After reading plenty of reviews before our first cruise, I am amazed that anyone would have one thing negative to say about HAL or the Eurodam. She is a fine vessel and we could not find one thing bad or negative to say. I am ready to set sail again, and would sail any time on the Eurodam!
The crew always had smiles and greeted us every time. Even if they had a broom and dust pan in hand, we were always greeted. Not one sour puss in the bunch.
Our journey started in Southern Oregon with a 4 hour drive to the Portland airport. We decided to stay at Red Lion at the airport and used Park and Fly for when we came home the following Saturday. This has always been a good hotel for the money and very close to PDX. Our flight was at 11pm on Delta, with transfers in Detroit and Memphis. We arrived at FLL the next afternoon around 1 pm. WOW were we tired but excited!
We had purchase the transfer with HAL to and from the airport. We didn't have any problems locating them in the baggage claim area. Once we had our luggage we were on the bus within minutes and heading to the cruise port. This took all of 15 minutes.
I see ships!!! What a wonderful and exciting moment for myself and my husband. Being our first cruise, I hope we still have those same feelings 10 cruises later!
Once to the HAL terminal we were there all of about 20 minutes. We filled out the health paper and got our picture taken and handed our key cards. This went smoothly.
We had a wheelchair with our group and never had any problems getting on. Once on board, an employee wheeled my grandmother to our room. Good thing, because we would have been lost. I thought I had read and studied every thing about the Eurodam, but once on board I was easily turned around. I think it was due to my excitement!
My mom had arrived 2 hours before us and was already in the room. She had ordered room service since we were to late for the main dining room lunch. I have to say, this was one of my favorite moments of the entire cruise. Tired and hungry, eating shrimp cocktail out on the verandah with all of us together.
Time for Sail Away!!! Again, I thought I had studied every deck and knew everything...maybe I was too excited? Well, we almost missed the sail away and we had plans to be on the web cam for all to see. Minutes to spare, we all found our way to Deck 9 Aft and got our Oregon blanket hanging over the back of the boat. Another fun moment that I hope will be the same 10 cruises later!
Cabana time!!! We rented a Lido Cabana for the week, $199, BEST MONEY SPENT!!!! If you are planning to be on the Eurodam...rent a cabana NOW! If you wait until you are on the ship, they will be rented already. We met NJ and Dustin, who are absolutely amazing! They brought us any thing we wanted. Very attentive and always with a smile. These guys work hard to make sure we are happy while in our cabanas. It only got stuffy when the lido pool cover was closed. Other than that, there was a nice breeze.
Food, Food and more Food!!! The food was amazing. The shows were fun too. You really need 24 hours of daylight to do everything.
We did not try any of the for fee restaurants. We were happy with the main dining room and open seating. We ate at different times every night and never had to wait longer then 2 minutes for a table for four. Dinner lasted 2 hours. The portions were small, but we were all stuffed! A couple nights I ordered the chocolate cake from room service for my dessert option in the MDR. I found that one to be the best in flavor out of all of the choices.
Formal Dress...we wore our Sunday Best and didn't look out of place at all. We saw tuxes, formal gowns, tiny dresses, sports coats with ties and black slacks with blouses. Every one looked amazing and no one was too stuck up.
Wheelchairs and Walkers...We had both and saw both. It did not feel like a geriatric convention by any means. Yes there were senior citizens but then there were 5 yr old and all ages in between. We only had an issue with the wheelchair going into the casino. For some reason that bump was bigger than all others. Oh and another issue was after the shows...crowds all trying to get on an elevator. I didn't think they were being rude on purpose, maybe not even realizing it. We really needed an elevator to be empty in order to back in. Some just rushed to the door as soon as it dinged and not paying any attention to the wheelchairs waiting and waiting and waiting. We fixed that problem after a couple of times...we left the shows and headed for the mid ship elevators and just back tracked to the room. Easy fix.
Another note, the crew was very helpful especially in the MDR. Once we arrived for dinner one of the guys would wheel mom to our table and take the chair away until we were done.
Laundry...We used the $20 bulk bag service once. I filled that bag full by rolling everything inside. Two days later, we had our last few days of clean clothes and our plane ride home outfits all nice and clean.
Norovirus...Yes we had that on board too. We sailed March 17-24 2012. The first 48 hours we could not serve ourselves, use salt/pepper shakers or have bread left on our tables in the MDR. Nothing unusual about that. So after our 48 hrs were up, it was nice to serve our selves. Put as much pepper on my food and eat all the bread and butter that I wanted. That lasted another 48 hrs...Gone are the shakers, towels, bread and butter. Out comes self standing hand sanitizers and we all get a note and a cute little bottle of sanitizer in our staterooms. Then comes the announcement from the Captain...yikes now its serious! I didn't hear how many people were sick but it was enough to over sanitize our room, hands and use our elbows to push the elevator buttons.
I see Port Everglades...Sad day, I almost want to cry thinking about it. If only we could have stayed longer. This was more stressful than I thought. I think it was due to my anxiety of leaving my mom again. Her flight left hours before ours did. She lives in Chicago and we live on the West Coast.
Disembarkation...The easiest part of this process was the Express Baggage for free. If your flight leaves after 11:30, you can have your boarding pass and luggage all done for you. And your time to leave the ship is between 7:30-8:15. Customs was a breeze. First off and on to the waiting shuttles. We just went through security and straight to our gate. Best ever! I'm just glad we didn't have to find our suit case in the thousands lined up!
Waiting at the airport...WOW was that a mad house! Every electrical outlet was prime location. Didn't matter where it was. So many needed to charge phones, ipad etc. Be sure to fully charge before you leave the ship!
Our flight home was on American Airlines. Not impressed at all. Wont be using them again. They were not very helpful with our wheelchair. Seats were not assigned and trying to get them together for the 3 of us was like pulling teeth. Maybe they were just over whelmed by the masses leaving that day?
Arrived late a night, stayed over night and drove back to Southern Oregon on Sunday. Enjoyed our first cruise and every thing about it!
Duct Tape....yep I took it and I used it! Being on a red eye flight and wanting to sleep, the person in front of me was on his laptop. I pulled out my Neon green tape and used it to hold up the safety pamphlet to block the light coming from in between the seats. Did the same thing on the way home too. We were trying to sleep and the window shade wouldn't shut all the way. Neon Tape to the rescue. Same thing, safety pamphlet and tape.
Also put on our luggage for easier locating and our personal wheelchair. There's a story...Duct tape saved the day on this one. In Detroit, 3 people needed assistance. We had our own chair with Neon Green tape around the handles!!! One of the ladies got off the plane before we did and said "that's my chair" so the guy took her and our chair to her next gate. Thankfully the young man who was pushing grandma remembered seeing another chair and his co worker leaving with it. He makes a call over the walkie talkie and asked if the chair he was using at that moment had Neon Green Duct tape on the handles. YEP, our chair was found quickly due to the fact Duct Tape was used.
Flashlight...Came in handy looking under the beds and in the safe. Or coming in late.