Eurodam Eastern Caribbean, Oct 16-23, 2010: Eurodam Cruise Review by Zyzygy

Eurodam 5
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Eurodam Eastern Caribbean, Oct 16-23, 2010

Sail Date: October 2010
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: Fort Lauderdale (Port Everglades)
DW and two DDs sailed in Verandah quad Oct 16-23, 2010. DW and I drove to FLL and DWs made own flight arrangements. We stayed at the Comfort Suites Airport and Cruise Port at 1500 South Federal Hwy. When we discovered the tub drain was clogged, we were told there was no way to fix it. When DD indicated we would dispute payment for the room, it was promptly repaired.

We offloaded our car at the pier at 1:00 p.m., and there was no congestion or delay at all. We parked at the pier for $15 per day. There were no lines at embarkation, and it was a breeze. Our cabin was immaculate and ready. Our luggage arrived by 3:00 p.m. Preordered beverage cards were waiting for us in cabin.

We had a late lunch at the Lido buffet, and it was excessively bland. Curried vegetables were simply yellow-colored and marinara sauce was simply red-colored. One senses that previous cruisers may have complained that Lido food was too spicy, but the solution offered was to make the food virtually More tasteless.

This was in sharp contrast with the food in the Main Dining Room, which we consistently found to be excellent, and the food in Tamarind (Asian specialty restaurant), which was extraordinary, and the Pinnacle Grill (speciality steak and seafood restaurant), which was also excellent.

Our cabin stewards, Aris and Hotlan, were extremely hard-working and friendly. We had the sense that they worked together very well, and they handled every need.

We used unlimited laundry ($49 per week for the quad stateroom), and it worked very well.

We signed up for unlimited use of the hydrotherapy suite at the spa (two couples packages at $199 per package, or $100 per person). We used these facilities at least once per day and found the spa/fitness center personnel to be very helpful. The large hydrotherapy pool was never overcrowded and the heated ceramic lounges, saunas, and steam rooms were always available. We would do this again.

This was our second HAL cruise (previously on Westerdam) and ninth cruise overall. As with our previous HAL experience we found all of the crew to be consistently friendly and helpful.

We enjoyed the Mariners Society brunch and were pleased to receive a Delft tile as a gift.

We used As You Wish dining, and never had more than a five minute wait. Only on the second formal night did we fail to obtain a table for four. There we waited while a guest found none of the ten available entrees satisfactory and delayed a table of ten while insisting that a special entree be custom cooked, which it was. This guest was evidently dissatisfied with the custom cooked entree, which does demonstrate that it is impossible to please everyone.

We never encountered large crowds on the Eurodam. Logistics seemed to proceed in a well organized way.

We especially enjoyed the Explorers Lounge and the Adagio Strings that played there. Their chamber music selections were of high quality and earned a loyal following. We also enjoyed the views and service from the Crows Nest and appreciated the fact that the Crows Nest was not preempted by outside events, such as the art auction, as it had been our previous HAL cruise.

The Piano Bar was loud and smoky (next to the casino) and the electric piano had excessive harmonic distortion in its amplifier, making the "music" impossible to listen to. The pianist at the grand piano in the Atrium Bar was quite good, and this proved to be a much more effective "piano bar".

We visited the smaller lounges and did not attend the large shows in the theater.

We enjoyed the itinerary and the ship immensely and would readily return.

We were surprised at the cleanliness and facilities on Half Moon Cay, HAL's privately owned island. Although a downpour shortened our visit, we had a great time swimming and lolling in a hammock. Less

Published 10/27/10

Cabin review: VB Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom

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Port and Shore Excursions

We took the ship's snorkeling and sting ray excursion to Gibbs Cay. It was fun, but the sting ray experience was much more limited than at Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman. I suspect that if the excursion had offered the sting rays squid, instead of old fish heads and tails, more sting rays would have come.

We didn't explore any of the island except the very commercial new pier area, which was pleasant and touristy.

Read 1695 Grand Turk Reviews

We have been to San Juan a number of times and have a fairly set routine. First, we find a place for lunch (this time it was the Parrot Bar on Forteleza, near Cruz). We had a very good pitcher of red wine sangria, and indifferent ceviche and steak empanadas. The maduros (fried plaintains) were sticky sweet, which I like, but excessive for DDs.

We then take a taxi to the top of the hill to El Morro and walk our way down the hill back to the cruise pier. We visited the cathedral and several good handcraft shops, and stopped for rum tasting at the Don Q tasting room.

Overall it was a very good time. The taxi driver was also a certified tour guide, so he have some helpful information about the buildings and neighborhoods we drove through on our way to El Morro.

Read 2952 San Juan Reviews

We have also been to St. Thomas numerous times and have a set routine there. Eurodam docked at the new pier at Crown Bay (west of Charlotte Amalie), which has the requisite tourist shops. Before reaching the shops, there is a Virgin Islands Tourist Authority bungalow, where a very nice representative named Candia called a rental car company for us. She contacted Cowpet, which is a local company located about three blocks from the pier and has a large fleet of clean, new compact Mazdas. Their representative picked us up at the pier in five minutes, and we rented a car for the day for $62. Full collision insurance is effectively unavailable. Even if you pay $20 for CDW, you are still liable for a $2,000 deductible. The rental company puts a $500 hold on your credit card for property damage, and this was promptly released at the end of the day. Stateside visitors may want to consider Budget, which has an office only a couple of blocks farther from the pier, but our experience with Cowpet was positive.

We then drove to MountainTop, which is closed for renovations. It looks like it might reopen by Christmas. We then drove to Drake's Seat, took pictures, and went swimming at Magen's Bay ($20 for four guests and parking). Then we drove to Charlotte Amalie, where DW bought a new watch at Little Switzerland as planned.

We had a great time, but driving on the left on St. Thomas' winding roads is not for the faint of heart. We had previously been to St. John, and we prefer the relative quiet of Magen's Bay to the blaring intrusiveness of park rangers at Truk Bay.

Read 3995 St. Thomas Reviews

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