My husband of thirty-six years and myself both aged in our mid fifties, medium health, non-smokers, and light drinkers. This is our third cruise and we live in Europe although we are American's.
Unfortunately we had our flight arrangements with British Airways and they would not tell if they would be striking or not so we did not know until the last minute making us leave a day early using our leave days and spent $300 on a room by the Rome airport with only basic amenities. We rode their shuttle to the airport and with the help of another couple we finally found where Holland America was picking people up at the airport. They only had one paper sign taped to the back of a wide cement column. This was not a very warm welcoming committee let me tell you. Then the long bus ride to the ship on a very tight fitting bus so when the woman in front of me put her seat back it crushed my knees. I felt bad for her since she just got off the transatlantic flight.
We had to wait in a line to board because all the Deluxe Suites were taken when we booked this cruise; you get head of the line privileges in a suite. We then had our photo taken with some showgirls then ID pass photo and moved right along to our prepared room.
Room: This room was adequate with balcony but the sheet had a big brown stain on it so the first night being too tired to ask for it to be changed I put a towel over it and passed out. I left the sheet down so the steward could see it but he just remade the bed and did not remove the sheet. I let it go but on the third afternoon seeing it still there I requested it be removed. I felt the stewards on this cruise really lacked merit and that is the first time I did not tip them more than what the ship was already charging ($11 @ day each). They did not refill the soaps or shampoos which ticked me off. One person wrote if you go to Deluxe suite you can never go back down and they were 100% right!
Dining: We love the Pinnacle Grill on this ship! "Sam the Man" was on here and we knew him from a previous cruise. He is fantastic and does showmanship to the extreme. He does the whole lighting things on fire and what a great presentation, and always cracking jokes. Also I had it arranged to have a bottle of champagne and a cake for our anniversary and the staff did a fabulous job! Sam is now on the Neiuw Amsterdam
We tried the Tamarind Restaurant but limited selection mainly fish which I do not eat so we canceled our second reservation after the first. Nice presentation here also, with relaxing atmosphere.
In room dining: We had lunch on our balcony since this ship had a dining table and we relaxed drinking wine in the port of Portofino. We didn't have any problems with our orders being taken.
Canaletto-was a big let down. How do you make Italian food bland? Sometimes I think they are cooking for the aged.
Portofino: We had to use a tender and meet with our guide who took us on another boat. We hiked up a path to this church, then further to a point with what they called a "lookout" nah nothing there so we hiked back did a wee bit of shopping and went back to the ship. We had a very memorable lunch from room service and drank a bottle of wine looking at the pretty island with the sparkling water.
Marseille, France: This port was very limited without an excursion and we took this rattletrap of a train to the huge church Notre-Dame De La Garde it was big! We did our postcards and returned to the ship the people were very unfriendly in this port. The Hop & Ride is right near where the ships shuttle lets you off but it was not reliable that day people were upset.
Barcelona, Spain: Loved it! We did an Ipod tour which had a very slow start, one poor girl to handle the whole ship and the Ipods would not work most of the time. We had no problem and walked around on our own. We took our own ear plugs.
Cadiz, Spain: This could have been a great port but the ships excursion was lousy! We took a bus to a point and walked from there. The guide was hard to understand and we did not see much. We did go to the famous church there and ended the tour with a Flamingo dance in this hole. I was livid, this is what I had been looking forward to and I was stuck in this corner where they had us all squeezed into. We received a paper thin slice of greasy ham, a harsh smelling paper thin slice of cheese, two tiny cokes and told to share the plate with our neighbor. I could not see so had to hold my camera up and take a movie over everyone's head to see the dance. One dancer didn't even fix her hair she just put it into a rubber band. It was hot and the place was just unsavory.
Lisbon, Portugal: no tour, we walked on our own but got a bit lost which adds to the flavor. We walked in the early morning before the residents were up and moving. We saw the backstreets walking parallel to the coast until we found the major shopping area and the attractions. It rained lightly off and on and the sidewalks there are small squares of marble, it is extremely slippery and the streets steep. The piano player on the ship fell and broke his arm in two places so he was flown home. We enjoyed our time here but shopping the items did not interest us.
St. Peter Port, Guernsey, UK: I loved this port! We tendered in and the place was closed I think it was a Sunday. We had a tour of Renoir it was walking along a trail and such beauty with clean air. The guide and older woman told us the history and included plants etc. This tour is about the scenes Renoir painted not the man himself like two guest thought it would be. We were supposed to go to a pottery shop but it was closed. We ended the tour with a proper English tea in an English garden at this restaurant. Oh it was so lovely and I don't normally get into stuff like that.
Le Havre, France: Ship tour of D Day beaches and museum, with a visit to the cemetery there. We had lunch and this was the rudest staff I have encountered they did not speak to us nor smile. My husband said he really liked this tour.
Dover, England: Well we opted for the ship transfer with a trip to Canterbury on the way, forgot we already visited there, getting old. We got to the airport to find our flight was cancelled and we had to stay in a hotel overnight to catch one tomorrow with Lufthansa. The hotel was scary!!! We had to lug our suitcases on and off the bus then again the next day. We finally got our flight but it was going to Frankfurt and then we were stranded again, all flights were filled to Stuttgart. We were told we had to take the train! That did it! NO I am not dragging this huge suitcase up and down stairs on those overcrowded trains. So they said they would ship them and when they arrived they were thoroughly abused. Turned out our seats on the train did not exist so the conductor gave us seats in the enclosed space with other people. I hate riding the long distance trains in Germany!
We liked the Eurodam and would do another cruise on this ship.