I once considered Holland America the most upscale of the mainstream cruise lines. I found the service, amenities, entertainment and dining far superior to Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean. However, after my weeklong Alaskan cruise on the Eurodam in May, I believe HAL has slipped to just average. That much being said, "average" is still a great vacation when you're cruising Holland America. We still had a wonderful time on board and you will too. The staff went out of their way to make us feel special from embarkation until our last minutes on board. We sailed round trip from Seattle and spent a day touring the city before boarding. Pike Place Market was our starting point. We spent hours there seeing the sights and tasting the free samples. We also went for one of the underground city tours, which was a fascinating way to learn about the history of Seattle. HAL's cruise terminal is about a $40 cab ride from downtown hotels. There were no porters standing by to help us with our luggage, which shows more poorly on the port authority than the cruise line. I finally found a group of four porters, standing around socializing. They were eager to help once I asked them if any of them were working. Check-in was easy and smooth. We were Neptune Suite guests so we breezed through embarkation. The only delay was for the obligatory pre-boarding photo from the pesky cruise photographers. It normally wouldn't be so bad, but it was cold and rainy in Seattle and we were uncomfortable waiting for photo-ops. One great change for Holland America is letting guests into their cabin as soon as they board. I loved being able to drop off our carry-ons before exploring the ship. We were met in Cabin 7065 by our two room stewards, who greeted us and asked us if we had any special requests. We did. One of the great perks of staying in a Neptune Suite is complimentary laundry and dry-cleaning. We had a lot of wrinkled clothing from our flight in. The stewards took care of it. We then headed to the Neptune Lounge, another great perk for suite guests, for a light snack. While there, I made reservations, with the concierge, for the Tamarind restaurant ($25 surcharge), Pinnacle Grille ($35 surcharge) and Sur La Mer ($49 surcharge). Experience has taught me, if you can afford it, the premium restaurants are worth the extra money. The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, although starting to show some wear. You can walk from one end to the other except on decks 10 and 11. To go fore and aft on those decks requires you to go down to deck 9. The midship pool area (Deck 9) was covered, giving folks a place to sit outside, without wearing jackets. There were plenty of bars, although there were times when we had to search to find an open one. Here's a tip: Deck two has two bars adjacent to the casino. One of them is almost always open. The Lido Deck (9) bar is also open most of the day. The other bars are open sporadically, making it a challenge to find adult beverages at times. The gym is fairly well equipped, although most of the treadmills were broken. Some didn't incline. Others would only run two minutes at a time. Some didn't have a place to put a tablet for reading. This led to a wait for the machines, even at 6:30 in the morning. My wife ended up walking around deck three, where three laps=one mile. There were plenty of weight machines and free weights in the gym. No wait for weights (sorry, I couldn't help myself). I was a bit put off to find exercise classes that were once free, now costs money. The spa & salon are nice, but terribly overpriced. The biggest rip-off, to me. may be the thermal spa which is marketed at $279 per couple for the week. $169 for a single. Our traveling companions found it overcrowded and difficult to enjoy for more than an hour at a time. We did splurge on a couples massage ($379 for 75 minutes). It was very relaxing, but three times what we would pay for a similar massage in Florida. Our cabin (7065) was large, well equipped and starting to fall apart from age. A broken drawer, makeup mirror and stained furniture were my chief complaints. It was still a wonderful place to share a pre-dinner bottle of wine with friends and we loved the oversized balcony. The best part of the cabin were our stewards Gede and Franz. They seemed to know intuitively what we would need or want and provide it. We had the signature beverage package, which includes 15 drinks per person per day. It was comped to us as part of our cruise package. However, even if we paid for it, I think it would be a great value. I was never able to come close to 15 drinks, even with several cappuccinos throughout the day. Of course, that may be because our traveling companions brought six bottles of wine on board and preferred to drink that with us. A note about the bottled wine. No-one checked our carry-on while we brought the extra wine on board. We were only charged a corkage fee ($18) if we brought a bottle to the restaurant. Even that was waved one night when we also bought two bottles of wine from the menu.. I found the main dining room below average for both dinner and lunch. The menu options were not appealing and they were very limited. The service was friendly and efficient, but the food didn't cut it. However, all of the upscale restaurants were great. The Tamarind ($25), serving Asian food, was my favorite for service and food. We literally ordered every appetizer and dessert on the menu to try and they gladly brought it for us. I also liked the Pinnacle Grille. The service was top notch, although the kitchen was not five star. Too many little things that gave me a sense the head chef took the night off. The pizza parlor on deck 9 aft was a huge hit, Great individual pizzas with most of my favorite toppings. They did run out of mushrooms halfway through the cruise. I liked the salad bar, which never seemed crowded. Huge bowls of fresh lettuce and vegetables. The Dive-in hamburger stand was SLOW SLOW SLOW! It frequently took 20-25 minutes to get a burger or chicken sandwich. The entertainment was not great. There was no pre-dinner cocktail music on board. Most cruise ships have two options for pre-dinner music. The Blues Club was fun and lively, although it was basically the same show every night. Billboard On Board sounds like a Dee Jay, but is actually a piano duo. They were great, but only played late. I would have loved an earlier show. The comedian just wasn't funny. In fact, the illusionist was far funnier, more polished and provided a super show. Fortunately, the comedian has left the ship. The illusionist is staying on board for an extended run. My favorite part of the entertainment was the game room on deck two adjacent to the casino. We had loads of fun playing old fashioned games with other on chilly sea days. The best part of the Eurodam is the service. Everyone on board seemed to have a "can-do" attitude aimed at giving people a positive cruise experience. The ports in Alaska are very all similar to me. In fact, the excursions are also very similar. In Juneau: I highly recommend the helicopter ride to Herbert Glacier for dog sledding. It is a once in a lifetime experience that we've done on three Alaskan cruises because it's so much fun! Expect to pay a lot ($600-$800 per person) depending on who you choose for a tour operator. Glacier Bay: is a trip around a bay with a few glaciers. I found it boring to watch glaciers from a mile away, having just gone dog sledding on one! But HAL had some nice touches, offering hot soup to chilly guests on board. In Sitka: We took the free shuttle into town and hired a private taxi for a tour. The three hour tour was 1/3 the cost of the similar tour offered by the ship. The plus side was we had a private car instead of a crowded bus. In Ketchikan: we took our only Holland American shore excursion, the off road kart ride. It is a blast. We got filthy and had fun doing it. Highly recommend it. Victoria, BC: is a waste. We docked at 6:00 for five hours. At dinnertime! So, we were left with a decision to et on board and waste time in port or skip dinner. Alaska is supposed to be a once in a lifetime cruise destination. We've now been there four times. It's that good. And while Holland America, has slipped a bit in service, dining and entertainment, I had a fantastic cruise. You won't be disappointed.

Amazing Crew Makes Up for Very Average Cruise & Ship

Eurodam Cruise Review by TV Dad

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: May 2019
  • Destination: Alaska
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Suite with Verandah
I once considered Holland America the most upscale of the mainstream cruise lines. I found the service, amenities, entertainment and dining far superior to Carnival, Princess and Royal Caribbean. However, after my weeklong Alaskan cruise on the Eurodam in May, I believe HAL has slipped to just average.

That much being said, "average" is still a great vacation when you're cruising Holland America. We still had a wonderful time on board and you will too. The staff went out of their way to make us feel special from embarkation until our last minutes on board.

We sailed round trip from Seattle and spent a day touring the city before boarding. Pike Place Market was our starting point. We spent hours there seeing the sights and tasting the free samples. We also went for one of the underground city tours, which was a fascinating way to learn about the history of Seattle.

HAL's cruise terminal is about a $40 cab ride from downtown hotels. There were no porters standing by to help us with our luggage, which shows more poorly on the port authority than the cruise line. I finally found a group of four porters, standing around socializing. They were eager to help once I asked them if any of them were working.

Check-in was easy and smooth. We were Neptune Suite guests so we breezed through embarkation. The only delay was for the obligatory pre-boarding photo from the pesky cruise photographers. It normally wouldn't be so bad, but it was cold and rainy in Seattle and we were uncomfortable waiting for photo-ops.

One great change for Holland America is letting guests into their cabin as soon as they board. I loved being able to drop off our carry-ons before exploring the ship. We were met in Cabin 7065 by our two room stewards, who greeted us and asked us if we had any special requests. We did. One of the great perks of staying in a Neptune Suite is complimentary laundry and dry-cleaning. We had a lot of wrinkled clothing from our flight in. The stewards took care of it.

We then headed to the Neptune Lounge, another great perk for suite guests, for a light snack. While there, I made reservations, with the concierge, for the Tamarind restaurant ($25 surcharge), Pinnacle Grille ($35 surcharge) and Sur La Mer ($49 surcharge). Experience has taught me, if you can afford it, the premium restaurants are worth the extra money.

The Eurodam is a beautiful ship, although starting to show some wear. You can walk from one end to the other except on decks 10 and 11. To go fore and aft on those decks requires you to go down to deck 9.

The midship pool area (Deck 9) was covered, giving folks a place to sit outside, without wearing jackets. There were plenty of bars, although there were times when we had to search to find an open one. Here's a tip: Deck two has two bars adjacent to the casino. One of them is almost always open. The Lido Deck (9) bar is also open most of the day. The other bars are open sporadically, making it a challenge to find adult beverages at times.

The gym is fairly well equipped, although most of the treadmills were broken. Some didn't incline. Others would only run two minutes at a time. Some didn't have a place to put a tablet for reading. This led to a wait for the machines, even at 6:30 in the morning. My wife ended up walking around deck three, where three laps=one mile.

There were plenty of weight machines and free weights in the gym. No wait for weights (sorry, I couldn't help myself). I was a bit put off to find exercise classes that were once free, now costs money. The spa & salon are nice, but terribly overpriced. The biggest rip-off, to me. may be the thermal spa which is marketed at $279 per couple for the week. $169 for a single. Our traveling companions found it overcrowded and difficult to enjoy for more than an hour at a time. We did splurge on a couples massage ($379 for 75 minutes). It was very relaxing, but three times what we would pay for a similar massage in Florida.

Our cabin (7065) was large, well equipped and starting to fall apart from age. A broken drawer, makeup mirror and stained furniture were my chief complaints. It was still a wonderful place to share a pre-dinner bottle of wine with friends and we loved the oversized balcony. The best part of the cabin were our stewards Gede and Franz. They seemed to know intuitively what we would need or want and provide it.

We had the signature beverage package, which includes 15 drinks per person per day. It was comped to us as part of our cruise package. However, even if we paid for it, I think it would be a great value. I was never able to come close to 15 drinks, even with several cappuccinos throughout the day. Of course, that may be because our traveling companions brought six bottles of wine on board and preferred to drink that with us.

A note about the bottled wine. No-one checked our carry-on while we brought the extra wine on board. We were only charged a corkage fee ($18) if we brought a bottle to the restaurant. Even that was waved one night when we also bought two bottles of wine from the menu..

I found the main dining room below average for both dinner and lunch. The menu options were not appealing and they were very limited. The service was friendly and efficient, but the food didn't cut it.

However, all of the upscale restaurants were great. The Tamarind ($25), serving Asian food, was my favorite for service and food. We literally ordered every appetizer and dessert on the menu to try and they gladly brought it for us. I also liked the Pinnacle Grille. The service was top notch, although the kitchen was not five star. Too many little things that gave me a sense the head chef took the night off.

The pizza parlor on deck 9 aft was a huge hit, Great individual pizzas with most of my favorite toppings. They did run out of mushrooms halfway through the cruise. I liked the salad bar, which never seemed crowded. Huge bowls of fresh lettuce and vegetables.

The Dive-in hamburger stand was SLOW SLOW SLOW! It frequently took 20-25 minutes to get a burger or chicken sandwich.

The entertainment was not great. There was no pre-dinner cocktail music on board. Most cruise ships have two options for pre-dinner music. The Blues Club was fun and lively, although it was basically the same show every night. Billboard On Board sounds like a Dee Jay, but is actually a piano duo. They were great, but only played late. I would have loved an earlier show. The comedian just wasn't funny. In fact, the illusionist was far funnier, more polished and provided a super show. Fortunately, the comedian has left the ship. The illusionist is staying on board for an extended run.

My favorite part of the entertainment was the game room on deck two adjacent to the casino. We had loads of fun playing old fashioned games with other on chilly sea days.

The best part of the Eurodam is the service. Everyone on board seemed to have a "can-do" attitude aimed at giving people a positive cruise experience.

The ports in Alaska are very all similar to me. In fact, the excursions are also very similar.

In Juneau: I highly recommend the helicopter ride to Herbert Glacier for dog sledding. It is a once in a lifetime experience that we've done on three Alaskan cruises because it's so much fun! Expect to pay a lot ($600-$800 per person) depending on who you choose for a tour operator.

Glacier Bay: is a trip around a bay with a few glaciers. I found it boring to watch glaciers from a mile away, having just gone dog sledding on one! But HAL had some nice touches, offering hot soup to chilly guests on board.

In Sitka: We took the free shuttle into town and hired a private taxi for a tour. The three hour tour was 1/3 the cost of the similar tour offered by the ship. The plus side was we had a private car instead of a crowded bus.

In Ketchikan: we took our only Holland American shore excursion, the off road kart ride. It is a blast. We got filthy and had fun doing it. Highly recommend it.

Victoria, BC: is a waste. We docked at 6:00 for five hours. At dinnertime! So, we were left with a decision to et on board and waste time in port or skip dinner.

Alaska is supposed to be a once in a lifetime cruise destination. We've now been there four times. It's that good. And while Holland America, has slipped a bit in service, dining and entertainment, I had a fantastic cruise. You won't be disappointed.
TV Dad’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Neptune Suite with Verandah
Cabin SC 7065
I love Neptune Suites, for their size and amenities.

Our cabin (7065) was large, well equipped and starting to fall apart from age. A broken drawer, makeup mirror and stained furniture were my chief complaints. It was still a wonderful place to share a pre-dinner bottle of wine with friends and we loved the oversized balcony. The best part of the cabin were our stewards Gede and Franz. They seemed to know intuitively what we would need or want and provide it.

The bed was comfortable with extra pillows. The sheets were soft.We found plenty of storage space, expecally closets! There are lots of glasses, if you care to have cocktails, wine, etc. in the room.

The bathroom is large, with dual sinks, a small shower and a full sized jetted bathtub with a second shower. The towels were large and soft. So were the complimentary bathrobes! The best I've ever experienced in 20+ cruises.

Neptune Suite perks include free laundry and use of the Neptune Lounge. The lounge is an under-used haven you should take advantage of. There's a concierge on duty to make or change reservations for you (spa, dining, shore excursions). Complimntary specialty coffees and snacks all day. And an honor bar in the afternoon and early evening. An honor bar means you pour your own drinks, just he way you like them, and sign them to your account.

My favorite Neptune Suite perk is breakfast in the Pinnacle Grille. The grille is open for suite guests only, during the same hour the main dining room is open. Complimentary mimosas are offered with breakfast. It's a wonderful intimate way to start the day.
Upper Verandah Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins