We are looking at cruises for next year. Alaska, 7 day from Seattle. We will be booking on HAL, we have an advance deposit with them and need to use it. HAL has two 7 day round trips from Seattle, one on the Westerdamn, one on the Oosterdamn.
Any pro's or con's for either of them?
We haven't been on either, but we've been on both of the sister ships, Zuiderdam and Noordam. These two ships are identical, and so I would presume the Westerdam and Oosterdam would be also. The ships are very easy to get around. They are larger than the older, smaller ships, but you don't seem to notice the extra length... or maybe we didn't notice it because it was so long between cruises . . . As with all HAL ships, the appointments are beautiful, the ship is spotless and there are fresh flowers everywhere. The crew and staff are always on top of everything and ready to help you with anything. The entertainment areas are in close proximity with the exeception of the Crow's Nest, which is, of course, up on Deck 11. The Queen's Lounge is next to the Disco which is next to the Casino, with the Sports Bar, Casino Bar and Piano Bar all adjacent. All of which lead to the Showroom. The Explorations Cafe - library, computers and coffee shop are well positioned and very welcoming - my husband can tell you how to nap in the oversized leather armchairs with matching ottomans. Didn't use the thermal spa or the other spa services or the gym. The Lido buffet was very good; the ice cream station is open from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm. We had concerns about the size when we first anticipated the Zuiderdam - 1900 passengers ? ? ? Didn't notice - there is space for everyone. The only issue I had was that I thought the inside cabin was small (was smaller that on the Ryndam and the Zaandam)- my husband thought it was just fine. Either ship is a good choice.
A bit of trivia if you didn't know - The four sister ships are the compass points. Noordam-North, Oosterdam - East, Zuiderdam - South, Westerda
Thanks to both of you for the input. We have done the Zaandam, and the Volendam from Vancouver.Loved both ships and crew. We love Alaska, but would like something a little different. Sailing from Seattle we lose Tracy's Arm Glacier Bay, and Skayway. We add Hubbard Bay, Victoria, and Sitka.
We love Skagway, but will welcome Sitka for a change of pace. Same with Glacier Bay for Hubbard. Victoria we did before and have done by land. Other reason for leaving from Seattle is our Son is station in Oak Harbor, just a few hours from port.
We are a little concerned about the Big Ship feel, but it sounds like that might not be an issue.
It's an interesting phenomenon - the 1900 passenger HAL ship is smaller than most of the mainline ships these days, but, as it's larger than most of the HAL ships, we tend to look at it as a "large ship" I know I did when I first looked at sailing on the Zuiderdam. The HAL level of customer service does not suffer for the size. Another interesting side note - our last cruise was on the Noordam after she returned from Europe. Before she left Venice, she switched out 700 crew members. Crossing the Atlantic, there was a viral outbreak. Upon docking in Ft Lauderdale, the CDC boarded and instituted a major disinfecting of the ship. At the same time, Immigration services held 350 crew members for not having proper immigration papers. So we boarded later with a reduced crew. And we really didn't notice the reduced crew much - tended to notice a bit in the dining room because the wait staff had to cover more tables, but it wasn't bad.
Anyway you look at it - your on a HAL ship sailing the Alask Inside Passage. It will be wonderful - with the added pleasure of getting to see your son. What a great vacation.