Eurodam Cruise Review by cchomes
- Sail Date: July 2015
- Destination: Baltic Sea
- Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
SERVICE: Holland America has it down pat. Service was great starting with check-in. It only took about 30 minutes to check-in. Getting on/off the ship for excursions was quick and efficient. On board, the staff was polite, friendly, and always greeted you with a smile. After the second day, the cabin attendants and waiters knew our names. That was nice.
FOOD: There's lots of it. The selection, variety, and presentation was good. Lines were generally not a problem except on "at sea" days. Food ranged from good to very good, occasionally raising to excellent, sometimes dropping to average. The prices for beverages were reasonable, similar to what you would find in any restaurant in any city. The Tamarind restaurant was exceptional for dinner ... worth the $20 up charge. (I didn't like lunch at the Tamarind.) Hint for future travelers: Have breakfast in the Rembrandt restaurant; table service with real menus, no up charge, and no crowds.
ENTERTAINMENT: I rate the entertainment 7 out of 10 (very subjective rating). We thought the standup comic and the BB King band were great! One of the "song & dance performances" was just average, the second one was very good.
CABIN: We had a VB category cabin on deck 5 and it was just right for us. The room was good size with a real bathtub. The bed was comfortable. We didn't use the deck very much, the weather on the Baltic Sea was a little cold and windy.
DRINKS: As indicated above, the prices of alcoholic beverages were reasonable. Mid tier bottles of wine at dinner ranged from $20 to $40. Beer/wine/mixed drinks: $5-$10. The beverage packages however seemed very expensive to us once you read the fine print. You would have to be in a state of perpetual inebriation with cheap booze to break even.
EXCURSIONS: The HAL shore excursions are outrageously priced. It seems HAL counts on people not doing their homework. Public transportation and Hop-On/Hop-Off buses were generally available right at the docks. Third party companies offer almost identical tours with as good or better service at significantly less cost than HAL. We used SPB in St Petersburg and Warnemunde and they were excellent! We booked it on-line prior to the trip. We paid about 30% less and they were better tours that included lunches. Same with airport transfers. HAL charges $40+ per person compared to $10 on public transportation. (City buses and trains are a LOT different in Europe than in the U.S. They are clean, safe and efficient.) Admittedly, you have to schlep around you own luggage to/from the ship, but for us it was worth it. We got into Copenhagen 2 days early and got the Copenhagen card which included free rides on all the city buses and trains.
UP SELLING: The biggest nuisance on the ship was the constant "up selling". I understand it, but just don't like it. There was always someone from HAL trying to sell you something; another cruise, or something from the gift shop, or a drink package, or a surcharge for one of the upscale restaurants, or a photo package, or very expensive paintings from the art gallery. It was like a bad vacuum cleaner salesman: you just couldn't avoid them.
INTERNET: Based upon previous reviews, we avoided the HAL on-ship Internet. A 300 baud modem and teletype machine is faster and more reliable. I can understand slow service in the middle of the sea, but there is no excuse for slow service in ports. The HAL web site is very good, so they understand the technology. I have to assume it is a management decision to offer poor service. All we wanted was to get email, so we just brought our smart phones or tablets with us when we get off the ship. There were Tourist Information centers and/or terminals at the docks that had free Wi-Fi. In the cities, there were lots of locations we picked up free Wi-Fi; coffee shops, restaurants, public squares, department stores, outside of hotels, and city hall type locations. We were successful 60 - 70% of the time getting on. The HOHO buses had free Wi-Fi on the buses that was very good.
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