Embarkation is a snap now, although I could have made it even faster if I didn't forget to bring my legal doc proving I have full legal and physical custody of my 10 yr old twin daughters! Even still, Holland America has it down to a science and you're on the boat before its even ready to get you in your room, but you can roam about and familiarize yourself with the lay of the boat.
Our suite was beautiful. Most ships now have loud, garish colors and patterns, but this entire boat, including the room, is classically done in beautiful colors and decorated nicely. The suite comes with free laundry and dry cleaning service and this is the best deal ever because I don't like doing laundry on my vacation, and I don't like coming home to it either. The beds are super comfortable and the huge veranda is the best place to enjoy breakfast, and why not? Room service is prompt and quiet and the food comes piping hot and delicious, and no elbows from other people wanting to get to the food!
Speaking of the food, the dining room isn't so bad, and the service is faster than most other ships, but the lido deck? The lunch food is the exact same thing every, single day, and it is terrible. The salad dressings are not fresh, they are kraft or some sort of pre-packaged, grocery store bought dressings, and the food is Gordon's Food Service packaged food, heated. The grilled hamburgers are cooked in-mass and put in a warming drawer. They are, therefore, overcooked and lukewarm and the cheese can't melt, because the burger was cooked long ago and put in a drawer waiting to be ordered, as is the worst salmon burger you will ever taste! The salmon, and I am talkin' all over the ship, is terrible! If they say "grilled salmon," expect to eat salmon that tastes like propane gas or car fuel; its disgusting, and I love salmon cooked a lot of ways, but this is not good. The pizza server on the lido deck is never happy to serve you and never in a hurry to help either, and you can't serve yourself, so you wait until he feels like helping you. Same goes for the ice cream scoop guy! He looks like he just wishes you would go away, and he scoops a wee-little scoop of ice cream, and if you ask for more, he pretends he doesn't understand you, so you have to make an ass of yourself trying to beg him to add a scoop.
The spa is very nice and the therapy pool is AWESOME! The relaxation room with heated tile lounges that were designed by a chiropractor are nice...but they are hard, they are made from tile, but ahhhhhh, so nice. Two steam rooms are in the room, and you share them with both men and women so WEAR A BATHING SUIT. They are wonderful. They have one little sauna too, which gets little action. I had a "Top to Toe" special on Thursday that included a 50 minute hot stone or bamboo massage, a facial and a foot rub, but they neglected to give me the hot stone or bamboo massage, and didn't forget to charge me for it. When I complained, they said they would have a manager phone me, but he/she never did and it was not taken off my bill. That upset me a bit.
The kid club, Club HAL, was wonderful. The gals who run that program are the best and really love children; it's clear. They remembered my daughter's names immediately and included them in everything and insured all the children had a great time together; it was the best atmosphere. My girls are in the "Tween" group, and could finally sign themselves in and out and it worked out perfectly; we'd simply leave messages for each other in our suite! With only 300 kids on board, the clubs were able to focus on the kids better, I think, and the kids formed friendships I hope will last through email for a long time.
The ship is immaculate. I went on it for New Year's Eve with my boyfriend last year and we loved it. We only had one complaint, and that was the a-holes who save lounge chairs at the pool. This time I mustered up enough nerve, after watching from a chair, a woman holding 5 lounges for 40 min, I asked if it were HER who put things on the lounges, and she smugly said yes, she had and I could not use one as she was expecting people. I told her they have been no-shows for 40 minutes and I wanted to take only one. She said I couldn't. I sat back in my chair, tanning only one side of me, and thought I ought to take the damn chair, and so I did. She couldn't do a darn thing about it. I was there for an hour, and no one ever came to claim the other 4. I packed up my stuff and left. I'll handle things the same way int he future.
I was with my children, and they only wanted to rush through meals to get back to Club HAL, but when I go with adults again, I will get the package for the Spa again, saving me hassle at the pool, being somewhere tranquil (insuring I get what I pay for w/ regard to treatments), and I will pay extra for the better food, even though it kills me to have to do so. Going with other adults allows you to buy wine by the bottle too, but alone, I can't pound a bottle and I don't want to be bound to the same drink the next day, if they offer to hold the bottle.
The entertainment was better than the time I went with my boyfriend. The in-house singers & dancers are great, but on the last cruise, they did all but one night's show. This time, we had a wonderful Irish entertainment duo, a magician, a well known comedian and a few nights of the in-house group that were great! More fun, perhaps, are the things they do in the Queen's Lounge. The game shows they put on are hilarious, and you hear people howling, they get so funny, with passengers as contestants. They did this last cruise too, and it is something you shouldn't miss, especially The Newlywed Game! You never know what you're going to get, and the cruise director eggs them on, it is fantastic.
Expect disembarkation to go flawlessly. Ours did both times on this ship. Two years ago, I was on The Carnival Splendor, and it was a mess! Every stairway was jammed with people, luggage smashing into everyone's ankles, people nudging each other and huffing, and panic stricken, angry people trying to see what was holding up the line.... The Eurodam is nothing like that. Everything is handled perfectly.
In summary, the place is immaculate, the food is really bad on the lido, as is the grumpy service, but the food int he dining room is better, and if you are willing to pay $20 pp, which I am not yet, it is my understanding that the food in the alternate restaurants is wonderful; I only heard rave reviews. Kid club is fantastic, cabins are really nice on this ship and you don't get lost in a city of people... you can actually catch an elevator any time you need one! Oh, and the photographers don't hound you like they used to!