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June 8 Westerdam cruise part 2


Staff member
I have already posted the positives of our cruise on the Westerda. It is now time to post some of the other experiences we had on the Westerdam. Many of these things seem like small details, however they all add up to providing us with a bad cruise experience.

First off the layout on this ship is very confusing. The decor is very dark in most area's and can be a little depressing. There are some bright colors here and there but not many. The furniture is very nice to look at, however very uncomfortable to use, with only a few exceptions.

The Lido is the buffet, it has a very lousy layout and you have a hard time finding where a line begins to get your food. With the hot food they put it on a very hot plate. They hand you this hot plate with a piece of paper towel for you to try to hold the plate to try to carry to your seat. There is not enough seating for those using the Lido.

The food is varies from terrible to good in both the Lido and the main dining room.

The service in the Lido and main dining room is terrible. In the Lido the crew finds it more important to talk with each other then take care of the customers. In the main dining room we had a table for 6. Some portion of the meal was missed or forgotten every night for one or the other of us. Dining room service was quick for your appetizer and salad then took forever to get your main meal. They always were very apologetic for the mistakes they made but never corrected the mistakes.

The room steward was polite but several times we had to ask for things multiple times if we wanted something.

I buy one picture on every cruise and that is the boarding photo, because it has the name of the ship and the sailing date on it. When I went to buy the boarding picture I was told, as was my wife when she tried, that we had to buy a photo package of more pictures and could not buy one picture. Like I say I asked several sales people and so did my wife. On the last day I asked the manager about buying the one picture. He said I could have bought one picture all along. We told him what we were told and he was not happy, so we did get our one picture.

Many times you would have to walk through the gift shops to get from one end of the ship to the other. When you did this the sales people would keep after you to purchase something. I felt like I was walking down the midway of a county fair. The only time I felt comfortable through there was when the shops were closed. They actually made me buy less then I usually do.

The rest of the crew in general acted as if we were bothering them when we would ask for anything or try to get something. They all spent a lot of time talking to each other instead of taking care of the passengers. The officers all walked around with a frown on their face and would not acknowledge the passengers unless directly confronted. They seemed more intent on staring down the crew instead of taking action to correct problems.

I have been on many cruise ships and worked on cruise ships and have never felt a ship roll like this one did in the waves, even though the waves were not that big. The exterior windows on this ship were the dirtiest I had ever seen on a cruise ship. Some were actually hard to see through.

This was the first time that we could not wait to get off of a cruise ship. The only highlight of the cruise was the fact that it was in Alaska and the fact that we had a balcony. There are very few activities on board the ship. They usually only one bar and the coffee bar early the rest of all the lounges opened late afternoon. I do not drink but had trouble finding someplace to get my soda. I had purchased the soda card but if I wanted to use it I would have to just sit at the poolside bar which had very uncomfortable seats.

I truly wanted to try Holland America and the Westerdam was the worst cruise I had ever taken. I was headed to the Statendam the week after this cruise but was very reluctant and if I hadn't already paid for the Statendam cruise I would have backed out of the cruise all together. Many more things were wrong with this cruise then I have posted.

This is just my opinion and experience. I am sure some people had a good time and love Holland America and the Westerdam. I just am not one of them. I must be comfortable on a cruise and I never was on this ship.

Pam in CA

I'm sorry you had such a poor experience. I like HAL and have had some great cruises in spite of the mediocre service and food. Like you, I dislike the Lido layout and the fact that you have to wait in line for each food item. Five-to-ten minutes for each thing adds up to a lot of waiting. There are some who love the fact that the food is specially prepared for you and you can get a sandwich made any way you want. The Indonesian food is excellent. :) I also liked on HAL that we could have the dinner menu delivered to the cabin and order anything from it.

In attentive staff is a management issue, as I'm sure you're well aware. I've had excellent CDs and Captains on HAL but I've also had forgettable ones.

Glad you're back!


I'm a fan of HAL and have always had very pleasant cruises with them. As you well
know, HAL is not known to be a glizty cruise line and, hopefully, never will be. The
one time that they tried to brighten up their decor, their regulars didn't like it so
that was never tried again. We expect different things from the different cruise lines and HAL has always been known as 'Old World'; it's not Carnival. I find it very hard
to believe that your tush is so sensitive that you couldn't find a comfortable place to sit.
You neglected to tell us your experience on the Statendam which I would love to have read.
If you had not been happy with the entertainment I would have understood as that is not their strong suit. As far as every employee appearing bored, unwilling to help, and unhappy, that simply doesn't sound like any HAL ship that I've been on which has been 7. Having taken over 30 cruises, I know what to expect from each line. Sorry that you had such a miserable week. Perhaps you should cross off HAL for any future cruises or maybe you've already done so.


Pam in CA

You neglected to tell us your experience on the Statendam which I would love to have read.
Gordon, the review of the Statendam is on a separate thread: http://www.cruisingtalk.com/threads/june-16-23-cruise-on-statendam.35633/

I've found that even on the "best" cruiselines and ships, someone can have an "off" cruise or service that isn't up to the cruiseline's standards. I've certainly experienced that on HAL several times (won't go into the gory details but it was really, really bad) but that doesn't mean I don't like the cruise line and won't sail with them again. You can have two people on the same cruise with vastly different experiences. And on some ships, everything just seems to be not up to par for some reason, little things that go wrong that add up to a less than delightful cruise.


Staff member
I know Holland America is different from other lines I have been on and that it caters to a different crowd. I was not the only one who complained about the Westerdam while I was on it. Many others on the cruise that were people who liked HAL had the same complaints. I am glad there are people who like to cruise on HAL and I am sure it is liked by many. It just does not suit me and my wife and I have cruised many more times then Gbet63 and I have even worked on cruise ships. I wish the best to those who want to cruise on HAL and I hope they have a great time.

What I experienced on the Westerdam was the worst service I have had on any cruise line and I have cruised on Princess, Celebrity, Carnival, NCL and American Hawaii before I ever tried HAL. I am sure many will find it hard to believe the experience I had on the Westerdam but it was true. I did write something on the Statendam which was a much better experience then we had on the Westerdam.


I was on the Westerdam last year and it was fine. HOWEVER...

I have to agree with the comments people have made here about there being "off" sailings.This isn't like other boards where you're going to get a "Bless your heart"-type comment when you dare to say you had a less than perfect cruise.