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WindyCity

Westerdam 12/12/04 Review Part 2 (very long)

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Port Everglades & Embarkation: We checked out of the hotel at 10:30 and caught a taxi right away. The drive to the port was very short and we had to show our ID’s to enter the area. Once through this security we drove to the other side of the port to pier 26. Traffic got pretty heavy as we got closer to the pier with many ships disembarking and embarking passengers. When we arrived at Pier 26, passengers were still disembarking from the Westerdam, so we waited outside until the longshoremen were free to take our luggage. Once they had our luggage (we did tip them), we entered the outer part of the building. The doors were not open yet, but they had a nice seating area where we waited until 11:30. Doors were then opened and everyone proceeded to file in nicely. Lines got long to get through security since there were only two lines. Once past security, we were directed to suite check-in. After being greeted by a smiling HAL representative, we turned in our Immigration Forms, which we had filed online, showed our passports and handed in our cruise “ticket” and our credit card form for the shipboard account. Our pictures were taken for our key card and we were given a nice folder that had our dining room assignment and an information sheet about embarkation and a Gold Star to wear, indicating suite passenger. We then proceeded to the escalator, where we were handed a Bahamian Immigration form to fill out and return by that evening. Up the escalator, past HAL representative selling wine packages (no soda cards available on this cruise), past the embarkation photographers ( we told them no thanks, no embarkation photo and they were very gracious), down the gangway and on board.

 

As we entered the ship, there were spa representatives handing out slips of paper for a spa raffle, which you were eligible for if you took a spa tour. There were only 2 HAL crewmembers at the entrance, so we headed for the glass elevator. We had just taken 2 steps when a white-gloved Hal crewmember approached us, took our carryons and escorted us to the Neptune Lounge. The entire time, once we passed security, could not have taken more than 10 minutes to get from check-in to the Neptune Lounge.

 

Sunday 12/12: At the Neptune Lounge, the assistant concierge, Jennifer, was already busy filling passenger requests, so we checked out the mini sandwiches and drinks available, met some CC’ers in the lounge and decided to check out the ship. We left our carryons in the Neptune Lounge, grabbed the camera & went exploring. We stopped in the Lido to fortify ourselves and found, with the various stations, the lines moved fast. There was adequate seating inside and out, which surprised us as most of the passengers were waiting in the Lido for cabins to be ready.

 

After eating and exploring, we went back to the Neptune. At 1:30 p.m., it was announced that passengers may proceed to their cabins. Ours was 7055 – just across the hall from the Neptune, and we agreed that this was an excellent location! Our cabin was clean and ready for our occupancy. There were numerous plugs throughout the cabin, so we did not even unpack our power strip. The four closet doors in the hallway and the 4 in the dressing area all had shelves that could be lifted of lowered, depending on your needs. Inside one of the hallway closet doors was a full length mirror and the doors of the closet in the dressing area were mirrored. The blow dryer was in the top drawer of the dressing table and was powerful. There were 2 more drawers under it for storing items. In the bathroom, there were 2 sinks, 2 medicine chests that contained cotton balls & q-tips, conditioning shampoo, body lotion & shower cap. There were 3 shelves in each medicine chest, which were more than adequate. A bar of hand soap was near each sink and the tub & separate shower area each contained a bar of soap. Fluffy, oversized bath towels occupied the top rack of the towel rack while hand towels hung on the rods below them. A small washcloth sized towel was next to each sink. Under the sinks was a shelf that contained 2 bath mats, extra tissue box and extra toilet paper as well as sanitary pad bags. A minor drawback was the fact that there was only 1 small garbage can in the entire cabin. The ice bucket also was small, but a corkscrew was provided, as well as wine chilling bucket and plenty of glassware. The closed section under the bar area held extra glasses. On top of the bar we found a bottle of Merlot from the Captain & Hotel Manager, instead of the Champagne they used to give.

 

The hallway closet held an umbrella, the life jackets and the safe. The safe used a 4 digit code that needed to be inputted each time you locked or unlocked the safe.

 

Next to the desk facing the verandah were 3 drawers and each nightstand had 2 drawers with the top one locking. On this desk we also found powerful binoculars for our use. Between all the drawers and closet space (we used one closet with the shelves up), there was plenty of storage room. As a matter of fact, 2 closet sections were unused by us and we had really spread out! We stored 2 suitcases under the bed and 1 in an empty closet. Also, under the foot of the bed were 2 more drawers. Under the tv was the mini bar and another empty cabinet next to it and there were a couple of drawers in the table next to the couch. All in all, plenty of storage room and plugs. This cabin was great!

 

The verandah held a table with 4 chairs and 2 cushioned chairs with ottomans. Very easy to fall asleep sitting outside.

 

Our luggage wasn’t in the cabin yet, so we unpacked our carryons and took the items we had for sailaway to Steve & Philip’s cabin – 5087. What a long trek!! Steve & Philip kindly offered to host a sailaway party for CC members & friends in their aft suite. They put in a lot of time and effort to set a festive mood, with wine, hors d’ouvres and Christmas decorations throughout their cabin & wrap-around verandah. It was great meeting people from our roll call board. After lifeboat drill, we all met in 5087 and had a grand time putting names to faces.

We had early lower dinner seating at 6:15 p.m. and were very pleased to find that our request for an aft center table was honored, as was our request for Marsha, Warren, Roberta and David to join us at the table. We met our waiter, Endro and assistant waiter Darwin. Also, the head waiter, Yusuf, stopped by to check on us. Dinner was very good, the only glitch being that when I asked our wine stewardess for a coke, she told me I had to talk to the waiter. This only happened the first night, so I assume she was a little frazzled with first night requests.

We skipped the show that night and tried out the slots in the casino. The casino was much larger than the one on the Zaandam and they had 8 banks of slots that were “Captain’s Bonus”. If you were playing a slot machine in this area and the green light on top of the slot machine started flashing, you won a Holland America T-Shirt and what ever the pot was at the time – ranging from $25 - $50. My husband won this 4 times, while I did not get it even once. It’s random and he just happened to be at the right slot machine at the time. After playing a while, we headed off to bed as Nassau, the next day, was a 7 a.m. docking. A HAL tote bag had been left on our bed.

To be continued......

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Windy-

 

I am really enjoying this! Thank you so much to take the time to write it - it is wonderful. So very articulate and detailed... I can't wait to read on! :)

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Nice review. We will be on this ship on January 4th. We will be in cabin 5087. I know it isn't a suite, but how was the cabin? Hope your friends left it in good shape for us!

Looking forward to your continued review of the trip.

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Can't wait to hear the rest!!! You are doing such a great detailed report. You must of wrote a lot of it while you were on the Westerdam. Thanks so much:)

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Oops, typo, Steve & Philip were in 5187 - that's what I get for using the number pad.:o Had people we knew in 5045 - was a nice cabin, but felt a little crowded.

Lisa L. - I am trying to get the photos I promised uploaded - with Christmas a day away, my time is limited, but I have tomorrow off, so I will see how fast I can get them done. As for the review, I wrote parts 1 & 2 today. Since there is very little written about the Westerdam, I thought people would like details, so I tried to think of all the little things that would be important to me in a review. Hope it helps.

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Windy City

Reading through the first part of your review, you mentioned that you went through security before you actually got into the suite check-in line. We have taken many cruises since 9/11 from Ft Lauderdale and the only security we had was after we checked in at the desk and proceeded to the waiting area. Is this something new that you go through security before you go to the check-in desk?

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From what we understood, Pier 26 was not the regular pier for the Westerdam, so it was a hasty set-up. Yes, we did go through security before we checked in. I think we also had to show our id's at that time before proceeding to check in. Since there were only 2 security lines, it did get backed up because some people took their own luggage onto the ship.

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Windy-

 

Again, my thanks for taking the time to do this - we appreciate it so much, especially with the Holidays so quickly approaching - I know time is at a premium. :)

 

Happy Holidays to you and your family - I hope Santa is very good to you this year. ;)

 

Warmest Regards-

Laura

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