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Enchanted

just off the Westerdam- a few complaints. long

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Just off the Westerdam and I can’t say I’m all that impressed.

 

This is not a review per say , just some comments on things I found lacking on our back to back Nov 5th -19th compared to previous HAL cruises.

 

The food quality and service has gone way down hill. Now let me tell you, I do seem to have bad Karma especially when it comes to food, however there were eight of us in our group and we all felt something was lacking, especially in the dining room.

 

I seem to recall having a waiter, assistant waiter and water boy/girl in the past. This time we didn’t have the water boy and it seemed the waiter and asst waiter had more than the usual number of tables to take care of (this occurred both weeks at different tables and seating times).

It was hard to get upset when you see all the people they have to take care of but we only ever saw our waiter for 3 or 4 minutes a night when it was time for tea/coffee, desert, (again, both weeks) it was the assistant that was doing most of the work.

 

Here are some of the things that caused me concern;

 

Our water glasses were empty a lot even after asking for water.

Food was served one or two plates at a time then there would be about a 5 minute gap before others would get their soups/salads/entrees etc.

Food was often served to the wrong person and we’d be left to shuffle it around ourselves.

Part of the meal at times was forgotten altogether.

Red meat NEVER came as ordered.

There were nights I barely touched my food for one reason or another- lack of taste, overcooked etc. On Crab leg night the bowl came with two crawfish(?) with the eyeballs still in them (for decoration I think, but it put me off), they never offered me another meal.

Cuts/size of meat were never consistent, my DH would ask for and end piece or a thick cut etc and would get the smallest piece at the table.

I would order tea each night, the cups and saucers would all come at the same time, but then the tea pots would come at 2 minute intervals, they kept bringing me green tea (which I don’t drink). Then the coffee would come at least 5 minutes later. I gave up asking for milk and used the cream instead.

One night I asked for tea, everyone else that asked for tea got what they ordered, then they came around with coffee, asked if I wanted coffee and when I replied ‘no thank you’, my cup was taken away and my tea never came.

On the last night I ordered the same meal as 2 others at our table- their meat came thick, and I received mine in a thin slice that was actually see through and resembled a slice, or half a slice rather of roast beef from a deli, which was also over cooked (2 people at my table also tried it and commented that it tasted like a bad TV dinner). I actually asked for another meal but by the time it came everyone at my table had finished theirs. I really don’t know why it took so long to get the other meal as we were the only table in our section that showed up on the last night.

Soups weren’t as good as they’ve been in the past.

Deserts weren’t up to par for the most part either- mostly tasteless

Baked or roasted potatoes were always undercooked.

Also most of the salads tasted either dirty or like they had soapy residue on them.

Four of us ordered Caesar salads on the first night and the lettuce was rotten and brown- we also watched other tables get the same decaying salads.

 

 

We went to the Lido for dinner one night, which was probably the best meal we had. The only thing I didn’t like about eating there for dinner was that you pick up your starters, then tell them what you want for dinner and they bring it to your table but the dinner came about 2 minutes later and we had just sat down and hadn’t eaten our starters yet which left everything on the table at the same time.

While we were eating someone was vacuuming and asked us to move our feet so he could vacuum under the table. (what the hell?????)

Also, during lunch there’s someone that comes around with a cart selling beer and sodas and serving water/ iced tea, tea and coffee which is a nice touch, but there was no one there at dinner.

 

At lunch in the Lido one day I asked for the wrap of the day at the sandwich bar (cob salad wrap) and asked if it was thousand island dressing they used and he said ‘yes, and chicken, lettuce and guacamole” (I had a cob wrap on the Volendam practically everyday and they never put guacamole on it) so I said, ‘oh no, I’m sorry but I don’t like guacamole” and he replied “that’s just the way it is ma’am” and banged the plate down in front of me and went to serve the next person. He was very serious and didn’t smile.

Six of us in my party got the same treatment at the terrace grill, there were no smiles and ‘hello’s’ and if you tried to converse, other than to place your order, it wasn’t reciprocated. (I’m not sure if the other two in our group even ate there so I won’t speak for them)

My father who was also travelling with is said he was treated the same at the ice cream bar each day.

It reminded me of the soup episode of Seinfeld!

 

On HMC I had a hamburger that was raw.

And had trouble getting soda on my pre-paid soda card a couple of times.

 

Now, before anyone jumps on me, please let me say that yes, I understand how difficult it must be to cook for about 1800 people multiple times each day. I don’t expect everything to be perfect and I certainly expect that there will be nights in the dining room where I won’t like what I ordered or there’s a bit of a mix up. If I was a first time cruiser I’m sure I’d think that all was wonderful but after having some experience of what life on HAL can be like it was a bit upsetting.

Little things like the water and iced tea on the promenade are gone. And if you were walking around a corner and ran into one of HAL’s crew, they’d stop and let you go ahead, not cut you off.

It used to be the gracious Indonesian crew would remember your name on the first night and if you asked for tea on the first night it would come exactly as you asked each subsequent night unless you asked for different.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone was rude and cold, however there were enough instances like this to impact the overall enjoyment of our vacation.

 

I was talking to a cruse activities member about a few things and they asked me what I thought about the food. Seeing as they had asked, my guess was they were anticipating my answer. ‘they’ (I don’t want to mention the name) said they’ve received a lot of complaints about food recently.

 

I also talked to a few other pax on board who weren’t thrilled with the food.

And at the end of the week when they tell you how much you’ve eaten I couldn’t help but wonder if we ate that much as a whole just in search of something edible or enjoyable.

 

Some foods I would recommend;

 

Tomato basil soup

Mango chicken (on the first night)

Crispy Thai spring rolls (appetizer on last night)

Chicken breast burgers at the terrace grill (real chicken, not pressed)

Conch chowder

 

A big concern for me is that we’ve booked my parents on this ship as a surprise for next October for the Med/ Transatlantic and now I’m not sure what to do. They were on this cruise with us and had similar complaints.

 

I know from past experience that you can cruise on the same ship twice and have very different experiences but when there are so many options out there I’m not sure I would want to take the chance.

I will leave the decision up to them.

 

On a positive note, our cabin steward ‘Usep’ was outstanding, which we reflected in our comments (Usep told us he thought he was in trouble at first when his boss called him in and told him to sit down and read our comments- so they do get read)

Entertainment was good and the ship is still beautiful (carpeting on some of the stairs was being replaced)

And a couple of the staff were on the Volendam when we were and they remembered us- which was very nice)

 

The cruise activities staff were great

Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze (the airport is a different story)

Over all we had a good time, just not the great time we’ve had on past HAL cruises.

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I thought the same thing on our February Caribbean cruise!!!... We had been on the Veendam during the summer, and the attention to detail, food, display, and courtesy was outstanding!!!... the waiters always called us by name, they knew our coffee/espresso/cappuchino preferences and asked if we wanted the same "as the night before"....and the food was superb!

 

I was disappointed in the food on the Westerdam, it seemed more bland, and yes I agree, a lot of the desserts were tasteless....and coffee, tea after dinner was lagging, everyone got theirs at different times .The Lido was the best as ever, tho - but even there, the type of desserts/cakes offered were not on par with our Veendam cruise....

 

Did not eat at the Pinnacle, however, I was not impressed with the layout- it seemed so "out in the hallway" looking!!!

 

We did enjoy the cruise, however I don't think we will sail on any vista class ships in the near future!

 

CJcruzer

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Hi Enchanted,

Out of curiosity did you eat at the 8:30 seating? we have consistently noticed on all our HAL cruises that the salads were wilted and brown-looking at the late-late seating, except on Maasdam. One of our table mates asked the waiter if they had run out of lettuce.

We were at the 7:45 (Alaska) seating on Westerdam and had great service and attention to detail from our servers, except once when my DH ordered a second soup and did not get it.

At the end of the Alaska season many of the crew were getting off so it's possible that you had an entirely different group than we did.

 

You're right you can't predict from one cruise to the next, even on the same ship. If we hadn't thought that Westerdam was organized and well-run we wouldn't have booked her again for next October. Do you know if they changed captains? Ours was Peter Harris.

 

Sorry about your disappointment. I would watch for further Westerdam reviews to see if there's an on-going trend before changing the booking for your folks. I'm certainly going to be watching too.

GN

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Hi Enchanted, Thanks so much for your report. Sorry you were disappointed. :(

 

We were on the Westerdam in Oct and I found the food to be very bland as well. Dining room service was not the greatest. With that said, I had never been on HAL before and I could only compare HAL with Carnival's food/service. :D

 

As for the Med. cruise for your parents, If they felt they had a bad experience, I would cancel and book through another line. IMHO !!! :cool:

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Wow -- that was really bad service! None of those items you mentioned are minor carping -- every one is a significant service item and you certainly seemed to be describing them accurately! This is so much better than the typical "drive by bashing"!

 

That is so different to our recent HAL experiences. We have had very good (but not excellent) service the last three trips and are looking forward to the same on Westerdam in February.

 

I will be on my toes, and talking to the headwaiter the first night if any of that stuff happens! Thanks for the heads up!

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First, let me say that I read this board nearly every day --- however, I'm not sure I've ever posted before. My wife & I were were on the Westerdam 10/22 -10/29, it was our third HAL cruise. I must agree with most of what has been posted on this thread concerning dining room service. We had early sitting with a table for two. It seemed to us that out waiter was always rushed, distant & preoccuppied. With the exception of our room steward Rama, no one asked, let alone remembered our names. Their was no sense of that personal touch. True, the Westerdam is beautiful, the cruise was enjoyable, but we just did not come away with the same feeling from our previous two HAL cruises. The BEST experience we've had was about three years ago on the Zaandam --- service was 110% all the time. Perhaps because the Zaandam is a smaller ship, but it just seemed the service in the dining room & around the pool deck was much more personalized. We will certainly sail with HAL in the future, but I think we'll go back to the smaller ships.

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Well we are getting ready for our Amsterdam cruise and I am not happy reading this, but then, again, I think we are all aware of the food quality on most lines today. It continues to go downhill; why, because the prices remain stable and inflation, certainly food prices, keep increasing. It seems we have 3 choices: 1-continue to pay the lower prices and continue to get less than top quality food and service:2-pay more 3-change to the more upscale cruiselines and pay much more.

 

I am very anxious to see what we think of the Amsterdam food. NMNIta

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I had been looking forward to our first HAL cruise, have enjoyed many Princess, Celebrity and Disney cruises. We are just back from the Westerdam (Nov.12-19) ..SA category travelling with my husband and two sons. We gave up on the diningroom after two evenings - it was a disaster - room service on the balacony was much nicer and a lot less frustrating and the food was hot compared to luke warm to cold in the DR.

 

I thought the Neptune Lounge was a nice touch and we all enjoyed the ability to pop in and pick up a drink or a bite of food.

 

But, I came away from the cruise feeling very much that this is a cruise line run by cost accountants.... a few examples, charging $1.50 per balloon for our door which I requested for my son's birthday, $2.00/bottle for water on the gangway when going into port, small food portions, closing of many of the food stations on the Lido by 8pm

 

Suffice to say, I came away very underwhemed and unfortunately it seemed to be a view shared by others we encountered on the cruise.

 

Back to Disney for us...

 

Just off the Westerdam and I can’t say I’m all that impressed.

 

This is not a review per say , just some comments on things I found lacking on our back to back Nov 5th -19th compared to previous HAL cruises.

 

The food quality and service has gone way down hill. Now let me tell you, I do seem to have bad Karma especially when it comes to food, however there were eight of us in our group and we all felt something was lacking, especially in the dining room.

 

I seem to recall having a waiter, assistant waiter and water boy/girl in the past. This time we didn’t have the water boy and it seemed the waiter and asst waiter had more than the usual number of tables to take care of (this occurred both weeks at different tables and seating times).

It was hard to get upset when you see all the people they have to take care of but we only ever saw our waiter for 3 or 4 minutes a night when it was time for tea/coffee, desert, (again, both weeks) it was the assistant that was doing most of the work.

 

Here are some of the things that caused me concern;

 

Our water glasses were empty a lot even after asking for water.

Food was served one or two plates at a time then there would be about a 5 minute gap before others would get their soups/salads/entrees etc.

Food was often served to the wrong person and we’d be left to shuffle it around ourselves.

Part of the meal at times was forgotten altogether.

Red meat NEVER came as ordered.

There were nights I barely touched my food for one reason or another- lack of taste, overcooked etc. On Crab leg night the bowl came with two crawfish(?) with the eyeballs still in them (for decoration I think, but it put me off), they never offered me another meal.

Cuts/size of meat were never consistent, my DH would ask for and end piece or a thick cut etc and would get the smallest piece at the table.

I would order tea each night, the cups and saucers would all come at the same time, but then the tea pots would come at 2 minute intervals, they kept bringing me green tea (which I don’t drink). Then the coffee would come at least 5 minutes later. I gave up asking for milk and used the cream instead.

One night I asked for tea, everyone else that asked for tea got what they ordered, then they came around with coffee, asked if I wanted coffee and when I replied ‘no thank you’, my cup was taken away and my tea never came.

On the last night I ordered the same meal as 2 others at our table- their meat came thick, and I received mine in a thin slice that was actually see through and resembled a slice, or half a slice rather of roast beef from a deli, which was also over cooked (2 people at my table also tried it and commented that it tasted like a bad TV dinner). I actually asked for another meal but by the time it came everyone at my table had finished theirs. I really don’t know why it took so long to get the other meal as we were the only table in our section that showed up on the last night.

Soups weren’t as good as they’ve been in the past.

Deserts weren’t up to par for the most part either- mostly tasteless

Baked or roasted potatoes were always undercooked.

Also most of the salads tasted either dirty or like they had soapy residue on them.

Four of us ordered Caesar salads on the first night and the lettuce was rotten and brown- we also watched other tables get the same decaying salads.

 

 

We went to the Lido for dinner one night, which was probably the best meal we had. The only thing I didn’t like about eating there for dinner was that you pick up your starters, then tell them what you want for dinner and they bring it to your table but the dinner came about 2 minutes later and we had just sat down and hadn’t eaten our starters yet which left everything on the table at the same time.

While we were eating someone was vacuuming and asked us to move our feet so he could vacuum under the table. (what the hell?????)

Also, during lunch there’s someone that comes around with a cart selling beer and sodas and serving water/ iced tea, tea and coffee which is a nice touch, but there was no one there at dinner.

 

At lunch in the Lido one day I asked for the wrap of the day at the sandwich bar (cob salad wrap) and asked if it was thousand island dressing they used and he said ‘yes, and chicken, lettuce and guacamole” (I had a cob wrap on the Volendam practically everyday and they never put guacamole on it) so I said, ‘oh no, I’m sorry but I don’t like guacamole” and he replied “that’s just the way it is ma’am” and banged the plate down in front of me and went to serve the next person. He was very serious and didn’t smile.

Six of us in my party got the same treatment at the terrace grill, there were no smiles and ‘hello’s’ and if you tried to converse, other than to place your order, it wasn’t reciprocated. (I’m not sure if the other two in our group even ate there so I won’t speak for them)

My father who was also travelling with is said he was treated the same at the ice cream bar each day.

It reminded me of the soup episode of Seinfeld!

 

On HMC I had a hamburger that was raw.

And had trouble getting soda on my pre-paid soda card a couple of times.

 

Now, before anyone jumps on me, please let me say that yes, I understand how difficult it must be to cook for about 1800 people multiple times each day. I don’t expect everything to be perfect and I certainly expect that there will be nights in the dining room where I won’t like what I ordered or there’s a bit of a mix up. If I was a first time cruiser I’m sure I’d think that all was wonderful but after having some experience of what life on HAL can be like it was a bit upsetting.

Little things like the water and iced tea on the promenade are gone. And if you were walking around a corner and ran into one of HAL’s crew, they’d stop and let you go ahead, not cut you off.

It used to be the gracious Indonesian crew would remember your name on the first night and if you asked for tea on the first night it would come exactly as you asked each subsequent night unless you asked for different.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone was rude and cold, however there were enough instances like this to impact the overall enjoyment of our vacation.

 

I was talking to a cruse activities member about a few things and they asked me what I thought about the food. Seeing as they had asked, my guess was they were anticipating my answer. ‘they’ (I don’t want to mention the name) said they’ve received a lot of complaints about food recently.

 

I also talked to a few other pax on board who weren’t thrilled with the food.

And at the end of the week when they tell you how much you’ve eaten I couldn’t help but wonder if we ate that much as a whole just in search of something edible or enjoyable.

 

Some foods I would recommend;

 

Tomato basil soup

Mango chicken (on the first night)

Crispy Thai spring rolls (appetizer on last night)

Chicken breast burgers at the terrace grill (real chicken, not pressed)

Conch chowder

 

A big concern for me is that we’ve booked my parents on this ship as a surprise for next October for the Med/ Transatlantic and now I’m not sure what to do. They were on this cruise with us and had similar complaints.

 

I know from past experience that you can cruise on the same ship twice and have very different experiences but when there are so many options out there I’m not sure I would want to take the chance.

I will leave the decision up to them.

 

On a positive note, our cabin steward ‘Usep’ was outstanding, which we reflected in our comments (Usep told us he thought he was in trouble at first when his boss called him in and told him to sit down and read our comments- so they do get read)

Entertainment was good and the ship is still beautiful (carpeting on some of the stairs was being replaced)

And a couple of the staff were on the Volendam when we were and they remembered us- which was very nice)

 

The cruise activities staff were great

Embarkation and disembarkation were a breeze (the airport is a different story)

Over all we had a good time, just not the great time we’ve had on past HAL cruises.

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Well we are getting ready for our Amsterdam cruise and I am not happy reading this ...

I don't think you have much to worry about on the Amsterdam. I just got off that ship last month and enjoyed every morsal I put into my mouth ... from the Lido to the dining room to room service and to the Pinnacle.

 

I hate to say it, but it sounds like the Vista ship Westerdam might be very understaffed. I've heard complaints like this regarding several of the Vista ships and can only make an educated guess that either the staffing on those ships (when compared to the number of passengers) is simply inadequate to get the job properly done, or the other possibility is that HAL puts the new employees on the Vistas to train them, and maybe the service issues are simply as a result of a new waiter or cabin steward or other service person needing some lead time to learn the ropes. When you consider that 50% or more of those service people might be new on any given cruise, that could definitely result in some serious sub-standard service.

 

I think ... especially after reading this review ... that I'll continue to stay away from the Vistas. Sounds like most of the bad reviews are written as a result of cruises on them.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

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Hello Enchanted

I am so sorry to hear about your trip on the Westerdam, though part of you comments did make me laugh. We are doing a back to back on this ship in December 10- 24th I am concerned as to what we should expect. We change from Princess cruising to HAL because things were going down hill on Princess, and Princess U.K. have no loyalty towards the British cruisers so we change. Lets hope that the Westerdam gets the Christmas spirit and improvements are made if not who do we try next!English Muffin:eek:

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I was on that cruise also. I had no problems eating in the dining room

at night (8:30 dining time). I had great service service and everybody

loved the food. I had a SS stateroom. first time with a verandth.

we love it. There will be no outside staterooms for me in the future.

I have no complaints with the cruise that I was on. Westerdam is a great ship.

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My first cruise ever was on the Westerdam and I loved the ship and had a great time. But I am in agreement with the poster of this thread about the Vista dining room. I found drink service in the dining room to be the most problematic and gave up on ordering soft drinks after the first night because my order never appeared. I was told by the experienced cruisers at my table that I'd be better off stopping at one of the bars on my way to the dining room-I never did do this and in the end, most at our table of 8 ordered iced tea because the server station was right next to our table. I had similar problems finding a cocktail server in the Lido pool area although there were plenty of them around during sail-away when they were hawking ten dollar frou frou drinks and soda cards-which I bought, but never will again. The servers in the d.r. on my cruise also appeared rushed and not once did I hear anyone get called by their name or have favorite foods/drinks magically appear upon entering the room. On the flipside, the spa employees were calling me by name by the 2nd day and I was very impressed with that since Italian last names are not easy to remember. Bottom line: these are all minor things that mostly go unnoticed unless your used to cruising on Cunard or Crystal. I wouldn't let any of this stop me from cruising on the Westerdam again-its an awesome ship and I was homesick (shipsick?) for months after.

 

PS I do want to add that it was 1st seating in the lower dining room and the cruise was completely sold out....so everyone understood how busy the servers were. None of this is to be taken as a complaint-just an observation.

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We just returned from the Westerdam. We had great service from the dining staff at the Main seating. Zen, our waiter was wonderful, efficient and quite pleasant. The food was presented as requested. My beef was always on the rare side. Portions were more then adequate. Deserts were good, not too sweet and very creative. Alec the head waiter was also very attentive and pleasant. He asked several times were we pleased and did we have enough. Our cabin steward Budi was the best, always pleasant and helpful. He kept the room in great shape. The only complaint was the obnoxious smokers on the balconies on either side of ours. They seemed to be constatly smoking which limited our usage of the balcony. Plus there was a cigar smoker below us. The dining room was abit chilly, but they had the temperature regulated ny the fifth night. We really enjoyed the cruise and would do the Westerdam again.:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

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We were on the Westerdam 29th October, we had 8.30 sitting, the food was excellent, the service was excellent. With regards to drinks I don't drink wine only spirits so I had a soda card - The first night I ordered a diet coke showed the wine steward my card - each night I had a diet coke and a glass with ice in it waiting for me.

 

From reading this thread I can only assume that it is pot luck where you are sitting and what staff you get. My wife and myself considered that the food and service on this HAL cruise was almost on a par with celebrity in the dining room.

 

PS Just to add on the evening before the final formal evening we asked the Maitre de if we could have our lobster done as lobster thermador this we got and we had to say it was just about the tastiest lobster thermador we had ever had and we had always had this on all our cruises. I have always found if you treat people with respect and ask nicely they really will try to oblige if at all possible.

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My lovely bride and I have just returned from last weeks Westerdam cruise. This was our 11th cruise, first with HAL, but not the last. The service was without a doubt the best We have ever received in every area. This was one of those times that the 7 days went so fast it didn't seem possible. Anyone going on or considering this fine ship, DO IT!

 

We were in an ss (8094) and it was better than the penthouse suite on Valor last year. It may be the best value we have had yet. Our room steward was the BEST. We found it almost impossible to find him in our room, but it was always ready for us, no matter how short a time we were gone. The ship is beautiful and doesn't show her age at all. The entire crew went out of their way to be friendly, but not in your way.

 

Food...well, nothing is perfect. The first few days we were onboard were less than exciting in the food department. While the service was excellent (early sitting) the food was not upto par with either of us. It was always brought in a timely manner (table of 8) but it was very bland and the deserts were tasteless. THEN came Thursday, don't know what changed but WOW did it. Every dish from the venison to the steak and lobster were fantastic. We did not have a bad meal for the remainder of the trip (which ended WAY to soon).

 

While not exactly party animals, ages 52 & 50, we do like to have fun. This was one area we were very concerned with BEFORE the trip, no need. We laughed all the time, and the entertainment was very good. You want Vegas quality, go to Vegas. The comedy act was very funny and the magician (oops illusionist) was very good, with the exception of getting me on stage and messing with my $50 (neat trick though) which I still havent quite figured out. The hit for us was the SUPERSTAR (talent show) competition. What a great bunch of folks, and man could they sing!

 

Getting on and off this ship was the easiest by far we have experienced. I did not intend to rattle on this long...just relax and enjoy your cruise, and if you don't want to go...we will volunteer to go for you.

 

HAL you have won us over!

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It's always interesting to read comments from various people who were on the same sailing and see how different their experiences were - great food, awful food, horrid service, wonderful service, etc. I guess it boils down to one man's poison being another man's candy! We'll be on Westerdam in a few weeks - our second time on HAL, the first being about ten years ago on Statendam - and are anxious to see for ourselves.

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We were on the same sailing with you and we agree with you that last week on the Westerdam was wonderful :) I'm planning to post a full review later this week. I remember you from the $50 trick with the illusionist........still haven't figured out how it was done. This was also our 1st cruise with HAL. We have cruised Carnival, Princess, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and this cruise on the Westerdam surpassed the service, food, etc. we have had on our other cruises.

 

tootiesmom

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...I hate to say it, but it sounds like the Vista ship Westerdam might be very understaffed. I've heard complaints like this regarding several of the Vista ships and can only make an educated guess that either the staffing on those ships (when compared to the number of passengers) is simply inadequate to get the job properly done, or the other possibility is that HAL puts the new employees on the Vistas to train them, and maybe the service issues are simply as a result of a new waiter or cabin steward or other service person needing some lead time to learn the ropes. When you consider that 50% or more of those service people might be new on any given cruise, that could definitely result in some serious sub-standard service.

 

I think ... especially after reading this review ... that I'll continue to stay away from the Vistas. Sounds like most of the bad reviews are written as a result of cruises on them.

 

Blue skies ...

 

--rita

Rita--

 

I really don't think it's a Vista/non-Vista issue - after all we rarely hear of such issues from Noordam and Oosterdam even while Oosterdam is having her mechanical issues, yet we heard of them frequently during Zuiderdam's inaugural season and now we hear it about Westerdam.* I think it's more a combination of staffing and leadership.

 

It seems to me that all the issues that we hear of on Westerdam that are within HAL's control are related to the Food and Beverage service.* Given that I understand that the F&B Manager is a bit of a tyrant and rather discourteous to passengers - his attitude surely is not limited to passengers and apparently mirrors itself in his staff & crew's disdainful treatment of passengers as well.

 

Perhaps HAL needs to take a good look at the leadership aboard Westerdam and do some serious re-evaluating...

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Having cruised on the Westerdam, I drop in here sometimes to see how things are going. I am really surprised about the comments on the food and service. The common denominator seems to be the later the time, the worse things get.

I just did a b2b on RCI. On the Baltics portion, I had early seating and on the TransAtlantic I had late. The food at the late seating sometimes seemed reheated or overcooked. It could be in the interest of the bottom line that this is happening more on most lines.

Or maybe the Westerdam needs Capt'n Jack back onboard. :D

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Thank you all for your comments. I'm absolutely dumbfounded as to how, as a group, we found the food and service anywhere from bad to excellent.

I understand we all have different likes/dislikes and tastes etc. Had it just been the food i didn't care for, i would have boiled it down to preference. but with it also being the quality and service (remember both weeks at different tables and times) as well as the other members of my party as well as numerous ppl i talked to OB being less than thrilled, I fully expected it to be across the board.

 

My mother insists that they know when you get a sell off and that they know how much you paid and don't treat you as well and that's when they pull the most cutbacks etc.

I tend to disagree. We talked to a few ppl that paid double or more than we did for the same category.

 

I'm really thought it was a hit and miss thing, i just don't understand how we can 'miss' both weeks.

Especially on the last night when we were the only table in our section.

 

I/we book HAL b/c of our past experiences and pay the extra $ over other lines (even weith the 'sell offs') to get the food/service etc that we've come to love (and expect i guess). It's easy to justify when you look at the cost of vacation days/flights/hotels/transfers/hair/manicure/ pedicure appts etc.. no point in skimping on the actual cruise!

 

 

 

 

GrannyNurse- we had the early upper the first week (5:45) and early lower for the second week (6:15)

I can’t remember the Captains name but it was different than the one you had. I haven’t sorted out my suitcase yet but when I do I’m sure I’ll find some papers with his name on it.

I was actually thinking of you during our cruise because I know you’re also booked on the Oct 5th sailing next year.

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Enchanted,

I appreciate your comments and views on the Westerdam. Our view of the ship was mainly based on our comparison with other HAL ships as we've been with HAL exclusively for the last several years. Our Vista experience was not as warm (touchy-feely) as we're used to but there were about 10 people (officers and crew) that were very special and enhanced our trip. Granted we ran into a Bull-sh**** who was really slinging the double talk when we were trying to iron out problems with our suite party.

 

We've come to expect communication problems onboard HAL ships. This is something HAL does not handle well despite hard working and dedicated crew. Usually this is our only gripe. I was interested to hear about the food and Beverage manager. It is certainly true that crew will reflect his management style and that probably accounts for the poor service in the Pinnacle that we experienced, and two snarky servers at the Lido bar who thought they were getting away with something. We know some excellent F&B managers on other ships and it really makes a difference.

 

Over all, compared to the S and R HAL ships we've been on, we found many things that Westerdam does very very well. Our experience was of a caliber that we booked again as you know. There are areas we realize that each individual ship may have a better handle on, but we feel very at home on HAL and until we don't feel that way any more we'll keep cruising with them, keeping in mind what areas and who to avoid. We rated almost everything an 8 or a 9 on our survey, and we do not feel that we are appologists for this cruise line as we do recognize problem areas. We just decided whether or not we could live with them and still really enjoy our cruise experience.

Enough rambling,

GN

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Sorry that you had a less than stellar experience in the Westerdam dining room. In general, I try to avoid the Vista ships, but not always. My experience on the Zuiderdam 18 months ago was definitely less than stellar also -- yet on our Westerdam to Alaska last June, with the exception that it was a Vista ship, everything was ship shape and we had a great time with great dining room service (true, it was not too personal, probably because our wait staff had a lot of tables) but the service was accurate and the courses moved well. The food was fine, as well as we anticipated. Our wine steward was superb and attentive to our needs.

 

As I cruise around the HAL ships I have discovered that the experience that you have can vary from crew to crew more than from ship to ship. A ship that ran the perfect cruise can be a bit different the next time under different management. Sometimes the ships are on target, sometimes they are a bit off.

 

Fortunately for us we have never experienced a serious lack on HAL, just less than stellar or a bit off from time to time. Most of our cruises have been excellent, even when things were a "bit off" which is why we keep returning to HAL. Even when they are "off", they are better than much of the competition in their price range.

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I was on the Westerdam in October and I had no complaint about the food. I did have a lady at my table that complained every night about the food but I did find it to be good. Sorry to hear of your troubles. Perhaps it has to do with the number of meals that they have to prepare on "Vista class" ships.

They are quite a bit larger than the "S" and "R" class ships.

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