Cool Travel Zone

Onboard the Holland America Westerdam – My Recent Cruise

Holland America Westerdam (c) Knarl Stuart

By Denise Stone

My husband and I just cruised with Holland America on the Westerdam. First, let me tell you this ship is has been very popular with my clients, I am a travel agent that specializes in cruises. Last spring, I had a client that sailed in the Caribbean on the Westerdam. She loved it so much, she turned right around and booked it for an Alaskan cruise. She loved it just as much the second time. Now, me myself, I typically like to try a different ship each time I cruise. But I have to tell you, I would definitely cruise on the Westerdam again.

What a beautiful ship. The Holland America Westerdam is 4 years old but nearly spotless. Her decor is beautiful…I loved the crystal ship model rotating in the chandelier of the Atrium, right across from the Pinnacle Grill. Our room was a typical balcony stateroom but it was very well appointed compared to some of the other ships we have sailed on. There was plenty of storage space for all the clothes and gear we brought. We appreciated the full bathtub rather than just a shower! We also got a look at the suites onboard this ship. They were very nice. I loved the large seating areas, enormous bathrooms (for a cruise ship) with double sinks and the spacious balconies.

What did we enjoy onboard? Well, let me name a few things…..first and foremost we enjoyed the before/after dinner melodies of the string trio, the Moonlight Strings. They played, in the Explorer’s Lounge, each evening from about 6:30-11:00. This trio from Hungary played classics, recent music and even a little Disney music when a child was in the lounge. The music was enjoyable and the lounge chairs were very cozy so we were never in a hurry to leave. It was a great place to relax with an after dinner drink. They were great!

We also really enjoyed the pool areas. The Lido pool has a wonderful sliding dome cover so regardless of the weather, it is good swimming/relaxing weather anytime. Also, the two pools onboard were larger than most we have seen on cruise ships.

We found ourselves in the Queen’s Lounge and Culinary Arts Center frequently. The most enjoyable event here was the Culinary Art’s event “Chef Andreas Turns Up the Heat”. We had fun watching Chef Brad (the Pinnacle Grill Chef was called in when his boss got pulled into a meeting), cook a Mediterranean Chicken dinner & Austrian Apple Strudel. The setup was great…..the kitchen is setup like Emeril’s and there are a couple large screens with live shots looking directly down at the counter and stove top so you have a good view of everything the chef is doing. Chef Brad was entertaining and in the end, he shared samples of the Strudel with everyone in the audience. We also got to bring home the recipe cards! I can’t wait to try the Mediterranean Chicken dish although I am not so sure about trying to tackle the Strudel. That looks like a little more work than I am willing to do. Also in the Queen’s Lounge, there were daily movies, all recent! One evening, we watched a very funny Westerdam Superstar contest of karaoke singers…some very bad an some surprisingly good. The room was packed, standing room only, and we laughed hysterically at times.

And the library….also very different than most of the other ships I have been on. The Exploration’s Cafe is combined with the Crow’s Nest Lounge forward on deck 10 of the Westerdam. This library was wonderful…..it was large, well organized and had a great selection. It also included the internet access area. The coffee bar was great and the views were wonderful! One morning, even though we had a great balcony to sit on back at our room, my husband and I sat in some very comfortable lounge chairs basking in the warm sun from the large windows, and relaxing with a good book. We really appreciated the down time.

Oh, and did I mention the Pinnacle Grill….scrumptious! The wait staff was attentive while not overbearing, the ambience was very nice…..be sure to ask for the corner table if you want the perfect romantic spot! The food……yum. I enjoyed a delicious fillet mignon and prawns. Dessert was to die for….chocolate soufflé. I want this every night! Although there is a small surcharge for a meal here, I encourage everyone to try the Pinnacle Grill. Be sure to book quickly as the reservations fill up within the first day or two.

There were so many more things to do, I couldn’t even get to everything but let me just mention a few more….. the Piano bar is rocking every night with lots of fun music and many happy guests! It tends to be standing room only later in the evening. Of course the Westerdam also has a beautiful spa featuring all the current health and relaxation opportunities available in the spas at home….. even a hydro therapy pool. And, if your husband feels like he is going to miss his sports, there is a nice sports bar near the casino. When we were onboard, the Phillies were playing the Rays in the first couple games of the World Series. In the Vista lounge, the shows were fun and what I enjoyed most was seeing one of my clients end up on the shoulders of a unicyclist. And I always thought the people that were pulled from the audience for things that dramatic were plants. Not this time! Now I know. Oh my goodness, just glad my husband didn’t volunteer me!

The Cruise Guy® – Aboard the Westerdam

–About–

By Denise StoneIf you want to know more about this ship or other cruises, don’t hesitate to contact me at denise@bestcruisebuy.com or visit our website at http://www.bestcruisebuy.com I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have! – Denise B. Stone, Owner, Best Cruise Buy – http://www.bestcruisebuy.com – The best cruises, the best price, the best service! – 1-866-622-7447 (512)288-9600

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