Ahh... the cruise business. A wonderful example of the free market at work. Dozens of options, great service, and competitive pricing. All around had a great experience on the Eurodam. My wife and I are in our mid 30's and were traveling with our 21 month old son, nanny, and in-laws. Anybody who has more than minor criticisms of this ship/cruise is either a serious cruise snob or general malcontent.
Embarkation: Took less than 10 minutes and was a breeze. These guys got it down!
Food: I give the food an A. The surf and turf on the second formal night was about as good as it gets. Lido was generally very good except the stale tacos. Pan-Asian Tamarind was fantastic - probably the most I've ever enjoyed an Asian meal.
Service: A+. Service all around was outstanding. Our room steward had to be the happiest guy I've ever met. Several of the Lido staff members knew our toddler's name by the second day and would stop by and say hi to him while we were dining. Very nice touch to take a personal interest like that. Olivia and the staff at the Tamarind were just fabulous. HA should be quite proud of their staff.
Entertainment: A. Magician was James Cielen and his show was great. Singing quality was ok, dancing was quite good, and presentation/special effects were very solid. Karaoke in Queens lounge was tough for me to take as singers were dreadful, though wife and in-laws loved it. Really enjoye the evening jazz as well as the strings quartet.
Room: Bed was very comfortable, decor was pleasant, shower/bath was perfect, and balcony (VH) was spacious. Only complaint was that everything seemed so tight, especially with our toddler's pack in play next to the sofa. Panel TV had about 12 channels and was able to catch NCAA hoops action on the ESPN channel. We were in the front left of the ship (5022) and had no issues with ship movement. Of course you feel movement from time to time but none of us wore patches and none of us got sick or ever felt the least bit green.
Ports: Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay. Didn't take any tours or excursions. Grand Turk might have been my favorite as ship docked right at a beautiful beach (with plenty of shade covered areas) and there is a great pool/bar area right behind the beach. Half Moon Cay is great as well. We enjoyed walking around San Juan old town and especially enjoyed touring the Morro fort, though it was blazing hot. Megan's Bay in St. Thomas is probably the most stunningly beautiful beach but you have to take a pricey cab ride across the island.
- Not really HA's fault, but we couldn't flag a cab down after disembarkation. Something was wrong as there were about 100 people waiting and not a cab in sight. Security officer was incredibly hot tempered so we dared not inquire about the problem. We ended up taking one of the van shuttles which cost $33 ($11/each), a major league gauge for a 5 minute ride to the airport.
- Cab situation in St. Thomas. The ship docked at Crown Bay, a modern secondary cruise port on the west side of Charlotte Amalie. The surrounding area was nice enough, but the cab operators were pushy and a cab from the port to Megan's Bay was 9 clams a person, one way. So we spent a $110 for 5 of us to get over there and back, including the $4 pp entrance fee to Megan's Bay. It was all worth it as the beach is gorgeous and the water was the warmest on our cruise.
- Elevators on the ship. Seemed like there was always one elevator out of service in the main elevator bays, and often had to wait a couple of minutes for an elevator. I realize this is quite nit-picky but worth mentioning as there isn't much to take issue with.
- Cheapest blackjack tables in casino were $10. They had a couple of the blackjack variation tables (club 21, face up bj, etc) set up for $5, but I just wanted to play some old fashioned $5 blackjack. Also craps didn't allow odds more than 2x, but was just as well as the dice seemed to be stuck on 7.
- Would disembark either early or late to try and avoid long custom line. Disembarked at 9 am which might be the worst time. Wasn't a big deal but sharply contrasted with the hassle free experiences on the cruise ship.
- Probably wouldn't bring wine to dinner. After the $18 corkage fee you don't really save any money. Suggest drinking wine in room before hand and then either drinking water or mixed drink with dinner (my favs were the Tanguray 0010 martini and the Tom Collins).
- If you go to Half Moon Cay get out on first tender around 8 am. We waited until 9 and had to fight the crowds to get off the ship onto the boat.
- Be vigilant with the sun tan lotion. Everybody got burned at some point even though we all lathered on the cream. By the third day we saw lobster faced passengers all over the ship!
In short, loved the Eurodam cruise experience and hope to do it all again soon!