My DH and I had a wonderful time on the Eurodam. We are a married couple and are “seniors”. This was our first Transatlantic Cruise. We have done recent cruises on Celebrity, Princess and HAL. Celebrity is our favorite with HAL placing second. However, all three lines a very similar and we have enjoyed all the cruises.
We flew from JFK to Amsterdam two days early. Since we had already “done” Amsterdam, we checked our large bags at the Amsterdam Airport and immediately took the train to Antwerp. We spent 24 hours in Antwerp. Everything we wanted was in walking distance from Central Station. Central Station is the prettiest train station I have ever seen. The diamond museum and the diamond district were easily walked. The city has a beautiful zoo right next to the train station. We walked to the Hilton. The following day we checked our carry-on at the train station and continued our tour of Antwerp. The Jewish quarter was fascinating. There is an excellent tourist office right in the station. That night we returned on the train to Amsterdam and stayed at the airport Hilton. The next day we easily retrieved our bags from the lockers and went to the ship. We had purchased transfers because the embarkation was to take place about 15 miles out of town due to the Sail In.
Embarkation was a nightmare. It took us over two hours to board the ship. It was extremely noisy and you could not hear the numbers as they were called.
We had a large interior cabin on the Upper Veranda deck and it was lovely. There was plenty of storage space. The room and the beds were comfortable. The service was excellent; the cabin stewards were friendly. In fact, we were greeted pleasantly by all the staff all the time. We had only one problem with poor service and that was in the Canaletto restaurant. Our stewards were always working from early in the morning until late at night and they did a great job even granting special requests.
The buffets were excellent; the food was fresh and well presented and there was a great variety. But the crowds were awful. It was very difficult to find a seat at breakfast and lunch unless you dined very early or very late.
I thought the MDR menus were strange and there was not enough variety. One day there was a mushroom appetizer, a mushroom soup and a mushroom entrée. The next day there was another mushroom entrée. Maybe they got their mushrooms on sale. There were a few days when the chicken and steak on the menu was very similar to the chicken and steak on the alternative menu. The rolls were good but there was little variety in them. You had the same rolls every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner, MDR or buffet. When the food at the MDR was good; it was very good. The lobster and Dover Sole were delicious. But much of the food (including the beef) was just ordinary. When food was covered with sauce there was way too much sauce. Order your sauces on the side. A salad with crab meat had one small piece of crab on it. The desserts at dinner were awful! My favorite meal in the MDR was high tea. That was delicious and the small pastries there were excellent!
We ate once in the Pinnacle Grille and the food was ordinary; the beef was just as mediocre as in the MDR. We would not return to the Pinnacle. We had several lunches and dinners at Tamarind. The food there was very good except for the chocolate cup that was flavored with chili. We did not try the grill or Slice. There were several extra buffets served by the pool but these were also crowded.
Canaletto was just ordinary. The service there was the only poor service we had on the entire cruise. Te servers were curt and just going through the motions. Only go there if the MDR menu has nothing you can eat.
The ship is beautiful. We loved the wrap-around teak deck and the deck chairs there. The Exploration cafe on the Observation deck is a great idea and is beautiful and relaxing except in the early afternoon when they have activities up there. HAL should move the loud activities to another part of the ship. The café contains a well-stocked library and computers and lots of sofas and lounge chairs. It should be for quiet contemplation. Eurodam is well maintained. There are no signs of wear and tear and the crew is always polishing and painting and sweeping.
We purchased a full-cruise pass to the hydro-pool. We would not do that again because there was so much to do elsewhere that we had to force ourselves to go up and change to use the pool. I thought the pool and the heat lounges were fun but once or twice is enough. If you decide to try this, see if you can purchase a one day pass and upgrade to full pass if you like it. My husband said the gym was satisfactory; I preferred to walk on the Promenade for my exercise.
There were lots of activities during the day. We thought we would be bored but we were not. We especially enjoyed the computer classes. There were also movies, games, cooking classes and dance classes. There were interesting travel lectures.
The evening shows were fair except for the two male comedians.
By now you know that we had a rendezvous with Hurricane Earle. We missed our last two ports. We observed the crew doing extra drills on deck during this time. The captain and the cruise director did a great job keeping us informed during this time. There were repeated updates on our TV screen. We had a “Good-bye Earle” party on the last day of our cruise with open bar and all the lobster and crab you could eat. We spend the last part of our cruise “hiding” from Earle and peaceful Cape Cod. We were not allowed to disembark because of INS rules.
I was disappointed in the gift shop. It was not well-staffed during the day time and I thought it could be larger. There was a very limited selection (except for the big ticket items like high-end jewelry. The day we stopped in St. Anthony, there were tons of HAL cruisers crowded into a small drugstore buying sundries and candy. .
I cannot emphasize how hard the crew works. We saw out dining room waiters on duty most days for lunch and dinner at the buffet and at night in the MDR. These folks (and our cabin stewards) were well- deserving not only of the tips that were added to our shipboard bill but of extra tips besides. We overhead some people saying that they were not going to tip the crew because we missed our last two ports and HAL was not compensating them for it. That is appalling.
This was a TA cruise. Our favorite port was Edinburgh. We did a tour of Edinburgh and the Tattoo Fest. We purchased these through the ship’s shore excursions at an exorbitant price. We live and learn. We will surely return to Scotland and tour on our own. We loved Iceland and St. John’s. The other ports, Kirkwall, Torshavn, Greenland and St. Anthony were very low key and interesting. We toured Iceland with a private group and toured the other ports on our own. The scenic cruising on Prins Christian Sound was beautiful.
Disembarkation in New York was smoother than embarkation.
We purchased transfers for both embarkation and disembarkation. We had long waits on the bus both times.
Overall it was a lovely relaxing cruise.