We recently completed a 7 night eastern Caribbean cruise on the Eurodam. A few thoughts at the outset... 1) We think we are fair and balanced reviewers. If something has gone well, we are the first to acknowledge it. Conversely, if something is bad, in all fairness to others who have posted reviews that we found helpful, we feel it's out duty to be as honest and objective as we can be in our posting.
So, going forward, this is our second Holland Cruise. We had previously sailed on the Zuiderdam and were very excited at the thought of a "new" ship. Very quickly after a short walk around the deck, if there were many "upgrades" or improvements, we failed to see them. The ship looked 98% the same as the older Zuiderdam. And while some of the design details in the more public areas are nice, much of the artwork and furniture details in the hallways leading to the cabins and lesser traveled areas looks cheaply created and mounted. My partner is a designer by career and was a little shocked at how bad many of the areas were designed. Much less attractive than the Zuiderdam.
Cabins We chose a deluxe veranda (cabin 6141). The cabin felt small and claustrophobic. Whatever the design and configuration, it felt much much smaller and closed in than our last cabin on the Zuiderdam. There is a needless small sofa that takes up way too much valuable space. The TV is awkwardly placed at an angle in the corner...a little difficult to comfortably see from the bed. The linens and bedspread were average quality and design. Nothing great or terribly bad. The lightning is TERRIBLE. There are no good lights by the head of the bed and even the Cruise Director frequently joked about "not being able to figure out how to turn the lights on and off". Let us be clear...you don't' need to spend a fortune to look attractive, just make some smart choices. They did not do that in the design choices for the cabins. They "read" Holiday Inn in Columbus Ohio, not luxury cabin. (nothing personal against Columbus, I'm sure you're a nice city). The veranda was a nice size with two comfortable chairs, perfect for sitting and relaxing with a good book. Our room steward Armand was one of the best staff members on the ship. We can't say enough good things about him.
Embarkation Very smooth. No wait. It only took 10 minutes at most from entering the line to going onto the ship. The staff were very very professional and knowledgeable. Everyone along the way was helpful and pleasant. They should be proud of their staff. They do a great job.
Food There's good news and bad news. The good news - the speciality restaurants were very very good, especially the Tamarind. I can honestly say that it was one of the best Pan-Asian meals Ive ever had. We lived in NYC for many many years and that restaurant could easily hold it own with some of the best in NYC. Truly a great meal in a beautiful setting. The Pinnacle Grill was a good choice. The food was solid, the service B+ and the desserts very very good. Nice atmosphere. The Holland line should be embarrassed about the Lido. The theme seems to be.....if the food is really really bad, must make alot of it. In the end, all you get is alot of really really bad food. Quantity will never replace quality. There were only a few items we would even attempt. I've had meals in college cafeterias that were better. Room service was pretty awful. They did a great job in taking the order and getting it to the room on time, it just was pretty bad, re-heated food. Only if you're starving would I suggest using room service. Typically, we used it for morning coffee before breakfast. The main dining room was solid and predictable. The waiters were very helpful and available...again, I think Holland can be very proud of their staff. A+ for the Tamarind, A- for the Pinnacle Grill, B- for the Main dining room and D- for the Lido and room service (the staff keep them from a solid "F")
Entertainment We really really enjoyed the magician. It was as good as the top shows in Las Vegas, less production but amazing feats. We loved it. The Broadway shows were a solid college level production and entertaining. The comedian was ok.
Fellow passengers We were truly shocked at the average age. I'm not anti-age but would have liked a few passengers our age (38 and 50). The ship was almost exclusively over 70. Many walkers in the dining room and several oxygen tanks. At one point, it truly felt like the pool in a nursing home. We met some great people but would have liked some people our age.
Excursions We signed up for the Power Snorkeling at Turks. I have to respect Holland for their decision to cancel the trip. The weather was "iffy" and rather than have people pay for a sub-optimal experience, the cancelled. Many other cruise lines might have opted for the money. Much too much emphasis on shopping on the ports, little talk of the amazing beaches in St Thomas. Megan's Bay is one of the most beautiful beaches in the world and we only knew about it from fellow passengers.
Half Moon Cay Really one of the most beautiful beaches we have ever been on. Just sit back, drink in the electric blue water and enjoy. My absolute favorite part of the trip. The tenders fill up very quickly so go before 8 or after 10. There can be long long lines.
Overall We were disappointed with the cruise. The suboptimal cabin, the mediocre food and heavy pushing of shopping were not what we were hoping for. We envisioned a luxury cruise stopping at beautiful ports. The ports were lovely but the ship was much less than we hoped for. It is IMPOSSIBLE to get deck chair by the pool on days at sea. The problems with Holland had very little to do with how the cruise line spent their money and everything to do with how they organized some of the areas for their attention. I was originally a fan of Holland but doubt we would ever cruise with them again. I'm sorry we didn't go with the original thought of Celebrity or Princess.