We embarked in a timely manner in Vancouver....a retired couple on our 15th cruise, mostly on HAL and Royal Caribbean. This was a 19 day Panama Canal cruise from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale. There was some rocking of the ship for 2 days, ... Read More
We embarked in a timely manner in Vancouver....a retired couple on our 15th cruise, mostly on HAL and Royal Caribbean. This was a 19 day Panama Canal cruise from Vancouver to Ft. Lauderdale. There was some rocking of the ship for 2 days, until we got to San Francisco, but we were never uncomfortable. The dock area in San Francisco is a short walk to Fisherman's Wharf. We stopped at Trader Joe's and Goodwill to pick up some things we forgot. This is an easy stroll from any of the piers that HAL uses. Tourist information, taxis, restaurants are all easily available. The sailaway from San Francisco is exotic! In Puerto Vallarta we shopped in the Walmart and shopping center across the street from the pier. Free wireless in available there and you will see groups of staff members with their tablets, taking advantage of the free connection. In Puerto Chiapas, Mexico all shore excursions were cancelled. Parents and children had constructed a picket line at the port entrance, demanding timely repairs of their schools after a recent earthquake. Bravo to all the citizens who felt so strongly about public education. Bravo to HAL for respecting this picket line. Some passengers walked to town to explore. (Bad form for guests in a foreign country.) In Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala we took advantage of the free ship shuttle to the local market. This was the best place on our cruise that we found to purchase authentic "souvenirs"...and at the best prices. We met several Guatemala families and other merchants at the market. Recommended purchases include handwork like aprons, tea caddies, linens, bags or handbags. We found it easy to interact with the sellers and they were all respectful.
In Corinto, Nicaragua we selected the tour of the banana plantation. I highly recommend this tour for its authenticity. It is not sleek, smooth or sophisticated. You get the real meal deal. You ride through the countryside, viewing the livestock and other vehicles that are abundant on the road. The presenters are sincere and thorough. I will never again take a banana for granted! In Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica we chose the excursion to the coffee plantation. Again the trip was as exciting as the plantation tour. The vehicular traffic is a contrast to the Nicaraguan road trip. There were more cars and fewer walkers, bicycles or cycle vehicles . The coffee plantation includes the whole process from the bean to the cup. The skyline of Panama City is exquisite! The commentary while transiting the Panama Canal is well done, as are the lectures and documentaries available on the ship. The Eurodam has big screen tv's in the balcony staterooms so I was outside on the balcony while the big screen tv projected the scene taken by the camera on the bow of the ship. Best view(s) possible. Cartagena, Colombia was hot and humid but worth the excursion that the ship offered.
We felt that the cruise was long enough for us and we welcomed the opportunity to disembark in Florida.
The Eurodam was at capacity for this cruise and it made for discomfort throughout the voyage. We were NEVER able to find a window table in the Lido. For some meals we were unable to find a table at all and we had to eat later, when the crowds had thinned. When we went to the shows in the evening it was necessary to go 30 minutes prior in order to get a good seat. The dining room waiters were rushed off their feet and the dining room had an atmosphere of haste about it. I attended over a dozen classes by the Microsoft presenter. There were only 20 computers so it was necessary to get in the lineup for the class at least 30 minutes prior. The lecture for the Panama Canal was standing room only and was delayed while the staff brought in extra chairs. The American Test Kitchen classes were over subscribed and you had to get there again, much ahead of time, in order to get a seat. Even the Trivia Contests were overcrowded and after the first day I felt it just was not worth the effort of getting to the Crow's Nest 30 minutes prior.
There were no yoga, fitness or zumba classes offered unless you count the meditation at the pool at 7:00 AM.
But let me end with my greatest concern: It Was Hot, It Was Cold. it seems odd to me that it is possible to put a man on the moon, yet we can't get the heat from one end of the Eurodam to the other. As I walked the length of the ship from the dining room to the show room, I would pass through 5 distinct atmospheric areas. The air was hot, then it was just right, then it was too hot, by the time I got to the show room, it was cold again. I had to constantly wear a scarf on my shoulders, then take it off, then put it on again. Seniors have trouble with their interior climate,making it difficult to adjust to quickly changing temperature extremes. This was our second cruise on the Eurodam and I would carefully consider how to dress if I were to take a third voyage. Read Less