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Maureen Norgate

Age: 69

Occupation:Retired

Number of Cruises: 10

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Westerdam

Sailing Date: 2013-03-3

Itinerary: Caribbean

Summarizing our holiday I would say we had a good time but will not use HAL again. In our opinion not up to five star prices. Would suit families who like cruising and on a limited budget. I did not see much for the children to do but I am not an expert so could be wrong but it is something perhaps parents should really look into before booking.

We thought the food was good with good variety. The buffet had a good selection of food and catered for all or if not most of the guests. The restaurant in the evening was chaos. HAL have the option of either set times or anytime which just does not work when the ship is at full capacity. It was chaos especially the second week when we had new guests aboard. It did not matter whether you had set dining or anytime as the most popular time was between 7.45 and 9pm. On average we waited for over thirty minutes for a table and on one night nearly an hour. We opted after a few nights of anytime to go for set time - no difference total chaos. When we did arrive at our table there was always something missing, cutlery, glasses, serviettes and one one occasion I actually went and found some cutlery. Our meals themselves took on average one and a half hours and on two occasions took over two hours to get the food and eat it and we gave up on the coffee as it just did not arrive. The wine stewards were excellent so we did at least have drinks whilst waiting! Everyone who either spoke to us or us to them experienced the same. We felt sorry for the stewards and they just could not cope it was just awful. If you wanted to see the show it was either eat in the restaurant and take a chance or go for the buffet.

The stateroom was clean. The steward was ok but a few times we had to clean up after him for eg. an empty shampoo bottle and body lotion had been left in the bathroom for two days before I actually cleaned the bathroom. I think he simply just did not notice them although they were on the edge of the bath. My friends stateroom she use to straighten her sheets every night and shake her pillows as the bed had not clearly been made properly. Again they are in such a rush they cannot cope.

Good I think although we did not participate everyone seem to enjoy them.

Unfortunately we did not get to two of the islands. The first island HAL's island we could not tender because of bad weather. Turks & Caicos we could not go to as there was an outbreak of illness on the island and the ship was advised not to dock. We do not go on organised excursions as we prefer to do our own thing and use local knowledge i.e. taxis etc. when cruising. However we did do two in Fort Lauderdale and both were very good and well worth the value.

Having paid five star price for this cruise I would have expected better service and the interior to be up to scratch.

We arrived on this ship and through the necessary administration which went very smoothly and I thought this is a very good start to the cruise. I went with my husband and two friends who equally felt we were off to a good start.

However it went down hill from there. When we were shown to our staterooms I noticed the decor somewhat dated and in need of redecoration. The stateroom was good and everything in order. Overall the cruise was good but certainly not up to five star or up to the standard of Celebrity Cruises or Princess Cruises. A fellow guest commented overall the ship lacked the small detail which makes a ship and the cruise an unforgettable experience. Had we paid four star price it would have been just acceptable and we will not be using HAL again. as the Westerdam does not live up to HAL's advertisements. They really must sort out the restaurant timetable.

All four of us are very active people who go on several holidays all types and have been all over the world and will be holidaying for several years to come but this has been the least enjoyable holiday but a few good laughs at the chaos.

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