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.

North To Alaska on the Fabulous Eurodam

Eurodam Cruise Review by dmg1956

34 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
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.
dmg1956’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Holland America Eurodam price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email