How things change in a year's time
Westerdam Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: November 25, 2007
Cabin Type: Inside
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 8 years ago
I cruised on the Westerdam in October of 2006 with my mother. I bragged about it so much to my husband that he joined me on a cruise in November of 2007. What a difference a year makes, and not for the better.
First, the food in the dining room was awful. Service was slow, I'm still waiting for the iced tea I ordered the first night. The waiters weren't friendly, didn't introduce themselves and didn't both to learn our names...unless you ordered alcohol with your dinner. The food was lukewarm at best, banquet quality. Finally after returning my dinner the 3rd night, we decided to eat in the Lido assuming it would be the same lunch buffet. They have changed the Lido. At night it's about 75% of the menu from the dining room. They have table clothes on the tables and waiters to serve you. You order the food and it's prepared immediately and served to you HOT and fresh by a very friendly waiter. Needless to say, we didn't return to the dining room again!
Second, if you're planning to scuba dive, try and book your own scuba through a local dive operator rather than booking through HAL shore excursions. We loved the diving in Grand Turk. Our first dive was 40 minutes, and 55 minutes for the 2nd dive. On both Cozumel and Grand Cayman we had no more than 30 minutes per dive and were returning to the boat with over 1500 PSI of air remaining. When we complained about the short dives they said it was requested by HAL. We met some fellow divers on the boat that made their own arrangements those days, and they had longer dive times plus snacks & drinks, and they paid $70 for 2 dives compared to $109 with HAL.
Also when we asked for anything, we were often told "no". For example we asked if we could leave our scuba gear somewhere on land so we could hurry and shop for an hour before the boat left. The woman in the Shore Excursions office said she'd check into it, then she called and left a message saying "no." My husband's biggest complaint was that I misled him telling him how great the food & service was when he found it lacking at best. Last year no matter what you asked, it was taken care of with a smile and a request "is there anything else we can do to help you." A year later, you were lucky to get a response if any, and it was always "no" or "I can't help, you'll have to ask so and so" instead of them taking any initiative to provide the outstanding customer service I'd expect from Holland America.
Needless to say, if I want to go on a cruise again, it'll be with Mom and not the husband! And it probably won't be HAL.
Ports of Call
Pros: the accomodations, our room, scuba diving in 3 diffferent ports
Cons: the food in the dining room