First off to be fair, this was our 5th cruise. Previously we had been on Carnival (the parent company of Holland America) twice (Bahamas, Jamaica-Grand Cayman-Mexico), Royal Caribbean once (Mexican Rivera), and Norwegian (Hawaii). We were going to go on Carnival for this trip however when my wife saw that Carnival did not go to Glacier Bay she requested we look at alternatives that did and we found this from Holland America that was essentially the same price we would have paid for our first choice, left on a Saturday vs the Tuesday to Tuesday that Carnival runs (better for getting time off of work) and this went to Glacier Bay so we booked on this ship. We arrived at pier 91 fairly early for us. We had flown in the night before and stayed at a hotel by the airport. When we woke up we just went back to the airport and took Shuttle Express to the pier which was fine (about 23 dollars a person) plus they let your minor children ride free (we had our 15 year old daughter with us) so that was cool. Anyway, we got to the pier around 11 AM and were surprised to see that they were already processing people to get on the boat. More on that in a minute. Here are a couple of pro-tips. Tip number 1, if you read your luggage tag you will see that Holland America allows you to bring one bottle of wine or champagne on board per adult in your carry on without a corking fee. Lets assume you get 5 glasses out of a bottle, that is 10 drinks you do not have to pay ship prices for and depending on how classy you are, that can be a significant savings. Pro-Tip number 2, and I cannot believe they allow you to do this, but Holland America does not have a restriction on you bringing soda on board with you. I called and checked and yes it is true you can bring your own soda so the morning of I went to Safeway near our hotel and bought 3 twelve packs of soda for us and packed those in a spare duffel bag that I had brought for souvenirs and threw a luggage tag on it. Lets say soda is 4 dollars each on the ship and 4x36 cans is 144 dollars. We did that for 12 dollars from Safeway. Anyway, embarkation had started and it went pretty fast. Of course they checked our bottles of wine to make sure they were 750 ML or less and they were sealed but that is all they cared about when it comes to that. My wife and I do not like to use credit cards so we were going to pay the on-board deposit that were listed in the documents to the check in agent but he would not take it. We were confused because this has been the process on other cruises we have taken but all the agent told us is "OK if you want to do that talk to the customer service desk once you are on the ship". We were assigned a boarding group and maybe waited 15 minutes to be called to come on board. Once on board we found our room and settled in a bit and then we went exploring the ship. We found they were serving lunch at the lido buffet and it is "OK" to be honest. We thought it might be because it was for those early arrivals like us and plus it was the buffet so expectations were not that high but still and all it seemed lower quality than what we had experienced on other cruises. We found the customer service desk and told them about our pay with cash plan and they were like "OK - how much money do you want to give us". This was not what they had said (410 per adult is what the travel docs stated when we booked). We asked them if 600 would be OK since this appeared to be a negotiation and they were fine with that. Again, we were just confused because it was very explicit on other cruises we had been on. We depart and decide to eat in the main dining room that night (smart casual night) and it was average to say the least. We were not impressed by the taste or quality of the food. Someone else had stated in a review that the food was pretty as a picture, which it was, but also bland/flavorless, which it also was. The next day is a day at sea. We were bored. On Carnival or Royal Caribbean(mostly Carnival), the cruise director is on the PA system all of the time letting people know about what is going on and where to go but there was none of this. In fact, reading the daily activities list they provide in each room the night before, we were like "is this all they have going on"? On other cruises, we had trouble deciding what to do because several things were going on at the same time we were interested in. On this, we had trouble finding anything that remotely sounded interesting. Trust me we are not difficult people to amuse so this really was confusing to us. As a result of trying to self entertain, I checked out the casino. I have to say the casino on the boat is a surreal experience. First off, it is non-smoking which is very weird to me as I have never been in a casino that was non-smoking (and if you are a smoker, just so you know there is only one smoking area on the boat and that is on deck 9 past the lido buffet in the aft section of the boat). Second, the casino seems small compared to what I have seem on other cruises. Third, the casino hosts tend to hover over you while you are playing which is just annoying after awhile. That being said, i found the slot machines on the boat to be fairly loose. A person behind me won 5K on one of them the first night of the cruise and I basically broke even for the trip (and this was my main entertainment on the ship so i was there enough). Sunday is the first formal night at dining. unfortunately for the first time ever my wife got sea sick and was layed up in the room most of the day so we elected to skip the formal night and go eat at the buffet. You will find that several of the main dishes being offered in the dining room are also offered in the buffet, but the quality is lower (we found that out on the second formal night which I will get to in a bit). We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day at the buffet and every meal was average/edible however that is the best I could rate it. Monday is the first stop in Juneau which is a nice enough little town. We walked around there and did some shopping and then did the dog sled excursion. That was nice and my daughter really enjoyed that part of the trip but I think it was a bit over priced. Granted I think most shore excursions fall into that problem so that might just be my bias. Monday was smart causal in the main dining and we went to eat there. Same as before - food was bleh, served warm, and service was slow. Tuesday is cruising Glacier Bay which I guess is pretty and all. If you think you are going to see glaciers like in the movies you will be disappointed. You get to see several glaciers which are pretty but kind of small (perhaps global warming or whatnot). The park ranger they brought on board pointed out wildlife like goats, bears, eagles and such but it seemed they were on the opposite side of the ship that we were on at the time. Dinner was smart casual and we elected to eat at the buffet. Once again it was average to say the least. they were also out of lemonaide that day for some in-explicit reason that was not shared with us. We elected the buffet this day because we saw the menu for the main dining room and none of it (none of it) looked interesting. To be fair, we are not huge fans of seafood so that night was seafood heavy and that could have been the problem. Wednesday you stop in Sitka. Sitka is a very pretty little town that we walked around in. If you are just seeing the city and do not have any mobility issues, there is really no need to pay for a tour. We were transported into town by bus (free) and they drop you off in the middle of town. We were able to walk and go to all of the shops, see the church they talk about in "what to do in Sitka", go to the Russian Cemetery, and then walk to the other end of town to go to Totem national Park and walk around there. Yes, a lot of walking but we really got to see the town. It was very pretty and everyone was very friendly. They really do appreciate the tourists that come in and support their local economy. Even doing all of this, we still had 3 plus hours until the ship departed so there is plenty of time in this port. Dinner Wednesday night is smart casual again and once again we found the offerings of the main dining to be lacking in our interest so ate at the buffet, which seemed remarkably like "leftover night". It was edible but anything above that would be an undeserved compliment. Thursday you stop in Ketchikan. This town has a Safeway that has a Starbucks and if you want one of those "Alaska" mugs this is where you need to get that. It is a 1.3 mile walk from the dock if you want to go OR you can be smarter that we were and go right outside the dock to where the public bus system is running. You will find a bus labeled "free downtown circulator" or something akin to that. Take that bus. It will go on its last stop to a mall (cannot remember exactly what it is called but "mall" is in the name and it is stop 10 of 10). Connected to that mall is the Safeway and the Starbucks is inside. We walked there and it was a fine walk though the neighborhood looked a little questionable at times. We took the bus thing back and kicked ourselves for not knowing about that sooner. Once we obtained the mug for my wife we did some shopping. The popular shore excursion for this port is the lumberjack show which is about a block away from the dock. We thought it looked hokey so we did not participate in that but people on the boat seemed to enjoy it. Back on the ship was the second formal night which we attended. This is lobster (surf and turf) night. Food was decent this night I thought but my wife and daughter were both of the opinion that it was sub-par. I think they were just stuck on the fact that that food had been pretty average to that point. Because we ate pretty early and my wife got a pasta dish (that was pretty sparse) because she does not like lobster, she was still hungry an hour or so after dinner so we went and checked out the buffet. In addition to serving what appeared to be their daily plan of leftovers from previous meals, they also had the same surf and turf option as main dining did that evening. I elected to try this once again and it was obvious that the quality of the buffet was far below that of the main dining room. Whereas the main dining has filet mignon, the buffet advertised that but it was more akin to shoe leather (not that the filet in main dining was great but at least it was not trying to eat leather). The lobster in the buffet was rubbery and half the portion you got in main dining. This is the one night that I would strongly recommend going to the main dining room. Friday you dock (eventually) in Victoria. Victoria is a nice pretty city but I kind of wish it had been Vancouver instead of Victoria. You have to pay 10 dollars a person to take the shuttle into Victoria (round trip) and if you walk I think it is about 30 minutes each way. We did some shopping and walked around doing some sight seeing but because the ship docks so late and you have to be back on-board by 11:30 we were concerned about being out too late so it felt very rushed. If you stayed on the boat the dining was smart casual and we got back in time to eat at the buffet which once again seemed to be leftovers night. Saturday you get back into Seattle and disembark. Pretty easy and painless. Or group was called at 8:45 and we were getting a cab about 9:15 after customs. Couple of things I forgot to put in the above dissertation...first off if you are one of those sporty fishing kind of people (which I am not). I heard some of the people talking on the boat that if you go out on one of those excursions and you catch something, it costs a small fortune (250-1000+ dollars) to have the fish you caught sent back home and you cannot bring it back to the boat. Again, this is just what I heard and you should check on that yourself. The boat does have movies and tv. Movies seem to be basically what Redbox currently has out. My 15 year old was bored because there was nothing really to do so she watched a lot of tv/movies. The burger place in the mid ship pool area is actually quite good. We all thought that it in fact was the best food on the ship however it is only open from 11 to 5:30 PM each day so it is a nice lunch or early dinner option but the hours are kind of short. The pizza place on deck 9 aft is ok but not great as I read in some other reviews. We did not get room service which is 24 hours but it has a very limited menu so if you think it is going to be all you can eat buffet 24/7 you are going to be disappointed. For all of my complaining, if you like nature, I think this is a nice cruise because you do get to see a lot of it. Given the right excursions, I am sure you could have come across more wildlife as well. One of the nice things that I found on this cruise that was every time you turned around there was not someone trying to take your picture. In fact I never saw the picture selling room like I had on other cruises. I find that excessive and annoying so it was nice to see it not always thrown in your face. We were concerned that the cruise would be mainly older people (we are mid-40's) and we found it to be a relative mix of people (probably leaning toward the 50+ crowd). Most people were nice, friendly, and polite but when you get 2000+ people on a ship of course there are going to be annoying/rude people here and there but for the most part everyone was cool. If you are a smoker, like me, and lose your lighter, like me, you can get one from the gift shop. They are not on the shelves but ask one of the clerks and they have them behind the counter. They are super over priced (like 4 dollars) but it is better than bumming lights off of people. Also, make sure to bring plenty of cigarettes as the ship only sells them by the carton-which is pretty cheap but only the most popular brands and not anything I smoke. I think that is it. Hope this helps any of you who are either going or trying to decide where to go. I will add if I think of anything else. Thanks!

5th cruise, this would rank probably 5th of our list based on our experiences.

Eurodam Cruise Review by albinwisniewski

25 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2017
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
First off to be fair, this was our 5th cruise. Previously we had been on Carnival (the parent company of Holland America) twice (Bahamas, Jamaica-Grand Cayman-Mexico), Royal Caribbean once (Mexican Rivera), and Norwegian (Hawaii). We were going to go on Carnival for this trip however when my wife saw that Carnival did not go to Glacier Bay she requested we look at alternatives that did and we found this from Holland America that was essentially the same price we would have paid for our first choice, left on a Saturday vs the Tuesday to Tuesday that Carnival runs (better for getting time off of work) and this went to Glacier Bay so we booked on this ship.

We arrived at pier 91 fairly early for us. We had flown in the night before and stayed at a hotel by the airport. When we woke up we just went back to the airport and took Shuttle Express to the pier which was fine (about 23 dollars a person) plus they let your minor children ride free (we had our 15 year old daughter with us) so that was cool. Anyway, we got to the pier around 11 AM and were surprised to see that they were already processing people to get on the boat.

More on that in a minute. Here are a couple of pro-tips. Tip number 1, if you read your luggage tag you will see that Holland America allows you to bring one bottle of wine or champagne on board per adult in your carry on without a corking fee. Lets assume you get 5 glasses out of a bottle, that is 10 drinks you do not have to pay ship prices for and depending on how classy you are, that can be a significant savings. Pro-Tip number 2, and I cannot believe they allow you to do this, but Holland America does not have a restriction on you bringing soda on board with you. I called and checked and yes it is true you can bring your own soda so the morning of I went to Safeway near our hotel and bought 3 twelve packs of soda for us and packed those in a spare duffel bag that I had brought for souvenirs and threw a luggage tag on it. Lets say soda is 4 dollars each on the ship and 4x36 cans is 144 dollars. We did that for 12 dollars from Safeway.

Anyway, embarkation had started and it went pretty fast. Of course they checked our bottles of wine to make sure they were 750 ML or less and they were sealed but that is all they cared about when it comes to that. My wife and I do not like to use credit cards so we were going to pay the on-board deposit that were listed in the documents to the check in agent but he would not take it. We were confused because this has been the process on other cruises we have taken but all the agent told us is "OK if you want to do that talk to the customer service desk once you are on the ship". We were assigned a boarding group and maybe waited 15 minutes to be called to come on board. Once on board we found our room and settled in a bit and then we went exploring the ship. We found they were serving lunch at the lido buffet and it is "OK" to be honest. We thought it might be because it was for those early arrivals like us and plus it was the buffet so expectations were not that high but still and all it seemed lower quality than what we had experienced on other cruises. We found the customer service desk and told them about our pay with cash plan and they were like "OK - how much money do you want to give us". This was not what they had said (410 per adult is what the travel docs stated when we booked). We asked them if 600 would be OK since this appeared to be a negotiation and they were fine with that. Again, we were just confused because it was very explicit on other cruises we had been on.

We depart and decide to eat in the main dining room that night (smart casual night) and it was average to say the least. We were not impressed by the taste or quality of the food. Someone else had stated in a review that the food was pretty as a picture, which it was, but also bland/flavorless, which it also was.

The next day is a day at sea. We were bored. On Carnival or Royal Caribbean(mostly Carnival), the cruise director is on the PA system all of the time letting people know about what is going on and where to go but there was none of this. In fact, reading the daily activities list they provide in each room the night before, we were like "is this all they have going on"? On other cruises, we had trouble deciding what to do because several things were going on at the same time we were interested in. On this, we had trouble finding anything that remotely sounded interesting. Trust me we are not difficult people to amuse so this really was confusing to us.

As a result of trying to self entertain, I checked out the casino. I have to say the casino on the boat is a surreal experience. First off, it is non-smoking which is very weird to me as I have never been in a casino that was non-smoking (and if you are a smoker, just so you know there is only one smoking area on the boat and that is on deck 9 past the lido buffet in the aft section of the boat). Second, the casino seems small compared to what I have seem on other cruises. Third, the casino hosts tend to hover over you while you are playing which is just annoying after awhile. That being said, i found the slot machines on the boat to be fairly loose. A person behind me won 5K on one of them the first night of the cruise and I basically broke even for the trip (and this was my main entertainment on the ship so i was there enough).

Sunday is the first formal night at dining. unfortunately for the first time ever my wife got sea sick and was layed up in the room most of the day so we elected to skip the formal night and go eat at the buffet. You will find that several of the main dishes being offered in the dining room are also offered in the buffet, but the quality is lower (we found that out on the second formal night which I will get to in a bit). We had breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day at the buffet and every meal was average/edible however that is the best I could rate it.

Monday is the first stop in Juneau which is a nice enough little town. We walked around there and did some shopping and then did the dog sled excursion. That was nice and my daughter really enjoyed that part of the trip but I think it was a bit over priced. Granted I think most shore excursions fall into that problem so that might just be my bias. Monday was smart causal in the main dining and we went to eat there. Same as before - food was bleh, served warm, and service was slow.

Tuesday is cruising Glacier Bay which I guess is pretty and all. If you think you are going to see glaciers like in the movies you will be disappointed. You get to see several glaciers which are pretty but kind of small (perhaps global warming or whatnot). The park ranger they brought on board pointed out wildlife like goats, bears, eagles and such but it seemed they were on the opposite side of the ship that we were on at the time. Dinner was smart casual and we elected to eat at the buffet. Once again it was average to say the least. they were also out of lemonaide that day for some in-explicit reason that was not shared with us. We elected the buffet this day because we saw the menu for the main dining room and none of it (none of it) looked interesting. To be fair, we are not huge fans of seafood so that night was seafood heavy and that could have been the problem.

Wednesday you stop in Sitka. Sitka is a very pretty little town that we walked around in. If you are just seeing the city and do not have any mobility issues, there is really no need to pay for a tour. We were transported into town by bus (free) and they drop you off in the middle of town. We were able to walk and go to all of the shops, see the church they talk about in "what to do in Sitka", go to the Russian Cemetery, and then walk to the other end of town to go to Totem national Park and walk around there. Yes, a lot of walking but we really got to see the town. It was very pretty and everyone was very friendly. They really do appreciate the tourists that come in and support their local economy. Even doing all of this, we still had 3 plus hours until the ship departed so there is plenty of time in this port. Dinner Wednesday night is smart casual again and once again we found the offerings of the main dining to be lacking in our interest so ate at the buffet, which seemed remarkably like "leftover night". It was edible but anything above that would be an undeserved compliment.

Thursday you stop in Ketchikan. This town has a Safeway that has a Starbucks and if you want one of those "Alaska" mugs this is where you need to get that. It is a 1.3 mile walk from the dock if you want to go OR you can be smarter that we were and go right outside the dock to where the public bus system is running. You will find a bus labeled "free downtown circulator" or something akin to that. Take that bus. It will go on its last stop to a mall (cannot remember exactly what it is called but "mall" is in the name and it is stop 10 of 10). Connected to that mall is the Safeway and the Starbucks is inside. We walked there and it was a fine walk though the neighborhood looked a little questionable at times. We took the bus thing back and kicked ourselves for not knowing about that sooner. Once we obtained the mug for my wife we did some shopping. The popular shore excursion for this port is the lumberjack show which is about a block away from the dock. We thought it looked hokey so we did not participate in that but people on the boat seemed to enjoy it. Back on the ship was the second formal night which we attended. This is lobster (surf and turf) night. Food was decent this night I thought but my wife and daughter were both of the opinion that it was sub-par. I think they were just stuck on the fact that that food had been pretty average to that point. Because we ate pretty early and my wife got a pasta dish (that was pretty sparse) because she does not like lobster, she was still hungry an hour or so after dinner so we went and checked out the buffet. In addition to serving what appeared to be their daily plan of leftovers from previous meals, they also had the same surf and turf option as main dining did that evening. I elected to try this once again and it was obvious that the quality of the buffet was far below that of the main dining room. Whereas the main dining has filet mignon, the buffet advertised that but it was more akin to shoe leather (not that the filet in main dining was great but at least it was not trying to eat leather). The lobster in the buffet was rubbery and half the portion you got in main dining. This is the one night that I would strongly recommend going to the main dining room.

Friday you dock (eventually) in Victoria. Victoria is a nice pretty city but I kind of wish it had been Vancouver instead of Victoria. You have to pay 10 dollars a person to take the shuttle into Victoria (round trip) and if you walk I think it is about 30 minutes each way. We did some shopping and walked around doing some sight seeing but because the ship docks so late and you have to be back on-board by 11:30 we were concerned about being out too late so it felt very rushed. If you stayed on the boat the dining was smart casual and we got back in time to eat at the buffet which once again seemed to be leftovers night.

Saturday you get back into Seattle and disembark. Pretty easy and painless. Or group was called at 8:45 and we were getting a cab about 9:15 after customs.

Couple of things I forgot to put in the above dissertation...first off if you are one of those sporty fishing kind of people (which I am not). I heard some of the people talking on the boat that if you go out on one of those excursions and you catch something, it costs a small fortune (250-1000+ dollars) to have the fish you caught sent back home and you cannot bring it back to the boat. Again, this is just what I heard and you should check on that yourself.

The boat does have movies and tv. Movies seem to be basically what Redbox currently has out. My 15 year old was bored because there was nothing really to do so she watched a lot of tv/movies.

The burger place in the mid ship pool area is actually quite good. We all thought that it in fact was the best food on the ship however it is only open from 11 to 5:30 PM each day so it is a nice lunch or early dinner option but the hours are kind of short. The pizza place on deck 9 aft is ok but not great as I read in some other reviews. We did not get room service which is 24 hours but it has a very limited menu so if you think it is going to be all you can eat buffet 24/7 you are going to be disappointed.

For all of my complaining, if you like nature, I think this is a nice cruise because you do get to see a lot of it. Given the right excursions, I am sure you could have come across more wildlife as well. One of the nice things that I found on this cruise that was every time you turned around there was not someone trying to take your picture. In fact I never saw the picture selling room like I had on other cruises. I find that excessive and annoying so it was nice to see it not always thrown in your face.

We were concerned that the cruise would be mainly older people (we are mid-40's) and we found it to be a relative mix of people (probably leaning toward the 50+ crowd). Most people were nice, friendly, and polite but when you get 2000+ people on a ship of course there are going to be annoying/rude people here and there but for the most part everyone was cool.

If you are a smoker, like me, and lose your lighter, like me, you can get one from the gift shop. They are not on the shelves but ask one of the clerks and they have them behind the counter. They are super over priced (like 4 dollars) but it is better than bumming lights off of people. Also, make sure to bring plenty of cigarettes as the ship only sells them by the carton-which is pretty cheap but only the most popular brands and not anything I smoke.

I think that is it. Hope this helps any of you who are either going or trying to decide where to go. I will add if I think of anything else. Thanks!
albinwisniewski’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VC 8092
The cabin was nice. Seemed to be about the standard size for a balcony room based on our other 4 cruises on different lines. It was clean and well kept. If there was a surprise to me it was the bathroom had a bath tub in it (all of the other cruises we have been on there was just a shower). The room attendants were very good and very friendly/helpful. We had no complaints about the room.
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