On the new Eurodam we discovered the mystery of the incredible shrinking cabin but we also found a beautiful ship with lots of lovely areas, good restaurants and the always wonderful Holland America crew. The art work on the ship was museum quality with the exception of the glass sculpture in the atrium. It resembled a large inverted mushroom growth that changed colors.
We booked the 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise before the Eurodam was launched and it was fun to watch the website chronicle the building process. We are frequent cruisers and booked a Veranda guarantee. We were assigned a VA stateroom on Deck 7 aft. It was a convenient location for dining options but a long walk to the atrium and the center of other activity. It also was a bit of a bumpy ride durting the first two days of the cruise with choppy seas and gale force winds. Mid ships on a lower deck would be a good choice for those wishing a smooth sail. The guarantee is a good option to save money but don't book a category that you can't live with because you don't always get an upgrade. This sailing was sold out with very few available upgrades.
The size and layout of our cabin was a disappointing surprise. Two average size adults may have trouble moving around at the same time without colliding. The bathroom was fine space wise but somewhat utilitarian. We had no toiletries on arrival and had to ask twice for soap. Always carry those hand wipes! The bed was comfortable and the linens were super nice. The bedside lighting was convenient but not really adequate for reading. The small chair and tiny loveseat were not at all comfortable for either reading or eating. The balcony furniture was fine for one person. There are extra drawers under the bed but no drawer for make up at the vanity/desk.
Check in was efficient and speedy at Pier 26 in Fort Lauderdale. Our shuttle from the half price off-site parking facility arrived at 12:30 and we were at lunch in the Lido before 1:00 p.m. Since we were among the earliest to board we were surprised that we didn't receive any of our luggage until after 5:00. The late arrival of our bags and the lack of well designed storage in the cabin made for a frustrating start to our voyage.
We recovered our good moods as soon as we entered the Silk Den, a new lounge on Deck 11 mid ship. It reminded us of the glamour in old movies with plush seating and billowing drapes between the seating areas. The bartender in Silk makes the best drinks on the ship. We made reservations online at Tamarind, the new Asian themed restaurant for the first night to avoid the "Dine As You Wish" Day One confusion. For $15 Tamarind serves wonderful Pacific Rim food with exquisite service. They also serve complimentary lunch. The Pinnacle restaurant arranged a luncheon for a group of 8 and the food was outstanding and a bargain for $10. At dinner the Pinnacle charges $20 and serves the best steak now in two sizes and a wonderful chocolate dessert. By the second evening the main dining was running smoothly and we never had to wait for a table or service whether we had reservations or just walked up when we were ready to eat. Food selections are varied and the portions remain ample. If you want two lobster tails on Surf n' Turf night, go for it. Canneletto, the complimentary Italian bistro has a limited menu and we heard several complaints about the quality of the food but our meal was very nice. The cotton candy was a clever touch. The Lido is the Lido - no surprises, just lots of options and mostly very good food. They really do breakfast well. Of course room service breakfast is the ultimate treat when on vacation but the Eurodam hasn't got that worked out yet. We never got exactly what we ordered and our order never arrived when we ordered it. We finally gave up on the last few days.
The entertainment was good and the production shows were outstanding with the Eurodam's larger cast of singers and dancers. The two male singers were especially talented. The theatre type seating in the Mainstage is very comfortable and a big improvement. We didn't miss the bulky tables and stiff couches at all. If you choose drink service in the theatre there are pull out drink holders in the arms of your chair. The excursions are about the same as all Caribbean offerings and we didn't hear many complaints. The new shopping mall concept was well designed and doing a brisk business every time it was open. The casino was so smoky that non-smokers just gave up and left the tables and machines to go elsewhere and breathe. Holland America keeps asking passengers about a non-smoking ship. They should go ahead and do it. The television channel selections are very limited but offer several movies each day. A printed schedule of movies with start times and channels would be helpful.
Placing the library in Explorations, the coffee bar doesn't make sense if you are looking for a quiet place to read or work a puzzle. For a new ship the book selections seemed outdated and well worn but the DVD selections were plentiful and up to date. The Culinary Arts center was full every time there was an event. They could easily fill daily cooking classes.
One last word about the ship and this cruise in particular; it was nice to see a much younger crowd than the HAL usual on this trip. The average age seemed to be closer to 50 than 80. Since we are closer to 80 than 50 we don't try to evaluate the night life after show time but many in our group reported activity until the wee hours. There were several children on board but they were well behaved and under parental control at all times. Overall it was another delightful cruise memory and as the Cruise Director was fond of saying, "Toodle Loo".