DESTINATIONS GREAT BUT HAL SERVICE CONTINUES TO SINK ON RECENT EURODAM TRANSLATIC
A recent Transatlantic Cruise on the Eurodam showed the dip in service continues on HAL ships while HAL keeps trying to hold prices down. For the second year in a row it was hard not to notice the reduction in service, but this time it was much worse. When you drop $20,000 on a vacation you notice both the big things and the small stuff. GETTING THERE: The HAL prices for air fare from a large Midwestern city to Amsterdam and then back from New York were hard to beat...but the crazy connections and long layovers killed us! Next time I will book air travel myself. Never again flying from US to Canada for a four hour layover then an Air Canada flight to Frankfort with a 5-hour layover for a 45-minute flight to Amsterdam on a packed Lufthansa flight! It was like HAL was punishing us for spending $20,000 with them. We were in transit for 26-hours. Getting home was almost as bad.
HAL did do a nice job making the airport transfer and getting us to the downtown Amsterdam hotel. The van driver was very funny even if some of his prepared speech was far from accurate. However HAL planning left a lot to be desired. The Eurodam was not docking in Amsterdam. The every five-year "Sail In" had the Amsterdam harbor choked with sailboats and concert barges. There was no room for cruise ships. The Eurodam was docked at an industrial area 15 miles out of town. EMBARKATION: The embarkation started off poorly. Heavy traffic on clogged Amsterdam streets, with people trying to get downtown for the "Sail In", meant a two-hour wait for hundreds of Eurodam passengers at the hotel. The ship sailed at 8pm but we were stuck in the industrial district at 2pm. We passed a chocolate factory near where the ship was docked, causing my wife to ask if they had tours (and hopefully samples) since we were arriving six hours before departure with nothing to do. (They didn't.)