Since we really did not know what to expect from a cruise, I completed a ton of research prior to cruising. After my experience aboard the Eurodam, I believe I was born to cruise. I should also
We had less than a one minute wait in line in Fort Lauderdale. We carried about 12 bottle of wine and champagne with us, which upon boarding the ship, a nice young man offered to put in our room for us. Although the man on the curb claimed our rooms were ready (it was about 12:00), we did have to wait about 15 minutes once aboard. This did not bother us though; we went to the Lido buffet and found a table outside to sit in the sun.
Once we arrived in our room we were thrilled. There were 3 closets, 2 large drawers under the queen bed, and more drawers by the desks and nightstands! We are over packers, and still did not use all the drawers. The bed was very comfortable and the linens were up trendy and up to date. We had a leather couch, 2 chairs, and a coffee table, and still did not feel cramped. Our veranda was a nice size as well. It had a table with 2 chairs and 2 lounge chairs. The bathroom was fine. There was a whirlpool tub with a shower and then another separate shower. Water pressure was good.
We were satisfied with the food on the ship. We ate breakfast at the Lido buffet most mornings and for lunch. They had everything you could want: omelet station, waffle station (my husband liked the waffles, but not the wait in line), 6 different kinds of eggs benedict, eggs made to order, bacon, sausage, cereal, fruit, you name it, it was offered. One day a woman in front of me asked if they were serving raspberries that day and with a word the server went in the back and came forward with a huge bowl of fresh raspberries. There were plenty of different kinds of juices available. Coffee was mediocre. The lunch buffet also offered many options, including full entrees, like meatloaf or chicken, grilled sandwiches, all sort of salads (the seafood ones were yummy), wraps, and burgers. We always found a table within 1 minute of looking. The staff always smiled and helped carry things for me when my hands were full.
Room service was a bit of a different story. They were always fast and kind, but they always brought double our order. So instead of having enough food for the two of us, we had 4 plates of eggs, 4 crescents, 2 English muffins, two fruit trays, etc. I might have been ordering incorrectly, but nothing like that has ever happened to me before and it happened every time I ordered???
We ate four dinners in the main dining room. We had open seating, which we would not do again. Although our service was fine, it was not the same kind of personal service that you hear about on cruise ships. We had to wait in a line to eat on the first formal night for about 40 minutes. The food was delicious, and there were plenty of options. I ate snapper and cod that were cooked perfectly. My husband's steaks were always cooked rare, like he likes them. Dessert was OUT OF THIS WORLD. The second formal dinner was surf and turf with filet and lobster as an option. Both were great! The cheese plates were fantastic, and were ordered one each night.
We enjoyed the specialty restaurants. The Pinnacle Grill rivaled the best steak houses of Chicago. Service was superb. My lobster was absolutely one of the best I have had (Maybe one quality step less than Shaw's in Chicago). I talked my husband into getting the 22 ounce Porterhouse. I ate some of it, it was sooooo good. I will dream of it back here on land. The lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, and crab cake were delicious as well. If we went on this cruise again, we would pay to eat here EVERY night. The Canaletto, which was the Italian themed restaurant, had great service and delicious food. I had seafood pasta and my husband ate veal, the quality was as good as any Italian restaurant in Little Italy in Chicago where we live. Dessert made us laugh. Not only did they bring everyone cotton candy, my husband ordered the limoncello dessert, which somehow got lost in translation, and he was served LEMON JELLO ? The Asian restaurant, the Tamarind had great service. The sushi was the same quality as grocery store sushi, and wasn't very creative, but the dim sum lunch was great. The soup there wasn't very good, but when the server realized we didn't eat it, she brought spring rolls to us without us telling her. Then the manager came over to make sure we like the spring rolls.
We enjoyed many activities on the ship. We played bingo (I won), went to the casino (I didn't win), went to two cooking demonstrations, and a wine tasting. I would recommend signing up for all activities offered in the food and wine center. We did not make it to the shows at night, but other cruise goers described them as just off Broadway. There was always plenty to do on the ship, but mostly we relaxed in the sun. Unfortunately, service around the pool was not so great. The staff there seemed overworked and a hard sell for alcohol. If you wanted a soft drink, they were actually a bit rude. We are drinkers, but sometimes a girl needs a diet coke! There were many lounge chairs and fresh towels. We also enjoyed a couple's massage in the spa. I believe it was in my top 2 massages to date.
We booked several shore excursions. In Turks and Caicos, we went power snorkeling. It is like snorkeling James Bond Style, we will do this again. Although the Island was devastated by a hurricane, the water sports did not seem affected. I would avoid any land tours here. We did a zip line Canopy tour in San Juan. I would recommend this. Apparently there is an advanced one I wish I had known about, but the basic was just fine. We explored the fort in San Juan and walked the streets. Shopping seemed overpriced. The Coach store was more expensive than the one in Chicago. In St. Thomas we took a cab to Megan's Bay, and then stayed there until we had to go back on the ship. IT IS THE BEST BEACH EVER. It is like swimming in a swimming pool with beautiful views. I would strongly recommend taking a $9 cab ride to Megan's Bay and staying there as long as possible. Our final stop was the Holland America Island in the Bahamas, another gorgeous beach day. The drink service was similar to the pool drink service, poor. We could have been much drunker, if they would have been around. We rented a clam shell, and had shade or sun. The lunch barbecue was again, another food explosion. They barbecued so much wonderful food, and had salads galore! Don't drink the fountain water here, it is salty???!!!
Dismemberment was smooth and took about 15 minutes. I should also mention that we are 27 and 31 years old and we nervous about the reviews saying it was all elderly people. The reviews were wrong for our week. Since it was Spring Break, we had over 400 kids on our ship, that were well behaved and seemed to love the Hal Club for kids, the cruise kept the kids contained, and we never felt bothered by them. The adult population was a great mix of ages. I WOULD STRONGLY RECOMMEND THIS CRUISE!!!!!!!