HAL has gotten better. We have cruised twice before on HAL ships and the experience has been mixed. This can be said about this trip but the good far out weight the bad.
To start we arrived at Fort Lauderdale a day early. The hotel and transfer from the airport went smoothly. I will not comment about the shuttle service from the hotel to an area where there was restaurants. It seems that they were over whelmed. Transfer to the ship was better. It should be since there was charge. The same as a cab ride from the airport to Port Everglades.
Check in was smooth as we arrived at Pier 26 at 12:00. I was taken aback that HAL does not give priority to check in to Mariner members. However the wait was short and we got on the Eurodam in a timely manner. The Cabins were ready and we dropped off ours carry ons and were off to the MDR for the Mariner welcome lunch. Bravo HAL.
The Cabin was as expected. Clean with plenty of storage space. The cabin is starting to show some signs of wear, but that is to be expected. All systems worked so there is no complaint. The cabin stewards went out their way to accommodate our needs. Going so far to find a flat pillow for my spouse.
The food was uniformly excellent. We ate most meals dinner meals in the MDR. Service was great and the staff took pains to remember our desires. A real plus for the Eurodam is that fresh squeezed orange juice at breakfast and cuppachino in the evening is served at no extra cost. HAL does not nickel and dime you as some lines do. You must try the Traimind restaurant. It is well worth the $15 extra charge.
We rented a cabana in the retreat on deck 11. What a great deal. This area is hidden away on Deck 11 forward and comes with your own stewards. It insures that you don't have to fight for deck chairs and it is a great place to watch the sea and read or do other quit things like take a nap. It also offers fresh fruit and bottled water as well as a lunch menu that is delivered to you. A great treat is the champagne and chocolate covered strawberries every afternoon. One could get very used to this type of treatment.
Now for the less than great. The entertainment was just average. There were production shows almost every night. The singers and dancer were good but most shows were to recorded music, not the live band. No comedian or other acts. Just a magician on one evening.
The cruise director was unresponsive. When we were entering the port of San Juan, a talked about the sights, touted by the Captain, was to be given by Travel guide. When the time came a people were lining the outside decks to see and hear the talk it was broadcast that it was to windy and the talk would be given only in the Crows Nest, a bar in the forward part of ship above the bridge. I asked the Travel guide why it could not be broadcast over the ship loud speaker system, her response was that it was too windy and you could not hear it anyway. I brought this to the attention of cruise director and the guest relations manager and all I got was a copy of the presentation and the party line that it was to windy. Not good Eurodam.
The last complaint is that it seems that HAL is trying to make everyone do "any time dining." The early seating was at 5:30 and the late at 8:00 in the 3rd deck part dining room. We opted for a large table and it is for 10. However, instead of a round table it is was long on with 5 on a side. All tables in this part of MDR were like that. Made it difficult to have an inclusive conversation. The reason you sit a big table. In addition the only show on the last night was at 9:30, while we were still at dinner. Catering to early and anytime diners?
I missed the senior management circulation among the passengers. On other lines this is true so that you give an Atta Boy" instantly to the senior manger instead of waiting to fill out the end of cruise check list.
In closing I will say that the experience on the Eurodam has brought HAL back into my good graces and I will cruise on them again. Any day on a cruise ship is better than a day at home.