This was a cruise for my wife and me only. We had booked a balcony guarantee cabin and ended up in a nice balcony cabin at navigation deck. We did not get the best start to our short 3 night cruise from Rotterdam to Copenhagen, as our luggage was not with the plane to Amsterdam. After completing the procedure about lost luggage we took the train from Amsterdam airport to the port in Rotterdam. We arrived in Rotterdam around 1 PM and wanted to check-in to M/S Eurodam before going back to Rotterdam city for some necessary shopping due to our loss of luggage with all our clothes. We explained our situation to the HAL staff at the check-in counters and was allowed VIP check-in in order to save time for our shopping. This was a very fast and smooth embarkation. We managed to do the power shopping and went back to M/S Eurodam at 3 PM.
Now it was time to relax, but first we wanted to secure our restaurant reservations for the next 3 nights. We were on "Dine as you wish" and had decided to try the main dining room, the Tamarind and Pinaccle Grill on these 3 days cruise. I called the dining reservation desk from the cabin phone and the dining reservation was confirmed for the dining room the first night, the Tamarind the next and finally the Pinaccle Grill the last night.
Now it was time to explore M/S Eurodam, which is a very nice ship - similar in layout to Noordam. The aft. pool is a very nice spot to be when the sun is shining and we could imagine ourselves spent much time there if the ship was in caribbean. (It was too cold on this cruise).
We were excited when we boarded the ship to see how we was received as the first paying guests onboard M/S Eurodam. There was no special event. We went to our stateroom, which was very nice - though a little small compared to other balcony staterooms on other ships. We liked the colors very much and fresh flowers in the cabin was a nice touch. There was a basket in the room where you could order fruit to be delivered to your room. We just had to choose which fruits we preferred. We completed the small slip that was in the basket and waited for the fruit to arrive. (We never received any fruit and on the second day the empty basket was removed from our room ??) We noticed that the aircondition in the room was at the warmest, but it was freezing cold in the room. I tried to move the bottom to the coldest in hope that someone has switched place between hot and cold, but that did not help at all. We were simply not able to change the temperature in the room. We went to the front-desk 7 PM to report that it was too cold in our room and that that the TV did not work either. The front desk asked us not to use the room for a couple of hours, so in the meanwhile they would make sure that it was fixed. This was OK for us, as we were on our way to dine and see the Elton John show. We also told the frontdesk that we were expecting our luggage to be sent to Hamburg and asked if HAL can be prepared to send it to our room when it arrived. HAL staff insisted that we filled out a new form and that they would now take care of all the communication and arrangement to the airline regarding our lost luggage. (We did not feel comfortable about this, as we had just spoken to an agent in Amsterdam where our luggage had been found - unfortunately they could not send it to Rotterdam before the ship departed and hence they would arrange the luggage to be sent to Hamburg, which was our next port of call. They just needed and address in Hamburg where to ship the luggage and at this point of time HAL took over the communication).
When we entered the main dining room to our reserved time at 8 PM they could not see any reservations that night, but told us that we had reservations for the Tamarind and Pinaccle Grill the next 2 days. Well,they managed to find a table for us and we had some very good food. It was the most delicious food we have had compared to all our previous cruises. Unfortunately we cannot say the same about the service. We managed to get one glass of water (No refill) and after requesting wine 3 times we were served wine almost when we have completed the main course (??).
The show with Elton John look-a-like was excellent and we after having a cocktail or two we went back to our cabin around midnight and expected the AC to work properly. The TV was working fine, but the AC was just as cold as when we left for dining. I called the front desk to complain (In the meantime my wife moved to the balcony to sleep as it was too cold in the cabin). After spending more time on this issue and a couple of visits of technicians the AC issue was fixed 1.30 AM and finally we could go to the very comfortable bed for some good sleep.
Next morning we had very nice breakfast and they serve all you can wish for (Omelets by orders, freshly squeezed orange juice etc). We spend the day in Hamburg doing some last shopping of clothes, as we expected our luggage to arrive later this day. When we went back to the ship in the afternoon there was no updates of our luggage. There was a message on our voice mail in the cabin. The message was "There is a message for you, please got to the frontdesk". We went to the frontdesk and asked what the message was about. The lady we spoke did not know and we never found out what the message was about. HAL had no new information about our luggage, so I called the airline agent that handled our luggage in Amsterdam. They told us that they were still waiting to get in contact with HAL so they could get the address where to ship the luggage. I was informed about some new tag numbers and flight numbers, as our luggage had been in Hamburg since 10.30 AM this morning. We provided the frontdesk this information and said that it was disappointing that HAL had not been in contact with the airline yet. We were emphasizing that we expected HAL to arrange that the luggage could be on the ship before it left Hamburg the same evening at 12.00. Now we received 3 phone call from another airline company asking me where to send the luggage to - eventually we manage to have HAL and the airline to communicate so we got our luggage around 10.PM that evening. We were not impressed how HAL had managed the whole situation.
It was time for dinner in the Tamarind and we looked very much forward to that. After a cocktail in the really nice Silk-den (It looks better in real that on the photos you can see on some web-sites), my wife went to the restaurant and I went shortly to the frontdesk to have some updates on our luggage issue. Now my wife joined us at the frontdesk looking very furious. She had been told in the Tamarind that we had no reservations in spite of 2 confirmations from different staff yesterday. This was also reported to the front desk and a manager from the cultural department approached us saying that he was sorry, but the Tamarind was full and so was the Pinaccle and the main dining room, but we could use the buffet at the Lido. This was not OK with and after some discussions we were told that our reservations at the Pinaccle the next was also suddenly none-existing. The time was now 8.40 PM and we were starving. The manager told us that he had received orders from higher management and he could not do anything - except that he suddenly could arrange for a table in the Pinaccle Grill at no charge. We accepted this and had one of the tables they usually do not use for dining in the Pinaccle. We were told that there was only a fixed menu available that night, but the wine would be complimentary. We had a glass of wine each and some water. After chasing a waiter I was offered another glass of wine for the complete menu, but the water was never refilled a any time. During our meal a manager approached our table and asked if everything was OK. Apparently it was not expected that we mentioned some of the issues we had faced and we were told that all of this was caused by a decision from senior management of HAL (office of a vicepresident. They had been asked to cancel all paying passengers reservations at the 2 speciality restaurants as HAL has invited press and travel agents from Germany to have dinner in these restaurants. This is beyond our acceptance that they do prioritize visitors in front of paying guests - even without any information at all. The staff onboard M/S Eurodam tried to arrange for this, but without success as it obvious to us that other passengers had experienced the same as us. I wonder if this is a HAL policy or if this is a one time mistake ? It was impossible to rearrange so passengers could try out the speciality restaurant on a 3 nights cruise when HAL had removed 1 of the evenings to entertain visitors.
Very disappointed we went to be that night and we were not in the mood for going out to have more fun in the bars (There was no show or other activity in the show lounge that evening). Our hope was that the last day would be without issues, so we could focus on relaxing - but we were again to be surprised.
Next morning was a day at sea and we had a nice time. We even managed to have a table in the Tamarind for lunch - and what a pleasant surprise this was. The interior is stunning and the service top notch. Food was fantastic and we tried to see if we had a chance to revisit the restaurant for dining, but no luck. Now the problems started: We had to arrange for our dining options in the evening. Yesterday we were told that our reservation for the Pinaccle Grill was not existing anymore and hence we were left to dine at the dining room - we thought. Being on "dine as you wish" you are supposed to make your reservation before 4 PM for the evening dining. At 3 PM I tried to make a reservation at 08 PM the same evening in the dining room, but was told that it was fully booked. They had a table for us at 5.15 PM, but as we just had lunch it would be much to early for us to have dinner at 5.15. We were now to speak to another manager at the main dining room and after a lot of complaining they managed a table for us at 8.15. And this dinner was the best including the service. It seemed that the service had improved significant since our first evening. We had good food, water and wine was served at perfection.
The show that night was the singers and dancers from HAL and they did an OK performance compared to other ships - nothing spectacular.
Thanks god we went to the Northern Light disco after the show, as we danced our frustrations away for some time. We went quite happy to bed that night, as this was the day with fewest issues.
The next day was disembarkation day and it went very smooth. We were independent travellers and could leave the ship anytime. We never saw any long lines during disembarkation.
Now for some summary of good and bad things we experienced on M/S Eurodam.
Good: - The ship itself is beautiful and similar to other HAL Vista ships. Tamarind, silk-den and aft pool was VERY nice - Stateroom is very cosy and have some nice features. - The bar man at the bar in the Atrium - loyal HAL employee
Very bad: - HAL prioritizing visitors in front of their paying guests so we could not have dinner in the speciality restaurants - Lack of drinking service (Water and wine) the first 2 evenings. - AC was not working and was not fixed when reported first time.
Bad: - The requested fruit was never delivered to the room - You were not recognized at any time as a returning guest to HAL (Member of Mariner Society) - No review was available for the guest, so the staff on M/S Eurodam will not received the good and bad feedback which is crucial in order to improve things. - Communication during the drill was bad and left many passengers not knowing what was going to happen. The majority of the communication from the crew was to stay quiet, but no further information was provided after that.
Having been on HAL Noordam on a 12 day cruise we had high expectations to this cruise on the new M/S Eurodam, but as you can understand our expectations was not met. I assume that most of the issues was caused because it is a new ship and all the procedures was not known to the staff, but there was also some issues that should not have occurred - such as cancel reservations in the speciality restaurant for paying guests. I wonder if this is a general policy from HAL ?
If the issues is eliminated you will have a wonderful cruise onboard M/S Eurodam, as it is a beautiful ship and if all the services you can expect from HAL is applied you will have a memorable time on M/S Eurodam.
We have reported our issues to HAL head office in Seattle and this is currently being taken care of in a professional way.