I am on the Westerdam December 12 and I have heard nothing but rave reviews about her. She is a brand new ship that started sailing this past Spring. This is my second HAL cruise and I think they are a great cruise line. They have terrific service and a casual elegant atmosphere that is a little more laid back than the other lines, such as Carnival and Princess. My husband and I are young cruisers (26 & 27) yet we prefer HAL over the other lines. The new Signature of Excellence that HAL is putting into effect will even improve on many of the aspects of the cruise. Check out HAL's website for information about the program. I hope this helps. We can't wait for 12/12!
I think you'll love the Westerdam. It's a beautiful, comfortable new ship. We were on the second regular cruise - a Venice RT in May - and will be boarding her again 12 Nov. in Barcelona for the crossing to FLL.
The food was good but the service a tad slow, perhaps the crew was getting used to a new ship. We had a great cruise, the weak spot for us was the entertainment, but others seemed to like it better than we did.
One thing I really liked was the artwork in the passenger deck hallways. While HAL has a lot of art throughout their ships this is the first time I saw art in those usually bland and boring corridors.
We just got back from Westerdam's 12 day Mediterranean cruise and loved it. The ship is elegant and refined, and the service was uniformally outstanding. Staterooms are spacious and the bedding/mattresses superb. The food was generally good, with one or two disappointments and one or two excellent experiences. The Pinnacle is a good value (ask for Josef !).
The crew has worked out the kinks alluded to in Ted's ealier post. The staff is warm, friendly, and highly motivated. The new tipping policy seems to be a success.
The shows were just okay. We enjoyed them, but none were astounding and they were a notceable notch below Carnival's.
Let me know if you would like any particulat details.
We're just back from the Med cruise too and I agree with the comments of AI Dodds although having never sailed with Carnival I can't make that particular comparison. (Please also see my reply to "crussell Westerdam 1/4/05") The only "kink" that proved a problem for us was when our toilet stopped working for about 14 hours but the engineers worked through the night to sort it out. About 20 rooms were affected by welding rods stuck in the pipeline. They told us this was not a new problem as the last time it happened it was the the fault of a screwdriver seemingly, but they are gradually getting the blockages clear and it's just one of the problems encountered in any new ship. Apart from that, our cruise was superb and I wish I was going again tomorrow. Have a great time.
See my review on the Ship Review webpage. In the review, I forgot to mention that the chairs in the Crow's Nest facing the windows are now recliners which greatly infers with having a cocktail before dinner when the ship is leaving a port as all of the recliners become filled in the early afternoon until the last dinner call (after 8 PM) with other passengers sleeping and reading.
I am sailing on the new Westerdam dec 5 th and will report back what I find. This is my 2nd HAL cruise...actually last time was 4 yrs ago on the old Westerdam. . I am repeating with HAL because we had such a wonderful pampered time.
Just returned from Rome to Barcelona cruise. It was our first time on HAL and at the pier we discovered we had gone from a BA stateroom on Deck 5 to an S on Deck 6. This put us in a VERY good mood early, and we enjoyed the cruise thoroughly.
I am puzzled that HAL is eliminating complimentary coffee bars, and the one they had for a nominal fee was poorly staffed and clearly not something they are interested in doing. My suggestion is a cappucino card like the Coke cards they offer.
We found the crowd pleasant, sophisticated and mostly happy. The staff was willing, though service in the Vista dining room tended to be slow and spotty. We waited a long time for after dinner cappucinios each night. Someone tell me why they have lovely salt grinders on the Lido Deck and cheap salt shakers in the dining room. I took a grinder to the table and Mario had it there for me at each dinner.
Anyway, I recommend this ship. We are taking the Prinsendam in July to Ireland/Iceland and will experience life on a smaller ship. Both, by the way, are Voyager Cruises. We had a lovel day out in Dubrovnik because our travel agent is a Virtuoso agent and we got a cocktail party and full day excursion. On our next cruise we will have a day in Reykjavik courtesy of the Voyager Club.
I am a low carber and they mention LC items on the menu, although we disagree on what low carb is. I give Westerdam an A for effort for an excellent attempt at accomodating my way of eating.
Enjoy this big, young ship - there is a good time on board for all.