Embarkation: We arrived at the pier about 11:30am. Went right in to the terminal filled out the little health form and waited about 5 minutes in line for a ticket agent. We got our picture and room/credit card and went up to the holding cell, oops I mean room. We had to wait about 10-15 minutes and we were on our way on to the ship. I think it was about 12:00pm. Went to the Lido bar had drinks and went and checked out the ship. We were to sail away at 5pm, but there were 7 other ships in port so the captain told us we would be a little delayed on departing. Our room was on the port side and we were on the balcony and noticed a fire truck and ambulance heading our way. Sure enough they pulled up to the ship and ran in with a stretcher and brought someone out and loaded them in the ambulance. So around 7pm the Eurodam finally set sail. It was the first time I have done a sail away from a home port at night. Ft. Lauderdale was really pretty all lit up.
Cabin: We were in cabin 8042. Cabin was clean. Furniture and soft goods all were in good order. We found plenty of room to put away all of our clothes. Don't forget to use the drawers under the foot of the bed. We were able to fit all of our luggage under the bed after unpacking. The bed was two twins pushed together. Now if you were sleeping on your side of the bed it was very comfortable, but if you wanted to spoon with your partner (fiancEe in my case) the center of the bed had a hump were the two twins met. This was very uncomfortable. We asked for an egg crate foam topper 2 days in to the cruise but they had no more. So if you need one ask early. Our room stewards were great. Always had ice in the ice bucket, room was always clean when we come back from the day's events. The TV in the room needed to be a little closer or a little larger not that we watched it that much but when you did it was hard to see small writing, like from CNN which we watched the most to keep up with the news. The other thing is they need more hooks to hang things on. Bathroom was great. The tub instead of a shower only was nice, a lot more room to move around.
1st Day at Sea: Took the opportunity to explore the ship and take pictures of the different areas of the ship. Hung at the aft pool area and had drinks and swam. The sea was a little high at times. While at the pool it was more like a wave pool. The water in the pool came splashing out a couple times. Hot tubs were about the right temperature. After relaxing at the pool we did the whole formal night thing. Met some interesting people and we met the "Nation" people. They were all over the place. They had something to do with a newspaper or something like that. They had a convention onboard. WARNING: If you are going to get your formal pictures done in front of the "green screen", then make sure you are wearing a dark color. My fiancEe had a bright yellow dress on and when we saw the pictures it was hilarious. The picture with the star background turned her dress into the star background. The best one is the back ground with the stairs in it. She looked like she was wearing a set of stairs. We got a good laugh but didn't buy them.
Grand Turk: Pretty place. Looks like your typical Bahamas type of island. They have a little shopping area right as you get off the ship. Mostly chain type stores, not much in way of local people selling local goods. It was a little disappointing. The shopping area was all we really saw of Grand Turk since we did the snorkeling tour. The snorkeling was pretty good. We went to two different locations. The crew was fun and we had a good time. We saw some colorful fish and coral. By the time we got back it was time to get back on the ship.
San Juan: WOW!! San Juan was great!! We had never been to San Juan and what a pleasant surprise it turned out to be. I have to admit I thought San Juan to be more of a Mexico City type of place. Boy was I wrong! Using a website which other traveler like you and I place reviews about the place they have been I found a great tour guide. This same website owns Cruise Critic. His name is Hector. After conversing with Hector through e-mail we arranged a tour of the rain forest and Luquillo Beach. We met Hector right outside the pier and he took just the two of us on a private tour. He was very knowledgeable about San Juan and Puerto Rico. As we drove to the rain forest I told us about the culture, political and livelihood of the Puerto Rico people. Once at the rain forest we watched a short film about it and then we were off to see its wonders. We went to a short hiking trail and saw all sorts of foliage and wildlife that makes up the only rain forest that is managed by the US Forest Service. Then we stopped at a tower that overlooks the rain forest and the mountains it sits on. He showed us this plant that had a Spanish name I can't remember but in English it was called the live and die plant. You tough the plant and it would fold up and look like it died. He showed us what they call mountain snow. This is caused by winds blowing from a certain direction causing a certain type of tree's leaves to turn upside down exposing its white underside. When they see it they know it will rain in the next several hours. Sure enough about 3 or 4 hours later it rained. So the rain forest was pretty amazing. Then it was about lunch time so I asked Hector to take us to a typical local restaurant that tourist typically don't go to. So on the way to Luquillo Beach we stop at this local place and I tried a dish called "monfago" not sure if I spelled it correctly but it was really good. So after I bought Hector some lunch, we all sat and talked about a little of everything. It was a very pleasant lunch. After lunch we headed to Luquillo Beach. This is actually a public beach but was very nice. A little trash around but other than that very nice. Hector let us have as much time as we wanted as he just waited in the car for us. So after we had our share of sun and sand we found Hector and head back toward the ship. Instead of him taking us back he said he wanted to show us some more of San Juan. So we stopped by the fort and went through old San Juan. By this time it was starting to get late and we need to get back. Hector had done so much more then I requested I didn't want to waste any more of his time so I told him to drop us off at a place to pick up some souvenirs I we would walk back to the ship. He said it wouldn't be right of him if he didn't drop us off in front of the ship so he waited for me to run in and pick up a few things. Well at the end of the tour I asked how much I owed him and didn't raise the originally agreed upon price. Needless to say I tip him very well. I will definitely be back to San Juan one day.
St. Thomas: Well I was a little disappointed in St. Thomas. Let me start off by first saying it was beautiful there. The way the land raises straight out of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea was very pretty. The city itself though was not how I pictured it. Very poor and dirty at least through the area we went through on our taxi ride to the other pier to catch a snorkel tour. Now the area closer to the pier the Eurodam doesn't dock at where all the shopping was looked a lot nicer. As a matter of fact we stopped at that shopping area and bought my fiancEe's wedding ring at the Tanzanite International store (tax free baby!!!). While we were at St. Thomas we also did a snorkel trip through a company I found on the internet. It was great we actually sailed (with sails and no engine) to Buck Island and swam around endangered green sea turtles. You were not allowed to touch them but you could get really close, I got some great pictures of them. One of my best snorkeling experiences.
2nd Day at Sea: On this day my fiancEe had a bit of a sore throat so we went to the infirmary to have her checked out. The male nurse that checked us in was great (Mark was his name I think). Made us feel very comfortable and chatted with us while we waited to see the doctor. We only had to wait about 10 minutes and the doctor brought us in. The doctor also was very nice and humors, making sure to check her out thoroughly. He gave her some antibiotics and sinus medicine and she did start feeling better toward the end of the cruise. We went back to the cabin and rested. About 3 pm was time for the mixology class my third one for the cruise. So I went on to that while she rested. If you have a chance, go to the mixology class. It only cost if you want to try the drinks. The class was led my Sydney and Carlo. These two made the class so much fun. If you go to all three you get a certificate that says "Master of Alcohology".
Half Moon Cay: It was a very pretty island. We had to tender in to the island which was a 10 minute boat ride. Once there you walk in to a little shopping area, but we headed to the best part the beach. We rented a clam shell for shade but they get a bit hot, I wish they put some kind of flaps on them so you can get a cross breeze. We mainly just played around on the beach and in the water. At 11:30 they serve a BBQ which was pretty good. They have all sorts of picnic benches to eat at while you watch all the roosters walking around (makes me think of Key West). We met some great people on board and they happened to rent the Grand Cabana at the end of the beach. We went over to say hi. That is a pretty sweet deal, you get your own wait staff, food drinks and snorkel gear. It was very nice of them to invite us over. So thanks to John, Travis, Julie and Reggie for the invite it was really nice to have cruised with you. Now for the tender back. WOW!! What an experience that was. While on the island a front move through kicking up the wind which may the seas get pretty rough. So there was a lot of rocking and rolling the tenders did on the way back. Waves were crashing on to the tender boats. Some people were laughing some were screaming. It took us half an hour to get back to the ship; this was due to the great driving of tender captain trying to maneuver the waves to keep the boat from rocking so much. So once we are tied up to the ship the tender boat is still bobbing up and down making it difficult for people to walk down the gangway as it was moving up and down in the doorway. This was causing people to hit head on the top of the doorway. I do not blame HAL for this just Mother Nature up to her old tricks. As far as I know everyone made it on board safe and sound.
Debarkation: Let me get the bad out of the way first. At 7am the bar lady (who checks the mini bar in your room) just walks in to our room with hardly even a knock on the door. Okay other than that it was one of the quickest and easiest debarkations I have ever done. We did use the signature express baggage service which was great. Even if we didn't use that I think we still would have been off the boat at the same time. Only difference you don't have to search for your luggage once off the ship. We were off the ship by 8:30am
Summary: Overall we had a great time! The Eurodam was a very elegant ship and a pleasure to sail on. I would like to thank who ever had the birthday balloons on their door in the hall that are room was in, made finding our room a little easier after a few drinks at the Northern Lights bar. I would like to see just a little more signage for making it easier to get around the ship. Also with all the scheduled times for event I would think they would have a few more clocks around. Lido dining was okay to good depending on the day. Main dining room food was good not great but good, every piece of meat I order to be cooked med well came out med rare, this occurred 4 different times. Tamarid was pretty good the appetizers and soup were too spicy for me, but the entrEe and dessert were very good. The Pinnacle Grill was fantastic all the way around. I could have eaten there every night! Really don't have any overpowering negative thing to say about the Eurodam. I would say that over 50% of the people on the cruise were 60 or older, which I knew before I went. Just stating what I saw. One more thing I want to thank John the DJ. He did a wonderful job with the music at the Northern Lights. Played must everything we requested.
If you would like to see pictures from the trip go to http://travel.webshots.com/album/576055552JPaqId