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Just off Eurodam. My Honest Review.


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Our first port of call was Juneau.  As expected for late September, it was rainy and about 50 degrees.  We were joined in port by Nieuw Amsterdam, Carnival Legend and Norwegian Joy.  NA was parked right behind us, making for a great photo op for the twin sisters. 

 

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Our next adventure was the crown jewel of Alaskan cruises.....Glacier Bay.  This day truly was a treat.  It was beautiful and sunny despite the cool temps.  

 

The first treat came when 4 brown bears were spotted by the bridge and announced over the loud speakers.  We were able to see these bears for about 10-15 minutes and at one point, 2 of them stood up on their hind legs and started wrestling.  The ranger said it was a mother and 3 nearly full-grown cubs.  The ranger went on to say he's been hosting GB cruises for 31 years and despite having seen bears many times, never saw anything like this.   I only got 1 decent pic because I was in awe watching them.

 

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As we approached Margerie Glacier, we had to wait for Royal Princess to get out of the way.  Hopefully they didn't dump any oil at the glacier. 😉

 

I know...cheap shot...especially since HAL doesn't have the best record lately either.  

 

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And this is where we had the second treat of the day.  It was an extremely active day for calving and the ranger said it was some of the best he has ever seen at this glacier.  I was little late taking this pic, but it was after a large chunk calved.  The loud cracking sound that accompanied it was awesome.  

 

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See this huge chunk that was left?  A few minutes later, it calved into the ocean.  I didn't even bother trying to record it because I didn't want to miss out on seeing it.  To say it was an awesome sight when it fell would be an understatement.  

 

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Our next port of call was Sitka.  We decided to go on our own here.  The ship ties up several miles outside of town so you have to take shuttle busses back and forth.  We thought we struck gold when we found a rental car company that delivers their cars to the pier.  It was sitting there with our name on the windshield and keys under the floor mat.

 

What we did not know was their rental vehicles are pieces of sh.....crap.  Our car was a 1997 Jeep Cherokee with over 200,000 miles.  Our other choice, if we wanted to switch, was an Astro Van.  Remember those?  The headliner was falling, the car was disgusting, and it drove like crap.  If anyone here is thinking of using Sitka Car Rentals, don't!  

 

We visited downtown, the totem poles at the Sitka National Historical Park, the Raptor Center, and the Fortress of the Bear.  This is a bald eagle at the Raptor Center and a couple of the bears at the Fortress.

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Edited by Aquahound
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Our next port was Ketchikan.  One problem with cruises out of Seattle is the obligatory foreign port call.  In our case, it was Victoria so in order to make Victoria on time, the Ketchikan port call was very short.  All aboard was 12:30pm.  Considering this was an Alaskan cruise, having to leave so early from an Alaskan port is a real shame.  I'm glad I've been to Ketchikan before because I'd be really disappointed if this was my first visit and couldn't really take it in.  We were joined in port by Nieuw Amsterdam and Norwegian Joy.  

 

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So since our stop was so short, we quickly walked Creek Street and then did the Lumberjack show.  The show was a little cheesy and not really the sort of thing I like to do when there's so much real Alaska to see, but I do recommend it for those who can't really get out and do the strenuous stuff.

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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On day 7, they did an Ask The Captain session in the main theater.  Eurodam's Master is Captain John Scott.  He was a really interesting guy who had a great sense of humor.  Interesting tidbit for those who like to keep tabs on Captains - Capt Scott is embarking today on his final voyage abroad Eurodam.  He's taking the ship to Hawaii from Vancouver.  Afterwards, he's doing a short stint on Noordam.  I think he said he's taking that ship to Hawaii as well.  He retires shortly after that.  

 

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Those awards, trophies I thought were in stairways going up one deck. I recall walking there where all the layout lounges are located one night and it started to rain, so I ducked in there and saw what you took a photo of.

Edited by seagarsmoker
Msp
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So back to that obligatory foreign port, our final stop was Victoria.  Again, it was a very short stop.  We arrived at 6pm and all aboard was 10:30.  We were joined by Norwegian Joy which totally dwarfed us at the dock.  We bought the $15 round-trip shuttle tickets.  We were able to walk around and see the main sites like Parliament and the Empress hotel.  But since time was so short and the weather was a little cold and rainy, we decided to find a good bar and park our butts on some stools.  We found the Irish Times Pub.  This place was great and I highly recommend it.  The band, Black Angus, had a Mumford & Sons sound and we really enjoyed listening to them.  

 

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Then it was back to the ship.

 

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Edited by Aquahound
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Disembarkation the next morning was a breeze, just like the initial boarding.  They got through the various luggage tag colors quickly.  We had the last color and we were off the ship at about 9.  We felt no pressure to leave our room early and when we did, we had no problem getting the usual great service in the lido buffet.

 

A couple of final thoughts.  

 

There's a couple threads going on this board regarding the direction HAL is going, why people hate HAL, etc.  With this cruise behind me, I can see where those OPs are coming from.  This might sound odd, but with what they did to the Crows Nest and the numerous EXC talks that seem to have replaced physical activities/entertainment,  it kinda felt like HAL is trying to be a mass market version of an expeditionary cruise line.  That doesn't work because people who take expeditionary cruises are people who are willing and able to be, well, expeditionary.  This doesn't work for the HAL crowd who are mostly later in life and on a mass market line that can only hit major ports.  IMO, they should tone it down a little and bring back some of yesteryear's activities.  

 

Another comment is the service.  We did have some great service on this cruise.  Our room attendants were great, as were several of the bartenders.  But with the awful dining room service and some of the other various staff around the ship, I cannot agree with those who say that HAL service is so much more special than on other lines.  In fact, at this point, I wouldn't even put HAL in the top 3.  Then again, to be fair, my cruising has really slowed down in the past few years so I can't really give a timely comparison.  

 

Formal nights are officially dead.  The gala nights felt no different from the other 5 nights.  I wore a suit the first one and felt overdressed, so I dressed down to just a sport coat for the second.  

 

The most special parts of this cruise were the experiences that could have been had on any line.  

 

But on a good note, the ship looked really nice and I loved how uncrowded it felt.  Despite all my complaints, HAL is still a nice cruise line.  

 

Feel free to throw any questions my way.  Thanks for following along.  😊

Edited by Aquahound
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Thanks for your review.  I embarked the Eurodam as you disembarked, taking the quick journey from Seattle to Vancouver.  I noticed many of the same.  I was quite disappointed.  I thought maybe it was because it was just an overnight cruise.  Our cabin had clean and made linens and a clean restroom, but the carpet was dirty and worn, there were "rings" from glasses on several of the tabletops (desk, table, end tables) and there were no bathrobes (we were in a spa veranda).  Never even saw our cabin steward. In the evening we had an unidentifiable towel animal on the bed, but their was no turndown.  I had almost the exact same experience in the dining room.  We chose any time, but were escorted to the 3rd floor with the assigned seating.  Not only were we not greeted by the waiter, we were only given two menu's to share between 4 people.  The service was not good in any respect.  I won't even go into details in regards to the buffet.  That would be a 2/10 and I will not return.  I did speak to the manager in the buffet about my experience.  I mean who brings cream for your coffee IN a coffee mug.  Ever tried to pour out of a coffee mug???  During a break at the Billboard menu, two drunks took over the pianos and microphones.  We could see a ship officer calling someone on their phone.  Took over 10 minutes of these two drunk jerks playing on the pianos before someone from "customer service" came and asked them to move.  Then the female pianist came on and gave a bit speech as to how they were "her" microphones.  The male pianist went aboiut pounding on the keys and snarling.  BB Kings was awesome. Humanity played in the Mainstage. Lightshow with no dancers was weird.  Dancers were entertaining but nothing close to spectacular.

I sail many lines and also book many lines for others in my business.  I will think twice about placing a client on HAL in the future.  The manager did take my room number and said they would file a report.  Let's see if anything happens.  I also had two clients/friends on this ship.  They have only cruised one other time on Carnival and said they would go back to Carnival.  Liked the taste of food on HAL and the calm decor, but the lack of service they said did not even come close to what they received with CCL.

 

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9 hours ago, Aquahound said:

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.  

 

 

 

This isn't good for a 10-year old ship. A Veranda suite too!

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