On September 30, 2011 we boarded the Eurodam at the Manhattan Terminal. Check-in was efficient and quick. We had only carry-on, so that we could go directly to our cabin and get settled. There was food available at the Lido (buffet) and later at the pool grill. The captain hosted a sail away through NY harbor. Our Cabin attendants (Uman and Sakti) from Indonesia were responsive to a call placed to the front desk. We were able to get our laundry service started since we had been on the road for 5 days prior to the cruise. The pressing of our formal wear took only overnight and was available for the first formal night which was the second night of the cruise. The first load of laundry was returned the second morning of the cruise. We purchased the $70 laundry package for the cruise and for the most part, if you did get your load picked up by 9 am, you got them turned around the next day. If we knew this was the speed of service, we would have packed a bit differently. The required life boat drill went smoothly and there was a big grill cookout set up by the pool when we left port. Our dinner reservation cards at the specialty restaurants were in our cabin upon departure from NY along with our $400 in pre-cruise drink cards. They are sold at a small discount, but nothing special about it. They helped us manage our costs while on board. The drink and bar crew are all Phillipinos. They get the 15% that is tacked on to each drink (soft or alcohol) that you order, so no tipping is needed. The daily "hotel fee" is $11 per person and 100% of that goes to the Indonesian crew (all the other workers except for the bar crew) at the end of the trip, so all tipping is covered without you taking extra cash from your pocket. You could get surprised by your final bill if you are not expecting the $220 we saw on our bill after the 10 day cruise. A few customers raised some LOUD disputes at the main desk the day before we left the ship in Quebec, becaue they did not expect that charge on their room.
On the third day, Gloucester was a tender port and we got there on a Sunday. No rental car places were open. Public transportation was on a limited schedule and it was cold anc dreary. This port lacks interest. We were able to meet friends from Connecticut and go to Salem for the day. Salem is a bit more interesting.
On the sixth day of the cruise, we were supposed to be in Sydney. Because of a huge storm of 70 knot winds and 30-40 foot swells, Captain Darin Bowland took the ship to the leeward side of Pronce Edward Island and waited out the storm for an extra day at sea. It was a lost day because we really couldn't do anything on board with the way the boat was moving. Eurodam is a huge ship, but it still was riding high and low for about 36 hours.
On the 9th day of the cruise, La Baie, Saguenay was our port. THe nearby National Park had hiking, park walks and kayaking for excursions from HAL. All of the those were great trips. We would strongly recommend the hike, but only for people who are in excellent physical condition. It is 10% grade over 1.5 KM and a number of cruisers were not ready for that exertion.