We chose Holland America because of very good experiences in the past, and because it offered the ports of call, excursions, timing, and quality we wanted. No real surprises here. The internet-based process of selecting our key excursions ensured we had our choice of the best - others who delayed were not so lucky, as several popular excursions were sold out. Internet also expedited the information-gathering process, so our check-in was a breeze. Internet is also a weakness on-board, as the connection was far too slow for most. With free wi-fi in Tallin Estonia, it's better to bypass the pricey on-board variety. The shows featured singers and dancers who were competent and gave a good first show; the other three times it was more of the same. Many fellow-cruisers took advantage of the "Greenhouse Spa" for a variety of high-quality but expensive treatments.
By far the best value on board was the free digital workshops - hosted by Trish - and featured enjoyable and helpful tips on photo editing and movie making. Service on board was attentive and friendly, as always. Food was good quality and presentation, but not really adventurous in recipes. Mostly we enjoyed the superior service the dining room provided, rather than the crowded cafeteria atmosphere of the Lido. The pool-side grill and piza outlets offered good quality.
The shore excursions really needed the efforts of the guides to make them interesting, though each port had its highlights. Be warned though, that all these ports are not very friendly to those mobility-challenged passengers.The top reason for going there was St. Petersburg, and it did not disappoint. The Hermitage, Catherine's Palace, the ballet and opera excursions all received rave reviews from all the passengers. Copenhagen was also worth an extra day or two if you can spare the time and expense.
After a busy day ashore it was a joy to settle in to our comfortable veranda suite, kept immaculate by the cabin stewards. A small point: no bedside electrical outlets. The eighth deck veranda cabin was around 200 sq. ft. plus a balcony with two chairs and a small table. Storage cupboards were tight; no bureau and only a rudimentary desk. furniture was utilitarian without much style, but the beds were very comfortable. Bathroom was small but adequate; limited shelves for toiletries. Location was near the hall, so noise was sometimes a problem, but the gentle motion of the ship soon put you to sleep.
Disembarcation was very time-consuming. Even with timed leavings, the process took at least 4 hours, beginning to end. Getting a taxi alone took 30 minutes. All told, the Eurodam is a well-run, clean and enjoyable boat, with good but not great value for the dollar, but gourmet or luxury - not really. If you choose this ship, choose for the ports of call.