First off, some background on me that surely influences my review. This is our first cruise after 29 yrs of marriage. I've resisted cruising for a long time. I'm a "control freak" and don't like crowds. We travelled with another couple . . . our travel buddies.
We got to Ft. Lauderdale the day before our cruise and Holland America (HAL)arranged transfer from the airport to a hotel and from the hotel to the ship on the following day. When we arrived at the Ft. Lauderdale airport there was no Holland America representative to be found. Princess had reps all over the place - - I'd say 10 or more different reps. Finally after waiting around for 15+ minutes we had baggage claim page for a HAL rep. He finally showed after another 15 min. Then after 10 min of negotiating with their contracted bus service he led us on a 1/4 mile hike outside the terminal (all of us pulling our own luggage) to the bus pick-up location. Bad start, but luckily things improved from there.
Our hotel was nice, but it was in an industrial area without any nearby restaurants/bars. The HAL rep in the hotel was very nice and helpful. Took a cab to a great (fairly expensive) seafood restaurant and transfer to the ship the next day went without a hitch.
Boarding the Eurodam was smooth and our cabin was right next to our buddies and very nice. We departed on schedule for a day and a half at sea on the way to Grand Turk. It was kind of windy when we left, the boat was rockin' and our buddy-wife didn't feel too well. A seasick patch took care of that.
All-in-all, I can't say I was a big fan of our shore excursions. I enjoyed a Segway ride on Grand Turk, but shopping and laying on the beach at other destinations really isn't my thing. It wasn't bad . . . just not my cup of tea. We took a $10 tour in San Juan (not HAL arranged) that was fun and ended with our driver giving us a good tip for a local SJ restaurant.
Now, a little about the ship. The ship staff and service was excellent!! Everyone from the stewards to the casino staff was friendly and offered a greeting as you passed. I never saw our stateroom steward in our room (my wife saw him once), yet it seemed that every time we returned to our room after an excursion/dinner/casino session it had been cleaned/freshened and the ice bucket was full of ice. If we took a nap, the bed was made the next time we returned to our room - - same for shower/towels . . . always cleaned with fresh towels.
Food on the ship was good, but not a great as I had been led to believe by family, friends and co-workers. Nothing wrong with it . . . just not anything I'd rave about. Lots of selections. Not what I'd call A+ quality.
Don't expect to get a quiet lay in the sun while on the ship. The Eurodam had two pools - - one crowded with kids and their parents, the other crowded with adults (the adult pool looked like a tanning factory). I'm not much of a "lay in the sun" person, so this didn't bother me too much.
One thing we decided was that we did not attend enough of the ship-provided activities. Most that we attended were fun/entertaining. I'm not talking about the shows . . just all the other stuff (classes, games, etc.).
Also, EXPLORE THE SHIP. We found the Crow's Nest on our last night and we all thought it was the best place on the Eurodam to have a drink/coffee, read, play games, etc. And NO CROWDS. It is on deck 11 and looks out over the front of the ship.
Debarkation was smooth. We ordered the HAL-provided luggage check-in with our airline (they did mess up our seat assignments, but we got them fixed when we got to the airport - - - make sure to tell them you already have seat assignments if you order this service).
I have to say that the cruise was not that bad. I fully expected to be completely stir-crazy by the 3rd day in. I don't know that I'd choose to go on another cruise for one of my next couple of vacations, but if the wife wants to go I won't resist as long as I did for this first one.