16 Night Spring Panama Canal (Ft. Lauderdale To San Diego) Sail Date: April 19, 2009 Ship: Westerdam Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 9 years ago
night and day is to be commended. That she celebrated her fifth birthday inBecause of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) outbreak in Mexico, the ports of call scheduled for the last week of the Panama Canal, ship relocation cruise were canceled. The Holland America Corporation is to be commended for the superb substitutions and opportunities they made possible on this trip. The Westerdam's officer corps radiates warmth and charm; it is obvious that they truly enjoy and appreciate each other, and are very proud of the Westerdam. Their skillful handling of the ship herself, in all sorts of weather. wind or sea conditions, keeping the journey absolutely top-notch comfortable the middle of the Panama Canal was so exciting. Yes, we recommend this ship and her sister ships, and this cruiseline above others.
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Exceptional, beautiful, and completely delicious, as on all the "Dam" ships.
5 out of 5
The entertainment on the cruise every night was SUPERB, from Micky Finn, to Joel Mason, The Indonesian crew show to Devlin's magic, the unequaled ventriloquist Steve Mingola, to the incredible HALcats band, and the professional dancers' wonderful shows---there can't be any better anywhere.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
The thing that struck us the most was that everybody---everyone from those polishing the brightwork to those who served our cabin and table each day--had the happiest countenance, the brightest smiles, and the friendliest ability to make you feel that you were special and welcome.
5 out of 5
We are among those who enjoy the diversity of activities that the larger cruise ships allow, and so much to do that you can find aboard them.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
The arrangement worked well for us this time, and was located where it was because of late arrangements that my sister made to join us (in an adjoining cabin).
A must see to capture the unique character of the Cuna Indians and their artistry. There were too many people crammed onto the island at once, it was ghastly hot, although a stiff breeze was blowing making the tendering quite challenging for the crews. I hated the exploitation of children there, and loved the history and the traditions of the people of San Blas. The school was the most interesting place I poked my head on the island. This place I cannot IMAGINE visiting if it was raining! Unbelievably dirty.
Don't Miss: Going ashore---don't miss San Blas
Everything we did at Oranjestad was interesting. The shopping downtown, and the trip out to the North Beaches were both very interesting. The history of this port is unusual. We were not much interested in the aloe factory.
Don't Miss: The local "color" of downtown. The shopping is amazing
While we enjoyed the trip to the Irotina Hotel and the local dancers (who were really good), there was not enough seating there and it was uncomfortable and lasted too long. The downtown trip to the Cathedral was a waste of time, the beggars and the filth was unpleasant. We appreciated the protection and comfort of the GROUP of people and found the security and the military presence there disquieting.
Don't Miss: Qunta de San Pedro Alejandro, the deathplace and museum of Simon Bolivar
This port (and all Mexican ports of call) were closed to the ship because of the Swine Flu (N1H1 influenza) which had started in Mexico. I hope to return to Chiapas, because I am interested in the Mayan Ruins there.
Pros: The unique, and exciting shore excursions, as well as opportunities created by the culinary and activities coordinators.
Cons: The internet cafe, the slow and unreliable, and very expensive internet connection, and the lack of variety or quality in the "computer" classes offered.
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