20 Holland America Line Westerdam Cruises for the Disabled Cruise Reviews

This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had ... Read More
This was my second HAL cruise, and I have to say from the top my biggest disappointment was that there were no Educational lectures like I had my first cruise. If this is not a regular HAL experience, I apologize, but my first cruise had college professors in Geology and History that packed the theater with their amazing quality. We also had short language classes before ports to practice how to say hello and thank you. I started to tell people that HAL was "cruising for smart people". I asked several HAL veterans on board and they told me that what I experienced the first time is the norm. When asking the crew on the Westerdam about this, I had several different responses. One was that "HAL has changed", another said, "We had professors booked but because of the holidays they cancelled". I was really disappointed to find out that I would not be learning much history or language basics which would have been awesome for this itinerary. I was on the Westerdam for 28 nights- Hong Kong north to China/ Japan/ Taiwan then from Hong Kong to Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand. This itinerary is fascinating, though it became tiresome toward the end, mostly because these ports are often far from the main sites and involved a daily haggling with taxi drivers that is perpetually a pain in the butt. In the few ports that we could walk off the ship into an actual town, they became most people's favorites. Independence and simplicity leads to more exploration and happiness. My favorite part of the ship would be the people. The "Cruise Director" now called "EXC something", was a very friendly and informative host named Jeremy who gave the port talks to a packed audience and was great at this. He also hosted a book club which was nice, but HAL has screwed this up by calling it "Oprah's Reading Room" which is not at all obvious that it is a book club discussion. My first 2 weeks I just happened to see it because I wanted a quiet place to read, and so I joined for the 2nd 2 weeks and only 2 passengers showed up for the discussion. The other gem is Phil the "EXC Port Specialist". He does not sell tours, he knows nothing about them, but if you want to know the cost of a taxi, or the walking distance to a temple, this guy knows it all. He had a desk that people would gather around, and it was awesome just to stand around listening to the questions so you could make your own plans. Thanks to Jeremy and Phil, I did all of my port excursions on my own except for 1 tour (and that was a disappointment and waste of money). Julie, was another stand out for me, I am not sure of her title, but she was there for each ports disembarkation and was the organizer and boss, I really liked someone taking control and making sure people were in the correct queue, had their ID ready. We needed that. The captain, Vincent Smit was present in a good way- not just social but if there seemed to be a problem he made his presence made. One example I have- in Nga Trang we had to tender to our port. He was concerned about possible winds and made that very clear the day before, and he was by the tenders making sure of the weather. Unfortunately I was on the first tender to shore and the tide was low, making the departing step extremely high (imagine doing a lunge to the step and then limbo your head under the roof of the tender). Every person was able to make this step with assistance but because I have a disability, it seemed very dangerous for me to attempt it with crew who did not know my strength. I went back to ship, not angry because my disability always leaves a possibility for me to miss out, but when the captain saw I had returned he seemed upset and asked me what happened. He explained that the port is responsible for the dock and he has asked for a floating dock which would not change with the tides, but it has not happened. He then showed me the tidal charts and explained the best time to go (waiting 3 hours), but I decided not to risk it. The entertainment for this cruise was just so-so. I think it is because there are not as many options in Asia and there isn't the chance of new blood at each port. We did have an amazing female pianist that was so good that I cried to think she was wasting her talent on cruise ships. But, we also had a "mentalist" so bad that I groaned when I saw he was returning another night! Overall, this is the first cruise I've been on that I skipped the theater a few nights- not just the poor entertainment but also the crowd who thought that heavy perfume and talking the entire show was acceptable. I know companies don't want to upset people, but for health reasons we could ban perfume just like public smoking. All that coughing in the theater would decrease. I loved BB Blues Club- the talent on that stage was incredible. I guess if there was one complaint it was that the songs get repeated less- I went as often as I could in 28 days, and the same songs would repeat every 2 days or so. Loved Billboard's Dueling Pianos- super talented duo that put on a great show. The Lincoln Center was nice, but I was not overwhelmed with their talent. America's Test Kitchen I never went- seems like you could just watch food network with your time. Food- the dining room was above and beyond for me. Great staff, lots of options, and quality. I am a foodie and was impressed, and also happy that it was not overly salted like some cruises. The burger place by the pool was also very good. The Lido was disappointing as far as quality and compared to my last Rotterdam experience, but it was fine because I rarely went, and must have been good enough for the general hoardes because it was often packed. Tours. I took one and was not happy. First, the tour desk people were not very educated about what they were selling. They had not taken the tours themselves so they would call a guide for questions. I booked my one tour online, it was listed as "Easy", but later I happened to be at their desk and saw that the tour was listed as "moderate". When I asked, they said, "Oh, always look at the book, it is the most accurate." They then clarified with the guide that the tour was listed as moderate because it was 7 hours long (lots of bus time), and we would have to get on and off the bus 4 times, but the total walking was less than 1 mile. So, I went, but had 2 falls. I have been to Cambodia before and I am aware of the primitive conditions, but I did not expect a HAL tour to go into a market with uneven tiles that flipped when you walked on them or to walk us along the shoulder of a highway as trucks zoomed by inches away. The tour was chaotic with 1 guide for a bus load of people as we navigated the busy market and later a little village. We had a nice lunch but paid $270 for this day. Holidays- this was a Christmas and NYE cruise and I was really impressed with these events. There was a Santa day for the kids, we sang Carols by the tree one day, decorations throughout the ship were very festive, and the dinners and special treats were great. I know one person here complained about New Years. NYE was a port day- overnight in Bangkok which a lot of people took advantage of. I was back on the ship for dinner- a very nice one- and I will admit that after dinner there was a slight lack of entertainment. But, that is all understandable given that the entire ship was involved in a show that started at 11 and went well into the early morning. Up on the top deck the BB King Blues Band played an excellent set. The captain, officers, and their families were there and the crew put a great effort into making an ice display, handed out free champagne, and there was a special buffet in the Lido. I was impressed! I expected a 1/2 glass of free champagne but was instead offered several refills. The music, the decor, the happiness of everyone around was very special. If anyone says there wasn't entertainment, it was because they went to bed early! Overall the ship was nice, though a little old. My inside cabin was one of the smaller cabins I have been in for a while. But, the Westerdam makes it up with such pleasant crew and cleanliness. I know I made a choice in choosing the cheapest cabin, and I guess I have been a bit spoiled by getting upgraded by other cruise lines, so I can't complain. Overall, I would choose this ship for sure- mostly because of the live music options. But, I would only choose HAL over other lines in the future if I am sure that the educational component is back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. ... Read More
Previously cruised the Med on New Amsterdam and had a great cruise. Sadly this did not meet our expectations. We spent 2 days in Hong Kong before sailing as my husband wanted to sail around Hong Kong harbour on a Star ferry. Embarkation was very smooth and quick though we weren't asked to fill in a health questionnaire which was unusual. The hygiene on board left a lot to be desired. We have been on many cruises with different cruise lines. This is the only one where passengers were able to enter the dining areas and return on board without sanitising their hands. I mentioned this to the nurse who said they would increase sanitation if there was an outbreak! Entertainment in the theatre was very poor. We left and didn't return when a pianist, supposedly having played on Broadway, started playing 'Raindrops Keep Falling on my Head' on a ukulele and singing out of tune! The Port talks were excellent and it was good to be able to go to deck 10 for more 1st hand info. Our restaurant waiter was not the happiest person and on a couple of occasions quite rude. He quickly took plates away and brought the next course before everyone on the table had finished. I pointed this out which he did not like. The food was average. Lido food was ok but a bit repetitive. A disappointment after the New Amsterdam 3 yrs ago. Despite booking a disabled cabin and giving all details to HAL stating that my husband was a full time wheelchair user, unable to walk, not 1 port had accessible transport or shuttle and many no taxis available. He travelled to Asia for the 1st time on a special holiday and couldn't go on any tours. He should have been told this when he booked. The ship was so quiet in the evening. After dinner, unless you went to the Blues Band (limited wheelchair space) or pianists which were next to the noisy casino, it was like the Marie Celeste. Sadly I don't think we will cruise with Holland America again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2018
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never ... Read More
We were invited to join some friends on this cruise. Since my partner hates to fly and this left from our Hometown of San Diego-we decided to give it at try. We are 2 star Mariners and although we've been on many cruises but never one with so many sea days and we were apprehensive. We booked a balcony VB4166. The room is standard but the veranda is twice as large as the others on the upper promenade ( not including Neptune Suites) as we enjoy entertaining and spending time out there. We were unable to spend much time out there as the weather was very windy at times on the way to HI but when we were able there was maintenance going on directly below us and on the aft Lido deck. It was very annoying. They called and offered us earplugs which we considered laughable. In the end they did give us a credit off our bill which was very welcome. Early dining was okay. We were seated at a table of ten and lucked out with our table mates.I considered the menu to have little variation ( the first 3 nights-peppered tenderloin was offered). If you don't like cilantro or fish there isnt much to choose from, Our servers were very nice but not really personable and the food was mediocre many nights. Wine steward was really seen. Our room stewards were excellent and the bar staff on the Lido deck were terrific! Ocean bar too. Overall we enjoyed this cruise and even though we are seniors (69 &73) I would say that most passengers were much older and less mobile than most. if you're looking for a younger crowd and late entertainment check out a different cruise. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea ... Read More
We scheduled this cruise because it gave us six days on four islands (with an overnight in Honolulu) which seemed to balance out the sea days. It also included a night passing of Kilauea with the spectacular sight of lava entering the sea the highlight of the cruise for me. We have sailed with HAL before on other long cruises and knew that it would be an older crowd (I think only 8 children) with more sedate activities and that was not a concern. We met a lot of interesting people while sailing, often folks who had sailed the same itinerary many times. The Westerdam itself was a very nice ship though larger than we prefer. Considering it is about to go in for refurbishing, it was attractive and in very good condition, not too worn. Our cabin (6046) was behind the elevators but not at all noisy. Our room stewards (Tutu and Gede) were excellent; they knew our names right away, figured out our schedules quickly but worked around days when we spent extra time in the cabin, and were extremely helpful when we had a scooter problem. The balcony even got cleaned off from the collected sea salt several times during sea days. Front desk and shore excursion staff were also quite good. You can tell that there have been cuts to staff in the Lido and dining room as service was not what it once was--but we were usually very well satisfied. In the Lido I saw staff going out of their way to assist some of the many passengers with disabilities--and several times a crew member would carry my plate and drink to the table for me. It was, however, often hard to find someone to clear plates or fill water, especially at dinner. We had open seating dining and this worked well for us since we were willing to share a table. We typically had breakfast and lunch in the Lido where the selection and quality of food were good. I especially liked eggs cooked to order and sushi availability. Hamburgers by the pool and pizza at the Italian station were also good. Soft ice cream availability by the pool was missed. Room service for breakfast was disappointing since the menu is now much more limited--but we did discover that if you wrote something on the order sheet that wasn't on the menu (like bagels and cream cheese) they would provide it. Menu for dinner in the dining room seemed more limited than it used to be, especially the first week, but the food was good. The Lido dinner menu was similar but with the hot appetizers and cold soups missing. One disappointment was that on an 18 day cruise we only had lobster available one night (it was excellent!). Even in the Pinnacle Grill (pay extra restaurant) you pay extra extra for lobster. Perhaps that is why it often seemed almost empty. We had lunch in the Pinnacle one afternoon and enjoyed the quiet there. Our first evening we ate in Canneloni, the extra pay Italian restaurant up on the Lido deck, but find the new menu not nearly as much to our liking as the old. Service was excellent. For us days at sea are for reading, relaxing, talking to people and attending shipboard activities. HAL seems to be cutting back on libraries which is a shame. Entertainment in the showroom was varied and enjoyable, especially the magician and floutist. Unfortunately, if you didn't get there 45 minutes before the early show you wound up with a seat behind a pole or no seat at all. If there was only one show for the night it was even worse. This was the biggest complaint I had with the cruise--seats filling up long before the events and full rooms--which to me is a sign that there was not enough going on from which to choose. This was the case for the showroom, movies, trivia, afternoon tea, cooking demos, pretty much everything. This makes it even more annoying when some people insist on "saving" the better part of a row of seats for friends who come much later. Teas are now in the Ocean Bar--and I miss them being in the dining room (at least some of the time). Educational talks were not as good as I expected from past experience in that they were often not related to the Hawaiian itinerary (really--the Bermuda Triangle when you are mid-Pacific?). The talk as we sailed by the lava flow at midnight was only available in the Crows Nest but the sound should have been broadcast on stateroom TVs for those like us who wanted to watch in PJs. The group of Hawaiian entertainers who were onboard as we sailed to Hawaii were charming and did a very nice job with making leis, teaching hula, etc. The pool area was not often too crowded to find a spot and was enjoyable. Sometimes the pool was like a wave machine but the hot tubs were usable most of the time. Shore excursions did a good job of making things do-able for passengers with disabilities (thank you Debbie). At tender ports the crew members were wonderful helping passengers on and off the tenders in rough waters. We did two privately arranged excursions (Chief's Luau in Honolulu and Marylou's Tours in Hilo) that were reasonable in cost compared to HAL tours. Marylou's was exceptional and I would recommend her to anyone visiting Kona or Hilo. HAL's Pearl Harbor / Arizona tour and Pali Coast tour in Honolulu were both good but had much more overlap than was evident from the descriptions. Blue Hawaiian helicopter tour and time sitting along the nearby beach were a great way to spend a day in Kauai. A Trilogy Catamaran tour in Maui was not a good choice for anyone in need of shade or who wound up in the back of the vessel where you could not hear the narration. Two hours mid-day on the water in the sun was too much for many on board. It also was too high in price when purchased through the ship--there were definitely better and more reasonably priced options available on-shore--but we did see whales!! I wish we had done another Marylou tour in Kona as that had more personalized guidance at the sites (Coffee museum and store, Painted Church, and a Refuge along the beach) but our ship arranged tour was good as we went from one place to another. I very much enjoyed this cruise and think it is a wonderful way to see Hawaii. In spite of some corner cutting with staffing HAL continues to provide a good experience for the price. Read Less
Sail Date February 2017
Like the colour scheme, which is more subdued than I remember on the other 3 Vista class ships, Food in the MDR seemed a step up over our last cruise on Eurodam. The wait staff have changed from pen and paper to tablets, with a noticeable ... Read More
Like the colour scheme, which is more subdued than I remember on the other 3 Vista class ships, Food in the MDR seemed a step up over our last cruise on Eurodam. The wait staff have changed from pen and paper to tablets, with a noticeable improvement in the speed of service. We got in and out from one meal in the MDR in 45 minutes! Entertainment was good and the Adagio classical music duo was far the best I've heard since HAL downsized them from three players to two, with a concert-quality violinist. Westerdam is looking slightly tired but has a 12-day refit coming up in April. The gold wallpaper on deck 6 is not in the best of shape due to the carts going by, although we one panel was being replaced as we walked by. Good and friendly cabin stewards. The in-room breakfast menu has changed from a la carte to set meals. Fresh fruit on request but the promised fresh flowers were just a couple of carnations and didn't appear for several days; order a bouquet if flowers are important. We had fog for one night. The foghorn is pretty loud on deck 10, which betokens a serious sound-proofing issue for the cabins to be added behind the Crowsnest in April. Read Less
Sail Date January 2017
I only chose this cruise as it leaves from San Diego. I have been on many of HA's ships and loved them all but this one was awful. The awesome Indonesians were replaced by Filipino's poorly trained. The food has gone down big ... Read More
I only chose this cruise as it leaves from San Diego. I have been on many of HA's ships and loved them all but this one was awful. The awesome Indonesians were replaced by Filipino's poorly trained. The food has gone down big time, even the lamb and steaks were STRINGY. Maybe a first time cruiser would like it but anyone who travelled on other ships would know the difference. My accident was the fault of HA but even so they refused to send doctor unless I paid exorbitant amount of money for the consultation. I am still in pain - 1 week later - bruised ribs, whiplash, etc. The entertainment by the crew was good, and also the piano man (he wasn't Liberace) but the rest of the entertainment was sub par. The Pinnacle Grill was excellent and I do recommend you eat meals there rather than the Lido. The first Hot Tub was scalding hot. The second one o.k. The cabin sofa was so dirty it was BLACK. When I pointed this out they threw a white sheet over it, lol. On the last day it was removed. The Breakfast in room dining never got it right! Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
We have sailed many times on different lines, but we do prefer Holland. Recently, it has been necessary for me to book an accessible cabin for mobility issues. Once again Holland rises over other lines, as they frequently can/will ... Read More
We have sailed many times on different lines, but we do prefer Holland. Recently, it has been necessary for me to book an accessible cabin for mobility issues. Once again Holland rises over other lines, as they frequently can/will accommodate wheelchairs and scooters in tender ports whereas on Princess, for example, I'm shipbound unless we're docked. This last adventure was almost perfect; in fact ship's staff called us twice before the first tender port to make arrangements to help me disembark. I would say our cabin was great but it had a serious flaw for an accessible stateroom. Cabin 6004, a veranda on the Westerdam, is apparently the only accessible cabin with a verandah that will sleep 3, which we need. However there is a massive structural post smack inside the cabin door, making it almost impossible to maneuver once inside the room. The bathroom does offer a roll-in shower but the accessibility stops there, as there is neither a raised toilet or an accessible sink. Bottom line: DO NOT BOOK CABIN 6004 ON HOLLAND AMERICA WESTERDAM if you are actually disabled! On other notes, Westerdam is scheduled for dry dock in April 2017; try to avoid her until then, she needs the refurbishment. The staff, as always on HAL is amazingly gracious. These dedicated people work so hard and yet they are always so lovely. The food has been better on other voyages, but we learned quickly to take our waiter's advice and meals improved immediately. Entertainment was limited, but traveling with a family of 5 adults means we tend to amuse ourselves while on board - there's usually a bar close by! Read Less
Sail Date November 2016
we choose this cruise based largely on date. we were a family of 8 ranging in age from 14 to 71. all enjoyed the cruise with a few complaints. the port schedule was off. not enough time in ketchican and not much to see in sitca . Holland ... Read More
we choose this cruise based largely on date. we were a family of 8 ranging in age from 14 to 71. all enjoyed the cruise with a few complaints. the port schedule was off. not enough time in ketchican and not much to see in sitca . Holland America is geared for adults but a lot of kids on summer Alaskan cruise. not many activities for kids and teens. dinner was great and everyone liked buffet for breakfast and lunch. I use a mobility scooter and ship was very accessible. Disney has easy to use automatic cabin doors which is much easier to manage . cabins run smaller than Disney which was not disaster but not as comfortable. service was great and ship well maintained. would like shore excursions geared for wheelchair scooter users. the teenages much preferred Disney but did like shore excursions went on sled dog, jeep tour and ziplineing Read Less
Sail Date July 2016
My husband and I were surprised by our daughter Julie and her husband Will with the trip of a lifetime, an Alaskan cruise. Along with them and their 2 children, Catherine 10 and Matthew 6 1/2, we embarked in Seattle, Washington on the MS ... Read More
My husband and I were surprised by our daughter Julie and her husband Will with the trip of a lifetime, an Alaskan cruise. Along with them and their 2 children, Catherine 10 and Matthew 6 1/2, we embarked in Seattle, Washington on the MS Westerdam on July 4, 2015. I am disabled so Julie had arranged for an electric cart on board, which was waiting for us so I could use it to embark. Everyone was so helpful; we embarked very quickly. The perfect experience for a first cruise or any cruise. I was overwhelmed with the beauty and comfort of the Westerdam. My husband and I felt so welcomed and doted on by the crew, whom we fell in love with by the time we had been there a couple of days. Thank you to Yasa and Nova and Joseph in the dining room. The food choice was unbelievable and delicious. I told Yasa about my chicken allergy so every night I chose my menu for the following night so it could be prepared chicken free. Each night they provided amazing origami for the kids. Our staterooms were impeccable, thanks to Juli and Ricardo. We even had towel animals every evening when they came to turn down the beds. We also had an amazing experience in the Neptune lounge with Jules and Sandy. All of this plus seeing Alaska in all it's glory. Whale excursion in Juneau, raptors and totems and Tlingit dances in Sitca, lumberjacks in Ketchikan, and Hlacier Bay are among the many amazing things we saw. On top of this, Club Hal for the kids provided a great respite for them and us. Hal even had a talent show that we were privileged to see. This was one of the most amazing trips I have ever been on. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I almost don't know where to start. I set up the cruise thru them directly and told them I would need a room for 4 adults over 65. we were assured the cabin would fit our needs. It did not! One of the beds pulls out of the ceiling ... Read More
I almost don't know where to start. I set up the cruise thru them directly and told them I would need a room for 4 adults over 65. we were assured the cabin would fit our needs. It did not! One of the beds pulls out of the ceiling over the head of the bed. None of us could manage that crawl in to the shelf. When I brought this to the attention of the front desk ( they have very narrow hours) I was told they were in a meeting and would get back to me. S 2 days into the trip they offered me sleeping accomadations in an unused cabin on the lowest deck for only $900.00 more. We waited 4 hours from our flight into Seattle until we boarded the ship. Most of that standing inline. When we got onboard at last , they closed the buffet and we had not eaten it was 2:30 and they didn't care. time for a lifeboat drill standing on deck in the sun huddled together. then it got worse. From a staff that was hard to find and slow to help, to a 30 minute wait to get a hotdog. The buffet line was not held at proper temp and if it was on land they would be closed down as unsafe. Soups barely warm and they delivered all baked potatoes so cold they would not melt butter. It was a complaint shared by many. This was my Seventh cruise and the first and last with Holland. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
It started with a smooth and rapid embarkation. We took my parents on this cruise and there was something for everyone on board. The entertainment and the food was excellent. The service from the staff was very friendly and professional. I ... Read More
It started with a smooth and rapid embarkation. We took my parents on this cruise and there was something for everyone on board. The entertainment and the food was excellent. The service from the staff was very friendly and professional. I was concerned with navigating the halls and cabin with a wheelchair but it worked out fine. The ports had beautiful places to visit, especially the old sand-floor 16th century Synagogue in Saint Thomas - well worth the trek up the hill. We also went horseback riding in the ocean and have a ton of fun photos from that event. At half-moon key we went snorkelling. I'm glad we brought our own masks and snorkels. The fish were brightly coloured and spectacular to see, all within 10 feet of the sandy beach. Onboard activities we enjoyed included the wine tasting and the scotch tasting, the kitchen demonstrations, and the musical. The best event however was the performance put on by the crew. My husband used the gym every day and got some great tips from the coach on staff. Our cabin was very comfortable and had plenty of storage spaces so it didn't feel cluttered. My only concern was that the house coats were much too small but this was hardly a noticeable point when we were enjoying a delicious breakfast in our room. I also enjoyed dining at the Circ , this is an event not to be missed. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our seventh cruise with Holland America and we were not disappointed. Booking at almost the last minute with an itinerary that seemed unexciting, we were prepared just to relax and enjoy and did we ever! Embarkation went very ... Read More
This was our seventh cruise with Holland America and we were not disappointed. Booking at almost the last minute with an itinerary that seemed unexciting, we were prepared just to relax and enjoy and did we ever! Embarkation went very smmothly and we were eating in the dining room by noon at a sit-down meal with a menu - no buffet! Stateroom was a signature suite. We splurged and it was lovely. Balcony had a tble and chairs for dining as well as two luonge chairs with substantial footstools. Perfect for a nap. Ship IS older but very comfortable. Three elevator locations (14 elevators) and 1800 guests. Mid-sized. We loved the $3 Martini hour in the Atrium Bar at 6:00. I appreciate having a Roamn Catholic priest aboard so I could attend Mass every day. Attendance was really good at Mass! I have stopped cruising Celebrity after 11 cruises because they no longer have a priest aboard. For the first time in a long time we ate in the dining room almost every meal for open seating. Food and service was wonderful. Lido was usually impossibly crowded and seemed to be understaffed. There were some kids aboard but we almost never saw or heard them. Average age of guests is probably over 60. Suits me! Canaletto had great food but very poor service. Pinnacle Grill - DH had a great meal, me not so much. It was a Friday in Lent so I chose mushroon ravioli and it was not as good as in the Canaletto. Desserts were disappointing. My lemon tart brulee had a thick, almost stony crust. But hey! Service was good, and maybe next time I'll be able to get the steak which DH said was the best steak he ever had. Luggage direct is an absolutely wonderful idea and worth every penny. You get your boarding pass and luggage tags the night before, then your luggage is picked up on the ship and you never see it until the baggage claim at your final airport. You get to go through Customs before the crowds with only your carry-on. If there was one thing wrong with this cruise it is that it was entirely too short for me.   Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
I wonder, in reading other reviews, if perhaps some people become inured to the magic of a cruise. I do not have the means to go on cruise after cruise. Truthfully, I don't have the means to go on even one cruise... I was treated to ... Read More
I wonder, in reading other reviews, if perhaps some people become inured to the magic of a cruise. I do not have the means to go on cruise after cruise. Truthfully, I don't have the means to go on even one cruise... I was treated to this one by dear and generous people. That being said, I have stayed in many hotels and/or resorts over the years, and can discriminate between good, mediocre, and poor service. My experience with Holland America, and specifically the MS Westerdam, was exceptional. From the time we arrived in the ship's terminal until the time we were picked up by our driver, every need or want was taken care of, and always with a smile. I have a degenerative neurological disorder that affects balance and coordination, as well as thinking processes and learning new information. I also have chronic kidney disease, which required lots of time in the stateroom with my feet elevated due to swelling. Two of us in our party had mobility issues and required a walker and a wheelchair to navigate the ship. We were always assisted with directions, finding a table during dining, and storing the devices while seated. We were ushered through boarding and disembarking and the process was rapid and smooth. Not one of the crew gave the impression that we were a burden for needing extra assistance. I felt welcomed and valued every moment. My favorite crew member was Wala, my cabin steward. He was always genuinely happy to see me, even when my presence in the stateroom made it more difficult for him to finish his work. He showed me how to fold towel animals every evening, and greeted me so sweetly every morning. He made sure I had water and ice at all times, and helped with information re: ship logistics and directions. With a total of almost 3,000 souls on board, it was a small city! The food was wonderful. So much variety offered, between the different venues offered. Highlights: New York strip steak, apricot soup, salmon. baked Alaska, cherry crisp, salmon, fries and omelets on the Lido. Oh, too many to mention! Since I had to be in the cabin so much, room service was a godsend. They were so accommodating, willing to provide dining room items as well as the regular room service menu. I developed a real fondness for their grilled tuna sandwich. : ) I wasn't able to attend any of the entertainment, so I can't comment on that. But I was able to make use of the Explorer's cafe/Crow's Nest several times, and loved hanging out there. One of the highlights of the trip was playing Canasta with my Dad right in the front of the Bow in their comfy chairs, and being stunned at the beauty and Majesty of Alaska. My stateroom was just right for me. I can see how it might get crowded with two people, esp. if both have two or more suitcases. But for one it was great! Very comfortable bed, nicely laid out bathroom, good amount of storage. Loved, loved, loved the balcony! Being able to walk out there and experience being on the ocean with just a few steps was awesome. One night I woke around 2:00am and went out, and there was brilliant moonlight reflected on the water, truly magical. Also, it made taking photos so immediate, which is half the battle in taking really great photos. We went on two excursions, whale watching and eagles/lighthouse/totems. Both were terrific- being on a small boat and navigating around the small islands enabled us to see wildlife and have the experience of speeding across the water while soaking up unbelievable landscapes. Unforgettable. All in all, I have not one complaint. Was there a fire scare? Yes, and it was handled quickly and professionally, with no disruption to the cruisers. Could I have found something to complain about. Probably, but I would have had to look hard for it, and why do that? I was there to enjoy the trip of a lifetime, and that's exactly what I did, thanks to the crew of the MS Westerdam and my fellow travelers. My profound thanks to all of you! One tip for future travelers. Pack lightly, and hang on to your luggage until you leave the ship. It saves searching for it on your way out. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
After 20 cruises, I should know better. But booking late led to taking a cabin on a lower deck than usual, and, boy, did we pay for it! Cabin 4051 should NOT be sold as a wheelchair accessible category VD cabin. Here are some reasons: ... Read More
After 20 cruises, I should know better. But booking late led to taking a cabin on a lower deck than usual, and, boy, did we pay for it! Cabin 4051 should NOT be sold as a wheelchair accessible category VD cabin. Here are some reasons: 1-There was barely enough room for a travel-sized wheelchair to pass by the bottom of the bed. 2-It was extremely difficult for a wheelchair user to climb the ramp, cross the door jamb and go down the ramp onto the balcony, even with great assistance and the door held open. It was very dangerous to come down the ramp on the balcony side and need to immediately turn sharply to the left while on the ramp (or hit the railing). 3-The television is too small and too far away for a wheelchair user (unless the wheelchair is at an angle on the ramp toward the balcony). 4-There is insufficient space at the bathroom sink. 5-The lighting in the cabin was very poor. 6-There was no seating area in the cabin, as was described for VD cabins. Other points regarding accessibility: 1-Despite requesting wheelchair accessible transfers, and filling out multiple forms, the staff at the transfer location at the airport were totally unprepared for the need for a lift. 2-If you need wheelchair assistance boarding the ship, be prepared! There is no help entering the terminal or using the elevator, or going through security, or checking in. And then there was a 30 minute wait for assistance just to get onboard. (Between the airport delay and the boarding delay, our 9:30am arrival at the airport transfer site got us onboard the ship at about 1:30pm - so no Mariner lunch). 3-In Juneau, ORCA runs a wheelchair accessible transfer vehicle for whale watching. Their people were very helpful pushing the wheelchair up & down a VERY steep ramp at the pier. But once on the boat, there was no ability to get upstairs to the forward viewing area. General comments: 1-Don't waste your money on the Le Cerq dining experience -- the food was terrible! The food in the dining room was better, as was the service. 2-There is a tiny cooler (not really a refrigerator) in the cabin. Read Less
Sail Date July 2013
After having to postpone this wonderful itinerary for almost 3 years due to health issues, we finally boarded the beautiful Westerdam on Oct. 4 for our 30 day cruise to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Stayed at the Best Western Yacht ... Read More
After having to postpone this wonderful itinerary for almost 3 years due to health issues, we finally boarded the beautiful Westerdam on Oct. 4 for our 30 day cruise to Hawaii and the South Pacific. Stayed at the Best Western Yacht Harbor Hotel in San Diego for 2 nights prior. Nice room overlooking the bay -- staff was very accommodating. DH traveled with his scooter and the hotel arranged for special transfer both from the airport and to the cruise pier at their expense. Embarkation was very smooth and we were in our lovely veranda cabin by 12 noon. Loved the extra space and the bathroom is to "die for" !Our room stewards were wonderful -- and we never needed to ask for anything twice. It amazes me how they know your names almost from Day 1 --- Jo and Dani were always smiling and very pleasant. As this was our first cruise with HAL, I was very concerned in regards to the mixed reviews I had read on the CC boards about the food, entertainment and overall atmosphere of the ship. We were pleasantly surprised! The entertainment was top-notch. Cruise Director, Jason commented that HAL does bring on more upscale entertainment for the longer cruises and we enjoyed the main shows almost every nite. In fact, several of the performers did repeat shows which was great. However, the HAL singers and dancers were totally "underused" only doing two Broadway type productions for the 30 day trip. These folks are wonderful, work extremely hard and HAL should use their talents more! We had originally chosen the "anytime dining" thinking we could eat around our usual 7 pm dinner time -- however, after the first nite and the long line and resulting chaos -- we changed to fixed dining at 8 pm. I think HAL needs to change this policy as the only times one could get a reserved spot was either at 5:15 or 8 pm in the Dining room on Deck 2 --- nothing in between. As my husband needs to eat at a certain time due to medications --- the concept of going to the dining room whenever we wanted was not available. So we would see the show at 7 and then have dinner at 8. Our waiters were wonderful and always concerned that we were happy with our meal. Speaking of food --- we were very pleased with the quality and quantity. Lobster and Filet were offered on each of the 7 formal nites along with my favorite: escargot in garlic butter sauce. The desserts were very good although DH really missed a nice slice of apple pie or a piece of NY style cheesecake. That's OK -- he didn't need the extra calories anyway. We ate in the Lido Buffet mostly for lunch --- we preferred the Dining Room for breakfast as our food always arrived hot. We didn't have the craziness of the Lido with people walking every which way -- plus there were a significant no. of canes, walkers and some scooters on board so the traffic was pretty tight at times. The pizza (thin crust) was actually very good, too. The retracting roof over the Lido pool was a great asset --- allowing passengers to enjoy the area even during the few times we had some rain/wind. However, the Thermal pool and Spa is another area of "compliant" at least for me and a significant number of other guests. Seems you were required to purchase a spa pass for the ENTIRE cruise at the cost of $ 800 per couple or a day pass of $ 40 pp per day. HAL needs to re-think this policy especially for the longer cruises -- I am sure if one could buy "week pkgs." -- this area would have gotten a lot more use. As it was, I often saw the T pool empty and I passed by just about daily. What a waste, IMO !! Hawaii and the South Pacific islands were exactly as you see in the travel brochures --- the turquoise colors of the waters in Bora Bora and Moorea are so clear and amazingly gorgeous !!! We did private tours on all islands with one HAL tour on Moorea. The price HAL charges for their shore excursions is outrageously high --- we like smaller groups with more "one-on-one" interaction with tour guides. Plus we got alot more for our money, too ! With reference to using a scooter and tendering --- I must say that HAL's crews were wonderful !!! DH was able to use his scooter on all the islands with the exception of Nuku Hiva which made for a much more enjoyable trip for us both. He would have missed so much if this trip had been with any other cruise ship. We did have a itinerary change as a medical evacuation caused us to stop at Christmas Island after leaving Fanning Island. Due to miscommunication at some point at the Hawaiian end ---We sat there for over 12 hours waiting for the medivac plane from Honolulu to show up. As this is a military base -- we were not allowed ashore but most took it in stride and enjoyed the beautiful weather. This meant we would miss Rarotonga and to make up time --- our arrival in Bora Bora was pushed ahead by 2 days !! I was the tour coordinator for our tours in Bora Bora and was petty anxious about this change of plans. However, the Front Desk was very helpful in helping me contact the tour operator and he was able to accommodate us and the tours went off smoothly. All in all, this was a wonderful cruise and I highly recommend the Westerdam and it's crew. We will definitely check out her itineraries for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Westerdam June 11-18 We selected this ship based upon the dates the family was available and ships that are more wheelchair friendly. We were traveling with an 87 year old woman who could walk short distances but needed a wheelchair ... Read More
Westerdam June 11-18 We selected this ship based upon the dates the family was available and ships that are more wheelchair friendly. We were traveling with an 87 year old woman who could walk short distances but needed a wheelchair most of the time. There were six people in our group in three cabins and as the group leader this was my 8th cruise. Ship things we really liked. Food. The main dining room food was incredible. Great selection, first time I have been offered king crab legs on a cruise. And not the little legs you see in a Las Vegas buffet but rather large legs cut in half so that you do not have to play with your food. Everything our group ate over the week was good. The weakest food items were the coffee (too strong) and the pork chops were tough. Nice touches in the small details: ice tea was brewed not instant, orange juice was fresh squeezed not concentrate. Service. The service was first rate and we could have not have been more happy. The crew was largely Indonesian or Filipino and not the United Nations contingent I have experienced on other ships. Whether helping to push the wheelchair or knowing and making our dinner reservations, the staff was wonderful. Handicapped cabins. The cabin featured a very large bathroom with both a tub and separate open shower in which a person could wash themselves. Note these rooms are reserved for handicapped and you must sign paperwork that at least one occupant of the room is handicapped. Being able to roll a wheelchair into the bathroom is a major luxury. Tipping. Holland America has a very casual attitude toward tipping; take cocktails for example. You handed the server your room card and received you drink with service charged included, you did not have to sign as with other ships. Envelopes were not provided for additional tipping; I had to go to the Service Counter for envelopes. No Art Auctions. I am tired of art auctions on other ships. Ship things we did not like. The layout of the ship is awkward. Lots of little public spaces making it difficult to connect with other passengers. Many long hallways in the public areas. DEcor. The ship has a very strange dEcor. The worst was the main theatre. White leather seating and no drink holders. The piano bar was direct from 1970 but the ship is only 7 years old. I have a strong bias for Royal Caribbean who uses lots of wood in the dEcor and focuses on a nautical dEcor. Dinner Reservation. We choose the As You Wish dining to allow more flexibility in our dinner times. Unfortunately you had to make a daily reservation and it seemed like the only two times offered were 5:15 PM and 8:00 PM. Communication. The Explorer (daily activity sheet) was all over the place in terms of information; it was difficult to tell what the highlights of the day were. The Cruise Director announcements before the main stage shows often lacked detail (like set your clocks ahead before going to bed.) Rooms. Cabin 5001. This is a handicapped room that you may only book if a member of your party is handicapped. Larger room and large bathroom, all wheel chair accessible. The bathroom included both a tub and separate stand up shower with seat. Cabin 5005. This is the smallest interior cabin I have ever seen. The major disadvantage to this cabin is directly over the main showroom. Expect to hear all of the music from day time rehearsals to nighttime shows. Cabin 5013. Standard balcony cabin. Disadvantage of this room is that the thrusters are very loud when leaving ports. Entertainment Production shows lack a theme or focus and could use the help of a Master of Ceremonies. The first show Grand Tour was a loosely based tour of Northern European countries. Does ABBA's "Mamma Mia" count for Italy? The second show was listed as 50's/60's on the marquee but played little of that time era and was more a little bit county and a little bit rock and roll. The third show Stage and Screen started as a rehearsal on a soundstage but quickly dropped that premise. The performers were all strong, the concept of the shows needs help. Only the 50's/60's show featured live musicians, a nice touch on other cruise lines. Guest talent of comedian juggler Adam Kario and Elton John tribute by Joel Mason were very entertaining. Piano bar singer Randall was great; we sat in on several evenings at the piano bar. There was usually a string quartet playing in a public area on the way to dinner. Ships Activities we participated in. Wine tasting. Not as informative as other cruise lines and stingy with a small plate of cheese in front of you. Computer Training. Two member s of our group sat in on a computer class and actually learned some helpful shortcuts on Windows 7. Ports. With six of us we hired a private van to take us to and from the airport. Capital Aeroporter Airport Shuttle was $100 each way plus tip. Cheaper and less stressful than the ships transfers for our party of six. Juneau. We booked a ships shore excursion which was Allen Marine Tours Whale Watch Adventure. Their ship easily accommodated our wheelchair. We saw almost 20 humpback whales and had a wonderful trip. Hubbard Glacier. We had done this exact same itinerary five years ago with Celebrity. On that trip the ship pulled up to Hubbard Glacier and turned in slow circles for over an hour allowing everyone to see the glacier. On this trip the ship pulled up to the glacier, did a slow U-turn and sailed away. This was the most disappointing part of the trip. Sitka. We booked another ships shore excursion with Allen Marine Tours this time focusing on sea otters. We were also able to see a gray whale, several hump back whales as well as sea otters, seals and eagle. Ketchikan. We had initially booked a horse drawn trolley tour of the city which was canceled (I later learned the owner was run out of town.) After doing internet research we hired Ketchikan Taxi Cab Tours and booked a three hour tour from 9:00 AM to Noon. Our driver Kat showed us much of the island during this time including waterfalls, a hike in the forest and a recreated native village. Her knowledge was incredible. Definitely recommend this. Victoria. We booked an hour and a half carriage ride with Talley Ho Tours. Great change to see the city and our guide Kate was wonderful. The carriage was able to go anywhere and not restricted to any given route. Read Less
Sail Date June 2011
WOW. What a wonderful experience. I waited for several days to see if someone else on the cruise wrote a review before I ventured into the cruise review territory. No luck so I guess I will take a stab at a review. First let me explain ... Read More
WOW. What a wonderful experience. I waited for several days to see if someone else on the cruise wrote a review before I ventured into the cruise review territory. No luck so I guess I will take a stab at a review. First let me explain that my husband has mobility limitations so of course the majority of the excursions are unavailable to us. Not really much of a problem for us as we cruise for the experience of cruising and don't really need zip line adventures to enjoy ourselves. We arrived at the Port Lauderdale airport and waited about 2 hours for the bus to arrive. The bus trip was short and pleasant. We arrived at the terminal about 1:00 and there was a short line. Once we were inside the terminal, the wheelchair patrol arrived and we were whisked to check-in. Since we are repeat HAL cruiser - no pictures necessary, however after looking at my security photo - I want a new picture! We were sent directly to our cabin and met by Buddy our steward who introduced himself and showed us the cabin features. Before we knew it was time for the lifeboat drill and the sail away. I can say without a doubt that the people that live along the sides of the port are the most wonderful folks. They really knew how to send us on our way. As usual the food was wonderful. The mandatory 48 hour service in the Lido was not an issue and I think actually moved things along a bit. Tell them what you want and they hand you a plate. The main dining room staff was great. By the third time they had our likes and dislikes down and were able to make appropriate recommendations. Please note that we don't like to eat every dinner in the main dining room. We like a little variety so we eat at the Lido for dinner or one of the specility venues. The food at the Lido is basically the same as the main dining room just not the same presentation, which or course is wonderful in the main dining room. Another problem is those wonderful high teas. At 3:00 in the afternoon, sometimes it was just to close to the 5:45 dinner seating. Aruba was the surprise port for us. I don't know what we expected but it is a very nice port, full of helpful people. It was hot - to hot to be ashore very long but there was a nice little white sand beach just behind the first row of shops that was easily accessible and covered with seashells. We spent some time there and then worked our way back to the ship. The Panama Canal was the reason for the trip and it did not disappoint. We were up early and enjoying Panama buns. Don't know what is in those little bits of heaven but I really don't care, they are melt in your mouth. The locks were very interesting and the whole process was explained by the CD and his staff. It took about 8 hours but we enjoyed every minute of it. The next port was in Costa Rica. Made it to dry land and turned around and went back to the ship. Nothing there if you don't take an excursion. As my sainted mother would say, "didn't leave anything there, no reason to go back." Nicaragua is without a doubt the poorest of the ports. There is a little shopping plaza within walking distance of the ship. Recommend it just to see what little people can do with. Guatemala was next, again a shopping plaza within walking distance of the dock. Nicer but still a very challenged area of the world. No curb cuts. The next two ports were in Mexico. Again, shopping areas within walking distance of the ship, local entertainment and things to do rather than rush back to the ship. The last two ports in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo were big cities with a lot of $$. Not much to write about except that Cabo is a tendered port and those are always a challenge for those with mobility issues. The worst part of the trip was San Diego. We didn't get off the ship until after 10:00 because someone thought that the immigration screening was for everyone except them. I know that some people missed flights because of the immigration hold up. Retrieving luggage is always a problem if you are pushing a wheelchair and I hate to say it, but at San Diego the porters were working the taxi crowd and ignoring the bus transfer crowd. The buses got blocked in by a firetruck and ambulance so it took quite a bit of time to get out of the terminal area. I know that people that took the ship to airport excursion were very frustrated that it was not handled well. They didn't know where to go or which bus to get on. The Westerdam is a wonderful ship - a little scrapped up on her sides by the canal sides when we left her and I hear she had a little problem with an iceberg in Alaska, but a good ship full of great people that worked hard to make our Panama Canal experience wonderful. She needs a little spiffing up in some areas. They really need to do something about the problem with the hydro pool dumping out into the hallway in rough water. They also need to get rid of every one of those artfully designed steak knives, that they use in the main dining room. They won't stay on your plate unless you glue them down and are awkward to use. I think they are top heavy or something. They just aren't right. The staff is hard to beat in my opinion. The busing staff in the Lido are quick to jump to your aid and carry whatever needs carrying since they did away with trays. Not sure that was a good move but I do understand the reasoning. My wish for the Westerdam and HAL in general in continue doing what you do the way they do it. Read Less
Sail Date April 2011
I had many personal problems but I can differ between my individual problems and the general condition on the ship. There was a t-shirt available: DAM good ship DAM good crew DAM good food DAM good shows DAM good cruise DAM good ... Read More
I had many personal problems but I can differ between my individual problems and the general condition on the ship. There was a t-shirt available: DAM good ship DAM good crew DAM good food DAM good shows DAM good cruise DAM good vacation I will be very proud in the future to wear this t-shirt when I am going on other cruise lines. DAM good ship I was "mission control" of totally four cabins 3 VA and 1 VF (handicapped). Without the handicapped cruise-mates I would say: I love this ship. But I need to learn that due to the high numbers of non-automatic swinging doors it was a nightmare for wheelchair-guests. Nevertheless I did not have the impression that it was crowd and even in the Crow's Nest it was never a problem to find a seat to relax. I liked very much the promenade. I liked very much the spacious theater. I liked very much our cabin - what I did not like too much was the different standards of the cabin stewards. We had three teams for the four cabins and it was surprising that there was no supervisor to check that things were missing (like fruit basket, "Do not disturb"-signs etc.). Although we claimed that the a/c blowed too much dust in our cabin: we had black cell phones and all were full of dust after the first night. But none came. The only thing I did not like in our cabin was the swinging door to our veranda. DAM good crew yes - you always have idiots but with those we mostly had to do (our stewards in the restaurants) we must it varies very much: We had few who gave us a service we need to pay extra on other ships. We had few who were obviously there because of the inauguration of a new ship: NIEUW AMSTERDAM. Any time you have new ship in your fleet be sure that you get some weaker crew members as all the bests of the bests are on the new ship to make it running and on all other ships you experience somehow a weaker service as the number of unexperienced crew members are higher. We were afraid that our parents could adopt their cabin stewards as they did so much for them that we really were afraid that they will take us out of their last will and put them in. Very disappointing was the ship's management: Never experienced before that you have a reception and no friendly word or handshake came from Captain, Cruise Director or Hotel Manager. By the way he was not willing to talk to guests as he was to busy to manage a department of 700 crew members. But I did not want to talk about a missing towel animal but a wheelchair we ordered and paid and it came after 4times claiming at the front desk and 8 hours after embarkation. We should put our wheelchair-cruise-mate into a chair in the Lido Cafe and let him wait there until the delivery of the wheelchair. But I am glad: normally I do not need to talk to a Hotel Manager if he understands his business and run the hotel department excellent. DAM good food: Disappointing in the Lido Cafe - everytime we came there was no grilled lobster etc. I heared by rumors of my parents who loved the Lido Cafe that it should be good but we do not like buffet-restaurants so we did not visited them too much. It was angry: the embarkation started late because of the mis-management of the charter company who did not book the buses right on time so the guests from the previous cruises could debark. So when we came onboard: the Vista Main Dining Room was already closed before the first guest came on board. The Hotel Manager rufused to be flexible to the schedule of the ship with the success that 400 guests wanted to have a the same time their breakfast in the Vista Main Dining Room as all of us wanted to go for our tours which started soon. But he refused to open the restaurant earlier. The food we got was outstanding and it will be very hard for me to go back to other lines after the food experience. The Pinnacle Grill experience was 100.1% perfection of food and service. And Canaletto was wonderful. Only things I did not like: Biscuit and Gravy and Scottish Eggs Benedicts were somehow disappointing. Wonderful: the Hors d'oeuvre before dinner. DAM good shows I do not need Blue Man Group or any artists on ropes. So I love musicals, I love classic rocks and I love movie themes. I was perfect there. Only the volume in the theater was somehow too loud. If you were not hear impared - now you were and fit perfectly to the guest structure of HAL. DAM good cruise Although I had so many personal problems it was a great experience on Holland America. So we booked now 14 nights on ZAANDAM in Asia in 2012. I want more of them. I loved when they opened the bow in the morning to have the scenic entries into the fjords with a cup of hot chocolate and some pastries. There were so many good things and the bad things became so unimportant and far far away. You need to know: what they do well they do perfectly well... what they do bad they do perfectly bad... So that's why we had all the desasters on board - especially you try to make it more perfect by booking your gifts and you it becomes now a never-ending-story and running gag to keep me booking HAL. One reason why I book 2012 again: they have now about 1 1/2 years time to get me the t-shirt I ordered and paid for more than one year on different ships... The selection of the ports was perfect: we went from one highlight to the next. From all highlights the weakest came first and the strongest came last. No shore excursion booked on board due to language request and as we had a wheelchair with us. But all places were breathtaking. DAM good vacation: after all: if you did not enjoy your vacation and take all problems too serious you are the idiot. There were so many good moments on board. Read Less
Sail Date July 2010
Westerdam Review Saturday, 8/22/2009 First, I refuse to go into much detail about the horrible experience we had with Continental Airlines and how they damaged my partner's wheelchair and how the airport security treated Steve in ... Read More
Westerdam Review Saturday, 8/22/2009 First, I refuse to go into much detail about the horrible experience we had with Continental Airlines and how they damaged my partner's wheelchair and how the airport security treated Steve in both Houston and Seattle. (I guess I missed the news story about the group of paraplegics who took over and hijacked a plane) To be fair, the crew on the plane itself was very nice and helpful. Not much time to explore Seattle, as we spend all of Saturday after our arrival trying to find a rental replacement for the severely damaged chair. Seemed like a great city though and on this day the weather was cool and sunny. Sunday, 8/23/2009 We arrive at Pier 91 and here our vacation begins. The Holland America staff greets us and escorts us through every step of registering and even have the rental chair secured in their office which they bring out to Steve for him to drive onto the Westerdam. They assign a gentleman to escort us onto the ship and he offers to take us to either the Lido restaurant or to the Neptune Lounge. (I cannot remember his name, but it floors me five days later to see him again on the ship in the restaurant where he calls us by our names!) We chose the lounge which was very nice but we left shortly after to go to the Lido and go outside on the aft deck. We were told in advance that it would be after 2 PM that the rooms would be ready for us, so it was a nice surprise when they announced they were ready by 1:30 PM. We go to our suite (Deluxe Veranda aft # 6175) and see that it is very nice and clean. I notice the model ship I had ordered online was there waiting for Steve in gift wrapping. There is a bowl of fresh flowers floating in water on the bar. A bottle of champagne chilling next to it, and a bottle of some sort of fancy water. There are automatic buttons behind the bed to open and close the curtains on the window and veranda door! I found out by accident that another button behind the bed is some sort of panic 911 call and the front desk called to ask if we were OK. As the ship departs from Seattle, we drink some of the champagne on the veranda and watched as Seattle faded into the distance.We take a nap, but miss the RSVP Bon Voyage party. We explore the ship some and eat in the Lido restaurant. (Every time we went into the Lido restaurant, the manager would spot us and assign someone to assist with food and drinks) Back to the room and we also meet Made (maadee), our room steward. Very nice young man who always smiles. Wake in the middle of the night for some care giving duties, and push the blasted 911 alarm button again while trying to find the button for the light. They call and confirm we are OK and I apologize again. Monday, 8/24/2009 Have a great room service breakfast and explore the ship some more. When back in the room, we notice a new addition of a fully stocked fruit bowl has appeared and is very welcome for snacks in the coming days. (Anytime we ate some of the fruit, it would be replenished later that day) Once again, I push the "panic button" instead of the one to open the curtains. I briefly entertain the notion of faking a heart attack this time when they call me, but decide I can't pull it off. The captain announces that a low pressure system has formed and the forecast is for the sea conditions to become "fierce". Having never cruised before, I was worried but also assumed it was normal for ships to go through this. I am glad that I had went to my doc the previous week for the patch to prevent seasickness and had applied it that morning. The sea does turn very rough with large waves and wind. The closet doors fly open and shut again, as well as the drawers under the bed and the wine glass cabinet doors fly open and spill the assorted sized wine glasses all over the floor. Trying to maneuver around the ship and down the halls was a little tricky during this time. Tuesday, August 25, 2009 Beautiful and calm Glacier Bay cruising....great views from the verandah and also go the the other outside decks of the ship. They were serving hot chocolate or stronger drinks as well as handing out bowls of split pea soup to keep people warm. Wednesday, August 26, 2009 Juneau We had two tours scheduled in Juneau. The first was a float plane trip to the TAKU Lodge. The tour was not a sponsored HAL wheelchair accessible tour, but we were assured by the salesman that they dealt with persons with disabilities all the time and had a great crew to help load him. The actual experience was quite different from what the salesman had promised. Upon arrival and down the the plane dock, the pilot comes up to us and asks Steve if he can walk up the steps and we say no, he is paraplegic. He" turns to me and says I hope you can lift him into the plane because I have a bad back". I respond that I lift Steve several times a day but might need assistance since I usually don't lift him and carry him up a plane ladder. We did get Steve loaded, and the plane ride was nice and smooth. We arrive at Taku Lodge, and the people there are much more helpful than the plane crew and we have a great time and wonderful smoked salmon lunch. Fly back to Juneau in time to meet the people for our Jeep tour , http://www.juneaujeep.com. They are great to deal with and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a tour in Juneau. We saw a lot of great sights in and around Juneau from the Jeep. Back on the ship, and see Made in the hallway and mention the wind and waves a couple nights back. I tell him I figure he was used to that weather by now. He responds that he had been with HAL for 4 years on different ships, and that was the worst he had ever seen it. Later in the evening he comes into the suite with these wood wedges and we ask what those are for. He says they are to keep the drawers and cabinets from flying open again. because the weather is supposed to get worse then the first storm we had. I start to worry a little now, ( if a big wave hits the ship and knocks it over, I admit to myself that if I push the panic button once more, no one will pay any attention) :>) I replace the patch for seasickness and we go explore the ship some more. (At this point, I am regretting showing Steve the glass elevators on the side of the ship because he likes them and insists on riding them whenever possible) As the weather gets rougher, we ride up to the LIDO deck and go outside. The water is spilling out of the pool as the ship rocks, and the HAL people are busy stacking up the deck chairs and lounges away from the wind. We decide to go to the front desk to ask for our account balance. As we ride the glass elevators down, Steve proclaims "wow!! look at those waves!". I tell him not to speak to me, because I am trying to use whatever latent psychokinetic ability I may have to help hold the ship together. On the way to the front desk, I notice the lights in the hallway are very bright and hurt my eyes. I ask for our account balance at the front desk and the lady looks at me warily as she prints out the account for the room. On the way back to the suite, I notice the patch is missing from behind my ear. Back home, I go to wash my face and notice that my eyes are dilated totally black, with not a trace of the green they usually are. I remember the warning on the patch prescription that says not to rub your eyes after handling the patch because it contains the drug that eye docs use to dilate your eyes. Great, now the front desk people think I am some sort of drug addict that enjoys pushing panic buttons. I will never forget the beautiful sound of the waves hitting the front of the ship, sounding like thunder..and then several seconds later looking out the aft deck windows and see the back of the ship rise and fall. We actually ended up enjoying the storm. :>) Thursday, August 27, 2009 The captain announces that due to hurricane- force winds over 60kts will prevent us from docking at Sitka. Instead, we will plot a course directly to Ketchikan and spend the night at port there. We had planned a shore excursion with Allen Marine through HAL, which we were credited for immediately on out account. I really liked dealing with Allen Marine, as they went out of their way to show us accessible tours they offered. Friday, August 28, 2009 After a calm night at dock in Ketchikan, we go into town and just stroll around and shop. Is a wet day in town, but we have a great time. Saturday, August 30, 2009 Milder seas and dock at Victoria. Not too much to share here, as we elected to stay onboard. Had a great dinner at the Vista dining room. Observations from first time cruisers I) If all of Holland America's ships are as beautiful as the Westerdam, I look forward to our next cruise with them. Everything looked so new and nice. (They may have spoiled us from ever trying the cruises from other lines that leave from nearby port of Galveston) 2) The food was far better than I expected, including the LIDO, room service, and the Vista Dining Room. We never tried the Pinnacle Grill, even though we were kindly invited by our travel agent who was also onboard. We would not have felt comfortable in that setting, although I am sure it is very nice. 3)The people, including our steward and all the other HAL people were excellent. This includes the great attention we always had in the LIDO from attentive staff. The room service people always called an hour or so after the meal to ask if it was good. 4) This was also an RSVP gay charter cruise and the RSVP people were very nice and always around if we had questions. We didn't participate in most of the events or see any of the shows but I hear they were great. 5) One lesson learned the hard way...never take a shower in the morning and fall asleep looking out the veranda window soon after without getting completely dressed. Otherwise , you may wake to see you have docked within yards of people from the deck of another 'dam ship (Veendam?) who can easily see into your room. __________________ RSVP Alaska Westerdam 8/23/2009 Read Less
Sail Date August 2009
this is our 10 on holland america and second on a on a vista ship. first the negatives. the ship is very well laid out and there our lots of lounges, but i found it hard on this cruise to find a quite area to read in. as there was always ... Read More
this is our 10 on holland america and second on a on a vista ship. first the negatives. the ship is very well laid out and there our lots of lounges, but i found it hard on this cruise to find a quite area to read in. as there was always it seemed somthing going on and the libary now is closed and you now have a internet center, libary,bar, cafe and bingo hall all in one room crazy, the queens lounge which is a cinema demenstrartion kitchen is very badly designed as only as few lucky people can see the screen or the kitchen display as not at all ramped like a proper cinema as on older ships and so some our lucky and most our not, it seemed nearly every day we had art auctions which seemed over the top to me. on a three week cruise we managed two production shows where on a older ship we had 4 in sixteen days, and i felt they were a little poor as the dance and sining group had just arrived. and a couple of the entertainers were very poor one evening being joked about by tha captain that he could do a better job. they have removed al trays in the buffet called the lido so now one plate at a time so now numerous visits to get starter bread drinks main course and desert and if like me you have to do it for some one else who is disabled its hard going and there did not seem to be the offers of help like we have had on the smaller ships and that was when they had trays. the food is subjective but thought was very good and would have beeb exceptional if had been served hot. fed up with sending back nearly every day through waiter section manager and even speaking with head chef on his own after kitchen visit as found it funy that room service could provide very hot food five floors away but only warm in kitchen to dining room ajasent. to me it seem there was a lack of things flowing smoothly, like you would order tea with milk some times you would get the pot with out the tea or with out the milk and then would have to wait five or ten minutes for the item it just seemed that things did not flow smoothly. and it seemd there was a lack of planning activities as far more things seemed to clash and stop you seeing one thing after another. one thing would start half way the middle of somthing else so you could not see that.even though there were empty rooms that could be used. and there were que for the next avent in the same room and another would be empty. the positives. the cabin was large and very comfatable very nice spa and helth suite onboard. no crowding could flow of movment. the crewe were freindly and happy. very good childrens club if required. very good bands and music. i hope this gives you a idea of a vista ship. i will book myslef in a smaller hall ship on next cruise . as have traveld on larger ships celebriaty and carnival and found them far better in this size and will return to holland on a smaller ship 1300 passengers next year. maybe its just the westerdam or me but felt more 3 star than 5 stars, Read Less
Sail Date May 2009
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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