Some background: We have been cruising since 2003 having sailed on 7 previous cruises, all on Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Princess. We try to sail the newer ships. On this cruise it was just my husband and self and our youngest, our 16 year old son.
Precruise: We flew down the evening before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Convention Center. The airport shuttle was prompt and the driver polite but we were a bit disappointed in the hotel. It was quite old, rooms small and the elevator did not work on the day of check-out (we were on the 4th floor). On the positive side, the hotel was well-located, a walk from several restaurants and shopping. We did not use the hotel's shuttle to the port as it was cheaper to take a cab for the 3 of us.
Embarkation: We were in the cab by 11:15 am and onboard the ship by 12:20! It was an easy smooth embarkation. We carried on 3 bottles of wine and a 24 pack of soda without a problem. Rooms were not ready until 1:30 pm so we spent our time eating at the Lido and laying by the aft pool with the great view of the other ships in port.
Cabins: Very nice as this ship is less than 1 year old. Loved the flat screen TV. We found the room to be a bit smaller than other cruiselines but there was adequate storage. Look under the end of the bed - there are 2 huge drawers! We loved our balcony as we saved $$ by booking the lowest category balcony. The bedding was the best we have ever had on a cruise ship. The bathroom was also nice with a bathtub and nice toiletries. Room steward did a fine job which is amazing since we had As You Wish Dining which meant he never quite knew when we would be gone in the evening so he could do our turndown service.
As You Wish Dining & food: Absolutely LOVED the As You Wish Dining which is a surprise because this was the area I worried about most before the cruise. We will never go back to an assigned time. It was wonderful not to have to hurry and get ready for dinner or on the flip side have to wait around starving for our later assigned dining time. We never waited once for our own table of 3 and we ate at all sorts of different hours - as early as 6:15 pm and as late as 8:40 pm. All our dinners were in the main dining room where we found the service and food excellent. All our other meals were eaten in the Lido where the food was also terrific. Great choices in the Lido, always fresh fruit and salads. Even though the Lido got busy at times, we always found a table.
Entertainment: We probably didn't give the shows enough of a chance. We prefer comedians and the comedy show was not until the 2nd to last night. She was very funny and since she was also appearing in the farewell show so we also watched that show and it was there we saw the weeks' earlier acts, an acrobatic act and a country duo and they were pretty good so we regretted we did not attend more shows earlier in the week. We did catch one of the movies in the Mainstage Theater during the week.
Other Areas of the Ship: Casino was nice but on the small side. It was nice to see blackjack tables with minimums as low as $3. Loved the Explorations Cafe on deck 11. It has a nice size library of books and DVDs available for rental. I read 2 of the books as I laid by the pool throughout the week and as a family of movie buffs, we rented several of the DVDs throughout the week. We never had a problem finding a deck chair during the day. We spent most of our sun time around the aft pool.
Ports: As the economy has tightened this is the area we have cut back on. We did not do any shore excursions. We got off the ship in each port and walked around and window shopped. We did spend most of the day in Half Moon Cay on the beach. This is a beautiful private island.
Disembarkation: Easy and smooth. We were able to get a full breakfast in the Lido and go back to our room for a bit and were off the ship and through customs by 9 am.
Needs Improvement: I wish there were smoking areas marked on the sun decks as a nonsmoker it becomes unpleasant when the cruiser laying next to you suddenly lights up. This could be helped by perhaps designating port side smokers, starboard nonsmokers. The only other place where smoke became a problem was in the casino bar during the NCAA men's basketball finals - it got really bad in there.
Summary: We thought HAL was just for older cruisers. There was a nice mix of families and younger people on this cruise. The Eurodam is a handsome ship. 5 stars!