My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) ... Read More
My husband and I are an active couple in our 30's/40's. Last summer, we took an Alaskan cruise on HAL's Eurodam. We really enjoyed that experience (https://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=624622) and wanted to repeat it. For this cruise, we got a good price with discounted airfare. We were even able to upgrade from an inside cabin to a balcony for a fraction of the difference. Before the cruise, we spent 3 nights at an Airbnb in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. We had a fantastic time visiting the Ballard Locks and Discovery Park! This is a very walkable area, and it's tucked away from the downtown tourists. Also, it was a short drive to Pier 91. My feelings for this cruise were mixed, so I will divide my thoughts between pros and cons.
~ There is only one designated smoking area, and it is located outside at the back of deck 9. For a nonsmoker, this was truly a breath of fresh air!
~ Our room was wonderful, and our stewards were excellent.
~ The fresh floral arrangements found throughout the ship are gorgeous.
~ We absolutely loved Lincoln Center Stage! On our previous cruise, we went to a few concerts. The musicians on the Oosterdam were even better. Besides being talented, they had a special chemistry that made their concerts extra special.
~ We enjoyed the food. There was decent variety, and waiters were able to accommodate special requests. For some meals, we pre-ordered from the vegetarian menu. The fruit selection in the buffet was great for a cruise (apples, bananas, oranges, plums, kiwis, peaches, nectarines, pineapple, melons, berries).
~ Each evening, there were a variety of drink specials (BOGO for $2, $5 wines, $4 cocktail samples). These are definitely a good value.
~ Each morning, we had room service breakfast. Unlike many other major cruise lines, HAL still offers hot breakfast items on their complimentary menu. Also, we would request other items not listed on the menu (e.g. grapefruit, plain yogurt), and these items were always included. Orders arrived on time, and it was relaxing to start each morning with breakfast in our room.
~ We did have one small issue with room service. One morning, the wrong omelet was delivered, and we did not discover the mistake until after the waiter left. I quickly fixed the situation by running up to the buffet and getting a new omelet. Later that day, I told guest services about what happened because I wanted to ensure future orders would be correct. To my surprise, we were sent a bottle of sparkling wine and chocolate covered strawberries. This was a small mistake, and HAL did a great job making up for it. Kudos for great customer service!
~ The Promenade deck was a nice place for walking. Even on rainy or misty days, we were able to enjoy long walks outside.
~ We liked the daily newspapers and puzzles provided each day on deck 1.
~ Entertainment was lacking. Each evening, we would find ourselves wandering around after dinner without anything to do. We don't go to the main shows in the theater. We prefer listening to bands in lounges and dancing. Lincoln Center Stage ends rather early. BB King has talented musicians, but their venue is small and has a poor layout. It felt more like a concert than a dance club. Most nights, very few dancers came out on the floor. There was very little energy and excitement at night.
~ The atrium is tiny and dull. For me, the atrium should be the heart of the ship, but this area is lackluster and often deserted.
~ This is a small ship. When the weather was cold, the ship felt even smaller. There were very few public areas and most of them were clustered together.
~ During the day, there are not many scheduled activities. Computer workshops and cooking demos don't interest me. I prefer more active things, such as dance classes.
~ We did freestyle dining, and we usually went to the dining room between 7 and 8pm. I was surprised at the first set dining time. 5pm seems entirely too early. Since so many people were eating during the cocktail hour, it made time before dinner dull too.
~ The dress code is not enforced at dinner. On Gala Night, I saw people in t-shirts and guys wearing baseball caps.
~ The ports were wonderful, and Hubbard Glacier was awesome! However, the timing in most of the ports is odd. The all aboard for Ketchikan was 12:30pm, and we weren't allowed off the ship in Victoria until after 6:30pm. These short stops make it difficult to fully enjoy these ports.
~ The excursion prices are ridiculously expensive. We planned ahead and did our own thing in each port. If the excursions had been more reasonably prices, we might have gone on one or two.
Overall, we enjoyed the cruise because the ports are beautiful and interesting. Shipboard life, on the other hand, proved a little too boring for us. We would consider HAL again if the itinerary is port intensive. If we do an Alaskan cruise again, we will try another line. Read Less