My husband and I are in our late 30's and have no children. This is our fifth cruise but our first on Holland America. We have cruised on Celebrity twice and Royal Caribbean twice. The reason we decided to try Holland America was because of the deals that were available. I couldn't believe the great deal we got and this will go a long way toward making us loyal Holland America fans.
We live close to the port so that we didn't need to stay in a hotel. Embarkation was a little chaotic when we arrived curbside by cab but once we were inside it went fast.
The ship is a little smaller than the jumbo ones that I have been on but does not feel crowded. There were only two things that I did not like about the ship: 1. The size of the jacuzzis are too small. They do have one jacuzzi that is larger but the 4 others are quite small. This is fine if it is just me and my husband but when others join you it is very cozy. 2. They do have a larger whirlpool in the Greenhouse Spa but when we inquired about it was $30 a day! Celebrity has the same type of large whirlpool on their ships and you do not have to pay for it. The fitness center was a little small but was well appointed with a combination of cardio and strength equipment.
Eurodam offered different happy hours and specials at different bars on the ship, which was great. We were able to watch the Giants game on the big screen in the Northern Lights on Sunday and went to Martini hour from 5pm-6pm daily with our bartender, Bong. The crowd is a little older but who cares?
Our stateroom was a verandah stateroom with a larger than average verandah with two lounge chairs, a table, and plenty of room to hang out. The stateroom was nicely appointed with a DVD. I knew this ahead of time and rented movies to bring aboard for our downtime. They also have a very extensive library of DVDs at the Crows Nest for $3 a night. The bed and pillows are super comfy. There was an actual bathtub in our bathroom. The bathroom was roomy. The Elemis shampoo and conditioner will make your hair look great all week! There are under-the-bed drawers which keep your room looking uncluttered.
There are plenty of dining options on board and the food we had was excellent. We ate at Tamarind Grill and enjoyed everything. My husband had a huge plate full of sushi and I had the shrimp tempura and filet mignon. The service was impeccable with the exception that they mistakenly tried to charge us even after we had prepaid online when I made the reservation before we boarded. The Pinnacle Grill was also fantastic. My husband had one of the many steak choices and I had the lobster that was cooked perfectly. Again, they tried to charge us despite it being prepaid. Since it happened at both places I would suggest being careful about that. I do like to prepay for as much as possible before the cruise so that we don't have to deal with money as much. We did not eat at Canaletto because we ate so much Italian food during the week at the Lido buffet. We also did not eat at Rembrandt dining room because we don't like to have to eat in the dining room. You can order the Rembrandt menu to your room during dining room hours which we did a couple nights. The Lido buffet was crowded at peak times, especially breakfast, but for the most part we were always able to get a delicious meal or snack. There is such a variety of different things every day.
We took two ship excursions. The first was in Grand Turk and was the Gibbs Cay Stingray Encounter and Snorkel. It was really great. I have never had stingrays that close to me. They were really friendly and swam right up to shore to meet our boat. It was a very memorable experience. Then they took us out snorkeling and we saw more stingrays, beautiful coral and tons of fish including a 3 foot barracuda. Awesome! The second excursion was one to St. John from St. Thomas. They took us to Trunk Bay in St. John which was easily the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. They have an underwater snorkeling trail. I didn't not want to leave! The two other ports were Puerto Rico and Holland America's private island, Half Moon Cay. Old San Juan is a beautiful city to spend the day exploring. Half Moon Cay was a lot of fun. We had the island BBQ and spent the day relaxing in the crystal blue water. It is a nice way to wind down the week.
We will definitely return to Holland America. It really was a very carefree vacation. The service was outstanding and we felt very well cared for.