"Steerage class" on Eurodam's Inaugural Northern European voyage: 3-night & 10-night sail
My husband and I are on the inaugural voyage of the Eurodam, paying more than $500 a day apiece. The first three days from Rotterdam to Copenhagen, we were in "steerage class." We arrived at the ship to discover that the Queen had christened the ship a day before she sailed. There were no events on board for the passengers because the line was entertaining Centurian travel agents and the press. What this meant was that ordinary passengers could NOT get a reservation at any of the restaurants, not in the main dining room or in the specialty restaurants. We do not like set dining so we were on "dining as you wish." After not being able to get a reservation at any of the specialty restaurants, the second night we went to the main dining room where we were handed a pizza-hut type buzzer and told the wait would be 45 minutes. We then went up to the buffet restaurant where we were told that it was about to close. We then found ourselves among about 50 passengers who were begging the staff to please not close and to let them go through the buffet line. We and two friends who were travelling with us were then told that, if we called beginning at 8 a.m. the next morning, we could get a reservation. The next morning (the third day)our friend called at 8 a.m. sharp and he was told that all restaurants were booked for the night. So, he asked to book for the following night, and then was told that the ship wasn't booking until the next morning at 8 a.m.
But the worst thing about the ship was that our friends, who had booked a handicapped verandah room, got perhaps the worst verandah room, all of us had ever seen on Celebrity, Azamara, or Holland America. It was a cut-up room--a long, and narrow dungeon-like room with a truncated verandah. Our friend is legally blind with only a bit of side vision. The room was really dark. There was barely room to move a standard wheelchair in front of the beds. I helped her unpack and could not tell what color the clothes were that I put on the shelves. She was told that the ship was completely full and she could not move to another room (we surmised that this was probably because a travel agent or someone posing as a journalist got a free or reduced fare and, in a misguided PR effort, were given the best rooms.) As a former journalist and now as a journalism/mass communications professor, I know that very few newspapers and magazines have travel writers on staff. If they are on staff, their publications pay the full cost of the trip. Most of the "journalists" probably were glorified PR people who write glowing reports because of the freebies they got; and, of course, the Centurian travel agents have a new incentive to book on Holland America.