March 2014 - Westerdam to Caribbean - Eastern
My mother and I had a great time aboard Holland American's Westerdam. We sailed from Port Everglades, to our surprise we had zero wait time as we checked in. This was a great start to our 7 day Eastern Carribbean cruise. Once aboard we went to our stateroom to rid ourselves of our hand luggage, (we traveled light). Our travel agent upgraded our interior cabin to a balcony for a very reasonable charge, we were pleased. Our stateroom was spacious. We had plenty of space to hang and place our clothing. I walked into the bathroom and again to my surprise, I saw a small bath tub. We've cruised several times prior and never saw a bath tub in a stateroom. There were two chairs on our balcony, and the stateroom was clean and prepared for us to utilize.
We went to the Dive Grill on the Lido deck where I had the best hamburger, and fries I've ever eaten. The meat was fresh and made to perfection. I usually put ketchup on my fries but they were so good I forgo the ketchup and didn't miss a beat munching on my delicious fries. We had breakfast once in the Vista Dining Room, and wish we could have had more, however, the dining room closed way too early for us. We got up at approximately 8:00am, and by the time we get down to Vista they were no longer seating. We had open seating for dinner, and we usually arrived at 7:30p.m, and opted to sit with others when dining in Vista. We met a lot of people during our cruise, and they were all very nice people.
We also had our meals on the Lido deck, and enjoyed the variety of foods that was available. Since we got up late on most days we skipped lunch. We loved the menu in the Vista, especially the breadfruit soup (I came home and tried to recreate it). During lobster night we ordered in our dinner because the sea was too rough, we decided to stay in. We wish we had ordered our meal an hour in advance, because it took them one hour to deliver it. We were miffed at the time it took for the food to arrive, but all was forgiven when it arrived. The salad, soup, lobster, dessert and tea was fantastic. I tried to call information to complement the chef, however, the line was busy. I suspect many passengers ordered in as well, just like we did.
We made good use of the gym aboard the ship, but I noticed that every time we went there were machines, such as threadmills that were out of order. I tried to use a stairmaster and it squeaked so I went on another and it too squeaked, but not as loudly as the previous. We also made use of the Greenhouse Spa (for a fee), everyday. We made sure we got our money's worth. Mother and I loved the hydrotherapy pool and heated mosaic lounge chairs along with the steam room. We sipped on iced water and flavored water before and after we exited the spa. This was very thoughful of the cruiseline.
I took full advantage of the entertainment offerred at the Vista lounge. I enjoyed the illusionist as well as the Dancing With The Stars shows. The lounge was large and accommodate with good views from different angles. Mother enjoyed her "therapy" in the casino. I wish there was more daytime entertainment aboard the ship such as dancing, karaoke. Holland America's competetors have forexample karaoke, and the Newlywed Game which they record and show on the television in the staterooms.
Our first port was Grand Turks; I have no idea why it's called Grand, because there was nothing grand about the island. I was VERY disappointed with this port. Our saving grace was a stop for a drink at Margaritaville. Our second port was San Juan, Puerto Rico. We love Old San Juan so much we never made it to New San Juan. There is a lot of shopping right by the port as you walk off the ship and head across the street. The first thing we did while in San Juan was to have a drink of coconut water from a street vendor, for $3.00. Our third port of call was Sint Martin. This was by far my favorite island. My mother also love this island. I wanted to stay; I've got to go back for at least a week's stay. I enjoy the views of Simpson Bay and the beaches were clean. I enjoy the fact that there was shopping right after we got off the ship. We went into Philipsburg, the capital of Sint Martin and rented a taxi that took us around the island. I wish we were in port longer; we were only in port for about 7.5 hours. We had no time to drive over to the sister island of Saint Martin, because we didn't trust the traffic. We bought the usual tourist items, T-Shirts, caps, and couldn't resist the native spices. May sure you have enough cash on you, because our vendor's credit card machine was broken and could only accept cash. I sampled the coconut smoothee and wish I had ordered one. They had so many native drinks available right outside the area once you got off the ship. Our final stop was Half Moon Cay. Mother decided to remain aboard the ship while I ventured out and took a tender over to the island. There wasn't much to see on this island' it's Holland America's private island. They offered shore excursions but we never took any. I wanted spare ribs for lunch, but they did not have any. I asked for spare ribs but a piece of chicken and steak was plopped down on my plate instead. The day I visited on land it was beautiful, not hot and not cool, however, the sea water was cool for swimming. Cabanas and lounge chairs wer available.
Our vacation was beautiful, and I would recommend this cruiseline. I hoped the crew consisted of men and women from various nations, however, our ship had mainly Filipinos and Indonesians. Everyone aboard worked hard to satisfy the passengers.
All in all a good ship, but the Internet service was unavailable for about one day. I found out I am an Internet junkie.
Enjoy your vacation like we did.