First-time on HAL, Impressions of the Westerdam

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#1
Massachusetts, USA
1,794 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
We have just returned from the 12/12 sailing of the Westerdam. In many, many ways it was a great cruise.

We had an aft suite - 7133, with a great porch and wrap around balcony which we loved. We thought that the suite was a bit small, but the balcony made up for it.

My DH thought the decorations on the ship were generally hideous. I thought some of them were, but decoration isn't what turns me on or off.

What I particularly liked about the Westerdam was the service. We had a great room steward - Sabar - who was always available when needed, but not obtrusive.

We especially liked having a concierge and a quiet place to have a quick bite or cup of coffee. This was our first time in a suite and I am spoiled. The suite lunch in the Crow's Nest was delightful and I had the best caviar there that I have ever eaten. It was nice having the laundry done for free, but even if we had had to pay for it, we could have had a bagful done for $12.00 which is extremely reasonable.

I thought the quality of the food was good. I liked having mesclun greens in the lido instead of just plain iceberg lettuce. We ate almost all of our breakfasts and all of our lunches in the lido. There was a great deal of variety and I liked seeing smoked salmon and pates and high quality cold cuts on a regular basis. The prime rib that was served on embarkation day was beautifully cooked (rare).

The waiters in the lido were terrific about clearing tables immediately and keeping the place spotless.

We thought the service in the dining room was very pleasant and very efficient. The wine steward got off to a rocky start, but she picked up after the first couple of nights and then was very satisfactory.

What we missed in the food was garlic. On other ships with an Italian dining staff, garlic was a given. It was strange eating prime rib and rack of lamb without it. I also missed having a good selection of fish. I recall seeing shrimp offered only as a shrimp cocktail. (The shrimp cocktail at the Suite lunch featured jumbo shrimp which were quite lovely).

We had fun playing trivia - we had a great group and we won twice, thanks to Ann and Art, another Ann and George.

We thought that Half Moon Cay had a lovely beach, but not enough shade and the folks we encountered in the bar, the shop and the post office on HMC couldn't have cared less. That was a big turnoff which hastened our return to the ship.

I think that the ship does not ride as well as the Sun Princess which handled rough seas exceptionally well. However, we did get used to the rocking and rolling. Yesterday, I had a hard time getting used to being on land again.

All in all a good time. It will be fun to compare - we will be on the Carnival Miracle in February in a mini-suite. We'll see if we like it as much.

Roberta
#2
Colorful Colorado
7,035 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Roberta-

Thanks for sharing your cruise with us! Are you referring to Christmas decorations on board or the general decor of the ship - I'm curious, wasn't sure which you meant.
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Maasdam - March 2004
Noordam III - Final Voyage - November 3, 2004
Volendam - April 2005
Noordam IV - February 22, 2006 - Inaugural Voyage
Noordam IV - Mediterranean - July 30, 2006
Oosterdam - 20th Anniversary Cruise - March 3, 2007
Westerdam - December 2, 2007
Maasdam - April 14, 2008
Maasdam - August 23, 2008 - Canada/New England
Rotterdam - 12/23/08 - Christmas & New Year's Cruise
Westerdam - November 15, 2009

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Maasdam - 12/6/2010
Noordam - 3/8/2011

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#3
Massachusetts, USA
1,794 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
I was talking about general decor of the ship. The Christmas decorations were lovely and we enjoyed them a lot. What DH didn't like was the pairings of colors - purple and yellow and blue with orange. What I didn't like was the carpets in the halls. They looked as if someone had thrown up on them. That was my first impression - I really thought someone had.

We thought that the bar stools on lido deck near the pool were adorable.

What DH also didn't like were the crowded public rooms. There really weren't enough seats in the Lido for the number of passengers, nor in the Vista Lounge (theatre). He also did not like the low ceilings. They added to the crowded feeling.

What I liked were the fresh flowers everywhere.

We thought that the merchandise selection in the shops was very blah. The jewelry was of relatively poor quality and the clothes selection left a lot to be desired. The liquer selection and pricing was good and we ended up coming home with a bottle of Kahlua and a bottle of Grand Marnier.

DH thought that the atrium couldn't compare to that on the Princess ships - it was much too small.

I really liked the Cruise Director, Jason Venner. We thought that he had a really upbeat voice and he made everything sound like it was really fun.

We saw one production show which was really good and a couple who juggled and were comedians whom we thought were really good. Other than that we did not sample the nightlife, although we did have a flaming coffee in the Explorers' Lounge one night.

Roberta
#4
105,936 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
We have done a lot of cruises on HAL - suites.

Just a few questions.

When and where was the first suite cocktail party? (This differs from ship to ship.)

What night was the VIP party? I know on the Vista class ships we had them in the Queen's Room.

When and what time was the Mariner's party?

#5
Massachusetts, USA
1,794 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
The suite cocktail party was the night of embarkation in the Neptune Lounge.. We didn't go because we had reservations for dinner at the Pinnacle that night courtesy of Amex. I think the VIP party was on Tuesday night and it was held in the Hudson room from 7:15 to 8:30 pm. The suite luncheon was held in the Crow's nest on Friday, a day at sea. We were not invited to the Mariner's party since we are not Mariners until our next cruise. The first formal night was on Monday night and that is when they had the captain's cocktail party for the whole ship. They had two of them - one was at 4:45. I think the second was at 7:15. We didn't go, so I am not entirely sure.

Roberta
#6
Atlanta, GA
868 Posts
Joined May 2003
We thought that Half Moon Cay had a lovely beach, but not enough shade and the folks we encountered in the bar, the shop and the post office on HMC couldn't have cared less. That was a big turnoff which hastened our return to the ship.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. The beach is ringed by trees. What do you expect the folks in the bar/shop/P.O. to do about it?

I think it is one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. Why would you "hasten back to the ship"?
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#7
Point of Rocks, MD
9,521 Posts
Joined Jul 2004
Originally posted by AirGorilla
We thought that Half Moon Cay had a lovely beach, but not enough shade and the folks we encountered in the bar, the shop and the post office on HMC couldn't have cared less. That was a big turnoff which hastened our return to the ship.

I have no idea what you're talking about here. The beach is ringed by trees. What do you expect the folks in the bar/shop/P.O. to do about it?

I think it is one of the most beautiful beaches I have seen. Why would you "hasten back to the ship"?
It's a beach. I've never understood why people get so googly-eyed about it, either.
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- dave
#8
122 Posts
Joined Sep 2003
Charliesmom:

Do you remember what time the suite cocktail party was held? We want to make reservations at the Pinnacle that night, but we always enjoy attending the suite cocktail party as well.

Sounds like you enjoyed your cruise. We are looking forward to sailing on the Westerdam 1-9!
#9
Kennesaw GA.
5,668 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
Thanks for taking the time to write your review I enjoyed it.


At one time there were lots of umbrellas at HMC to provide some shade, sadly this is another cutback. They expect you to rent clamshells instead.
#11
Unadilla, Georgia (@ Lumberjack's Campground)
719 Posts
Joined Jun 2000
The first formal night was on Monday night and that is when they had the captain's cocktail party for the whole ship.
Formal night monday? On Half Moon Cay day?
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#12
Belvidere, IL USA
1,014 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Half Moon Cay was our last stop. Formal night was on the half day in Nassau.

AirGorilla, I think Charliesmom meant that the attitude of the shop/post office/bar staff, in general, was an "I don't care" attitude. One of the shop people I saw had greasy spots on her shirt - makes you wonder.....

We did not stay on HMC for a long time either. Although it is pretty, don't know if it was because of the hurricanes, but the sand was littered with sharp pebbles and rocks, at least in the area where we were.
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http://community.webshots.com/user/plumroyale Westerdam 12/12/04
Zaandam Alaska 5/10/03
Westerdam Eastern Caribbean 12/12/04
Westerdam Western Caribbean 11/13/05 - cancelled
Veendam, Western Caribbean 12/9/06
Volendam, Southern Caribbean 12/3/07






#13
West Central OH
3,401 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
We rented a clamshell for $9 for the day and it turned out to be a very good value. It gave good shade, but got a little warm in there. We picked up a few rocks from along the tree line and propped up the back of the clamshell to allow for air circulation. After that, we were very comfortable.

We did not see any umbrellas, but maybe weren't looking in the right direction.

The trees really took a beating from the hurricanes so it will be a while before they give much shade.

We think the beach is really special because of the soft powdery white sand and the long shallow grade into the water. The various buildings and services are nicely situated relative to the beach area. The open showers for rinsing off sand and salt are a nice touch too.

We hated to leave that beautiful place.

Jane
12/12/04 Westerdam
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20 HAL Cruises, 1 Princess, 1 Royal Caribbean, 1 Uniworld Rhine River, 1 Viking Amsterdam to Budapest. Next up: Nieuw Amsterdam April 2017








#14
Colorful Colorado
7,035 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Charliesmom - Thanks for clarifying about the decor of the ship... I wondered how some of those colors would look...

Also, I think alot of the trees may have been damaged during the hurricane, which is perhaps why there may have been less shade. On our last visit, there were numerous trees - sounds like it's no longer the case.

Windy-

What did you think of the cruise? I don't think I saw a review from you - if you posted one can you let me know, I'll look for it! I hope you had a good time.
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Maasdam - March 2004
Noordam III - Final Voyage - November 3, 2004
Volendam - April 2005
Noordam IV - February 22, 2006 - Inaugural Voyage
Noordam IV - Mediterranean - July 30, 2006
Oosterdam - 20th Anniversary Cruise - March 3, 2007
Westerdam - December 2, 2007
Maasdam - April 14, 2008
Maasdam - August 23, 2008 - Canada/New England
Rotterdam - 12/23/08 - Christmas & New Year's Cruise
Westerdam - November 15, 2009

What's Next:
Oosterdam - 4/24/2010 - 14 glorious days!
Maasdam - 12/6/2010
Noordam - 3/8/2011

"Throw off the bowlines &
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Explore. Dream. Discover"
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#15
Belvidere, IL USA
1,014 Posts
Joined Nov 2002
Ekerr,

We enjoyed our cruise very much, but I have not posted a review yet as I have not had time to gather my thoughts and impressions. I just finished captioning our photos and will be posting them tonite. As far as the review....I will probably have it ready by Christmas.

Just a quickie observation:

We liked the s class ships better than the Vista class because the Vista class just seem too big to us.

Loved the Neptune Lounge and the amenities.

Can take or leave the Pinnacle Grill - food was excellent, but the service left much to be desired.

Dining room and Vista Lounge were too warm - they were air conditioned, but when filled with passengers, these two rooms got very warm.

Loved the Lido stations, our cabin steward, dining stewards were excellent. I asked our dining steward about the new wages and tipping policy and he said, although they get $50/month (yes per MONTH) and have to pay for their uniforms and transportation, he still makes about the same as the earlier policy - so he has no complaints about it. Sounds like people really were stiffing employees with the tipping not required policy. Our cabin steward has been on numerous HAL ships and he also seemed happy with it, although I forgot to ask him about it.

One thing that stood out - All of the crew, from maintenance up to Captain, were always smiling, greeting us, very friendly, with the exception of the Pinnacle staff who seemed to be more serious and slower in service than the dining room.

Will post full review shortly.
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http://community.webshots.com/user/plumroyale Westerdam 12/12/04
Zaandam Alaska 5/10/03
Westerdam Eastern Caribbean 12/12/04
Westerdam Western Caribbean 11/13/05 - cancelled
Veendam, Western Caribbean 12/9/06
Volendam, Southern Caribbean 12/3/07






#16
Colorful Colorado
7,035 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
Windy-

Thanks! I look forward to your full review and photos if you can share them! I'm glad you had a good time. We also prefer the S class over Vista. It's hard to pinpoint the exact reason, but in my mind the layout on Vista leaves much to be desired.

On our ZUI cruise the D/R was also extremely warm and service was so slow that DH could hardly sit there dressed in his tux (plus it was August in the Carribean - our first mistake!). However our suite, balcony and Neptune lounge were the highlights of the trip!

I will keep an eye out for your review - and thanks again!
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Most Recent:
Maasdam - March 2004
Noordam III - Final Voyage - November 3, 2004
Volendam - April 2005
Noordam IV - February 22, 2006 - Inaugural Voyage
Noordam IV - Mediterranean - July 30, 2006
Oosterdam - 20th Anniversary Cruise - March 3, 2007
Westerdam - December 2, 2007
Maasdam - April 14, 2008
Maasdam - August 23, 2008 - Canada/New England
Rotterdam - 12/23/08 - Christmas & New Year's Cruise
Westerdam - November 15, 2009

What's Next:
Oosterdam - 4/24/2010 - 14 glorious days!
Maasdam - 12/6/2010
Noordam - 3/8/2011

"Throw off the bowlines &
sail away from the safe harbor... catch the tradewinds in your sails...
Explore. Dream. Discover"
~Mark Twain
#17
Oklahoma City
7,619 Posts
Joined Oct 2000
I would book the Pinnacle Grill at the same time as the last dining seating. The party will likely be over by then. We have the same problem and this seems to work out.
DaveOKC