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 piano-violin ensemble playing classics 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 Asian restaurant; the Silk Den lounge, designed as a swanky homage to a Hong Kong hipster's club; a rockin' Memphis-and-Motown band in the BB King Blues 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.