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Charles Kelber

Age: 76

Occupation:Judge (Technical)

Number of Cruises: 20

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Westerdam

Sailing Date: August 30th, 2004

Itinerary: Eastern Mediterranean

Review of Westerdam Cruise, 30 August-13 September 2004

In brief: The Westerdam (maiden voyage in April, 2004) is an excellent choice for a cruise. All aspects-accommodations, food, entertainment-are first rate.

Accommodations: This is the first time we have had a cabin with excess storage space. Other passengers reported a similar experience. Our cabin had a large bathroom with two sinks, two medicine cabinets, a stall shower, and a full size ““Whirlpool”” bath, The only minuses: the bed was oriented such that the sitting area could not be curtained off from the bed, and the lounge chairs were uncomfortable wicker chairs instead of the usual sunning lounges.

Food: The dining room (four sittings on two level) featured very good food, especially the meat, poultry, and seafood. The fish (fresh frozen, of course) were less successful. The menus were imaginative and varied. When I ordered chocolate souffles for dessert (not on the menu) they were produced without demurrer. But the star was the Lido. Food there was fresh, often cooked to order, not left-overs. There was a great variety from sandwiches made to order, to stir-fries,to conventional lunches of meat of chicken, to salads of the make your own variety to pastas and pizzas. And a wide variety of sweets, including a modest selection of sugar-free desserts.

The variety was sufficient to cover most dietary variations. Of course, if you are on a high carbohydrate, high fat diet, you have absolutely no problem-just eat everything. (Some did!)

Entertainment: The show lounge had the usual variety of entertainers. The stars were the resident singers and dancers who were first rate (standing ovations) including a soprano (Jill Persig) with an operatic voice. Most of the other entertainers were good to very good.

Other notes:

There is not a single lounge chair on deck where one can take the sun in a prone position without significant discomfort. There a re plenty of chairs, however, so one need not hunt for a space. One pool can be covered in inclement weather.

The port talks are divided between a lecture on the general attributes of the sponsored tours, and a separate talk (usually short) related to shopping. Tours are efficiently conducted, with the usual variability in quality of the local guides.

It goes without saying that service is first rate. Lines at the front desk and the tour office move rapidly.

There was little in the way of enrichment lectures: three talks by a single lecturer regarding the general area (the Mediterranean basin) we were visiting. Bingo represented the major intellectual challenge!

Embarkation was swift, inobtrusive, and efficient. Our bags were inour cabin when we returned from lunch. At disembarkation we waited in our cabin till called.

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