This is our second cruise on Holland America and we had a wonderful time! It was a short cruise, only 4 days. We visited Nassau Bahamas (where we had our honeymoon many years ago)...and Key West and Half Moon Key (Hal's private Island).
Embarkment was quick and easy. We arrived late so we got on very quickly and went straight to our room and missed our Mariner Lunch - oh well next time. We upgraded to a Neptune Suite which was very nice. On our previous cruise we had a Superior Verandah. The Neptune Suite was larger but looked very similar in decor to the Superior Veranda on Zuiderdam. The artwork throughout this ship was amazing. The stunning hanging glass sculpture in the atrium was a marvel to look at. We loved the Christmas decorations throughout the ship as well.
When we arrived to our statement, we were greeted by a huge floor fan that was running very loudly and was very windy. We called about it and were told that our carpet had gotten very soaked when they washed the deck and they were trying to dry the carpet. We understood that things like this happen and kept a good attitude about it. They removed the fan each evening and brought back the next day while we were out and ran it. By the last day the carpet was much drier and the room was quieter. Even though it was annoying we didn't make a big fuss about it. We know these things happen. HAL sent us a nice bottle of wine and $150 credit to our account which was really generous and thoughtful. We appreciated it very much.
One thing I did do when we arrived was to wipe down all areas with 'Lysol wipes' including all counter tops, couch cushions, closet doors/handles, cabin door/handles, remotes, chairs, phone receivers, etc. Just in case any virus's were lingering around. I also used Lysol spray in the room. I also bring my own 'hand wash' gel with antibacterial. We also ran any fruit we had in our room under water before we ate it.
It may not keep all germs down all the time but it can't hurt anything to try.
Our cabin stewards were both very nice and friendly. The Neptune Lounge concierge was also very charming and helpful to everyone. We enjoyed popping in lounge to sneak a small snack in the afternoon.
We got invited to the Captain Welcome Party. We enjoyed chatting with the Captain and his Officers. All were friendly and easy to converse with. It was quite enjoyable. We were also invited to a Champagne Lunch but we didn't attend that one (we got up too late).
We had a king size bed, HOWEVER it wasn't very comfortable for me with my bad back.. I thought it was quite hard and and didn't give much. Unfortunately my back and hip didn't do so well each night. I was disappointed because of how great the mattress was on the Zuiderdam - I thought this one would be as comfortable if not more so. I hope they replace this one (and others as needed) with a better quality mattress. It would make a difference on whether I would take another cruise on the Eurodam in the future.
One good thing - I did love all the comfy pillows - I think we had six! Loved that..
I usually bring a little night light to plug in because it gets so dark in the cabins but this room had built in night lights next to bed that worked well. I pointed them to the back wall and had an instant night light.
There were plenty of storage areas - Three full closets with shelving for clothes. There was very long desk area with many drawers to use as well. The full couch and large coffee style table and two extra sitting chairs were really nice. There was also very large picture window in addition to the floor to ceiling sliding glass door that was fabulous to view the beauty outside.
The bathroom was nice and roomy with two sinks, a large bathtub w/shower head and a small walk in shower. Both had shampoo/conditioner/body wash. Just outside the bathroom was a small vanity/dressing area (with curtain). The vanity also had several drawers. this is where they kept the blow dryer and plugs. (I don't think the bathroom had any plugs). The blow dryer was not that powerful (even though it was much better than the one on Zuiderdam). I brought my own because I style my hair with blow dryer and the one they provided wouldn't have done the job.
There was a small refrigerator in the room that was pre-stocked but it did have some room for a couple of extra bottles of water or whatever you want to chill. That was nice. I wish they included a small microwave so I could heat some water up for tea. I order hot water each night but I rather have the option to heat my own at times.
The ac/heat unit didn't worked that well. It worked okay but was slow at cooling and heating but doable.
The deck was large and several chairs and a couple of tables. Very nice.
This ship didn't have a self-service laundry - since this was a short cruise it didn't matter but it would annoy me if it was a longer cruise...I would love to be able to iron some pieces of clothing without having to send them out...its just inconvenient to me.
The television did run some movies, news and music stations...that was nice.
I order room service for breakfast and it was delivered on time (except the first day it was very late). Food was hot enough and very good. I didn't like their coffee - it had an off aftertaste. I brought individual coffee bags so after the first day I just ordered hot water and made my own. My husband ate at the pinnacle grill for breakfast and raved about it all week long....I just hate to get dressed to eat breakfast so he went by himself.
We absolutely loved the Tamarind Grill...the service was very professional, the atmosphere was calming and lovely and the food was spectacular. The main dining room was also very enjoyable. No complaints on the food. We ate in the lido buffet one night and it served the same food as the main dining room. TIP: Check the menu that hangs outside the entry way into the lido buffet to see what is being served. It will describe each dish. Have that in mind when you get into the buffet line. You will see each dish displayed before you order..however the staff isn't very famlliar with what each dish comes with - so you have to tell them each item you want and not expect them to know what should come with your particular choice. In other words, I found out that after they place the protein on your plate - you will be asked what else do you want and you can't say "whatever it comes with" like I tried a couple of times...so be ready to them what sides you want,
Other than that the food was quite good in the lido buffet. Lunch time it was decent as well. There is a grill for hamburgers/hot dogs plus a place to get pizza around the pool areas.
We loved going to the 'happy hours' and visited different ones each day - that was fun. I absolutely loved ADAGIO violin/piano music - FABULOUS. The "Hal cats" were fun and entertaining. We listened to them in the Ocean Bar and one night around the pool area...pure fun. The guitar soloist in crows nest was okay...not the greatest but better than nothing.
We didn't go to the main show room this time or the casino.
PORTS: Nassau was very, very crowed with several other cruises ships. It made walking around miserable to me so we didn't enjoy that as much. Key West was also very crowded because of the other cruise ships being there at the same time. Half Moon Key was lovely (and crowded) but you could walk away from the bulk of the crowd if you wanted to. They had a nice outdoor lunch for everyone which was fun. We didn't do any excursion on this trip.
The views from our stateroom at each PORT was absolutely beautiful. Picture Perfect. Weather was fabulous. Stunning blue/green/turquoise waters.....everywhere you looked.
Disembarkment: I loved that you could wait in your stateroom to be called. However if you had a high number like we did (since we didn't request an early disembarkment) the crew needed to start cleaning the rooms so we went downstairs before our number was called. You could stand in the crowed hallway or could sit in the nearby lounge. When our turn came up we got off the ship quickly but had to wait about 40 minutes or so to get through a slow moving line. I didn't love that because it was hard on my back and it was somewhat warm in the back of the line, but got a little cooler with a fan overhead as you got closer.
My husband had me wait with my luggage in the center island where there were some benches. He parked in the large parking garage. However when he tried to pull into the area where I (and many other people were sitting with luggage- an officer told him he couldn't pull in because it was only for cabs and made him get out of line??? This officer must have gotten 'confused' because passenger cars had been pulling in and out the entire time while I sat with the other cruise members who were waiting for for their rides. We watched car after car pick people up. What a confused mess. Anyway, the second time around he was able to pull in with the other cars to pick me up....
Overall we had a wonderful time. I love HAL even with a few glitches here and there....Its a well run, classy cruise line - especially great for 50+ crowd. Very enjoyable especially if you keep a good attitude and don't sweat the small stuff....