Review: MS Eurodam
Cruise - Ocean Cruise
First time with Holland America
137 people found this review helpful
Holland America, Eurodam,12 nights Baltics cruise. 27th June to 9th July. Itinerary: Copenhagen, Waremunde (for Berlin), Tallin, St.Petersburg, Helsinki, Nynashamn (for Stockholm)
We left home in the early hours of the 24th to be at the CruisingMates get-together in Coventry. On the 25th we visited relatives and on the 26th stayed over in a less than salubrious hotel in Ramsgate. By the time we reached Dover on the 27th we were both rather travel weary and couldn't wait to get aboard Eurodam so we were delighted with the smooth operation of luggage drop-off, shuttle back from car park, check in and our ticket colour being called. Once through security we were on-board by 12 o'clock, within an hour of arriving at the port. (Both the embarkation and disembarkation processes were impressive and very much in the control of the crew. Unlike other ships we've been on no-one was getting off the ship without the appropriate colour ticket. There was no scramble when picking up our luggage and we were out of the terminal in no time.)
Our stateroom 6164 Aft Deluxe Balcony suite, Upper Verandah deck, was ready and once we found it we were delighted to see how spacious it was. It is definitely the most luxurious accommodation we've ever had and the welcoming bottle of champagne and fruit bowl a very nice touch. As expected the furnishing was of the highest standard. A huge settee, coffee table with two armchairs either side, a desk with all the usual ship information and personalised stationery. A large flat screen tv and dvd player. The 4 doored wardrobes had separate hanging space with loads of hangers in the double wardrobe, a gent's robe which also housed the safe, a long compartment of shelf space for clothes and shoes. Also all around the stateroom there was plenty of other doored shelving. The bed was enormous, the same as most other ships we've been on, very comfortable and a choice of 3 different pillow softness. We resisted the temptation to just lie down and sleep there and then.
The bathroom was fantastic with two sinks, a bathtub and separate shower stall. Both the bath and the shower had dispensers for shampoo, conditioner and bath/shower gel. The little dressing room just before the bathroom was a dream with mirrors about the dressing table and a huge magnified mirror which was great for putting on make-up. Three drawers down one side for cosmetics kept it tidy. The best thing of all was a 'real' hairdryer and not one of those weak slow things that are the usual on ships and in hotels. 2 electric sockets in here for American and European plugs.
Here I must make mention of our Balcony. Being an aft corner suite the balcony wrapped around the stern and was furnished with a table and 4 chairs, 2 armchairs and footstools and round on the port side 2 sunloungers. We seldom used the sunloungers but made great use of the rest of the balcony. This stateroom could be connected to the next door stateroom and if a family had both and opened the connecting balcony doors it would be a fabulous facility.
On the first day we explored the ship and finished our tour on the top deck in the Seaview Bar and Pool. This is aft of the Lido Restaurant and very handy for either eating outside or just taking your tea or coffee outside after your meal. Here you can have freshly made Pizza from morning til night. It was to become a favourite spot and we spent most of our time here. We had a great bar waitress, Rhia, who knew exactly what we'd want as soon as she saw us. The service here as everywhere else on this ship was superb. Loads of tables around the pool and bar and also a fantastic amount of sunbeds along the back of the pool. The starboard side was designated for smoking, a small undercover section near the bar, all the outdoor seating area, including the sunbeds, with a plentiful supply of ashtrays. On the other side of the Lido Restaurant there is the Lido Bar and Pool, which has a retracting roof. Again, loads of sunbeds, which have very comfy cushions compared to the standard at the Seaview pool. Several curtained Cabanas for private lounging and eating are available to hire. The Terrace Grill is also here and serves Burgers and Chips etc throughout the day.
The Main Dining room, The Rembrandt is on two levels on Deck 2 and 3. Deck 3 is for set seating and Deck 2 designated for Anytime Dining. Unfortunately we were so busy touring and enjoying the sunshine on the top deck that when we went back to the stateroom I was surprised to learn that we couldn't get an Anytime booking for our prefered table for two that night. On trying again the next day I was informed that you could book 4 days in advance and that there were no tables for two available until the 1st of July. I managed to book this but since we had Concierge service I asked for their help. Top marks to Mary Rose as she then took over and booked us for every night thereafter. With this service we had entry to The Neptune Lounge which we used frequently during the cruise. It was an oasis of calm and was particularly useful for Continental Breakfast. You could also have Lunch, Afternoon snacks and Canapes before dinner there. We loved it for breakfast or afternoon snacks on port days when the Lido Restaurant could be busy.
The Lido Restaurant was definitely the best buffet arrangement we have ever experienced. The layout was spacious with every station being separate along one side and no other food station behind you. This may seem unimportant but to us it was wonderful after experiencing crowded back-to-back stations with people all going in different directions. Another thing that really impressed us about the set-up was that there were small cord barriers and signs at one end that informed guests to queue at the other side. Mostly this was adhered to and it made an altogether calmer and more dignified experience. Very seldom did we have trouble getting a table, although it could be really busy on port days so we mostly used the Neptune lounge then. The tables were cleared constantly and we never ever saw dirty plates piling up. As with the food service areas the tea/coffee/drinks stations were well laid out with plenty of dispensers. I should mention that for the first two days of the cruise these, as were all other self service areas, were manned by crew. We thought this a very good idea as presumably after 48 hours any potential health problems that any passenger had when coming aboard would be evident. Actually throughout the voyage, although there was some things that you could self-serve, like fruit and salads, all of the actual cooked food and sandwiches were served by crew. Again we thought this a good idea.
The Main Dining Room experience was really excellent, both food and service. The Anytime Dining was less than successful. There were always queues, even if you had a booking. There was supposed to be 2 separate queues for those who had a booking and those who just 'turned up' but this didn't really work and not a lot of folk knew this. A couple of times when the queue was enormous we had to quickly get up to the Lido before it closed.(more about this later)
The Lido food was equally good and the choice superb. We particularly liked the morning omelettes made and served starboard side by Herbert. On the Entrée station another favourite person was Mary who had a wicked sense of humour and cooked a wicked steak. The only complaint that we really had about the Lido had nothing to do with the food or service. To our dismay at certain times of the day there were periods that the food stations were all closed. For instance, on our first night, because we couldn't get our MDR booking we went to the Lido. We'd had a lovely lunch there at the 'Flavours of the World' section and had been invited to the Captain's cocktail party at 6o'clock where we had been nibbling canapés so we weren't ready to eat until nearer 9o'clock. It was closed after 8.30pm. The Terrace Grill was also closed and so we ended up with Pizza.It opened again at 11pm-12midnight for late night snacks, which sounded almost the same as dinner, but it never be a time we'd want to eat. We found out it was the same after lunch. Everything closed and the only thing you could get between 3 and 5.30pm was sandwiches or ice-cream and cookies. We don't usually eat lunch if we've had a cooked breakfast but usually fancy a scone or piece of cake around 3, or when coming back after a port visit. No scones or cake after lunch is finished until dinner starts at 5.30pm.
We didn't try either the Tamarind or the Pinnacle grill speciality restaurants as the Steaks in the MDR and Lido were superb.We did eat one night in the Canelleto Italian, which is just a sectioned off part of the Lido. Although you have to book this one there is no extra charge. The food and service was very good but not any better than any other food area of the ship. Overall the food on Eurodam is the best food we've ever had on any ship.
We went to a couple of shows but it's not really our thing. The singers and dancers did not inspire. The best show was a 'Mind Reader' and even that was just ok. Throughout the ship in many of the bars there is a pretty varied entertainment programme. The busiest was always The Piano Bar where Michael had the place packed every night. Lots of sing-along music, and people did. You could enjoy the classics with Adagio Strings in Explorer's Lounge, dance to the music of The Neptunes in the Ocean Bar, Gen & The HALCats in the Queen's lounge, or the Northern Lights Disco or just sit back and listen to Gary, a guitarist in the magnificent Crow's Nest (what a view).
The ship's shop is huge with plenty of space to walk and look around at all the usual clothes and souvenirs. Unusally the alcohol and tobacco section are the smallest part of this huge area. Also there are the usual separate Cosmetic and expensive Jewellery Boutiques.
I haven't mentioned anything about our itinerary but feel I've gone on long enough and hopefully will do some port reviews but St.Petersburg was the highlight for us. We had 2 day tour booked with Alla Tours and it was terrific value for money. There were 12 people on this tour, 10 adults and 2 children. Our guide, Slavi, was a very informative and helpful young man. Not only did he know his subject inside out but was always pleased to discuss the effect of the changes, both past and present, on the people.
A word of warning about checking your ship account before disembarkation. We got a preliminary bill on the second last day and noticed that we had been charged for 2 Ship Excursions for 2 people in St. Petersburg and Tallin, which we clearly had not taken. It was checked on the computer that we had left the ship at 8am. Thankfully we had the credit card receipt for our Alla tour and a ticket for The Heritage for the before the time that this excursion was taking place. It took almost the full day before we were told we would get a 'refund' on our account. We have yet to get a satisfactory answer as to how these excursions could have been booked in our name and who it was, if anyone, who went on them.
We would recommend Holland America to anyone and although we paid a lot more than we normally would for this cruise, as it was a special occasion, it was worth every penny. The pluses compared to other ships we've been on are: Service, Staff, Cleanliness, all of a very high standard, cleansing gels widely used, small individual terry handtowels in all toilets, lifts quick and plentiful. The leaving and coming back on to ship, especially the tendering service, excellently executed. Overall impression, a very well run ship. Minuses, very few but mostly Queues for Anytime dining, Lido opening hours and no Online check for ship account.
We would definitely cruise with Holland America again but would choose set dining time. We booked this cruise last year and paid what we felt was a reasonable amount but there were some offers earlier this year that made us feel that we would not book so early again. We also met a couple on our St.Petersburg tour who had booked only 3 weeks before the cruise and got a great deal on an inside stateroom for £699 each which for this standard of excellence is a steal.
137 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.
Silver Travel Advisor Recommended Partner: Holland America Line