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4 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise from San Diego

4 Night Pacific Coastal Cruise from San Diego

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  • Day 1
    San Diego
  • Day 2
  • Day 3
  • Day 4
  • Day 5


Eurodam - Holland America Line


Midsized ship with great dining, entertainment and enrichment options, and good service


Busy Lido Market and spa reception; tired Club HAL spaces for kids; challenging internet

Bottom Line

Perfect combination of modern amenities and entertainment with traditional ship ambiance

Cruise Reviews

Sail Date: April 2019
We wanted an easy vacation and now that Holland America is once again sailing from San Diego, we hopped on board. The Mexican Riviera is a well-traveled path and we met many returnees, plus quite a few Midwesterners, Utahns, Idahoans, and ... Read More
We wanted an easy vacation and now that Holland America is once again sailing from San Diego, we hopped on board. The Mexican Riviera is a well-traveled path and we met many returnees, plus quite a few Midwesterners, Utahns, Idahoans, and Canadians. Incidentally, we met up with the Cruise Critic roll call members the first morning of the cruise and enjoyed their company throughout the week. Here are a notable features from our cruise: * Great: Crew, passengers, the ship itself, the food * Good: the weather, the happy hours (2nd drink $2 and passed appetizers) * Missing: HAL cats, the onboard ship's band we enjoyed on previous HAL cruises * Also missing: hand-wash stations and sufficient Purell hand sanitizing stations * Fabulous: the Lincoln Center chamber orchestra and the BB King's Blues Club band * Fantastic: the new Humanity dance show with Step One dancers and light show * Always present but not welcome: sales, sales, sales. Spa treatments, cabanas, on-board jewelry shopping, liquor, future cruises, on-shore jewelry shopping, fee restaurants * Excellent: folklorico dancers, guitarist, comedian Tim Kaminski * Fleeting: one show each by truly excellent guitarist and good Elton John/Billy Joel vocalist-pianist * More detail on food: the Lido had tasty food, well prepared, and served by cooks so that there was very little passenger tong handling. The dining room food was creative, inspired and varied. * Off-putting: the drink prices, especially the wines. Just no. Cheapest white $9 per glass for a bottle that retails for $7 and wholesales for $3 * Inconsistency: Smart casual in the dining room: Night 1, a passenger at a nearby table wearing a ballcap in the dining room. Night 3, a warm day and evening, my spouse appears in a collared button down shirt and long shorts, gets sent back to the room for long pants, oops, our bad. But what's this? Seated next to us: a teenaged boy in basketball shorts and shirt. * More inconsistency: 2nd Gala Night: female wearing capris and a t-shirt with words on it, plus a visor; her dining partner (likely husband) wearing shorts, a baggy t-shirt and a cap. * Final inconsistency in the DR: final night, smart casual again, man wearing shorts and t shirt. Not sent back to change. Also: not a warm day, so no excuse for the attire. * Final missing: an atrium that's a gathering place. The Ocean Bar wraps around the small atrium, but the ship simply isn't large enough for a central space with a music and dance floor. However, with that comes fewer passengers and a more pleasant ambiance. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ... Read More
We chose this cruise because being HAL Past Guests (Mariners) we received a promotion that we could not let pass, as this cruise was on our bucket list. This was our 17th cruise overall, our first one being on our honeymoon 47 years ago. We have cruised on Costa Line (honeymoon in 1972 and Mediterranean in 1991); Carnival, Celebrity and HAL. As seasoned cruisers, we have developed expectations as to our experiences on board. I will be basing this review on whether our expectations were met on this cruise. We flew to San Diego from San Antonio, TX (direct flight on Southwest). We had arranged transfer through HAL. The transfer service was efficient and personnel were friendly. I highly recommend arranging a transfer ahead of time. Embarkation went smoothly. The only glitch was that we had Priority Embarkation and although our bags were tagged as such, we did not receive our luggage until 4pm. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, with understated elegance. The five days at sea were fantastic. The activities during the day were well planned. There was something for everybody. Kudos to the activities director! Sometimes we had trouble deciding what to do because of the amount of varied activities offered.Our favorite activities were the talks in the theater about Hawaiian history, given by a Hawaiian with so much knowledge about his land! There were Hawaiian ambassadors on board (as well as on the 5 days at sea returning to San Diego) who provided their personal insight in the history and culture of Hawaii. We learned the Hawaiian alphabet, there were hula and ukulele classes, classes to make leis and kukui bead bracelets, sunset celebrations with chants, beautiful and authentic hula dancing and sing alongs. These were fabulous. We felt like we were in Hawaii since Day One. I praised and thanked the Port Guides and the ambassadors for giving us this unique experience. One thing they told us that if we liked the experience we need to let HAL know, because with budget cuts this program might cease. I made sure to let HAL know that this a must. As long as I am talking about entertainment, let me talk about the evening events. In the evenings there was a pianist in the Ocean Bar (5pm to 7:45pm). If you wanted to dance you could, in a dance floor big enough for perhaps three couples, but the music, although good, was mainly for entertainment. Then there was the 'B B King Lounge', (3 shows nightly, one hour each), with jazz and blues, and themed music. The dance floor here is fairly comfortable, but the seats on the main floor and in the bar area fill up quickly. This was the only venue conducive to dancing. 'Billboards on Board' are two pianists on two pianos, singing and encouraging sing-alongs. This was fun. They had 3 shows nightly, each one one hour long. They had themed nights and took requests and were very popular. They are not HAL employees. Apparently they are contracted, although there is a Billboards Bar with HAL bar staff. But, no dancing here. For us, a highlight was the 'Lincoln Center Stage', a partnership between HAL and the 'Lincoln Center'. There is a strings quintet who give 3 performances, one in the afternoon and two in the evenings. As the cruise went on they were performing to Standing Room Only crowds. They are classically trained musicians with a varied repertoire, from chamber music to popular songs, arranged especially for them. We always went to the shows before and after dinner. They are a treasure, and HAL should feel proud of having this partnership. The musicians are provided by the Lincoln Center, they are not HAL employees. Contrary to daytime, there is a lack of variety and originality at night. Other than the theater shows, this was it for the evenings, unless you are a gambler (we are not), the "Sip and Savor' and Sampling events for a fee, (another way to get your money), the Jewelry shops spotlights, and.....Bingo. As for the theater shows: there are no more review shows with dancers and singers in HAL. This was a big disappointment. The shows were generally good though. There were two comedians, both hilarious; a magician/comedian who was excellent; a pianist/comedian, very talented and funny; a clarinetist and a guitarist (both talented but more suitable to a lounge venue than a theater); an Australian singer with an amazing range of voice. Our very favorite were 'The Alley Cats', a Doo Wop quartet that are bringing back the a-capella singing with that 50's feel. They are beyond fabulous. Think 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight', 'Goodnight Sweetheart' and you get the idea. They brought the house down. There was also the BBC Planet Earth with live musicians. This is thrilling. The night the Philippines crew did their authentic show, there was not an empty seat in the house. Having said that, the 'show' one evening was a movie we could have watched in our rooms. Thumbs down on this one. One show that was fantastic, and not to be missed is "Humanity" by Step One Dance Company. This blew our minds. Although the majority of the acts were great, many comments were heard, as well as the Cruise Director being asked about the lack of the review shows. Is HAL trying to save money by cutting the review shows? Service around the ship was excellent, meeting our expectations. The only draw back was that whenever we asked for a glass of water at a bar or the theater, we were either ignored or served with reluctance. I know there is no remuneration for water, but we are paying guests and if we want water we should get it without reservations. If we ordered cocktails or wine, there was no problem. Our cabin steward exceeded our expectations. He made sure our flowers were fresh and the fruit replenished. He noticed my husband had a mild cold, so he brought us extra tissues so we had them anywhere in the cabin. He was attentive and caring. Dining: we had Open Seating. The first night service was horrible. The assistant waiter came and served water and gave us the menu. Did not say Good Night or greet us in any way. Then the head waiter came with his notepad ready and without introducing himself he asked for our order. My husband ordered steak and had to ask for a steak knife. One of the assistant waiters was talking to someone on the other side of the half wall dividing our section from the one on a level one step above. He was joking and yelling right behind us. This is not right. Our experience was not what we are accustomed on a cruise. When we made reservations for subsequent nights we were specific not to seat us at that table or his section. We found a good team and asked to stay with them if possible. We did and were very happy with them, as expected. Food was hit and miss, but overall good. Be aware that HAL is now charging a $10 surcharge if you order a second entree. This does not apply to appetizers, salads or soups, or desserts, just entrees. They also charge $20 surcharge for lobster. We ate at the four Specialty Restaurants: Pinnacle Grill, Tamarind, Canaletto, and Rudi's. Rudi's is the Pinnacle Grill transformed into a Chef Rudi restaurant with his recipes and ambiance. They were all a delight, with superb service and amazing food. Also, because of the Neptune Suite, we could have breakfast at the Pinnacle Grill (included). Fabulous service and a great menu. We did this on sea days. The Photo Shop has not gone electronic. No more looking through thousands of photos to find yours, and then see hundreds thrown away. This is fantastic! I gave kudos to the staff. You insert your card in a computer and through a face-recognition program the computer finds your photos and you buy them as if you were buying from home online. Shore excursions: varied and well planned. The excursions followed the descriptions in the brochure. These are the excursions we took: Honolulu: Pearl Harbor and the Mighty Missouri. This is a must if you like history and this is your first visit to Hawaii. The "gangway" to the Arizona Memorial is damaged and unsteady so we did not go inside the Memorial. We knew this so it did not catch us by surprise. You are standing right in front of Battleship Row, where everything happened. Goose bumps! They showed a movie that was informative and poignant so we did not feel like we had missed much by not visiting the actual Memorial. Then we boarded a Navy launch to go the Missouri. On the ride we took great photos of the Arizona Memorial and the other markers. The Missouri is impressive. Standing there where the Japanese surrender actually happened was exciting to say the least. We also went to the Punchbowl, the National Pacific Cemetery, and saw highlights of Honolulu including the King Kamahameha statue and the Iiolani Palace (photos only.) We still had time to go to a Luau. We thought about booking on our own, but the logistics of getting there and back were too risky, so we booked it with HAL. It was fun, food was great, seeing how they prepare the Kahlua Pork was interesting. I tried poi (my husband did not). I leave it up to you to decide if you like it or not, but it is something worth trying if you are in Hawaii. The show was colorful and pretty, but the audience participation got to be too much. Overall, it was fun. Kauai: we took a helicopter ride. This one we booked on our own. We read the reviews from the rides booked thru HAL and were not impressed. We booked Jack Harter Helicopters and cannot say enough about them. They were efficient throughout the process and answered all our questions before we got there. They picked us up at the pier. The ride was the most thrilling thing we have done in a long time. There are places in Kauai that are only seen from the air. We were not disappointed. This was a 65 minute ride, compared to 45 minutes with the HAL excursion. Highly recommend Jack Harter. (The helicopter views in Jurassic Park are in Kauai as well as in Maui.) Their driver took us back to town, which is within walking distance from the ship. We had a delicious lunch overlooking the ocean. Maui: Road to Hana. Reviews said this was an unpaved, windy road. It is now paved. There are many curves and bridges but the guide was so informative, and he made so many frequent stops that the time went fast. Scenery is gorgeous. The water falls are numerous and beautiful. We had lunch at Waianapanapa State Park, at the Honokalali beach, a unique black sand beach. Spectacular! We ate coconut ice cream, freshly made, and went to Ho'okipa beach to see leatherback turtles. This was a fun and informative excursion. Kona, Big Island: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Due to the recent eruption, most of the park was closed, as was the Thurston Lava Tube, but we were able to walk on lava fields from an 1868 eruption and learn everything about lava and volcanoes. The Kohala Coast gives amazing views. The Coffee Plantation is beautiful and Kona Coffee is fabulous. Try the apple bananas. The Punalu'u Bake Shop is a delicious stop. Our guide was fantastic. Hilo, Big Island: Historical Hilo and Akaka Falls. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. He moved to Hilo from Minnesota 22 years ago and does not regret it. Hilo is beautiful, full of history. We stopped at the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Factory. There are the plain salted macadamias and macadamias covered in every kind of goodies. Their shop is very pretty. Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls are spectacular. The Lyman Museum and Mission House are very informative. Ensenada, Mexico: Bufadora Adventure. Bufadora is a specatacular blowhole, one of the biggest in the world. You have about an hour and a half in the Bufadora area. You walk about 20 minutes through a long street full of vendors of every kind. They will offer samples of margaritas, piña coladas, they will entice you to go to their shops. I suggest that unless you want to spend your time with one of them, say "No thank you"and keep walking. The blowhole's peak time is at high tide. We got there at low tide and the seas were calm. We waited patiently and saw quite a few big sprays, about 30 ft high. The spray can go 60-100 ft in the air with the right conditions. Our guide told us the best times are Nov to May. She was fantastic. We experienced a traffic jam going back but we were all in a good mood. Our last stop was an old hacienda that is now an activities center, and tried a margarita at the spot where the margaritas were invented. The story is fascinating. At the end of the tour we asked our guide where we could have fresh lobster and she recommended a restaurant that was a bit hard to find but worth it. The port guides on the ship give suggestions as well. Calle Primera (main street) is very picturesque and the break water (malecón in Spanish) is absolutely beautiful. Debarkation was smooth. no problems. Back in San Diego, we took the pre-arranged transfer to the airport. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was ... Read More
First time sailing with so many sea days. Little to nothing was planned as entertainment for days at sea. Fitness center was excellent. Hawaii was great, the excursions were awesome, whale watching and copter over the big island was great. Food was good, but portions were small and seconds cost $10. Beef Wellington came and I got the tip of the filet, smaller than a meatball. For dessert ordered ice cream, dish came and appeared to have scooped with a melon baller. New York Pizza had no prices, paid $28 for cardboard and ketchup. No on ship singers and dancers, report was they were cut to save money. One evening the entertainment was a movie you could see on BBC America. Room steward for good, if not a little over eager. Came several times at 6:00 PM for nighttime turn down when I was dressing for dinner. For the money, traveling as a single, I expected more and got less. Read Less
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