We disembarked the Eurodam this morning after a glorious 7 day cruise to Alaska and I wanted to write a review as it is still fresh in my mind. The long and short of it is that we absolutely loved this ship. In order to not feel melancholy yesterday, our last day, I spent some time researching our next cruise, and it will also be on the Eurodam, to the Mexico Riviera out of San Diego. Almost everything about this ship was perfect for us...perfect size, perfect entertainment (except for their seating capacity, but more on that later), perfect service, perfect layout...yup, we loved it. It certainly helped that we had perfectly clear and sunny days the entire cruise with temperatures in the mid 70s. Even in notoriously rainy ports, we had golden sunshine. Thank you Universe!
We arrived at the Seattle port around 11:00 after having booked Seattle Express' round trip service, from our Seatac Airport hotel to the pier, and then from the pier to the airport at the end of the cruise. Seattle Express performed flawlessly and the cost was $30 per person round trip.
As we walked from the shuttle drop off area toward the terminal, I was surprised at the lack of porters, not shortage, but actual lack, as in there simply weren’t any. We continued into the terminal where we were directed to deliver our own “checked” bags deep into the terminal where they were taken by what appeared to be security personnel. We then retraced our steps back where we then entered the checking-in process area at the front of the terminal. In multiple Florida ports, at Baltimore's port, and at Galveston's port, there have always been a multitude of porters ready to take your “checked” luggage. This did not pose a big problem for us as we were physically able to roll our large suitcase in one hand, our carry on in the other, and our tote over our shoulders. For those less physically capable, this might pose a problem. It was the first time we've ever had to deliver our “checked” bag deep into the terminal. Maybe we were too early at 11:00?
Once entering the check-in area we moved smoothly though security, then pretty much walked right up to an agent who checked us in and provided us with our stateroom key cards that also act as your onboard “charge cards” with all onboard purchases being put onto your account after presenting this card. The agent also gave us a boarding group card which assigns you to a group with which to board. We were given Group J and our friend with whom we were traveling was given Group I. We were told to board as a group using the lower Group I card as there are not a number of passengers assigned to the group card. Surprisingly, the waiting area was already completely full, standing room only. They started boarding shortly after we arrived to the waiting area and even with Group I (I wasn’t really listening to who they boarded before Group A) we were only in the waiting area for maybe 15-20 minutes before boarding. There was no backup on the entry ramp as you so often find, instead a smooth and steady walk right onto the ship. There are people to welcome you aboard and direct you to the center elevators. Our cabins were just forward of the aft elevators, on decks 5 and 6, so we politely veered to the left. We proceeded to the aft elevators and immediately caught an elevator and were in our cabins moments later by 11:45. Definitely one of the smoother embarkations I’ve been a part of.
Our cabin was a Signature Suite, #6106, which is one of 2 category SZ cabins, and not so easy to come across as they can run a few hundred less than other Signature Suites, maybe because the cabins just aft of them have the balconies that jut out and can look onto the SZ balconies. Don’t know for sure, but I saw no reason to not book one if you come across it being offered. The cabin was absolutely gorgeous. The bathroom like a high end hotel. Look at the YouTube video of “Eurodam Signature Suite in English and in Spanish” I think is how they named it. That is the starboard SZ Signature Suite oposite our port side one.
Our cabin stewards were pleasant, efficient, and thorough. I’ve noticed in the past few years that the relationship one could develop with the stewards has been effected as the number of cabins they are responsible for has increased. They seem to have less time for pleasantries, although always pleasant. And they look so tired. I try to not disrupt their work, but always offer a friendly hello and am greeted back by name. I was shocked at just how far forward of our cabin I found our steward working. But I always returned to our cabin in the afternoon with it having been pristinely cleaned and in the evening with it having been turned down, refreshed, and decorated with a towel animal.
We had coffee delivered every morning at either 6:00 or 7:00. The delivery was punctual, pleasant, and was always followed up with a call 15 minutes or so later asking if everything was okay. Nice touch. I did follow others' advice and wrote in next to the coffee order “Carafe please, brew STRONG”. I also wrote next to the area I marked for half and half “Cream please, NOT milk”. The first morning they did in fact bring milk instead of half and half, and this was corrected after I mentioned it during their follow up call. I was assured it would not happen again, and it didn't. This morning, debarkation morning, was the only morning we ordered breakfast to the room. It arrived hot, on time, and delicious. We did not order any other meals with room service.
Lunch was ordered through our cabana steward by the Lido Pool. I will talk more about the cabana later. But our cabana steward would print out the Lido buffet menu every day around 11:00 and bring us whatever we chose from the Lido Buffet menu, from the Dive In Burger/Hot Dog place, or the Pizza Place when we were ready to order. We then ate in our cabana. The one day we chose to walk through the buffet line and find a table in the Lido dining room, we did experience a shortage of tables and had to wait for one to empty and be cleaned. The food at the Lido buffet ranged from average to great (Indonesian Nasi Goreng and Chicken Sate were some of the best I’ve ever had, thank you Indonesian chefs!).
Dinner in the Main Dining Room, 8:00 seating upstairs, was how I remember cruise ship dining from 15 years ago. And by that I mean elegant, with great service, tasty choices, and served hot. Unfortunately my reference over the past 15 years has steadily gone downhill as Carnival and Royal Caribbean have lowered their standard year after year until it has become the Golden Corral of the Seas. I have cruised Carnival and Royal Caribbean as they offer cruises leaving from Galveston which is a 3 hour drive for us. That convenience has kept us loyal to them, but no longer. I will now pay the airfare for Holland America cruises. I forgot how much I Ioved cruising until falling back in love aboard the Eurodam.
I was surprised at how much I did NOT enjoy Tamarind and Pinnacle Grill. I had consistently read great reviews for both but eating at both actually made me miss our Main Dining Room experiences. Our Tamarind reservation was late, at 9:00, as we made it for the evening we were in Juneau with a 10:00PM sail away. We wanted to stay ashore later, so we made reservations later. My entree, the sea bass, was served room temperature, and my side dish of stir fried cucumber/veggies was also cold, and it was meant to be a hot dish, I asked. The other dishes were not memorable. I know I'm in the minority here, but I just did not enjoy the food, and I’m a huge fan of all Asian foods. Good to know I can save that money next time.
As for Pinnacle Grill, the steaks, my rib eye and my husband's porterhouse were simply not good cuts of meat. My husband could not work through his, the gristle was overwhelming. Mine had a weird mushy texture....meat tenderizer? Our meal at the Pinnacle Grill was included with our Explore 4 promotion, so there was nothing for them to adjust, and they apologized profusely, but we just weren’t hungry for what they had to offer after this experience. Again, I know I’m in the minority here, but, we did not like like the Pinnacle Grill at all. Lesson learned for us. Stick with the Main Dining Room where the food and service were consistently top notch.
We enjoyed pre-dinner cocktails in the Ocean Bar listening to the sounds of the solo piano player. Lovely way to start our evening.
As for after dinner entertainment, the musicians and singers at B.B. King were outstanding, I mean really really good. As were the players/singers at the Billboard Onboard Dueling Pianos. Unfortunately I only got to enjoy them while standing in the back of the room or in the hallway outside the venues. We would go after dinner wanting to enjoy the great music and there was never a seat to be had. Never. One night my husband waited for one to be available and after 20 minutes he was able to score a single seat. This was my main disappointment on this cruise. I never got to sit down, have a cocktail, and enjoy these excellent musicians. I just wasn’t willing to arrive at the venues 45 minutes early to gain seats for 3.
The Main Stage Productions were good. Lots of energy and talent. A pleasant way to spend some time.
I almost don’t want to say it, because I want them to be available when I cruise, but the best buy of the cruise was the $200 we spent for a Lido poolside cabana for 7 days. It was comfy, cozy, had great service, cold water bottles, fruit, chocolate covered strawberries and sparkling wine served mid afternoon, and lunch orders taken and served in the cabana. It was a great place for the 3 of us to meet up, take in the views, and generally just chill out. Absolutely warm enough even in Alaska with the roof closed. If you can spare the money, spend it.
Disembarkation was super smooth. We used the Port Valet service offered aboard the Eurodam. You fill out the paperwork they provide you in the cabin one day and the day before debarkation you get an envelope with your airline boarding pass, a luggage tag if you have checked baggage, and an early debarkation Group, ours was for 7:45. You put the luggage tags on your checked luggage, leave your checked luggage outside your cabin before midnight, and it gets checked all the way to your final destination! No more searching for your bags among the hundreds in the terminal, no more lugging your own huge suitcase off the ship, and it costs nothing! The $25 baggage fee associated with 1st checked bag with Alaska Air was charged to our ship's account. Our luggage was on the baggage claim carousel at our final destination so this service was an outstanding option.
What did I miss?
Oh yeah, excursions. If anybody has any specific questions about what we did where, just ask.
Any other questions, feel free to ask.
I didn’t expect perfect, and yes the music venues are too small, and the paid restaurants disappointed us, but I have my next cruise already picked out, and it’s on the same ship. So yeah, I loved it.