My husband and I took the Canada & New England cruise on the Eurodam on Oct. 6, sailing from Quebec City.
We flew in 2 days earlier so we could stay in Quebec City before the cruise and stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Hotel right outside of the walls of the old city. I can't say enough about this fine hotel and staff. The room was great and the breakfast buffet wonderful. I'd go back in a blink of an eye. Keep this hotel in mind if you are thinking of going to Quebec City. It's near everything. It's priced reasonably too for the location.
We had fine weather the two days we went sightseeing in Quebec City and we were really glad we took the extra time to stay here. The fall leaves were just breathtaking as we live in Florida and don't get to see any leaf changes. The city is beautiful and we enjoyed out time here and would like to visit again.
We boarded the Eurodam on Oct. 6 and the first thing we noticed was how crowded it was and the long lines. We got there pretty early around 11a.m. and the staff at the port was only letting 4 people at a time go up the escalator to the second floor to fill out paperwork and then to proceed on to the check in desks. This was tending to slow things up.
We boarded the ship and we were able to go to our rooms right away which was nice as usually you have to wait till around 1pm to do so. Our room steward and helper came to introduce themselves. I went to wash my hands before lunch and noticed that our sink was very slow to drain which is a real turn off to me when plumbing is not working properly. We had a veranda room on the Veranda deck. We went to lunch and I didn't see the room steward again so I could mention this. I thought that this might be a bad omen as I would assume he had noticed this since he was cleaning the bathroom sink and should have noticed the water not draining.
We went to the Lido deck for our lunch and the lines moved along very well. I will say that we didn't pack any formal clothes on this trip, just "smart casual" as we thought that with some airlines charging more for extra bags, we wanted to travel as light as we could. So, we decided to eat our meals on the Lido deck and in the Pinnacle Grill and not participate in the formal nights. There were 3 formal nights in a 10 night cruise. My husband and I know that this is a way for the cruise line to make money with taking pictures etc. But is 3 formal nights really necessary?
The first night I woke up during the night (not sure what time) and smelled a strong smell of GARLIC!!! I thought that someone might have been getting late night room service or something. The smell lasted quite a while. Off and on we smelled peculiar food odors coming in our room. Then smelled it in the hallway too. I saw our neighbors on either side and asked if they had smelled it and they said Yes, they did. We called the service desk and they sent someone up and he said he smelled the food but had no idea how it would be coming in. I will say that over the next few days they would call and ask if we still smelled it. Finally it cleared and I don't know what they did as nobody ever told us where it was coming from or how it was getting into our room. They sent a plate of chocolate covered strawberries for our "inconvenience" and a nice note. Also may I add that the sink was fixed the day after we embarked in Quebec City.
The food in the Lido on the cruise was fine, but not anything to stand out. We've cruised with Holland America many times and have almost 100 sea days with them. We've also cruised Princess and other lines. I will say that the food on the Princess buffet line now surpasses Holland America. In fact I think Princess has the best buffet in the business. We did not go to the dining room even though we had "anytime dining." Most of the time we liked to stay late in the ports we visited and didn't feel like dressing up to visit the dining room, so we just enjoyed the casual dining on the Lido.
It seems like whoever is in charge of the Lido dining room can't make up their minds if their "guests" can get their own beverages or deserts. The first couple of days you could not take a piece of pie on your own, someone had to had to lift up the glass and give it to you. Also the beverages were being handed out too. Then it all changed a few days later. We could just walk up and get our desert, or beverage. Weird. The Pinnacle Grill is very good and we enjoyed our dinner there although it did take about 35 min. to get our entree after we put in our order.
I will review the ports on the port site. We visited Baie Comeau, Gaspe Peninsula, Prince Edward Island, Sydney, Nova Scotia, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Bar Harbor, Maine, and Gloucester, Mass. We enjoyed visiting so many ports of call. The shore excursions we took with Holland America were fine, but there are some things that need to be addressed. When you book a shore excursion online, it should say how you will be transported on the excursion and how long the ride will be from the dock to the place you are going to see. On a couple of shore excursions we had school buses, they were more comfortable than a regular school bus, but we were left waiting an extra half an hour in very cold windy weather for late arriving buses. The only other issue I had with an excursion (which I noted on the survey you are given before getting off the ship) is that on our way up to Cadillac Mountain in Bar Harbor, those of us who were on the side of the bus that didn't get the spectacular ocean views were cheated out of getting pictures out the window. We asked if we'd have an opportunity to get pictures on the way down the mountain and the tour guide said yes. However we came down a different way and never passed any of the scenic sites like "thunder hole", etc. on the way down. That was disappointing. We enjoyed all the ports but only missed one, Baie Comeau as it was raining when we got there and we didn't see anything there that we felt would interest us.
We sailed on the Eurodam when it first was launched in 2008 I believe it was. I can see a difference in service. The service has slipped a bit. The entertainment is OK, they usually have the same types of entertainment, magicians, ventriloquists, and if I see another "On Broadway" production by the staff singers and dancers I might jump overboard. We found the movies to be up to date however. One movie was "Robin Hood", one was "It's Complicated", another "Shutter Island" and another "Date Night." All pretty recent.
I will disagree with another reviewer about the music on board. One complaint we had in the past was the 1940's music. The "new" retirees were born in the 40's and 50's. Our music is the 60's and 70's. On the Eurodam I can say it's coming along a bit. We've made it to the 50's and 60's. Lots and I mean lots of Tom Jones, Elvis, Little Richard, etc. When we spent time on the Westerdam they were playing some smooth jazz. That was very refreshing. I wish the Eurodam would follow suit. I know they have to please everyone, and Holland America is not known for their younger cruisers, so they are trying.
I would still prefer to sail Holland America ships on a long cruise or on a cruise where you might anticipate some rough seas. These ships. we have found to be the best at sea and don't have too much motion. We went through some rough weather off the coast of Norfolk, Va. and we had 70 MPH winds on the starboard side which caused us to list 5 degrees to port. My husband and I remarked how well the ship handled the weather. We've been on much larger ships on other lines that would have been rocking and rolling from much less weather.
Baie Comeau, Gaspe Peninsula, and Gloucester, Mass. are not offered as ports to review on this site. We thought Gaspe and the city of Perce was awesome. Great pictures from this place. Also Gloucester, Mass was great, take the walk along the harbor and pass the Fisherman's statue, then the Fishermans's wife statue and then keep on going as the walk goes into a beautiful park with spectacular views of the harbor. A beautiful New England town.
All in all we enjoyed our cruise and the ports and would take the cruise again in a heartbeat. Just sorry to see some things slipping on Holland America, but we'll keep sailing with them.