We just got back from our cruise on the Eurodam and what a wonderful time we had! We left the ship on Saturday in 85 degree weather and on Sunday I was using my snow blower - talk about a shock to the system! This was my DW and my 34th cruise, our 6th on HAL. On the trip was my DW and adult DD. We flew into Fort Lauderdale on Friday, we like going in the day before so we don't have to worry about weather and delays and get rushed. We rented a car from Hertz and drove over to Weston to the Residence Inn. We like it there as it is away from all the traffic, and my DW likes the Sawgrass Mall for those last minute things. Also picked up some pop and water for our room. We had dinner at Chuck's Steak House on 17th Street. We like that place and usually go there when we are in Fort Lauderdale. The next morning we got up and had our complimentary breakfast which as usual was very good, repacked the car and headed off to the Pier about 10:30. My wife is handicapped so I dropped my wife and daughter off at the pier and then returned the car to the airport and caught the shuttle back. Just an FYI to anyone doing this, they don't start running the shuttle from the airport to the pier until 11:00 am. They don't have the individual company shuttles, it is one that picks up everyone.
I had arranged for a rental of a wheelchair from CareVacations. That was to be delivered to our room. For those of you that need wheelchairs, I would recommend them as they were very courteous and had good equipment. We only had one minor problem. I had also arranged with HAL for a wheelchair at the port, however they will only take you from the port to the Lido and drop you. The problem is the wheelchair that was reserved was in our stateroom which did not open until 1:30. HAL was very accommodating and allowed me to go to the room to see if it had arrived, which it had. I picked it up and brought it back to the reception area and we were on our way.
The Ship: We thought the ship was very elegant and laid out nicely. We did not have any trouble getting around. The one thing that did bother us is that we felt "closed in" since there were no spaces that really had high ceilings. One night we ate on the second floor of the dining room which we felt much better about since it had an opening in the center looking down on the floor below, however that floor is for assigned seating. We ate there because there happened to be an open table there when we went to the dining room.
The only other thing that I found negative was the casino was very small compared to other ships I have been on. They also put in a new receipt system for getting your money out of the slots. You have to put in your room card and set up an account and then you get the money from that account or you can charge it to your room. I thought since you could charge it to your room that any credit you had left would be credited to your room however that is not the way the system works, you have to go to the cashier and cash that in. To be honest it is a pain in the neck and there were a lot of confused people there. I found I spent a lot less money (this is a good thing for me, bad for the ship) in the casino because of this. There is something about the satisfaction of getting something when you win - not that it happens often!
I know there have been comments about the front desk personnel and people having problems with them, but I have to say I have nothing but praise for them. Anything I asked was taken care of and I usually got a follow up phone call to make sure everything was ok.
The Room: We were in SS 6089. The room was really laid out nice with lots of room. We did have the coffee table and chairs removed so my wife could get around easier with the wheel chair and walker. The storage was great, I think it was the first time that I can remember that we actually had closets and drawers unused, and there was 3 of us in the room. Don't forget to use the drawers under the bed, they came in really handy. We loved the whirlpool tub and separate shower. The double vanity was also a big plus with 3 in the room. The balcony had two nice lounge chairs with ottomans and a table with 2 chairs, plenty of space. We enjoy our balcony rather than fight the crowds for a lounger. Our room stewart Boyd was great, anything we asked for he got for us. We could not have asked for anything else. My DD would buy the bucket of beers (much better bargain than buying them alone) and he would make sure the it always had ice in it. At the end of the cruise we gave him a nice extra tip and all the pop water and champagne we had left.
The Food: I know this is very subjective, but we found the food to be very good every place we ate. It was hot and had good taste. We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill one night. It was good, but nothing to rave about, I thought except for the portions being larger it was on par with the DR. To be honest I had a filet at the restaurant that had a better taste than the one in the Pinnacle. The one place that they could use improvement is in the dessert area, they were kind of blah. The food at the grill was good and we thought the Lido was also good. We did not eat at the Italian or oriental restaurants. It was 100% better than the food we had in Feb on RCCL Freedom of the Seas.
The Entertainment: Having been on so many cruises we did not go to any of the production shows, but heard from other guests that they were good. They do have the regular shows also like the marriage game, liar game and they have their version of RCCL's Quest. I would say HAL's is a little tamer. We did go into the Disco on the night they were suppose to be playing 60's 70's music. They did that for about ½ hour and then they switched to latin. The DJ must like Latin as that is what he was playing most of the days - problem is no one was dancing. If you had a request you got one of two answers, Don't have it or yes but never play it. The idea is to play to the crowd so they dance. We went a couple of times and it was all the same so we stopped (as I think most people did) I don't think I ever saw more than 20 people in there at one time. We spent a lot of time in the Piano Bar. We had a good time there and Les the piano man was very good. We met quite a few people in there that we would hang out and get up by the bar and sing along.
The Ports: I will not say too much about this as everyone is looking for something different in a port. Grand Turk - Sleepy small port, not a lot to do San Juan - We have been there a number of times, not one of our favorite ports but all the ships stop there. We walked up to the fort and then took the trolley back to the ship. If you are not aware of it, there is a free trolley out on the street in front of the terminal that will take you on a big loop, by both forts St. Thomas - Would rather be docked at Havensmith than Crown, but I guess that won't be happening soon since Carnival signed a 10 year agreement to dock there. Half Moon Cay - Very nice, one of the better private islands. Great beach day. We did have the makings of a storm come in in the afternoon and the last tenders coming back really had a rough time as the seas were very choppy. That night we had a great lightning storm and then rain and wind - up to 60mph. We thought the ship weathered it very well.
Miscellaneous: While we were on the ship I had made arrangements to renew our vows with the Captain. This was a surprise to my DW. They really do in nice and it is well worth the money. When we got to the room there was a beautiful arrangement of flowers with red roses, yellow roses, lilies and other flowers. If you went to the florist it would easily cost you $100 - $125. There was also a smaller arrangement. There was also a bottle of champagne. And an invitation to the Pinnacle Grill. There was also an invitation to the Vow renewal ceremony for my DW and DD. We did the renewal on Thursday (formal night) in a section of the Crows nest that was offset from the rest so it was private. There was one other couple doing it. We had champagne and little appetizers before then the ceremony which was beautiful and he allowed us to say our own vows in addition to the ones he had us repeat. Then more champagne and we sat around and talked. Found out the Captain was going on vacation after this trip and he lives in Patchogue NY just a short distance from where we lived when we were in NY. Small world. We then went to dinner and then to the piano bar where my DD had arranged to have "Lady in Red" played (my wife was wearing red) which we danced to. The next day we got a beautiful leather album with a picture and the vows the captains had us repeat. Very nice.
Debarkation HAL really has this together, no big rush, the most relaxing one we have ever been through. In addition, unlike most ships you can stay in your room and room service is available rather than fighting the crowds at the Lido.
Overall we had a wonderful cruise and would do it again on this ship. The crew was wonderful, service was great, enjoyed the food and was able to relax before the holidays.