Eastern Caribbean Cruise on Holland America's Eurodam December 6 through the 13th 2008
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
My husband & I, both in our mid sixties, drove from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale looking forward to our second cruise. We stayed at the Marriott Renaissance Plantation, 13 miles from the port, a beautiful resort and a lot less expensive than staying closer to the port.
Upon boarding we were told to go to the Lido buffet for lunch. It was so crowded and disorganized. The food was overcooked & dry like it had been cooked hours before. The seating was terrible. Small tables were on the outside of the eating area making it difficult to pass through the area much less to try to get something to eat.
The first dinner with the "open seating" was a disaster. I had made reservations as soon as we got to our room for 8 o'clock for a table of six. When we arrived at the restaurant there was a long line of people. It was so disorganized. People that did not make reservations were in line with ones that had made them. The people in charge did not know how to handle it. The food was not up to par. It took two hours to get our entrée. When we complained to a woman in a white suit, probably the maitre di, she said it was because we ordered appetizers and we were a table of six which takes longer to serve. There was a table of nine next to us who had had their four course meal and were out of there over a half hour before us. Taking this long for dinner caused us to be late for the evening show.
I immediately made reservations to dine upstairs at an appointed time. This was much better. Our servers were great and entertaining. The food improved, but there was still some misunderstanding. An example: one person in our party ordered pasta fagioli one night and there was not a single bean in it which we thought was strange since fagioli means beans in Italian.
The shows were good. The HAL entertainers were very good. The ship was beautiful and our rooms were very comfortable. Our attendant was very good. I was glad I had read about the drawers under the bed because you would not have seen.
The staff and service were very good with the exception of some people working at the Lido who did not understand English when asked about the food they were serving. I think they should at least understand enough English to know what kind of food they are serving.
I heard people asking how much liquor they could buy to take home. The answer was "as many as you want." When disembarking we were told we were allowed one bottle each. The rest had all the taxes added which had to be paid.
We were given notices of our number and color for disembarking. The number told you what time to depart. We were number one, meaning we had an early departure, color purple to help find our luggage. No one paid attention to their time of departure and no one was in charge to keep people in order so basically we were all getting off at the same time. People were getting off with us with numbers 3, 4 & 5 which meant if we had a plane to catch we could have missed it. We had three pieces of luggage. They were as far apart as they could be from each other in the terminal. It took an hour and a half to disembark.
I had read complaints about the Eurodam before we left, but I figured it was a new ship and by the time we were going, six months later, they might have gotten the kinks out by then. It looks like they still have work to do or maybe they just don't care.