October 22, 2005
This was our fourth HAL cruise and we were less than impressed with the MS Westerdam. We previously sailed on the Rotterdam and the Volendam twice. While the ship was beautiful many things about it did not live up to previous HAL experiences. The entertainment with the exception of the production company and the Big Band that was on the ship and one or two other featured folks, the shows were pathetic. Comedians that are not funny and some washed up Las Vegas guy who's impressions were awful did not come close to previous HAL cruises.
The dining room service was not real good and it was fortunate for the staff that tips were automatically taken or they would not have received the amount that HAL took. Compared to our other cruises on HAL service was poor, breakfast, lunch and dinner in the main dining room.
The cabin steward on the other hand was the best we ever had, he received additional tips. Every evening we had a different towel animal on our bed when we returned from dinner. He was always available and went out of his way to be accomodating. I vote for Fatoni as employee of the year at HAL.
We were just not impressed with the Vista class ship and will avoid them in the future. We much prefer the smaller ships. During the disembarkation spiel the theater was so crowded people were standing everywhere, thats what heppens when 1800 people try to get into a theater that seats perhaps 800-900.
The cruise across the Atlantic was fabulous, smooth seas, hardly any detectable rolling. The Port of Funchal, Madeira was wonderful, one of the best we ever visited, would go back there in a heartbeat. Cadiz, Spain was also very lovely, St. Maartens on the other hand should be avoided at all cost, wasted a bunch of money basically touring slums. Half Moon Cay was nice as always but many of the free thins now cost money.
Also did not like the fact that the movie theater was really a lounge and almost impossible to see well in. Really ticked me off that the free coffee bar now is a pay feature, we use to love the afternoon cappuccino and cookies, no lomger free, boo HAL, shame on you.
Our one other cruise was on the Radisson Seven Seas Cruise line and if we could afford it we would only cruise with them but it is just too costly except for the rich and famous. We took a once in a lifetime cruise with them in 2000 and still remember everything about it and how great it was. Maybe we'll hit the lottery and sail with them again someday.