March 2014 - Westerdam to Caribbean - Eastern
This cruise was a last minute trip for us after a very long and lousy winter, so we didn't much care about itinerary...we just needed a break. The Westerdam was, therefore, a glorious surprise package for us. First of all, I was stunned by the ship's beauty -- beautiful art, incredible fresh flowers everywhere, stunning Euro-design furniture. Add to that a genuinely friendly staff who greet you warmly and try to be as helpful as possible at all times and you feel at home immediately.
We loved the option of just showing up in the main dining room at any time in the evening instead of being assigned a set time and dinner companions we might not enjoy. Instead, we were asked if we wanted to share a table. We met a slew of fascinating people that way.
Maybe the best thing about the Westerdam was the great mix of passengers of all ages and family configurations. There was everything from multi-generation families to GLBT couples and singles, and the kids on board were awesomely well-behaved, which I translate as meaning they were never bored. My husband was somewhat reluctant to go on a cruise because he thought it was mostly for old folks, but one look around and he was reassured.
The Westerdam is very spacious, both public areas and staterooms, and even on our last day I was still discovering areas of the ship where I might enjoy hanging out. It never ever felt crowded and in this day of mega ships, that is very very pleasant and relaxing.
The food is always good and occasionally awesome. The sit-down afternoon tea in the dining room every afternoon is human civilization at its very best, by which I mean exquisite pastries and elegant tea sandwiches in unlimited quantities. The Lido deck buffet is brilliantly staffed and replenished, and the food is exceptionally good. It also had plenty of seating space even at the busiest hours, and the tables were cleared instantly. The dining room had particularly good fish dishes every night, but some truly bizarre soups they need to re-think, particularly the one containing melted vanilla ice cream!
One quibble about this trip was the expensive and rather unstable Internet. We spent over $300 keeping up with our business issues during the trip. When we arrived on board there was a letter from the Captain saying that the service was in the process of upgrading so maybe it will improve soon...or maybe we need to deal with our addiction.