Eurodam Entertainment & Activities
The Mainstage is the ship's two-story production theater on Decks 2 and 3 and, although more than adequate, it's ho-hum in terms of architecture or technology. It's a basic theater with auditorium seating on the first floor and a nice, somewhat intimate mezzanine on the second floor. There is a star-lit ceiling that makes the room feel a bit more festive, plus lovely crystal musical instruments hang from the ceiling on the second level down to the first floor in the stairwells. The best feature of the theater is the limited number of supporting poles resulting in fewer obstructed views.
Evening performances include two song-and-dance productions shows. During our itinerary, the shows were Off the Charts: Billboard Hits Rewind with a concert of hits from Elvis to Beyonce and 1000 Steps, a sizzling evening of Latin ballroom dance. Both shows had two performances each night performed at 8 and 10 p.m.
Another evening show was a BBC Earth Experience, created via a partnership between Holland America and the BBC. The performance celebrated our itinerary with Alaska in Concert, a combination of live music set against a backdrop of breathtaking footage from the BBC Earth television series, "Wild Alaska."
The rest of the evenings featured live performances by comedians, musicians and singers offering two performances each night.
By day, The Mainstage is used for lectures, presentations and destination-themed and special events.
Whether a day at sea or in port, there are plenty of daily activities on Eurodam. Consult the What & Where schedule that is delivered to your cabin each night for a listing of all the activities along with their times and locations.
America's Test Kitchen is one of the newer activities available on Eurodam. With cooking demonstrations created specifically for Holland America passengers through a partnership with the recipe development experts at America's Test Kitchen, passengers can learn how to make foolproof dishes at home. Led by an America's Test Kitchen-trained chef, they highlight the cooking techniques and innovative uses of ingredients that make America's Test Kitchen one of the most popular how-to-cook shows on TV. The free demonstrations are performed in the Queen's Lounge and tend to draw large crowds so get there early. But don't expect any samples.
The Microsoft Digital Workshop hosts multiple topics of computer instruction throughout the week including digital camera lessons, photo-taking tips, Windows 10 lessons, email advice and more. All classes are held in the Digital Workshop on Deck 2 aft and tend to be quite popular.
Trivia takes place most days in varying locations, and there are blackjack and Texas Hold'em Tournaments in the Casino (when the ship is at sea), party bridge in the upper dining room and bingo in the Queen's Lounge. There are frequent beer and wine tastings, as well as mixology classes that start at $15 and are usually held in the dining room. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and pastries is served most days in the Ocean Bar. Happy Hour is offered every afternoon in the Crow's Nest and Ocean Bar from 4 to 5 p.m. where a second drink is only $2.
Current movies are aired daily in the Screening Room, an intimate movie house with about 40 comfortable leather recliners. Popcorn is served and the movies usually air throughout the day and evening.
There are also scavenger hunts, Ping-Pong tournaments, shuffleboard games, basketball tournaments, dance classes, a behind-the-scenes galley tour and various art lectures and exhibits.
It's all about the music on Eurodam. The perennial favorite every night is B.B. King's All-Stars, jamming the best of Memphis and Motown in the B.B. King Blues Club in the Queen's Lounge (where America's Test Kitchen is located during the day) on Deck 2 midship. From funky and fast to soulful and smooth, the eight-piece band plays three 45-minute segments nightly. Late night, the Queen's Lounge becomes a club for dancing the night away.
If you prefer chart-topping hits, then Billboard Onboard is the place to be (Deck 2 midship). Two pianists playing on two grand pianos belt out hits from the Billboard charts. It offers audience participation through frequent requests. We found the talent to be just average and didn't love the location right across from the Casino but there were crowds every night tapping their feet and singing along.
The third option is Lincoln Center Stage (Deck 2 aft) offering varied classical and chamber music concerts each evening with one piano and three string instruments. The venue is auditorium style creating more of a concert venue versus a club and the talent is top-notch.
The Casino on Deck 2 midship is standard fare with slot machines, gaming tables, and regular tournaments such as Texas Hold'em and lotto drawings. The good news for gamblers is that you can enjoy the Billboard Onboard music spilling over from across the hall. The good news for everyone is that it's a non-smoking casino.
Other evening activities include movies in the Screening Room, wine tastings, bar hops, late-night dancing to the hits and casino competitions.
Eurodam Bars and Lounges
There are plenty of bars and lounges on Eurodam but most them are straightforward and lackluster. Two exceptions are the Gallery Bar and Tamarind Bar that offer up unique settings and cool vibes.
Explorer's Bar (Deck 2, aft): Although listed on the deck plan, it is really part of Lincoln Center Stage and there is no actual bar. There is bar service but we assume the drinks come from nearby Pinnacle Bar.
Pinnacle Bar (Deck 2, aft): The perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink, the Pinnacle Bar is across from Pinnacle Grill. It's vast windows along the length of the room, comfy window seats and sleek decor make it a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail with friends or simply watch the scenery sail by.
Queen's Lounge (Deck 2, midship): There is a tiny bar at the back of Queen's Lounge that is designed primarily to serve drinks in the B.B. King Blues Club. There are a few seats around the bar.
Gallery Bar (Deck 2, midship): This is one of the cooler bars onboard. The lounge area is filled to the brim with all kinds of contemporary artwork and modern furniture. The vibe is smoking lounge meets chic New York City club. One drawback are the several large-screen televisions that take away from the ambiance. The Gallery Bar serves draft beer, wine and an inventive cocktail menu from master mixologist, Dale DeGroff.
Ocean Bar (Deck 3, aft): Located in the atrium, this pleasant bar is a bit out of the public space hubbub and is a great spot for the daily happy hour at 4 p.m. while listening to the tunes of the house band.
Sea View Bar (Deck 9, aft): This aft bar services the Sea View pool as well as cocktails to go for the nearby New York Pizza. It also services the only onboard smoking area.
Lido Bar: (Deck 9, midship): The Lido Bar services the Lido pool and Dive-In Grill. It has plenty of chairs, tables and very cool fish barstools.
Tamarind Bar (Deck 11, midship): This unique space is across from Tamarind Restaurant and offers exotic cocktails and saketinis in pagoda-style seating areas, along with small tables and chairs along the midship windows.
Crow's Nest (Deck 11, forward): With the best views of all the onboard bars, Crow's Nest is situated right at the top and front of the ship, with windows all around and is often the hot spot, particularly during the daily happy hour (4 to 5 p.m.) where you can enjoy a second drink for $2.
Eurodam Outside Recreation
Eurodam features two pools to accommodate its 2,104 passengers. The Lido pool is the primary one and it's found on Deck 9 midship. It features a retractable roof that can be closed during inclement weather or on colder itineraries. The full-sized pool is flanked by three hot tubs and has lots of chaise lounges with towels lining the sides. On the port side along the windows of Deck 9 are four-top table and chairs for Lido Market dining. The starboard side features eight private Lido cabanas along the windows, available for daily and weekly rentals. Each cabana has curtains for privacy, chaise lounges, two-person tables with chairs, fruit baskets, towel service, sparkling wine and lunch served in your private retreat. Prices start at $30 for a port day up to $199 for a weekly rental.
The secondary pool is the Sea View pool on Deck 9 aft. It's smaller and has two hot tubs. Holland America claims it is adults only but we saw a kid -- or three -- sneak in. There are plenty of chaise lounges for sunning or watching the views from the back of the ship and tables and chairs for alfresco Lido dining.
There are no dedicated kids' pool or splash facilities and children must be potty-trained to use the pool.
The Sports Court is on Deck 11 aft with basketball and volleyball courts. Shuffleboard courts can be found along the aft sides of Deck 10. Two Ping-Pong tables are on the port forward corner of the Lido pool deck. Lastly, there is a 360-degree promenade for walking on Deck 3, where nine laps around are a mile. There is no dedicated jogging track.
There are tons of sunning spots at the Lido and Sea View pools on Deck 9. There is also the Retreat overlooking the Lido pool on Deck 11. These 14 for-rent private cabanas are like the cabanas on the Lido deck with chaise lounges, two- and four-person table and chairs, privacy curtains, fruit baskets, chilled water, hot and cold towels, fans, misters, a separate breakfast and lunch menu served in your private retreat. Prices start at $55 for a port day up to $549 for a weekly rental. Although we were on an Alaskan itinerary and these cabanas were not in use, we can only imagine how lovely they would be in the Caribbean.
The helpful Guest Services desk is in the Atrium on Deck 1, along with the Journeys Ashore shore excursion desk and the Future Cruises sales desk. Eurodam has no card room, per se, but there are three meeting rooms (Stuyvesant, Half Moon and Hudson) on Deck 3 that are available for small group games and meetings.
The shops are adjacent to the meeting rooms and the space feels more like a mall than the traditional shops on older ships. The shopping area is an open floor plan with a high-end retailer feel and has departments for jewelry and watches, clothing and handbags, duty-free cosmetics, liquors and cigarettes, as well as Holland America-branded items. During our sailing to Alaska on the "O, The Oprah Magazine" Share the Adventure cruise, they also had a pop-up O Shop with "O, The Magazine"-branded items. This pop-up shop will be on all Eurodam North American sailings through the end of 2018.
The photo gallery is located on Deck 3 aft and sells print and digital photos taken by the ship's photographers on embarkation and port disembarkation, as well as on Gala Nights. They also sell some photo gear and feature a Joe Craig Black Label portraiture studio.
The Art Gallery is on Deck 2 and features paintings, drawings, watercolors, mixed-media works, sports memorabilia and animation art. They offer live auctions, gallery exhibitions and educational seminars throughout the cruise.
Although there isn't a traditional library on Eurodam, there are library services available on Deck 11 forward in Explorations Cafe. In addition to a surprisingly small and unorganized book selection, there is also a reference book area, a book exchange that had a tiny selection, a jigsaw puzzle area with many puzzles in progress, chess and crossword tables, board games available for free usage, 12 computer stations that were seldom used and a printing station. There were no magazines or newspapers, which was disappointing. The cafe also has plenty of tables, chairs and sofas for conversation, reading or studying. The highlight of Explorations Cafe is the coffee bar that serves coffee drinks, tea and sodas (all for a fee) as well as complimentary light breakfast items, snacks and sweets.
There is Wi-Fi throughout the ship, but the service is slow and challenging, and a bit pricy when you consider these limitations. The connection often struggles with sites that require a lot of bandwidth (web surfing, social media, etc.) and you often waste precious time just making the connection. The basic per minute rate is $0.75 but you can save by purchasing a package, starting with the $55 100-minute plan and going all the way up to the $250 1,000-minute plan. There are also two last day plans ($8.25 for 15 minutes and $12 for 30 minutes) for those who just need a connection to make plans for getting home.
There is no self-service laundry but there are several shipboard laundry options including laundry by the piece (varied pricing based on the item), laundry by the bag ($20 for all the laundry you can fit in the Holland America laundry bag), unlimited laundry and pressing for the entire cruise ($49 for a seven-day cruise) and unlimited pressing for the entire cruise ($28 for a seven-day cruise).