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Just off Eurodam. My Honest Review.


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Good day HAL board. ¬†I just returned from Eurodam Sep 21-28, roundtrip out of Seattle, and thought I'd give a review. ¬†I'll try to keep it as balanced as possible but must warn you that there will be quite a bit of negativity included with the positives. ¬†ūüėȬ† I'm going to segment it a bit because I like to include photos. ¬†

 

I'll start with the booking.  DW and I decided to book a last-minute trip out of either Seattle or Vancouver.  We looked at all the available lines and because most were nearly completely booked, the prices were sky high.  The ships with the most vacancies and lowest prices were Eurodam, Oosterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam (see a trend there?), and a Princess cruise that went down the California coast.  We pulled the trigger on Eurodam which was made sweeter by a deal they were running on the Signature Beverage Package.  To include the SBP was only a $140 per person upcharge.  However, HAL needs to get their info straight on the SBP.  When they sent me my booking confirmation, it said it was limited to drinks up to $9 when its actually $11.  

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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If anyone has ever cruised out of Seattle and drove to the port, you know it's a bit of a hassle.  You can't just park your car and walk to the terminal like other ports.  You must ride a shuttle.  They were using 2 small shuttle vans and it was a bit of a wait.  Lucky for us, the weather was decent.  

 

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Once in the terminal, it was a breeze.  They were shooting for an 11:30 boarding but it was delayed slightly due to a breast cancer group that was boarding just for the day and having lunch on board.  Certainly a great cause so I had no problem waiting the extra 15 minutes.  They had tables set up with cookies and water, and you could book specialty dining and spa services if you wanted to.  

 

We boarded with Group B at 11:45 and were able to go straight to our room.  This is a great thing about HAL.  On RCI and Celebrity, you can usually board at 11:00, but the rooms aren't ready until 1.  On Princess, they usually have the rooms ready but boarding is usually delayed until at least 12.  

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Our Room.

 

We booked a VH guarantee and were assigned room 8038, which is a VA.  Can't complain about that!  Our only concern about being on deck 8 (Navigation Deck) was being directly under the Lido deck.  We've had bad experiences in the past.  However, this was a total non-issue.  I'm thinking it's because of the private cabanas on the Lido that the crew is not dragging chairs around all night for cleaning.  

 

The room itself was in a great location, mid ship, and an easy walk to the Lido and the Crows Nest. The balcony had very comfortable chairs that reclined and had a foot rest.  I only wish HAL would place taller tables out there for balcony dining like Celebrity has.  

 

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We did have a few problems though.  The first was the shower.  It would not hold a constant temperature.  It would turn ice cold and then scalding hot on its own.  We complained about this to Guest Services and they said they would look in to it, but the problem was never fixed.  As the cruise went on, the temperature variance did get better though.

 

Another problem was the toilet.  Three times during this cruise, we had to have maintenance come fix the toilet due to it not flushing.  

 

The flat screen TV was a nice addition to the room.  It had 4 music channels, bow and aft cameras, 9 or 10 live tv channels, several cruise related travel shows such as Jeff Corwin, Vacation Creation, etc.  You can also check your on board account, and book excursions and specialty dining.  

 

Just one gripe.....HAL still uses those darned room service menus that you hang on your door.  C'mon HAL.  Get with the times and include it on the TV.  

Edited by Aquahound
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Dining.

 

Tamarind: They were running a 25% off special for night 1 so we booked it.  I wouldn't say the food was excellent, but it was very good.  We were a little disappointed that they did not have crab, so all the dishes with crab were not available.  The service, however, was excellent.  The girls working Tamarind were very friendly and always had smiles on their faces.  

 

Pinnacle Grill: We were a little disappointed with PG.  We started with the Lobster Bisque and neither one of us could finish it due to it being way over salted.  I also had the shrimp cocktail and the shrimp was rubbery, as though it was on the verge of going bad.  DW ordered the lamb and I had the 10oz filet.  I thought the filet was very good.  DW enjoyed the lamb but didn't think it was any better than the lamb chops we had in the main dining room a few nights earlier.  On past cruises, we've booked the steak house more than once.  However, it was one and done on this voyage.  

 

Main Dining Room:  This is where it really goes down hill.  We had open seating.  Apparently, gone are the days of waiters introducing themselves, explaining the menu and offering suggestions.  On one night, the introduction was "what'll it be?" When we did ask for suggestions, it was always the same answer....the $29 seafood dish....as though that's what they were instructed to say.  I thought this experience was very disappointing because HAL sorta has a reputation for great service.  At least, it HAD one.  

 

Lido: Typical buffet.  The food seemed to start off great at the beginning of the cruise, but the quality seemed to taper off as the cruise went on.  They also keep weird hours.  I don't understand the half hour to 1 hour closing at night.  For example, it would close at 9 and then re open at 9:30.  Strange.

 

Dive-In: Total disaster.  The burgers were ok, but it was about a 30 minute wait to get your order.  Not worth it.

 

What I think is missing on HAL is a 24 hour venue like the International Cafe on Princess or Cafe Promenade on Royal Caribbean.   Not that I'd go at 2am, but its nice during the day to go pick up a small sandwich or finger foods.  I seem to remember this previously existing at the specialty coffee stand in the Crows Nest, but not any more.  I'll get to that one later.  

 

Here's a couple pics of the MDR:

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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Sorry you didn't have a good experience in the MDR. Our cruise in Mar was great, food & service had no complaints. We always have fixed seating, don't know if that makes a difference with the waiters. 

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6 minutes ago, ski ww said:

Sorry you didn't have a good experience in the MDR. Our cruise in Mar was great, food & service had no complaints. We always have fixed seating, don't know if that makes a difference with the waiters. 

 

I'm thinking it makes a difference.  The waiters in open seating seemed so rushed and distracted. I'm wondering if they cut staff in open seating and they were having a hard time keeping up. 

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Awaiting the rest of your review.  Thanks for posting pictures, which add an interesting dimension and bring back memories of our cruises on Eurodam. 

 

We always book at least a year in advance and have early fixed dining where the waiters don't seem rushed.  They introduce themselves, and the service is usually wonderful.  Since this was a last-minute cruise, I imagine fixed dining, both early and late, was closed.  Did you try to reserve a table in open seating?  You can do that.  With a reservation, you can request the same table, same wait staff that allows for some familiarity.  Sorry your cruise didn't meet your expectations.  Will you cruise again with HAL?

Edited by sevenseasnomad
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thanks for the review.

 

Good deal on the cabin and the Signature beverage package for sure ūüôā¬†

 

Sorry to hear about the MDR - I‚Äôm guessing it‚Äôs the open seating. ¬†I just don‚Äôt do it with experience once in it and I far prefer the fixed unless I can secure the same table and same waiter in Open but then it‚Äôs the same as fixed ūüėȬ†

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I’m enjoying your honest and well written review.  We had fixed seating on our last cruise and it was a disaster. We usually feel fixed is much better but it sure wasn’t this time. The waiters have too many tables. We often didn’t get water refills and sat with dirty plates for a long time.  No napkins in the lap and no serving women first and no simple chit chat.  All gone as they are running around like crazy.  By the time they asked if everything was ok the meal was done.  Not that I’ve ever sent anything back but it’s nice to be asked if you need anything else.  My local mom and pop restaurant does a better job.  

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50 minutes ago, sevenseasnomad said:

Since this was a last-minute cruise, I imagine fixed dining, both early and late, was closed.  Did you try to reserve a table in open seating?  You can do that.  With a reservation, you can request the same table, same wait staff that allows for some familiarity.  Sorry your cruise didn't meet your expectations.  Will you cruise again with HAL?

 

That's exactly what happened.  We thought about reserving a certain table but we never had an experience good enough to want the same table.  We were hoping different waiters would make a difference.

 

Would I book again?  I never say never.  I can just say with certainty it won't be a preference.  

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32 minutes ago, Riversedge said:

I’m enjoying your honest and well written review.  We had fixed seating on our last cruise and it was a disaster. We usually feel fixed is much better but it sure wasn’t this time. The waiters have too many tables. We often didn’t get water refills and sat with dirty plates for a long time.  No napkins in the lap and no serving women first and no simple chit chat.  All gone as they are running around like crazy.  By the time they asked if everything was ok the meal was done.  Not that I’ve ever sent anything back but it’s nice to be asked if you need anything else.  My local mom and pop restaurant does a better job.  

 

 I do think the waitstaff is overwhelmed.  Our last two cruises, we had fixed seating and were never offered coffee after dinner.  They served it nicely when we proactively asked for it, but they never offered.  I suppose they hope that'll be one less task to perform.   You can't blame them.

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Entertainment.

 

I know a lot of this is beat to death on this board but I still need to include it.  

 

Mainstage:  Awful.  Just, awful.  Night 1 was a TV show about the ports.  Night 2 was one of the worst magicians I've ever seen. Night 3 was a comedian who frankly, wasn't that funny.  We laughed a couple times but that was it.  Night 4 was a duo between the previously mentioned magician and comedian.  We didn't attend.  Night 5 was a BBC show using only the TV screens.  We didn't stick around. We could tell immediately that it wouldn't be the good performance we saw on Koningsdam 2 years ago.   

 

Night 6 was finally a show.  It was Step One performing "Humanity."  It was ok, but I think that's because everything was so bad leading up to it.  It was 6 dancers performing very safe dance moves to a light show.  At one point, the lights just flashed around for about a minute with no dancers on stage.  It felt kinda awkward.  There were no singers.  It really felt like a money saver to just put 6 dancers to a light show.  

 

On day 7, it was only one act at 3:30 due to arriving in Victoria at 6pm.  It was Step One performing "Stages."  It was the same 6 dancers doing some routine about relationships.  There were no costume changes and the act never seemed to change. DW stuck around but I walked out.  I was very bored with this one.  

 

Billboard Onboard: In my opinion, HAL needs to tweak this one.  Why have 2 pianos if you're not going to follow a true dueling piano format like Howl at the Moon?  The pianos and singers sounded very weak and there was little motivation to join in.  They should either go with true "dueling pianos" or go back to the single piano format with an engaging performer.  

 

Lincoln Center Stage:  The performers did a great job.  They were a pleasure to listen to.  However, the venue sucks.  It's a bunch of chairs lined up that fill in very quickly.  If you're not there early, you're banished to the back section that can't even see the stage.  

 

BB King Blues Club:  Excellent!  This band was probably the best I've heard yet.  Both the male and female lead singers were excellent and unlike past cruises, they actually played a few blues songs.  

 

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Now on to my biggest complaint.  HAL really needs to have at least 1 lounge that plays softer music like a solo pianist or guitarist.  There was no entertainment whatsoever in the Cows Nest and the piano in the Ocean Bar was never used.  During the sea days, live entertainment could not be found anywhere on the ship.  It made for very boring sea days.  

 

There was only one passenger-participation game show.  It was "Majority Rules."  I wish they would do these more often because they're very entertaining, even if not playing.

 

The Orange Party was a lot of fun.  However, it was held in the Blues Club so it was packed.  This party would be so much better if they held it on the Lido like others lines do.  

 

Here's the Ocean Bar....empty, of course, because there's no entertainment.  

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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The Ship.

 

Eurodam is a very nice ship.  My very first HAL cruise was on Nieuw Amsterdam and I really liked this class of ships, so I knew I would like Eurodam.  In general, it is not a crowded ship.  In some areas, you can tell its a 12 year old ship, such as the brass trim everywhere.  However, the rest of the decor was really nice.  

 

Like other HAL ships, the central atrium is mostly unimpressive.  One thing I like about the older Vista Class ships is the stairway in the atrium with a small bar at the bottom.  It doesn't exist on this ship. 

 

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My biggest disappointment was what's been repeated so many times on this board....the Crows Nest.  This was the first time I've seen the coffee stand combined with the bar and I didn't like it.  This is such a beautiful venue in a prime location, but what HAL is doing to this lounge is a travesty.  They took away most of the bar stools, leaving maybe 5 or 6.  At night, it was a ghost town and like I said earlier, no live entertainment.

 

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One great feature of this ship that is sadly disappearing on new HAL ships is the outdoor promenade.  I love the traditional look with the wood decks and furniture.  During this cruise, we enjoyed using the promenade to walk fore and aft, and to take in the sights.  A really nice touch was the blankets laid out on the chairs.  Post Pinnacle Class, I hope HAL returns to including these on their new ships.  

 

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Both pools were heated and people did use them.  I never got in, mostly for the reason of not having a pair of swim trunks.  They never did open the glass cover, so it always felt really nice in this room.  The aft pool and bar area was really nice but I found it very uncomfortable due to the smoking so I rarely went back there.  

 

By the way, I've read a few times on this board that they ban smoking while in Glacier Bay.  Not true.  

 

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I do agree about room service.  We should be able to order electronically either by tv or the navigator app. 

 

I think the proliferation of specialty dining rooms on cruise ships is impacting service.  They really haven’t increased staff just locations, crew counts are the same as before the intro of these locations.  I would prefer if they had paid menu items in one dining room than spreading the restaurant staff thin all over the ship.   

 

I do think entertainment and enrichment are unfortunately being downgraded.  I was never a big fan of HAL entertainment but I always looked forward to the enrichment programs 

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One little thing I enjoy finding on cruise ships is the wall full of plaques awarded at the ports of call.  On Eurodam, this is not in an obvious area.  It's kinda hidden in a rarely used stairway.  Kudos to anyone who can say where this is.  

 

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