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Eurodam Cruise Review by monaco98: HAL Eurodam - Fjords, Highlands, and midnight sun!


monaco98
2 Reviews
Member Since 2009
13 Posts

Member Rating

Cabin 4.0
Dining 4.0
Embarkation 5.5
Enrichment Activities 4.0
Entertainment 3.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Fitness & Recreation Not Rated
Public Rooms 4.0
Rates 4.0
Service 4.0
Shore Excursions 4.0
Value for Money 4.0

Compare Prices on Eurodam Baltic & Northern Europe Cruises

HAL Eurodam - Fjords, Highlands, and midnight sun!

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Baltic & Northern Europe
Embarkation: Copenhagen

Background Information

About me:  40+, solo male.  Well travelled in North and Central Americas, Caribbean, and Europe.  New to cruising, but have tried multiple lines and itineraries, and am enjoying finding and trying more.

More size=3> 

 

Travel To Port of Embarkation

Arrived in Copenhagen the day before sailing via Iceland Air from Boston, which broke up the flying time nicely.  Keflavik is a small, clean, and well run airport, and makes for an easy international connections.

 

Transfer to the city centre via train to Copenhagen's Central Station was easy. They are frequent, quick (less than 30 mins.), and inexpensive, and tickets can be purchased from self-serve kiosks or ticket windows outside the luggage collection area.

 

Hint:  Look for the ATM--behind you, under the escalatorsas you exit the arrivals area.

 

 

Pre/post-cruise Hotel

I stayed at a small, clean, friendly and inexpensive B&B by the Central Station.  There are many places to stay in this area, in all price ranges.  Large, Americanized major chain hotels are also located nearby, and most major sites worth seeing are easily walkable, or accessible via metro or water taxi.

 

Though it has been cleaned up, the area around the Station is still something of a red-light district at night.  Also, some of the older, smaller budget properties may not have central AC, and rooms facing the street can sometimes be loud due to street noise. 

 

Hint:  Ask your concierge for directions to a great storefront Vietnamese restaurant a few blocks west on Vestogabrade. Food, prices and service were all excellent.

 

 

Embarkation

Very smooth.  Departure was from the busy, more northern "Cruise Port" not the Langeline Pier, which is closer to the city center, Little Mermaid, etc. 

Public transit is available to it, but it is still a pretty good walk to the pier with luggage / weather.

 

My cab took only 10 minutes around noon, where I found an already longish, but quickly moving line.  I asked the HAL rep. who checked me in to please "find me a good room," as I'd pre-booked only the class, and not a particular room.  She did, and kindly upgraded me from a standard inside to a balcony near the rear of the ship!  Boarding was quick and painless.

 

 

Ship Info:

First impression:  Generic, neon-lit hallways made it initially feel somewhat somber, large and impersonal, but it was also a gray day weather-wise.  Any welcome or greeting was non-existent, but every staff member who passed by in the hallway was friendly, polite, and helpful throughout the entire cruise.

 

Stateroom

On level 5 ("Verandah 5151"), starboard side, aft, with a small sitting area and small flat screen TV.  It was pretty average size and decoration-wise, but the balcony made a tremendous difference with light and air and a view. 

 

Ordinarily I don't like to pay the extra $ for a balcony I might not use much on a non-warm weather cruise.  But for this itinerary, it is well worth it, even if only for the amazing views.  The one drawback:  People were in and out of their rooms and out onto their balconies (mostly to smoke) at all hours.  The constant door-slamming was unnecessary, disruptive (even with earplugs) and very annoying.

 

Public Rooms:

Most were pretty standard, if well decorated.  Some of the rugs and flooring looked a bit worn and dated, particularly in heavy traffic areas near elevators.


Ceilings are low, and dark wood is everywhere, giving a real "nautical" feel to many of the passageways that is often missing on some bigger, newer, "younger" ships.

 

Most of the public areas were tastefully decorated, with an interesting art collection.  There is a self-guided audio tour of the various pieces including a reworking of the famous Night Watch.  I did not use it, but wish I had.

 

The bars are all well stocked, and service was generally friendly and efficient, despite a dearth of customers in many of them for most of the trip.  My favorite was the aft pool bar.  Great service and great views, but closed too early. 

 

There is also a wine bar (did not visit), sports bar (where the bartender refused to change the channel after promising to do so--perhaps because he did not know how?), disco/night club, piano bar, and several others that adjoin various dining rooms.

 

Cooking demos are held daily in the "Queen's Lounge (as it is known in the evening) / Culinary Center", as are various computer seminars in other parts of the ship.  The shopping area was large and filled with mostly jewelry, watches and liquor as you'd expect.  The Mainstage Theater was comfortable, though I only used it as a pre-excursion rallying point.

 

Best: 

Make sure to check out the Crow's Nest / Explorations Cafe for the best views, a morning coffee and newspaper, board games, trivia contests, inexpensive DVD rental, internet services, and/or an evening drink with piano.

 

 

Activities

The cruise director / excursions team was very active and helpful, but also unobtrusive if you did not want to be bothered (no unnecessary PA announcements every five minutes about BINGO). 

 

One very knowledgeable Brit gentleman provided some sort of pre-port lecture or slide show almost every day.  I'm sure this also helped to sell the overpriced excursions, but it was also welcome, detailed, and much appreciated.  Each presentation was also re-shown multiple times on the ship's TV channel if you missed the live presentations.

 

Spa / gym:  did not use

Pools:  One covered at mid-ship, which was quite busy throughout.  One aft (outdoor) which was mostly empty throughout, even in good weather, except for the hot tubs which were popular throughout.

 

Hint:  Don't expect any "nightlife" or even much in the way of post-dinner drinks or mingling on this boat.  Everyone was in bed by 11, and if you were under 50 you were considered "quite young".  I knew this going in, but was surprised by how true it was.  So bring a good book!

 

That said, the staff did (try to) do a pub crawl one night.  It was poorly attended, but still fun despite a heavy focus on the fruity signature drinks in each of the 4 bars visited.  The staff in the Northern Lights (disco / night club) also did their best to make it fun with very attentive service.  Best was when staff filled the place one night, if only for an hour or so in what seemed to be a disco flashmob of sorts. 

 

Service:

Uniformly good--although you sometimes had to go looking for a server in some of the less-frequented areas.  My room was kept spotless and well stocked, though I hardly saw Mario after the first day.

 

 

Port & Shore Excursions

(See below)

Best:  can book and any time from connected "portals" located throughout the ship.

 

Dining:

Anytime dining worked wellI never had to wait mor ethan jsut a couple of minutes, and ahd no trouble reserving a table when desired.

Lido
(buffet):  Mostly good, mostly what you'd expect.  Enjoyable, but nothing memorable or special.  Good salads & fresh fruits.  Surprisingly good if simple desserts.  Quality of the late buffet varied widely depending on the theme of the evening.


Specialty dining:  Did not use.
 

Main (Rembrandt) dining rooms:  Food was good but not great.  Service was efficient and surprisingly quick.  Reserve a window table for great sunset views.

 

Canaletto:  Italian-themed "restaurant:" in the same space as the buffet area, but roped off with separate service at designated tables.  Excellent food, exceptional service.  Easily the besxt meals I had onboard.

 

Tamarind / Silk Den:  Did not eat here but heard good things from those who did.  Best bet:  make a reservation for lunch.  Amazing views from most every table here.

 

Grills / pizza:  very average.  Mostly pre-cooked / re-heated options.  OK if by the pool, for a snack or if nothing else is open.

 

Children's Clubs

Did not use.

 

Entertainment

Staged shows:  did not use

American Idol-esque audience participation karaoke shows:  surprisingly good, and well attended.  I did not plan to attend, but enjoyed them even as a "drive-by".

 

Disembarkation

I signed up for "early disembarkation with no transfers" early on in the cruise, as I was staying on for a few more days in Copenhagen afterward.  There was a long, but fairly quick line for taxis on the pier.  Luggage retrieval and airport transfers looked well organized.

Summary
Even if you don't do it on HAL, do this itinerary.  It was amazing and I'll never forget it.  Eurodam is nice.  I would do it again for a different itinerary, particularly if the goal was just to relax (no activity, excurions, etc.)



Skane - tip of Denmark

Amazing weather-sunny and near 80 degrees F. Rented a bike and rode out to the meeting point of the 2 seas at the very pointy tip of Denmark. Worth doing if the weather is good, although you may have to wade into the waves and wait your turn to take the obligatory photos.

Forget the pay-to-ride tractor that takes you the last mile or sothe walk among the dunes and then along the beach (approx. a mile or so) is much better if you have the time, although the water is very cold, and the wind is intense even on a nice day.

The very flat "Legoland" looking village is situated amid great bikle paths and offers plenty of good shopping and dining options. A good place to find a drugstore or other essentials if you need to do so as I did.

Invergordon - Inverness Scotland

Took an overpriced excurison to Castle Urquart / Loch Ness / Bannockburn / Inverness and enjoyed it, but the there was not enough time at any of these stops. The Inverness stop in particuar was laughable. Maybe just enough time to buy some postcards.

The guide / narrator was very knowledgeable and clearly very proud of his heritage and neighbors. He answered every question put to him in painstaking detail, which was impressive as there were many, and some where quite obscure.

Back at the pier, I missed the nearby village, but thought it looked worth a walk if I'd had time. The pub just accross from the peir-end, adjascnt from all of the the excurion pick-up / drip-off points was popular with both locals and cruisers alike, and very reasonably priced. The roast that was cooking smelled heavenly.

Also visited:

Edinburgh: The Naitonal Museums are very good and make good indoor options.

The Castle and Holyrood House also, particularly if the weather is such that you want to walk the fun "Royal Mile" between them.

Rosslyn Chapel of Da Vinci Code fame is also nearby and worth a look if you have time and interest (can be senn via public bus or taxi).

Best free option: Enjoy the views / photo ops from top of Calton Hill.

Newcastle: The Black Tower is a surpirsingly good castle despite its urban setting. The Pitcher & Piano (Quayside) is right by the new bridge, and great for waterfront people watching, food and drinks.

The Tynemouth Priory was amazing, inexpensive and easy to get tojust steps from where the shuttle bus dropped us off to catch the metro into town.

The Segendum Roman fort was less sounless you are really into the history of italthough there is a section of Hadrian's Wall there, and it is also accessible via public transport if need be. Less

Read more Eurodam cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Eurodam Review >>

Cabin review: Eurodam Large Oceanview Stateroom Main V5151

Average balcony.  No problems except slamnming doors and smoke from other baclonies.Narrow space between wall and the foor of the bed, but not unusually so.

Port and Shore Excursions


Missed much of Bergen, as I was still in transit overland from Flam via train. See Voss this way if you have time, as part of the "Norway In A Nutshell" tour.

So I only saw the Hanseatic Houses along the waterfront. Very scenic, very rainy. Those who took the funicular to the hilltop which overlooks Bergen told me they really enjoyed itbut also said to make sure to bring sturdy shoes and an umbrella.

Read 172 Bergen Reviews

If the weather is nice, many of the city's best sights are accessible by water. The inter-connecting hop-on, hop-off water taxi routes converge at Nhyavn. You can also get an all day pass if you wish to do more than one route, but make sure to bring a jacket as it's always windy on the water in Copenhagen, even in summer.

A great daytrip is to astronommer Tycho Brahe's scenic island of Hven, approx. 1 hour away by SPAR ferry. Rent a bike, visit the Brahe Museam, have some seafood, drink some local aquuvit. Enjoy the beautiful tranguility. Ahhh.

Also slightly off the beaten path if you have time: - Roskilde Cathedral and the Viking Ships Museum (easy train ride) - Helsingor, Shakespeare's famous castle in Hamlet (easy train ride) - the Carlsburg brewery tour (residential neighborhood of Copenhagen) - underground stained glass museum (in a park that's walkable from the Carleburg tour)


(5.5)
Loved Flam. The early morning sail-in was incredible, with a quick stopover in Vik.

The scenic railway is a must. Pre-book if you can. If not, you may get lucky just walking up if you can beat the lines which form early, or can befriend a local.

The train winds its way up thousands of feet along a very step track, crossing and recrossing the river via tunnels and trestles, with at least one stop for photos.

The fjord boat tours are very good too. I took a multihour ferry ride down the side "narrow fjord", (but forget the local spelling) a UNESCO World Heritage site. Well worth it, even in the rain. It's a small boat, but has food and drinks (even waffles!) and occaional pre-recorded descriptions of the most amazing waterfalls and such along the way that are offered in multiple languages.

The Grand Hotel in Flam is worth a look if you find you need the comforts of civilization, as is the local brewpub and adjascent hotel, run by a very pleasant and welcoming American/Norwegian husband and wife team.

Read 83 Flam Reviews

(4)
I met an old friend here who showed me around to all the sites in short order.

Public transit is excellent here. Get the Oslo Card and go everywhere for one rate. It is easy to take a ferry from the end of the pier to the nearby Viking Ships Museum.

The Munch Museaum is also very good if you need an indoor option or are an art lover.

If the weather allows, the Vigiland sculpture park is not to be missed. Make sure to see the "Angry Child" on the bridge, and the beginning of life baby sculptures below it, as well as the grand tor at the center of the park. Amazing!

Finally, the castle overlooks the city center and the pier. Great views! But be careful of loose footing on some steep pathways, and that there are no fences in some areas to prevent you (or your children) from taking a tragic tumble.

HINT: Make sure to be on deck (or on your balconyanywhere with a view really) for the long sail in and out of the Oslo fjord for amazing views.

Read 144 Oslo Reviews

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