In September 2023, we did something different. Yeah, we went to Alaska again, which is not different. But this time we sailed on Holland America’s Westerdam. We like the Westerdam a lot! It’s an older, smaller ship, and it has the old-style full wrap around promenade deck that we love so much. We had some pretty rough seas the first couple of days, and I actually got seasick for the first time ever. That was a nasty surprise!
The Unusual Cabin
On Cruise Critic, I came across an unusual cabin on this ship and some others of HAL’s. I like unusual cabins, and this one was a winner for us. There are one or two cabins on some of their ships that are sold as inside cabins, but they have a window looking out onto a walkway. I don’t mind an inside cabin without a window, but Bob needs some natural light. These cabins are inexpensive, and on the Westerdam they’re on Observation deck just a short walk down the hall to the Crow’s Nest. The Crow’s Nest is a forward observation area where a person can get an early morning coffee and sip it while sitting in big comfy chairs with a view out the front of the ship. We did that every morning, and it was nice.
These cabins seem to have more floor space than standard inside or ocean view cabins, not that we care about that. They’re very nicely set up, with plenty of storage space and an always-on nightlight in the bathroom. There’re two chairs and a small table, along with a desk area and tv. The tv was much smaller than we’re used to on Princess.
Some of the Food
Food was good, and a few things were really, really good. There were some interesting and unusual items. I ordered Aloo Masala and Egg Bhurji at breakfast one morning. I was told that it would take a while, since they only made these to order. No problem. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, other than some type of Indian food, but whatever I was expecting wasn’t what I got. It’s a winner! But it’s an amazingly large amount of food, and I had to get Bob to help me on it. There were two types of bread, flatbread and some very thin bread. Eggs, unsurprisingly. Potatoes. A wide variety of sauces and condiments. We agreed we would definitely get this again, but to share. We had Club Orange, so we had one additional entree at dinner and sometimes at lunch. Pork belly was one of the Club Orange extras, and it was spectacular. It had all the crispy deliciousness that pork belly sometimes lacks.
I’ve been wanting to see Hubbard Glacier for a long time, but it never seemed to work out for us. We finally got to go there on this trip, but it wasn’t an ideal day for it. Rain! More rain! And cold and wind too. We had a wonderful day. I suppose it’s an advantage to be able to just insist on having a good time, no matter what. I’d booked a catamaran excursion that would have taken us closer to the glacier, but it was cancelled due to weather.
Before this cruise, we’d only gone to Sitka once, many years ago. I always wanted to go back, but this was another thing that just didn’t seem to come our way. It was rainy and misty the day we were there, but we grabbed our umbrellas and took the shuttle bus into town anyway. That was a good move, since it was a really beautiful walk.
A cruise to Alaska wouldn’t be complete without a photo (another photo!) of Ketchikan. Ketchikan is just adorable, and it’s really photogenic as well.
Some people who cruise are just nuts about the towel animals that the cabin stewards sometimes leave on the bed. I’m not a gigantic fan of these, but we did get a cute dinosaur and an equally cute elephant.