By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief
Holland America Line may be one of cruising's most venerable lines, but Eurodam, which debuted in July 2008, continues HAL's more recent tradition of offering an onboard ambience that blends elements from past and present. The ship's elegant art collection, its superbly trained crewmembers -- who hail mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia -- and courtly evening entertainment, from a nightly string quartet to cheek-to-cheek dancing, all connect passengers to Holland America's stately heritage.
And yet, additions to Eurodam -- such as Tamarind, Holland America's first ever Asian restaurant; the Silk Den lounge, designed as a swanky homage to a Hong Kong hipster's club; and Explorations, a gathering place that mixes together a library, coffee bar, Internet cafe, Crow's Nest lounge and card room -- point to a more contemporary vibe.
The progress that Eurodam represents for Holland America is relatively gentle. It's an evolution, rather than a revolution, to be sure. Still, certain changes point more to the line's future than its past. Eurodam is the first built-for-Holland America ship in the fleet to be designed without a tennis court, for instance. That space went a long way to making room for a combination basketball/dodgeball court, Silk Den and the adjacent Tamarind. The new Canaletto, a family-style Italian restaurant, has few of the usual dining formalities. If the private, fee-extra cabana areas around and above the main pool remind me more of a sleek South Beach resort than a cruise ship, well that's progress, right?
I think so. Holland America, long a line catering more to mature travelers than active ones, has been on a journey to broaden its appeal without alienating its more traditional fans. On Eurodam, the mix works.
Eurodam Fellow Passengers
Your fellow passengers on Eurodam will vary, depending on the ship's itinerary. On our Europe cruise, a significant number of passengers were European or British. On a Caribbean cruise, you'll find more North Americans. In most cases, Eurodam cruisers were well-traveled and typically more mature -- in the 50-plus demographic. Families were amply represented but did not overpower the experience.
Eurodam Dress Code
On Holland America, formal nights are still considered to be quite formal. Occurring twice on a seven-night cruise (and more often on longer voyages), passengers really do dress to the nines; men wear tuxedos, and women wear long gowns or elegant pants ensembles. The rest of the time, the ambience is resort casual -- day and night. Very informal gear, such as jeans and shorts, is appropriate for outer decks but not so much for restaurants.
Holland America Line automatically adds $11.50 per person, per day, to onboard accounts; it is then shared among waiters, stewards and other service personnel. That amount can be adjusted in either direction by visiting the front desk. A 15 percent gratuity is tacked onto bar bills. Note that gratuities are not automatically included on bills for spa treatments.
PENCIL--If you like crossword puzzles, take a pencil with an eraser. None on ship.
NIGHTLIGHT--Handy for middle of the night bathroom trips
TOILETRIES--One source said to buy these on shore. Bring your own. Shore time is too short to look for ...continue
By way of background, we are in our early 70s and have traveled the world extensively. However, this was our first cruise. We chose a transatlantic repositioning cruise because it seemed a great value and would satisfy a desire to cross the ocean ...continue
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Our extended family took a spring break cruise on the Eurodam March 30-April 6, 2013. The eight of us ranged in age from 28-66 years old and we all had a great time!
Before the cruise, I was worried how our group would do on HAL. Out of the ...continue