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Eurodam 7 day to Alaska - Upgraded from N to VB

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Eurodam 7 day to Alaska August 10, 2019


My wife and I decided to take a cruise for our 15th anniversary leaving the kids with grandparents for the week. This is our story.


Before the Cruise

We had initially booked and fully paid almost a year ago for an N interior room at $699/ea. By the time two months before sailing rolled around I saw prices had dropped significantly for the trip so I called up the booking company and managed to get upgraded first to a HH then to an E outside stateroom. I almost had the chance for a guarantee verandah for $50 but the best deal that I could actually get an offer on was $80 for a Guarantee Verandah. I decided the room we had was fine. If we didn’t need to have everything set up for kids it would have been $200 cheaper to book about a month out than what we ended up with. Something to know for the future.


Arrival, embarkation


We arrived at 10:30 am dropped off by my inlaws and our bags were promptly picked up by a porter. We wandered over to the terminal where there was a huge line that almost reached to the outside of the terminal. It turns out this was the line for dropping off luggage, which we avoided by having tags made ahead of time and using the porter outside. We went up to the desk and got all squared away in under 20 minutes from showing up at the terminal to being at the gate. 

We were in boarding group C and we didn't start boarding until 11:30 so we had a bit of a wait but once boarding started we were on the ship by 11:40 and our rooms were ready at 11:45.


Our First Room

The outside view room we were assigned was 1126 which seemed perfectly fine. Generally speaking the room had everything we needed. The window was totally sufficient for looking out and viewing the whales that passed by the early on the second morning. I'd have had no problem staying in the room assuming everything worked as expected. There was a little wear on the wood coverings on the desk and tables which made everything feel a little dated but there were plenty lots of outlets (all located at the desk) and USB plugs on the nightstands and on the desk, most of which worked. The room is shower only which is actually pretty nice as the bathroom feels bigger than shower bath combos and we didn't have any plans to use the bath.


The Problem

I had read a post from 2015 saying that the air conditioning in the room didn't work. I'd figured that through dry docks and several years passing this wouldn't be a problem. I was wrong. It was still broken. Now this is on a Holland America ship and the vast majority of passengers would likely not have a problem with a room that could only cool down to 72.5F. But this was the lowest possible temperature after several adjustments. We initially reported it the first night. They checked it and gave us a fan. The fan really did help the second night and the room was workable at that point but the next day we were in the BB King Blues area and the AC there was in full swing and we were suddenly comfortable. This made me realize that the issues we were having in our room weren't just a matter of cruise ships being hot in general (which it was) so I continued to bring this up with guest services. Eventually, after bringing down one of the technical managers who determined that they couldn't fix it we were offered a change in rooms. When I walked into the new room it was actually a comfortable temperature which felt like a godsend at that point.


Our Second Stateroom

We got upgraded to a VB 4045 which was an extended balcony verandah. Considering we had paid rock bottom prices the upgrade was amazing. Still the best feature of this room for us was working AC but being able to watch the glaciers in Glacier Bay from the verandah was nice. Otherwise the room was incredibly similar to the old room. I did have to ask guest services to push the beds together which they did promptly, however, while doing so they also turned up the heat in the room all the way. I caught it pretty quick because I was only out of the room for about 30 minutes while this was going on. More funny than anything else. The room is right by the forward elevators which had more traffic than our room down in the back but nothing problematic. Just more likely to hear stateroom doors opening and closing at some points. Having had a verandah I'm not sure that I would need one in the future assuming we had working AC but having a window that you can open and close seemed useful after our AC challenge. 



Overall most of the entertainment was fine but in no way outstanding. Vince, the Travel director, was really good onstage. It took us multiple shows to realize that he had a teleprompter since he felt so natural. The Captain's Toast which came with free champagne, was interesting and fun as was the kitchen tour where I got to meet the executive chef and get an advance peek at the upcoming dinner menu. I was hoping to be able to do the America's Test Kitchen classes, the ones that cost extra, but only one was offered all week, there was a waiting list which was reserved for 5 star mariners for the first 24 hours and it was an Egg class which I wasn't at all interested in. The actual onboard cooking sessions weren't great. We decided we'd stop by for the recipe cards and watch old episodes of the show in our state room, which we did plenty. 

The mainstage entertainment wasn't anything special. The BBC Alaska that we thought was the symphony was just an audio track which was really just an unimpressive discovery channel special. The dancers putting on a show called Humanity had a cool gimmick but it wasn't executed to the level that it was exciting to watch for the entire 45 minutes. Their second show Stages was really fun, as was the Crew Show. The comedian was good fun for both of his sessions.  Instead of many of the onboard options we spent time in our room watching movies like Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, Crimes of Grindewald, Rampage, and Jurassic World 3. We ended up skipping the magic show due to a two and a half hour dinner at Tamarind (more on that below).



We had dinner in the main dining room every night, except for one, which was always great. Little tip: if you can wait until after 7pm the crowd dies down significantly and it's way more chill. We had one server named Jeffery who was awesome. He even found us in the morning on the lido and had a table for us in the Canaletto area. Food there was solid everytime we had it. Some requested customizations never happened but nothing that was too significant. Every time we ate there we left feeling pleasantly satiated without being stuffed which was a great experience for a three course meal. The Lido was frequently crowded for breakfast at around 8:30-9am but was generally pretty empty by 9:30 and wasn't as bad at 8am either. We decided to try to avoid the busy time there. 

Busy times for lunch were unpredictable due to schedule of events and docking times but we had to make multiple trips to find a seat after viewing the Margerie Glacier. Afternoon tea was a bit of a cattle call with no customization and very little attention paid to each guest. After going once we decided to avoid it for the future. Though several of the little bites there were great, having tea seemed unnecessary when the entire Lido was still open. 


Fine Dining

We had one meal at Tamarind which was incredibly disappointing. Several of the dishes were great but even with the restaurant half empty it took two and a half hours to get through the meal, our water glasses ran empty multiple times, and we never really seemed to get service. They totally drenched the lobster roll I ordered in Mayo which wasn't even listed as an ingredient on the menu and I brought it up with 3 servers who never did anything but apologize. No offers to take it away or get something else. My wife ended up eating most of it but about half was taken away at the end untouched. I never leave sushi on the plate. This has pretty much turned me off of specialty dining entirely. I wouldn't have been happy paying $50 for that dinner and service in a restaurant under regular circumstances. The fact that I had to pay extra for lower quality service and in some cases worse food than the Lido is unacceptable. In the future I'm perfectly happy with the MDR. Service was also incredibly slow.



We didn't plan any excursions at port as we were hoping to explore on our own. This may have been a mistake. Juneau was heavily inundated with Cruise Port jewelry shops, places with locations in major cruise ports in Alaska and the Carribbean with locally themed swag. If you weren't looking for jewelry or something with the words ALASKA on it, you were probably out of luck. The entire area by the port is a big tourist trap with a number of the rudest sales reps I’ve ever met. I did manage to walk far enough to get to some local shops, local artists, and local native wears, but it was a few blocks back away from the main drag.

Sitka was a pretty cool small town that reminded us of Friday Harbor in the San Juans. Having more time helped but we managed to hit the entire downtown in just a couple hours. I don’t have any particular drive to return to Sitka but it was pleasant being there.

Kechikan seemed like a town I could spend more time in. The Creek Street area is super cool and I’d love to have time to hang out for coffee there. I really feel we didn’t have time to explore the area very well. As it was we spent a good 3+ hours wandering around there and came back at almost noon for a 12:30 departure. I wouldn't mind a fuller day there but the stop was pretty short.

Victoria is a beautiful town that was somewhere I’ll definitely visit again, but our stop from 6 to 11 was too short to do much of anything. We walked to chinatown which looked like a cool place to eat but had nowhere to shop at 8pm. I’d love to explore the town more but there’s only so much still open at 7pm. I’d prefer to spend a long weekend in Victoria than a cruise stop. If I had another 5 hour stop there I probably wouldn’t get off the ship.

 In the end we decided we enjoyed our time cruising much more than our time in port. Watching the world go by outside of your window while relaxing, reading, and having access to unlimited food is pretty nice. Each of the stops didn’t really give us a chance to get more than a brief view of the town and we never stopped to eat or shop for local food since everything was free on the ship. If you really want to know what a place is like, cruising isn’t the best way to see it. In the future I think I’ll care less where the cruise stops and think about what I’d be seeing from the ship.


Navigator App

The Navigator App is a good development that hasn't really come together yet. First thing, don't register on it until you are on board. It just confuses the poor thing. Second, be careful because it doesn't update as quickly as you'd hope. I was still getting alerts in Seattle time while we were in Alaska for a few days and we still had the previous day’s menu until after dinner the next day. It's also fairly slow to load. That said, it's a pretty cool feature compared to nothing so I'd get it and use it onboard.



Cruising was a fun experience and pretty good for a couples getaway. Imaging the differences with kids takes away a lot of the potential relaxation that was present. The fact that ports are tourist traps makes it difficult to use cruising as a method of experiencing specific locations you might be interested in. Previously I had a lot of interest in a carribbean cruise where you got to see several eastern carribbean island but I feel like it would be difficult to get much more than a casual glance at each one and that view would be heavily skewed by the scenes that existed at port. I feel like cruises where a lot of the point was what goes on outside of your window would be more exciting. So in the future things like a Panama Canal, fall New England/Canada or European River cruise seems really interesting to me but I’m not sure that paying $300 more for a flight is worth the change in scenery. Excursions also don't really interest me as I don't generally want a curated experience. This means that the ports are less vital than the route.


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Thank you for taking the time to write your review.


We also do not like warm cabins.  Glad you were able to get another cabin.


I am surprised that the Tamarind service was so bad.  We have eaten there quite a few times (on that ship) and never had a problem.

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Thank you for taking the time to post your comments.

I'm glad you got a better cabin with working AC.

Too bad about your meal in the Tamarind.  It's not right to pay a premium and still not enjoy your meal.

Hope you cruise again.

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