This was my first cruise on Holland America so I was excited to try a new ship. As a loyal cruise critic reader I had read that cruise lines had personalities and you needed to match yours to the cruise line. I was surprised when I found that in spite of all the wonderful things about the Eurodam, it just didn't fit my personality. So as I write this review there will be pros and cons.
Our time in Amsterdam was made so much easier and enjoyable because of CathandRich (Americans living in Amsterdam). We arrived early in Amsterdam and enjoyed sightseeing in the Netherlands and Amsterdam. I can't say enough how beautiful and friendly the people in this country were. I recommend spending as much time in the country/city as you can. It is worth the time.
Embarkation could be classified as enjoyable. We had tables and service to help us enjoy the wait until our number was called. Lines were short and people friendly.
The people at Holland America were wonderful in most every way. The crew was helpful and always smiling. This is something that I felt was encouraged by the ship's officers.
After we dropped off our carry on luggage in our cabin and were off to have lunch and explore the ship. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship. I love the colors, art in the public spaces and the many places you could go and enjoy the ocean view both inside and out. I know I didn't utilize all the places to sit. Instead I found myself going to my favorite places to read especially during rough sea days.
I was happy to see that there were 6 elevators on every floor. Very seldom did I have to wait. The best part was 4 of the elevators were glass and over looked the ocean. I think this bothered some cruisers but I loved seeing the ocean.
Our cabin: We were in stateroom 6099 which is a suite mid-ship. I will have to say that the room was disappointing because it was so small. Not to appear a snob, all of our new friends made the same comment. Vale and Natalie were 3 star Mariners and they also commented that the Eurodam has the smallest cabins of all the Holland America ships. I worked very hard to not compare the previous cruise ships I have been on. Having said that I will mention our stateroom was comparable in size to a Princess Mini-suite with a balcony. The Eurodam suite was far more expensive than the Princess Mini-suite.
We had a mini-refrigerator, jetted bathtub, good sized shower, double sink, 3 large wardrobes, a sleeper couch, table, 2 chairs and a stool, 2 desks and a queen-sized bed. We had a fairly large TV and DVD player. There were 10 different glasses in our room of various sizes. In the shower and bathtub there were three containers on the wall, shampoo, conditioner and liquid soap. They also had the best lotion I have every used. The bathtub also had a place to hang your hand washables. I liked the door to the balcony (not a sliding door). The deck furniture was wicker and the floor surface was wood looking. The colors were dark brown and orange with blue accent pillows.
Our room steward always did his best to anticipate our every need. Once he found out I liked ice we received fresh ice 3 times a day. Towel animals were on our turned down bed, with any ship communication and nightly chocolates. When we were in a hall and he saw us he always said hello and asked if we needed anything.
There was no laundry on the ship so it required doing laundry in the sink or using the ships laundry. I chose to use the ships laundry. It was easy to use and was always delivered to our room within the 48 hour time period. Maybe I will use the ships laundry on the next cruise rather than the Laundromat if provided.
The shopping on the Eurodam was strange. Their shops were 75 percent jewelry, 20 percent clothing for adults and 5 percent other (cigarettes, paperback books, cheap children's toys, candy by the bag and high end by the box, makeup and a few misc. items). One thing that was a real problem for me was they didn't have toothpaste. Thanks to my table mate I was given a gift of toothpaste. The shops were not open often. They closed on all days we were in port and their hours were posted on the Explorer for other days. The shops took up 1/3 of the 3rd floor. When the shops were closed you couldn't get to the aft of the ship unless you used the 2nd or 4th floor. I thought it was a rather strange setup.
Drink cards: I purchased 4 drink cards before the cruise at a 50% discount. When the cruise ended I hadn't used 2 of the cards and Holland America refunded the amount without my asking them too. The drink cards were convenient and I'm glad I purchased them. Everyone at our dining table also had drink cards so apparently we were not the only ones who took advantage of this service.
Lido buffet: I had read other reviews that said the servers did nothing to help get drinks or help you get to your table. The officers walked around pointing out to the servers what they needed to help or when they need to do something. I saw the officers helping a handicap person with her plate when a server wasn't close at hand. We never had to look for someone to bring us a drink or to give us refills on water. It looks like Holland America must read Cruise Critic too. I found the table situation fine. If you and your companion wanted to eat alone this might be a problem. Every day we sat with a new person or group. I love to meet new people so this worked out fine for me. I never had trouble finding a clean table. The workers kept things moving. I must say I enjoyed the food experience at the Lido. I normally do not like buffet food but I felt that the Eurodam worked hard to make the food interesting and tasty. We didn't have dinner in the Lido because we enjoyed our table mates and hated to miss the nightly visit with them in the Rembrandt.
Room service: We didn't eat in our room often. The food always came within 20 minutes of our calling room service and it was either hot or cold as it should be. There wasn't a large selection but I felt that the selection we had was better than most cruise ships. It was also available 24 hours a day.
Rembrandt Dining Room: We didn't have the best experience in the Rembrandt dining room. We were seated next to a serving station. The pad that our server used to write orders on was placed on a thin ledge. On three occasions this dropped over the edge and landed on my plate. After the second time I found myself jumping every time there was a loud noise. Our server was quick to get me another plate of food. I guess the good part was by the time my second plate arrived I realized I wasn't really hungry and was just cleaning my plate.
We didn't have breakfast in the Rembrandt but did have lunch twice. The food was better at lunch than dinner. Having anytime seating for lunch made me realize how much I enjoyed the assigned seating for dinner.
The food wasn't any better in the Rembrandt than buffet food and many time I felt that the buffet food was better. I always ordered med-rare steak and it always came well done. The same was true for everyone at our table. Meat was tough and chewy including the fish. I would have stopped coming to dinner except for our most enjoyable table mates. We found ourselves not minding being the last table served in the dining room and just talking and laughing about the day's events.
Tea in the Rembrandt: we had tea twice on the ship. I was trying to avoid gaining weight so going to tea, eating incredible sandwiches, scones with cream and jam, and little cakes wasn't something I should do on a daily basis. We loved the experience and thought the food was outstanding.
Pinnacle Grill: this was worth every penny. I felt it was the best meal of the cruise. My only complaint was the amount of food we were served. I felt very wasteful seeing all the food thrown away but I would never have been able to eat even half the amount served. We enjoyed the lovely lady serving us. The atmosphere was most enjoyable. We didn't feel rushed at all.
Le Cirgue: the Pinnacle grill was transformed for the evening by changing the flowers on the table and the dishes. We enjoyed the meal but preferred the regular Pinnacle Grill food. The server this evening wasn't as attentive but I think that was because the restaurant was filled. I noticed a new busboy and he wasn't as professional as the others in the Pinnacle.
Tamerind Pan Asian: This was truly a relaxing experience. From the moment we entered to when we left our needs were anticipate. The only problem was the explanation of the menu. My husband had a fish he was unfamiliar with and thought it was mushy and tasteless. I had the sushi and felt it was good but not outstanding. That said it was a wonderful evening. I never saw the
Tamerind full during dinner.
Dress Code: I enjoyed the way everyone dressed in the Rembrandt. On formal nights everyone dressed in tuxedos/formal dressed or suits and dressy pant suits. One individual came in jeans and polo shirt and he was turned away.
The Lido pool was next to the buffet but anyone leaving the pool was asked to put on their robe when they left the pool area. Two robes were furnished in each cabin and I never saw anyone walking through the buffet or ship without their robe. I am over 60 myself but I don't really want to see a saggy old body walking through the Lido or standing next to me on the elevator.
On board activities: Ian the travel guide was wonderful to have on the ship. He gave lots of information about the Excursions but did not try to sell the ship's excursions. He also did a daily morning show with JC. We had two naturalists who discussed travel throughout Iceland, Greenland and world ports. When we had extra sea days they stepped up and did extra lectures that were not scheduled. Most days they had a Q&A session in one of the bars so people who had questions could meet with them for additional information.
Every bar and venue had something happening every evening. I think the fact that we had 6 hour time changes made it hard for most of us to keep staying up late. I had to laugh at one woman who said "I don't like why they keep changing the time."
We also had programs on the TV where our Captain and JC talked about the weather. This was valuable since there were so many hurricanes in the North Atlantic at this time of year. I know this was something I heard talked about on the ship quite often.
JC was an amazing cruise director. He began his day by doing the morning show at 6:00 am. He was seen all over the ship with the various activities. His day ended after 11:30 pm as he finished up the last introduction of a show. I don't know when he slept but I'm sure being cheerful and energetic 18 hours a day was something most of the cruisers couldn't do.
I also can't say enough positive about the cruise director's staff. For example, Taylor, the culinary/craft expert. She was very enjoyable. When questioned about how to become a culinary director she talked about the University where hotel management was her major. Obviously she was well trained.
I didn't attend any computer/digital workshops classes but they were free, which is something I haven't seen on a ship before.
Disembarking was no different than any other end to a cruise and New York was a happy sight for this tired cruiser.