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  #1  
Old March 14th, 2005, 06:36 PM
Joal Joal is offline
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Default Westerdam. Good food at Vista Lounge?

Just got off form the Westerdam yesterday after a seven day Caribbean cruise. The ship is beautiful, although we did not like some of the decor. It is ultra modern.The staff was great, real friendly and efficient. The matresses fantastic, we slept like babies. The cabin was smaller than similar ones on other ships we have been, but the space is well utilized. The food in the Lido was good; however, the food in the Vista Lounge was very disappointing. In particular, some of the main courses were frankly bad. The meats and fish we ordered were very dry and tasteless. The lobster tail was the smallest we have ever seen and also overcooked. Most people we talked to had the same complaint. We do not cruise only for the food, but dining on a cruise is supposed to be at least a pleasant experience. Just for this, we will not go back on the Westerdam.
Our concern is that prior to going on this trip, we booked another one on the Statendam for the Hawaii cruise in October of this year. We had never been with HAL before. I do not know if the food in this other ship will be about the same, or if there is a difference from one ship to another. Anyway, we are thinking about cancelling this next trip. This is a 15 day trip, and we do not want so many days of bad food!
We have not cruise extensively, but we have been on Celebrity and Cunard (both the QM2 and the QE2) and the food on both was superior, both in quality and variety. In fact, there was nothing we ate on those ships we did not like.
Would appreciate any comments. Anyone with similar expereince?

Joal
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  #2  
Old March 14th, 2005, 07:09 PM
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bepsf bepsf is offline
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Hmmmm - never tried eating in the Vista Lounge...


Perhaps it's better in the Dining Room?

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  #3  
Old March 14th, 2005, 08:22 PM
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dakrewser dakrewser is offline
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What you describe sound like kitchen problems. Certainly our recernt cruise on the Oosterdam (sister ship to the Westerdam) had good quality, well prepared food in the DR.

Sorry you had a less than ideal experience, but it does sound like an aberation (previous Westerdam cruisers hadn't reported it) so your Statendam cruise shouldn't necessarily be similar.
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  #4  
Old March 14th, 2005, 08:42 PM
Joal Joal is offline
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Vista Lounge is what the dining room is called in the Westerdam. Probably the same name in all the new "Vista Class" ships. That is what I am talking about, the dining room.
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  #5  
Old March 14th, 2005, 09:59 PM
JDee JDee is offline
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Never could understand the confusing "Vista" names to distiguish the lounge from the DR. The brochure shows the "Vista Lounge" as being located forward and is the showroom entertainment center. At the rear of the ship, the DR is called the "Vista Dining Room".

Happy cruising....
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  #6  
Old March 14th, 2005, 11:01 PM
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Yes, the showroom is the Vista Lounge. The DR is the Vista Dining Room. You'd think they could have afforded two different names!
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  #7  
Old March 14th, 2005, 11:52 PM
avalon1025 avalon1025 is offline
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We too were on this cruise, thought the ship was lovely (would not call it ultra modern, more classic, I'll leave modern for the Celebrity ships). Cabin was great (we were in a cate S), and the food in the main dinning room was just fine. Yes the lobster was small but they gave us two tails plus a filet on the same plate (almost a pig like portion!), and they were perfectly done (though I would have love to have some drawn butter with them vs the bernaise sauce: ah, such problems!). No complaints on food and as always the Lido remains the gold standard for casual eating on the seas. The Westerdam was a great value and class act in this price range. The upgrades were lovely (the embarcation packet, the dis-embarcation packet: excellent presentation, the beds: heavenly) and all the suite amenities were glorious (the Neptune lounge is a highlight). Overall on of the better 7 day cruises we ever sailed.
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  #8  
Old March 14th, 2005, 11:53 PM
avalon1025 avalon1025 is offline
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PS: sailed QM2 twice last year, thought the food was comparable, though Todd English can not be beat for an alternative venue.
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  #9  
Old March 15th, 2005, 03:12 PM
Joal Joal is offline
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Avalon:

We must have eaten in different DR on the Westerdam. I am glad you had such a great experience, so different from ours!! I am sorry to disagree, but the food on the QM2 and QE2 is much better. Both the quality and variety, as well as the level of their cuisine. No comparison. The food at the Pinnacle was great though.
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  #10  
Old March 17th, 2005, 07:21 PM
ruthiegirl ruthiegirl is offline
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Thumbs up Food in the Vista Dining Room

Joal,
We had a similar experience on our Westerdam cruise in Feb. We thought the food wasn't that great. The lobster tails were so small that I ate 3 of them and I'm not a big eater, but that nite I ate 3 to fill me up. We also agree that some of the meats were undercooked they were floating in blood, we did not order them that way! It seems we are in the minority. I'm sorry folks but we've eaten out at many restaurants and we just didn't enjoy the dinners that were served that week (Feb. 6-13). Joal, if it were us, we would cancel the next trip and try another cruise line, at least one where you already enjoyed delicious food. Of course, this is just our opinion, it's your money. Whatever you decide have a great vacation!!!!!
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  #11  
Old March 19th, 2005, 09:49 PM
avalon1025 avalon1025 is offline
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Hate to tell you all but it has to do with your chef at the time, not the cruise line. Maybe is was the dinner seating, we had 8:00 upper level. We were in a large group of all suites, and the matre d came by non stop and made sure everything was piping hot. Also, here is a tip, we pre-ordered our dinners each night with our specific wants and needs (ie: a different sauce, slightly different preparation) so maybe our food was more personally prepared. For the price paid, the Westerdam was great. Not Silversea quality (which we usually sail), but not as dorm like food wise as Royal Caribean or Princess. Food in the Neptune lounge was very nice as well. I guess its up to your personal taste. We sail about 6 cruises a year and in the Premium Mass Market category, Holland America has always given us a fine cruise.

May I suggest Radisson? Sailed them in Dec and the food was lovely.
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  #12  
Old March 20th, 2005, 10:53 AM
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LAFFNVEGAS LAFFNVEGAS is offline
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Joal, I have to agree with you. This was our fourth HAL cruise and by far the worse food we ever encountered in the Dining Room definitely not the standards we were use to. The Lido and Neptune were excellent as always but something was lacking in the Main Dining Room. With the exception of a few items that were excellent I think there seems to be a problem on the Westerdam. Mostly service an food quality is just not consistant. I would not reflect this toward the whole HAL line I think it is just this ship. I am expecting the Maasdams to be up to the standards HAL is know for like the Oosterdam and Ryndam was for us last year.
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1.RCI Monarch March 2002 W.Carib,2.HAL ZUIDM April 2003 East Carib,3.RCI Monarch December 2003 Mexico,4.HAL Oosterdam May 2004 Alaska,5.HAL Ryndam Nov 2004 Sea of Cortez,6.HAL MS Westerndam Mar 2005 W Carib,7. HAL Maasdam NE/Canada July 2005,8. HAL Oosterdam Oct 2005 Mex Riv,9.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2006 Mex Riv,10.HAL Ryndam May 2006 Alaska,11.HAL Veendam Sept 2006 Pacific Coastal,12.HAL Zaandam Nov 2006 10 day Mex. Riv,13.HAL Oosterdam 30th Anniversary March 2007 Mex.Riv,14.HAL Noordam Alaska June 2007,15.HAL Noordam Alaska Sept 2007, 16.HAL Oosterdam Dec 2007 Mex Riv, 17.HAL Oosterdam Feb 2008, 18. HAL Amsterdam Alaska June 2008 19. HAL Oosterdam Mexican Riviera October 2008 20. HAL Eurodam Eastern Caribbean Dec.2009 B2B with 21. HAL Eurodam Christmas Cruise Southern Caribbean Dec 2008 22. February 2009 HAL Oosterdam Yum Yum Man Worshippers II Mex Riv 23. April 2009 HAL Statendam Panama Canal East Cast Coast to West Coast. 24. HAL Westerdam Alaska June 2009 25. NCL Star Cruise To Nowhere Nov.2009 26. PCL Crown Princess W.Caribbean Jan. 2010 27. NCL Pearl Pacific Coastal April 2010 28. Celebrity Solstice Western Caribbean September 2010 29.RCI Mariner Mex Riv Nov 2010 30. HAL Nieuw Amsterdam Eastern Caribbean March 2011 31. HAL Westerdam Alaska May 2011 32.HAL Oosterdam Hawaii October 2011 33.HAL Westerdam So. Carib March 2012 34. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2012 35. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2012 36. NCL Dawn W. Caribbean Nov. 2012 37. HAL Zuiderdam Pac Coastal May 2013 38. HAL Zuiderdam Alaska May 2013 39. HAL Veendam Mexico Dec 2013 40. NCL Jewel W Carib March 2014 [/size]
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  #13  
Old March 20th, 2005, 11:59 AM
jerseygirl3 jerseygirl3 is offline
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My sister and BIL just returned yesterday from the Zuiderdam, and they said it was their worst cruise to date. They said the food was absolutely awful in the dining room. They said many, many people were complaining. They wound up eating dinner in the Pinnacle Room every night after sampling how bad the food was in the dining room. She said service was lacking as well. They booked a suite, and had to constantly ask their room steward for standard things, such as clean towels. She was shocked because although she never cruised HAL before, she had higher expectations. And one thing she thought was "nickel and diming" was the fact that they spent $40 every night ($20 pp) to eat dinner in the Pinnacle Room, and they brought two bottles of wine with them (they were sharing with another couple). They were charged $30 ($15 per bottle) every single night for the corkage fee. She felt that since they were patronizing the restaurant every night, it would have been nice if they opened at least one bottle one of the nights without charging them the corkage fee.

She has cruised Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Princess before, and she thought the food selection and quality was the best on Carnival, with Princess a close second. But she thought HAL was by far the worst.

Also, they were renewing their vows and another couple they met on the ship decided to attend. They paid the extra fee for the other couple (covers the cost of champagne and hors doerves). No problem. However, the other couple had a 7 year old daughter who just wanted to watch the ceremony, and then leave and go to the kid's program. My sister asked if she could watch without paying the fee. They said no, she had to pay the full adult fee to watch the ceremony. I'm sorry, but that is ridiculous. Not to mention the fact that my BIL pre-ordered many things as this was an anniversary cruise (champagne and caviar, delivered on embarkation day instead of the day of their anniversary as he had stipulated), a dozen long stem roses, a gift certificate for my sister for a day at the spa, etc. They weren't opposed to splurging a bit on this special cruise, but it just didn't live up to their expectations at all.

One positive; she said the weather was terrific!
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  #14  
Old March 20th, 2005, 06:13 PM
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JerseyGirl:

Sorry to hear your sister had sov much to complain about - any chance they could come here and post a review? It's always much appreciated if people could go a little deeper into the problems rather than a simple "the food was absolutely awful." THat could mean poor selection, poor quality, poor service, or so many othe things.
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  #15  
Old March 21st, 2005, 02:46 PM
drcandon drcandon is offline
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Default Thumbs up for Westerdam

This was the first cruise we have had on HAL and were on the Westerdam - cruise date was the end of Feb. We have been on Carnival and Celebrity lines before that. Whereas I agree that the food on HAL is not quite as good as the food on Celebrity, it is still way way better than anything I could cook at home. Mind you, we have not been cruising for a while and went on Celebrity before it got taken over, so I have no idea what the food is like now. That being said the quality and quantity of food in the Vista DINING room was never below par in any way. Yea, I admin the lobster tail was small, but the steak with it was huge and done to perfection - again I prefer medium rare beef. My wife's most memorable memory was the watermelon pie she had, it sounded weird but was really excellent ice cream/sherbert thingy. I am an avid lamb connoisseur and the lamb served in different variations was excellent. We had the second early sitting and have no complaints at all about the service, again way way above any standards set by Carnival - I don't mean to start a flaming post, but our experience with Carnival was okay, but if that had been our only cruise it would not have been very memorable.

As far as the the room stewart, my wife joked about the old saying that on HAL if you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night the bed is made when you come back - seemed to be correct, he was fast efficient and very courteous. We actually had to hunt him down to take a photo of him - that is the way room service should be - transparent - except when you need it. We only had one minor complaint about the room and that was solved within minutes of my phoning the "front desk". Both the room stewart and his supervisor came up to see what happened. Again a pleasent surprise.

Not to start a flaming post war, but this ship was as clean as Celebrity lines and maybe in some cases cleaner, you never saw drink glasses lying around in any deck or public areas. Certainly a far cry from Carnival ( the old Sensation) and the mess we encountered on that ship.

So, unless other folks had a different set of staff members and chef then we had, I am not sure what the complaint is. This cruise was at least as good as the last Celebrity one and maybe in some ways even better.
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  #16  
Old March 21st, 2005, 03:08 PM
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dakrewser dakrewser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DRCANDON
So, unless other folks had a different set of staff members and chef then we had, I am not sure what the complaint is. This cruise was at least as good as the last Celebrity one and maybe in some ways even better.
A lot of the dining room complaints, I believe, can be attributed to two sources - the passenger's expectations and the work of the DR steward. A minor contributor can be table size.

People who expect a 5* experience in a cruise ship DR are simply asking to be disappointed. It's banquet food, and banquet service, albeit with a lot more elegance. As such, it's probably the best banquet food you'll ever have. The steward can contribute a lot to the success or failure of the experience simply thru his efficiency and personality. An experienced steward knows, almost instinctively, the right order to do things in to insure that the meal goes smoothly while allowing a bit of time for pleasant chat. I think table size can contribute to this because it's easier to accomodate a small table, especially when the diners all are related or good friends than it is to handle a large table of relative strangers.

Still, the debates will range as long as there are cruise ships!
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Old March 21st, 2005, 07:53 PM
jerseygirl3 jerseygirl3 is offline
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Dakrewser, my sister isn't computer savvy at all, but I will ask her specifically what her complains were regarding the food and post it here. It will be a few days, though, before I will be able to post it, as I'll be away from the computer until possibly the end of the week.

As I recall, her biggest complaint was that food in the dining room was often served cold, and was rather tasteless. The desserts were unimaginative. She ordered a cheese plate for dessert, and she said the cheeses were nothing special, just your typical, run of the mill cheeses like cheddar and brie. She said the meats were very tough. I don't think they had unrealistic expectations, as they are fairly experienced cruisers, so they don't expect 5 star meals. They were at a table for 4 so I don't think the table size was a problem for their server. They did love the Pinnacle Grill; she raved that the food there was excellent.

As far as overall service, she said the staff were rather impersonal. They never seemed to want to go out of their way. She couldn't believe she had to ask her cabin steward for clean towels. She said he was very pleasant, but he never went out of his way to do anything. He got by with the barest necessities required. Her husband had ordered champagne and caviar to be delivered to their stateroom on the evening of their anniversary, and instead it was delivered when they embarked the ship in Ft. Lauderdale. They attempted to send it back, as that's not when they wanted it. But it was such a hassle, they wound up taking it then and not having it for their anniversary.

She just said that overall, it was not a cruise she would go on again. It's not that they had a terrible time, it just wasn't very good. Their other experiences have been on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Princess, but she said this was by far the worst of all of them. She put Carnival's food selection first, Princess food quality first, and Royal Caribbean's food and selection second. She said HAL was a very weak third.

If I can find out more specifics, I will post them.
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  #18  
Old March 21st, 2005, 08:47 PM
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Thanks jerseygirl3.
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  #19  
Old March 22nd, 2005, 12:20 AM
charliewesley charliewesley is online now
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Hi all!


We we're on the Westerdam for back to back 3/6-3/13 and 3/13-3/20. The dining room was very inconsistant. Poor service in the lower dining room, table 136 at the 8:30 seating. Inattention is the right word. The quality of the food was also very inconsistant between the two cruises. What was terrible the first cruise was better the second. And what was good the first time around was lacking the second time around. Never saw a Maitre'd either cruise. The lobster was overcooked, dry and tiny. The steak served with it was inconsistant, one was like pot roast the next was too rare. I like rare beef but not when it is poor quality beef. Fish tasted fishy and soups were luke warm.

BUT.

The Pinnacle Grill was excellent! So we all know that good food is able to be had on the ship! Dining room needs to get its act together though.

Still a great cruise. I will post more comments on a separate thread soon.
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  #20  
Old March 22nd, 2005, 07:22 PM
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Charliesmom Charliesmom is offline
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Hopefully, the dining room will have gotten it together by the time we cruise in December. I thought it was reasonable last December.

I do have a question to ask of recent cruisers.

Last cruise, we ate at early lower seating. This year we are slated for the main upper seating. Do they have any shows before dinner for main seating guests? They did on our Carnival cruise and it was very pleasant. We got to see far more entertainment than we had in the past.

Roberta
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