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ms Eurodam
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ms Eurodam
Reviewed by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
A cruise review of Holland America Cruise Line ms Eurodam in Scandinavia
 
 
 
Holland America Cruise Line Review  
Holland America Eurodam!  

 
by Chris Dikmen and Rickee Richardson
July 2008
 
How I Rate This Review Rate Now!
 
 
   
What do the New York Times, Microsoft and Food & Wine magazine have in common? They are all strategic alliance partners with Holland America Line. These partnerships are an indication of how the venerable 135-year-old cruise line is transforming itself into a premium cruise line for the 21st century. There are other not-so-subtle indications of this, as well.

Rickee in Rotterdam for the naming ceremony.
The 2,104-guest MS Eurodam is the newest ship in the Holland America Line (or HAL for short) fleet of 14 vessels. It is also the first in a series of new Signature-class ships, the largest class ever sailed by the line.

Being one of the first to sail on a new ship, let alone a new class of ship, is a privilege. It was exciting to see the champagne bottle break across the bow and hear a real-live Queen speak at the dedication. The pomp and circumstance that goes along with the christening of a new ship is something everyone should experience at least once. It is a truly memorable event. However, one can expect to experience a lot of loose ends and “kinks” that seem to go along with a brand new ship. After all, crew members are still getting familiar with their new work environment. We were pleasantly surprised that these expectations were not realized. With very few minor exceptions, service was as proficient as you will find on any Holland America ship. So, by the time you read this, the ship should be running on all cylinders.

Holland America Eurodam Review
The stylish and colorful atrium of Eurodam
Visually, the exterior of MS Eurodam closely resembles HAL’s Vista-class ships, although the MS Eurodam has one additional deck. Even on the interior of the ship, Decks 1,2 and 3 are very similar in layout and design to Vista ships. Of course, there are some differences. A Pinnacle Wine Bar is now situated across from the Pinnacle Restaurant in the space where you will find Explorations Coffee Bar on the Vista-class. Coffee lovers fear not, Explorations lives on. You will now find the New York Times-sponsored Explorations Café on the Observation Deck 11, forward, on the starboard side of the Crow's Nest. The space has been integrated into the ship’s well-stocked library and Internet café. The Queen’s Lounge on Deck 3 features the new Food & Wine-inspired Culinary Arts Center with a $1 million fully-equipped kitchen where guest chefs will entertain with elaborate cooking demonstrations and conduct cooking classes. Other ships in HAL’s fleet have also been upgraded to include Culinary Arts Centers.

On Deck 3 you will find the almost hidden Screening Room, a beautifully-appointed movie theater with full-size, cushy leather chairs that recline and rock. The Mainstage theatre occupies Decks 1,2 and 3 and is much better laid out than those on the Vista-class ships. Sightlines are much less obstructed and I believe the sound and lighting systems have been improved. The Photo Gallery is now located on Deck 3 aft portside.

The Pinnacle Grill is located on Deck 2 at the top of the semi-circular main staircase. This beautiful alternative dining venue has more seating space (due to the Pinnace Bar being moved) and still features the best dining on the ship, albeit the most expensive. Moving aft from Pinnacle, you will find the Explorer’s Lounge, our favorite spot for pre-dinner drinks. Explorer’s offers an elegant, subdued atmosphere with dark woods and dark leather seating. The Atrium Bar, Reception Desk and Shore Excursion Desk are on Deck 1 at the bottom of the Atrium staircase.

Guest staterooms are located on Decks 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11. There are a few new Spa staterooms located on Deck 11 forward. Decks 9 thru 11 are where you really see the difference between Vista-class and Signature-class. The Lido buffet is pretty much unchanged. There is a new Italian-themed restaurant, Canaletto, that utilizes a portion of the Lido for dinner service (reservations suggested). The sliding-roof Lido pool resembles other HAL ships as does the Terrace Grill. Forward of the Lido pool is the Greenhouse Spa and Salon and fitness center. Amidship on Deck 11 you will find the exciting new pan-Asian restaurant, Tamarind, and the equally beautiful and exciting Silk Den lounge.

ACCOMMODATIONS

Holland America Eurodam Review
Deluxe Veranda Stateroom
All staterooms and suites on Eurodam feature an inspired and distinctly different decor. A calming, mono-chromatic design is accented with bursts of color and enhanced with rich wood tones and the use of burnished nickel fixtures. Staterooms feature Signature of Excellence premium amenities: plush and comfy Euro-top Mariner's Dream beds, deluxe waffle-terrycloth bathrobes, Egyptian cotton towels, flat panel televisions, DVD players, make-up mirrors with halo lighting, massage shower heads, professional grade hair dryers, fresh flowers and complimentary fruit baskets. Our Category VA Veranda Stateroom (7085) was 254 sq. ft. including the balcony. A leather sofa complete with multi-colored throw pillows, coffee table which can be raised to dining height, and leather ottoman (which also doubles as a storage box) sit opposite the small desk/vanity/entertainment center. The desk/vanity has no shelves other than the one where the 21” flat-screen color TV and DVD player sit. There is room for a couple of corner shelves above the TV, but they were not included. You can never have too much storage space! Drawer space is also limited with the only ones located in the two nightstands. However, there are two very large and deep drawers at the foot of the bed, but you have to look for them. A mini-fridge was stocked with "for purchase" beverages.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Cute towel animals may greet you when you return to your stateroom.
The three-section closet includes one section with nothing but shelves and a programmable safe. A center section has floor to ceiling hanging space and a full-length mirror, while the last section offers adjustable shelves and/or hanging rods. There is adequate storage for a two-week sailing.

The bathroom is small but functional and features Elemis amenities. There are three glass shelves to store personal items above the marble vanity and an additonal shelf below the vanity for more storage. The tub/shower combo is fitted with a handheld shower massager and a wire basket for shampoo and soap. We had a really hard time trying to figure out how to turn the shower on! Evidently we weren't the only ones as that seemed to be one of the main topics of conversation with everyone at dinner the first night. Also, the bathroom sink didn't seem to be deep enough because every time you washed your hands or face, the water ended up all over the vanity surface.

Our teak balcony was a nice size with two rattan chairs, a small table and an ottoman, but it was difficult to spend any time out there due to the cigarette smoke wafting our way from other staterooms. It would be nice if HAL would go to a no-smoking policy for its staterooms and balconies.
 
For the first time on any HAL ship, staterooms have been added to the top decks. Deck 11, just off the Crow's Nest, features 10 French balcony-styled verandah staterooms and just below on Deck 10, there are 28 staterooms with verandahs and four forward-facing "panorama" rooms. These Spa Staterooms, so named because of their proximity to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon and special in-room spa amenities, reflect a nature theme using soft earth-tone hues, green accent colors, and a water feature. The amenities in the Spa Staterooms include organic cotton bathrobes and slippers, a Burmese teak mat for bath and shower and an invigorating showerhead, as well as a body buff loofah mitt and aromatherapy bath salts. Guests booking the Spas Staterooms may order exclusive Spa Stateroom-only packages in advance or during the cruise for Greenhouse Spa and Salon services. Also, in-room dining for the Spa Staterooms features a selection of healthy Greenhouse Spa selections.

DINING

Holland America Eurodam Review
Rembrandt Dining Lower Level
HAL has greatly expanded the dining opportunities on Eurodam. You can literally dine in a different venue each evening on a 7-night cruise. First, the Rembrandt Dining Room, Eurodam’s main, traditional dining venue, now offers the time-honored early or late assigned seating, or HAL’s new “As You Wish” dining. With As You Wish dining, you can dine whenever you like during restaurant hours either with reservations or simply by showing up. The two-story room itself is beautiful with a ceiling that has a "wave effect" that can be lit with different colors. We visited Rembrandt two different evenings and found the food and service to be comparable to previous Holland America sailings. The menu in the Rembrandt dining room ranges from steak and lobster to vegetarian to entrees from the region of the itinerary. While the food and service here is no worse than the main dining on other medium and large cruise ships, it certainly is no better. All in all, about average for this size ship across the industry.

Unfortunately, the same can be said for the Lido buffet. Here you will find uninspired buffet fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The décor of the Lido is very bright and clean, and even though there are two serving areas that serve the exact same things, the area becomes extremely chaotic during peak dining periods with diners carrying trays of food often colliding with passengers simply trying to pass through the area to get to the pool or the elevators. You can serve yourself water, coffee, tea or lemonade or order other beverages from the waiter. Our information said that table service is available in the Lido in the evenings featuring waiter service and the option to select items from the Rembrandt dining room menu or regular Lido offerings. We went there for dinner one evening, but found it to be a buffet just like at lunch. Maybe we missed something.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Canaletto Restaurant
Eurodam’s new alternate dining venues are a notable improvement and offer guests something special and out-of-the-ordinary. We dined one evening in Canaletto, an Italian-themed section of the Lido restaurant which seats 72 people. There is no charge for dining in Canaletto but reservations are encouraged. The multi-course Italian meal was excellent and includes full table service with antipasto served tableside. Entrees are rotated nightly. The atmosphere is also much more pleasant than in the Lido. And, the wonderful fluffy pink cotton candy served for dessert was a welcome surprise!

Holland America Eurodam Review
Tamarind


For something truly unexpected, make sure to head up to Deck 11 amidships to Tamarind, the pan-Asian restaurant. The décor is decidedly Asian, as is Master Chef Rudi Sodamin's menu. For dinner, guests have a choice of ordering a variety of Asian-inspired cuisine from the menu or enjoying Rijsttafel, a Dutch adaptation of the traditional Indonesian dinner in which rice is accompanied by more than a dozen, often spicy, side dishes served on small plates. This traditional Dutch-Indonesian culinary experience is exclusively available on the Eurodam.  On the complimentary lunch menu, Tamarind features dim sum, an assortment of classic Asian dumplings and accompanying fusion sauces for dipping. Soup and salad, as well as classic dessert temptations like green tea tiramisu and mango sorbet are also included at lunch. The multi-course experience will set you back $15 per person for dinner ($20 for Rijsttafel), but you won’t regret the modest cost. Unfortunately, we were never able to get a reservation to try it. Therefore, book your reservations EARLY in the cruise as Tamarind only seats 144 diners and reservations are required for both lunch and dinner. Tamarind is one of the “must-do” things on Eurodam. Make sure to have a drink before dinner in the beautiful Silk Den lounge just across from Tamarind. A full menu of Asian-themed speciality cocktails is served there.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Pinnacle Grill
As with other Holland America ships, the Pinnacle Grill, featuring Pacific Northwest specialties, has earned a reputation for fine dining at sea. No doubt, this is the ultimate dining experience onboard Eurodam. The feel is that of a 5-star Chicago steakhouse with a menu to match. Thick cuts of Sterling Silver beef and  Colorado lamb are complemented by excellent French Onion Soup, Dungeness Crab Cakes, a near-perfect Ceasar salad (the menu said it is prepared tableside, but mine was delivered already constructed) and a delicious selection of side items (creamed spinach, grilled asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, potaoes, and a new item, lobster macaroni and cheese). Seafood items are superb and a variety of carefully selected wines from renowned Pacific Northwest vineyards are available. Pinnacle is open for dinner by reservation only and the service charge is $30. For lunch, the service charge is $15.

We expected The Pinnacle to be excellent, based on prior dining experiences on other HAL ships. What I did not expect to find was unquestionably the best hamburger on any cruise ship to date, even better than Johnny Rockets on Royal Caribbean. To get this, you have to go to the Terrace Grill, a French twist on the formerly American-themed lunch venue, located amidship on the Lido Deck (9). I had a burger here on three occasions and all were excellent. My double-meat cheeseburger was cooked fresh to order, as were the equally excellent French Fries (or chips for you Brits out there). And, the meat is FRESH, not hard frozen hockey pucks or pre-cooked battleship grey sponges that have been sitting in a pan for an hour or so. It may sound like a trivial thing, but a great hamburger can just make your whole day. So this is it. The BEST hamburger at sea. Rickee says that the hot dogs are equally good.

For those who love pizza, there is Slice, a pizzeria located on the Lido Deck aft. This venue offers hot hand-tossed pizza by the slice and 12-inch gourmet pizzas from 10:30 am until 1:00 am. You have a choice of whole wheat or regular crust, nearly two dozen meat and veggie toppings and several different types of cheese. Unfortunately, my low-carb diet prevented me from indulging so I am forced to take the word of other passengers. Slice gets a thumbs-up from everyone with whom I spoke about it.

Another available dining option that we didn't partake of is 24-hour room service which includes dinner dishes from the Main Dining Room menu during dining hours. On Eurodam, you can also find special kids' menus in the Rembrandt Dining Room, the Lido Restaurant, and the Terrace Grill.

BARS AND LOUNGES

Whether you are in need of pre-dinner cocktail, an afternoon refresher, or your favorite evening drink, Eurodam has enough venues to quench your thirst. During the day, the Sea View Bar at the Sea View Pool on Lido Deck and the Lido Bar by the Lido Pool are the most visited watering holes onboard. You can sit at the bar itself or at surrounding tables and the waiters will come to take your order. We didn't observe a lot of "hawking" of the drinks or the hard-sell that you find on some cruise ships.

The Sports Bar features a tribute to American baseball legend Joe Dimaggio with photographs of his professional career and his marriage to Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe. Enormous baseball gloves serve as chairs and a replica of the World Series trophy is displayed. The Sports Bar is a fun and unique place to hang out and have a drink.

The Crow's Nest on Observation Deck (11), in addition to the regular tables and chairs, has these wonderful reclining chairs positioned in front of floor-to-ceiling windows. What a great place to relax and enjoy a panoramic view while enjoying beautiful piano music!

Holland America Eurodam Review
The Silk Den
Also on Deck 11, the Silk Den, adjacent to Tamarind, is a beautiful venue featuring "conversation pits" with couches on elevated platforms that are draped in curtains giving a luxurious tented effect. The decor here is distinctly Oriental with a framed display of beautiful ancient opium pipes from the Bayon period of the 12th to early 19th century prominently displayed at the entrance. Guests visiting the Silk Den will have a view overlooking the magradome and the new, colorful poolside water feature. A full menu of signature mixed Asian-themed speciality cocktails are served including "Saketinis."

The Pinnacle Bar, now located across from the Pinnacle Bar, is a nice place to have a drink before dining at the Pinnacle Grill. The decor in this area is soothing and the seating, comfortable. You also have a good view of everyone going up or down the winding atrium staircase.

As previously mentioned, our favorite pre-dinner hangout is the Explorers' Lounge on Deck 2 where the Adagio Strings, a quartet of talented young women from Ukraine, played beautiful classical music. From 5:00pm onward, you can experience a variety of entertainment ranging from piano music and dance tunes by the Neptunes in the Ocean Bar to disco music spun by the DJ in Northern Lights Nightclub on Deck 2. The Piano Bar features a nice variety of piano tunes while Leena and the HALcats provide music for dancing in the Queen's Lounge. The Atrium Bar on Deck 1 is another beautiful venue for enjoying your favorite beverage.

ENTERTAINMENT AND ACTIVITIES

Holland America Eurodam Review
Microsoft Digital Workshop
In addition to the usual fare of Bingo and trivia games, guests on Eurodam can make use of the Holland America Line Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft Windows. Free hands-on workshops, led by Microsoft-trained "techsperts", feature sessions on such topics as how to take better vacation photos, make movies, edit pictures and create scrapbooks using a variety of Microsoft Windows and Windows Live services. Even the most novice camera or computer user will be able to "show and tell" their vacation memories! Guests can choose to attend all or just some of the 50-minute workshops with multiple workshops being held each day. In addition, one-on-one coaching, called "Techspert Time", is available for over 20 hours each week.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Greenhouse Spa and Salon
An expanded Greenhouse Spa and Salon features thermal suites, hydro-pool and the largest gymnasium ever built for Holland America Line. In addition, there are saunas, massage rooms, steam and aromatic room, heated ceramic lounges and in-suite showers, Tui Na relaxation area, manicure and pedicure area, and beauty salon/barber shop. There is a $40 per day charge to use the hydro-pool, steam room and sauna.

The Library portion of Explorations Cafe on Deck 11 has an impressive selection of books to borrow, some even in large-print. There were also newspapers and magazines available. The Eurodam has the largest selection of DVDs that we've ever seen on a ship and, in addition to lots of movies, includes complete seasons of many TV shows like 24 and Star Trek. There is a $3 fee to rent the DVDs and they must be returned by 5pm the following day. Explorations Cafe is where the Intenet Cafe is located. You can pay $.75 per minute or purchase a package of 100 minutes for $55 or 250 minutes for $100. On our voyage, the connection speed was slow and sometimes not available at all. One feature we liked in Explorations is the crossword-puzzle tabletops featuring a New York Times puzzle. Dry erase markers are used to fill in the answers, but the markers were not yet available during our voyage.

From the Dutch Golden Age to dramatic sculpture, MS Eurodam showcases a stunning range of artistic works. Using the complimentary iPods available onboard, guests can take a narrated self-guided tour of the impressive artistic works throughout the ship. In addition, prospective guests can enjoy the art and listen to interviews with the artists by using a free download available on Holland America's website and on iTunes.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Private cabana
Guests on Eurodam who want to enjoy the outdoors in the comfort of their own private haven will delight in the new private cabanas. The airy, tented cabanas are located on Observation Deck in an area called The Retreat and around the mid-ship pool on Lido Deck. Chilled waters are available and guests can look forward to iced fruit skewers at mid-morning and frozen grapes, chocolate-covered strawberries and a glass of champagne in the afternoon. Furnished with modern woven chaises, ottomans and upholstered settees, all cabanas come stocked with bathrobes and plush towels, handheld fans, an Evian spray mister and iPods preloaded with great music. All cabanas come with two lounge chairs and are designed to accommodate two adults. Two larger cabanas, holding four lounge chairs, will be located in the corners of the Retreat area. Discounted select services from the Greenhouse Spa and Salon are available on port days to guests who book a cabana. The cabanas may be booked for a day or for the entire cruise. The Retreat cabanas are $45 on port days and $75 on sea days. The Lido cabanas are $30 on port days and $50 on sea days.

For the kids, the Club HAL program has been expanded to include ages three to 12 and a teen program for ages 13 to 17. A teens-only space, The Loft, is a lounge designed to resemble an New York artist's loft. Here, in this adult-free zone, teens can enjoy music, games and movies and just "hanging out." There is also a teens-only sun deck area, The Oasis. Younger cruisers enjoy supervised, age-specific activities. HAL has also launched a kids and teen Culinary Arts Center activity program to bring the joys of cooking to the younger set. 

The Casino features blackjack tables, American Roulette table, dice table, Let It Ride poker, Caribbean stud poker, three-card poker and 126 slot machines. A new feature is a touchscreen poker table, PokerPro, which shuffles, deals, splits pots and generates side pots instantly. We found the casino to be crowded and filled with cigarette smoke as is generally the case in most cruise ship casinos.

Holland America Eurodam Review
Mainstage show lounge
Entertainment in the Mainstage theater ranged from individual acts to production shows. The Eurodam Singers and Dancers abound with energy and talent, although we still think most of the vocals are pre-recorded. The sight lines in this venue on Eurodam seem to be better; however, until you go about six rows down onto the main level, sight lines are blocked by a lowered ceiling area. The seats are very comfortable but there are still no drink holders built into the chair arms. The theater holds 890 people.

Resembling the elaborate show kitchens used by celebrity chefs on television cooking programs, the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food & Wine magazine, features an innovative theater-style venue for cooking demonstrations, culinary classes and one-on-one learning. There are large plasma video screens to display overhead and close-up views of the food preparation and a large cooking display counter where guests can learn new cooking techniques and dishes.  One-hour complimentary culinary demonstrations are scheduled on all cruises. Private cooking classes with the ship's chef are offered at a minimal charge of $29 per person with a maximum of 12 people per class. Other opportunities might include book signings, market tours in ports of call, hosted dinners and specially designed onboard menus. Also, more than 70 guest chefs will be scheduled to appear. A Culinary Arts Center program for kids and teens has been launched, as well.

For those who consider shopping as entertainment, you will love the expanded shopping promenade on Eurodam. High-end jewelry and watch stores and a destination and apparel shop have been added to the regular shops found on other HAL ships.

It was interesting to learn that HAL guests can now use wireless phone and data services while at sea. You can make and receive phone calls, text messages and use other data features of your mobile phone or internet-enabled device aboard the ship while at sea. Billing will occur through your home service provider and calls or messages will appear as roaming charges on your bill. When near a port, the ship's wireless system will be turned off so guests who want to can connect to local wireless networks as permitted by their home service provider. Geez, we can't even get our cell phones to work at home!

SUMMARY

With each new ship, Holland America seems to be shedding it's stodgy image as a cruise line primarily for seniors. We think Eurodam shows HAL is taking a major step in re-inventing itself as a mainstream cruise line for all ages and demographics. Of the three Holland America ships we have reviewed, Eurodam is by far the best.


It is common in the travel industry for journalists to be provided with complimentary cruise accommodations, and in some cases, hotel accommodations, for the purpose of a review. While it has not influenced this review, CruiseReport.com adheres to a strict policy of full disclosure to all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, please refer to our Ethics Guidelines
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6 Comments
CRUISEREPORT.COM EDITOR
@Sharon, I believe they do, but you should be able to confirm this on the HAL website.
Sunday, December 22, 2013 6:09 AM  
SHARON
Do all cabins have safes for one's valuables/cash/passport?
Saturday, December 21, 2013 12:20 PM  
HARRIET BRENNER
Sailed on the Eurodam Jan 28,2012 for second time. Fabulous in every department. An abundance of exotic,eous flower arrangements,5 nights of high energy,superb musical/dancing shows with awesome costume changes, and the best food on the high seas.Very limited loud speaker announcements.One of the best among my 76 cruises.
Wednesday, February 08, 2012 6:28 PM  
NORMA STEIMER
My husband and I have sailed on the Nordam in Europe twice and loved it each time. Jimmy Maddox in the the piano bar was on of the highlights of our cruise. Tom and I are sailing on the Eurodam to the Caribbean in a couple of weeks, Nov. 20th - 27th. We didn't think that anything could be as good as the Nordam. After reading so many great reviews about the Eurodam, I'm more excited than ever to go.
Friday, November 12, 2010 2:44 PM  
JAMES STODDARD
Just came off of THE EURODAM the first part of DEC.It was a wonderful Cruise. The Highlite of it being entertained by a very Talented Piano Player in The piano Bar. Every evening he had passengers backed up out into the hallway. His name is LES LAUNER. Anyone reading this will agree with me.We booked through The Cruise Web,INC with Kevin sweigard.
Monday, January 11, 2010 2:46 PM  
JOE WILSON
We are going on Holland America next month for the first time. Really enjoyed reading about your experience. We are looking forward to the cruise!
Wednesday, December 02, 2009 8:23 AM  
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