This was our 6th cruise on the 4th different cruise line (RCL, NCL and Carnival). I must admit, I was a little hesitant about booking a HAL cruise for my family of 6 (2 grandparents, 2 parents and 2 girls ages 14 and 10). I had read stories in the past about HAL catering to “older” seniors and not being a good line for families with kids. But, because my ultimate goal is to try all the major cruise lines at least once before I choose a favourite, I booked the Eurodam. What a pleasant surprise! The picture I had of everyone being in their 80s was all wrong. It was March break and there were people of all ages (including over 200 kids).
As everyone says, the embarkation was a breeze.
Food - The food was the best I've had on any line – hands down. Each line has areas where they excel and Holland America's is the quality of the food. The Lido Buffet had a wide variety of choices for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it was all excellent. The freshly squeezed orange juice, waffles, eggs benedict station, fruit,etc. were delicious! Lunch was equally as good. We also tried the pizza and the 5 different burgers from the Terrance Grill - all excellent. Best turkey burger I've ever had!
The Tamarind was everything you've read about and more! I had the filet mignon and it was perfect. My daughter tried duck for the first time and liked it too! The chocolate dessert was one of the best, if not the best, dessert I've ever had!
The Pinnacle Grill was excellent too. My mother and father-in-law are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year and they surprised us with a special chocolate mousse cake – very nice. Again, the beef was excellent!
The Canaletto was equally as good. The reviews I read said it was average but the antipasto, lasagna and veal parmesan were as good as any top rated Italian restaurant I've ever been to. I guess HAL's average is better than most!
The dessert extravaganza was unbelievable. It was set up around the pool and there was a huge turnout but we had just eaten at the Pinnacle and were too stuffed to try anything. Have a light dinner on that night!
I also went against the grain and finally ordered room service for breakfast which was also very good. I don't know why people write complaints about the delivery being 15 minutes late or they get extra food with their order??? I loved sitting on the balcony in my pajamas watching the waves go by (or whales which we saw a few times!).
Ship – The ship is beautiful – very tastefully decorated instead of being overly lavish or bordering on tacky. We had a balcony room on the 5th deck which was great. Lots of storage space for 4 people. When the 2 extra beds were pulled out it was a little tight but that's to be expected. The beds and linens were the nicest we've had on any cruise. Our cabin steward was great – I hardly saw him but the room was always done perfectly. We never made it to many bars but dropped by the Explorer's Café on the last night and wished we had found it sooner!
The only thing I think the ship could use is a bigger pool or a 3rd pool. Both pools got pretty crowded on the sea days. We found it easy to get chairs despite the private cabanas taking up space but a bit more pool room would have been nice!
Entertainment – the shows were as good as any other cruise line and the Magician was the best I've ever seen (and it's not because he was a fellow Canadian either!). The kids loved him too!
Ports – Turks and Caicos was devastated by a hurricane 2 years ago but it doesn't mean that there's nothing to do on the island. The guys rented a golf cart and went geocaching and the girls walked the beach and sat by the pool at Margaritaville which was very relaxing.
San Juan is always fun. We took a taxi to the Coronado hotel/beach area which was beautiful. Next cruise may be a southern one leaving from San Juan!
St. Thomas was as picturesque as usual. Rented a car and went to Megan's Bay for the morning. The guys went geocaching around the island while the girls shopped in the afternoon and bought some jewelry of course! You never know when you're going to be back there again!
Half Moon Cay is the nicest private island I've ever seen. Beautiful beaches with sand like white flour and lots to see and do. If I ever go there again I'm definitely going horseback riding in the water! The BBQ they served was good and it was fun to spend a day on the beach for a change!
Summary – Overall, I would recommend HAL and the Eurodam to anyone and everyone. I will definitely try it again – and I can't say that about all of them!
BRIEF DISCLOSURE This was my first cruise. Before cruising, I read the other reviews of the Eurodam and they scared me silly. After the cruise, I felt like I had just finished sailing on a ship utterly different from those who gave Eurodam such bad reviews! How does one account for this? I'm not demanding enough? They are way too demanding? Who knows?
While I will note features I found disappointing, they are not the cruise-spoiling sorts of things; not by a Texas mile.
EMBARKATION My wife and I arrived in Fort Lauderdale the afternoon before the sailing, to ensure we had all the wiggle room we might need in transportation, and to allow for an unhurried approach to the cruise. It worked, and I recommend this to anyone if they're able to schedule it. Seek for hotels that offer shuttle service from the airport and to the cruise port.
Upon arriving at the Eurodam's pier, I was amazed at the efficiency, ease, and speed with which we delivered our bags to friendly, smiling porters; and, then, proceeded into the building, guided by friendly red-coated guides stationed along the way, as well asby a large blue line on the pavement. We stood in one line for less than five minutes. We sat on airport-waiting room seats for another five minutes, and then we were called to board the ship. Start to finish was about 20 minutes total. To us, it felt like a breeze, but we'd never been there and done that before.
Novelty is great entertainment and makes time fly.
ARRIVAL ON SHIP We were boarded directly onto the Lido Deck which contains the long buffet-style casual-dress restaurant. Yes, it was packed. Why not? It wasn't designed to accomodate the entire passenger list! But, everyone first appeared on the ship in this restaurant until the rooms were ready for occupancy. We did get food (plenty of it), and a seat for two with no difficulty. It would have been off-putting if this were the atmosphere of the place throughout the cruise; but, it was crowded only during this embarkation period. Once the rooms were ready, the crowd diminished immediately.
CABIN We had booked what Eurodam calls a Deluxe Verandah Ocean-View Stateroom (No. 5043, for those who want to see where it is on the deck plan). For what we desired and needed, it was entirely satisfactory. It was clean, the bed was fantastic, the pillows and linens were clean and exceedingly comfortable. The closets and cabinets easily held all the contents of two very large suitcases, a hanging bag, and the largest carry-on the airlines allow. We unpacked everything and found storage for the bags under the bed. The room came with a bath/shower combo. Towels were abundant and soft. Two bathrobes were provided. The cabin steward removed an excess of hangers from the closets. An easy-to-use room safe provided peace of mind.
The view from the veranda never disappointed. With floor to ceiling windows you could see the sunrise over the moving sea each morning.
Possible disappointments: there are only two 110 AC electric outlets in the room, and they are located at the desk/vanity. Also, the assignment of light switches on the walls must have been determined by rolling dice. It took a day or two to figure out how to get the lights you wished on to be on.
Another disappointment: the glass wall on the verandah was stained with sea water spray, so that one could not sit on the veranda and get an unclouded view of the ocean. As we disembarked, we noted these panes being washed. Evidently that washing was overlooked before we arrived.
FOOD: GENERALLY It's everywhere and effectiely it's all the time (except, perhaps, between midnight and 7:00 AM.). In-room dining for no extra charge is always available, though the menu is less varied. Each night, a card for ordering in-cabin morning repast is available. You can select delivery times within 30 minutes (i.e. 6:00-6:30; 6:30-7:00; 7:00-7:30; etc.). Whatever we ordered invariably arrived in the middle of the period. So we always had coffee in our cabin upon arising, my wife always ate a full breakfast in the cabin, while I ventured forth to meet new people over a lavish breakfast in the Rembrandt dining room.
FOOD: REGULAR MEALS IN THE REMBRANDT We booked the cruise late, so traditional early/late seating was alrady full. Instead we had open seating, and in future I will always choose this, as it guarantees you will be eating with new people at every meal, something I enjoy. It also gives us greater flexibility in our schedule. Open seating dining in the evening is available from 5:15 until 9:30.
The Rembrandt dining room is a two-level affair, pleasing to the eye, but regrettably noisy when full. Breakfast and noon meals don't have this problem; but evening meals are difficult for conversation at your table, unless you eat late or eat there on an evening when many passengers are in port for the evening.
We heard a few passengers complain of slow service. I never had that problem. The pace was leisurely, but so was I!
The four-course meal was generous (appetizer, soup/salad, entree, dessert), and plentiful. If you wished two of something, it was yours for the asking. One man one evening finished his 10- ounce New York Strip steak and asked for a second one, which came promptly to the table. I usually added a scoop of ice cream to the dessert I selected. For each course, you had at least six choices. Plus, there was a list of "always available" items for every course, no matter what the menu for the evening.
Again, service for us was always satisfactory. We never waited longer than one would ordinarily wait in a normal restaurant. I really enjoyed being served by efficient, nimble young men (no waitresses in the Rembrandt) who did NOT want to become my best buddy and engage me in tacky banter during the meal. Drinks were always filled without asking and with minimal intrusion. Our waiters were like our cabin steward (see below): easily summoned, minimally verbal, accurate and prompt when fulfilling requests.
FOOD: THE LIDO The Lido Deck contains the Lido Buffet in most of its central area. At either end of the Lido Deck are swimming pools and sunbathing areas, along with hot tubs and dry saunas, all available to any guest. There are numerous buffets -- some serving "tastes of the world" cuisine, others more conventional American fare (meats, vegetables, starches, breads). Salads, drinks, and desserts all have their own separate buffet stations.
The whole point of the Lido Restaurant seems to be speed and convenience. Patrons seemed to be mostly those folks in the pool areas that flank each end of the very long Lido Buffet. It was common during lunch to see "pool people" in the Lido, gathering their food and returning to the outdoors areas of the pools, where one found an abundance of tables under shade.
My wife and I often ate in the Lido at lunch. I usually ate a large salad, tempering my GI tract for dinner, dontcha know! After that first very crowded experience in the Lido when we arrived at the ship, we never found the Lido to be disagreeably crowded. It IS self-service. Most of the staff on the floor are busing tables, though they will respond politely and quickly to requests for refills on drinks (or, at least, those we asked did so).
FOOD: SPECIALTY RESTAURANTS The Canaletto: This is tucked into a corner of the Lido Restaurant. We missed it, so have no comment. Others we consulted were very pleased with it. No extra charge, but reservations are needed since it is small.
The Pinnacle Grill: a softly lit, wood-and-brass decorated steak place (plenty of other options available too: fish, chicken, lamb, pork). $20 a head extra to dine here, reservations required. The seating is by reservation, so you decide. My wife and I had our anniversary dinner there the second night at sea. Service was very good and the food was excellent. Knowing it was our anniversary (I had mentioned this when making the reservation before the cruise started), we were seated in a fantastic corner booth for two, giving us a panaramic view of the restaurant. A special anniversary cake came with dessert.
The Tamarind: this is billed as an "Asian fusion" restaurant, which seems to mean varied forms of Oriental-influenced fare. $15 a head extra to dine here, and my wife and I ate there the last evening of the cruise, forgoing whatever hoo-haw had been planned in the Rembrandt for the last night (who knows? maybe we missed something special?). The Tamarind was special. Very excellent service, and extremely tasty and exotically spiced food served in generous portions. Again, the four-course format with at least six choices per course.
Our Wasabi Soy-Crusted Tenderloin Steak was fabulous. The appetizers were abundant and plentiful. The ambiance of the restaurant was peaceful. I heartily recommend it.
My single quibble -- and this applies generally to the ship -- is that my ear is not tuned to English spoken with a very strong Indonesian or Filipino accent. So, I often found myself saying "Beg pardon?" and "I didn't understand you." But, we always got through these challenges, and we decided to face them with a gaming interest rather than irritation.
The Terrace Grill: this is a hamburger joint at one of the Lido Deck pools. The one day I grabbed something from it, they were offering cheeseburger, lamb burger, veggie burger, and turkey burger, all with fries and condiments. It was fast food on the ship, and though I was expecting to be underwhelmed, I was shocked and delighted with the charcoaly taste of the burger. Yum!
The dessert buffet was just inside the Lido Restaurant, so I ducked in there for cookies and ice cream, carrying them back to my bride with no problem at all.
Sundry Food: Hors d' oeuvres are served in many of the bars in late afternoon, but I never partook of those offerings. I'd be surprised to learn they were subpar, as all the othe food I ate was excellent. There is a coffe/pastry shop on the 11th deck that contains the internet stations and library. Imagine a smallish Starbucks and you'll know what it's like.
EVENING ENTERTAINMENT Almost every evening, there was a show in the triple-deck space of the Mainstage auditorium. Lasting about an hour, these shows were quite good. I feared there might be a lot of raunch (such as one might find in a Las Vegas floor show), but these were free of that sort of funk. The singers had strong, on-key voices, the dancers were athletic and nimble; the shows (according to someone I spoke with) are designed by Barry Manilow. Given the space constraints of a ship, I was intrigued with how lively a show they produced with the sets and lights available.
The show was offered at 8:00 and 10:15 in the evening, the earlier audience far more "packed" than the latter. A highlight for us was a magician. I'm sure the shows change frequently through the year, so I won't comment further. If Holland is able to secure the same quality of performers as what we saw, no one will be disappointed.
ON BOARD ACTIVITIES These were abundant and varied. In a week, I could not possibly partake of most of them (even if I had wanted to; I don't gamble, for example). There was a cooking seminar running through the week; also one on digital photography, with laptops supplied. Lectures in the Mainstage on various ports and their attractions were common. The ship contains a library with a couple of thousand books of varied fiction and nonfiction (my wife found and read a 400 page work on the Congress of Vienna in 1814).
Internet service is pricey -- from 85 cents a minute to 45 cents a minute if you buy access in chunks. I purchased 100 minutes for $55, so I could monitor a few potential trouble spots at home. I used up about 60 of those minutes. I could also read one blog of personal interest by pulling up the page on the screen, and then hitting the print button. Actual reading took place via ink on paper.
Internet stations are plentiful. I never saw anyone waiting to use one.
Personal Complaint: I could find no place on the ship (other than my cabin) that was truly quiet. There was always noise -- people talking, overhead music -- which prevented me from reading a book I'm reviewing for a publication. I really needed a genuinely library-quiet atmosphere for this, and I was disappointed that in a ship as large as the Eurodam there is no such spot (not that I could find; and, I queried several staff about this).
EXCURSIONS Holland offers many of these. We did only one -- I parasailed at Half Moon Cay. Otherwise, on this first-cruise experience, my wife and I kept ourselves to wandering around the ports, looking to see what we would find on our own. It was fun. It was successful. We were entertained. On St. Thomas the shopping was a blast, particularly if you're looking for distilled spirits or jewelry. Much to my delight I found and purchased a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings for my bride -- lovely, dangly, sparkly things -- for a price that was unbelievable, from a long-established and highly rated jeweler (Cardow).
As I scanned the excursion list from Holland, they seemed pricey to me for what they described. Obviously, I can be wrong here. But, with so much in port to do and see without paying someone to herd your around --- well, we'll exhaust these possibilities before we feel attracted to excursions.
SERVICE Paul Motter's essay concerning service on Holland, available at this site here says it all. Read it. I confirm what he says.
Our cabin steward obviously studied us to know what we wanted, how we wanted it, when we wanted it, and he delivered it totally behind the scenes. Example: I asked for ice within two hours of arriving in the cabin. The bucket never lacked for ice for the remainder of the cruise.
Every time we returned to our room, it had been tidied up, even if we were gone for only an hour. One cruiser joked that the cabin stewards were like ninjas -- when you are in they're out, when you're out, they're in. You begin to think they hid in a secret compartment in your cabin, jumping out as you depart to tidy up you little messes. It was one of the most astounding things I've ever seen. Beds turned down every night, lights dim, chocolates, ordering card for in-cabin wake-up coffee and food as we pleased. I don't know how they do this for over 2,000 passengers at a time.
OTHERS' IMPRESSIONS This was our first cruise. Most of the folks we met had cruised six, twelve, even more cruises, on differint lines. We invariably asked them to rate the cruise lines they had used, and to compare them to Holland. In every case, they said that this cruise on the Eurodam was superior to anything they had encountered elsewhere. I wonder if I am now set up for disappointment if I ever cruise another line!
We recently completed our 8 day cruise on the Eurodam. At the outset, let me offer two points. One, I think we are fair and reasonably objective people. Two, I have always appreciated people who have taken the time to write a review and help us have a more enjoyable vacation. So, we really wanted to return all the effort others have taken on our behalf.
Embarkation The embarkation was as smooth and efficient as we have every had on a cruise. Our time in the line waiting could only have been 5 minutes. Holland staff members were very pleasant and helpful,truly the easiest part of the cruise. Holland can be very pleased at their staff
Cabins We opted for a deluxe veranda. Upon entering our room, we immediately felt claustrophobic. Rather than an modern elegant feel, the room had unattractive bedding, cheap cardboard prints on the wall and poor lighting. The balcony was decent sized but we were left feeling very very disappointed in the room. It was impossible for two people to pass each othter between the bed and the door to the veranda. The Eurodam reports to being oneof the newest ships in their fleet but "reads" like a Holiday Inn circa 1984. Certainly not "luxury" cruising. The public areas below the main deck were not much better. I'm not sure who was making the design choices for the ship but the overall effect was not good.
Food There is good news and bad news. The good news - the speciality dining was very good with Tamarind (their Asian fusion dining) being excellent. We're from NYC and this could hold it own with any restaurant in NYC. Pinnacle Grill, their steak house, was solid. The maining dining was acceptable with one or two high spots, but mostly just pretty average. Holland should be embarrassed about the Lido. The theme seems to be substitute quanity for quality. What you end up with is alot of really really really bad food. Room service was so bad that we almost enjoyed seeing what would be offered. We used room service for coffee in the morning to wake up on the veranda
Excursions I have to respect Holland for cancelling our Power Snorkeling. They weather was iffy and rather than have people have a bad experience, they cancelled. We ended up just enjoying the sun in Turks and Caicos.
There was much to much emphasis on shopping on St Thomas. What the shopping winds up being is a seemingly ending string of jewelry stores...literally over a hundred offering essentially the same thing. Shop for an hour, then jump in a cab and go to Megan's Bay. Truly one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There is inexpensive food and changing areas, so just bring your swim suits with you.
San Juan was lovely. We enjoyed just walking around Old San Juan much more than I thought we would. Others who had taken the tour in the rain forest loved the tour but hated having to travel almost 1 1/2 hours in each direction. Just get off the ship, and walk one minute to old San Juan. It's impossible to not be charmed but this part of town.
Half Moon Cay Their private island was one of our favorite parts ot the trip. The beach is one of the most beautiful we had ever been on. It requires a tender to get to the shore so go before 8AM or after 10Am. The line to get to the tenders is very very long between those hours.
Our fellow cruisemates We were truly shocked at the average age on the cruise. The average age was easily over 70. People under 65 were VERY few and far between. I'm not against crusing with a varity of ages, but wished it had been a little more balanced. We felt very much in the minority.
Overall I can only say that we were very very disappointed with the cruise. We had previously cruised with Holland (Zuiderdam)and were excited about a newer ship. I would never suggest people cruise with Holland and wished we had chosen to go with Celebrity or Princess, as what we had orginally planned to do.
Boarding the Eurodam was fast and easy. The ship was very beautiful. After everyone got settled in the ship did not seem crowded except for the aft pool area. The food in the Main Dining Room was very good.
The lido buffet was average. Our veranda room on deck 5 was very good with lots of storage. Half Moon Cay was nice even though it rained that day, then on to Aruba then Curacao. The New Years Eve Party was great with food stations placed all over the ship and champagne handed out to the adults and sparkling juice given to the kids. Good Job Holland America and crew. My family will be back soon.
This was probably the best cruise we've taken out of about 10 and on everything from Independence of the Seas to Emerald Princess, NCL Pearl and Carnival Liberty. The ship was very clean, the cruise had 2200 folks on board which is full, and no problems with lines or getting a lounge chair at the pool or any inside/outside deck. The food was excellent and you could get anything served in the Rembrandt dining room (formal) at the buffet for dinner without dressing up. Ice cream and dessert selection were outstanding. Crow's nest library and coffee shop was outstanding. Movies on board were excellent in the best appointed screening room at sea. Broadway shows and singers and dancers were excellent. Rooms were very nice, most with bathtubs. Excellent value for the money and very relaxing time. Easiest on and off the ship so far in 10 different cruises! Some older folks but generally a good age range of fellow guests. Very user friendly gym. Love the ability to close in the center pool whenever necessary, which makes it useable in any weather.
If you don't believe that I am not a "Chronic Complainer", please read my Cruise Critic Review of Explorer of the Seas, May '08. If you are already booked for the Eurodam, you may want to avoid reading the following review, as it was an unpleasant experience.
This is our experience during Holland Eurodam's Inaugural Season. The first of their "Signature Class Ships," the Eurodam is nice, however it photographs much nicer than it looks in person.
Background My partner and I are in our early 40s and were traveling with our friends who are a married couple, also in their 40s. Eurodam was my and my partner's 6th voyage (2nd Holland) and our traveling companions' 26th voyage (3rd Holland). We all sailed the Westerdam a few years ago and loved it so much that we were really looking forward to another Holland America cruise.
Embarkation We flew in from NJ the day before sailing and stayed with friends in the Orlando area that night. We then drove from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale in a Hertz vehicle. Upon returning the car in Lauderdale at 10:00AM, we were whisked to Port Liberty by a Hertzstaff member to the Holland America Eurodam. We were able to drop our luggage off and check-in (with no lines) at the port immediately following. We were of the first group to board at approximately 11:30AM. Upon boarding there was a concierge available to secure dinner reservations, which we immediately did. Although we had traditional 8:00 seating, we wanted to secure reservations for Tamarind, Canaletto and Pinnacle. We were able to reserve exactly what we wanted by making our reservations upon boarding.
Lido Restaurant Our next stop was the Lido Restaurant for a buffet lunch. The Lido is TIGHT! There is barely enough room for one to walk through the room empty-handed, let alone with a tray of food! This was a poorly designed room with arm-chairs at the tables which were very cumbersome as well. The room is beautifully decorated, but THE CREW was the absolute WORST we've EVER ENCOUNTERED on ANY SHIP EVER!! There was never enough silverware in the Lido and when asking a crew member for anything on this ship, it was like pulling teeth. We would practically have to beg for everything (including silverware). The kitchen staff worked feverishly to serve quickly, but the Lido attendants all walked around aimlessly as though they had nothing to do but talk among themselves and ignore the passengers. Many officers roamed around on cell phones, ignoring passengers as well. The crew members were mainly around to pour coffee and drinks (at the machines), basically getting in everyone's way. It would have been much easier if everyone had just poured their own drinks. Speaking of drinks, about halfway through this cruise, they must have run out of half & half and were pawning milk (and even skim milk) off on us in containers marked "cream". I know this isn't the end of the world, but for a die-hard coffee w/cream lover, it was unacceptable. Just label it milk! After we had finished our first meal in the Lido, we were approached by the Food and Beverage Manager, Herman, who asked us (however diplomatically) to please leave our table so that others could find a place to eat. He suggested we wait in the Ocean Bar until our rooms were ready. We instead roamed the ship. On the plus side, the food at the Lido was great. We did not have a bad meal on this ship.
After being asked to leave the Lido I had stopped to use the restroom. Not realizing it was labeled a Handicapped restroom, I was told by another officer that I should not use that facility, but should use the men's room on the other side. Nothing like making a passenger feel welcome during "Hour One".
Purser's Desk Staff One word for them -- RUDE. Okay two -- RUDE & CLUELESS. After leaving the Lido (and the correct men's room) I decided to try to secure a Retreat Cabana. I had read about them and thought it might be a nice way to spend a pool day. Our friends had just returned from the Purser's Desk where they had inquired and were told to reserve the cabana on the Lido Deck. I asked an attendant on the Lido Deck and she escorted me to the Spa. The staff there told me that reservations for cabanas are made at the Purser's Desk. So I picked up a house phone and called the Purser's Desk. I was then informed that I had to come down to the desk to reserve the cabana. Off I went to the desk. At least I was able to work off lunch!
Cabanas The cabanas cost $45 for a port day. After reserving the retreat cabana, I went up to take a look at them. The one we reserved, Mirabella, was only large enough to accommodate two lounge chairs. I really didn't care for the whole set up, so, back to the Purser's Desk to cancel. I was told that the transaction was in fact canceled, only to discover on Day 6 that it had not been and that they wouldn't be able to straighten the charge out until the next day. Thankfully I checked and they did. My observations of the Purser's Desk were that there was never a visible person in a position of authority (nor did we ever see one on the entire ship), and the Purser's staff appeared rude and indifferent. They were surely not welcoming at all. The night before disembarkation, our friends witnessed several passengers pleading with purser's desk crew to straighten out situations with their luggage being sent to incorrect airports. We don't know the outcome of their experiences.
Stateroom Cabins were ready at exactly 1:30PM. We were in Cabin #8097 and our friends in #8095. They were "V" Category, which is of the highest balcony categories onboard. The rooms were the most beautifully designed we've ever seen. They were spacious with three closets and plenty of storage. The balconies were large with two chairs, a small table and an ottoman. We arrived to gifts from our Travel Agent, Marianne from Travel Emporium, which included delicious chocolate covered strawberries and a voucher for a complimentary formal night dining room photo. The bathroom included a shower-tub and storage shelves and large bath sheets. The beds were comfortable. There was a flat-panel TV with a DVD player.
I met our stateroom attendant (Widi) for a very brief moment. I introduced myself and gave a him a short list of items we wanted. A bathrobe, feather pillows and ice. He returned later with two bathrobes, one feather pillow and ice. I handed him back one robe and asked him for another feather pillow. He gave me a disappointed look that I had asked for a second feather pillow and we never did receive it during the cruise. Luggage arrived by 4PM and Muster Drill immediately followed. No one in our drill could understand a word that was said during the drill, as the crew member conducting it had a very heavy accent. I could've gotten over the fact that so far we felt unwelcome on this ship until on Day One we had returned from dinner at around 10:00PM and (are you ready for this? Are you sitting down?) NO TURN-DOWN SERVICE!! I know it might sound petty to some, but COME ON!! Our traveling companions had never, ever experienced this on any of their 25 previous voyages! They had no clean towels in their room at this point and when we inquired at the Purser's desk about the lack of turn-down that evening the reply was (are you sitting down?) "we'll let your cabin attendant know to provide turn-down service nightly for you!" And "what exactly is it that you need?" I told the woman I'd like another feather pillow. She said she would have one sent. As I stated earlier, she never did. After that we were afraid to throw another used towel on the floor, for fear it may never be picked up and replaced! However, we did receive nightly turn-down service thereafter. Whew!
Sailaway What? We went to the Sailaway Party on the Lido Deck for Pina Coladas (which didn't include any garnish). That's right -- looked like a milkshake. Still tasted good. Bartenders on the Lido -- rushed and unfriendly!! No Cruise Director or Staff out on deck for this party. Just the Hal Cats (band) there to sing a few tunes. The views were beautiful. The tunes weren't.
Rembrandt Dining Room We had requested a table for four and found that there were few (if any) in the VERY cramped Rembrandt. One word to describe the feeling in the dining room -- SARDINES!! We were piled upon one another at several tables for 10. Our servers were rushed and again, not the friendliest of crew. The food however was excellent. Portions small (our server actually laughed when he had to serve me my tiny portion of crab leg appetizer. And he said "sorry" a lot. We enjoyed the company of two couples from Australia during dinners. Hello to Pat, Brian, Jennie and Daryl if you're reading this! Overall the Rembrandt Dining Room was not a pretty room and was much too small to accommodate the amount of seated passengers or servers during meals.
Production Shows Holland America didn't skimp here. Best sets and costumes on any ships. Shows were good. We liked the first one, better than the second. The cast did a great Michael Jackson Thriller number! We really enjoyed the actor who performed Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves more than the leading lady. She was more talented and should be cast in the lead. There was also a comedian (from Home Improvement) on Day One who was funny.
Captain's Reception What? 15 minutes before the show, the captain said a quick hello and goodbye. Champagne was served.
Ports I won't go on and on, but they were the saving grace of this ship! St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay were all WONDERFUL!!
Northern Lights Disco The nightclub had a nice atmosphere, but didn't flow well. DJ Jazzy was terrific and took requests. Service was very good here. It would have been more crowded if smoking were allowed, as everyone (including a large gay group) was in the Casino Sports Bar outside of the nightclub puffing away with their cocktails. I must say the passengers on this cruise all jelled beautifully. Straight, gay and everything in between -- all got along famously.
Lido Party Oh, there's the Cruise Director. Saw very little of him or his staff during the cruise. Oh, and this also must have doubled as our "Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza", because Holland America cheaped out on that too. They did have chocolate fountains during the Lido Party. We danced and had much fun!!
Halloween Bash Halloween was much fun on the Lido Deck. We dressed as Mainstream Vampires from HBO's TrueBlood. There was a parade of costumed passengers, great food and dancing with the Hal Cats. The Lido was decorated beautifully. I had hung a paper skeleton on my stateroom door which was torn off by someone after Day Two. You know who you are and should be ashamed of yourself!
Tamarind Complimentary for lunch. The most beautiful restaurant on the ship. We had lunch there. Set menu of dim sum. Good service, great food!
Pinnacle Just okay and I wouldn't recommend spending the $20pp cover for this one. My partner actually liked his steak in the Rembrandt better than the one served here.
Canaletto Complimentary for dinner. Service by Marius was the absolute best on the ship. He was quick, efficient and really knew his job. Although he was not overly friendly, he was the best server we encountered on Eurodam. Food was excellent!
Past Guest Party NONE!!! Not for anyone with less than 25 days sailed with Holland anyway! We received Delft tiles and a thank you note from the captain, but as "Mariners" we didn't rate a reception! Sorry Holland, but that in and of itself made up my mind never to sail with you again!! You should have seen the beautiful reception Royal Caribbean provides ALL of their past guests. Complete with cocktails, appetizers and mingling with the ship's officers. Big disappointment! Big disgrace!
Disembarkation We had express disembarkation which allowed us to walk off of the ship with luggage in hand. We were never told which deck to disembark from and when calling the purser's desk shortly before disembarking, one of our friends was told that they DIDN'T KNOW where the gangway was and that there would be an announcement. We discovered that the gangway was on deck 3. The announcement never did indicate where to disembark. After finding the deck ourselves, we were off the ship by 7:30AM.
Holland America's Eurodam has been sailing for months now. It's about time someone is held accountable for the crew's actions (or lack of). Someone must be held accountable for untidy conditions in areas of the ship. At 7:30 one morning as I was strolling the Promenade Deck, there were tons of dirty glasses (obviously from the previous night) littering the deck, and dirty cups and plates at various times on the tables of the Lido Deck. Does no one see this? Someone from corporate had better pose as a passenger on this ship before this crew sinks it!!
I really could go on and on, but I'm tired of hearing myself talk (and type). As I've said, I'm not a chronic complainer. As our traveling companions said, we're not looking for service which is above and beyond (although that would have been nice). We're just looking for basic needs (like clean towels in our room or a fork and knife at lunch). And we didn't receive even basic service on the Eurodam.
Someone is asleep at the helm.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.