Overall nice trip, but ship/line definitely cater to an older demographic
Eurodam Cruise Review to Alaska - Inside Passage
Review summaryLet me start by saying that we loved Alaska!! We really enjoyed being on a smaller ship as everything seems more accessible and fast/easy to get to, but there are some trade-offs with smaller ships. Foremost amongst the differences, was no place in the evening to hang out and enjoy live music as a lounge/background music environment. BB Kings offered live music every night, but unless you got there early, it was standing room only. The dance floor in this venue is very small and it's realy more of a concert than anything else. The crows nest was very nice and quiet, but no live music and wasn't really geared up for the evening - the lighting was bright and harsh and service was spotty when seated/relaxing. Also, there is no disco or evening dance/party venue. Other HAL ships have a disco, but on Eurodam the same space is now the Gallery Bar off the casino. Very nice place and we really enjoyed the Galley Bar and spent a lot of time there as the service was great (thanks to Joey) but again, there was no music or craic as the Irish say. If you are looking for dancing, this is not the ship to be on. The Lincoln Center Stage concerts were nice and the musicians were very talented, but a lot of the senior citizens fell asleep and started snoring. The area where Lincoln Center Stage was, is set up like a concert in the middle of a lounge and feels very much like it was an afterthought to better utilize the space.
Stateroom - we had a balcony cabin on deck four port side forward. The plus to the balcony cabins on deck 4 forward are they are a bit larger than other decks, by about 1.5' - 2' in depth. The downside is that from the railing down its steel rather than glass which makes it hard to sit on the balcony and see the water as you can only see in the distance above the railing.
The bedding in the room is horrendous - the pillows were awful as was the mattress itself. My husband and I had a very hard time sleeping every night and not once did we wake up in the morning refreshed and ready to go. In full disclosure, I normally sleep like a baby on a ship and we stayed at the Marriott by Seattle airport the night before our cruise and their pillows/bedding were amazing and the best night sleep we had the entire trip.
There is always the debate of port vs starboard in Alaska and which is preferred. My parents were starboard and we were port and to be honest, I don't think there was a discernable difference between the two on this particular ship and sailing. Wildlife moves, so you never know which side they are going to be on and as for general scenery, both sides were equally beautiful. In Glacier Bay, the ship rotates, so if you aren't in front of the glacier at first, you will be in a while.
Food and Service - two very important aspects of any cruise. We were left feeling "meh" about this part of the cruise. The dining room menu for dinner is pretty pedestrian most of the time - meat, fish, pasta. Nothing that blew our socks off or left us wanting more. The dining room for breakfast and lunch was pretty basic, so we went to the Lido each day. The lido had a nice variety of things, especially at lunchtime. Nice salad bar which I enjoyed every day. The hot menu selections seemed pretty good and there was always something at the carving stations. There were also two specialty sections - Mexican on one side and Indian/Pan-Asian on the other. My husband really enjoyed most of the curries that were offered and I was thankful there was sushi, albeit very limited selection.
We were traveling with my parents and a few of their friends and they all loved the food! They are pretty simple eaters and the basics suit them just fine. My husband and I are more adventurous and look for things that we can't make at home. While we were never left hungry, at times we struggled with the menu. There was only one dining room item (fish and shrimp taco) that was truly superb that I couldn't stop talking about it and even mentioned to the chef on the way out of the dining room.
We did eat in the Pinnacle Grill one evening (the only time we could get in) and while it was nice, was nowhere near the experience I have had previously. We felt like we were rushed through every course - the entire meal only took 45 mins, when in the past, dining there has been an experience. The sommelier, Joseph, was horrible!! He rushed over when we were just being seated and threw an iPad at us to make our selection and then left...didn't come back until just before our main course was being delivered. We asked our waiter for him 3 times and nothing. Finally, my husband got up to get us wine from the Pinnacle Bar just across the way. Joseph finally showed up then and was a condescending a-hole and insulted us for having the drinks package. We actually left the Pinnacle dinner feeling like we had wasted the money and completely underwhelmed by the overall experience.
We purchased our shore excursions through the ShipMate app and loved the whale watching in Juneau - we were on a much smaller vessel than what is sold through the ship. As a result of being on a smaller boat (18 pax) we were able to get closer, longer viewing times and found a large pod of Orca's that the larger boats couldn't get to. In Sitka, there is a free bus that takes you right into town and lots of shopping and a few bars/restaurants. There are also a few shops right at the pier for anyone who doesn't want to take the free shuttle to downtown. In Victoria, there is a paid shuttle to downtown that is $13 pp roundtrip BUT a cab is only $10 flat rate per car. There were 6 of us, so we just grabbed a mini-van cab and saved $68 total. Victoria was a beautiful town that is very walkable - lots of shopping, bars, and restaurants. Ketchikan we only had a few hours in the morning in port, which was not nearly enough time. Great city, very walkable right from the ship and lots to see an do as far as excursions. The itin for this ship could easily trim time off of Juneau (there until 10 pm) and add that time to Ketchikan to make it more balanced.
Overall, Alaska is AMAZING!! We saw tons of wildlife - bears, whales, sea otters, eagles, etc. Ship life on Eurodam is pretty sedate and slow paced. I think HAL is trying to attract a bit younger crowd by adding BB Kings but it's still a senior audience that enjoys the 50's and 60's music. I was glad we selected the Eurodam versus the other choices (Princess or NCL) but the onboard pace and offerings, as well as food, is really geared toward seniors aged 60 and up.
Food and Dining
See my full review for details, but overall our experience was very lacking and we left feeling like we had wasted the money.
Very cool interactive maps
Great place during the day for viewing wildlife and enjoying the scenerary, but you have to get there early to get a good seat. In the evening this is a very quiet place and seems like could be utlizied a bit better with some music and softer lighting.
Nice selection of coffee and very nicely done
The entire casino is non-smoking which is VERY nice!! There was only 1 blackjack table and 1 craps table and they were packed most of the time...especially blackjack. The range and choice of slot machines were lacking and didn't seem to pay off very well - we know we are making a donation, but didn't get to play for very long compared to other ships casinos.
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
Nice ship but definitely caters to an older clientele (seniors) when it comes to decor, food and activities