Jump to content
Forum Maintenance: Wednesday March 20 @5:00 am ET Read more... ×

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

tammyp5

Long review of the Westerdam Jan Bahamas cruise

Recommended Posts

We did the five day Bahamas cruise on the Westerdam January 3 – 8, 2006. I apologize for the length of this review, but I wanted to give every tidbit of information I could, in case other cruise rookies happened to be looking for more specific details.

 

This was our first cruise. I’m an event planner, so I researched this cruise to the hilt, getting most of my information from the good people on Cruise Critic and Cruise Clues.

We wanted an upscale line, with excellent service, large luxurious cabins and a relaxed atmosphere. We just aren’t party people, so we didn’t want a booze cruise by any means. We had been to Atlantis before and loved the Caribbean water, so this was a good fit for us. Five days didn’t feel like as big of a commitment if we weren’t pleased (oh boy, were we wishing for extra days by the end of the cruise!). I’d like to commend HAL on making this cruise an absolute favorite vacation of ours.

 

Embarkment: we arrived at FLL and had to wait 45 minutes for our bags – I don’t know why. Lots of cruisers at the airport, but most seem to be using transfers, so we paid $15 for a cab to the cruise terminal (which was more of a crude airplane hangar, but did the job). There was some confusion about what to do with our bags, but at the door, a porter did grab them and whisk them away ($5 tip). If I didn’t already know what to expect (from the boards!), I would have appreciated a little more information from her. We went inside and joined the suite line (again, I knew to look for it, no one directed us to it). We stood in a very short line for ten minutes while we filled out credit card forms and a health form (are you sick? have you been in close contact with anyone who was sick?). They had us sign our cards and took a very informal photo for the identification system. This photo pops up when you scan the card as you board the ship. The check-in clerks were very friendly. We went through security, up the gangplank (looks like a jetway), took a very quick photo and were on the ship. Tip: you can freshen up before this photo if you want, but rest assured, you will have many more chances for photos.

 

Cabin: I knew we were on Deck Five, so we took the elevator, and a steward met us at the elevator door on five to take us to our suite (5186, an SC cabin). On the way down the hall, my husband looked in open cabin doors and I could tell he was a little disappointed in the size of the regular balcony cabins and downright scared of the inside cabins. Keep in mind he is 6‘4 and 235 lbs. I assured him our cabin would be fine – we walked as far as the hallway would go to the very back of the ship. The cabin didn’t let me down. The first thing I saw was the dressing area with a vanity, a stool and a lighted makeup mirror. Also three small mirrored closets, one with shelves and one with a large umbrella. Two nice waffle weave robes hung near the door. In the bathroom, there were double sinks, two medicine cabinets, a glass shower and a Jacuzzi tub (my favorite thing!). No need to seek out that hot tub! Water pressure was awesome and we never ran out of hot water. Here’s a great tip – the stool is also a canister and can make a great dirty laundry container (drawers are scarce, but shelves are plentiful). Free laundry service is still a suite perk, but we didn’t need to use it this trip. In the main part of the cabin, there is a magnificent king size bed with crisp white linens. There is a fluffy comforter (heavenly!) in one of the three additional closets (the one with the lifejackets – and one has a safe). There are four pillows on the bed. One wall is mirrors, with two nightstands, each with two small drawers and a reading light. There was a couch, two chairs and a coffee table, along with another canister type stool (they store the bed cover in this at night).In the corner is a shelf unit with your TV and DVD player. Look closely – there is stationary with your name on it – a nice touch. There is a large clock on the wall above the TV (ours was 10 minutes slow). There is also a TV channel that will tell you the ship’s exact time. Tip: If you have mail, check to see if you received an invitation to the captain’s reception and a tender “pass”. We forgot to check until the next day! Read the daily program carefully – it has a weather report, the dress code of the day, and a schedule of the day’s event. You’ll also find a dining room menu delivered to your room each day.

 

Our room steward, Ramses, dropped by to introduce himself. We tipped him $20 and asked him to keep the ice topped off and the room as cool as it could get all week. He was an absolute delight for us, always there and always cheerful – our room was spotless all week. We finally turned to the aft balcony and, even though I knew it would be great, it blew us away. It was as large as the cabin itself, with two loungers, two small tables, four chairs and a dining table. It wraps around the cabin and has a small overhang. Be warned – turn around and look up – there are four decks above you that can look down into your balcony if you are more than four feet away from your door. We really didn’t mind and had breakfast (in our robes) delivered to our balcony every morning. There was no debris, but we did get a good mist every evening when they washed down the upper decks. You can hear some noise from Deck Six (chairs scraping) but little else. There is no traffic in the halls by the room. Even though this side (ironically, the port side) doesn’t face the port all the time, we did get a great view in the Bahamas (we “backed” into port) and in Key West, where we faced the sunset. Best of all, we had the moon, the wake and the open sea without a stiff breeze the entire trip. Tip: Keep the drapes closed. This room will heat up quickly in the sun.

 

First day: We ran to the Lido for a quick late lunch. We didn’t quite know what to do, but grabbed some pasta and a salad. Here was the biggest disappointment of the cruise: the drink glasses on the ship hold about six ounces. My husband drinks abut a gallon of water and tea a day, so I had to get him five glasses of tea all at once before he got over the shock. I can’t figure out why they are so stingy with the liquid – they only offer coffee, tea and quasi juice to drink for free. Why not larger or paper cups? Tip: the OJ is horrible and made from concentrate (funny – they have a port in FL!). I thought the coffee was good and hubby liked the tea. You purchase a soda card (sticker) if you want cokes, but they only have Coke and Sprite, and they come in the same ridiculous small glasses. Tip: pack a plastic glass and help yourself to the tea. We didn’t really enjoy the Lido, although the pizza was good. To be fair, we really aren’t fans of buffet dining. I did see some great looking baked chicken, but it was after I had already eaten the pizza. They had sandwiches made to order and Chinese food as well, but we didn’t sample those.

 

When we got back to our room, they were making announcements about Muster Drill, so we put on our life jackets and followed the crowd to our assigned spot (it is printed on the lifejacket). Tip: Take some bottled water, a hat and sun glasses. This is the hottest we got all trip. It only takes 15 minutes or so, but seems like a lifetime.

 

We took a leisurely tour of the ship before sailaway. The pools looked nice and the bars were pretty and cozy, but our favorite place was in the Crow’s Nest, in the recliners facing the bow. Nice views. We made it up to the Neptune Lounge for appetizers (veggies and dip, salmon on toast points, egg salad on crackers). Same small glasses for tea and juice here. The wonderful part was the cappuccino machine. I had at least two cups every day. There are also sweets (cookies, doughnuts, fudge). We sat and watched CNN while sipping drinks for awhile, and played a short game of scrabble. They have a small selection of magazines. If you have questions, the concierges can help you out. They were nice but seemed very young and not so knowledgeable during our trip. Maybe this was a training cruise for them. The majority of the staff around the ship was outstanding. The room stewards and dining staff are from Indonesia. The casino staff is from eastern Europe and Australia.

 

Back in our stateroom, we were surprised to see that we had left the dock (no motion yet). Out on the balcony, we were even more surprised to find locals standing on the shore, waving as we left. How nice. It was a dreamy site as the sun set and we pulled away from Florida.

 

Dining Room: Our dinner seating was main lower (8:30) for a table of two. It seemed very late to us, but we never went hungry on this ship (the fresh fruit in the cabin helped). My husband was worried about the dress code, but his nice shirt (button front, khaki slacks) fit in well for casual night. Saw only a few sports coats on men. Women were in everything from semi-formal dresses to jeans. On informal (read this as semi formal) and formal nights, men wore jackets and women dressed to the nines. Our waiter was Ananta and he was pleasant but not overly attentive. No complaints, but not top-notch service either. Thanks to the boards, we expected small portions, but the first two appetizers were still surprising in their tiny (but extremely tasty) size. Our waiter never encouraged us to order more of anything, but I knew we could from the boards (thanks, guys!). Please pass that information along to everyone. Thanks to the filling and delicious soups and salads, we were always satisfied. Our favorites were the bean soup and the Italian wedding soup. Memorable entrees were the Mushroom Ravioli and the New York Strip. Surf and Turf was great, but the lobster only had four good bites in it. The best dessert for us was the berry crisp. The baked Alaska was beautiful, but if you’ve had it before, you know it isn’t as tasty as it is showy. They do an excellent job of presentation, though, with the Baked Alaska parade.

 

We ordered room service for breakfast most days. While portions aren’t as small as the dining room, everything is ala carte, so be sure to order butter, jam, cream, milk and toast separately. They don’t bring anything not ordered, even ketchup.

 

We attended the Suite Luncheon in the Crow’s Nest during our at-sea day. It was great to meet the captain and other suite guests. The food was lovely but was more reception food than lunch (shrimp, canapés, cheese bites, spring rolls, even caviar).

 

Suite guests can eat in the Pinnacle for breakfast and lunch. We were in port most lunches, so we tried breakfast in the Pinnacle during the immigration inspection at Key West. While the surroundings are beautiful and the food was delicious, I was disappointed with the aloof service – not what I’d heard from these boards. Maybe our waiter was having a bad day. My husband’s eggs were great. My pancakes were delicious, but were only three to four inches across. Luckily, the delicious croissants filled me up. We didn’t try the Pinnacle for lunch or dinner

 

Motion/seasickness: We never had any sea sickness or came across anyone with it on this trip. Seas were four to six feet most days, and on our at-sea day, rose to ten ft swells. While we could feel the sway of the boat, it was never a problem. It was most noticeable in the Vista Dining Room and the Crow’s Nest. Our sea day was the roughest and we did the funny drunken dance down the halls at some times. We were gently rocked most nights, but not ever tossed about. Nothing ever spilled that I could see. I did see plenty of patches behind ears. I was concerned about the Norwalk virus, since you never know when it will pop up. I never saw anyone sick, or heard of anyone sick on the ship. Tip: There are plenty of hand-sanitizing stations around the ship (mostly outside dining rooms and elevators). Use them.

 

Decks and Pools: One of the best things about Hal – this ship was spotless! The staff is constantly cleaning and we really loved that. Because of our Jacuzzi tub and our ports (we did the snorkel adventure), we did not use the pools. The grill at the pool smelled delicious but we never got around to trying it out. Something to look forward to next time. We didn’t have to do the deck chair dance since we had such a lovely balcony, so I don’t know if there were chair hogs or not. Not very many children were on this ship, although the cruise was sold out. I never even came across ClubHal except for the deserted playground at Half Moon Cay. You can take a great walk around the entire ship on the Promenade Deck. It gets windy after dark and the crew washes it down after sundown, so watch for slippery surfaces at times. There is a basketball court on the top deck, but we didn’t see anyone using it. The pool roof was closed for our at-sea day and during the Key West port, since it was chilly. Other times is was open for sunbathing.

 

Casino, entertainment and lounges: We spent lots of time in the casino (open whenever we were at sea) and we got to know the friendly staff (from Croatia, Hungary and Australia). The slots are really tight, so only play for fun – don’t expect to get your money back unless you get terribly lucky, which my husband did (5,000 nickels doesn’t go too far, though). They have four blackjack tables, a three card poker table, Let It Ride, a roulette wheel and a craps table. Only the BJ tables were crowded at times. The BJ tournament ($20) was popular. I only saw a few people in the slot tournament (also $20). They had nickel, quarter, dollar and a few five dollar slots. I won one $400 payout but didn’t hit much else. There was plenty else to do. The sports bar had the football playoffs going the whole trip – nice, since USA news was scarce (CNN is the “world” version, not the US version). Other bars were almost deserted most of the time. The Piano Bar was hopping some nights, but the Explorer’s Lounge and Ocean Bar never seemed to have a crowd. Several had live entertainment. The Nightclub did have a large crowd for karaoke, but we couldn’t find a place to sit, so we left. We only saw the Illusionist Show in the Vista Lounge, but he was great. We missed the 10:30 show on the other nights. We played Snowball Bingo on the last night (for some reason, they didn’t have a late show that night). Bingo is $20 per three game session and jackpots ($200 - $300) weren’t really big enough to warrant anything but the snowball game ($2600). They showed a movie in the Queen’s Lounge each day and served popcorn. They also show the movie on TV in your cabin. The Queen’s Lounge also held cooking demos and fun activities (photoshop class, game shows) but they were not well attended. I heard that the deck activities and the Crow’s Nest had a better crowd, but we didn’t get up there after dinner. With only five nights, time flies. The photo gallery is crowded on the last night – try to find your photos during the day if you can. It isn’t open all the time, so you have to check the daily program. We played Pictionary and Team Trivia on the at-sea day.

 

Ports: Half Moon Cay was everything you’ve heard. Crystal water, white sand, pristine beaches. The BBQ was pretty good, although it was crowded. We rented a clamshell although we had debated about the cabana. I think we made the right choice for us, since we did an excursion, played in the non-existent surf, and made sand castles. The water is unbelievably clear and turquoise colored. There is no coral but some fish. Take some bread into the water and they find you immediately. The cabanas near us got surrounded by lounge chairs and didn’t have any privacy (the ones farther down the beach probably fared better). They did look wonderful, though, and if you had a larger party with the food and the butler, I’m sure they are worth it. We did the horseback riding (Ok, but I wouldn’t recommend it – the horses are pony-ride trained for the trail ride and the ocean ride was a wild free-for-all that scared even me – and I spent 20 years on horseback). I’m sure it is different some days and for some people – hubby liked it and he is a novice rider. We rode at 11am, so maybe the horses are better on the early ride.

 

We had been to Nassau before, so we didn’t need to tour the island. We chose the Snorkel Adventure. HAL booked way too many people (40) onto this tour for one boat. We took a shuttle bus to Stuart’s Cove (45 minute ride). We piled onto the boat and went to three sites (a large reef with some fish, a plane wreck and the shark swim. The water was chilly but the day was nice. Our crew was friendly and seemed to enjoy their job. Only the shark swim really stood out as memorable. They dropped a box of fish to the bottom and you swam out on a line as the sharks fed below you. Most people climbed right back into the boat when the sharks appeared! They were 4 – 7 ft sharks, so I can’t blame them. After everyone got back to the boat, the crew fed the sharks from the back of the boat and we really got a scary show. That was the best part, being 3 feet from a feeding frenzy. That night, we went for dinner at Atlantis. We’ve stayed there before and it is one of our favorite places, so it was nice to visit for awhile. The Bahamian people are so wonderful and beautiful – it is amazing to see them each time we go. You can tour the hotel lobby, casino and shops at Atlantis free of charge. Tip: If you go during the day, you can see the beautiful grounds from the windows, but you can’t get to the aquarium “dig” or the water park portion without a room key.

 

Key West was chilly, so we just did a short tour and ate lunch at the Hog’s Breath Saloon. We visited the Aquarium($10) but it isn’t worth the money. I did enjoy a large Dr. Pepper in Key West, which was a treat after the tiny Cokes on board. For some reason, we docked at Navy Pier instead of the pier near downtown, so we got a nice trolley tour of the town both ways. Tip: a great photo shot is the zero mile marker of Highway 1 on the main street downtown.

 

Well – I’ve written an entire book and just scraped the surface. While I noted some things that were mildly annoying, this cruise experience was absolutely fabulous and we would highly recommend it to everyone. On our next cruise, we’ll be sure to book at least seven days so we can take advantage of everything the ship has to offer. I’d be happy to answer any specific questions you might have. If I can figure out how to post photos, I’ll try that later.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a GREAT review and the attention to detail was great, I am sure it will help alot of newbies here. That suite you had, wasn't that the best. We had 5187, the opposite side from you when we sailed on the Zuiderdam, a fantastic cabin. I wouldn't hesitate to book that again or to recommend it to anyone. The best part of the suite was that huge verandah. So glad you enjoyed it and the cruise.

 

I am looking forward to seeing your pictures when you post them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed your review. We also loved the Westerdam. It sounds like we have another cruise-a-holic here. Did your DH enjoy as much as you did? It is so much easier to book the next cruise if he gets hooked on cruising too:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For tammyp5...

Never apologize for a "long" review...for those of us interested the reviews aren't "long" enough!

 

I'm sure I'll have more questions, but for now, I'll ask one about the horseback riding on HMC...I'm an experienced rider having had horses since 1975. I now have a barn full of Miniature Horses and haven't had a "large" riding horse since 2002, so my riding will be a bit rusty. One of my "dreams" is to ride along a beach and into the surf for a swim on horseback. I understand that half of the horseback riding excursion on HMC is done on land and half in the water. Do you get to ride along the beach in the sand for awhile? Are the horses able to actually "swim" in the water? It is a marvelous feeling...something I haven't been able to do in over 25 years! I'm hoping that the experience on HMC isn't limited to just a "trail riding hack" with horses following each other at a slow walk with their heads directly behind the horse's tail in front of them.

 

Debjo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Debjo - I rode competively for most of my life, but have been away from it for 5 years. This ride was a disappointment for me, since I also dreamed of a nice canter along the beach. The horses are well kept and appear to be retired race horses with a few small quarter horses thrown in, mostly 14 - 15 hands, small boned and some with obvious broken wind (so I assume they are retired or failed racehorses). All appear to be sound. They are saddled with modified english/McClellan saddles. You use a mounting block and they saddle by size - smaller riders first. I was third mounted and my husband was next to last, so I got 10 minutes of riding that he didn't get, although it was just plodding around the arena. Just try to get your horse out of that rut near the rail and you'll get attitude from them. Also, the guide told me to hold the reins tighter, which was hilarious. My horse's name was Pokey Joe, he held fast to the rut by the rail IN AN ARENA. Do they think he would run off? :) Anyway, the guides were nice other than that. We took off single file and yes, you won't be able to get the horse's head out of the horsebutt in front of you, no matter how much leg you use. We did do some nice beach riding (200 yards) and a scenic hill (this will probably scare novice riders, since we trotted up the hill and it was briefly steep and rocky coming down. Save your photos for the top - it is beautiful. This was also the hottest part of the ride. Your guide will take a photo of you on your horse if you ask. After the hill, you dismount and the guide resaddles with a bareback pad. You walk single file into the surf and all hell commences. The horses bunch up in chest deep water and wildy lunge (not swim) through about 150 yards of beach. The horse in front of me kicked at my horse twice and the rider was close to tears (she thought he was bucking). My guide reprimanded me for trying to rein out of the bunch, so I just let it go and held on. The water pressure on your knees is horrible. My legs shook for hours afterward. My husband loved it but his taller horse was in the front of the pack and he had no pressure on his knees. One larger woman came very close to falling off and had to be helped back to the shuttle. This is not your dream ride in the ocean, I'm afraid. I'm sure it would be nicer if there were only four or five horses instead of 12. I've heard other people rave about it. Having lots of quality time in the saddle to compare it to, it just didn't live up to my expectations. My husband did enjoy it (he has been on a horse less than 10 times and only once in 15 years). That said, we are both very hooked on cruising now and will be exploring cruises for the end of the year again. We're definitely going to look into staying with HAL, it was just a great fit for us.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you for the MOST thorough and wonderful review!

You answered all of my questions to the T!

welcome back, thanks again.

:)

i hope you can post some pics too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a wonderful review. Sure sounds with have a new 'addict'. Happy you enjoyed the ship and your cruise so much.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the through review.:D

You didn't mention if you visited the Neptune or not. Hope you enjoyed it.

Next time you cruise HAL remember that there actually is fresh squeezed OJ. It is usually made in the morning in the area in the Lido that also serves as the ice cream area later (at least in the ships I've been on). It took me 2 cruises to discover that perk too.:)

My husband and I are also large ice tea consumers. What we do when we cruise is either bring or purchase a big insulated bottle and go up to the Lido and fill it with tea and ice a couple of times a day on a Caribbean trip. Keeps us well hydrated and happy!:cool:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great Review !! There is no such thing as too long. It makes us feel we were there with you. Enjoyed the tips too. Thanks

PAH

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Localady - we did hang out at the Neptune some each day - the cappucino machine was one of the hightlights of the trip. Thanks for the tip about the OJ - wish I had discovered that one on the ship. We didn't explore the Lido much, so I'll bet we missed quite a few things (like the bread pudding)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for all the details...I was on the same cruise and your review helped me relive it!

So many things I have forgotten already. Is there a place somewhere that we can find the menus?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the great review, you brought back some fond memories. After waiting for 30 years I finally dragged my DH on a cruise eight years ago. I booked a 7 day cruise thinking this would be my one and only cruise....three days into the cruise my DH said "when are we booking the next one?" You can believe this made me a very very happy lady. It has been eight years and we are anxiously waiting for our 14th cruise coming in May on the Westerdam to Alaska. I believe my DH would live on a ship if we won the lottery.

We believe there is no other vacation that can compare to a cruise. My DH is in a wheelchair and the ships make life very good for him (and me).

136 days to go.....................

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For tammyp5...

I can't thank you enough for your comprehensive description the horseback riding on HMC...it is the best so far (probably because you have a horsey background). Although I am disappointed that I probably won't be able to "swim" with the horses, I think I'll still book this excursion. I'm happy to learn that the horses are well kept and I guess I'll just expect I'll find it challenging to see if I can get "my" horse out of the proverbial "rut". I was actually thinking I might try to squeeze two rides into my time on HMC, but after reading about your actual experiences, I think I'll just go once and enjoy some of the other treats that the private island has to offer.

 

I'm only 5'4", so I'm thrilled that you are mounted by size with the smaller riders going first...extra time in the saddle will be a treat. I'm really hoping my husband will join me, but like your situation, he has only ridden a couple dozen times over the years and his last ride was over 10 years ago. I am planning to "rent" a few rides prior to our cruise...after all, I don't want to be "lame" and "saddlesore" from my ride at HMC for the rest of my cruise. Did you find that you were "saddlesore" afterwards (apart from the knee problem you had from the wate pressure, which I'm not quite sure I understand)?

 

A couple of "equipment" questions: 1. What did you wear for the ride?

2. Did they equip you with safety helmets? (If so, I just might bring my own rather than wear one that many other people have worn.) 3. What types of bits do they use?

 

I hope you will be able to post the pictures that were taken of you and the ones that you took on your ride...I'm anxious to get a better idea about it all because the family & friends that will be traveling with us, on my birthday cruise, are not "horsepeople" and I'm not yet sure if I want to encourage them to accompany me or not.

 

Debjo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Debjo,

If you are like me and crave the contact with a horse, I think you should give it a try anyway. Keep your expectations low, however. You know how it is – different horse, different day, everything can change.

The water pressure comes from the surf pressing against your knee, just at the point of contact with the bareback pad, forcing your knee away from the horse. I’m also 5’4, so a taller person or taller horse may not feel the same pressure. Of course, that is the point of contact that I insist on keeping steady on the horse – anyone more relaxed and willing to let their legs float back may not have that problem (all those years of “heads up, heels down” just don’t allow me to ride any other way). I did feel some saddle soreness in my thighs, but I believe it was due mostly to the knee problem. My husband was sore for two days. Most of the horses were narrow, and some were worse than others.

They give you “Lid-Locker” type helmets (we used them in the therapeutic riding center I used to volunteer at). They are very lightweight. You probably don’t want to tote a helmet in your suitcase and around HMC. I just wiped mine out with a paper towel from the restroom. Most people have been swimming before they come to the ride, so some may be a little damp, but the inside is nylon, not cloth.

They suggest you wear jeans with your bathing suit underneath, and tennis shoes. While this isn’t the safest method, who wants to lug hot boots on a cruise for a 40 minute ride? The stirrups are wide and smooth, so they probably don’t have many accidents. I wore a long sleeve shirt on top during the trail portion, since I’m fair skinned. The horses are bitted up with eggbutt or D ring snaffles, with a halter on top of the bridle. Don’t be alarmed to see horses trotting from the beach riderless when you drive up on the shuttle. They just let them go after dismounting and they go right back to the corral.

The best tip I can give you is to pretend you know nothing. I made the mistake of chatting with the guide beforehand about riding, and he watched me like a hawk all ride. I also tried to stop a horse from rolling with his saddle on and they screamed at me to stop and get away from the horse (for my safety, I guess – but old habits are strong – protect those leather saddles!).

I have a couple of great shots of the ride – I’m going to try tonight to figure out how to link them up.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll try to upload those again tonight when I get home. Sorry.

 

Lolawiz - I hope you have a GREAT cruise. Bon Voyage!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Enjoyed your review very much; I agree with others on this thread, I believe we have another addict among us, welcome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks for the great review, you brought back some fond memories. After waiting for 30 years I finally dragged my DH on a cruise eight years ago. I booked a 7 day cruise thinking this would be my one and only cruise....three days into the cruise my DH said "when are we booking the next one?" You can believe this made me a very very happy lady. It has been eight years and we are anxiously waiting for our 14th cruise coming in May on the Westerdam to Alaska. I believe my DH would live on a ship if we won the lottery.

We believe there is no other vacation that can compare to a cruise. My DH is in a wheelchair and the ships make life very good for him (and me).

136 days to go.....................

 

Gramsk, what date are you sailing? My DW and I will be sailing to Alaska aboard the Westerdam on May 7th.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For tammyp5...

Many thanks for posting your horseback riding pictures...it is true...a picture tells a thousand words! I think that the horses seemed a bit more "rangy" than I expected, but then I know how expensive it is for them to get hay to the islands (Bermuda & Bahamas $25.00 per bale). I also wasn't expecting that they'd be the Quarter Horsey neck parallel to the ground, head down types. That is an adjustment I'll have to get used to having ridden Dressage Saddlebreds & Competative Trail Tennessee Walkers most of my life. I'm used to looking between my horses ears when I'm in the saddle! By the way, you look good in a saddle...guess all that "equitation" came back to you!

 

I also have to commend you for giving me (and other Cruise Critic equestrians) such a comprehensive description of what this excursion is all about! It's the best I've ready so far!

 

Can you believe I have more questions?!?!?! Here goes: 1. You mentioned the saddles were a cross between English and McClellans...are they those non-leather neoprene Bio-tech ones that are waterproof? 2. Were these pictures taken before or after your "romp" in the water?

 

My husband just got through reading your review & looking at the pictures. We don't like the "booze" cruises either...cruise lines don't make any money on us with their alcoholic drinks. DH said it was too bad that we didn't end up on the same cruise...he thought we'd all get along great...but we'd have to decide who got SC5186 & SC5187! Now that you've gotten your first cruise experience...when are you planning your next one? You could always join us in October '06!

 

Debjo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This link might work to see my photo gallery. I'm so new at this, it is taking several times to get it all right.

 

http://www.snapfish.com/photolibrary/t_=41961125

 

 

Debjo,

The saddles (the one I rode in, at least) are leather, almost forward seat, but with an exaggerated pommel and cantle - I guess it helps to keep the novice in the seat. No horn.

 

There aren't any gaited horses in this bunch. You'd think Walkers, Foxtrotters or Paso Finos would be in high demand for trail rides like this.

 

We only took photos the first few minutes of the ride. These are of the 200 yard walk through the surf I told you about. Picturesque, isn't it? I wish we had saved the batteries in the camera for some hilltop photos - the view was great from there. We didn't stop at the top, though. As soon as we got back down from the hill, they resaddled in nylon bareback pads for the ocean "swim". I suppose it is a good thing we didn't take any photos of that part. No one wants to see me riding a horse in a bathing suit, I can assure you.:eek:

 

I can only dream about another cruise right now while my husband is starting a new business. You can be sure I'll be pricing and researching where all aft corners cabins are going! Everyone asked us if HAL wasn't too boring for us, but we really had a great time - I'm so glad we didn't find a lot of drunks doing body shots in the bars all night long. I would guess that only 30 - 40 % of the folks on our cruise were older than 55, and those were the more interesting people - always chatting, laughing, participating in everything. I think HAL got a reputation in the early years of being a seniors type cruise. I hope the word doesn't get out so there will be cabins when we want them! I'll watch for deals on the October cruise, just in case things change. I'm also going to do a lot of research on the Alaska cruise. I would LOVE to spend some time whale watching.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tammy...

I know what you mean about "riding in a bathing suit"...I guess I am planning to wear the lightweight "docker" style pants, I purchased for last year's Kayak Excursion, throughout the entire "ride". I got these marvelous pants at an "outdoor outfitter" store. They're made of some marvelous synthetic material that makes them cool to wear on even the hottest of days and if they get wet, they dry off VERY quickly. I had thought about wearing some loose-fitting lightweight jeans throughout the entire "ride", but I know they wouldn't dry off as easily. I just can't imagine riding in a bathing suit...I think that I'd end up with red bruises all over my legs at this point, having not been in a saddle for a few years...not to mention the sunburn that my northern white skin would attract on the water! Being around horses all the time, I don't even wear shorts in the summer...bathing suits and horses just don't agree!

 

By the way, can you recall if there was "dry cleaning" available free-of-charge as part of your "suite" perks along with the "free" laundry & ironing services?

 

Hope you can make October 15th a reality and join us. I do understand the trials of starting a business and the time/effort it takes at the beginning. Best of luck to you and your husband!

 

Debjo

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Debjo - I remember our room steward mentioning the free laundry (which we didn't try) but I don't know if it included free dry cleaning, sorry. If you take a dress or suit that needs pressing, they'll get it done the same day, he said. You'll find the laundry bag and the service order form in the dressing area closet nearest the door.

 

One thing weird about this cabin is the lack of drawers. There are only four in the main cabin and three very small ones in the dressing area - one occupied by the hair dryer. Shelves are everywhere, however.

 

My husband reminded me today that there does exist a photo of me on horseback in my swimsuit. Just after I mounted back up for the ocean ride, a couple came down the beach on foot and the man took a photo of me on the horse, presumably with the ship in the background. He didn't ask my permission and I probably wouldn't have noticed him except for the "click" of the camera. Now, that is one vacation shot I don't want to keep in a photo gallery! Hope it doesn't end up here on the boards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×