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Just Off Eurodam Alaska-Never Again


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So we just finished a spectacular Alaska cruise on the Eurodam however I have learned Holland America is not for us. We are too young and we have children. After many cruises on various lines we were really disappointed with the Holland America format. I don't want to come across too negative because we enjoyed the cruise but I hope this review will help future cruisers decide.

 

* The HAL Club for Kids.. No GPS tracking bracelet for the child. Also our 10 year old was lumped in with 6 year olds. The big activity for one night was watching a movie. Twice we went to collect our child and there was no attendant at the desk. She was in back doing something. That is very poor security.

 

* The Lido Buffet.. Lines, Lines and more lines. You have to wait to be served the buffet items and handed your plate at that time. So if you just want to sneak in and get some mashed potatoes... no can do. You must wait in the line with everyone picking and choosing their food. Can take 10 minutes to get an item with this silly system. Seating is limited. When everyone hits the buffet between 5 and 7 good luck finding a table. Some folks "staked out" a table at 4:45pm before the buffet opened. Sad to waste vacation time to get a table to eat. Also the "Canaletto" pay restaurant is just a section of the Lido buffet area that has some glass partitions. No ambiance at all and you can see it is an afterthought. Food was good but atmosphere is the same as Lido buffet.

 

* Neptune Lounge. No free alcoholic beverages and appetizers straight from the Lido buffet. I am trying to figure out what is the function of the Neptune lounge? On Other cruise lines they have cocktail hours and nice food. Not here. But staff was very helpful when needed.

 

* On/Off ship at ports" ONE Gangway! Are you kidding? ONE gangway for both departing and boarding guests! Use your imagination how well that system works. Especially near departure time!

 

* Very limited food after 9pm. You must rely on room service. Almost all bars are closed after 9 pm. The typical demographics of Holland must be in bed at 9pm.

 

* Specialty Food: Excellent!

 

* Entertainment: Excellent

 

* Kids Activities: Little to none.

 

* Internet: Think 1990's 56k telephone modem speed.

 

* Staff: No longer Philippine only. Mostly Indonesian and Chinese but very friendly and helpful. A++

 

Thats about it for now but I am sure I will remember more later. In summary, Holland is a senior cruiser line. They need to just own that and market it and stop with the "we have gotten more family friendly" Let their other Carnaval Corp lines market to the family crowd. If I had no kids and was retired I would love HA!

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Concerning your second bullet-point * . If everyone was allowed to "sneak in line for mashed potatoes", you can imagine the chaos. You would have fist-fights, pushing, shoving and some nasty words spoken. Also, I have seen totally open ship buffets where guests grab a spoon of mashed potatoes or sour cream, and LICK THE SPOON, and put it back in the food. The line system and servers are there to prevent you from spending the remainder of your cruise either sitting on the porcelain or kissing it. When food on a cruise ship is concerned, play by the rules, wait your turn in line, and everyone will stay healthy. It's all done to keep your food, and everyone else's, sanitary and healthy.

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Concerning your second bullet-point * . If everyone was allowed to "sneak in line for mashed potatoes", you can imagine the chaos. You would have fist-fights, pushing, shoving and some nasty words spoken. Also, I have seen totally open ship buffets where guests grab a spoon of mashed potatoes or sour cream, and LICK THE SPOON, and put it back in the food. The line system and servers are there to prevent you from spending the remainder of your cruise either sitting on the porcelain or kissing it. When food on a cruise ship is concerned, play by the rules, wait your turn in line, and everyone will stay healthy. It's all done to keep your food, and everyone else's, sanitary and healthy.

 

Wow! I have never seen that and I hope if thats true you reported the person to the staff immediately so they could be properly reprimanded and educated. I also have never seen shoving or fighting on the cruise lines that have a more "help yourself" buffet. Seems to work fine on RCCL and NCL and Disney and MSC.

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Also there was not a children's menu available anywhere except room service.

 

Did you ask for a children's menu? We had 200 kids on our recent Alaska cruise on the Noordam and many of them were eating in the dining room. I saw the children's menu in the serving area. I would not expect the Lido to have the children's menu since the food is buffet style.

 

Sorry to hear that Club Hal didn't meet your expectations. On our cruise a lot of the children were being supervised by their parents and I couldn't figure out why more parents weren't using Club Hal.

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Hahahaha good read, interesting perspective.

Thanks for your review.

Holland is not known as a line that caters to kids.

I'm surprised you weren't aware of that.

I'm taking my first HA trip in a month, really looking forward to it, same trip as you, same ship.

Thanks for the heads up on the buffet. We will probably skip it.

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..............................

* Staff: No longer Philippine only. Mostly Indonesian and Chinese but very friendly and helpful. A++

 

.............................

Not sure where you got that one. HAL was an all-Dutch crewed cruise line until 1970 when the first Indonesian dining room stewards started working on the ships. Since then, the Indonesians have started taking over as room stewards, sailors/quartermasters, technical staff, certain administrative positions, etc. and are still today by far the largest nationality on board.

Six years later in 1976, HAL began recruiting skilled personnel from the Philippines at first in the Deck and Engine departments, then in the galleys, bars/lounges, front office, security and in the maintenance shops. Today, the hard working Filipinos are the second largest nationality on board after the Indonesians. All in all today, the HAL crew can consist of up to 45 different nationalities from North America, Europe, Africa, Central and South America to Australia & New Zealand. The Chinese are a very small minority at the moment. There have only been a few Chinese girls working in the gift shops and I've seen one Chinese acupuncturist in the Spa

Too bad Eurodam didn't work out for you and your family! The very best of luck to you on your next cruise line!

Edited by Copper10-8
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Did you ask for a children's menu? We had 200 kids on our recent Alaska cruise on the Noordam and many of them were eating in the dining room. I saw the children's menu in the serving area. I would not expect the Lido to have the children's menu since the food is buffet style.

 

Sorry to hear that Club Hal didn't meet your expectations. On our cruise a lot of the children were being supervised by their parents and I couldn't figure out why more parents weren't using Club Hal.

 

Yes we did ask at each premium restaurant and main dining room. No kids menus.

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Wow! I have never seen that and I hope if thats true you reported the person to the staff immediately so they could be properly reprimanded and educated. I also have never seen shoving or fighting on the cruise lines that have a more "help yourself" buffet. Seems to work fine on RCCL and NCL and Disney and MSC.

 

Glad you have some back up choices. Best to stick to what works for you. HAL is probably far too low key. You sound like a very high energy person. Sorry we could not have warned you ahead of time this would probably not be a good choice.

 

I don't think the issue is you are "too young and have children" since we get reports all the time from young people with children who have been extremely and surprisingly happy with their HAL experience.

 

So there are other aspects about who you are that made this a bad choice for you - not just "too young with children". One is that you have now sailed on a fairly large number of other cruise ships, so you have a lot more experiences for comparisons. Not sure how you got so many basic facts wrong however. That is another story.

 

Agree with your point, HAL should not be trying to be all things for all people. Being more of a senior cruise line works very well for us.

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Originally.......wait staff was only Indonesian / Officers have always been Dutch

 

True that on the Dutch (Deck) officers plus, since 1996 and first on Veendam; British, supplemented nowadays by Belgians, Irish, Germans, Polish, Romanians, Italians, Greeks, Croatians, Russians, Canadians, Indians, Kiwis and more to come if they meet the qualifications and have the schooling. For Deck (the Bridge) and Technical (Engine Room), the majority of the officers are still Dutch, followed by British

Edited by Copper10-8
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Sorry the Eurodam was not the right ship for you - but then that is why there are several cruise lines - hopefully something for everyone out there. Good that you tried HAL but clearly you will be happier elsewhere in the future.

 

As for the lack of self serve in the Lido - that is something that we really appreciate - a couple of years ago - I do think it was on a Eurodam transatlantic - we had a fellow woman passenger who was notorious for taking food off the line, taking a bite, and returning the balance to the serving tray. MANY of us on board (including myself) witnessed this behavior - it not only discouraged use of the Lido, it became quite the subject of gossip on board.

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OP: In spite of all the great info on Cruise Critic, it is still hard to get the feel for a different line until you are on board and experience it for yourself. I do hope you find the perfect cruise line.

I see you have cruised on Seabourn: how did that work out with children?

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Thanks for the excellent report and good warning of Holland America's limitations, e2011. I remember some disappointing Club Hal experiences for our kids eons ago and agree that lumping 6 year olds and ten year olds together is not an ideal situation. I did not feel that our kids were enriched at all by video game nights, movie nights, or gambling nights.

 

I know that Lido seating and service can be a challenge. I'd still rather wait for a server to plunk something on my plate than deal with sticky or greasy serving spoons and finger licking fellow passengers. You don't have to watch a buffet very long to see some disgusting incidents.

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Yes we did ask at each premium restaurant and main dining room. No kids menus.

 

Hmmm? Now I'm wondering.

 

there has always been a menu for the younger folks on board. Especially in the MDR. Of course, sometimes you get more with honey than...

 

Now, might not be in the Pinnacle Grill, but pretty sure that they could make do with the shoestring fries and some of the other goodies offered.

 

sorry you were disappointed. I have friends (several) that have cruised with HAL and their children loved HAL.

 

Perhaps things vary from ship to ship - sadly they can and from staff change to staff change.

 

Hope our future cruises are better.

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Sorry to hear you were unable to get a children's menu in the MDR. DH sometimes has difficulty swallowing certain foods and our waiters were concerned that he wasn't eating enough, so suggested that he might like to try something from the children's menu... believe it or not, spag bol fast became a favourite!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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OP: In spite of all the great info on Cruise Critic, it is still hard to get the feel for a different line until you are on board and experience it for yourself. I do hope you find the perfect cruise line.

I see you have cruised on Seabourn: how did that work out with children?

 

It was ok but obviously not set up for children. I wrote a review where I suggested folks with children carefully consider Seabourn. But like the HAL cruise, we had fun.

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Of course the whole cruise was about Alaska and that was fantastic. Minor frustrations on the ship did not diminish the glory of Alaska at all. In fact having the naturalist on board in Glacier Bay was very nice. They said other cruise lines don;t do that so kudos to HAL for that great experience.

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