5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
We initially chose Holland America's 15-Day Far East Discovery because of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed primarily on Princess and Carnival many times, we were able to compare cruise lines. We actually loved Holland America. We ... Read More
We initially chose Holland America's 15-Day Far East Discovery because of the itinerary and dates. Having sailed primarily on Princess and Carnival many times, we were able to compare cruise lines. We actually loved Holland America. We flew into Hong Kong four days earlier and stayed in Singapore two days after our cruise. We probably should have extended our stay in Singapore by one or two days because there was so much to see and do. The Ship: The Westerdam is much smaller than other Princess and Carnival ships, but the cabins tend to be larger with a sofa in our ocean view room and sensor floor night lighting for late at night if and when you must get up. The whole atmosphere is one of relaxation. Being a smaller ship means fewer passengers (1,850) which also means that you tend to meet the same people quite often on the ship and on excursions. So there is much more in terms of quality and quantity of personal interactions. And there are almost no children (I counted three!), which helps with the relaxation. You won't find loud music playing on the Lido Deck by the pool areas. There are no crowds on board. It's relaxing. Additionally, the Internet is 100% better than what we have found on other cruise ships. For $170.00 for 15 days, we had Internet 24/7 on board with no limitation to minutes used. It was quick and effective 95 percent of the time. And there were real interesting hour long talks on each country where we stopped and another on the history, geography and culture. If you wanted to know about a particular city that you were going to visit, the knowledgeable staff on Deck #10 give you detailed info on each city to help you explore with the organized tours or on your own. The food and entertainment were perhaps less exciting and scrumptious than on Princess, but it was fine. And the gym was not as modern as other ships I have seen, but it was a gym. They don't have a laundry room on board, but they do have laundry service for $30.00 USD per rather large bag of whatever clothing you can fit in the bag. You are served at the informal buffet style dining area for breakfast, lunch and dinner. There's no scooping up oatmeal by yourself. The HAL shore excursions were O.K., but I would avoid the ones that transport you 3 - 3 1/2 hours one way like the 3 hour ride to Ayuthaya, an ancient capital in Thailand where we saw a replica of Angkor Wat. It was too long for the short visits to each site and definitely not worth it.We got back to the ship around 10:30 pm! We chose to go with another tour company for our Halong Bay cruise. It worked out well, but my guess is that Holland America's excursion might have been more convenient and just as enjoyable. Of course, the staff's professionalism is what I would expect on any cruise ship. The dueling piano musicians were awesome! The captain was one of the best in that he was personable, likable, transparent, decisive and prepared. He kept us safe and went out of his way to make our cruise even more enjoyable, especially in our over night stay and morning sunrise in Halong Bay. Both embarkation and disembarkation went smoothly and everyone was pleasant. We did notice that for some reason, many of the public areas were very cold to the extent that we avoided them. There were two pools, one that had a retractable roof top. The pools were never crowded because there were only 1,850 passengers on board. Finally, I should mention that because we traveled through so many visa requiring countries, HAL made it so much easier by helping us with immigration forms and having the individual customs officers on board to facilitate and expedite our entrance to their countries. HAL was really organized on that. The HAL excursion process, especially during tender egress was less smooth than expected because everyone meets in the same MainStage area for their excursion tickets. All in all, we really enjoyed a different and more relaxing cruise on Holland America. Read Less
17 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
To give this context, I want to start by stating that I have been on 20 different cruises, each lasting 7 or more days. These 20 cruises have included 8 different cruise lines, as I value iteneraries and price above blind allegiance to a ... Read More
To give this context, I want to start by stating that I have been on 20 different cruises, each lasting 7 or more days. These 20 cruises have included 8 different cruise lines, as I value iteneraries and price above blind allegiance to a single cruise line. That having been said, I have cruises with Holland America before. There is no doubt about it; this cruise line is different. I won’t get into that, though. Different is not bad; it’s just different. That having been said, I was hit with one negative surprise after the next on this cruise. It started when I got on board and had no hot water. It took 2 days to get this resolved. Then I got word that my onboard spending account was weong; I was charged twice for three of the excursions that I had already booked. Then, on my first excursion in Shimizu, the tour guide left me at the first stop. Bear in mind that I am a healthy 33 year old, who was told when and where to meet back at the bus, and was still left behind, despite being 5 minutes early. Then, later that night, I receive a call from the excursion desk stating that I am going to get an additional $300 tacked onto my bill. Why? Well, since I was traveling alone, apparently there was meant to be a premium on my overnight excursion to Beijing. My problem is this; I booked and paid for an excursion to all but one of our 10 stops on the Asia cruise I was taking, and I did so 2 months in advance. So when I got a call two days into my cruise stating that they misbilled my excursion, and that it was non-refundable, and that I could either take a $900 dollar loss or be forced to pay $300 to stay on the tour... needless to say, I was pretty upset. The cruise just kept having issues mount up. The excursion team did nothing to try and make this blunder on their part right. Then, despite all of my problems with excursions on this trip, I decide to book one more (for the one port stop I had not already booked one for). Sad news for me. The excursion desk wasn’t open for 24 hours straight, the self help kiosk was broken, and guest services apparently didn’t have the ability/authority to help me. So I also went without trip plans on the one day where I failed to book in advance. All told, as a young, healthy, active, intelligent repeat cruiser, this was the worst cruise of my life by far. If I had to assign a percentage to it, I’d say that this cruise was %20 of the value of any other cruise that I’d ever been on. With all due respect to the readers of this review, if you book a cruise on this thankless, and leaderless cruise ship, quite frankly you deserve every atrocity that will inevitably come your way. Thank you. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Far East but couldn't face flying 14 hours each way. The cruise was 42 days from Vancouver to Hong Kong and it was everything we had hoped for. The weather was incredible, in all that time, ... Read More
We choose this cruise as we wanted to visit the Far East but couldn't face flying 14 hours each way. The cruise was 42 days from Vancouver to Hong Kong and it was everything we had hoped for. The weather was incredible, in all that time, there wwrw brief rain showers twice. We were the last ship of the season in Alaska and the weather was sunny. We had worried about being in Alaska the beginning of October and instead Juneau, Glacier Bay and Kodiak were lovely. The North Pacific crossing has 6 consecutive sea days, and they were pleasantly filled with enrichment lectures, America's Test Kitchen and deck walks. We ate dinner in the dining room and went for group tables, and met many very pleasant people. It meant often meeting people around the ship that we had met over dinner. The dinning room food was nicely served and we enjoyed the choices. We had breakfast and lunch in Lido, and enjoyed the service and food there as well. The pasta station, the Asian station and salad bar added a nice variety to the regular items on the main serving station. We tried Dive-In hambergers for a snack a couple of times and they were great. Didnt really like Dive-In fries, but there were chips on the taco bar adjacent for that salty crunch. Once we reached Japan the pace really picked up. We had ports in Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan and the Philippines. About half the time in Japan we just walked ashore and went exploring. The ports all had welcoming committees and maps and info were readily avaiable, the EXE guides on the ship had also provided a lot of solid information. The remainder of the ports we booked our tours through Holland America. We were very pleased with the offerings. Our selection included a nice balance of sight seeing in cities, in the countryside, in temples and shrines, and even a Hot Spring resort for bathing. There were many highlights to our time ashore, including visiting the Great Wall of China, seeing the Acrobats in Shanghai, attending a dance festival in Japan, visiting a manga museum (we knew nothing about manga). Many times were at locations that local families go on their days off, seeing all the families and their children out enjoying the location and sunshine added a great deal to the experience. The trip was an incredible success. Our time on the ship was wonderful, the staff are so welcoming and so good at their jobs, our fellow passengers were great to hang out with, and the ports were fascinating. And as a bonus it only took 2 weeks to get over the jet lag after we got home. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done ... Read More
We love doing the Alaska trip, it is very easy for us coming from Vancouver Island. This trip makes the 4th time we have done this route and we will do it again, next time we will probably do a southbound run. Each time we have done something slightly different: change in port Skagway to Sitka, change in glacier, Glacier Bay, Hubbard Glacier and Tracy Arm/Endicott. Embarkation took about an hour, there were only 2 ships departing on the 23rd (Westerdam and Noordam). We have experienced longer. They had more lines moving and sorted out passengers better than on previous trips. Luggage was in the cabin when we boarded. Disembarkation was quick. Since our last trip HAL has changed the way things are done. We chose our timing to go with the pick up time for our bus back to the island. We waited in the cabin until our color was called and then headed for the gangway. We took all of our luggage with us this time. Customs took about 30 seconds as I had the form fully completed. The ship: Well maintained. The crew: Excellent. We are still trying to figure out how the cabin stewart knows we are out, we have only caught him in the cabin once and that was because we came back for something. The entertainment and activities: Very good, this trip we had a comedian and a magician. The HAL dance crew were fun to watch. We love to play trivia (music and other), there were several times available and we hit most of them. The ECO talks that we got to were informative, wish they could have done them more than once on the trip as we found there were conflicts with other activities. Captain Mark did a talk about his duties and how the ship runs, very interesting. It was also his birthday that day so the entire audience sang to him, then the cruise director and some of the officers presented him with a gift. His slide show of the bridge was hijacked by the CD and pictures of Capt Mark were inserted into the show. Lots of fun and he took it well. He is very well liked by the crew. Dining: The main diningroom was excellent, we chose anytime dining so we didn't sit at the same table twice so didn't get the same waiters. I booked each morning once we had looked at the daily activities and the menu and was successful in getting a table for 2 each time. The Lido was a bit of a disappointment. The menu was varied, lots of choices and the servers were very nice and helpful. The downfall was the temperature of the food. We found the entrees lukewarm at best. So to get hot food we ordered made to order omelettes or other made or order items for breakfast. Lunches we did the same. The Dive-In was excellent as usual. Love the dive-in sauce for the fries. Really like the taco bar. Ports and excursions: Juneau was wet, only rainy day tho; not bad for the end of September. We did the Alaska Brewing Company tour on our own, always a good time. Went to the library to get the wifi to check email. Skagway was fairly warm. We did the HAL excursion to Dredge Town. It is a little cheesy but the PUPPIES were fun; they made the excursion worth while. Tracy Arm/Endicott. We couldn't get as close to the glacier as we wanted as there was a lot of ice in the way; some of the ice was as large as a semi trailer. We were still able to see the glacier with binos. The trip in and out was beautiful. First time we had seen Endicott. Ketchikan. It WASN'T raining!! :). We didn't get to go up the funicular as it was down for repairs. We did go on a non-HAL excursion just a quick city highlight with a trip out to the fish spawning grounds. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
We just wanted a short get away and this suited us fine. We always like Alaska and for the most part enjoyed the ship. We found the food not all that good and did not really like the entertainment but everything else was fine. We ... Read More
We just wanted a short get away and this suited us fine. We always like Alaska and for the most part enjoyed the ship. We found the food not all that good and did not really like the entertainment but everything else was fine. We found that in the evening there just was not that much going on, if you did not like BBKing there was not a lot else. I really do not like the TWO pianos but that is what we seem to have now on Holland America. We did go several times to Pinnacle Grill which we think is the best of this type of restaurant on any line we have cruised with. We also like that you can get lunch there, not the variety but much more reasonable serving size . Did the test kitchen but for some reason you can not eat anything you prepare so I guess they throw out all the food we worked so hard on . We took one tour that was very good , the crab feast and loggers show, good value for the money so it you like crab its the one to go on. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I choose HAL after reading many reviews on all cruise lines sailing to my location. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. The ship/cabin was updated clean & comfortable. The activities were appropriate for older adults I ... Read More
I choose HAL after reading many reviews on all cruise lines sailing to my location. Embarkation & disembarkation was smooth. The ship/cabin was updated clean & comfortable. The activities were appropriate for older adults I especially liked the educational talks Glenn Michaels was awesome. The entertainment was nice B.B. King Allstars, billboard onboard, Lincoln center stage. The staff was very nice and they seemed eager to help make your stay pleasant. My cabin stewards were AWESOME. The ship captain was informative letting us know the cruising process which I found interesting. I sailed solo but met and spent time with other passengers on board and on excursions. The food was exceptional, the Lido market, the Dive-In, The taco bar, the dining room & in-room dining (no extra charge) mmmgood. I booked excursions onboard using the Navigator app. that was easy and your tickets and instructions were brought to your cabin and the prices for the excursions were comparable to the prices I saw online before my cruise. I didn’t use the fitness center I preferred to do laps around the promenade deck because the weather was so nice, this is pretty much what I do at home I go to the gym when it’s to cold outside but the gym was nice and worth using if the weather wasn’t favorable. Overall, I really enjoyed my cruise on HAL Westerdam. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Holland America, the Westerdam and her crew were excellent. This was my first time on Holland America and I would sail on her ships anytime. The ship was beautiful and incredibly well kept. Someone was always cleaning without being ... Read More
Holland America, the Westerdam and her crew were excellent. This was my first time on Holland America and I would sail on her ships anytime. The ship was beautiful and incredibly well kept. Someone was always cleaning without being obtrusive. I ate most of my meals in the Ledo marketplace because it was a much more casual atmosphere and I was able to meet so many more people. There was never more than a brief wait for the food and everything was hot. Tables turned over regularly but if you wanted to linger that was fine too! The excursions were well planned and we were never rushed. The tour guides were wonderful. The entertainment was very good and always fun. I am a convert to Holland America Cruises not the land tours. What I would not do is book a land tour D5C (double Denali) again without a lot more investigation. The Westmark Hotels, owned by Holland America were beyond disappointing. The Westmark Anchorage was shabby and we had to change rooms immediately because the sink backed up in the main line. The staff quickly moved us to another room...that had a slow leak in the bathroom from the room above. The second Westmark - McKinnley Chalet was fine and we could at least relax. The Fairbanks Westmark was clean and nice but there was no where that you could eat except the hotel. Many of the buildings nearby were boarded up or closed and didn't appear safe day or night. Many of us had to spend 10-12 hours in the lobby eating packaged snacks watching a screen with a 7 minute film on Alaska on endless loop. We could not reach anyone in authority to voice our concerns too. I wanted to see as much of Alaska as possible on this trip but now I know why most people stay with just cruising. Again, the ship, the excursions, the food, entertainment on the ship was great 5 stars. I couldn't say more about how great the ship experience was. The staff was delightful, greeting people by name on day two! The Ledo deck staff was wonderful, very solicitous. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
In celebration of my retirement, my husband and I, along with our two adult children made this "bucket list" trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the Westerdam – the ship, the staff, our staterooms, and the food were all high ... Read More
In celebration of my retirement, my husband and I, along with our two adult children made this "bucket list" trip. We thoroughly enjoyed the Westerdam – the ship, the staff, our staterooms, and the food were all high quality. Recently refurbished, the ship was in excellent condition and very tastefully appointed. The food was very high quality and we found a nice variety of selections. Also, many comfortable and attractive places to relax throughout the ship. We did not book excursions through Holland America, so I can't rate the HAL excursions, but the activities we booked privately were all excellent. We visited the Kroschel Animal Rescue center in Haines (we rented a car, which also allowed us to explore and look for bears!); we did a seaplane trip to the Misty Fjords in Ketchikan which was fantastic! We literally flew through a rainbow! Did the tram in Juneau and found a great place for king crab. Our family did not partake of all the ship entertainment - the only show we went to was the BB King room, but we did enjoy that. I would definitely book on the Westerdam again, and hopefully experience more of the on-board programs and entertainment. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
My wife and I have cruised on 4 different cruiselines with this most recent cruise being our first on Holland America. From this point on, we need look no further. We took a Land and Sea journey to Alaska and the level of customer ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised on 4 different cruiselines with this most recent cruise being our first on Holland America. From this point on, we need look no further. We took a Land and Sea journey to Alaska and the level of customer service, efficiency, comfort, exceeds Disney whom I thought couldn't be beat in these areas but I was wrong. From the moment we boarded a bus at the Seattle airport to go to Vancouver to board the ship until we arrived at out hotel in Seattle for our return flight home we didn't touch our luggage. Holland America moved it and us seamlessly throughout our 12 days which included 2 nights in Denali National Park. They included nights in their own resort in the park, as well as 2 very nice hotels, one in Anchorage and one in Seattle. With each step, a Holland America representative greeted us with all necessary details taken care of. Quite remarkable. The Westerdam is a beautiful ship. The food, in our opinion topped any of the other cruiselines, including Celebrity with whom we sailed in March of this year. The on board entertainment, especially what they call Billboard on Board was high quality. This is a "dueling piano" type set up and Joey and Emily, the two performers were first rate. Planning another cruise next summer and Holland America has won my business. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose HAL Westerdam because we wanted to see Glacier Bay on our first trip to Alaska (and our first cruise!). We actually went against the advice of our travel agent who thought we would be happier with a luxury line even though they ... Read More
We chose HAL Westerdam because we wanted to see Glacier Bay on our first trip to Alaska (and our first cruise!). We actually went against the advice of our travel agent who thought we would be happier with a luxury line even though they don't stop at Glacier Bay. I think she was right and next time we will listen to her. Westerdam Is not a bad ship but the decor is dated and the service can be indifferent and sometimes rude. Here's an idea of what we loved, liked and didn't like: Loved: EXC Explorations Lounge - this lounge, education center and coffee bar is in the crow's nest area of the ship and has magnificent views. It was recently renovated and the decor is modern and comfortable. I could have spent my whole trip there but it was very crowded as everyone else quickly discovered its value too. The EXC education programs (free!) were great as was the free library. EXC Shore Excursions - we booked 4 and all were excellent. We especially liked the Dogsled adventure and musher's camp in Skagway and The Neets Bay Bear Watch from Ketchikan. All our guides were knowledgable and considerate. The Pinnacle Grill Restaurant and Rudi's Sel de Mer (pop up restaurant at Pinnacle)- top notch fine dining. We ate here 3 times and enjoyed every one. Great service and excellent food. Alaska - Wow. Amazing place. Every port was charming, the people are kind and friendly, the scenery is breathtaking. Glacier Bay is awe-inspiring. We loved shopping in Juneau, taking the White Pass and Yukon Railway in Skagway, dogsledding and holding puppies, having fish tacos at Deckhand Dave's, and getting really close to black bears at Neet's Bay. I would definitely come to Alaska again. Liked: Entertainment: We didn't do a lot of it, but what we did do was fun. We enjoyed America's Test Kitchen (even though they are not allowed to give our food samples) and both the magician and the Alaska in Concert programs were great. Our Room - Our Neptune Suite was large, had a lot of storage, a comfortable bed, and a great balcony. It is overdue for a renovation, however. Neptune Lounge and Cabin Steward staff: All our Neptune staff were really great. Very considerate and helpful. The Dive-In: a hamburger and hot dog stand by the pool that provided a great lunch. Disliked: The ship overall - the decor is dated, the one tiny pool is unwelcoming, and there is not a lot of comfortable lounge space. The upselling - Holy Cow, there is a lot of upselling. Besides the usual beverage packages and future cruises, everyone on the ship wants to sell you something. The Spa was the worst. I was hassled in the tiny waiting area (no, I don't want acupuncture) I was hassled during my treatment (how relaxing!) and I was hassled to provide an extra tip after my treatment. The wifi - expensive and awful. I bought the most expensive package hoping it would work. All I wanted to do was play games on my tablet. Nope. Not even at 4 am when everyone else was asleep. The buffet and the main dining room - food was mediocre to bad and the service was either indifferent or rude. One dining steward in the main dining room berated me for my allergies to the point where I couldn't eat my dinner and just left. Other points: Embarkation was smooth and I guess reasonably quick - it was my first time so I don't know how its supposed to work. Disembarkation was fine. We spent two days before the cruise in Vancouver which is a great city to explore. We went to Stanley Park, Chinatown, and Gastown. I highly recommend the Fairmont Waterfront Gold level. Tremendous value as you basically get free breakfast and a light dinner along with your room as well as a dedicated front desk and concierge. They will also transfer your luggage to the ship for free. So overall while we enjoyed many parts of this vacation (especially Alaska!) we've learned we need to listen to our travel agent and next time go with the cruise line she suggests for us. Read Less
Westerdam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 3.9
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.5 4.3
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.8
Family 2.5 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 4.0 3.7
Service 4.5 4.3
Value For Money 4.5 4.0
Rates 4.0 4.2

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