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Mark R. & Joanne S.

Age: 66

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 35

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Westerdam

Sailing Date: January 6th, 2008

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean


We flew down to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday morning, January 6, 2008, with Jet Blue from JFK. The flight arrived early. After a quick baggage return and a short taxi ride to the cruise ship terminal, we were ready to board the ship. Embarkation was easy and we went on board and zipped right up to the Lido Deck for lunch. The Westerdam sailed right on time at 5:00 P.M.

The ship:

Anyone who doesn't like this ship has a problem. It is beautifully appointed, clean, with large staterooms, a great layout that won't get you lost, and all reasonable facilities any cruise passenger could want. Of course, we didn't want a rock climbing wall or a bowling alley, just an adult swimming pool and good food.

At 1,968 passengers, we found the size just right. Although the requested 6:15 P.M. dinner seating was not guaranteed in advance, a short visit to the dining room made our request quickly honored and we were seated at a table for 6 with interesting and enjoyable people. I wish our cabin was more towards the center of the ship because the ship had a roll to it that could be easily felt. The two category upgrade we got was appreciated.

Ships elevators were always easy to find and board without any crowding. Lots of towels and lounges at the pools.

FOOD:

Quite good. There is a tendency to overcook meat dishes so order "rare" if you want "medium". Lots of food choices and all you want. Lido buffet better than average with good choices of Asian, deli and other foods.

Stops:

Grand Turk & Caicos is an effort to offer some new stops in the Caribbean. There is nothing there except some nice beaches. So we went to the beach and had a nice swim.

Tortola was more interesting but not a good shopping stop. We took a tour that was nicely done. Went back to the ship's pool for a drink and some rest.

St. Maarten/St. Martin is always a nice place to be. We took an island tour and went back to the ship. If you are a first time visitor, be sure to get to Marigot.

The Private Island is perfect. A great beach and a barbeque. Just relax and enjoy.

The Passengers:

A somewhat older crowd with lots of people from the U.K. and Canada getting good value for the favorable currency exchange. Favorable to them, that is. I'm 66 years old and they called me "sonny". Couples and family types would do better to use Princess or Carnival or Royal Caribbean. Those who want a :classier" or more "traditional" cruise experience will get it on Holland America.

Crew:

Asian crew well prepared to please and smile. Good service from nice and caring crew members. Very pleasant to be aboard with this crew.

Casino:

Forget it. Want to gamble? Go to Vegas. Slot machines can give 35 spins without a winning payoff. Casino seemed mostly empty much of the time. Stay away.

Shows:

Good production shows. Singers and dancers with nice costumes and scenery. A magician with a few good illusions and some funny lines. A string quartet in a lounge that played sweetly and a piano bar. Comfortable public lounges.

Disembarking:

Westerdam honored our request for "Express" disembarking so that we could catch an 8:50 A.M. flight to JFK with Jet Blue. We made it with time to spare because we were willing to handle our own baggage and didn't check it with the ship the night before.

The Westerdam deserves a four star rating. True, the days of a Maitre 'D preparing a Crepe Suzette at your table are gone but at least they still have wine service.

Pricing:

Book with a good on-line cruise service like Best Price Cruises or Vacations To Go. They got us the two category upgrade, a $25.00 per person room credit and sent a bottle of champagne to our cabin. Shop around for a deal and don't go right to Holland America to book.

I will use Holland America again, perhaps on the new Eurodam or a Mediterranean crusise. They are going to offer open seating or traditional seating for dinner. Fort Lauderdale is a very friendly place to sail from.

I've been with most all of the well known cruise lines over the years. Holland America is still good, avoid Norwegian.  

 


 

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