The Vista class MS Westerdam typifies the best of Holland America Lines: plenty of space in its public rooms and staterooms, excellent food in all its restaurants, a varied onboard programme of entertainment and activities, and superb service. Wherever you are on the ship, you will find a convenient place to have a meal or light refreshments, with the styles of menu and types of service tailored to suit your every need throughout the day, from an early breakfast to a light late-night snack.
As an experience, a cruise on the Westerdam supplies all the elegance, formality and relaxation that upholds the fine traditions of cruising, while updating its style, entertainment and range of activities to accommodate more modern tastes. The Westerdam is also a showcase of modern clean shipping technology, with diesel-electric power and an Azipod, gearless and manoeuvrable propulsion system.
The Westerdam’s art theme is ‘Dutch Heritage in the New World’. As in all HAL ships, examples of their extensive art collection can be seen throughout the public rooms, the dining areas and magnificently decorated central atrium. The staterooms are thoroughly modern in design and décor, and well equipped for comfort and convenience, with DVD players and flat-screen TV in all rooms and a range of complimentary services depending on the type of room. Passengers in the deluxe verandah suites, the Neptune and Pinnacle Suites, are invited to the ships officers’ cocktail party, and have exclusive use of the Neptune Lounge, a place to relax and socialise and which comes with a personal concierge service.
Dining centres around the two-level Vista Dining Room, which serves breakfast and evening meals every day from an extensive international menu, including vegetarian options. Lunch may not be available here on some port days, although there is a good choice of other restaurants, including the Pinnacle Grill, the Canaletto Restaurant, the Lido Restaurant, the Terrace Grill in the pool area, and the Explorations Café, where you can relax and browse its extensive library or use its computers.
The Lido is a great spot for a casual dinner, and it serves an impressive buffet breakfast. The Pinnacle Grill offers elegant dining and an extensive wine list; it also serves lunch on selected days, with a different but equally appetising menu. The Canaletto Restaurant has a fine Italian menu and is perfect for intimate evening meals. There are also special culinary events on the ship, such as the first night barbecue beside the pool and the head chef’s five course tasting menu offered for one evening on every cruise.
Highlighting the ship’s daytime activities are various chefs' cooking demonstrations, held in the Culinary Arts Centre. Chefs from the ship and guest chefs entertain with some superb dishes and an easy, humorous approach to teaching. There are also wine tasting events, classes on mixing the perfect martini, and party planning classes.
For entertainment, there are variety shows in the Vista Show Lounge, including singers, dancers, illusionists and comedians. You’ll find a solo guitarist in the Crow’s Nest, classical music in the Explorer’s Lounge, a sing-along with a pop pianist in the Piano Bar, a live dance band in the Ocean Bar and late-night dancing in the Northern Lights Disco.
For the more active, there are line-dancing classes in the Queens Lounge, and for those looking to learn as they cruise there’s the computer lab, which offers everything from an ‘Introduction to Windows’ to classes on computer maintenance and digital photography.