I have a good number of cruises behind me, 3 of them with HAL-Mexican rivierra, Caribbean and Panama Canal. I like Holland Amerika for good services on board, delisious food and for nice itineraries they have. No doubt, this line is far from the excellence in general but in my opinion they offer relatively good quality for money.
To my regret my last trip with Holland America on board EURODAM was quite disappointing. It started in Amsterdam where passengers were forced to stay on a long line (nearly 2 hours) waiting for embarkation. No water, no coffee or tea, no chairs - just stay and wait! You can't even go to a restroom. Disorganization did not finish in Amsterdam however. Before sailing a funny safety drill took place and believe me I have never presented at such a botched safety drill so far. For the first time in my life I was really worried of what could happen in case of real emergency. It was more than obvious that both ship's management and the crew did not do their job properly. And that feeling never left us during next seven days. I decided not to pay much attention to negative details and enjoy my vacation on full scale but sometimes I got really crazy of things like Imagine situation like this: lunch time at buffet on Lido deck, young gentleman, crew member, shuttles around the tables with a vacuum cleaner in his hands, raising clouds of dust and pushing people's feet! Who's to blame here?
Next follows a short list of things that disappointed me on EURODAM :
1. Food - average, even worse. Only in Tamarind they offered really delicious food.
2. Noise in main restaurant. It is always noisy in HAL ship's restaurants - serving stations are located too close to tables and waiters never ever try to handle dishes carefully, but on EURODAM they all are champions! The noise level is so high most of the time that makes talking between people sitting at the table quite difficult.
3. Long lines for breakfast, lunch and dinner because of slow services. The staff in buffet and main restaurant was rude and distracted - I have never faced such an attitude on a cruise ship before.
3. Wine service: If you order a bottle or glass of wine you will have to wait a lot to be served. Wine list was relatively good - well selected choice of both white and red wines.
4. Shore excursions: costly and not well organized. In fact you pay hundreds of dollars for nothing. Don't book shore excursions in advance. You can safe your money if you follow the advices given by the experts on board - really smart and helpful.
5. Entertainment: poor and boring.
6. WiFi: great disaster. If exists it runs too slowly. In fact we didn't have internet access in our cabin. Whenever I wanted to use my laptop, I was forced to go upstairs to Explorations cafe with all the stuff that I need - quite inconvenient. I've traveled on ships that were built before internet era, nevertheless internet was much better and faster than here on Eurodam.
7. Disembarkation: we booked a transfer to the airport in Amsterdam. It was scheduled at 7:30 a.m. For that reason(too early in the morning!?) they didn't take our luggage from the cabin and we were forced to carry it by ourselves almost half a mile to the point where buss was parked!!!
I am not going to make a big conclusion out of this trip. I realize that constant lowering the cruise fares will sooner or later reflect on quality of services, but not that much as it was on board ms Eurodam. I still love Holland America and I believe it's just a matter of having better management to improve the great majority of small but important things that could make you either come back again or to forget about this shipping line forever.