Day 1 - Embarkation (Ft. Lauderdale) We flew into Fort Lauderdale the day before with our party consisting of myself, DW, DD (4 years old), DD (1 year old), FIL, and MIL and stayed at the Marriott chain Suites. As part of their services they had a shuttle that picked us up from the airport and also would drop us off at the cruise port. Because of the number of guests staying at the hotel who were leaving on a cruise, the hotel had to make additional arrangements in getting a bigger vehicle to take all the guests to the cruise port. Instead of leaving at 11:45 AM, we ended up having to waiting until close to 12:45 PM before leaving the hotel. Once at the cruise port we had to further wait in line as other buses ahead of us need to unload the passengers and luggage. We were finally allow to leave the bus at around 1:45 PM and met the porters who then took the tagged luggage and we then proceeded to enter the terminal 26 to get processed. After passing through the security screening /metal detectors we then went to the Holland America registration booths. By this time, it was around 2:00 PM. After reviewing out ID's, on-line forms and taking our pictures we were then issued our ship passes and allowed to board the Eurodam in around 10 minutes. This was the fastest boarding we have experienced to date. Since it was already past the 1 PM, the cabins were already available and we proceed directly to the cabins to drop off our carry-on luggage, water and soda. We booked a large inside cabin on the Main deck (1058 J, Deck 1, Port side) and the In-laws booked a GTY category H and had a Oceanview cabin (1023 D, Deck 1, Starboard side). We then went up to the Lido (deck 9) for a late lunch. Once we finished lunch, I then went to the Tamarind restaurant to book lunch and was able to obtain reservations on Tuesday (San Juan) and Thursday (at Sea) for noon time. The first at Sea day was all booked out prior. In the Daily Program they were adverting that if you tried all three specialty restaurants it would only cost $33. That would be a good deal, if you wanted to try two of the three restaurants (Pinnacle Grill @ $25 and Tamarind @ $15 pp would be already $40). I then returned back to my cabin and met our cabin steward and requested to remove the contents of the bar fridge. He then promptly complied with my request and I then restocked the fridge with my own drinks. I then got my 1 year old DD to sleep around 3:20 PM for a quick nap prior to the Muster Drill at 4:15 PM. After the drill, we then returned back to the cabin and prepared for our early seating dinner (5:45 PM) at our assign dining table #60 (for six) near the rear of the ship on deck 3 (upper). Our waiter is Adnyana, and his assistant is Razky. The passengers who had lower seating were assigned "As you wish anytime dining". After dinner, I then went to the Front Office to make arrangements for the unlimited laundry service ($45), which would start on the next day and finish on the Friday. When I returned back to the cabin, our cabin steward then handed out the canvas bags and the night chocolates. I then went watch the opening show at 10 PM and after which I did a quick walk around the ship to get my bearings on the various areas that I would be visiting during the course of the cruise. I went back to the Lido for some late night snacks (being served from 11 PM to midnight) of beef and chicken stasys. I then returned back to the cabin and called it a night.
Day 2 - At Sea We woke up around 8:00 AM and got up to the Lido for breakfast around 8:45 AM. By the time we finished it was around 10:00 AM and we then returned back to the cabin to prepare for the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet at 11:00 AM at the Silk Den lounge. The Meet and Greet had a theme were all the attendees would bring a serving of chocolate to share with the group, as we all expressed an interest in all things chocolate. At the Silk Den, the Hotel Manager, Cruise Director, and Beverage Manager made an appearance to our gathering. HAL also served drinks and some hors d'oeuvres in addition to a chocolate fountain with various fruit for dipping. It was a good showing of CC attendees and we all enjoyed the opportunity to meet the various members of the roll call and to sample the various chocolates each person brought with them to the gathering. At noon time we then when for lunch at the restaurant and then retired to the cabin, as DD need to get she afternoon nap. DD finally work up around 4:15 PM and we starting to prepare to go to dinner, as tonight were a formal night. I also collect all of the laundry that we need to get cleaned and was able to stuff the bag full (leaving some for the next day). We got to our table within our 5:45 PM dinning window and finished around 7:30 PM and headed to the front of the ship to attend the 8 PM song and dance show called "In Concert". The singers and dancers played a series of contemporary hits for the next hour (to be repeated at 10 PM). After the show, we took the kids back to the cabin in order to change and have them ready for bedtime. We turned in early, as the ship would be docking at Grand Turk at 7 AM next morning and depart at 2 PM and we wanted to get to the beach in the morning and return back to the ship before the afternoon.
Day 3 - Grand Turk We ordered room service and it arrived on time 7:45 to 8:00 AM with all items accounted for on two large serving trays. I tipped the server a couple of dollars and we had our breakfast. By the time we finished got the kids and ourselves in our swimming gear and fully covered in sunscreen it was around 9:30 AM. We then finally left the cabin got the FIL and headed for the gangplank it was another half-hour. By the time we got to the beach it was 10:30 AM. The weather was warm with a mild breeze. The water was not as warm as it was when we last visited Grand Turk in April '07. Also it seems that the beach front shrunk a bit due to a storm earlier in the year. We stayed on the beach until noon, time and then we returned back to the ship for lunch. Before going to lunch we went back to the cabin to shower everyone to remove the sunscreen and sand. Waiting for us at the cabin was our first towel animal a Pig. At around 1 PM we then went up to the Lido deck for lunch. After lunch, younger DD was getting cranky and so I took her back to the cabin for her afternoon nap. Meanwhile, older DD and DW walked around the ship and visited Club HAL were DD participated in some coloring and drawing activities. By the time the baby woke up, it was nearly time for dinner. We then got everyone changed for smart casual dinner and arrived at our table around 5:55 PM. Following dinner, older DD and I went to the 8 PM show and had a good time listening to the Guitar player who played a series of songs intermixed with dialogue of music history. After the concert, we returned back to the cabin and get got DD to bed. At 11 PM, I went up to the Lido deck to get a small plate of food (Fried Rice, Chicken Satays, Curry Egg, Meatball and a piece of Fried Chicken) from the Indonesian themed late night snack that was available from 11 PM to midnight and returned back to the cabin to share with DW. We then turned in for the night. The ship's time was moved ahead by one hour to synchronize with San Juan and St. Thomas time.
Day 4 - San Juan We decided that we would not leave the ship as our experience from our last visit to San Juan was that it was not very baby friendly as old San Juan streets are not suited for strollers. The In-laws wanted to go on a tour of San Juan (with DD in tow), and booked an excursion that would start at 10:30 AM. Docking at San Juan was delayed by half-hour due to winds and tidal conditions. Also the immigration process was changed since the last time we were in the Eastern Caribbean. Previously, all passengers need to get up in the early morning and present themselves and their ID's to US Customs and Immigration. Starting this year, the process has changed such that only when you leave the ship do you need to show your ship card and a photo ID. DW when to the whirlpool after breakfast at the Lido, meanwhile DD and I strolled around the pool deck and looked around the port of San Juan. At noon time we went to the Tamarind for the set menu lunch. The lunch starts off with a 'Hot and Sour" soup, followed by a small green salad with a Dim Sum entrEe. For dessert you had a choice of various ice creams and cakes-like items. As there is no charge to the lunch, it was not bad and younger DD enjoyed eating the insides of the chicken and vegetable dumplings. During our lunch we spotted Celebrity Solstice coming into the port. After lunch, DD need to take a nap and we returned back to the cabin. By the time she woke up, it was around 4 PM and she wanted to have a snack before dinner time. I took her up to the Lido deck and give her a piece of bread to eat. After a small snack, we toured the Crow Nest and Explorer's Lounge to take a few shots of her and the Celebrity ship. RCI Freedom of the Seas docked at the terminal. At around 5 PM, we went back to the cabin and get ready for dinner. After dinner we returned back to the cabin to discover an Elephant towel animal on the bed. At 7 PM at the main theater was showing a movie and a show with the Comedian was scheduled at 10 PM. I did not attend either one as I need to get the younger DD to sleep as I was going to the CC sail away at 10:45 PM. During the Roll Call forum for the Eurodam on December 13 cruise we were all invited to attend the sail away by a fellow CC member who was upgraded to the Penthouse suite. At the appointed time I went to cabin 7031. The suite was one would expect as a Penthouse suite, it was large, opulent, and luxurious. I hope that I can experience this type of living on a future cruise. After sailing away from San Juan, we passed the Freedom of the Seas (she was fully lit up) I stayed for a while further and then returned back to the cabin and retired for the night.
Day 5 - St. Thomas We arrived into St. Thomas on time, but didn't get up until 9 AM and only finally got to the Lido at around 10:30 AM for breakfast. Docked with us was the Cunard Queen Mary 2. We returned to the cabin to get our stroller and finally exited from the ship at around 11:30 AM. After passing through the security gate we then grabbed a Taxi at $4 pp and arrived downtown. At the other pier, we spotted NCL Dawn, RCI Freedom of the Seas, and Carnival Valor. We walked around the shops and purchased a couple bottles of water and we looking for the Chocolate shop that we found, the last time we were here in April '07. We then returned back to the ship at around 2:00 PM and went directly to the Lido for a late lunch. Immediately after lunch I took the younger DD to the cabin for her afternoon nap. Older DD and DW when walking around the ship and came back to the cabin to get ready for dinner. During the dinner time, the Captain made a general announcement that we were being diverted back to San Juan to drop off an ill passenger. We would be in San Juan in around three hours and would be docking using the ships thrusters to off load the passenger before resume our course to Half Moon Cays. After dinner we then headed back to the cabin to drop off a few things. In our cabin was a towel monkey hanging off the ceiling air vent. At the main theater we caught the 8 PM show featuring the Ship's Singer and Dancers. The younger DD at around the half-way point of the show decided that she had enough and wanted to leave. I took her to our cabin and put her down for the night. Later at 11 PM, I went up to the Lido to check-out tonight's late night snacks and picked up a small plate to share with DW, before going to bed.
Day 6 - At Sea We got up, got dressed, and we got up on the Lido deck for a light breakfast by 9 AM. Breakfast was the usual eggs, bacon, sausage, freshly squeezed orange juice and a bowl of congee. Today was the Mariner's Brunch which was scheduled for 11:30 AM. At the Brunch, it was open seating lower level (Deck 2). The Brunch was a set menu that you had two choices for the appetizers, four choices for entrEe and a dessert. As a parting gift you were allowed to take the menu holder (as it makes a great photo frame). Because of the Mariner's Brunch I had to call reservations to cancel our second Tamarind lunch that was scheduled for noon time. At the Brunch, during the dessert time, had to I take the younger DD back to the cabin for her afternoon nap, as she was getting very fussy. After getting to sleep, I waited for my DW to return to the cabin in order for her to watch DD and allowing me to catch a 1 PM movie at the movie theater room. The theater room has seating for 25 to 30 people and they have a table set aside with caps of popcorn to munch on. After the movie, I returned back to the cabin to find out that DW had taken a nap and DD was now awake. Since it was only around 4 PM, I decided to go to the FIL room to give younger DD a bath, as the Oceanview cabins had tub showers instead of just showers like our inside cabins. I grabbed some baby bath gel and shampoo along with a towel from the room and went over to the In-laws cabin. After drawing the water, I give both girls a bath and they were clean from top to bottom. At 4 PM the Guitar player was to play an encore performance in the main theater. Having enjoyed his playing the previous night, both the girls and I went to see him play again. Less than half-way through, I had to leave as the younger DD did not want to remain to watch him. We returned back to the cabin to begin getting dressed up as tonight was the second formal of the cruise. We arrived at our table just prior to the 5:45 PM window. Tonight's dinner had the Surf and Turf section and for the dessert it is the famous Baked Alaska. After dinner we went back to the cabin and DW was going to put younger DD to bed, while I would take older DD to the 8 PM show featuring duo act of a Comedian and the Guitar player. After the show, I took DD back to the cabin to get her ready for bed. Since we were going to Half Moon Cay I wanted to be able to call room service for breakfast the following morning between 8:00 to 8:30 AM. After filling out the card for room service, I then hanged it outside on our door handle. At around 10:30 PM, I decided that I wanted to do some shopping and when to the shops located mid-ship on deck 3 and picked up some t-shirts that were on sale. I then returned back to the cabin to drop off my purchase and then went up to the Lido to visit the late night buffet and get a small plate of food that I shared with my DW. We then retired for the night.
Day 7 - Half Moon Cay We received our breakfast at around 8:25 AM and quickly finished the meal so that we could get to Half Moon Cay ASAP. While DW got the kids covered in sunscreen, I went up to the Queen's Lounge (Deck 2) and got the tender tickets (#15). As soon as I returned back to the cabin, the announcement for ticket #15 was called and we proceeded directly to Deck A pass Security and boarded the tender. We then walked off the tender at around 9:40 AM and onto the island. We immediately when to the beach to find a free beach chairs and played in the water until 11:30 AM, when we got out of the water and road the Tram to the lunching area for the BBQ Lunch. After a quick meal, we returned back to the water to walk on the sand (very nice white sand) and splashed around the water. At around 1:30 PM, we had our fill of Half Moon Cay and boarded the tender to return back to the ship. After a quick wash down I then took younger DD for a nap and relaxed in the cabin until 4 PM, when I went to the disembarkation information session at the main theater. After returning from the Theater, we started to prepare to pack our belongings by taking out our four suitcases which I had stored under the bed. At around 5:40 PM we headed to the restaurant for our final dinner on the Eurodam. After dinner we attended the show to watch the singers and dancers perform their closing number. At around the half-way point, younger DD wanted to go to sleep and we all returned back to the cabin. Once we got everyone to sleep, I finished packing our suitcases and then put them out into the hallway at around 11:00 PM, before going to bed.
Day 8 - Ft. Lauderdale After setting my alarm clock to wake us up at 7:30 AM, we got dressed and when up to the Lido for our breakfast. We then returned back to the cabin at around 9:15 AM to gather our things to prepare to disembark from the Eurodam at our departure time of 9:30 to 9:45 AM. After a quick line-up we then showed our pass-cards and exited from the Eurodam to then claim our luggage before leaving the port. I flagged a Porter, as both DW and I had no extra hands to manage our four suitcases; we then handed over our customs form and finally left the cruise port terminal. We then found the hotel shuttle and headed back to the hotel for a night before taking a flight back to Toronto.