Pre-Cruise, Embarkation & Cabin
We booked the Eurodam 3 day October 15 cruise about two weeks before the sailing because of the great price on an inside category N cabin! About a week later, we were upgraded to a VF verandah. We were extremely excited to get away for a few days and check out a new ship! I had read so much about Eurodam and followed the building process, so it almost seemed mythical. But no, the ship is very real and it was a great feeling to catch a glimpse of it for the first time as our plane landed in Ft. Lauderdale.
We took a taxi and got to the pier around 12:15. The check in line seemed long, but moved very quickly. The customary embarkation photo probably took the longest.
We were shown to an elevator and whisked to the Lido for lunch. The Lido is very pretty, (I love the carpet) but quite narrow between the tables and buffet line. This was better on days when it wasn't so crowded. I liked the "Flavors of the World" sections. The meat sauce and pasta were excellent. The bread pudding was perfect.
It was announced that cabins were ready and we headed to VF 5059. The cabin was small, but nice. We usually get suites, so I definitely missed the space, but considering the low price we paid for this cruise, it was an excellent value. There were few drawers, but lots of closets. I had the sofa bed. It was very firm and didn't creak; it was probably one of the better ones I've had. It took up a lot of room when it was out. It was best to crawl over it to get to the verandah. The table also had to be moved against the wall and made it difficult to get through to the door and bathroom.
The bathroom had a shower/small tub. I liked that it had clear instructions posted of which way to turn the faucet for hot/cold and shower/bath. Genius! No more guesswork. The sink seemed backwards to me and I had to remember to turn the faucets the opposite way or spray water everywhere when I really meant to turn it off.
There were three small shelves on the side and one long one under the sink. The verandah had two chairs, footstools and an end table. It was very private and had an overhang above. It looked down on a lifeboat. Should there have been an evacuation, it would have been a good location.
The Ship & Staff
The Eurodam is gorgeous! Cool public rooms, interesting art, even the lighting and chairs are creative. The layout is very similar to the Vista class ships.
When we first boarded, I thought, "Everyone is so friendly." Maybe because we were all so close in the Lido? But, really, even the staff vacuuming the carpets said hello.
The Captain was Jonathan Mercer, but we never saw him. He must have been there, because we heard his "voice from the bridge". The Cruise Director, Shane Michaels, boarded the same day we did. Stan Kuppens was the Hotel Manger. He is very friendly and detail-oriented. We saw him stop just to straighten a vase in the atrium. When we had a question about a certain cabin category, he wanted to make sure he gave us the correct answer and made a phone call to double check.
Cruise Critic Events
HAL gave us a very nice Cruise Critic Meet & Greet in the Piano Bar at 5:30 on embarkation day. The Beverage Manager, Murat Kaya, called to let me know they were upgrading us to a cocktail party with drinks and appetizers compliments of himself and the Hotel Manager (the Upgrade Fairy even does Meet & Greets!). The Beverage Manager, Hotel Manager and Cruise Director joined us. Stan Kuppens, talked with us for an hour and a half. I was impressed.
The second night, we had a Cabin Crawl. All of the cabins we saw were basically the same verandah categories, except one was a spa category. Still, we had fun and it was interesting to notice how the motion changed as we got to higher decks or moved forward. It's true that the middle, lower decks feel less movement.
After the Cabin Crawl, the Beverage Manager was really nice to invite us to join him in the Silk Den to try warm sake and specialty drinks. Most of the drinks came in martini glasses, but without the stem; they sat in a bowl of ice instead. My favorite drink was something that tasted like lime- very refreshing.
Entertainment & Activities
We saw two shows. One was the juggler/comedian Jeff Taveggia. He was okay, but it was a lot of juggling to sit through for one show. He was originally supposed to perform with a comedian, but due to sound problems with the "In Concert" production show the first night, he filled in then instead. The production show "Dream Park" was very good. Really creative!
The daily program seemed limited, but I didn't care. It was a short cruise and I was more concerned with relaxing, seeing the ports and eating. Many events were around 8:00 pm and that was right before our dinner.
We had 8:15 traditional dining in the Rembrandt Dining Room at a table for four. It was located on the upper level, on the side, on a raised level. Our stewards were Henri and Andie. They were excellent! Every special request was met. They seemed very relaxed and were happy to chat.
I can't think of anything I ordered at dinner that I didn't like. I enjoyed the different sauces, especially from some beef entrée the second night and the Caribbean jerk chicken the last night.
I will confess, I usually ordered two or three desserts. I had a fabulous dessert the first night. The name was something to do with chocolate, caramel and toffee. Really, it was the Warm Chocolate Truffle! It lives! How many identity crisis has that thing been through anyway? I ordered a second, a la mode.
For breakfast, I loved the chocolate croissants and the muesli was just the way I like it. Although, one day, there was a moldy raspberry on my muesli and my ham and cheese omelet didn't have cheese. But I just picked off the raspberry and ate the omelet and life went on.
We saw more familiar dining staff members on this cruise than any other! Either we recognized them or they recognized us. The Dining Room Manager remembered our table number on the Noordam from over a year and a half ago, our assistant dining room steward was the same we had on the Noordam, a former yum-yum man was our lifeboat captain, I could go on…
We had lunch at Tamarind after we came back from a morning at Half Moon Cay. The view was great. Everything was so artfully presented. I am not a seafood person, but apparently my favorites on the main plate had crab and squid in them. I liked the different dipping sauces and my green tea tiramisu was yummy.
Our Cabin Steward
Our cabin steward deserves his own section. He was something else. He seemed like a nice guy, I didn't meet him until the second day and I didn't know his name, but he would wave from down the hallway whenever he saw me. His service on the other hand, needs some work. He must have shown he was good in the past though, because he was actually training another cabin steward!
The first night, we didn't have new towels. They were just left in a pile on the floor. We called for some fresh ones. The same thing happened the second night. Each time they were brought by someone in housekeeping, not our steward. On Friday, the room steward knocked on the door at 7:45 am. My mom answered the door, half awake. We listened as he said, "Holland America has a new policy of only changing towels once a day". He went on to say if we had a complaint, we could write it on a card and give it to the Front Office.
The third night, my mom called the Front Office and promised them it would be the last time she asked for towels. She also told them about the "new policy". They apologized and said that what the steward said to us is not true. They said they would have the housekeeping manager talk with him after we left the ship (most likely so he could not sabotage our room).
Also on Friday morning, the steward took all of our toiletries (and we have a lot) off the bathroom shelves and left them all on the counter. I don't know why he thought he needed to clean the shelves for a three day cruise on the last full day. Plus, he could have put them back.
We had tea with some ladies who had the same cabin steward. They said he gave them tote bags that smelled like exhaust, didn't make the bed for the third person, and didn't leave them pillow chocolates (the horror!). At least we got the pillow chocolates he left in a pile at the foot of the bed. The first night, I didn't have a pillowcase on one of my pillows. Also, he always left the toilet seat up in the morning, but I guess that meant he cleaned it. We never had fresh fruit, flowers or towel animals, maybe because it was only a three day cruise?
After breakfast on disembarkation morning, we waited in our room for them to call our deck. We were close to falling asleep when he knocked on the door, opened it, propped it open and turned on all the lights. He asked if we would mind waiting in a lounge because he needed to make up the room right then. He said he would be back in five minutes. We then listened as two ladies in the hall told him what a wonderful job he had done keeping their room clean during the cruise. What?! Either they have some different standards or he only does a good job for a select few. We closed the cabin door and finished getting our stuff together.
There is one good thing to say about him, and that is that he does not clean the drawers. What should we find in a drawer, but two Mariner delft tiles! Yes!
This was just very unusual. We've never had a room steward like this on HAL before.
In Nassau, we went to Ardastra Gardens. We took a taxi that was $15 on the way over and $12 on the way back. I hear there is a bus that will take you there for $1. The gardens were very pleasant and not too crowded. There were exotic birds, animals and flowers. We saw the famous marching flamingos and helped feed the lory parrots. You just hold up an apple slice and they will fly over and land on your hand to eat. It was amazing and one of the highlights of the trip! We also went to the Straw Market, but it was very dull and crowded. Every booth had the same stuff.
It started as a cloudy day in Half Moon Cay. The island was deserted! I guess many people stayed on the ship. The water was warm and the sun came out later. We went pretty far down the beach, but there was certainly room closer to the dock as well. The sand was so soft and squishy. Beautiful island.
Some Random Memories
While walking on the Promenade one day, a beautiful rainbow appeared out of nowhere. It looked like it was out of the water. Of course, I didn't have my camera.
The benches in the elevator lobbies are missing cushions because they are making some that are up to the fire code. They could remove the benches, but they are bolted down.
They had a party by the Lido Pool to celebrate the World's Largest Cruise Night with chocolate fountains, cake and champagne. And of course, brochures and the Future Cruise Consultant were available to help you book your next cruise.
I saw a man at this party wearing a vest made of HAL tote bags! The front had the older ones with the big logos and the back had the newer ones with the destinations.
We didn't get any comment cards or Mariner tiles (but we found some in our cabin drawer!). The bills didn't arrive until the morning. Some people didn't get them at all.
After being chased out of our cabin, we sat in the Atrium. What a great people watching spot! We watched the long Front Desk line. I liked that, as they did on the first day, they had a staff member walk the line. This way, if you have a quick question, they can answer it then and you don't have to wait the whole time. One man was extremely rude to the staff member and we heard some not so nice words as he raised his voice. The staff member calmly stood there and then continued down the line. After this, the man lit up a cigarette and smoked right in line. No one seemed to care, probably because he seemed so much calmer.
We walked right off the ship when they called our deck. No line.
It was an awesome cruise, but it was too short! I can't wait to return to this beautiful ship for a week in December! We'll have a suite then and most definitely a different cabin steward.