Went on my first cruise 10/31 to Eastern Caribbean on Eurodam... overall FANTASTIC!!! My friend has been on several cruises on different cruise lines but this was her first time on Holland. Some problems I will address at the end of this post. Sorry the post will be a long one but would like to give a few comments on the experience.
THE SHIP IS BEAUTIFUL. NOT ONCE DID WE PASS A CREW MEMBER THAT WE WERE NOT GREETING VERY WARMLY. If we looked like we needed something they always offered their help.
Boarding the ship was fairly easy and fast. Lunch was served in the LIDO when we boarded and rooms were ready shortly after we ate. LIDO was so crowded we walked forever before someone offered us their table. Crowded... a lot of passengers just sat at the tables not eating. It would have been nice if they had gone outside of the eating area to sit and let others use the tables for eating. Suggestion: during the cruise, when you have the chance to eat in the main dining areas do it. Very nice not having to wait or search for a table. That said, we did eat breakfast and lunch once or twice in the LIDO and the servers were great.
CABIN VE 5087 Our room was good size, plenty of space for clothes, etc. I liked having a safe in the closet. Stored luggage under the beds. Found out the last night by mistake that the table by the love seat could be raised, would have been nice to have figured that out on the beginning of the cruise. Bathroom very good size, had tub/shower combo. My friend used the clothesline in the shower often. The verandah was big enough for us and had 2 chairs & ottomans & small table. If you look DOWN the life boats are in full view but I took several pictures looking OUT over the water and they came out with no obstructions.
STEWARDS (Edwin & Edgar) were great, our cabin was SPOTLESS and they kept it full of towels and toiletries. They checked the room twice a day. When we arrived the beds were not separated. When they delivered our luggage we told them we needed the queen bed split and when we returned from dinner it was done.
FRONT DESK & excursions personnel were helpful, especially DIANA. MARK helped us to know where to go for shopping (go to his "talk" at the main stage for maps, coupons and helpful info) - at a store in Grand Turk he got my friend a large discount on tanzanite.
SERVERS WERE FANTASTIC. SO HARD WORKING AND SO POLITE. Especially, AGUS in the LIDO buffet and TONY in the main dining (3rd floor) and the young man that served our drinks in the piano bar (sorry I forgot his name). The people that served food (behind the entree, sandwich & the ice cream areas) in the LIDO were very friendly. We never had to wait to be asked if we needed a drink; at the pool, in the lounge, main stage, piano bar, anywhere. In the LIDO the servers always asked if we needed coffee, tea, water, anything. They were so HELPFUL AND NICE. When my friend looked a little sea sick they brought a plate of green apples and asked if they could help her at all. Dessert extravaganza was so fun to see. Flowers carved out of vegetables, ice sculptures, swans carved from watermelon, and DESSERTS!!! We missed the chocolate night at the pool. Heard it was fantastic but I think we were in the piano bar. We had seats in the main dining room for dinner. Food there and everywhere was excellent. I have to admit the coffee was always strong & I switched to tea after a few days.One woman at our table always asked for a pot of water and added it to her coffee cup. We did get room service for breakfast our first morning and it was very good, hot foods were hot. We just placed our order on our door the night before and it arrived on time Sunday morning.
ENTERTAINMENT Dave the piano player in the piano bar was excellent. The singer (Marisha ???) and her band in the lounge were good. Karaoke was fun (2 nights) surprised at the talent of fellow passengers. Visited the casino and spent too much money but the girl (name???) that announced things was very funny. Don't let the first night show prevent you from checking out the other shows. My friend thought it was corny and decided we should skip any other shows. We didn't go the 2nd or 3rd night and heard the entertainment was great. We saw Live Wire (Celtic music) EXCELLENT and the cruise entertainment singers were good on another night. The crew (Indonesian) performed a show which was great. It was fun watching them and trying to spot our servers, etc. We missed the last night show because we ran out of time trying to get to the piano bar, karaoke competition and my friend had not packed (suitcase had to be out in the hallway by 1am). Heard it was good. I packed earlier, suggest you do this and your last night is more relaxed.
Suggestion: have your picture taken whenever offered, you do not have to purchase it but nice to have the option. I think it seemed a little high priced but of course bought one. ($19.95 a picture) Since it was my first cruise I of course bought the DVD of the cruise.($39.95 and got a free DVD of the crew's show)
PORTS... my friend has a hard time walking and was sick a few days so we did not get to do much. Grand Turk - we only shopped at the stores right off the ship. Wanted to walk on the beach area but it rained for quite some time. We had to wait in a store for it to let up enough that we could walk back to the ship. Planned on a taxi ride around the island. A fellow passenger said it is such a small island no need to tour it. Of course my friend and others we were with decided to just shop and not get a taxi. San Juan - first we were bombarded by rude shuttle drivers. An elderly passenger we met at breakfast told us not to get a taxi (which we had again planned on doing) but he said to use the free trolleys that are right off of the ship pier. Of course, we could not find the trolleys so we took a shuttle. The cost gets cheaper as you walk away from the ship. From $20 down to $8 pp. On our shuttle the microphone was broken and the ac was faulty. The driver only stopped at one area for a picture of the ocean and at a little "tourist" store. He drove us to a FORT to take pictures outside but we could not go in as he did not have time for us to visit. He did not stop anywhere else. Later we heard stories from other passengers that had a great driver that stopped all over for visits and pictures. The shuttle driver dropped us off in town to shop and we had to walk back to the ship. Since my friend could not walk up the roads we only shopped on the first street. We heard shopping was great farther up in town. While we were driving around on the shuttle we saw all of the trolley signs, naturally when it was too late. St Thomas - my friend was still sick so we didn't get to go. Heard it was the best place to shop and visit. Half Moon Cay - announcements on the ship... rough waters so delay in the tender. Once the tenders were able to run they asked for people to wait and not all come down at once. Eventually they said it was clear if anyone wanted to go on the island. By then we had to go up to the computer area to print our (flight) boarding passes. Shortly after that they announced no more tenders due to rough waters. Would have loved to see this island, everyone says it is beautiful.
DISEMBARKATION - The last night we verified our receipts and set our luggage in the hallway. In the morning we had breakfast then back to our room for our carry on luggage then off the ship. Had to look for our larger suitcases but luckily a porter came & asked if we needed help, much easier paying him a tip than lugging it all ourselves. It went fairly smooth. We boarded our bus for the airport. Holland had given us the time (8:45am) slot as to when we had to disembark the ship the day before. We did have to sit at the airport for hours since our flight was not until 1:30pm.
Now for the things that I did not like. Nancy had a meeting to discuss disembarkation on Thursday at 4:30. It was stated that at least one person from each cabin should attend. The problem with this... it was FORMAL night and both my friend and I had to get ready for dinner. We had early dinning. I would suggest an early meeting since we were at sea that day. Others told us that they did not go due to dressing for formal night and were concerned that they might have missed something important.
Our ac went out twice in our cabin. We returned to our cabin after a long day, so tired and ready for bed but the room was so hot we could not breathe. We called the front desk and a gentleman came to our room after awhile and checked things. He told us he would get someone to fix it and if it did not work in 30 minutes call the front desk and tell them to let him know. After 35 minutes it was not repaired and so hot that we called. We had to open our door to the hallway and sit up waiting and waiting. We called a third time. Eventually the ac came back on but we were exhausted it was almost 3am. When I went to shut our door a maintenance man went passed with a large belt in his hand and asked if it was working. It took so long but I understand things happen. It did happen again, on formal night while we were trying to get ready for dinner. We called the front desk, thankfully it was fixed and running when we returned to our room that night.
We had asked for a table for 2 when we booked. On our first night we went to our table and there was a couple sitting at a table for 4 - it was towards the back by the window. The couple was such fun & the server excellent and we were thankful for the "mistake". BUT... we met a mother & daughter from Canada on our ride to the ship from the hotel and later saw them at lunch after we boarded. They asked us about our dinner plans. We had reserved seating and they did not. We told them our seats were already set. Our nice night with the FL couple at the nice table by the window ended by the second night. When we came back to our room after breakfast the second day we had a note that we were to go to a different table the second night. My friend was tired and we did not go to dinner that night. The next night we went to the new table and found out it was the Canadian women that had our table changed. It was a table for 6 by the servers station, more crowded area. These women showed up once and did not like the formal dining format and never returned. We asked twice at the front desk why Holland would have changed our table without asking us. We were told someone would talk to us but by the last night when we again went to the front desk no one knew why. We were replaced at the original table right away. The couple at the table thought we did not like them and it was very awkward. The man and woman at the new table were nice but it was strange that Holland would change our seats just because someone else asked and not verify it with us.
THE WORSE THING ABOUT THE CRUISE... the SWAYING OF THE SHIP!!! It was awful everyday... all day... all night. There was not a passenger that did not complain about it. I ran into several people that were so sea sick or that told us that their spouses and friends were in their cabins due to sea sickness. My friend has been on several cruises and has never had this happen during the WHOLE cruise especially since we did not have bad weather. Passengers staggering all over the place. I really felt badly for the ones that were so sick.
I was not sea sick on the cruise but did feel the swaying. I had to go to the Dr the other day due to dizziness/spinning and nausea that just won't go away. I have to go for rehab due to benign positional vertigo. Today is Nov 21st... 3 weeks since I returned from the cruise.
AGAIN, I HAVE TO SAY THE CREW WAS EXCELLENT AND THE SHIP IS BEAUTIFUL. I think I might go on another cruise someday but I might want to try different cruise lines just so I can compare them.