If you don't believe that I am not a "Chronic Complainer", please read my Cruise Critic Review of Explorer of the Seas, May '08. If you are already booked for the Eurodam, you may want to avoid reading the following review, as it was an unpleasant experience.
This is our experience during Holland Eurodam's Inaugural Season. The first of their "Signature Class Ships". The ship is nice, however it photographs much nicer than it looks in person.
BACKGROUND: My partner and I are in our early 40s and were traveling with our friends who are a married couple, also in their 40s. Eurodam was my and my partner's 6th voyage (2nd Holland) and our traveling companions' 26th voyage (3rd Holland). We all sailed the Westerdam a few years ago and loved it so much that we were really looking forward to another Holland cruise.
EMBARKATION: We flew in from NJ the day before sailing and stayed with friends in the Orlando area that night. We then drove from Orlando to Ft. Lauderdale in a Hertz vehicle. Upon returning the car in Lauderdale at 10:00AM, we were whisked to Port Liberty by a Hertz staff member to Holland Eurodam. We were able to drop our luggage off and check-in (with no lines) at the port immediately following. We were of the first group to board at approximately 11:30AM. Upon boarding there was a concierge available to secure dinner reservations, which we immediately did. Although we had traditional 8:00 seating, we wanted to secure reservations for Tamarind, Canaletto and Pinnacle. We were able to reserve exactly what we wanted by making our reservations upon boarding.
LIDO: Our next stop was the Lido Restaurant for a buffet lunch. The Lido is TIGHT! There is barely enough room for one to walk through the room empty-handed, let alone with a tray of food! This was a poorly designed room with arm-chairs at the tables which were very cumbersome as well. The room is beautifully decorated, but THE CREW was the absolute WORST we've EVER ENCOUNTERED on ANY SHIP EVER!! There was never enough silverware in the Lido and when asking a crew member for anything on this ship, was like pulling teeth. We would practically have to beg for everything (including silverware). The kitchen staff worked feverishly to serve quickly, but the Lido attendants all walked around aimlessly as though they had nothing to do but talk among themselves and ignore the passengers. Many officers roamed around on cell phones, ignoring passengers as well. The crew members were mainly around to pour coffee and drinks (at the machines), basically getting in everyone's way. It would have been much easier if everyone had just poured their own drinks. Speaking of drinks, about halfway through this cruise, they must have run out of half & half and were pawning milk (and even skim milk) off on us in containers marked "cream". I know this isn't the end of the world, but for a die-hard coffee w/cream lover, it was unacceptable. Just label it milk! After we had finished our first meal in the Lido, we were approached by the Food and Beverage Manager, Herman, who asked us (however diplomatically) to please leave our table so that others could find a place to eat. He suggested we wait in the Ocean Bar until our rooms were ready. We instead roamed the ship. On the plus side, the food at the Lido was great. We did not have a bad meal on this ship. After being asked to leave the Lido I had stopped to use the restroom. Not realizing it was labeled a Handicapped restroom, I was told by another officer that I should not use that facility, but to use the men's room on the other side. Nothing like making a passenger feel welcome during "Hour One".
PURSER'S DESK STAFF: One word for them….RUDE. Okay two…RUDE & CLUELESS. After leaving the Lido (and the correct men's room) I decided to try to secure a Retreat Cabana. I had read about them and thought it might be a nice way to spend a pool day. Our friends had just returned from the Purser's Desk where they had inquired and were told to reserve the cabana on the Lido Deck. I asked an attendant on the Lido Deck and she escorted me to the Spa. The staff there told me that reservations for cabanas are made at the Purser's Desk. So I picked up a house phone and called the Purser's Desk. I was then informed that I had to come down to the desk to reserve the cabana. Off I went to the desk. At least I was able to work off lunch! CABANAS: $45 for a Port Day. After reserving the retreat cabana, I went up to take a look at them. The one we reserved, Mirabella, was only large enough to accommodate two lounge chairs. I really didn't care for the whole set up, so, back to the Purser's Desk to cancel. I was told that the transaction was in fact canceled., only to discover on Day 6, that it had not been and that they wouldn't be able to straighten the charge out until the next day. Thankfully I checked and they did. My observations of the Purser's Desk were that there was never a visible person in a position of authority (nor did we ever see one on the entire ship), and the Purser's staff appeared rude and indifferent. They were surely not welcoming at all. The night before disembarkation, our friends witnessed several passengers pleading with purser's desk crew to straighten out situations with their luggage being sent to incorrect airports. We don't know the outcome of their experiences.
STATEROOM: Cabins were ready at exactly 1:30PM. We were in Cabin # 8097 and our friends in # 8095. They were "V" Category, which is of the highest balcony categories onboard. The rooms were the most beautifully designed we've ever seen. They were spacious with three closets and plenty of storage. The balconies were large with two chairs, a small table and an ottoman. We arrived to gifts from our Travel Agent, Marianne from Travel Emporium, which included delicious chocolate covered strawberries and a voucher for a complimentary formal night dining room photo. The bathroom included a shower-tub and storage shelves and large bath sheets. The beds were comfortable. There was a flat-panel TV with a DVD player. I met our stateroom attendant (Widi) for a very brief moment. I introduced myself and gave a him a short list of items we wanted. A bathrobe, feather pillows and ice. He returned later with two bathrobes, one feather pillow and ice. I handed him back one robe and asked him for another feather pillow. He gave me a disappointed look that I had asked for a second feather pillow and we never did receive it during the cruise. Luggage arrived by 4PM and Muster Drill immediately followed. No one in our drill could understand a word that was said during the drill, as the crew member conducting it had a very heavy accent. I could've gotten over the fact that so far we felt unwelcome on this ship until on Day One we had returned from dinner at around 10:00PM and (are you ready for this? Are you sitting down?) NO TURN-DOWN SERVICE!! I know it might sound petty to some, but COME ON!! Our traveling companions had never, ever experienced this on any of their 25 previous voyages! They had no clean towels in their room at this point and when we inquired at the Purser's desk about the lack of turn-down that evening the reply was (are you sitting down?) "we'll let your cabin attendant know to provide turn-down service nightly for you!" And "what exactly is it that you need?" I told the woman I'd like another feather pillow. She said she would have one sent. As I stated earlier, she never did. After that we were afraid to throw another used towel on the floor, for fear it may never be picked up and replaced! However, we did receive nightly turn-down service thereafter. Whew!
SAILAWAY: What? We went to the Sailaway Party on the Lido Deck for Pina Coladas (which didn't include any garnish). That's right…looked like a milkshake. Still tasted good. Bartenders on the Lido….rushed and unfriendly!! No Cruise Director or Staff out on deck for this party. Just the Hal Cats (band) there to sing a few tunes. The views were beautiful. The tunes weren't.
REMBRANDT DINING ROOM: We had requested a table for four and found that there were few (if any) in the VERY cramped Rembrandt. One word to describe the feeling in the dining room….SARDINES!! We were piled upon one another at several tables for 10. Our servers were rushed and again, not the friendliest of crew. The food however was excellent. Portions small (our server actually laughed when he had to serve me my tiny portion of crab leg appetizer. And he said "sorry" a lot. We enjoyed the company of two couples from Australia during dinners. Hello to Pat, Brian, Jennie and Daryl if you're reading this! Overall the Rembrandt Dining Room was not a pretty room and was much too small to accommodate the amount of seated passengers or servers during meals.
PRODUCTION SHOWS: Holland didn't skimp here. Best sets and costumes on any ships. Shows were good. We liked the first one, better than the second. The cast did a great Michael Jackson Thriller number! We really enjoyed the actor who performed Gypsies, Tramps & Thieves more than the leading lady. She was more talented and should be cast in the lead. There was also a comedian (from Home Improvement) on Day One who was funny.
CAPTAIN'S RECEPTION: What? 15 minutes before the show, the captain said a quick hello and goodbye. Champagne was served.
PORTS: I won't go on and on, but they were the saving grace of this ship! St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay were all WONDERFUL!!
NORTHERN LIGHTS: The nightclub had a nice atmosphere, but didn't flow well. DJ Jazzy was terrific and took requests. Service was very good here. It would have been more crowded if smoking were allowed, as everyone (including a large gay group) was in the Casino Sports Bar outside of the nightclub puffing away with their cocktails. I must say the passengers on this cruise all jelled beautifully. Straight, gay and everything in between all got along famously.
LIDO PARTY: Oh, there's the Cruise Director. Saw very little of him or his staff during the cruise. Oh, and this also must have doubled as our "Dutch Chocolate Extravaganza", because Holland cheaped out on that too. They did have chocolate fountains during the Lido Party. We danced and had much fun!!
HALLOWEEN BASH: Halloween was much fun on the Lido Deck. We dressed as Mainstream Vampires from HBO's TrueBlood. There was a parade of costumed passengers, great food and dancing with the Hal Cats. The Lido was decorated beautifully. I had hung a paper skeleton on my stateroom door which was torn off by someone after Day Two. You know who you are and should be ashamed of yourself!
TAMARIND: Complimentary for lunch. The most beautiful restaurant on the ship. We had lunch there. Set menu of dim sum. Good service, great food!
PINNACLE: Just okay and wouldn't recommend spending the $20pp cover for this one. My partner actually liked his steak in the Rembrandt better than the one served here.
CANALETTO: Complimentary for dinner. Service by Marius was the absolute best on the ship. He was quick, efficient and really knew his job. Although he was not overly friendly, he was the best server we encountered on Eurodam. Food was excellent!
PAST GUEST PARTY: NONE!!! Not for anyone with less than 25 days sailed with Holland anyway! We received Delft tiles and a thank you note from the captain, but as "Mariners" we didn't rate a reception! Sorry Holland, but that in and of itself made up my mind never to sail with you again!! You should have seen the beautiful reception Royal Caribbean provides ALL of their past guests. Complete with cocktails, appetizers and mingling with the ship's officers. Big disappointment! Big disgrace!
DISEMBARKATION: We had express disembarkation which allowed us to walk off of the ship with luggage in hand. We were never told which deck to disembark from and when calling the purser's desk shortly before disembarking, one of our friends was told that they DIDN'T KNOW where the gangway was and that there would be an announcement. We discovered that the gangway was on deck 3. The announcement never did indicate where to disembark. After finding the deck ourselves, we were off the ship by 7:30AM.
Holland Eurodam has been sailing for months now. It's about time someone is held accountable for the crew's actions (or lack of). Someone must be held accountable for untidy conditions in areas of the ship. At 7:30 one morning as I was strolling the Promenade Deck, there were tons of dirty glasses (obviously from the previous night) littering the deck, and dirty cups and plates at various times on the tables of the Lido Deck. Does no one see this? Someone from corporate had better pose as a passenger on this ship before this crew sinks it!!
I really could go on and on, but I'm tired of hearing myself talk (and type). As I've said, I'm not a chronic complainer. As our traveling companions said, we're not looking for service which is above and beyond (although that would have been nice). We're just looking for basic needs (like clean towels in our room or a fork and knife at lunch). And we didn't receive even basic service on the Eurodam.
Someone is asleep at the helm.
Feel free to contact me with any questions.