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msmayor

Eurodam Review - Pacific Coastal/Mexican Riviera

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It's been a week since we disembarked Eurodam, our fourth HAL ship and cruise and at 11-nights, the longest cruise we've taken to date.  Four nights from Vancouver to San Diego, then seven R/T San Diego to the Mexican Riviera.  This was also the first that we were considered 'in-transit' passengers after the Pacific Coastal segment.

 

I will say that the first full sea day out of Vancouver was the roughest seas I've experienced, and the ginger pills and sea bands did not do the trick.  I was down for the count most of the day, finally succumbing to taking meclizine from Guest Services by the evening.  Two doses and calmer seas overnight and I was back to normal by morning

 

PRE-CRUISE - Flew to Vancouver the day before embarkation and stayed at the Holiday Inn Vancouver Downtown on Howe Street.  I had enough IHG points for a free night and while it wasn't the fanciest hotel it was perfectly fine for the one night.  We were upgraded at check-in to a suite which was a pleasant surprise.  Easy walk to many restaurants for a nice dinner and a local wine shop to pick up two bottles to carry on board.

 

EMBARKATION - Perhaps one of the smoothest we've ever experienced.  A few weeks prior to the cruise I received an email with an assigned embarkation of 11:30am, not too far from the time we would normally show up.  We took a taxi to the port around 10:30am and discovered we love the Vancouver port area...easy luggage drop-off and quick entry to the port building.  No lines at all to check in though there were already quite a few sitting in the waiting area to board.  We were surprisingly directed to a row of seats ahead of most people who had already checked in and within 10 minutes boarding began.  We were on board by 11:15 and headed straight to our stateroom to drop off the carry-on bags.

 

STATEROOM - We had an aft balcony, 7136...this was our third aft stateroom.  Love the wake and the fact that we are very protected from the wind when underway.  While not as deep as our past aft balcony rooms, this one had plenty of space with two reclining chairs and foot rests.  The small table is, IMO, way too small...I really wish it was just a tad bigger.  Barely fit two wine glasses and a small plate.  Some more on the stateroom

  • More than enough hanging space for our clothes, and plenty of hangars (not usually the case in past cruises).  The two large drawers underneath the bed along with the drawers and open space in the nightstands was more than sufficient for our things.  
  • Husband loved the flat screen hanging on the wall and the wide variety of movies that were available to watch late in the evening.  On our last day while packing, we got the chance to see a film we'd been wanting to see...the story about Ruth Bader Ginsburg "On the Basis of Sex".  Nice to have this in the staterooms.
  • Wish there was one additional light in the closet area, as once you opened the doors to the center section any available light was blocked to the closet on the right, which is where the safe was located.  Thankfully I had a small flashlight to help me read the buttons on the keypad until we could figure out where the 'lock' and 'clear' keys were.  
  • Happy that the small sofa and desk were near the balcony door instead of the bed as it makes it easier to see outside if you want to stay in the stateroom for any reason.  Desk was on the smaller side but appreciated the extra shelf to keep things tidy.  Stocked with beverage and wine glasses to use, and our stateroom attendant always made sure we had fresh glasses every day.  Mini-fridge had space for us to chill the bottle of white wine easily.
  • Bed was comfortable but wish the pillows were a bit fluffier.  I suppose I could have asked for replacements but we managed fine.  
  • Plenty of floor space in the corner areas for our empty bags
  • Love that the bathroom has a regular tub; hate using the 'phone booth' shower as they are just too small.  Open shelves for toiletries which was a bit challenging to capture all we needed, but we found a way to make it all fit.  Absolutely LOVE the small LED 'night light' that stayed on after turning the regular light out.  This made such a big difference when needing to use the bathroom in the middle of the night - just enough light without needing my flashlight or having to turn on the brighter overhead light.  I would love to see this in all ships!
  • Attendants did a wonderful job maintaining our room.  They learned our daily schedule pretty early on and managed to get in to clean/straighten at just the right times every day.  Our fresh fruit was replenished daily as requested, and I had chocolates every night!
  • Of all the aft staterooms we've had, the motion was most noticeable in this one.  The movement and creaking during the first segment was the most we've every had, maybe because of the time of year...not sure.  It calmed considerably after San Diego but was still more than we were used to.

 

FOOD - We were very pleased with the dining on this trip, enjoying every meal.  This was the first trip we did not do any specialty dining, instead taking all our dinners in the Main Dining room (8pm seating, our standard).  Most breakfast was enjoyed in the Lido but we did eat in the main dining room a couple of mornings (including debarkation day).

  • Main Dining Room - we really enjoy the traditional dining experience and had a great serving team, seated at a two-top on the rail of the upper dining room.  Portion size was perfect and were pleased with the variety.  Very attentive wine steward who always made sure our glasses never went dry.  I will add that the service was exceptional this trip - meals were paced very well and the first-night service was perhaps the most even we've had (usually first nights can be a bit chaotic with a new group of passengers).  The assistant dining room maitre' d was ever-present, stopping by tables most evenings to make sure everything was to our satisfaction.  We had breakfast here a couple of times and enjoyed the waffles very much!
  • Lido - lots of great variety and tasty dishes.  We were admittedly spoiled because at lunch, we never had to wait in the lines (we had a Lido cabana and our attendant took our order and delivered our meals).  Food was always hot and tasty though, and I loved the salad bar.  I usually had cereal for breakfast and wish that they could figure out a way to keep the cartons of milk just a bit colder.  
  • Dive In - I really love the fries here!  Had our lunch from here a couple of times; this remains a favorite food spot for me on all HAL ships.
  • New York Pizza - didn't realize that you ordered 'whole' pizzas here (bar-size pies) - no slices.  We ordered one to take back to the stateroom one afternoon.  It was pretty good, but not good enough to make us feel like we wanted to go again.  I wish the crust had a little more flavor.

 

LIDO CABANA - This was a last-minute addition, on the day we embarked.  We had just finished the spa tour and were toying with the idea of the spa pass but my husband said he probably wouldn't use it, so I didn't want it either as we really wanted to spend time together.  While walking through the Lido area we saw the cabanas and I mentioned to him that these were sometimes available for the whole cruise.  He really, really liked the way they looked and the fact that it would mean a guaranteed spot to relax by the pool, and in the shade...while still being able to look out and enjoy the sea.  We headed down to Guest Services to see if there was one available for the full 11 nights and sure enough, there was.  We splurged and spent the $399 for the whole trip and both felt it was a great choice.  Dining table with tablecloth and two comfy chairs plus a two-person lounge bed, lots of towels and two bathrobes.  Very attentive service by the same attendant the entire 11 days, who also learned our preferences early on.  Andrew made sure we had a copy of the USA Newspaper flyer every day along with the usual two large bottles of water and fresh fruit.  Lunch menus were delivered around 11 with our choice for the time lunch would be served.  At 3pm, champagne and chocolate covered strawberries were delivered.  Throughout the day, Andrew would stop by and take our drink orders or if we wished, bring us any snacks we might want.  We used the cabana almost every single day at some point.  We were completely spoiled and will consider a cabana on future HAL trips.

 

ENTERTAINMENT - Disappointed that there aren't as many regular shows in the Main Stage theater any more, but still enjoyed the ones that we saw.  BB King's was hopping every night - this is a great entertainment venue and lots of people really enjoyed it.  The Lincoln Center Stage shows were also well attended - good to see that their performances were so appreciated by many.  Loved the fact that the Billboard OnBoard venue is right next to and open to the casino; makes that area lively.

 

CASINO - Husband and I enjoy gambling as a form of entertainment and will usually spend time every night in the casino.  Disappointed that my favorite game, Let It Ride, was not there - but that game seems to be disappearing from all casinos (doesn't favor the house enough).  Still managed to enjoy the games, though the tables didn't seem as crowded on the first segment.  Much more action in the second segment.  Casino staff was, as usual, very friendly and helpful in teaching newer games.  This was the first trip that I noticed free drinks in the casino for some (us included).  A very pleasant surprise.

 

SPA - I love the spa when I'm cruising, and this trip was no different.  Took advantage of the usual 10-20-30 promotion (book three services, get 10% off one, 20% of another, 30% off the third) and had a facial, seaweed-wrap body treatment and a hot-stone massage.  Very relaxing!

 

PORTS-

  • Santa Barbara - first visit to this CA location, we took a ship excursion for wine tasting and to Solvang, a dutch-themed town in the Santa Ynez valley.  Very enjoyable excursion...loved the two wineries we visited (tasted 5-6 wines at each) and then had about two hours to explore the small town of Solvang.  Weather was gorgeous for being outside and we really had a good day
  • San Diego (in-transit day) - left the ship for a bit to find a CVS to purchase some cold medicine, walked around the Gaslight District a bit and then headed back to the ship.  Embarkation for new passengers had not yet begun but we were easily able to re-board as in-transit.  Felt odd not to be part of muster...only those who boarded initially in San Diego had to participate so we hung out in our cabana until sailaway.
  • Cabo San Lucas - another ship excursion, we went to Solmar Resort for a 'beach' day...but you really couldn't be on the beach.  No swimming at all (resort is on the Pacific side) due to the severe undertow but there was a nice pool and patio area with very comfortable loungers and umbrellas.  An all-you-can-eat buffet was included, plus two drink coupons each.  Open air restaurant area was very pleasant.  Food and drink was very good, beverage servers were never far away.  We did walk along the beach for a bit to see the waves and the view, but spent most of our time by the pool.
  • Mazatlan - stayed on the ship
  • Puerto Vallarta - took a taxi over to the Malecon and walked the full distance along that path enjoying the artwork statues and some street performers.  Lots of vendors and shops along the way, plus restaurants.  We spent about two hours out that way then grabbed a cab back to the ship.

 

Overall we really enjoyed Eurodam and this trip very much.  Both my husband and I worked a lot of hours this year at our respective jobs so this trip was truly more about relaxing than anything else.  We were both very content to just sit and talk or read, sipping cocktails along the way.  The HAL officers and crew were as outstanding as we have come to expect and made the trip special.  We encountered a young woman Victoria at Guest Services who helped us with our cabana rental, and a week into the trip sent treats to our room with a card, with wishes that she hoped we were enjoying our trip.  Such a special touch!

 

We didn't leave the ship without purchasing two more future cruise deposits and now that we've made three-star after this trip, will look forward to planning our next adventure on one of HAL's beautiful ships.

 

Happy to try and answer any questions others may have.

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MsMayor, Was there any "themed" activity/entertainment onboard -- such as mariachi singers, Mexican dancers or ambassadors, or decorations for Mexican themed dinner in the Lido?

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6 minutes ago, AncientWanderer said:

MsMayor, Was there any "themed" activity/entertainment onboard -- such as mariachi singers, Mexican dancers or ambassadors, or decorations for Mexican themed dinner in the Lido?

 

I don't recall seeing any of that on board.  We didn't do any dinners in the Lido so not sure if they had any of that up there.  I will say that with the exception of the occasional Lincoln Center OnStage performances that were planned during the day, I don't recall seeing any other live music performance throughout the ship during the day.

 

We did notice that on the dinner menus in the main dining room, each night there was both an appetizer and a main course that were considered "EXC Port to Table", so dishes that would be considered local to the area.  The evenings that my husband and I chose those options we were very pleased with the results.

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Thank you for a very in-depth and personal review! Loved it. Out of 12 cruises on HAL we have been on her 3 times👍
Denise😊

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I’m so glad you enjoyed the cruise (and am glad we missed the Vancouver to San Diego seas!) 

We will be heading soon to Mexico on the Oosterdam back to back.  Hope our in transit is smooth like yours was.

 

Enjoyed reading your review.  Congratulations on your 3* achievement.

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, msmayor said:

 

I don't recall seeing any of that on board.  We didn't do any dinners in the Lido so not sure if they had any of that up there.  I will say that with the exception of the occasional Lincoln Center OnStage performances that were planned during the day, I don't recall seeing any other live music performance throughout the ship during the day.

 

We did notice that on the dinner menus in the main dining room, each night there was both an appetizer and a main course that were considered "EXC Port to Table", so dishes that would be considered local to the area.  The evenings that my husband and I chose those options we were very pleased with the results.

 

Thank you so much for the quick response and for your excellent review.  Eurodam is, I think, our favorite ship.  I'm glad you had a great experience onboard.

 

We sailed last month to Mexico on Oosterdam, and they didn't have any of the local entertainment either.  I was curious if that was peculiar to Oosterdam or something across the fleet, so to speak.  

Anyhow, great review.  Thanks for taking the time to put it together.

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5 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Glad you enjoyed your cruise so much that you bought some more deposits.

 

Enjoyed your detailed report.

Those Future Cruise Deposits are a great deal IMO.

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Thanks for taking the time and effort for your review! Enjoyed reading same. The Pacific can be rough at the end of the Alaska season. Just a minor correction; the really nice town of Solvang is Danish as opposed to Dutch :classic_wink:

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Thanks for your very thorough report.  We’ll be on the Eurodam next week!  I found your positive report on the Lido Cabanas especially interesting and something we may enjoy in the future.   Congrats on 3*!!!

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Congratulations on achieving 3*.  I can remember when we first sailed with HAL in 2008, and I thought 3* was an impossible dream, but by 2014, we'd gotten our 3rd star and a medallion.  Over the next two years, we achieved 4*, and now I'm working on 5* which really seems out of reach.  

 

So glad you enjoyed the cabana amenities.  We first enjoyed a Retreat Cabana on Eurodam and considered it a wonderful investment because we were so spoiled by the end of the week.  Back then, they hadn't expanded the menu to include the Lido offerings, but we still felt pampered.  Having just taken advantage of this feature on Oosterdam in April, I can honestly say the menu was one of the best parts, as we parked our backsides in the morning and never moved until after 4 that afternoon.  Our steward even brought us breakfast.  Gosh, was it ever relaxing not to worry about anything.

 

Thanks for posting your review.  So glad to read that Eurodam hasn't slipped a bit in service or ambiance since we last sailed her in 2014 for the second time.  We would have returned, but other itineraries on other dam ships appealed to us more.  Your review makes me think we should take a second look at her itineraries soon.

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2 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

Thanks for taking the time and effort for your review! Enjoyed reading same. The Pacific can be rough at the end of the Alaska season. Just a minor correction; the really nice town of Solvang is Danish as opposed to Dutch :classic_wink:

 

You know, I knew Danish...not sure why I typed Dutch.  Still on the vacation high, I guess...thanks!

 

2 hours ago, SilvertoGold said:

Very informative, readable review!  Who were your Captain and Hotel Director?

 

Captain was Henk Draper - loved his noon reports.  Hotel director was Ruben Kooiman.

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5 minutes ago, msmayor said:

 

You know, I knew Danish...not sure why I typed Dutch.  Still on the vacation high, I guess...thanks!

 

 

Captain was Henk Draper - loved his noon reports.  Hotel director was Ruben Kooiman.

 

Here's hoping you stay on that vacation high a bit longer! 

 

Capt. Draper & HD Ruben K, two of the best!

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48 minutes ago, msmayor said:

 

You know, I knew Danish...not sure why I typed Dutch.  Still on the vacation high, I guess...thanks!

 

 

Captain was Henk Draper - loved his noon reports.  Hotel director was Ruben Kooiman.

 

Captain Draper - one of the old-fashioned captains! Overall excellent. 

 

So glad you enjoyed this cruise!

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2 hours ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

Here's hoping you stay on that vacation high a bit longer! 

 

Capt. Draper & HD Ruben K, two of the best!

 

Their attention to detail really showed, too, especially on the hotel-side.  I noticed that at least in our area of the ship at embarkation, suitcases weren't left in the hallway after delivery...they were actually placed inside the room.  What a wonderful surprise to get to our stateroom after lunch around 2pm and find all four bags ready and waiting.

 

Stateroom service was really well-run too.  We could see the stewards were working, but they really worked hard to keep equipment out of the hallways and keep any noise levels down.  It was amazing how they slipped in and out of each room to get things done.

 

Laundry service was also fantastic.  We purchased the unlimited for the voyage and started right away, day one, sending things out.  Clothing was always returned within 24 hours.  Nothing was ever amiss and all items came back in fine condition.  We even chuckled when my husband's undershirts ended up on hangars!  We appreciated the nice cloth clothing bags they used for hanging garments too.  Kept everything nice and neat.  We made sure to always return the wire hangars each day as I know they re-use those often for other guests.

 

We've sailed four different lines, and despite the hits that HAL takes at having an 'aging' demographic, we still prefer the atmosphere and service aboard these ships.  Friendliest and most attentive crew at sea.

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Thank you for reviewing your Eurodam cruise.

Congratulations on  becoming 3 star mariners.

 

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