This was our second cruise on HAL and will probably be our last one. We left Amsterdam on a nice sunny day, but ended up missing our last two scheduled ports because of Hurricane Earl.
The Eurodam is a fine looking ship and its public rooms are very nice and comfortable. The embarkation was tedious, partly to blame was the fact that the ship left from the container terminal because of the Sail event in the main harbor of Amsterdam. It was nice seeing many tall sailing ships from our balcony as we left the port.
Our accommodations were good; we chose a veranda cabin on deck four, the Upper Promenade deck. While the cabin was comfortable, the plumbing left something to be desired with the shower going hot and cold every time we used it, and there was a small water leak on the floor of the bathroom. The cabin stewards were very good. Our veranda was larger than average for this category.
The food was only average, with the Lido Buffet being limited in choice, especially at breakfast and dinner; the food was basically bland and the variety was limited especially for an 18 day cruise. The main dining room was okay with the food being served nicely and the food seemed to be fresher than the food in the Lido Buffet. The best places to eat we found out are the two specialty restaurants, The Pinnacle Grill and the Tamarind which cost $20 and $15 extra per person. I can definitely recommend these two restaurants since they were excellent. The free Italian restaurant, Canaletto, was below average in food and service and would not compete with any good Italian restaurant in our home city, Los Angeles. The dining hours were limited, with everything closing down at 9:00 pm; the Lido buffet closed at 8:30 pm and they tended to shut down about 5 to 10 minutes before that.
It seemed that most of the passengers on the Eurodam were seniors with the average age somewhere in the 70s. I am 64 and my wife is 58 and we felt that we were some of the younger passengers on board! I know this is probably because of the length and type of cruise, but I wonder if HAL caters to the senior crowd. It seems many of the passengers were repeat HAL cruisers. The entertainment also seemed to reflect an older crowd with singers, instrumentalists, and a comedian, (Marty Brill--who was quite funny) seeming to cater to senior citizens. The speakers were very good, especially the talks given for the ports we visited.
The public rooms were attractive with our favorite being the Crow's Nest with a nice view of the ocean. The casino was limited in choice of slot machines with the minimum bets being 18 to 20 cents on the penny machines. There are plenty of bars on board if you like to drink. The prices were fair for drinks. The Internet area was next to the Crow's Nest and actually part of the library on the Observation deck, with nice sea views. The charges for Internet use were fair; we chose a plan for 155 minutes which saved us some money.
We chose the cruise primarily for the itinerary which covered ports from Edinburgh to Maritime Canada. We liked the Orkney and Faeroe Islands. In Iceland, we took a full day tour which was excellent visiting the geysers, Gullfoss waterfall, and the ancient parliament area, Thingvellir. Greenland wasn't as interesting; we tendered to a small town, Qaqortoq, on a Sunday and there wasn't much to see there with tourist facilities being limited. The weather also turned foggy and cloudy there with cruising through Prince Christian Sund being affected by the fog. Our Canada ports were abbreviated because of Hurricane Earl, stopping only at St. Anthony and St. John's. St. Anthony was a waste of our time; there is basically nothing for tourists there. We went on a wildlife boat tour, and saw nothing but birds and a couple of porpoises for a few seconds. St. John's is an interesting city and we took a very good walking tour there. Our last two ports, Sydney and Halifax were cancelled because of Hurricane Earl, which the captain did a nice job of avoiding but lead to four straight boring days at sea to conclude the cruise. The debarkation was handled efficiently.
In summary, I can only recommend this type of cruise on HAL to seniors who like a lot of days at sea and are not too particular about the food they eat. By the way, HAL did not compensate us for the two ports that were missed.