HAL Eurodam to the Caribbean Oct 17

Oct 28th, 2009, 07:31 AM
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HAL Eurodam to the Caribbean Oct 17

I was on vacation last week and took a one-week cruise on HAL's Eurodam to the Caribbean, stopping in Grand Turk, San Juan (just before the explosion at the gas repository), St. Thomas, and Half Moon Cay. Here's a short report.

I had open-seating dining, and I never had to wait except for one night for a table for two (about 20 minutes .. I was given a beeper). All in all, the food was outstanding. I ate at both Pinnacle Grill and Tamarind, and both were very good. Tamarind was really outstanding and memorable. Strangely, both were really empty for the entire cruise. I also ate at the Italian restaurant in the Lido, and the food there was also very good. My only complaint about HAL in terms of cuisine and wine is that wine is particularly egregiously overpriced. Drinks are pretty reasonable .. mostly $5.50 to $6.50, but wines are marked up over 4x the retail price, and that's something I have a hard time stomaching since HAL gets everything probably duty-free. I did have a wine card, which brings the prices down to a much more reasonably priced $3 a glass, but the choices were very limited: Merlot, Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, White Zinfandel. All the wines were acceptable, but I got tired of them, and we ended up buying a couple of bottles at Pinnacle and Tamarind (Pinnacle's wine list included only very expensive bottles, which was a huge disappointment ... Tamarind was much better and more wide-ranging.)

Entertainment was ok. Not great, but not bad either. We skipped the shows most nights to go to one of the lounges for the string quartet or the band (of which there were two). The piano bar was also nice.

We didn't take any shore excursions except for a stingray snorkel at Half Moon Cay, which is the best of the private islands as far as I am concerned.

I did hate to dock in Crown Bay in St. Thomas. It costs $4 per person to go into Charlotte Amalie, and as one person on the safari taxi-bus remarked ... that's over $30 for a family of four. It's hard to stomach when you know there's a great mall and even activities within walking distance at Havensight.

Cabins on this ship and the ship's layout were great. We only experienced the long Lido lines a couple of mornings. At other times, it was quite manageable.

I rented a private cabana on the Retreat deck, which was a welcome luxury and a respite from the crowds. Most days we had lunch up there brought to us by the attendants, who were tremendous. Ice cream, chocolate-covered strawberries, and Champagne every afternoon. Evian misters to keep us cool. My only grip there is that it's not convenient or particularly easy to get to either of the pools. You'd think a cruise ship could have a set of stairs straight down to the pool from that deck. Bad planning in my opinion.

The spa was great and surprisingly reasonably priced. I had the best massage I've ever experienced on a cruise ship there.

All in all a very great cruise for a decent price. Very pleased and happy with the experience, and I'd certainly cruise HAL (and the Eurodam) again, despite the mixed reviews the ship gets on Cruise Critic.

I'd be happy to answer anyone's questions about HAL or Eurodam.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 02:23 PM
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Very nice review! I wonder why there are so many negative ones on Cruise Critic?
Dayenu is offline  
Oct 28th, 2009, 04:05 PM
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Doug--We will be on the Eurodam for spring break and will arrive in Ft. Lauderdale the night before the cruise. Can you recommend a hotel at the airport or near the ship port(would be nice if transportation would be included)? Also, about what time can we board? I enjoyed reading your trip report and thanks in advance for the info!
Purdue74 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 03:06 AM
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Hi Doug - glad to hear you had a grand time as I've been a HAL fan for quite a while.

But I'm straying - trying the newest (Splendida) MSC ships
next Friday out of Rome for a Med. tour. Not looking forward
to a Huge ship but the deal was good & since MSC is currying the US/Canadian market was upgraded 4 decks to a balcony...
Rhea58 is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 05:34 AM
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The cruise terminal in Fort Lauderdale doesn't open until 11am (and sometimes a little later). But there is an awning you can stand under if you arrive earlier. What I'd suggest is that you try to time your arrival for 11--11:30 because you'll beat most of the big buses and it won't be quite so frantic. There was a long line when we arrived from the airport around noon, but it moved very quickly. HAL has one of the most efficient boarding processes I've ever encountered.

I think a lot of people don't like the Eurodam because it's about the same size as many of the other HAL ships but has more people. A LOT of people seemed wary of the open-seating for dinner, but it's nothing like what you experience on NCL, where long waits are common. At least not on my cruise. But many people don't like it that you don't get to know your waiter personally, especially long-time cruisers, when you have open seating for dinner. That's part of the experience for them, but not for me, so I just don't miss it.

There are many hotels in Fort Lauderdale that offer free transport to the ship (and a free shuttle from the airport), but I don't have any personal experience there. There's a Comfort Inn really close to both the airport and cruise port. But you might want to stay in a hotel on the beach.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 06:22 AM
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Nice review Doug. BTW this is the 1st time I've seen an editor post a review. Is this something new? Anyway I like it. Speaking of overpricing we were in the Trump Tower bar last week in Chicago. You could buy a bottle of Grey Goose bottle if you wanted too. Only $300.00. S:-
jacketwatch is offline  
Oct 29th, 2009, 09:28 AM
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You'll see an occasional editor post a trip report. We almost always post something (though usually in "news" rather than the forums) when we go on a trip for business. But since this was my vacation (and especially because the cruise forum isn't as active as I wish it was), I wanted to post here.

Yes, bottle service is a strange thing. But you should see the price of Grey Goose here in NYC at one of the big clubs, though those are few and far between these days.
doug_stallings is offline  
Oct 30th, 2009, 04:14 AM
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I didn't know you were in NYC. We spent three days days there earlier this mo. B4 our NE/Canada cruise. Loved it!! Its like Chicago on steroids. .
jacketwatch is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 05:03 PM
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Thanks for the review of the Eurodam. My husband and I are going on the New Year's cruise. I was leery about the "open seating" as I have seen long lines on NCL. But what most people don't realize, is that on NCL you can request the same table every night at the same time. Not necessarily the same waiter though. I've been told that the HAL is more sophisticated than most lines. Did people "dress" for dinner? I'm "old school" where I like to get dressed at night and enjoy the "formal" evenings. My husband actually brings 2 tuxedo jackets.
bweeble is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2009, 11:33 PM
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Bweeble: I'll chime in as I have sailed HAL ships for quite a while. At one time they might have been considered more
sophisticated but in today's market, their pax are more

That being said, folks DO tend to dress on formal nights &
not ignore the suggested dress guideline. You & your husband
should bring your best finery & enjoy.

I did the open seating last cruise & never waited to be seated
& was always accommodated w/my 'large' table request.
Rhea58 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2009, 05:07 AM
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I was surprised at the number of people who didn't dress up. Unfortunately, sweat pants and/or overall shorts are simply not appropriate attire even on casual nights, much less on formal nights, when I saw both.

But the vast majority of people did dress up, so you definitely will not feel uncomfortable if you do (and I suspect on a New Year's cruise many more men will wear tuxes). Most men wore suits, but there were also quite a few tuxedos (me included), and some of the ladies wore gowns; a few wore unfortunately casual sandals.

But the crowd was pretty well behaved, and it wasn't very rowdy as you can sometimes find on Carnival. Also very few kids, though I suspect you'll see more on New Year's.

As long as you are willing to share a table, no one had to wait more than 2 minutes to be seated in the main dining room, and we were sailing full. A surprising number of people ate in the Lido (often very early as in 5:30 ... as the Lido was usually packing up about half an hour before the scheduled closing).
doug_stallings is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2009, 07:14 AM
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HAL is a super line and MOST ships terrific! That being said, the Eurodam is terrible. It is cramped and cheesy and cheapened compared to HAL's other ships. Rooms are MUCH smaller and common areas are miniaturized as well. Things that were brass and glass on other ships are now plasticized. Nothing seemed real except for the ever-present desire to take your money while on board. The ship was only in the water for three months when we sailed last year. It was already beat up and even had a leaking swimming pool that poured water down onto the stage while the show was going on one evening. The older ships are more gracious and more spacious. Might as well save your money and cruise on a cheaper line because the Eurodam has been "dumbed down"!
chocobon is offline  

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