servings with poor customer service. I personally witnessed 3 times where a serving spoon or knife had been dropped on the floor only to be picked up by the server and used again. I called them on it each time and they acted like that was not out of the ordinary and why would I complain about something like that. The entertainment was good and I enjoyed that. There were several times when it seemed they couldn't get closed up soon enough so that they would not have to serve the people. It seemed a common attitude with many of the servers. I was at the Salad line and they had just ran out of Ranch dressing on the side I was on. When I asked for ranch I was told, and I quote, " We out, pick something else." When returning from the Victoria Port ( we had docked two hours late so all the score excursions were cancelled) so we had walked into Victoria and back and I went to the Lido to get a drink of ice water when we got back. They had closed down one drink line ( no taking into account that everyone was running two hours late because of the late docking time) and the other drink line was out of ice, was out of lemonade and the glasses had just came from the dishwasher and were hot to the touch. So I had a very lukewarm glass of water and the server acted like we should be grateful to get that. There were times when the people were coming back from port and everything was closed down tight as a drum. I would personally think the Lido hours should have revolved around the ships schedule and the needs of the customers and not rush to close if people are coming from ports. The entertainment was good, Jude ( the cruise director) was fun and seemed to do a good job. The cabin was very spacious and cleaned every day so that was a plus. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
I will preface by saying this was our 7th cruise overall and 3rd to Alaska, but our first with Holland America. Let's start with what was good. Embarkation was fairly easy and our staterooms were accessible as soon as we boarded. ... Read More
I will preface by saying this was our 7th cruise overall and 3rd to Alaska, but our first with Holland America. Let's start with what was good. Embarkation was fairly easy and our staterooms were accessible as soon as we boarded. Our veranda stateroom was spacious although the layout does make it difficult to move about. The room is well appointed with plenty of storage and the bathroom was the largest of any stateroom we have ever had on any other ship. Our room stewards kept the room clean, tidy and stocked with essentials, but we hardly ever saw them. This was unlike any other cruise we have experienced before where the stewards were ever present and extremely attentive. The Westerdam is a very nice ship. It is well appointed, clean and easy to get around. It goes downhill from there. Communication was poor, inconsistent and inaccurate. Upon arrival at ports of call, no announcements as to where/when/how to disembark. Misinformation by ship's crew members as to where to meet for shore excursions. In Sitka, the time for the last shuttle back to port actually changed by 30 minutes earlier, AFTER we left to go on our excursion. We found out from other passengers while shopping in town and almost missed the last shuttle. So, even though we arrived on time (the only port we did), time was still cut short. Food quality on board was less than what we have experienced on other ships. There was no WOW factor to be found at any of the dining locations and there were several times during the day/evening when food was scarce and what was available during those times, was just plain BAD. Room Service was a game of chance. Not once did we receive what was ordered the first time. On time arrival to ports of call was NOT the Captain's first priority. Shore Excursions were cut short, rescheduled or cancelled due to late arrival into ports (twice by over 2 hours). Funny thing; the Norwegian Pearl left Seattle right behind us and arrived at the first port 2 hours before we did. They left port 2 hours after the Westerdam and still arrived at the next port ahead of us. This remained consistent throughout the cruise resulting in less time at each port of call than what was advertised on the Holland web site. As part of our "cruise package", we received a free dinner in their premium restaurant. Once on board, the certificate indicated we should make dining reservations, but restaurant staff said a day & time would be assigned to us. The day & time assigned conflicted with our prepaid shore excursion and the restaurant staff was unwilling to accommodate and they refused to credit accordingly. Holland America information is so inconsistent that even the route which was advertised on the web site, was not the route we took once on board. I chose our cabin location based on the route map. In short, we will cruise to Alaska again ...just not with Holland America. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
We made a group reservation with our family to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday. The entire family was there. Our problems started just after embarkation when we found out that one of the grandchildren who was definitely part of ... Read More
We made a group reservation with our family to celebrate my mother's 90th birthday. The entire family was there. Our problems started just after embarkation when we found out that one of the grandchildren who was definitely part of our group had been removed from the group. This cruise was originally booked on a prior cruise and because of that the group was afforded Explore 4 benefits which included a free meal at the Pinnacle Grill, up to 15 drinks (alcoholic as well as non-alcoholic) per day, and a 50% reduced deposit. Apparently the reason for her removal (plus husband) from the group was due to her upgrading her room from a D to a VE, for which she paid extra cash. This made no sense because my Mom also upgraded her room from a D to a VE and was NOT removed from the group. The first night of the cruise was my Mom's birthday and we had scheduled the Pinnacle Grill for that evening. We had to fight the front desk as well as the Pinnacle Grill to get them to allow our daughter (plus husband) to join our group. As to the free beverage, one of the folks at the front desk indicated that she would probably be eligible for that so they started using those credits. We found out 3 days into the cruise that the home office decided against our claim and our daughter had to pay extra for the "free" drinks. Luckily, I (as the group coordinator) had ALL the paperwork with me and could prove that what I described really did happen. Most of the front desk people were quite rude with one exception, that of Ms Ninka Bakker, who was quite helpful. The 2nd issue had to do with the birthday cake that I had ordered 3 months prior to our cruise, as well as almost once a month. Apparently, the chefs knew nothing about it, but were able to put a cake together at the last minute. These problems indicate a very faulty management system. One division of the HAL management team does NOT seem to know what the others are doing. They also have an issue with the bean counters getting in the way of customer service. My Mom is a 4 star mariner with HAL, and was very disappointed in their customer service, which according to her has drastically changed for the worse over the years. All in all, I probably spent 8 hours of our cruise on line at the front desk arguing with the individuals there. This did NOT put me in a very good mood. I did enjoy my time on line at the front desk because I got an earful of the problems that other mariners had. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Cruise highly recommended - small ship size, service, & food. Room: Neptune Suites. The cruise through Alaska was beautiful. Things started going downhill when we, sadly, lost cruisers to a plane crash in Ketchikan. I do feel that ... Read More
Cruise highly recommended - small ship size, service, & food. Room: Neptune Suites. The cruise through Alaska was beautiful. Things started going downhill when we, sadly, lost cruisers to a plane crash in Ketchikan. I do feel that the cruise line handled this professionally and respectfully. I purchased a $1000 ring in their fine jewelry shop. Promised a delivery of authenticity to my room on day of departure -did not arrive, Informed concierge & store; both came back w/ promises I would receive it. Did not arrive & one of my prongs broke two months later. The last 24+ hrs. Overflowing toilet & plumbing issues. Couldn't use bathroom/showers. No one offered to move us. We paid quite a hefty price to stay in our suite. We wrote the company; again no response. I would have at least expected an apology/acknowledgement, End result: No certificate of authenticity - ring broke, loss of excursion due to accident, plumbing issues (Sewage) & no apology. Cabin - would have been a five except for plumbing issues Fitness - Thank goodness there was a promenade and I like to run; otherwise, I would not have had an opportunity to work out. Paid for a yoga classes and couldn't even get a mat or a spot on the floor. Yoga was in the middle of the gym which is not where you would want to have conduct a class. Service would have been a five until my experience with my purchase Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
Just returned from Alaska on the Westerdam yesterday. We were so lucky to have sun at every port. This was my 10th sail to Alaska. It was our second HAL experience. We chose this sailing because it included Sitka. I loved Sitka. It was a ... Read More
Just returned from Alaska on the Westerdam yesterday. We were so lucky to have sun at every port. This was my 10th sail to Alaska. It was our second HAL experience. We chose this sailing because it included Sitka. I loved Sitka. It was a quaint port. I enjoyed the tour of St. Michaels. It has an interesting history. Sitka should be on every Alaskan cruise. Not sure why it’s not other than maybe it’s out of the way. I always enjoy seeing Mendenhall in Junea. It’s like visiting an old friend. The cottonwood trees smelled beautiful the day we visited. It was an experience to see this glacier with the sun shining over it. What a beauty. Last time it was misty and the top was covered so it was not a clear view. What a treat this year. Ketchikan was also nice to be there when it was dry and sunny. In Sitka and Juneau we did tours. The tour in Juneau was to Mendenhall and back to the ship. It was basic transportation. I have done combination tours in the past and this time I just wanted to see Juneau. In Sitka we did a tour that was run by a local company booked through the HAL but not owned by HAL. We had a historian running the tour who has lived in Sitka for thirty five years. She was full of knowledge about Sitka. What a difference having someone who lives year round leading your tour rather than the flown in college student who lives there to work for the summer. Nothing against college students trying to make a living but getting a local you get more of the flavor. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. I enjoyed the BB King Blues Band. We went to see them almost every night. They were everything you could hope for in a blues band. Entertaining and made you want to jump up and dance. Some passengers did exactly that! We loved every minute of the show. The Casino was small but I loved it so much I gave as much as I could! LOL. The hostess, Ottie greeted me every evening with a smile and welcomed me back always asking what I did that day. She was so pleasant and we shared a lot of laughs. Vista dining room server Sam was wonderful. He was very professional and courteous. We had a wonderful experience with him. He was “old school”, took pride in his work. I rarely do assigned seating for diner but we decided on it for this cruise and I was happy we made this choice. We sat with some interesting passengers and enjoyed our dining conversations. Room stewards were attentive and greeted us with smiles and good wishes daily. Our few requests were met with quick responses. Our verandah had very worn looking furniture but it was adequate for our needs. I was surprised at how work the furniture was though. It was pretty beat up with mold on the chair pads. We covered them with towels so no big deal. My first stop before visiting my stateroom is always the Spa. We did the tour and signed up for the package to use the hydropool, saunas and thermal beds at our leisure for the week. I booked a treatment (usually I book a few for each cruise) and off I went looking forward to these visits. The next day we were at sea all day and I was excited to make use of the Spa and my treatment. I went to the hydropool and it was filled with passengers enjoying it having drinks in glasses, towels thrown all over the floor and chaises. Looked like a party was in full swing. The hydropool was nice but not relaxing, too noisy with the party goers. I thought good for them having some fun but I would come back when it would be more relaxing for me. I went to the saunas and I found them just ok. They were very small, like being in a closet. I was surprised by the hoses for cooling off, they looked like worn out garden hoses without the spray nozels. The thermal beds were what I had experienced on other ships only they faced a wall of glass looking out to the ocean. What an added treat for thermal beds. I was in my robe with my hair wrapped in a turban and as I was resting feeling great I heard some laughing and loud talking. I opened my eyes to see next to me a man fully dressed in jeans with sneakers on in the bed and next to him another man and a woman, all dressed in street clothes laying in the thermal beds. The chuckling and yacking back and forth between them while I was trying to relax was just too much for me. I thought I would come back later when hopefully things quieted down. As I stepped out of the thermal beds I was in the regular hallway and it was easy to see that everyone was traipsing by in their clothes. This spa is not private or secure. It was a disappointment to me. At no time in the spa other than when you went to the desk were staff around at all. I went back the next day and it was pretty much the same experience. I did not return or book any other treatments on this cruise. The one treatment I did have was good. Not at any point in the Spa did staff pass through to clean up or check on things although we did have lots of passengers checking on us from the windows in the hallways. Lido deck: another warning: Inside and outside were both not up to standards. The servers behind the counters seemed surly. One morning I couldn’t help but giggle when I asked for blueberry pancakes and the server put on small pancake on the large plate and handed it to me. I thought of the Oliver Twist story and wondered if I should dare ask for more. This was constant. I heard passengers all around asking for more please. I was also surprised that no one comes around refilling coffee. It was odd to see folks struggling carrying hot coffee cups around. I could not help observe passengers with walkers struggling with carrying food to their tables. I watched one passenger seat an elder and run back and forth with food for both of them to the table. I wondered why the staff was not noticing this. I asked the woman at one point if I could help her and she was so thankful. She said none of the staff asked her at any point during the cruise if they could help on the Lido deck. We discussed the poor service we both noticed. Outside was not much different. Staff congregated around the bar talking with one another and did not pay any attention to passengers. This was something I have never noticed on a cruise before. One passenger commented that the staff on the Lido deck seemed lethargic. I agreed although I would add surly to the comment of the staff serving in the buffet. It was not unusual to see dirty tables and staff walking by them rather than stopping to clean up. Many times at lunch we would sit down at a dirty table and that was the only way to get the attention of staff to clear it off. I was happy to visit Alaska again and I was thrilled that we had a week of sun for this trip. I was disappointed with HAL, it did not live up to my expectations. One thing for sure, they have the selling on the ship down perfectly. Service and food quality need work. My first trip to Alaska was on the Volendam ten years ago, this was not the HAL I remembered. They leave a lot to be desired for cruising. I look forward to cruising again but not on HAL. As far as I am concerned HAL has a lot to learn and perhaps they could take some tips from Princess cruise line. Princess knows how to do it when it comes to service. I will be trying Royal Caribbean this December so it will be a new experience all together for me. Happy sailings. Mimi Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was the 4th time we sailed with Holland America we have sailed on the amsterdam. the osterdam and the westerdam twice. The quality of ship and services have slowly become worse each time. Poor quality and choices of food except the ... Read More
This was the 4th time we sailed with Holland America we have sailed on the amsterdam. the osterdam and the westerdam twice. The quality of ship and services have slowly become worse each time. Poor quality and choices of food except the formal dinners. Room service was terrible. Orders wrong most of the time, and when it did arrive it was barely warm. One handicap toilet near the show room was clogged for days.( I am handicapped.) Lots of times when walking down hallways sewage odor in the air. Had to have sink unclogged Had to have verandah light replaced which I believe should be checked before sailing Had a fire scare which turned out not to be serious. The same thing happened on one of their June 2014 sailings it had to turn around and go back to Seattle for a few hours. So happy sailing to all. Think twice about sailing with Holland America Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
C+
I just returned from a 1 week inside passage cruise on the Westerdam. This was my 16th cruise-only the second on Holland. I have cruised on Celebrity, RC, Disney, and Princess. This was a family reunion cruise of 3 adults in their ... Read More
I just returned from a 1 week inside passage cruise on the Westerdam. This was my 16th cruise-only the second on Holland. I have cruised on Celebrity, RC, Disney, and Princess. This was a family reunion cruise of 3 adults in their 50's, 2 in their mid-late twenties, and 2 late teens/early 20's. While we all enjoyed our journey this was not a high quality cruising experience. We are an active group and did non cruise line activies at each port. My sense of the service/staff on this boat was that they were not trained well in customer service. As an example, the waiter at our table (Table 71) never introduced himself to us and barely uttered a word and almost never smiled during our dinner services. I found this to be quite odd and unusual, as typically wait staff on cruises are highly motivated to be friendly, helpful and engaging. Our group as a whole were fairly easy to please and always thanked him for his service. One evening my daughter left a graduation gift on the table. She contacted the dining room staff and later the main desk on Level1 and was told the gift was not found. I find it hard to believe that it wasn't found on the table during the clean up after our second seating dining-when there were very few passengers in the dining room. The food was inconsistent. Some meals were wonderful, others were very unpleasant. The portion sizes were at times minute-and I am not a big eater. Our best meal was in The specialty dining Grille restaurant. Although I have to point out it did not compare to the specialty restaurants I have eaten at on Celebrity ships (such as the Murano Restaurant on Solstice). The boat itself had some attractive areas-such as the main dining room, library/computer/specialty coffee restaurant on Deck 12. The cabin we had, 1099-was bare basic in nature with completely drab colors and decoration. The entertainment was ok, but not particularly varied or of memorable quality. One notable exception was the piano player in the Piano Lounge next to the casino. He was wonderfully talented, has charisma and attracted a fun crowd every evening. He should be applauded for his efforts and talents. The staff in the ART gallery/auctions were wonderful and quite entertaining. I enjoyed attending their talks and auctions. Overall this cruise did not measure up to similar cruises on Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Princess-in terms of quality of customer service, quality of food, and general attractiveness of the ship. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This trip it was for my husband and me to celebrate our twelve year anniversary we decided on Alaska because it leaves from our home port in Seattle so no flying score!! We were in a Verandah signature suite we both had the unlimited drink ... Read More
This trip it was for my husband and me to celebrate our twelve year anniversary we decided on Alaska because it leaves from our home port in Seattle so no flying score!! We were in a Verandah signature suite we both had the unlimited drink package and one dinner in their specialty restaurant the Pinnacle Grill from our TA. Port 4 out of 5- The new Seattle port is nice but if you are from out of town there is nothing near it shopping and food are pretty far away. Getting to port was a snap we pay for parking in Seattle already so we just parked for the seven days we were gone in our secure parking garage from here we simply ordered an Uber to transport us to the port. We were able to be dropped right outside the port and get right into the security line there were a lot of people so this line was pretty long it took maybe twenty minutes to get through security and checked in at the desk. We were able to walk right on the ship after taking our boarding photo. Stateroom 5 out of 5- Our room was ready as soon as we got on this was a nice thing about the cruise line and our room was nice it was large and had a nice bathtub with jets and more than enough room for the both of us my husband would be spending a lot of time in it. There were the basic TV channels mostly focused on the Alaska team gold panning shows and deadliest cache along with the shopping and movie channels. You were able to get DVDs from a menu in room. If we would have brought our children this room would have felt cramped but still have the room to function with all four of us. The best thing was the veranda this is a Alaska cruise so that was so important to us I enjoyed sitting outside with a blanket and hot coffee and looking at the ocean my husband would spend most of the trip sick so this was a blessing to keep him from going stir crazy. If you can do it get a veranda it is worth the price to see the Alaska land float by. Food I am going to just breaking dining into where we ate I would Give the food a 3 out of 5 due to a few special dishes we enjoyed but in all found the food to be lacking what I was hoping for it needs more fresh seafood choices for this itinerary Room Service -We also ordered room service nearly every morning and some lunch and snack items our service was good and the food was as good as room service food usually is I enjoyed their club sandwich a lot and this is a good option for people just relaxing in their verandas for the day or those who are less happy with the dining options. One of the evening formal night we were able to order the same dinner from the main dining to our room instead of doing formal night we got the lobster and beef options and they were ok. Main Dining Room- we ate at twice for dinner I ate lunch here a few time though the week lunches were fine nothing too over the top I usually had salads and soups. We were not impressed at all with the food in the main dining room it took too long from the time we ordered to the time it was delivered I usually understand that there are so many people all wanting to eat at the same time however our food was never totally right it would be cooked wrong or cold when we finally received it. We also thought that the menu choices were lacking for a cruise to Alaska we expected more options to follow that itinerary then they offered. There were few desserts that sounded appealing and I love desert .My go to dessert will always be crème brulee when I am unable to find something to interest me and I usually only eat the top. This trip on two nights I ordered this outside the specialty first night there was just cream not sugary burnt top that I love, and the second was so thick that it stuck to my teeth it was so chewy this was a big disappointment and a painful one as it pulled on a crown I have. On the one formal night I attended they had crab that was surprisingly good that they pre-crack this was a nice way to eat without the mess. Pinnacle Grill- was amazing we had appetizers of Lobster Bisque and Dungeness Crab Cakes both were delicious for our main course my husband had the Cedar Planked Halibut with Shrimp Scampi and asparagus for the both of us along with mushrooms I had the West Coast-Style Seafood Cioppino it was also delicious. The staff was quick and checked in on us often but not so much that we felt rushed. For dessert I had the crème Brulee as did my husband it was very good and I wish we would have chosen to eat here the rest of the trip. Lido Buffet- After boarding we decided to check out the Lido buffet. In short it was busy and since we are not allowed to serve ourselves until two days into the trip just getting water took an exorbitantly long time. As far as buffets go this one was less than impressive for its choices I understand this cruise is set for an older crowd but the flavor was missing from most dishes like they picked to not use salt and other spices. This was basic food that you expect from a buffet it was not the worst ever but I have seen better on cruise ships. We would go here late at night for a snack to tide us over as we usually do on trips and the late night offerings were so limited that we usually just got pastries or some kind of pasta. We also believe this is where my husband’s food poisoning came from unfortunately. Canaletto- was a nice little restaurant that they portion off some of lido for we enjoyed our food we had the sausage penne and the clams the clams were amazing and I was so sad not eat them one more time before we left they were out of this world and would be the only thing to get me back on this ship. This Restaurant is a share plate so we got large portions of what was ordered outside the appetizer to share with each other family style. We ordered a few extra things to try but the pasta we got and the clams did it for us. This was another place I wish we would have gone to more than once. We also ate burgers by the pool and the pizza these where pretty standard to all ships we also hit the cafe many times for coffee and pastries they also were in line with what we normally would get on other cruise ships. Outside of the specialty eating there was nothing that impressed us food wise and this was upsetting since we like to try all the options we felt that if we decided to do this trip on this ship again we would book specialty throughout the trip and skip the other options. On the day we tour Glacier Park they serve split pea soup my husband said it was good I do not like split pea so I did not partake but it is one of his favorite soups. Service 3 out of 5-I am mixed about the service it was not bad in general our steward was ok he cleaned our room and did what they are supposed to do he was not too friendly a theme I found though the ship. Coming off a Disney Cruise this service was a surprise and I Understand that they are not the same but there was really no personal interaction with our steward or other ship crew. Our dining staff was hit and miss also the order time took so long and they never checked in during our meal perhaps because of the drink package there was no check in to see if we wanted another drink or how our meal was we saw them for our order and then when the food was brought again no personal interaction or warmth. We only did the dining room twice for dinner so perhaps the service would have improved. The staff though the ship was fine there was one waiter I saw and he was amazing he always asked if I needed more drinks and was just in generally happy and helpful I gave him an additional tip at the end of the cruise because he was so nice. There just was not the friendliness I was hoping for it was not bad service it just was not great service. Entertainment 3 out of 5 - The entertainment was lacking on this ship perhaps because it was supposed to be relaxing but still there was not much going on after 9pm. The show Recycled Percussion was amazing and I enjoyed the shows so much I looked into going to their show in Las Vegas this show was fun loud and entertaining and I wish the rest of the entertainment keep up with this show this was the only reason I gave a 3. I also saw the magic/comedy show in the theater it was good there were some funny part this was something that kids could go to and you would feel fine about what they would hear. The production show about the fairy tales was interesting however I found my mind wondering though it that they really need to add more spice to the show it was pretty boring but cute in some ways. Bingo was good it and not just because I won but they tried to keep the crowd entertained and there were a lot of people so that was good. Bingo is no fun when there are ten people you miss the energy of lots of people. Bingo is Bingo it was pricy like all ships but if like me you enjoy a game when you cruise this ship did it well. Ports 4 out of five - The ports were fun we did not do ship excursions instead we got off and explored on our own looking at the shops and getting lunches. We liked the ports we went early May so the weather was hit and miss one port we got off simply to see my step sister and nephew in Sika the town was quaint and cute and the sun was shining. In Juneau it poured cats and dogs but we still got off to see the shops and look around there were lots of shops within walking of the ship this was true in all the ports. Ketchikan was a blast mostly due to where we ate we had the best crab and clam strips ever and we cannot wait to back there again it was the Crab Cracker seafood bar. Victoria we got in late 6 pm not really anything open so we walked to the marina area then had dinner at a restaurant next to the ship. We liked the Alaska water views and the cute shops we purchased some birch syrups and candies and I suggest picking these up in Alaska I Had never heard of it until then and the candy birch Carmel where chocolate covered caramel they had a slight root beer taste that was not bad at all the syrups were also a nice alternative to maple. You will be able to find the items all around the ports I always try to get one new thing when I go places that I just do not have at home and the candy was a hit with my kids also. While we liked Glacier Bay that was a part of the cruise I was not too happy about simply that there really was not much information about activities. There one guide doing talks but it was the same thing we hear over and over again on the TV. I did not see any real interesting workshops or classes about the area most of it was about the sale on cheap cruise items. There was a presentation about people native to Alaska and their culture that was really good but this was not widely showcased and I only found out about it because it was before bingo so I only heard the last part of it and there really were not many people I think due to there being no real advertisement they really need to add more to this day at the glacier park or at least let people know in a better way what is offered. Drink package 3 out of five - I was really the only one to try and take advantage of this due to my husband not feeling well I tried to order a variety of options to see what I liked and all of them were pretty good I liked mixed drinks and those are hard to mess up. There seemed to be an ample amount of liquor to the mixers this made good drinks. An issue however was that it took a long time to get that drink or to reorder I would hate to think that this was due to the package compared to buying per drink but it really felt like it was. I would stand at a bar and have two or more people served before I was when I was there first this was upsetting and only started after the first day or two when they knew who I was and the package I had. I loved not having to worry about the cost at the end of the trip. I think that if my husband had been feeling better I would have gotten more use from it. It covered everything I asked for and as long as you are not looking at twenty dollar drinks you should be covered in what you like to drink. We enjoyed the bar that overlooks the water we would go sit there on port days and enjoy a nice drink and they always had good drinks. Shopping 2 out of 5- I like to look at the shopping on cruise ships and I like to buy but this ship was lacking a lot they did have the blowout sales were the cheap stuff is even cheaper however there was really nothing to inspire me to shop. The jewelry was lacking they should have focused more on Alaska items instead of the same jewelry you see every cruise. There was not a lot of draw you in items that make you want to shop. We bought some alcohol and a watch since I misplaced mine and I like my watch but usually I can find a few things to bring back but all my shopping was in port since there so few things outside unimpressive t-shirts and Holland Alaska items . I would like to see a little more customization on the shops a lot of ships now are get cute boutiques and that is something that would really help this ships shopping. They were constantly announcing the sales instead of the things to do around the ship this was annoying. We all know that there are sales but being reminded every twenty minutes was a bit much instead they should focus on promoting the shows and classes instead of the cheap Alaska T-shirts. Kids Clubs- We did not bring our kids on this trip but I can say I would not bring my kids on this ship. I looked around and there was almost zero things in the cruise planner or around the ship to keep them from going crazy in fact I do not think I saw any kids at all. I do not know how the clubs for children where but I Would guess like the rest of the ship they would be lacking. All in all it was nice to see Alaska’s and we plan on seeing Alaska again next summer but we will not be doing it on Holland America again. The age of the people was mid 50’s and up and that was kind of what we were looking for a nice laid back cruise to relax without our children, however even the older people were saying there seemed to be nothing to do. There were just too many negatives for me to spend the money to go again perhaps if it was an amazing deal but even then I would not guarantee it. We are not really party all night people but If you are under mid 50’s run to another line would be my advice in fact 50’s and up should run also this ship was just too quiet we wanted relaxing not drop dead boring. Ship: ms WESTERDAM Category: SY Stateroom Number: 8083 Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We had not been on Holland America in over 10 years and we will definitely never sail with them again. I knew even before we sailed that this cruise was going to be a solid week of being nickel-and-dimed. Rather than sending cruise ... Read More
We had not been on Holland America in over 10 years and we will definitely never sail with them again. I knew even before we sailed that this cruise was going to be a solid week of being nickel-and-dimed. Rather than sending cruise documents, the passengers must now print their own documents as well as their own luggage tags. This took me a very long time since I was doing it for 5 people. That would have been okay, except for the fact that at the VERY end of this process the passenger is informed that Holland America was putting a $480 PER PERSON hold on our credit card until our bill was paid at the end of the cruise. Did Holland America think that we would try to get off the ship without paying our bill? They had the credit card number! Why insult the passengers by insinuating that we couldn't pay our bill? So, I was annoyed before we even stepped on the ship. We had booked 2 connecting suites for ourselves, 1 adult son and 2 10 year old grandsons. The suites were adequate, nothing special. Storage and closet space was sufficient for a 7 day cruise, but definitely not for a longer trip. The cabin basically just looked tired, in need of a good sprucing up. The bathroom was also adequate, but I would have preferred a glass door on the shower, rather than an old shower curtain that had probably not been cleaned or replaced in years. There were virtually no bathroom amenities either. There were no cotton balls or Q-tips, only 1 small bar of hand soap between the two sinks and rather than bottles of shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, etc, there were gallon size products attached to the shower wall, like you would find in a gym. There was no bath soap at all, which I would have preferred to the gel. I am making an issue of this, because it is indicative to me of how everything on Holland America is done "on the cheap." We had signed up for "open seating" at dinner, which according to the website allowed us to come to the dining room anytime between 5:30-9pm. However, when we boarded the ship we were told that open seating would end at 7 pm and that we had to be seated by then. Apparently, this was because there was a very large group of about 800 people on board who were all doing late seating and had reserved the lower level of the dining room for their group. Shortly after boarding the ship I tried to make dinner reservations for 6:45 every night and was told that no reservations were available, it could only be done 2 days ahead of time and we would have to "take our chances." I believe that this group should not have been able to have the run of the dining room; but, at the very least, our travel agent should have been informed about the limitations to "open dining" on this cruise. The first night on the ship we were finishing our dinner at about 8:20 and the maitre d' came over to our table and told us that we would have to leave because the table was needed for the next group. People at a table near ours were told the same thing and they had not yet even ordered dessert! The service in the dining room was mediocre and actually improper. Plates were grabbed from the table as soon as a guest put down his fork, often leaving one person still eating while everyone else had nothing in front of them. After 3 days of this I was really furious and spoke to the Maitre d" who, of course, was apologetic, and said that his staff was not trained to do that and that there was no intention of rushing us through our meal. He also asked if there was anything else he could do for us and I said that I would like 6:30 dinner reservations at a specific table for the rest of the cruise. He did agree to that, but only because I had complained and made my expectations very clear. It certainly wasn't out of any real desire to please the guests. As for the food, I think that "barely edible" covers it. The menus were truly bizarre and five out of the seven nights I ended up requesting a plain grilled chicken breast and a baked potato because there was not a single other thing that I would have eaten. Even at breakfast the food was not fresh or hot and had obviously been sitting out for quite a while. One day when I asked for an omelette I was told that it would take a long time to prepare, an obvious attempt to discourage my special order. We tried the Lido twice and both times it was chaotic, with very long lines and food that was definitely not worth the wait. At the end of the cruise, the gentleman who was the head of the section of the dining room where we usually sat, came over to our table and spent a good ten minutes trying to convince me to give him and our waiters a positive review. Ironically, there was no place on the evaluation form to provide a compliment to a particularly helpful crew member. I wouldn't have done it anyway, since a compliment should be given freely, not because it has been requested. Holland America's website made it sound as if there would be an interesting, active program for kids. It was, in fact, pathetic. The room where activities were held was small and under equipped. The days listing of activities was uninteresting. My grandsons went twice to play some version of dodgeball and would never go back. Other than the day we were in Glacier Bay, there were no activities geared to Alaska, despite the "Jr. Rangers" program that was advertised. The kids were already so turned off by the whole thing that they decided not to go to hear the Park Ranger speak. More than anything else, I resented the constant feeling of being nickeled and dimed. There was a $12 per day per person "hotel service charge" added to our bill, which we had never been told about. Virtually everything we did resulted in an additional charge. One very cold afternoon I wanted a cup of tea and had to pay for that. The one bottle of water in our room came with a notice that there was a $2.50 charge for it. Many of the so-called lectures were actually attempts to get us to spend money. There was virtually no place to sit and relax without being assaulted by waiters offering us drinks. I actually counted 15 bars on the ship! I really could go on about all the things we found wrong with Holland America, but I think I have made my point. I should also explain that over the last 10 years we have sailed only on Crystal or Regent (17 on Crystal, 4 on Regent), so I am very well aware of how things should be done. For someone who has only cruised on the mass market lines, the things that bothered me would probably not have been big issues; but for those who are used to the upscale lines, I suggest sticking with those. When all is said and done, the cost of the upscale lines is not that much more than the mass market lines because so much more is included. Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Thinking about taking a nice relaxing cruse on the Westerdam, think again! Better pack your EAR PLUGS and a GAS MASK. Heres my familys 7day Alaskan trip. July 16, 2006 Sunday room 1107 -- After our family arrived in our stateroom we ... Read More
Thinking about taking a nice relaxing cruse on the Westerdam, think again! Better pack your EAR PLUGS and a GAS MASK. Heres my familys 7day Alaskan trip. July 16, 2006 Sunday room 1107 -- After our family arrived in our stateroom we could not help but notice the noisy commotion coming from under our room. Coming from somewhere directly below us was the banging of hammers (so loud making the floor vibrate) a drilling noise and metal grinders. We excitingly unpack looking forward to our great relaxing trip. Hoping the noise would cease when we left port, we said nothing. July 17, 2006 Monday room 1107 -- Monday started off just as noisy as the day before. Again all the same noises we heard yesterday. They started up and never stopped the entire day. We spoke with Sheila Arcilla (day manager) and she informed us that this construction was part of the daily maintenance and it would go on until the job was done. That it was an environmental job and it would get done no matter how long it took. But they would only go on until late afternoon. When we left for dinner at 6:00 p.m. the noise was still going on. After a day and a half of this we were told that there was a room available down the hall and we could have it, but only during the day for the next two days. Another family was coming in two days and it was their room when we reached Juneau. We could sleep in our room at night and relax in another room during the day. This was not what we wanted to do. We just tried to stay away from our room during day light hours. July 18, 2006 Tuesday room 1107/1087 -- Today the pounding and noise was still there. We explained that we still werent happy with all the racket and vibration. We have been quite pleasant considering the circumstances. My husband has been doing most of the communicating now. I am starting to get somewhat irritated. We try to explain that we have come on vacation to relax and that just wasnt happening. They have agreed to let us have the other room 1087 for the duration of the trip. We packed up all our stuff. Put it back in our suitcases and we moved everything to the other room 1087. There was no more noise. Although, the room was noise free that first night in our new room we were awakened at about 4:00 a.m. to an extremely strong smell of bacon coming from our air vent. By the time morning had arrived we could barely stand it. We did not say anything to the front desk. Embarrassed that everything is going wrong, I told my dad, who was on the cruise as well. My dad went to the front desk and informed them of our newest problem. We talked with Lizabeth. Lizabeth said that the vents were probably stuck from the galley and that she would look into it. July 19, 2006 Wednesday 1087 -- The day and night went well. With the exception of the bathroom floor drain backing up in the bathroom. This happened after one of our showers. Chunky black water smelling like rotten eggs came up through the floor surrounding the toilet. When the water receeded it left a black residue all over the floor. We threw towels on the floor in order to use the bathroom. We did not go to the front desk with this new disaster we just informed our room attendant Abdul who took care of the mess. There was no galley smell this night/morning. July 20, 2006 Thursday 1087 -- Smell back. We are awakened to the sickening smell once again around 4:00 a.m. We get out of bed open our door to the hallway to clear out our room. This seems to work. We sleep with the door open for the rest of the night. Talked with Lizabeth again. She said that the wind must have changed and thats why the smell is back. She said that she would move us again if there were an open room, but there were not any available. We are beginning to lose it. We have been very patient and have been extremely polite. July 21, 2006 Friday 1087/1065 -- Bathroom backs up again and our sleep is interrupted once more by cooking bacon. The combination smell is indescribable. We call the night manager, Taufik. He arrives at around 4:00 a.m. and states that it is awful and that we have to leave to another room. This is unbelievable. I cannot even talk I am so mad. We gather up our family at 4:30 am and wander down the hall to our new room again! We are now moved to room 1065. This is now our 3rd room. Carla (from the front office) calls at 10:00 a.m. to ask how we slept and wakes us up. We havent had a good night sleep except for Wednesday. I am angry and spitting nails, but I keep my composure. Getting very tired of all of this. No sleep and the aggravation of the entire mess. They put a ventilator in our room for the rest of the night, whats left of it, so that when we return to our smelly room the following day the smell will have been filtered out. I cannot tell you how grateful I am that they are being so gracious! July 22, 2006 Saturday 1065 -- Today we are told that if we want to we can use the same room again tonight. We think we should considering we have not had any luck with our first two rooms. We tell them that we will sleep in the new room; they said they would have it ready for us. We are not willing to pack up everything for a third time. We decide to just take what we need and travel down the hall once more when it is time for bed. We napped most of the day. Extremely tired. That evening we gather up what we need and head down the hall to room 1065 for the second night. The room is not ready for us; there is a rack of bathrobes in the middle of the room, a pile of used sheets on the only chair in the room and they know we have our 10 year old son with us I guess they expect him to sleep on the couch without any sheets or blankets. I call the front desk and a cabin attendant comes and retrieves all the mess, makes up the sofa bed and apologizes for not having our room ready. You would think that this has got to be the end to this story. There isnt much night left but no, it not over yet. Later that night after we are all in bed all comfortable in our third room. We need to use the restroom in the middle of the night. Low and behold the door to the bathroom is locked (of course) and we cannot use it. AGAIN, I call the front desk and ask that someone come and unlock our bathroom. After the attendant leaves my son says to me mom just breath. Bon Voyage! P.S. I want to let you know how sympathetic Westerdam was to our situation. They were extremely apologetic after ever incident. They always said how sorry they were. They always said too bad there wasnt an open room, but would eventually move us to an empty room. They were gracious beyond words they offered us a huge $200.00 off our on board bill. I cannot tell you how this offer made us feel. These facts are true. Even though they are to hard believe. My husband and I agree on the facts, but we cannot remember if Wednesday took place on Thursday or visa/versa. With all the things that went wrong it was hard to remember which disaster happened on which day. That is the only thing we are sketchy on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2006
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabin 4.0 N/A
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness & Recreation 4.0 N/A
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursions 4.0 N/A
Enrichment Activities 4.0 N/A
Service 4.5 4.3
Value for Money 4.5 N/A

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