My husband and I are in our mid-50’s and have cruised previously with other lines, with this being our first experience with Holland America. When choosing a cruise, it is the destination and price that we first consider, as well as the rating of the ship.
We chose this cruise based upon the destination and price and wasn't disappointed. This was a 7 night ‘Mediterranean Glamour Cruise’ which included stops in Monte Carlo, Portofino, Rome, Sicily & Tunisia with origination and disembarkation in Barcelona. We were a bit wary of the stop in Tunis, but were pleasantly surprised by it. Each stop was unique and gave us a taste of the Old World charm, as well as the glamour, of the Mediterranean.
We found the crew of the Eurodam to be exactly as has been described: Friendly, happy, courteous, and giving excellent service. We were even satisfied with our encounters with the Front Desk, which others have described as being a weak point.
Since this was a cruise originating in Spain, 60% of the fellow passengers were North American (US and Canadian), while the remaining were predominantly European or Asian. The demographics of age may also have been less typical of a HAL cruise, since there were many young families with children, as well as a fair number of us in the 40-60 age range. Though definitely present, there was fewer of the more senior crowd than I expected on the ship. We had enjoyable dining conversation with passengers from Malaysia and from the Netherlands as well as retirees who called us ‘youngsters’ much to our pleasure!
We had signed up for an Ocean view guarantee, and were unfortunately assigned a category ‘C’ handicap room. The handicapped rooms have larger bathrooms, but at the expense of the rest of the stateroom. As a result, we had two small chairs, such as in a cafe dining area, instead of a couch and no table on which to enjoy room service. The storage area was configured for someone in a wheelchair as well as many other items within the room. It is wonderful that this is available for those who need it, but is a problem for those of us that are above average in height, and for storage of suits and dresses. The overall square footage of the room was much smaller than on ships we have sailed on with other lines, and was truly felt. Since this was a port intensive cruise, it was less important this time around, but may have been otherwise.
My main complaint is the service and food in the dining areas. I realize that taste is relative, and what I say is bad may be more to someone else’s liking. However, the temperature of the food was generally lukewarm. The impression was that it had been prepared well in advance and setting waiting to be served. In the Main Dining Room (Rembrandt), the service was very slow, regardless of number of people at the table. The Lido is a disaster, with not enough seating or enough space to navigate between stations and people. Having cruised on other lines, such as Princess and Celebrity, we know that it is possible to do this much better. The hamburgers and pizza were sub-standard. The fries were good, if you happened to catch when they were freshly prepared. We did have lunch in Tamarind, and it was good. The dinner in the Pinnacle was excellent, with the steaks being cooked exactly to order. The meal was on the scale of a nicer steakhouse (not quite Flemings, but better than Outback). To me it seemed that the only way to have a decent meal was to pay the premium for the alternative dining.
We have previously sailed with Princess and Celebrity, and most likely will sail with Princess again or another cruise line before considering HAL. It just didn’t give us the full satisfaction of a cruise we have come to expect.