Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships 2017 (Berlitz Cruise Guide) (2016)
Ship: 391 out of 500
Accommodation: 149 out of 200
Food: 261 out of 400
Service: 268 out of 400
Entertainment: 71 out of 100
Cruise: 282 out of 400
Overall Score: 1422 out of 2000
Size: Mid-size Ship
Cruise Line: Holland America Line
Former Names: none
IMO Number: 9226891
Builder: Fincantieri (Italy)
Original Cost: $400 million
Entered Service: Apr 2004
Registry: The Netherlands
Length (ft/m): 935.0/285.0
Beam (ft/m): 105.6/32.2
Draft (ft/m): 25.5/7.8
Propulsion/Propellers: diesel-electric (35,240kW)/2 azimuthing pods
Passenger Decks: 11
Total Crew: 817
Passengers (lower beds): 1,916
Passenger Space Ratio (lower beds): 41.9
Passenger/Crew Ratio (lower beds): 2.3
Cabins (total): 958
Size Range (sq ft/m): 170.0-1,318.6/15.7-122.5
Cabins (for one person): 0
Cabins (with private balcony): 641
Cabins (wheelchair accessible): 28
Wheelchair accessibility: Good
Cabin Current: 110 volts
Casino (gaming tables): Yes
Slot Machines: Yes
Swimming Pools: 2 (1 w/ sliding glass dome)
Hot Tubs (on deck): 5
Self-Service Launderette: No
Dedicated Cinema/Seats: Yes/170
Onboard currency: US$
This contemporary mid-sized ship has Dutch decor and crafts
Overview. Westerdam offers a range of public rooms with a reasonably intimate ambience, and the overall feel of the ship is quite cozy.
The Ship. Westerdam is one of what is known as a series of Vista-class vessels, whose sister ships are: Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, and Zuiderdam - all designed to appeal to younger, active vacationers. It has two funnels, placed close together, one in front of the other, the result of the slightly unusual machinery configuration. The ship has, in effect, two engine rooms - one with three diesels, and one with two diesels and a gas turbine. Pod propulsion is provided, powered by a diesel-electric system (there’s almost no vibration), and a small gas turbine in the funnel helps reduce emissions.
There’s a complete walk-around exterior teak promenade deck, with teak steamer-style sunloungers. A jogging track is located around the mast and the forward third of the ship. Exterior glass elevators, mounted midships on both sides, provide ocean views. There are two centrally located swimming pools outdoors, one of which can be used in poor weather because it has a retractable sliding glass roof. Two whirlpool tubs, adjacent to the swimming pools, are abridged by a bar. Another smaller pool is for children; it incorporates a winding water slide that spans two decks in height. There is an additional whirlpool tub outdoors.
You enter the ship through an intimate lobby that spans three decks, and is topped by a beautiful, rotating, Waterford crystal globe of the world. The interior decor is interesting; the ceilings are particularly noticeable in the public decor, the colors are muted and warm. The information desk in the lobby is small and removed from the main passenger flow.
There are two whole entertainment/public room decks. The most dramatic room is the showlounge, which spans three decks in the forward part of the ship. Other facilities include a winding shopping street with boutique stores and logo shops, an Internet center, a fine library, card room, an art gallery, photo gallery, and several small meeting rooms. The casino is large - one has to walk through it to get from the restaurant to the showlounge on one of the entertainments decks.
In a 2007 refit, an Explorations Café was added to the Crow’s Nest (an HAL trademark observation lounge atop the ship). This encompasses the ship’s library, a lounge area with fine ocean views, and a coffee shop.
On lower decks you’ll find a Queens Lounge and bar, which acts as a lecture room and a Culinary Arts Center. There are also a number of other bars and lounges, including an Explorer’s Lounge. The ship also has a small movie screening room.
Niggles include several pillars that obstruct the passenger flow and lines of sight throughout the ship. Also, there are no self-service launderettes, although special laundry packages are available. Additionally, the air conditioning cannot be turned off in cabins or bathrooms.
Families. Children have KidZone, an indoor/outdoor facility, and Club HAL for ages 5- 12, with a number of dedicated youth counselors. Teenagers get to use WaveRunner, which includes a dance floor, lighting effects, and a booming sound system. There’s also a video game room, and big-screen television for movies.
Accommodation. There are 24 price categories - 16 with outside views and eight interior. Lifeboats obstruct the view from some cabins on the lowest accommodation deck. Some cabins that can accommodate a third and fourth person have very little closet space and only one personal safe. Some cabins have interconnecting doors. Occupants of suites get exclusive use of a Neptune Lounge and concierge service, priority embarkation and disembarkation, and other benefits. In many suites and cabins with private balconies the balconies aren’t really private, as many can be overlooked.
Penthouse Verandah Suites (2). These measure 1,318 sq ft (123 sq m), including balcony. They have a separate bedroom with a king-size bed; there’s also a walk-in closet, dressing room, living room, dining room, butler’s pantry, minibar and refrigerator, and private balcony. The main bathroom has a large tub, two washbasins, toilet, and plenty of storage space for toiletries. Personalized stationery and complimentary dry cleaning are included, as are hot hors d’oeuvres daily.
Deluxe Verandah Suites (60). These measure 563 sq ft (53 sq m). They have twin beds that convert to a king-size bed, vanity desk, lounge area, walk-in closet, mini-bar and refrigerator, and bathroom with full-size tub, washbasin, and toilet. Personalized stationery, complimentary dry cleaning, and hot hors d’oeuvres are included.
Verandah Suites (100). Actually, these are really cabins, not proper suites, and measure 284 sq ft (26 sq m). Twin beds convert to a queen-size bed; there is a lounge area, minibar and refrigerator, while the bathroom has a tub, washbasin, and toilet. Floor-to-ceiling windows open onto a private balcony.
Outside-view cabins. Standard outside cabins (197 sq ft/18 sq m) have twin beds that convert to a queen-size bed. There’s also a small sitting area, while the bathroom has a tub/shower combination. The interior cabins are slightly smaller (183 sq ft/17 sq m).
Dining. Options range from full-service meals in the main dining room and à-la-carte restaurant to casual, self-serve buffet-style meals and fast-food outlets. The 1,045-seat Vista Dining Room is two decks high, with seating provided on both main and balcony levels, and is at the stern. Both open seating and assigned seating are available, while breakfast and lunch are open seating where you’ll be seated by restaurant staff when you enter.
There are tables for two, four, six, or eight. The waiter stations can be noisy for anyone seated adjacent to them. Fine Rosenthal porcelain and decent cutlery are used, but there are no fish knives. Live music is provided for dinner each evening. Once each cruise, a Dutch Dinner is held (hats are provided), as is an Indonesian Lunch. ‘Lighter option’ meals are available for the nutrition-conscious. HAL can provide Kosher meals, although these are prepared ashore, frozen, and brought to the table sealed in their original containers.
Other dining options. A 130-seat Pinnacle Grill is a more upscale dining spot with higher-quality ingredients and smarter presentation than in the larger main dining room. It is on Lower Promenade Deck, and fronts onto the second level of the atrium lobby; a Pinnacle Bar was added in a 2007 refit. Pacific Northwest cuisine is served, plus an array of premium-quality steaks from hand-selected cuts of beef, shown to you at tableside. The wine bar offers mostly American wines. Reservations are required and there’s a cover charge (the steaks alone are worth it).
An extensive Lido Café wraps around the funnel housing and extends aft. It includes a pizzeria counter, a salad bar, Asian stir-fry counter, deli sandwiches, and a dessert buffet. Movement around the buffet area can be very slow, particularly at peak times. In the evenings, one side of this venue is turned into an extra-cost, 72-seat Canaletto Restaurant - a quasi-Italian informal eatery with waiter service.
Also, a poolside ‘Dive-In at the Terrace Grill’ features multi-choice signature burgers (with special Dive-In sauce), hot dogs and fries, and, on certain days, barbecues and other culinary treats may be featured.
Meanwhile, the Windsurf Café in the atrium lobby, open 20 hours a day for coffee, pastries, snack foods, deli sandwiches, and, in the evening, liqueur coffees.
Entertainment. The 867-seat Vista Lounge is the main venue for Las Vegas-style revue shows and major cabaret presentations. It spans three decks in the forward section. The main floor level has a bar in its starboard aft section. Spiral stairways at the back of the lounge connect all levels. The upper levels have better sight lines.
Spa/Fitness. The Greenhouse Spa, a large, two-deck-high health spa, is directly above the navigation bridge. Facilities include a solarium, hydrotherapy pool, and a unisex thermal suite - an area incorporating a Laconium, Hammam, and Chamomile Grotto. There’s also a beauty parlor, 11 massage/therapy rooms, including one for couples, and a large gym with floor-to-ceiling windows, and the latest high-tech equipment.
Sports facilities include a basketball court, volleyball court, and golf simulator.