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This is my 3 rd sailing to Alaska but first time with HAL on this route. Having done several other cruises also to Europe with HAL and other lines I find myself comparing. My husband and I felt that the overall experience was pleasant. The crew were always smiling and obliging, even when dealing with some demanding passengers! This was our first time visiting Sitka and we felt it was the highlight of the ports of call with very lovely scenery. In each port we did our own thing which was good since flying excursions were canceled due to low cloud cover. State room was balcony on floor 7. No complaints except for my husband who is 6'4" and had to stoop while showering! Our adult, disabled son was traveling with us and had the fold out couch which needed extra foam and was brought by the cabin steward on our request. We had room service in the mornings twice and it was prompt. We chose to eat in the MDR for most meals because the Lido was a zoo making finding a table challenging and there are no trays which means going backwards and forwards for beverages etc. The Pinnacle was good as was the Cannelto. Entertainment re the shows was well done. We especially enjoyed the Captain and his talk and the backstage tour with the performers. The group Recycle Percussion were exceptional. The cruise director was energized and entertaining and ran the Dancing with the Stars competition for the passengers very well which resulted in the grand finale dance off with the qualifying passengers being paired with one of the professional dancers to perform on stage for their fellow passengers. I availed myself of the enrichment classes that involved computer/camera lessons which I have enjoyed in the past and enjoyed adding to my skills again! MDR was not as good as I remember from past experiences with HAL. The portions seemed smaller...my husband had ordered the appetizer with the descriptive "Tower of crab meat and avocado" which more accurately looked like a smudge on the plate. Both boarding and disembarking were smooth and we were certainly accommodated with our son who has autism so we did not have to stand in the long lines to board. We greatly appreciated this. The general ambience of the ship is one of understated elegance with dark woods and brass accents which was very pleasing. The crows nest was a favorite spot giving great views along with comfortable seating as one sailed along. We used the gym daily and felt that it was adequately equipped. Unlike other cruise lines we did not feel as though there was any undue pressure to buy.....be it in the bars or anywhere on the ship. The afternoon teas have changed from the elegant service with the staff in their national costume to a self serve buffet which was disappointing. Also gone was the traditional appearance at Formal night with the march in of the Baked Alaska replete with sparklers that used to be carried aloft by the head chef with staff marching behind. Also gone was the midnight chocolate/dessert extravaganza....ah me. The Lido also closed down at times and it was difficult to find something to eat! Yikes! A lovely final touch however, was at disembarking as one crossed the gang plank to return to the normal life....the heads of each department stood on shore in a line waving all the passengers goodbye.  

Relaxing cruise, elegant ship and delightful crew!

Westerdam Cruise Review by pzbz

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: August 2014
  • Destination: Alaska
This is my 3 rd sailing to Alaska but first time with HAL on this route. Having done several other cruises also to Europe with HAL and other lines I find myself comparing. My husband and I felt that the overall experience was pleasant. The crew were always smiling and obliging, even when dealing with some demanding passengers!
This was our first time visiting Sitka and we felt it was the highlight of the ports of call with very lovely scenery. In each port we did our own thing which was good since flying excursions were canceled due to low cloud cover.
State room was balcony on floor 7. No complaints except for my husband who is 6'4" and had to stoop while showering!
Our adult, disabled son was traveling with us and had the fold out couch which needed extra foam and was brought by the cabin steward on our request. We had room service in the mornings twice and it was prompt. We chose to eat in the MDR for most meals because the Lido was a zoo making finding a table challenging and there are no trays which means going backwards and forwards for beverages etc. The Pinnacle was good as was the Cannelto.
Entertainment re the shows was well done. We especially enjoyed the Captain and his talk and the backstage tour with the performers. The group Recycle Percussion were exceptional.
The cruise director was energized and entertaining and ran the Dancing with the Stars competition for the passengers very well which resulted in the grand finale dance off with the qualifying passengers being paired with one of the professional dancers to perform on stage for their fellow passengers.
I availed myself of the enrichment classes that involved computer/camera lessons which I have enjoyed in the past and enjoyed adding to my skills again!
MDR was not as good as I remember from past experiences with HAL. The portions seemed smaller...my husband had ordered the appetizer with the descriptive "Tower of crab meat and avocado" which more accurately looked like a smudge on the plate.
Both boarding and disembarking were smooth and we were certainly accommodated with our son who has autism so we did not have to stand in the long lines to board. We greatly appreciated this.
The general ambience of the ship is one of understated elegance with dark woods and brass accents which was very pleasing.
The crows nest was a favorite spot giving great views along with comfortable seating as one sailed along. We used the gym daily and felt that it was adequately equipped.
Unlike other cruise lines we did not feel as though there was any undue pressure to buy.....be it in the bars or anywhere on the ship.
The afternoon teas have changed from the elegant service with the staff in their national costume to a self serve buffet which was disappointing. Also gone was the traditional appearance at Formal night with the march in of the Baked Alaska replete with sparklers that used to be carried aloft by the head chef with staff marching behind. Also gone was the midnight chocolate/dessert extravaganza....ah me.
The Lido also closed down at times and it was difficult to find something to eat! Yikes!
A lovely final touch however, was at disembarking as one crossed the gang plank to return to the normal life....the heads of each department stood on shore in a line waving all the passengers goodbye.
 
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