July 2016 - Eurodam to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
The 12 day, Mediterranean Empires Cruise that we embarked on this past July (July 17, 2016) was our very 1st cruise after more than 20 years of talking about doing so and researching all the major cruise companies, ships, and itineraries - and we were more than thrilled with the experience!
From start to finish the entire on-board (and off-board) experiences were extremely well organized, timely, handled with superb professionalism and friendliness, and we could not have really asked for more.
Staff and service was wonderful - this coming from an event planner / event organizer / B&B owner / retail customer service manager / professor. Our cabin stewards and dining room staff were more than attentive, professional, humorous, and constantly went the extra mile without being intrusive (THANK YOU Deri, Evi, Hari, Yoga, and Jepteth - you all made the cruise so great).
Any dealing we had with staff at the customer service desk, excursion desk, special event rooms, the boutiques (we were there alot!!) casino, theatre, dining rooms and Lido restaurants, bars, photo areas, and off ship excursions - were again wonderful, thorough, friendly, and professional.
The ship is very well laid out - extremely well kept and maintained - easy to access all areas, and just fun to explore.
Food and food service was again superb - this again coming from someone in the industry. We loved the main dining room daily menu selections (and service) so much that we primarily ate there for each evening meal. We did have one evening meal upgraded to the Tamarine Restaurant, which was wonderful! All of our other main meals - breakfasts, most lunched when on board, snacks, coffee breaks, desserts and desserts and desserts were usually taken in the massive Lido Buffet area - where there were more than ample selections, vast daily varieties, and special options so that we really never had the exact same buffet meal or snack more than once over the course of our 12 day adventure.
Our room - a deluxe balcony cabin (I was bond and determined that my first cruise experience had to have a balcony room) was great. LOVED the balcony!!! The bed and linen was wonderful - very comfortable. Cabin space was excellent - and was totally surprised and thrilled with the massive amount of closet space and under bed open storage for luggage, shopping bags, etc.
Each evening - bed turn down included the usual chocolates, towel sculpture, next day event schedule and manuals, etc. Our rooms stewards also took our laundry bag each night, and had it returned cleaned and in better than perfect condition the next morning. Fresh fruit was always in abundance in the room each day, and towels / toiletries refreshed each day.
We began the cruise right after the government coup in Istanbul, Turkey which was one of the original main stops on the itinerary (as well as several other Turkish landing points). The cruise ship staff, captain announcements, print materials, and even emails prior to departing were wonderful in keeping us updated on the issue, and making the appropriate decisions for our safety, security, and enjoyment in regards to altering the actual cruise itinerary. Instead of risking any ports and stops in Turkey, we ended up visiting several other Greek islands (which were AMAZING) and also extending the on-land excursion times at several other of the planned stops including extra time on Santorini - which proved to be one of the beneficial highlights of the trip.
All in all, I can not say enough on how amazing, enjoyable, and relaxing our experience was. The other couple we traveled with have been on numerous other cruises with several other cruise lines - and they often mentioned how much they enjoyed this ship and this cruise than any of the others they had taken.
We truly look forward to traveling again with Holland America!!!
Many Thanks for making our 1st crusie experience so wonderful!!!