Editor's Note: Eurodam now features the new musical entertainment venues Lincoln Center Stage and Billboard Onboard, as well as the Gallery Bar, which replaced the Northern Lights nightclub and serves up an exclusive menu of cocktails courtesy of the line's partner, master mixologist Dale DeGroff.
Holland America's entertainment and enrichment program is divided into four categories: Explorations for shore-excursion and destination-focused information; Culinary Arts Center with activities that range from cooking demonstrations to food-related trivia; Digital Workshop with subjects that include digital photography and making a vacation video; and Mind, Body, Spirit, focusing on fitness, recreation and brain stimulation games like puzzles and trivia.
These occur mostly during the day -- though, on our port-intensive cruise, some activities were held at night -- and there's rarely a fee charged. Exceptions are crafts workshops, such as scrapbooking, that require materials, and the tasting sessions for vodka and wine, or the cocktail-mixing classes. You can watch the demonstrations for free but it you want to drink, the fees vary from $12.50 to $35, for the upscale wine-tasting.
Eurodam really comes alive at night. Las Vegas-style revues are held at the two-deck-high Mainstage, which underwent a modernization in December 2013 with the addition of $2.5-million worth of LED screens. Used as shifting backdrops for the revues, the results can leave passengers asking, "How did they DO that?"
The Screening Room, the ship's cinema, features recent movies shown up to five times a day (and looped on the in-cabin TVs the following day).
There's also music, which is quite often accompanied by dancing -- whether cheek-to-cheek or more interpretative -- all over the ship. Hot spots include The B.B. King Blues Club (held in the Queen's Lounge), featuring a rockin' six-piece band with two vocalists belting Memphis and Motown favorites, and just down the Deck 2 corridor, the often-raucous Piano Bar, where passengers sing along with the pianist.
Also in the Queen's Lounge is the new Billboard Onboard: a sing-along piano/guitar spot that focuses on hits from many eras and across genres like pop, rock and country. The HALcats play in the Ocean Bar, the primary spot for dancing. Explorer's Lounge has the elegant Adagio duo playing classics. Northern Lights, the ship's disco, pumps out contemporary dance music and special theme mixes, such as Motown Mania and Latin Hits. The ship's sports bar offers a multiscreen opportunity to watch whatever match or tournament is on television.
Eurodam's casino is right in the heart of the nightlife district (a term I use to describe the night-owl spots, such as the disco, sports bar and piano bar). It features a wide variety of slot machines and all major table games.
An interesting offering is the Eurodam Pub Crawl, where the bar staff leads participants on a tour of the ship's lounges. Cost is $20, but that includes four drinks that would cost easily that much otherwise.
Holland America has done an excellent job of sprucing up options for shore excursions in ports of call. These range from standard motorcoach tours to more adventurous, recreationally oriented activities such as cycling or kayaking. The shore excursions desk can also make arrangements for private guides.