From the Dutch meaning “west”, Westerdam is the third of Holland America Line’s “Vista” class of ships, each one named after a different point on the compass. Sister ship to “Oosterdam” (east), Westerdam is set to enjoy a $300 million renovation in April 2017 with exciting new music venues, a whole host of delicious new culinary offerings and upgraded cabins being added to her already top-class quarters. Encapsulating HAL’s signature essence of modern luxury steeped in classic tradition, a cruise aboard Westerdam is one that you will remember for years to come.
Expertly blending sophistication, opulence and a vibrant, energetic spirit, Westerdam exudes her own unique charm as she sails the oceans in utmost grandeur. Lavishly appointed with a swooping three-deck atrium, lushly-furnished theatre with state-of-the-art sound technology and indulgent spa and sauna facilities, her sprawling decks are also peppered with cosy nooks and crannies to curl up with a book, sip a coffee or share stories with friends old and new as you cruise the mighty oceans. Outstanding service, ultra-modern amenities and glittering entertainment coalesce for a truly magical voyage.
With a modest capacity of 1,916 passengers in her sweeping 11-deck, 936 foot-long quarters, cabins aboard Westerdam abound with space, with plenty of room to relax in front of a film, indulge in an afternoon nap and get dressed up for a formal dinner. Awash with light tones for an airy feel and accented by deep blues and reds, each and every cabin is appointed with sumptuously soft and finely woven linens for a decadently restful night’s sleep. Personal touches and scrupulous attention to detail unveil themselves at every turn; Egyptian cotton towels, complimentary fresh fruit, salon-quality hairdryers, indulgent bath and body products, ice service, shoeshine and a sleek flat-panel TV and DVD player are all included as standard, ensuring that absolutely every modern convenience is catered for. Expertly designed with rest and relaxation at its very core, accommodation aboard Westerdam leaves nothing to be desired.
Those looking to indulge that bit more in their sleeping quarters should look no further than the suite offerings. Signature Suites are beautifully appointed with a private verandah, allowing passengers to lose themselves in the stunning sky and seascapes, savour passing scenery or simply take in the invigorating sea air from the privacy of their own lodgings – while Neptune Suites offer still more luxurious enhancements, including complimentary mimosas with breakfast to get the day off to a sparkling start, binoculars, complimentary laundry, pressing and dry cleaning, in-suite coffee machine and an in-suite high tea service. The crème de la crème of lodgings, however, is epitomised in the grand Pinnacle Suite. Distinguished in décor with deep browns, rich reds and sumptuous cadmium, it includes an oversize whirlpool, separate dining room, dressing room and living room, and covers 1,150 sq. ft. for a suite of palatial proportions.
Neptune and Pinnacle Suite passengers are cordially invited to a cocktail party with ship’s officers and are also granted access to the exclusive Neptune Club: a super-luxurious lounge with large-screen TV, private library, concierge, worktables and refreshments. A private sanctuary away from the bustling decks, this elite lounge simply oozes indulgence.
The ship’s main port of call for dining is the magnificent Vista Dining Room, a two-tiered restaurant with a friendly yet refined ambiance offering multi-course, artfully-prepared masterpieces of modern cuisine. The richly-varied menu draws inspiration from the surrounding regions, as well as offering classic gourmet favourites – and don’t miss the chance to sample the signature dishes from HAL’s international Culinary Council, a collective of some of the world’s top chefs who work together to produce some of the most exquisite cuisine around. Seafood is sustainably sourced, and tastes all the better for it. Self-serve offerings are offered in the Lido Buffet (soon to become the artisanal Lido Market) for those looking for something alternative, or simply to change things up with a different setting.
For a more casual bite to eat, wander down to the Dive-In for a leisurely lunch to enjoy by the poolside. Gourmet burgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches and portabella mushroom stacks are sure to tempt your taste buds and get your stomach rumbling as you sun yourself on the deck or lounge by the pool.
Tucked away in the corner of the Lido Buffet is the clandestine Canaletto, a tiny Italian eatery radiating Mediterranean charm with its white tablecloths, fresh flowers and faux candles. A more intimate venue, it captures the essence of authentic Italian dining and serves magnificent pastas, tiramisu and gelato against a dramatic backdrop afforded by panoramic windows. If it is a truly fine dining experience that you desire, however, look no further than Westerdam’s premium dining venue: the world-renowned Pinnacle Grill. Drawing inspiration from the mouth-watering culinary delights of America’s Northwest, it serves outstanding seafood and luscious steaks, lamb chops and double-cut pork chops with delectable risotto or ravioli options for vegetarians. Service is flawless, preparation exceptional and quality extraordinary; a supremely indulgent meal of heavenly proportions, the Pinnacle Grill is not to be missed.
Westerdam’s rich itinerary of entertainment begins at a leisurely pace in the day, and builds to a glittering fervour of glitz, glamour and live music as night begins to fall. Experience first-hand the inimitable “Dancing with the Stars at Sea” competition, which sees passengers paired with professional dancers to teach them to strut their stuff on the dancefloor – topped off in sparkling style by the final cruise tournament, where couples battle it out to be crowned dancing champions. Or head to the Vista Lounge, a multi-tiered theatre in lush reds and opulent golds - furnished with a full stage and high-tech sound and visual systems – for a high-energy, unforgettable night’s entertainment at the hands of the ship’s outstandingly talented performers. Sit back and enjoy performances from musicians, dancers, magicians, comedians and even a showcase of traditional music and dance from the Indonesian crew members as you revel in the theatre’s plush surroundings.
Meanwhile, the Queen’s Lounge hosts the wildly popular B. B. King’s Blues Club, a foot-stomping romp featuring the best blues this side of Memphis...or for something a little more elegant, twirl and swoon across the dancefloor at the Ocean’s Bar as you melt along to ballroom music and sip handcrafted cocktails. Allow yourself to be enchanted by the classical music in the Explorer’s lounge, have a good old-fashioned singalong in the Piano Bar, or dance the night away to chart-topping hits at the Northern Lights nightclub (soon to be replaced by the Gallery Bar, which will offer cocktails and a vibrant, artistic atmosphere).
After a lively night singing, dancing and laughing with your fellow passengers, while away an afternoon in companionable tranquillity in the Explorations Café, a cosy recreational space full of puzzles, board games and computer terminals for passenger use. Lose yourself in a book from the library, sip a cup of coffee and lose yourself in the sea views – if you’re lucky, you might even catch a whale sighting.
Westerdam abounds with sports and fitness facilities, including two swimming pools, three whirlpools, a promenade deck for walkers and joggers, a volleyball and basketball court and a fully-equipped gymnasium for passengers to let off some steam and rejuvenate. Passengers are welcome to join complimentary morning stretch and abs classes to greet the day feeling re-energised and refreshed, while Pilates, yoga and high-energy spin classes are also available at an extra charge.
Pamper yourself with a visit to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, offering luxurious spa treatments, indulgent massages and beauty treatments to truly spoil yourself as you sail the seas. It also features a hydrotherapy pool, furnished with a steam area, scented showers and blue mosaic loungers to melt away any trace of stress or tension.
Westerdam offers an extensive and richly-varied programme for youngsters of all ages. Club HAL provides arts and crafts, candy bar bingo and ice cream parties to kids (aged 3-7) and dance classes, karaoke and scavenger hunts for tweens (aged 8-12) in a cool and colourful setting, ensuring that each and every child is entertained and stimulated throughout the voyage, Kid-friendly cooking classes, ship tours and “Coke-tail” parties also ensure that youngsters don’t miss out on the fun usually limited to grown-ups. Meanwhile, club-like hangout The Lounge offers comfy sofas, video games and a dancefloor for teens to loaf about and socialise.
Led by Microsoft-trained “techsperts”, these hugely popular workshops powered by Windows® teach passengers how to enhance, share and backup their precious holiday snaps. Covering everything from getting photos from the camera to the computer, all the way to blogging, photo editing and setting up websites, these informative sessions teach you everything you need to know to get the most out of your technology, no matter what your skill level.
Westerdam simply teems with classes, programmes and workshops to learn new skills, better your understanding of the surrounding regions and try your hand at something completely different. Whether it is wine pairing, fruit carving, martini sampling, dance classes, an introduction to Windows 8 or an in-depth discussion of Alaskan wildlife that piques your interest, you are sure to find something to pursue, and to come away with some unexpected new skill or knowledge.
At the heart of the ship’s enrichment programme is the famous Culinary Arts Center, hosted in the Queen’s Lounge with a fully operational show kitchen. High-calibre guest chefs and professionals from the cruise line take to the stage to give cooking demonstrations to an eager audience of passengers every single day, focusing on regional-inspired specialties as well as classic favourites. Offering recipe cards, tasters and sometimes even a hands-on workshop, this is a must for any foodie or gourmand.