Eurodam Cruise Review by email@example.com: Norwegian Fjords
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The entertainment was very lame and few passengers even bothered going to the shows. The casino hours were restricted and had a surprise closing as we did not get into international waters as planned. In the casino even when playing $5 a hand blackjack or roulette you have to pay for drinks. Amazingly the entertainment, bars, restaurants, and other services start closing at 8:30 and everything is shut down by midnight which feels like 6:00pm or earlier for those of us coming to Europe from the US. In the ships defense, the crowd was so old that by 8:30 there were not many people in the jazz club so I understand why they shut it down. The comedian joked that the HAL crowd was so old they held the midnight buffet at 2 in the afternoon and unfortunately he was not far off.
The ship has odd rules about bringing bottles on: only two bottles per passenger and then they can only be wine or champagne. So you can't bring beer or spirits on the ship but you can bring on wine to avoid More the $50 or so per bottle at dinner.
We only visited one Norwegian Fjord and couldn't get to Eidfjord so we made a surprise (to the town) stop at Haugesund arriving in the afternoon when almost everything closes about 4:00.
There was way more disorganization that there should have been at each step. For example in boarding they had a person stationed at the top of the escalator to tell you that you had to check your bags on the ground floor. Of course you were already up with your bags at that point and you had to go back down and check them. My suggestion that it might be smarter to be at the base of the escalator with that message was meet with a sour look and the HAL rep stayed at the top continuing to allow everyone to lug the bags up and then send them back down. Then the check-in was painfully long even though everything had already been done on-line and the reps were confused and disorganized asking to see passports multiple times taking pictures multiple times.
The ship artwork was mostly photos and nowhere near the caliber of Royal Caribbean.
On the positive side, the food was excellent and if you are a vegetarian or vegan they have separate menus to accommodate you. However, as a vegetarian or vegan they give you the special menu the day before and you have to order for the next day's dinner a day in advance. If there is something especially tasty on the standard menu, you have already ordered the previous day. We ended up skipping the special vegetarian menu to be able to just order the vegetarian dishes off the current menu.
In terms of health most food was served by the staff which kept people's hands and lack of hygiene away from common serving dishes but not all. There were times and some dishes that people served themselves. One of my frustrations is to see a person take their used plate that they ate off of to get seconds and the bottom of the serving spoon gets rubbed into the remnants of their first serving picking up saliva and the left-over food that then goes into the common dish on the bottom of the serving spoon.
The wait staff was attentive and bent over backwards to please accommodating our vegetarian requirements.
Our biggest complaint was the bizarre pricing for the photos. HAL photo services have a "family" package that is $450 (compared to $300 for the Royal Caribbean family photo package). But if you buy the Royal Caribbean family photo package for your suite you get you every picture you are in whether there are other people from other suites in the photo or not. HAL's photo package limits you to only pictures of people in the suite. So if the picture has Mom and Dad with a child who is in another cabin, it is not included in the expensive "family" photo package. It is really frustrating to have a family group in multiple cabins and find out that the only way to get the pictures of everyone is to pay $450 per cabin for every cabin. Since we had our family spread across 8 cabins they told us we had to pay for all of them to get our photos ($3,600!).
Since we really love family photos and the HAL pricing is absurd, we would not choose Holland America Line again. Less
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Cabin review: SZ6175
Awesome wrap-around deck and plenty of room. Note that this cabin has a connecting door to 6173.
Port and Shore Excursions
Good food, poor presentatation