Kicking Off the New Year On Board Holland America’s Westerdam

Caribbean itinerary
Caribbean itinerary

It’s not often that you get to bid farewell to an old year, and kick off the new on board a luxurious ship in the balmy Caribbean.

I’m lucky enough to be doing that this year with my family so with such an auspicious start, I’m programming a wonderful year ahead.

I’m counting my blessings as I pack for my upcoming voyage on Holland America’s Westerdam.

We’ll be boarding in Ft. Lauderdale on December 26 for a seven day “Eastern Caribbean Holiday,” stopping in San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay, HAL’s private island.

ms Westerdam
ms Westerdam

This will be a “blended family” voyage consisting of my two daughters, my 12-year-old grandson Mateo, “significant others” and two children of one of the “significant others,” totaling a group of 10 of us.

What with such a cast of characters, what could possibly go wrong…..?

Launched in 2004, the Westerdam is the third in HAL’s series of Vista-class ships and has a capacity for 1,916 passengers in 958 staterooms and suites. Most of the staterooms have ocean views and many have private verandahs. Fortunately, I’ll have my own verandah, which can provide me an escape – when necessary.


With nearly 20 public rooms – between lounges, dining rooms, casino and spa, there will be plenty of places to explore. That’s always the beauty of being on a large ship….there’s always someplace to new and different to uncover.

There are also classes along the way, such as in the Culinary Arts Center and Digital Workshops led by Microsoft-trained “techsperts” who will show passengers how to take better vacation photos, make movies, edit pictures etc. I’m making a note to attend one of those!

Crow's Nest
Crow’s Nest

The spa is always one of my favorite places to hang out in on a large ship and I’m looking forward to checking this one out. I’ve already looked and they have saunas, a dry float suite, thermal suites, a hydro-therapy pool, steam and aromatic room, heated ceramic lounges and in-suite showers and a relaxation area. What could be more soothing than viewing the watery horizon from the comfort of a massage table?

The state-of-the-art fitness centers promises a place to work off some of their delicious cuisine, while watching the sea go by. Hopefully, that will be motivation enough to get me out there!

Lido Pool
Lido Pool

Entertainment is always stellar on Holland America ships and I’m sure this will be no different. Aside from their show-stopping Vegas-style entertainment, they’re currently featuring B.B. King’s All-Stars band with what’s touted as the “best of Memphis music” in their Queen’s Lounge.

December 31 is scheduled to be a sea day so we’ll have plenty of time to prepare for the New Year’s Eve festivities. I can’t wait to see what they have planned for us.

I’ve sailed on HAL several times, but I don’t know much about the Westerdam. Once on board, I’ll have a lot to report on so I hope you’ll sail along with me!

Photos courtesy of Holland America.

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