View Full Version : Westerdam Review - June 12-24

June 27th, 2004, 12:21 AM
My trip report will be about the cruise experience. I will not write about the ports since the Norwegian itinerary will not be repeated this year.

We were delighted to discover that about 50% of the passengers were not from the U.S. We enjoyed meeting people from all over the world including Holland, England, Scotland, Malta, Italy, Belgium, Canada, and Mexico. Our dining room table group consisted of U.S., Dutch and British couples, and we enjoyed comparing our lifestyles and traditions.

We had been on the Zuiderdam last year, so we learned our way around the Westerdam very quickly. The interior decorating was toned down more to our liking. The artwork and fresh flowers were lovely. We noticed how the flowers on the tables in the Ocean Bar were the identical colors as the plaid on the fabric of the chairs.

The Queen’s Lounge is still a poor venue for movies because of its round shape. It worked better for the seminars such as the excellent talks on digital photography.

Our group from the Roll Call Board met in the Crow’s Nest right after the lifeboat drill. We finally put faces to all the names! Many of us “hooked up” during the cruise for independent sightseeing and on-board activities.

The ship is laid out so that you don’t feel that there are 1800 passengers. You just don’t see them. We never had to wait on line for anything, and there were always seats in the Lido Buffet and in the theater. The Lido does a great job of feeding large amounts of people. There are about 8 different stations with a great variety of food. We learned to walk around the entire buffet first - to check the posted menu for each station before making our decisions. The dining room was already closed when we returned to the ship after sightseeing in the afternoon, but we always found several lunch choices in the Lido.

Shore Excursions: Much has been written on the Europe Board about the pros and cons of the ship’s shore excursions vs independent sightseeing. It is really a matter of personal choice, so I won’t go into it here. I did hear some folks grumbling that the independent travelers could not leave the ship until after all the tours had departed. They had booked a car and driver for 9:00 a.m., but they could not obtain a tender ticket until 10:00.

Shopping: The Westerdam had the best selection of merchandise and gifts that I have ever seen on a ship. The prices were excellent. I bought a Skagen watch that was 50% less on the ship than in Denmark were it was made! Girls, check out the amber jewelry!

The entertainment on the ship was excellent. Even the revue of singers and dancers was very professional compared to other cruise lines where I found it rather amateurish. They performed 2 terrific shows during our 12-day cruise. We also enjoyed the male and female soloists, the illusionist, the comedian, and the two men who played one piano.

The food was of great variety and well prepared. Service was always excellent, even at breakfast and lunch when you didn’t have your regular waiters. The dining room staff was especially friendly and helpful. Our dinner in the Pinnacle was the best meal we have ever had on a ship.

Internet: I bought a package of internet minutes so that I could communicate with my family. The service was excellent except for when we lost contact with the satellite because we were north of the Arctic Circle. The service was also sporadic when we were deep in the fjords and surrounded by mountains. Be sure to purchase your internet package on the first day, as you receive 20 bonus minutes for doing so. There are about 20 computers in the Internet Center so there are almost always some available for use. It is open 24/7. There are also ports in the cabins and laptops available for rental.

In all, we had a fabulous experience on the Westerdam. I hope that others will add on to my thoughts.


June 27th, 2004, 11:15 AM
Thanks for the great review. We leave on the Westerdam September 25, in the Med. We're getting excited!

Krazy Kruizers
June 27th, 2004, 11:52 AM

What was the price for the laptop rentals? Do you know which brand?

We will be on her in January. We have been on the Oosterdam so we also know the layout of the ship and won't have any problems getting around.


June 27th, 2004, 02:56 PM
Thanks for taking the time to post the review. I enjoyed reading it.

June 27th, 2004, 11:43 PM
Great review, Ilene. We hope to cruise the Westerdam in the spring. Sounds like you sure had a great time.

June 28th, 2004, 05:39 AM
We will beon the Westerdam in 136 days. Do they have the upgraded pillowtop matressess and pillows , any other Signature of Excellence goodies?

The bedding was my only complaint about our Rotterdam cruise.

June 28th, 2004, 08:20 AM
Thanks so much for the informative post. It is reassuring to hear all these nice things about the ship.

June 28th, 2004, 11:26 AM
Thanks so much for the review. We will be on the ship end of Oct. for Med cruise. My husband and I enjoy dancing and I wondered if any of the lounges had good music for that - NOT disco.
Also, do they still pass around hor'dourves in Crow's Nest and other lounges before dinner?

June 29th, 2004, 05:21 PM
Ilene I agree with you on just about everything you said about the Westerdam. However the Westerdam and the other two Vista ships, Zuiderdam and Osterdam, and the last, the Noordam to be launched in 2006 have some deficiencies as compared to the smaller S class ships or the flag ships, Rotterdam and Amsterdam.
First the cabins do not have the counter space or the drawers the other ships had. The cabin is smaller and the lost space is very noticeable. This is for all cabins of class A and down.
The hair drier in not in the bathroom and only contortionists can use iteasily. The tub does not have the Jacuzzi jets.
There is not a VCR player in the cabin.

HAL decided to cut a few corners on these ships and I think they were a dollar wise and a penny foolish. I will not go on a Vista ship again. I think HAL will only use them for 7 day sailings in the Caribean.

So I booked the 31 day Amsterdam from Singapore to San Diego in November 2005. This leg of the voyage that starts in Seattle 31 days earlier only has guarantees left for veranda A cabins. The other veranda cabins are closed. You can pick a cabin if you sign up for the whole 62 days. Even upstairs dining is waitlisted.

Sorry I didn't run into you again after the first night in the Crow's nest. I did see gitte and spend a lot of time with Gerry and Sheena who shared the taxi with us that didn't show up at LHR.

We stoped in Iceland for four days and it was quite a place. Scenery is not as pretty as Norway but very dramatic. I would recommend it. Trouble is we had to use Icelandair and they are not great.

Hope to se you again on one of these dam ships. Why not sign up for th Amnstersam cruise and start the thread? You can be the official secretary.

Jay and Elvira

June 30th, 2004, 12:02 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your comments! I'm glad I added to your enthusiasm!

KrazyKruizers: Sorry, I did not rent a laptop so I can't answer your questions. The computers in the Internet room were excellent and plentiful.

MortgageBabe: Yes. the Westerdam did have the upgraded linens and fluffy towels. The beds were high and the mattresses very thick. We were VERY comfortable.

jplewis: Yes, there was a great variety of music and several lounges and bars to choose from.

Lipopop: I am sorry, too, that we didn't run into each other during the cruise. We seemed to constantly see the same people who were on our dining schedule. We especially enjoyed sightseeing with Gary and Carol in several ports. Thanks for your offer to be the secretary for your Amsterdam cruise. Sounds great, but I just cannot talk my husband into flying to the Far East. Our next up is New York City, Niagara Falls, and Toronto at the end of July, and then the Crystal Harmony through the Panama Canal in November. Hope to see you again on one of those dam ships!


January 22nd, 2005, 05:29 PM
[QUOTE=ilovhywd]My trip report will be about the cruise experience. I will not write about the ports since the Norwegian itinerary will not be repeated this year.(This quote was from 2004)

Here it is 2005 and we are going on the Rotterdam Norwegian Fjord cruise, departing June 20. I was searching through CC threads for information and found very little. We would really like to hear what shore excursions are the best for that cruise. HAL will not be listing them on-line until 60 days prior to departure and we would like to prepare so we can be ready to book as soon as possible.

We would love to hear from anyone who has done this trip . Thanks so much!

January 23rd, 2005, 09:51 AM
Bus ride to the north cape can be done via HAL or by local bus. HAL kept adding buses as people signed up even on the day of the excursion so nobody was left behind.

Having toured Norway by ourselves we didn't take any shore excursions to see sights. However we did take the short train ride from the city whose name excapes me for the minute but it is at the end of the fjord. That you should book with HAL because of limited seating. It is the one that goes to the waterfall.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. We booked a kyack excursion. Lots of fun but it was cold and wet as was most of the days we were in Norway. Suggest you get an outer jacket that is waterproof and layer underneath it. The weather didn't really bother us. It was a wonderful cruise although I wasn't a fan of the Westerdam. Scenery is everything you hear.

The people who took any shore excursions raved about them albeit there was some difficult walking.

January 23rd, 2005, 11:07 AM
Thanks so much for your thoughts Lipoppop, especially concerning the train. Is that the one that they drop off for in Vic and then meet in Flam later with the ship? There were 2 train trips mentioned at different points and that was one of the things I was especially trying to sort out.
Anyone else who has done this trip- any ideas about the best of the Norwegian Fjord shore excursions??? Thanks.

January 23rd, 2005, 01:21 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughts Lipoppop, especially concerning the train. Is that the one that they drop off for in Vic and then meet in Flam later with the ship? There were 2 train trips mentioned at different points and that was one of the things I was especially trying to sort out.
Anyone else who has done this trip- any ideas about the best of the Norwegian Fjord shore excursions??? Thanks.

No I am pretty sure the train was in Flam, went inland and returned to Flam. It was so popular the railroad asked our captain if he could hold the ship's departure for a half hour so they could schedule another trip. He agreed.

If it wasn't Flan check for the small town that is at the end of the fjord. Town is a misnomer as it is only a railroad station and a couple of shops but very pretty harbor.

January 23rd, 2005, 01:28 PM
I went to HAL's site and checked the sailing. Yes, it was the train in Flam, not the train from Vic to Flam. The north cape trip is from Honningsvag. PS Go to the library there. They have free internet. The library is very near where you go ashore, on the water side of the main street one flight up.