1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
I sailed with my mom, our first trip to Alaska, and her first cruise. It was a last-minute decision, due to the cancellation of another planned trip. We booked via Costco.com, which could not have been easier. It looked like we got the ... Read More
I sailed with my mom, our first trip to Alaska, and her first cruise. It was a last-minute decision, due to the cancellation of another planned trip. We booked via Costco.com, which could not have been easier. It looked like we got the last balcony stateroom available. We selected this particular cruise line/date because it left from Seattle, returned to Seattle, and fit into our available vacation window. Neither of us had ever sailed with Holland America (HAL) before. We were dropped off at the dock by a family member. Our luggage was quickly whisked away while we entered the terminal (no line to enter, yay!). We got to the terminal around 1130am, earlier than our appointed time per tickets. We waited in line about 30 minutes; by noon, we were on the ship and our room was already available. The terminal attendant who checked us in said HAL is one of the few cruise lines that gets people on their ships early with their rooms available immediately. I would consider this embarkation a better than average experience, compared to the 10+ other cruises I've taken. After dodging the annoying photographers (on every cruise line, sadly), we were met by Ship's staff , smiling upon our entry, standing nearby with maps and offering directions to oncoming passengers. Atrium was clean and not clogged with people, making it easy to make our way to our room. For dining, we tried the Lido Market (Casual), Dining Room, and Pinnacle Grill (steakhouse, specialty dining). Food in all locations was good. Lido was difficult to navigate; so many people and all fighting for a window seat. By the time you found a table your food was cold (so we learned quickly to find a seat and then take turns getting food). Some lines there were quite long. I liked that we did not serve ourselves (hygiene), but it did take longer. Food variety was good and quality was good. Dining Room was used for dinner, lunch, and breakfast. We had open seating, but never waited more than 5 minutes to be seated whenever we went. Food was good; better quality and presentation than Lido. Nice variety too. We especially liked the filet/lobster dinner! All desserts were great. Pinnacle Grill was a dining event. Food quality/presentation was a step up from the dining room. I am not sure it was worth the extra $35 per person we paid, though. We did not purchase any drinks, so cannot comment on bar service. Entertainment and Activites: EXC provided several talks and included a naturalist, who provided information on flora/fauna along the way. We enjoyed all talks and learned a lot! We especially enjoyed the Glacier Bay day (at sea all day), as National Parks rangers boarded our ship for the day, gave talks and had materials to share/purchase. The best part though, was the ranger talking throughout the day via ship intercom about the glaciers we were seeing/sailing by. It was not incessant, but pretty regular throughout a several hour period. While some may have been annoyed by it, but we really liked it. Theater shows were good. Singers/dancers/musicians all very talented. Comedian Jim Short was very funny, and we enjoyed the illusionist too (Joseph Reohm) . There were other activities on the ship that we did not partipate in (America's test kitchen, Lincoln Center Stage, BB King's Blues Club). Service was excellent. Friendly staff, always smiling. All spoke impeccable Engish. If you had a frown on your face, someone was right there to ask how to make things right; you didn't even have to verbalize a complaint. Ports included Juneau, Sitka, Ketchitkan, Victoria (Canada). Juneau: A very rainy cold day, but we made the best of it. Easy off ship with 1 block walk to shops (3 other ships in port, so it was crowded). Many chain stores (similar to Caribbean islands), which we avoided. A few local shops, but we wondered how local the merchandise was. One purchase (fabric at a quilt store). Back near ship in time for our HAL-purchased Gold Panning/Alaska Salmon Bake excursion. "Tundra Tom" collected us and took us to a creek for gold panning. We all found a few flecks (retained in small vials) and boarded the bus after admiring the creek and nearby waterfall. Next stop was the salmon bake, an outdoor venue in the woods (also with a creek). Rain moved off, but they had covered picnic tables and portable heaters. Salmon cooked on wood planks and sides served buffet style. Not gourmet by any means but all was tasty. Coffee and dessert were lacking, with help slow to replenish. Marshmallows were offered for roasting over a campfire, but that was a challenge given the recent rain (we just had smoke). A quick tour of creek and waterfall and we were in line for the bus, which took us right back to our ship. Sitka: warmed up and no rain; yay! Again off ship was easy (shops across the street). Shops less chain-oriented. Purchased a specimen of Pyrite and some local yarn. Toured the Russian Orthodox church (gave donation). Back at port to meet our HAL-purchased Tongass National Forest Hike. This was advertised as a moderate 2-4 mile hike, depending on the group. Well, this was a STRENUOUS hike that was 4 miles. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent experience was ... Read More
This was a repeat of the same cruise my wife took with her sister a year ago. She enjoyed it so much that we went together this year. I don't think you can appreciate HAL unless you've been on other lines. My most recent experience was a repositioning cruise last year on RCI. It wasn't bad, but the experience was so uneven in quality it left me unwilling to ever take another RCI cruise! The only poor experience we had was the Dive Inn burger lunch bar. Someone raved about how wonderful it was, so we put up with a 40 minute wait for cold food that was entirely tasteless. Wendy's makes a better burger! I was incredulous that such a screwed-up operation could exist on such a good shop. We also had some of the signature cocktails in the bar that were strange, and just tasted bad, which were graciously withdrawn. Otherwise, it was simply wonderful. I was very happy with the food. The concept of service on their Lido Market deck was very good. Small batch prep on some items and to-order on others was very well executed. We routinely ate breakfast there. Coffee was decent too. In comparison, the brown sludge served on RCI had us routinely paying for good coffee. The whole RCI strategy is to get you somewhere and provide what you really want and expect for additional money at every turn. Not so on HAL. I'm looking forward to another trip on the Eurodam. Read Less
11 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Our cruise was from July 28 – August 4. We booked far in advance (Sept. 2017) while the Explore 4 program was in effect. This was a celebration cruise for my wife’s retirement. We both enjoy having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive ... Read More
Our cruise was from July 28 – August 4. We booked far in advance (Sept. 2017) while the Explore 4 program was in effect. This was a celebration cruise for my wife’s retirement. We both enjoy having OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) but only in a mild form which results in extensive research and planning when we take vacations. I would encourage anyone who is not of that mind to invest the time to do advance research and planning because the result usually means a better experience than just being led along by whatever happens. You miss a great deal by allowing fate to rule your experience. I’m a cruise addict and just love Cruise Critic. So, I wanted to give back as much as possible. Alas, I have no pictures for you. I’m just lazy which is unfortunate since I place the highest value on CC reviews that have photos. Sorry, my bad. Pre-Cruise: We live in St. Paul/Minneapolis, Minnesota and it’s a short ride to the airport (no airport related noise at our house however). Several months ago my wife downloaded the Uber app to her Smart Phone so we used Uber to get to the airport (and when we returned home) and in Seattle as well. It’s a wonderful system and we highly recommend it. I know there has been some controversy regarding Uber during the past year or so but the new company president has made it his priority to work out any kinks in the system. We found Uber to be extremely good and slick as could be using the Smart Phone app. Arrival in Seattle was on time. We collected our luggage and did Uber to our hotel. The hotel we selected was the Hotel 5...A Staypinnapple Hotel. This chain exists on the West and East coasts and Chicago only. We highly recommend it. It’s a fun, quirky kind of place that flies just under the radar of the major hotel chains. It’s clean, courteous, with great coffee, food, and staff. We paid $250 for one night after all the usual add-ons. Obviously we flew into Seattle one day early as we always do when we cruise. Flying in the same day as embarkation is simply throwing caution to the wind and inviting problems. It can be done and many do but that’s not my choice. After checking in at the hotel we did the obligatory visit to Pike Street Market where we had a fabulous lunch at Maximillian’s Restaurant, a long established French eatery. We had walked from the hotel to the Market and decided to walk back using a different route. For dinner we had made reservations at Blueacre Seafood. In a word, Stunning. Embarkation: Once again, Uber to Pier 91 where we dropped our luggage off with one of the porters (yes, there are porters in Seattle contradicting a thread that appeared on CC not long ago which said there were not), stepped in the terminal, up the escalator to the check-in desk followed by security (or perhaps security was first) then a 10 minute wait before we were called. At this point I should mention that we booked an aft-wrap Neptune Suite when we made our arrangements last September so our boarding was priority (but after the physically challenged and the upper Mariner Society folks). Our plan was to have a quiet lunch in the MDR but unfortunately it was closed for a private lunch which apparently happens quite a bit in the Port of Seattle. So, off to the Lido, which was not crowded and just fine after all. After lunch we checked in with the Concierge in the Neptune Lounge about a few things, then stopped by the Spa to purchase our Spa Passes for the week. We are big on the Spa, not for the outrageously expensive treatments, but for the Hydro Pool; Tile Loungers; and the Steam Rooms. From there we went to our cabin where our luggage was waiting and we unpacked. Unpacking and checking out the Neptune Suite was done after I thoroughly wiped down everything with Clorox Hospital Grade Disinfectant Wipes, which are the best you can get for Norovirus. By now you might be thinking that this guy is just slightly nuts, and that could be true, but I’d rather be safe than sorry. The most important items to wipe down in a cruise ship cabin are the TV remote, the telephone keypad and receiver, and the keypad to your room safe. The suite was beautiful, the binoculars were brand new, and the wrap around veranda was stunning. A bottle of sparkling wine was on ice waiting for our consumption. I should mention that we booked Neptune Suite SB 8073 which is on deck 8 (obviously) directly under the Lido deck. I would not have booked this suite, or any other cabin under the Lido deck if this were a warm weather cruise because of the traffic and chair noise that comes from the Lido deck. Since this was Alaska, I booked the cabin for the stunning view, betting that the noise factor would not be an issue. I was right. My wife loved the separate dressing area; the twin sinks in the bathroom were nice to have; never used the single shower (except to dry bathing suits) but both used the large shower/tub combo. My wife used the jetted tub at least twice and said it was marvelous, proving that at least on HAL, the jetted tub is not just for show and actually worked the way those tubs are supposed to. Our cabin attendants were absolutely marvelous. We used the complimentary laundry/pressing/dry cleaning service quite a bit and everything was always returned in beautiful condition. The king bed was extremely comfortable with a nice selection of pillows. For those that may not realize it, there are two large pull out drawers at the foot of the bed which could go unnoticed since they are covered by the bed spread. I’m not sure if the beds in all cabin categories have them but I believe so. As usual, closet space is plentiful but not for storing suitcases, so they went under the upper part of the bed like we always do. The veranda was everything we hoped for and included a round table with four chairs; two lounge chairs with foot rests; and two chaise loungers along the side part of the balcony. The veranda is completely covered and we had no issues with soot from the smoke stacks but did not expect any. Our cabin attendants would always bring in the cushions from the loungers and chairs at the end of the day so they would not collect dew overnight. I should mention that one possible drawback of these aft cabins is the vibration from the propellers. You only feel it when the ship is going over 18 knots but it’s quite noticeable. Not a problem for us however. Food: We found the food on Eurodam to be quite excellent. Several months prior to the cruise we made reservations for Pinnacle Grill; Canaletto; and Tamarind. We decided to avoid the usual semi-controlled chaos of the MDR on embarkation night and ate at Tamarind. It was unbelievably good. So much so that we made another reservation for later in the week. Sunday night was Gala night and we ate in the MDR (Rotterdam dining room) and that was quite enjoyable. Monday night we ate at Canaletto and were surprised by how lovely it was. That’s because so many reviews of Canaletto seem to run both hot and cold. We enjoyed it enough that we made a reservation for the last night of the cruise. Pinnacle Grill was the Pinnacle Grill and all we’ve come to expect from that lovely spot. We both had the bone-in Rib-Eye. We ate lunch in the MDR several times and enjoyed one lunch from the Dive-In. Great burgers. We ordered room service breakfast a couple of mornings and it always arrived on time and at the correct temperature. Room service always called later to see if everything was okay. I became somewhat annoyed by that but my wife thought it was very thoughtful. One evening (after spending the day in Sitka) we decided to order dinner off the MDR menu from room service. Again, very well done. Since Sunday was a sea day we decided to attend Tea Time and enjoyed it very much. The tea was good and there were a wide assortment of tea sandwiches and sweets. I opted for one sandwich and quite a few sweets. Since we were entitled to complimentary breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill we ate there on Sunday morning. It was wonderful and also featured fresh squeezed orange juice. I mention the juice because various posts over the last several months indicated that fresh squeezed was no longer available. The Ship: As expected the Eurodam was all spit and polish. Very clean and well appointed. Out of the entire ship my only criticism goes to the MDR. First of all, the carpet is way too busy to the point of being ugly and I’m sure the design is meant to disguise stains. Second, and most egregious, would be the Roman Torch-like lights serving as wall sconces. They look like something stolen off an old Carnival ship. Finally, there is a circuitous pattern of recessed lighting in the ceiling throughout the dining room that is a pale yellow and it’s so out of place. Very dated looking and basically quite ugly. Other than those items nothing else seemed offensive (well, a few border line items) and overall Eurodam is a beautiful ship. Hey, despite my complaints I’ll sail on a HAL ship anytime. I definitely would not get on a Carnival or Norwegian ship. Yes, I’m a snob. Shore Excursions: We booked 3 shore excursions well in advance. In Juneau we did a combination tour called Whales and Mendenhall Glacier Photo Safari. It was stunning. Saw bunches of whales, orcas as well, sea lions, etc. I think we were out on the water for about 3 hours. Small excursion…only 12 passengers on a boat that only holds 14. Back on shore our guide took us through the Alaskan Rain Forrest near the glacier and we had ample opportunity to take photos of the glacier. A ride back to the ship on a very nice tour bus concluded the time. Worth every penny. Glacier Bay. While not a tour since the ship glides around the huge bay, we were disappointed by the fact that the entire northern part of the bay (where the 4 glaciers are) was fogged in. At first I thought the Glacier Bay Park Rangers said this was the worst fog they had seen all season. In fact, it was the worst fog they had ever seen period. After a few hours and listening to the ships fog horn (which reminded me of growing up in San Francisco) we had to move south again and the Sun had broken through in that area exposing fantastic snow covered mountains. In Sitka we took the Historic Sitka tour which found us on a somewhat comfortable school bus. The dock in Sitka is 6 miles north of the town but fortunately all tours for the port pick you up at the dock. We had a fantastic guide and made stops in downtown; at St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral; and at the Sheldon Jackson museum. The museum is wonderful and a short, medium, or long walk through the rain forest is available. Totem Poles are everywhere by the way. The tour ended around 12:30 at the Cultural Center in downtown Sitka where we decided to skip the Native Alaskan Dance troupe in favor of a massive burger at the Bayview Café. Then it was time for a little shopping before boarding one of the many shuttle busses back to the ship. In Ketchikan we elected to do the Misty Fjords Boat tour. There is a float plane version available which will set you back mega-bucks. Unfortunately this tour was a disappointment and we would have been better off just walking through town. It takes the boat quite a long time to get to the Fjords and the scenery is just a repeat of what we had already viewed at other ports. No wildlife at all, which might have redeemed the tour for us. Hats off and a big shout out to the captain and crew of the boat however. It is a large craft with two decks, comfortable seating, windows galore, and plenty of food, both complimentary and for purchase. In Victoria we decided to stay on board. Entertainment: We are not big on going to shows in the theater. However, we did attend one which was a video of Alaska accompanied by a sound track which was augmented by all the performing musicians on board and included acoustic as well as digital instruments. Nicely done. We stopped in to hear the BB King Blues band and they were great. Missed everything else although I understand the classical music offerings were top notch. Odds and Ends: • HAL Navigator: Wonderful!! No cost. Must be used on a smart phone in airplane mode. You log in once you are on board and follow the instructions. So, no having to wait in line for someone to help you do it. By the way, there is a wonderful “tutorial” on You Tube that some fellow did in the last year that you should look at before you leave home. Just type in HAL Navigator You Tube to find it. It’s great for checking you’re on board account; making dinner and shore tour reservations; checking the ships on board activities for the day and much more. A real plus in my opinion. • Elevator Etiquette: Amazingly we encountered not one bit of the usual elevator etiquette problem most often encountered on cruise ships. You know, when the doors open and people immediately try and board the elevator before letting other passengers get off first. UNBELIEVABLE!! • Staff: All of the workers and staff we interacted with were just wonderful. Always greeting us with a smile and asking how our cruise was going. HAL is well known for its stellar staff and they just seem to be getting better and better. • Mariners Lunch: The Mariners Lunch was held on Friday while on our way from Ketchikan to Victoria. Each table setting was accompanied by a glass of sparkling wine which was a nice touch. The menu was quite limited but we made do with both of us having a wonderful salmon dish for the entrée. If you have Mariner status you will receive an invitation in your cabin the day before. • Neptune Lounge: A lovely space with food offerings rotated by time of day. Quite nice. The Concierge was very helpful when we met her on embarkation day to review a few things and made a reservation for us in the MDR for Sunday’s Gala Night dinner even though we were Dine as You Wish passengers. An Honor Bar is also available. • Luggage Direct: We signed up for this service a month or two before the cruise and it worked like a charm. We placed our luggage outside our cabin as required on Friday night and did not see it again until we claimed it at Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport. This enabled us to do a tour of the Chihuly Museum and Gardens (and lunch) after we disembarked on Saturday. The Museum and Gardens are completely amazing by the way. • It was very nice to return home feeling rested and with almost no laundry. Did not feel like we needed a vacation to recover from a vacation. I think that was due in part to the structure of the itinerary. Just the right amount of time at sea vs. shore time. That’s it. Thanks for reading. If you have any questions fire away, I’ll answer them. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My husband and I chose to go on this amazing Alaskan cruise July 7-14 because it was tied to Charles Stanley In-touch Ministries. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and we were very excited. We splurged on our room and stayed ... Read More
My husband and I chose to go on this amazing Alaskan cruise July 7-14 because it was tied to Charles Stanley In-touch Ministries. Neither of us had ever been on a cruise before and we were very excited. We splurged on our room and stayed in one of the Neptune Suites on the 7th deck in room 7064. It was mid ship and was perfectly located allowing us to enjoy morning coffee and a light breakfast from the Neptune Lounge. We LOVED everything about our room!!!!! With the exception of breakfast, the Lido food was generally average but with many choices.The Main Dining room was elegant but our designated table (175) was directly over the propellers on the second deck and it was very noisy. We also thought that while the menu looked impressive the quality of the food served was a bit disappointing.However, our waiter, Taufik, made up for much of our disappointment as he was amazingly friendly, funny, and gave us great service. Other crew members who helped make this cruise memorable were our room stewards, Frank & Nanda, who always made us feel special. Also the other Nanda (female) in the Lido dining area, and Dhana at Tamerind (best meal on the boat) could not have been more friendly and both were clever and funny! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, ... Read More
We went on the Charles Stanley Alaska cruise July 7-14, 2018 to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary last April. It was everything we'd hoped it would be! Embarkation went well, although a bit slow since we arrived about 1:00, instead of 11:30. About 50 min. from arrival at terminal to our cabin. Our cabin was perfect...#5049. Close to elevator and stairs, quiet and serviced by two of the nicest fellows ....Taufik & Yudi. Every night they would make cute little animals out of towels and neaten up our room for us. Everything is streamlined to cause the least stress...the dining room, embarktation, and. debarktation. On shore, buses were waiting for excursions (tickets can be purchased on board ship), or one could walk off the ship to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where inexpensive shopping was the best!. The ship is beautiful, with everything you could want! The Lido food was terrific, with many choices, get there a little early for a good table. Dining room was elegant, plus we were matched with a wonderful couple for dinner who will remain our friends. :) The service in all areas was top notch. Since it was a Christian cruise we had awesome Christian entertainment and seeing Charles Stanley in person was a treat. We loved the Southern Gospel quartets, Dennis Swanberg is a funny funny man, and Mike Speck, Stan Whitmire, The Whisnants, etc. superb gospel singers. We didn't see much sun, it was overcast most of the time, however we still had a great time. We cruised up the Endicott Arm fiord and saw so much ice, we eventually had to turn around. There are shore excursions you can take (although a bit spendy for some), tickets can be purchased on board ship, or you can walk to town (Juneau & Ketchikan) for shopping and sightseeing There was a free bus trip to the town of Sitka, where I enjoyed.inexpensive shopping. Also in Sitka at the Visitors Center we saw a Russian Dance program. In Juneau, the Mendenhall Glacier trip was a good learning experience, the movie shown at the Visitiors Center was informative and we saw many bald eagles that day! Alaska is beautiful! They have good presentations onboard, but unfortunatly, they are colored by a sales pitch. Also, the little fridge in our room was stocked, but every can of soda came at a price, as were the bottles of water! Those were probably the only negatives we can think of! Since this was our first cruise, we have no way of knowing if it was a good value for our money, so I put "average." Disembarkation went like clockwork....we were out of our cabin at 8:10, thru customs and on the bus to the airport within 35 minutes! We'd love to take the trip again! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
Our family decided to take part of an Inspiration Cruise which chartered the Eurodam. We heard that we would be on one of the best ships and our pre-trip intel did not dissapoint. The ship and rooms were imaculate...we stayed in a ... Read More
Our family decided to take part of an Inspiration Cruise which chartered the Eurodam. We heard that we would be on one of the best ships and our pre-trip intel did not dissapoint. The ship and rooms were imaculate...we stayed in a Signature Suite (highly recommend). Our bed was so comfortable I did not want to leave!! You will get great sleep on this ship! The only thing we did not completely love was the food. It was hit or miss to our group. The salmon is always fresh and a good bet. Some of the meats did not hit the mark. However, if you want a wonderful meal you must do the Tamarind. BEST PART OF THE TRIP: THE CREW! We fell in love with the crew and if you go on the Eurodam you have to meet our favorites: Nanda (Lido | Tamarind) Best conversationalist and my personal favorite! Taufik (Dining Room | LIdo) Best Energy and Best Smile (We really enjoyed Taufik!) Frank and Nanda (Rooms) Just Wonderful from Beginning to End Dhana (Tamarind | Lido) (Go for dinner in Tamarind and get her table) Best Sense of Humor Peter (Lido) Great Conversationalist and story! Geran (Lido) Gentle Soul | Get him talking! (He shared how well the ship we were on is ranked and the only one to get 100 points each random inspection) Janice (Best Massage EVER) A must!!! Overall, you can't beat Alaska and if you are doing a cruise...take the Eurodam! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held ... Read More
Multiple other cruises. First time on holland America. This trip - Charles Stanley inspiration cruise to Alaska. Poor guest service. Long food lines. Dinner sat at a table for 6. When other guests arrived 1 hour late our meals were held back until everyone else caught up resulting in several dining experiences that lasted 2-3 hours! Cruise excursion cancelled by ship but no one from excursion staff available to assist with booking another excursion prior to next day port arrival. Fitness center staff unfriendly and inaccessible often seen lounging around ship (not in fitness center to assist guests with equipment). Gym hours not suited for early excursion and dining hours. Wrote letter to ship manager with suggestions. Never heard back. Cabin steward friendly and helpful. Balcony for cruising a definite plus! Multiple broken items in room requiring service calls (phone, balcony door). Very disappointed and will never cruise with holland America again. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We disembarked the Eurodam this morning after a glorious 7 day cruise to Alaska and I wanted to write a review as it is still fresh in my mind. The long and short of it is that we absolutely loved this ship. In order to not feel ... Read More
We disembarked the Eurodam this morning after a glorious 7 day cruise to Alaska and I wanted to write a review as it is still fresh in my mind. The long and short of it is that we absolutely loved this ship. In order to not feel melancholy yesterday, our last day, I spent some time researching our next cruise, and it will also be on the Eurodam, to the Mexico Riviera out of San Diego. Almost everything about this ship was perfect for us...perfect size, perfect entertainment (except for their seating capacity, but more on that later), perfect service, perfect layout...yup, we loved it. It certainly helped that we had perfectly clear and sunny days the entire cruise with temperatures in the mid 70s. Even in notoriously rainy ports, we had golden sunshine. Thank you Universe! We arrived at the Seattle port around 11:00 after having booked Seattle Express' round trip service, from our Seatac Airport hotel to the pier, and then from the pier to the airport at the end of the cruise. Seattle Express performed flawlessly and the cost was $30 per person round trip. As we walked from the shuttle drop off area toward the terminal, I was surprised at the lack of porters, not shortage, but actual lack, as in there simply weren’t any. We continued into the terminal where we were directed to deliver our own “checked” bags deep into the terminal where they were taken by what appeared to be security personnel. We then retraced our steps back where we then entered the checking-in process area at the front of the terminal. In multiple Florida ports, at Baltimore's port, and at Galveston's port, there have always been a multitude of porters ready to take your “checked” luggage. This did not pose a big problem for us as we were physically able to roll our large suitcase in one hand, our carry on in the other, and our tote over our shoulders. For those less physically capable, this might pose a problem. It was the first time we've ever had to deliver our “checked” bag deep into the terminal. Maybe we were too early at 11:00? Once entering the check-in area we moved smoothly though security, then pretty much walked right up to an agent who checked us in and provided us with our stateroom key cards that also act as your onboard “charge cards” with all onboard purchases being put onto your account after presenting this card. The agent also gave us a boarding group card which assigns you to a group with which to board. We were given Group J and our friend with whom we were traveling was given Group I. We were told to board as a group using the lower Group I card as there are not a number of passengers assigned to the group card. Surprisingly, the waiting area was already completely full, standing room only. They started boarding shortly after we arrived to the waiting area and even with Group I (I wasn’t really listening to who they boarded before Group A) we were only in the waiting area for maybe 15-20 minutes before boarding. There was no backup on the entry ramp as you so often find, instead a smooth and steady walk right onto the ship. There are people to welcome you aboard and direct you to the center elevators. Our cabins were just forward of the aft elevators, on decks 5 and 6, so we politely veered to the left. We proceeded to the aft elevators and immediately caught an elevator and were in our cabins moments later by 11:45. Definitely one of the smoother embarkations I’ve been a part of. Our cabin was a Signature Suite, #6106, which is one of 2 category SZ cabins, and not so easy to come across as they can run a few hundred less than other Signature Suites, maybe because the cabins just aft of them have the balconies that jut out and can look onto the SZ balconies. Don’t know for sure, but I saw no reason to not book one if you come across it being offered. The cabin was absolutely gorgeous. The bathroom like a high end hotel. Look at the YouTube video of “Eurodam Signature Suite in English and in Spanish” I think is how they named it. That is the starboard SZ Signature Suite oposite our port side one. Our cabin stewards were pleasant, efficient, and thorough. I’ve noticed in the past few years that the relationship one could develop with the stewards has been effected as the number of cabins they are responsible for has increased. They seem to have less time for pleasantries, although always pleasant. And they look so tired. I try to not disrupt their work, but always offer a friendly hello and am greeted back by name. I was shocked at just how far forward of our cabin I found our steward working. But I always returned to our cabin in the afternoon with it having been pristinely cleaned and in the evening with it having been turned down, refreshed, and decorated with a towel animal. We had coffee delivered every morning at either 6:00 or 7:00. The delivery was punctual, pleasant, and was always followed up with a call 15 minutes or so later asking if everything was okay. Nice touch. I did follow others' advice and wrote in next to the coffee order “Carafe please, brew STRONG”. I also wrote next to the area I marked for half and half “Cream please, NOT milk”. The first morning they did in fact bring milk instead of half and half, and this was corrected after I mentioned it during their follow up call. I was assured it would not happen again, and it didn't. This morning, debarkation morning, was the only morning we ordered breakfast to the room. It arrived hot, on time, and delicious. We did not order any other meals with room service. Lunch was ordered through our cabana steward by the Lido Pool. I will talk more about the cabana later. But our cabana steward would print out the Lido buffet menu every day around 11:00 and bring us whatever we chose from the Lido Buffet menu, from the Dive In Burger/Hot Dog place, or the Pizza Place when we were ready to order. We then ate in our cabana. The one day we chose to walk through the buffet line and find a table in the Lido dining room, we did experience a shortage of tables and had to wait for one to empty and be cleaned. The food at the Lido buffet ranged from average to great (Indonesian Nasi Goreng and Chicken Sate were some of the best I’ve ever had, thank you Indonesian chefs!). Dinner in the Main Dining Room, 8:00 seating upstairs, was how I remember cruise ship dining from 15 years ago. And by that I mean elegant, with great service, tasty choices, and served hot. Unfortunately my reference over the past 15 years has steadily gone downhill as Carnival and Royal Caribbean have lowered their standard year after year until it has become the Golden Corral of the Seas. I have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean as they offer cruises leaving from Galveston which is a 3 hour drive for us. That convenience has kept us loyal to them, but no longer. I will now pay the airfare for Holland America cruises. I forgot how much I Ioved cruising until falling back in love aboard the Eurodam. I was surprised at how much I did NOT enjoy Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill. I had consistently read great reviews for both but eating at both actually made me miss our Main Dining Room experiences. Our Tamarind reservation was late, at 9:00, as we made it for the evening we were in Juneau with a 10:00PM sail away. We wanted to stay ashore later, so we made reservations later. My entree, the sea bass, was served room temperature, and my side dish of stir fried cucumber/veggies was also cold, and it was meant to be a hot dish, I asked. The other dishes were not memorable. I know I'm in the minority here, but I just did not enjoy the food, and I’m a huge fan of all Asian foods. Good to know I can save that money next time. As for Pinnacle Grill, the steaks, my rib eye and my husband's porterhouse were simply not good cuts of meat. My husband could not work through his, the gristle was overwhelming. Mine had a weird mushy texture....meat tenderizer? Our meal at the Pinnacle Grill was included with our Explore 4 promotion, so there was nothing for them to adjust, and they apologized profusely, but we just weren’t hungry for what they had to offer after this experience. Again, I know I’m in the minority here, but, we did not like like the Pinnacle Grill at all. Lesson learned for us. Stick with the Main Dining Room where the food and service were consistently top notch. We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails in the Ocean Bar listening to the sounds of the solo piano player. Lovely way to start our evening. As for after dinner entertainment, the musicians and singers at B.B. King were outstanding, I mean really really good. As were the players/singers at the Billboard Onboard Dueling Pianos. Unfortunately I only got to enjoy them while standing in the back of the room or in the hallway outside the venues. We would go after dinner wanting to enjoy the great music and there was never a seat to be had. Never. One night my husband waited for one to be available and after 20 minutes he was able to score a single seat. This was my main disappointment on this cruise. I never got to sit down, have a cocktail, and enjoy these excellent musicians. I just wasn’t willing to arrive at the venues 45 minutes early to gain seats for 3. The Main Stage Productions were good. Lots of energy and talent. A pleasant way to spend some time. I almost don’t want to say it, because I want them to be available when I cruise, but the best buy of the cruise was the $200 we spent for a Lido poolside cabana for 7 days. It was comfy, cozy, had great service, cold water bottles, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine served mid afternoon, and lunch orders taken and served in the cabana. It was a great place for the 3 of us to meet up, take in the views, and generally just chill out. Absolutely warm enough even in Alaska with the roof closed. If you can spare the money, spend it. Disembarkation was super smooth. We used the Port Valet service offered aboard the Eurodam. You fill out the paperwork they provide you in the cabin one day and the day before debarkation you get an envelope with your airline boarding pass, a luggage tag if you have checked baggage, and an early debarkation Group, ours was for 7:45. You put the luggage tags on your checked luggage, leave your checked luggage outside your cabin before midnight, and it gets checked all the way to your final destination! No more searching for your bags among the hundreds in the terminal, no more lugging your own huge suitcase off the ship, and it costs nothing! The $25 baggage fee associated with 1st checked bag with Alaska Air was charged to our ship's account. Our luggage was on the baggage claim carousel at our final destination so this service was an outstanding option. I didn’t expect perfect, and yes the music venues are too small, and the paid restaurants disappointed us, but I have my next cruise already picked out, and it’s on the same ship. So yeah, I loved it. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2018
We had to go this week due to kids’ activities in the summer. We spent one night in Seattle then got on the ship around noon. Our room was ready and the lido deck buffet was already being enjoyed. We explored the ship, set up our ... Read More
We had to go this week due to kids’ activities in the summer. We spent one night in Seattle then got on the ship around noon. Our room was ready and the lido deck buffet was already being enjoyed. We explored the ship, set up our phones, and started planning activities. The weather was lovely the entire trip! We only saw rain on the first day at sea when we watched rainbows and mountainsides and sipped coffee from the crow’s nest in comfy leather chairs. We dined in Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill as well as Rudi’s pop-up restaurant. We were not impressed with Tamarind and actually cancelled the second reserved night. Some of the favors were spot on, but the seafood did not seem fresh. I hated PG. I thought the menu was outdated and four of our steaks were over-cooked. Rudi’s was not what it was built up to be or worth the price. My husband said he liked the restaurant atmosphere and service over the main dining room. I did not think any were worth the extra cost. There is also a “sommelier” who is basically a cocktail server. They seem be irritated that we wanted to use our signature beverage plan to order drinks. We actually chose two glasses of wine the first night that were over the $9 cost and were charged full price. I thought we would be charged the difference. We did the helicopter to the dogsledding on a glacier for four. We splurged on this once in a lifetime experience at $649 per person. We were greeted by a high school girl who seemed distracted by her friends who were passing by as she was checking us in on the pier outside the ship. We had a 3:15 reservation and were to check in at 3:05. We were on time. When we handed her our tickets, she said, “how much do you weigh?“ to each of us. It was very embarrassing especially for my husband who weighs 250lbs. They charge people who weigh over 240 a $130 extra fee. The greeter shouted over to another teenager “how much we charge for heavy people?” OMG! We have already paid almost $3,000 for this three hour experience. The fee showed up on our cabin bill. At about 3:40, some other tenn age girl said, “alright, glaciers this way.” There were several tours going on and we weren’t sure what do do or if she was talking to us. So unprofessional. We got to the helicopter facility, were told to sit down to listen to safety presentation which was some 8 x 11 printouts of parts of the helicopter we were not to touch. We were given a locker they said they would lock when we left(?) for our purses and items not allowed on the flight. At 4:20, we finally got in the helicopter and took off. The flight and dog time were amazing but fast. We were back at the ship at 6:28. Worth it? Still not sure. I must warn anyone thinking about the “otters, raptors, and bears, Oh,My” excursion from Sitka. We started right on the boat to explore sea life. The main space was enclosed in glass and became miserably hot. There were no windows to open other than four 4 by 10 inch rectangles that provided a very slight breeze when we were moving. Upstairs was just railings for whale watching. Neither made a THREE HOUR boat ride comfortable. As soon as we docked, we were rushed to a bus. Not a nice or even decent bus. It had old upholstery that smelled musty and the weak ac came on after we sat there for 8 minutes until they turned on the engine. After they counted us twice, the driver announced that we would be going to the eagle location and then the fortress of the bears. I could not wait to get off the bus. When we stopped to see eagles, the driver said that due to the Fourth of July parade, we would need to be back on the bus in 27 minutes. The establishment was fine, and it was nice to see the Eagles. It turned out that 20 minutes would be enough time to see the facility. We got back on the bus and headed to the bears. Again it was announce that we should be back on the bus in 25 minutes. Ugh. The fortress of the bears was two giant round cylinders with a few bears in each. We went up the stairs to look down in the holding cells and down the other side. There were a bunch of hot miserable bears lying amongst garbage piles and puddles of mud. We do see a ton of eagles in the trees surrounding the bears. At the close of the tour, we were dumped off in town 6 miles from the ship. We could not wait to get off that awful bus and get back to the ship. Unfortunately and understandably, we could not get a shuttle back to the ship for over an hour because of the parade. Of course we were starving and thirsty after being on the boat and bus tour for five hours. We got lunch and waited in the longest line to get on a remodeled school bus that took us back to the Eurodam. Do not spend money on the trip. I don’t hate the boat part since we did see lots of sea life. Just beware of the type of boat you are signing up for. I’m afraid HAL is making the excursions seem a little more classy than what you actually get and charging a premium price for them. I loved the piano players! Especially Rachel! They play top hits and requests two or three times an evening. They were great! The casino was small but seemed perfect for the gamblers who were there. Slots and roulette are all we need. The shows in the theater were entertaining. The service was great all around the ship. Staff was upbeat and friendly. I could not believe how many knew our names by day one. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
CRUISED TO ALASKA - SIGNATURE SUITE 10005 This was a terrific experience all around! Embarked at Pier 91 in Seattle. Arrived by hired car (cheaper than a cab) around 12:15p...processed through and on the ship in under 20 minutes! ... Read More
CRUISED TO ALASKA - SIGNATURE SUITE 10005 This was a terrific experience all around! Embarked at Pier 91 in Seattle. Arrived by hired car (cheaper than a cab) around 12:15p...processed through and on the ship in under 20 minutes! Fast and friendly at every point. The ship was elegant and very much geared to the older crowd. We selected the Signature Spa Suite -- the room was VERY LARGE (see pics) and very comfortable. The room was different than described (jetted tub removed during renovations in 2017?) - but close to 450 sq ft...my estimate. Highly recommend the Panorama Deck - (10) - low traffic (not a lot of Staterooms) and easy staircase access to the Observation Deck (11) above - particularly the bar/coffee bar. (We got the drink packages and enjoyed a lot of cappuccinos and beers!) The Tamarind Restaurant was our favorite (went 2x) and service was fantastic. Food generally was VERY good in every venue...and nice variety at Lido Buffett. We went to the America Test Kitchen shows and the evening entertainment (Magic Show; comic; small orchestra)...enjoyed them all. The service by the staff was 10 out of 10 in every venue...stewards; help desk; dining...all top notch. Excursions were all exceptional as well. Felt like money well spent throughout! Read Less
Eurodam Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.4
Dining 4.5 4.2
Entertainment 4.5 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 4.4
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 3.5 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.8
Enrichment 5.0 3.8
Service 4.5 4.4
Value For Money 4.5 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.2

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