Just returned from our cruise aboard the Holland America MS Eurodam and wanted to get my opinions down before I forget them.
Recommend this product?
Gross Tonnage: 86,700 tons Length: 935.6 ft. Width: 105.9 ft. Guest: 2104 Crew: 925 Max Speed: 23.9 knots (27.5mph)
I started looking for a cruise approximately 2 months before I booked. I did not know for sure when we would be able to go until then. I kept watching my favorite sites for prices, departing ports, days at sea and itineraries. All seemed the same in price, give or take a few dollars. One of them threw me off, as they were listing a processing fee. Had not seen that before.
Finally decided on one with Holland America, for the Eastern Caribbean, on the MS Eurodam, a seven night cruise, with four stops. We also liked that it had only 2 days at sea, and only had a little over 2100 people on a ship over 900 feet. The price was the same as my internet sites. I decided to book directly through them. We had previously been on Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruises. I knew that Carnival owns Holland, as well as a few others.
The first woman I spoke with was nice. I booked with her and asked if I could choose my cabin, like one of my internet companies will let me. Was told no, I could not. Ok, I wanted a balcony. After the booking, she told me some things I have not heard before on a cruise. We would be paying in cash instead of a credit card for our onboard expenses. She told me, when I boarded the ship, I had to put down $60 per person, per day to cover our minimum expenses for a total of $840.
I called back the next day to see if this included our tips for the crew. Also, the 1stwoman had said all money spent in the casino would come out of this money that they did not take money in the casino! I ask the 2ndwoman about this and she said she was pretty sure we could spend money in the casino. I did not take their insurance as it was $99 a person and I had found one on the internet that compared rates and what was covered and you could pick your own (www.insuremytrip.com). Ours came out to $99 for both of us.
Next, I checked out the parking. The parking garage at Port Everglades was $15 a day ($15 x 7 =$105). I read reviews and decided on ParkNGo. I booked it on the internet and paid $54. They email the paper you take with you to the parking lot. Had to leave the key but it was a fenced lot and everything was fine with my car, nothing missing and no dents. A free shuttle took us to the ship (tipped the driver for loading and unloading the bags). When we returned, was picked up immediately and taken back to the car. Very convenient to get on I-595.
Received my ‘tickets’ through my email. Checked in online. Received more tickets that had my room number on them and printed them up and put with my passport. We were on deck 8, Navigation Deck, in room 8160. That is one deck below Lido, last side cabin on the port side. I thought that would be a great location (wrong). You feel so much more motion up there and on the aft section.
We arrived about 10:30 AM. Stood around outside and met people, while we were waiting for the terminal to open. It did about 11:15. We were given a number as we checked in. Also, a card that is your room key and onboard ‘credit card’. A bit of a problem with it demagnetizing. Then you sit for a short time until your number is call and you board. This all went very smoothly and quickly. They said rooms would not be ready until 1 and to go to Lido deck for lunch. We went by the office first to put cash down on our account. Your hotel services (tips) are deducted each day. Ours were $11 each. I think they are going up to $12 beginning the first of 2012. (At the end of the cruise, we gave our room steward, dining waiter and assistant, extra as they were well worth it and more.) We put $600 and ask about the casino. We could get money off of our card or we could put cash in the slots (or on the tables). The slots will not pay you in cash. You insert your key card and when you win it will be credited on your player’s account. Do NOT forget to empty the card your last night. They do NOT apply it to you regular account. I left a few dollars with them.
We went to Lido for lunch and while we were in line, they came around and announced the rooms were ready. That was even before one.
After we finished lunch, we used the map provided for all to walk down one deck and proceed to our room. A nice balcony room with a king bed, plenty of closet space with hangers, refrigerator, safe, blow dryer, make up mirror at desk in bedroom, love seat, table, 2 night tables with great flexible reading lights, TV, and a DVD player, a small ice bucket and glasses. The bath had a tub with shower. In the shower, a dispenser with shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. They also furnished a shower cap and a small bottle of lotion. They did not furnish razor, toothpaste, toothbrush, or mouth wash. I was somewhat surprised about that.
The balcony was nice. A very small table and 2 chairs, one larger than the other but both with cushions. Also a large footstool. It had clear glass to see through instead of a solid panel.
They had hand sanitizers all over the place and some of the crew was even dispensing it. They had a gastrointestinal illness on the previous cruise and stated the for the first 48 hours of ours, they would serve us on Lido, instead of serve yourself. It did make it a bit slower. I was glad I had brought Lysol disinfection wipes. I wiped all handles, remotes, safe buttons, phone, railing, etc in the room.
We left port an hour or so late as we could not get out of port with the ship in front of us. They were running late. Finally, we left on our way. Tomorrow, Sunday, would be a day at sea on the way to our first port, Grand Turk on Monday. Once we were just out in the ocean, we were rocking and rolling, and I don’t mean with music and dancing. I was a bit surprise as I figured the stabilizers would work to do away with most of that. Did not go to the dining room the first night, grabbed something on Lido deck. We found the casino!!
Sunday morning got up to the ‘R&R’ continuing and went to breakfast on the Lido deck. They did not open both sides at the same time, so there were lines, if you were an early riser. They did have the omelet section, also at the regular line you could order fried eggs or scrambled egg whites. Plenty of fruit was available and your cereals and juices. Their coffee needed improvement. I think it was more the machine or not knowing how to prepare. Coffee grounds in my cups almost every day.
We had breakfast, and then I started feeling queasy. When we got back to the room, I had to take to the bed. I am one that once I am up usually very early, I will be up all day, not in bed. I could not sit up without feeling sick. My husband went to the infirmary and came back with seasick pills. He said there were a good many there. The pills were free. Slept for a bit and took another half. Just about lunchtime, I felt so much better but the ship is still ‘R&R’.
The dining room is open seating for breakfast and lunch on days we are not in port. For lunch when in port, you go to Lido deck. The service in the dining room was excellent. The food for the most part was good. Had the crab legs one night, and they were tough and stuck to the legs. I did see some (minor) things they could improve on but overall a fairly good experience. They announced that their crew was all Philippines and Indonesians.
I will not spend the time on excursions as we did not do them. Each port we got off and either took a taxi or small bus to go around the island. We did not book through the cruise. In San Juan, there is a free trolley that you can ride over old San Juan, getting on and off at your leisure. Read up on that if you want. It is a big and crowded city. Our last stop was on their private island, Half Moon Cay (pronounced Key). We rode a tender to the island, spend most of the day there. They had a BBQ with meat, chicken, burgers, hot dogs, pasta salads, slaw, etc. We were going to book a stingray excursion but glad we didn’t. The water, so beautiful in color, was cold. We just lounged in lounge chairs on the beach, and people watched.
The whole trip, was very windy at sea and side to side with the ship. I felt queasy a couple of times after that first one. I know I was not alone.
Our disembarking went so smooth. A shuttle was right in place when we got off the ship and no waiting. Got in our car and hit I-595, then the Turnpike and on our way.
I am finishing this Epinion 3 and a half days after we returned and I still am having some equilibrium problems but getting better.
This cruise is best suited for the older, quieter crowd. I only saw about 6-8 children. They did not have a reggae band on Lido, especially at peak cocktail times. The entertainment was somewhat lacking in the bars. Mainstage had some good entertainment.
My opinion is I enjoyed the Carnival Legend much better last year all the way around. I thought the food on it was outstanding, entertainment was much better. Also, the ones that answer on the phone need to be more knowledgeable and a bit more pleasant. Will not book through the cruise line again.
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Best Suited For: Seniors