Very nice cruise!
Eurodam Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
Sail Date: March 16, 2013
Cabin Type: Suite
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 5 years ago
We chose this particular cruise because of the itinerary and because of the spa facilities. This was our tenth cruise, the first on Holland America. The original itinerary included a port day in Turks/Caicos, where we had never been before and where the snorkeling/diving is supposed to be exceptional. Upon arrival to the cruise port, we learned that embarkation was to be delayed because the previous cruise had been a "sick" cruise and the ship needed to be sanitized. Once we were on the ship, we learned that the Turks/Caicos port had been cancelled. Several cruise lines believe that port was responsible for the Norovirus infection and didn't want to contaminate the ship or its passengers.
As we explored the ship, we learned that the facilities in the spa that were most appealing to us, (the thallosotherapy pool), and led us to purchase the spa package for the week, were not able to be used. The pool was drained and would not be up and running until the third day of the cruise. The spa had already credited $50. to our account, however we later requested a full refund, which was granted, because we would have used the facilities on sea days and those were the days that it was not running.
Having said all that, the embarkation and debarkation process was the easiest ever! Our luggage was in our room already by the time we arrived and we loved that we were allowed to stay in our room until it was time for us to get off the ship. Never did we feel like cattle being herded, as we have with other cruise lines. The ship was small by today's standards, but quite a nice size, really. You could get from one end to the other easily and our room was mid-ship so everything was very accessible. We had originally purchased a SZ category guarantee and were upgraded to an SS category, which is a verandah suite. The room was LARGE and had a jetted tub AND shower as well as double sinks. VERY NICE! The balcony was big enough for two easy chairs and a table and two chairs, providing nice options for relaxing.
With the exception of our dining room wine steward, who was loud, pushy and unpolished, (in our faces, pushing wine when our waiter was trying to serve our meal and begging for a tip at the end), the staff was incredible! They were always smiling, pleasant and helpful and obviously prioritized attention to detail. Loved our waiter, Putu, and our Cabin Stewards (sadly I can't remember their names right now), who came and went with quiet charm and who always knew us when they saw us coming. Everyone was exceptionally responsive, making the experience one of the best we have had and allowing us to forget that the two reasons we first booked this cruise, no longer existed.
The food was consistently good, wherever you ate. The Lido buffet food was equal in quality to the dining room and the lines were minimal. The staff was always welcoming and friendly.
The ship was always clean and maintenance was always working on keeping it that way. HAL takes safety very seriously, which was a nice change from others we have been on. They did roll call at the safety drill and those who were unaccounted for were called to the front desk and presumably escorted off the ship, which all were given fair warning about in the event they failed to participate.
The cruisers were generally older, however, we were seated at the best table in the dining room. Our table mates were close to our ages and we often were the last ones leaving because we were so engaged in conversation. We made some friends that we will remain in contact with.
What we loved:
The walking deck - it went all around the ship and didn't allow jogging. It was supplied with deck shares in the shade for relaxing and reading after exercise!
The cabin - the size, the cleanliness, the storage space, the bathroom!
The Service! - attention to detail that we haven't seen since Celebrity.
The movie theater - although we were never able to get there when there was space! They play first run movies, a new one each day 4 x a day.
The food! - it was consistently good. The Lido buffet was the best we have had in terms of quality! The hamburgers were great!
Ports of call that were kept were Peurto Rico, St. Thomas and the private island, Half Moon Cay. Peurto Rico, we have been to several times, but never to the forts, so we walked to el Morro and then through Old San Juan. We had lunch at a local diner that had been recommended to us by fellow passengers, Diana and Tony, who had been there before, and we were not disappointed. The diner was Manolin, just a few blocks up from the port. Excellent local cuisine.
We did the St. John's tour "on your own" from the ship in St. Thomas. It was a 45 minute ferry ride to and from the ship to St. John, but it was gorgeous! I would have liked more time on the island. We had just enough time to hike a mile to a fabulous private beach, stay there for a little over an hour and hike back to catch the ferry. Not much time for anything else... The time we had was most excellent, however. The beach was simply incredible.
Half Moon Cay was the private island of HAL. It is a good sized island with a LOT to do, including, hiking, biking, horseback riding, parasailing...and the list goes on. We opted to rent a shell on the beach as a landing spot and walked the beach for a good share of the day.The staff on the island were not as friendly as on the ship. We loved that this was our last day as opposed to a sea day. We were able to relax and enjoy it rather than thinking about it being the last day.
Overall, in spite of the cancelled port and spa not being available, this was one of the best of our 10. It reminded me of the subtle, yet important differences that exist between cruise lines and what is important to us when we are looking for our next one. Thank you, Holland America for reminding us what we want when we spend our hard-earned money on a much needed vacation!
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Book all that you can in advance through HAL's website, such as wine packages, spa packages, massage, etc... it avoids having to rush around when you arrive and you can enjoy just exploring the ship. Whatever happens, relax and enjoy it! You aren't working!