It was a short cruise out of New York City aboard a brand new ship called the Eurodam, Holland America's first Signature-Class vessel. I brought my wife, who has never been to New York so I was thrilled to show her around the usual spots like Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, ground zero, the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. It was a whirl wind trip, but well coordinated like a fine time-piece. Cruising Authority the Talkshow has become the most listened-to cruise-related talkshow anywhere and I came across a number of people who enjoy the show, so I had a taste of celebrity status during this trip. That celebrity status was elevated a bit as my wife and I toured all over New York City in a private stretched limo. What a joy it was for me to treat my wife with the luxuries known mostly to the famous and wealthy. By the way, if you're ever in New York City, call New York Limo Guys for all your transportation needs, and you'll get around town in style.
The ship was wonderful! Check-in at the pier was short and effortless. Once we had our boarding pass, we crossed the gangway onto the ship and we immediately went to our stateroom 4180 on Deck Four aft, all the way to the back of the ship. The stateroom, at first glance, looked very cozy with a smoked-mirror behind the bed, a dark tanish textured carpet, a little sitting area with a vanity, flat-screen TV and a luxurious verandah. The bathroom had a bathtub and the coolest shower mechanism I've seen. The bed, one of the Signature of Excellence features, was very comfortable and the sheets were soft. I thought the little fruit tray in the room with a menu to choose which fruits you preferred to be delivered each day was a nice touch. The fresh flowers in our stateroom offered an extra touch of luxury. You can have the most luxuriously appointed stateroom, but what really makes the whole experience complete is an attentive and gracious steward. Our Steward gave us a little tour of our stateroom and made it clear that he was there to help us with anything we might need in our room. Throughout the cruise our steward also called us by name, and was always very friendly and accommodating. He made the best towel creatures I've seen on a cruise ship. Each evening our bed was turned-down to perfection, it was like an artistic masterpiece the way he made our bed ready each evening, so much so we almost didn't want to mess it up. Our room was very modern and crisp, yet very comfortable, and the lighting throughout the room was just right. The private verandah was of course a luxury and my wife and I enjoyed spending time out there watching the wake of the ship. There are different categories of cruise lines, from mass-market, to resort-style, then perhaps premium and finally upscale and luxury....Holland America Line falls within the "premium" market, however, sometimes, in our stateroom, we felt the level of service and comfort was more upscale than premium, expecially when our breakfast was served in our stateroom.
One particular observation that stood out with me as I walked around the ship was the stateroom corridors adorned with great photos of Holland America Line ships past and present. As an ocean liner buff, I was really distracted by all these photos, in a good way. My wife had to often come to an abrupt stop as I had to gaze at the many photos throughout the corridors. This was an extra nice touch I thought, considering my last cruise on the Oosterdam with Holland America, which had rather plain corridors. I wish Holland America Line would offer a booklet with all the photos from the corridors in it.
The decor throughout the ship was very classy and elegant with a modern twist. Of course Holland America Line is known for having exquisite artwork and antique artifacts in the lounges around the ship. Eurodam was built on a popular “Vista-class” hull design, similar to the Oosterdam, Noordam, and Westerdam, except on the Eurodam there is an additional deck added with special spa suites, and a structure on Deck 11 where there is an Asian restaurant and lounge. Additionally, Eurodam’s decks square off all the way aft rather than tapper-off like the other Vista-class ships in the fleet. It’s my understanding, however that the three other Vista-class ships will undergo a transformation to square-off the decks just like Eurodam adding to the tonnage of those ships and additional staterooms too. There are subtle differences throughout the Eurodam that differentiate her from her sisters and I imagine that this vessel will be among the favorites in the fleet because of her charm and cozy décor.
I’m a huge fan of going to the spa, and the Eurodam’s spa is awesome! I absolutely love the thermal suite and Hydro pool. In the thermal suite there are a number of thermal curvy tile benches facing the floor-to-ceiling windows offering a great view of the sea. These benches are heated, so when you lay on these things you can feel a soothing warmth on your back, and the benches are contoured to your back and really comfortable. This thermal suite also has two steam rooms, one that is not too hot and the other that is warmer. My favorite thing to do is get all steamed-up and then lay on one of those thermal benches…ooh that’s my happy place, especially when the ship is at sea! Then, it’s nice to wade into the hydro pool and let the bubbling jets relax the muscles and soothe the tension away. Eurodam has an extra deck of spa suites with a special spiral stairway entrance directly into the hydro pool area.
The ship is certainly beautiful; however, it’s the crew and staff onboard that make the ship sparkle. The Indonesian and Pilipino service staff are very gracious and helpful with a smile. This is the one element that sets apart the Holland America Line fleet of ships from the rest of the cruise industry, the nationals onboard from Indonesia and the Philippines. There are second and even third-generation nationals working on the ships giving the cruise line a very traditional and warm feeling of continuity among all the Holland America Line vessels.
Dinning is very special on the Eurodam. It’s like they bring out their finest china for every meal in the main dinning room and particularly the Pinnacle and Tamarind restaurants. The waiters are very unobtrusive and efficient, so you rarely miss a step in your conversation with other table-mates.
Some other observations I made throughout the ship are as follows: The internet center was moved up to the Crows Nest area, a theater was placed where the internet center is on the other Vista-class ships. The Queens Lounge was a bit dark I thought. The production show was just ok, the singers and dancers did a great job, but I was disappointed with the fact that a sound track was used rather than a live band or orchestra. The production show was uninspiring, too much like all the cruise ships shows I’ve seen in the past, except for a few cool upgrades to the staging and projected images, and some other high-tech elements. The live music in the Ocean Bar was nice with Sean Bell on the vocals and piano. Sean seemed to develop quite a following of groupees who loved to dance. Most of the decking was the simulated teak deck, except for the promenade wrap-around deck which was real teak. Eurodam also incorporated a new trend in the cruise industry…private cabanas. Passengers can rent for the day or by the hour a private area of deck within their own cabana with lounge chairs, fruit, bottle water, and an iPod docking station for their own private music. There were a number of specialty restaurants aboard Eurodam, an Italian restaurant, an Asian restaurant, and of course the Pinnacle Restaurant. I also noticed you can get pizza by the slice at the aft pool area. Holland America effectively combined many great new amenities and features aboard their newest ship the Eurodam, which I think is going to be a big hit!