a pretty good time
Westerdam Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern
Sail Date: April 05, 2009
Cabin Type: Balcony
Traveled As: Singles/Friends
Reviewed: 9 years ago
Review SummaryI've taken about 15 or so cruises in my life on almost all the major lines and HA is usually among the best with service staff (second only to Seabourn and Silversea). This voyage had lackluster staff both for the cabin attendant and the dining room personnel. It took 2 days to get a fruit basket in my stateroom - seemingly trivial but when you ask for something AND fill out a written request, it shouldn't take that long. Only 3 nights out of seven did we have the little towel animals on the beds AND the cabin guy never replaced drinking glasses for water/soda - we would have to take them from the buffet. My dining assignment was changed without asking and took a number of irate requests to be changed back. It just seems that with the advent of pre-paid gratuities (those auto added to your bill) and open dining, the staff doesn't really seem motivated to attend to as many details and service as before. The verandah furniture (ersatz rattan) was in poor condition and was unraveling. The quality of the food was very good (brkfast,lunch, dinner, midnight buffet) but the customary dessert buffet was pretty to view but overall tasted awful. The afternoon tea services were similarly mediocre. The entertainment was great - some of the best I have seen at sea, especially the comedian whose name I forgot, the Elton John Impersonator/showman, and the magician. The regular cast was de riguer for a cruiseline although their singing voices were very good. The cruise director was excellent as well as his little team of helpers, etc... The southern caribbean voyage had a lot of sea days which is ok if there are plenty of activities which there wasn't - especially if you wanted to do mindless activities. The main pool was also closed on 1 of the sea days which isn't good and usually half of all the whirlpools were closed all throughout the trip and the ones that were open were tiny in size compared to other vessels. Music on deck and in the lounges, etc.. was pretty good consistently. Embarkation/debarkation was smooth. The ports of call were just ok - being from Miami, beaches are not much of a draw. Once you have seen Aruba and Curacao one time, that is really enough although the ostrich farm was very cool. The excursion are overpriced as usual for a cruise ship and we opted to pay 4 a private tour and taxis and just walk around, buying souvenirs, crafts, etc... It was spring break week so the passenger demographics were more varied than the tradit. HA 40-70 age range, although more and more young people are making there way aboard regular sailings. The ship interior was consistently clean and nice with the HA flowers all over which is very nice. The art in the public rooms was not spectacular. Shipbuilding contest was very nice but the lounge hogs made it difficult to find a chair in the sun if you are not an early riser. Glass elevators were nice. Never spent a lot of time in the casino, so no comment there. Spa package for 250 per week per couple to go into a special whirlpool and stuff was a waste of money. Duty free liquor always a great value and onboard I purchased the drink cards for alcoholic bevs. thankfully photographers were not pushy and HA's private island is one of the best in the whole industry. Smoking passengers really stunk up the aft pool area. Movies on board were old and showed over and over again. The Crows Nest is a great space and is combined w/library and coffee bar.
What else can I say?? The price was pretty good for the time period I travelled and they upgraded my cabin. My special food request for a gluten free diet was good after the first day's kinks were worked out. The ships holds about 1000 less people than newer megaships but there really is something to Royal Caribbean's interior space that looks like a 3 story shopping mall and wave rider and outside big hot tubs. I am a price driven consumer and got a little more than what I paid for on this journey-overall pretty good.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Ports of Call
Pros: food, entertainment, cleanliness
Cons: staff performance/demeanor below usual HA standard