Eurodam, which debuted in 2008, is a classic example of Holland America's attention to architecture, design, dining, enrichment and entertainment. And although some of the ship's public spaces are starting to look a bit outdated, the feel of the ship is still as relevant today as it was on its inaugural voyage. It's elegant, understated and mature.
Much of Eurodam's decor is a nod to the line's Dutch heritage and the traditions of sailing from years gone by. The artwork throughout the ship is filled with masterpieces of Rembrandt and other Dutch artists, as well as maps of the world, and the classic black and white photos depicting cruising on Holland America Line through the years. The 360-degree Promenade Deck features traditional teak chaise lounges and plaid blankets that are reminders of the romance of sailing from eras gone by.
But there are plenty of modern-day amenities and spaces that blend in perfectly including the rockin' Memphis-and-Motown band in the B.B. King Blues Club, the classical music of Lincoln Center Stage and cooking demonstrations and classes in America's Test Kitchen.
Speaking of the entertainment onboard Eurodam, it's top-notch and stays true to the quality Holland America has committed to.
Aside from Eurodam's musical and culinary demo venues, there are Broadway-style productions, concerts, comedians and magicians and full sensory BBC Earth Experiences in The Mainstage plus contemporary movies in the Screening Room.
Enrichment programs go on throughout the day including computer workshops and classes, cooking classes, fitness seminars and wine tastings. Service on Eurodam is consistently stellar. From the cabin stewards to the waiters, affable bar staff and friendly entertainment and cast members, the service is attentive and friendly. The ship generally feels uncrowded, except for breakfast and lunches in the Lido Market at high-volume times. But there are so many dining options for all meals, that it's easy to escape the din.
Daytime: The overall dress on Eurodam is resort casual. Daytime wear is quite casual with bathing suits around the pool and shorts and jeans around the ship being de rigueur.
Evening: Evenings were a notch above with men typically wearing khaki-style slacks and button-down shirts and women wearing slacks and skirts (or sundresses on warmer itineraries). Formal nights on Holland America are called Gala Nights, which seems to be a better representation. Many passengers use Gala Nights as an excuse to pull the tuxedo and gown out of the closet and strut their stuff. Others simply go with a more traditional suit and cocktail dress. Both are equally appropriate and expected. There are typically two Gala Nights on a seven- to 13-night cruise, with three or four on longer sailings.
Not permitted: Swimsuits and other pool wear, men's tank tops, shorts and distressed jeans are not allowed in any of the restaurants during the evening hours.
The Mainstage is the ship's two-story production theatre on Decks 2 and 3 and, although more than adequate, it's ho-hum in terms of architecture or technology. It's a basic theatre with an auditorium seating on the first floor and a nice, somewhat intimate mezzanine on the second floor. There is a star-lit ceiling that makes the room feel a bit more festive, plus lovely crystal musical instruments hang from the ceiling on the second level down to the first floor in the stairwells. The best feature of the theater is the limited number of supporting poles resulting in fewer obstructed views.
Evening performances include two song-and-dance productions shows. During our itinerary, the shows were Off the Charts: Billboard Hits Rewind with a concert of hits from Elvis to Beyonce and 1000 Steps, a sizzling evening of Latin ballroom dance. Both shows had two performances each night performed at 8 and 10 p.m.
Another evening show was a BBC Earth Experience, created via a partnership between Holland America and the BBC. The performance celebrated our itinerary with Alaska in Concert, a combination of live music set against a backdrop of breathtaking footage from the BBC Earth television series, "Wild Alaska."
The rest of the evenings featured live performances by comedians, musicians and singers offering two performances each night.
By day, The Mainstage is used for lectures, presentations and destination-themed and special events.
Whether a day at sea or in port, there are plenty of daily activities on Eurodam. Consult the What & Where schedule that is delivered to your cabin each night for a listing of all the activities along with their times and locations.
America's Test Kitchen is one of the newer activities available on Eurodam. With cooking demonstrations created specifically for Holland America passengers through a partnership with the recipe development experts at America's Test Kitchen, passengers can learn how to make foolproof dishes at home. Led by an America's Test Kitchen-trained chef, they highlight the cooking techniques and innovative uses of ingredients that make America's Test Kitchen one of the most popular how-to-cook shows on TV. The free demonstrations are performed in the Queen's Lounge and tend to draw large crowds so get there early. But don't expect any samples.
The Microsoft Digital Workshop hosts multiple topics of computer instruction throughout the week including digital camera lessons, photo-taking tips, Windows 10 lessons, email advice and more. All classes are held in the Digital Workshop on Deck 2 aft and tend to be quite popular.
Trivia takes place most days in varying locations, and there are blackjack and Texas Hold'em Tournaments in the Casino (when the ship is at sea), party bridge in the upper dining room and bingo in the Queen's Lounge. There are frequent beer and wine tastings, as well as mixology classes that start at $15 and are usually held in the dining room. Afternoon tea with finger sandwiches and pastries is served most days in the Ocean Bar. Happy Hour is offered every afternoon in the Crow's Nest and Ocean Bar from 4 to 5 p.m. where a second drink is only $2.
Current movies are aired daily in the Screening Room, an intimate movie house with about 40 comfortable leather recliners. Popcorn is served and the movies usually air throughout the day and evening.
There are also scavenger hunts, Ping-Pong tournaments, shuffleboard games, basketball tournaments, dance classes, a behind-the-scenes galley tour and various art lectures and exhibits.
It's all about the music on Eurodam. The perennial favourite every night is B.B. King's All-Stars, jamming the best of Memphis and Motown in the B.B. King Blues Club in the Queen's Lounge (where America's Test Kitchen is located during the day) on Deck 2 midship. From funky and fast to soulful and smooth, the eight-piece band plays three 45-minute segments nightly. Late night, the Queen's Lounge becomes a club for dancing the night away.
If you prefer chart-topping hits, then Billboard Onboard is the place to be (Deck 2 midship). Two pianists playing on two grand pianos belt out hits from the Billboard charts. It offers audience participation through frequent requests. We found the talent to be just average and didn't love the location right across from the Casino but there were crowds every night tapping their feet and singing along.
The third option is Lincoln Center Stage (Deck 2 aft) offering varied classical and chamber music concerts each evening with one piano and three string instruments. The venue is auditorium-style creating more of a concert venue versus a club and the talent is top-notch.
The Casino on Deck 2 midship is standard fare with slot machines, gaming tables, and regular tournaments such as Texas Hold'em and lotto drawings. The good news for gamblers is that you can enjoy the Billboard Onboard music spilling over from across the hall. The good news for everyone is that it's a non-smoking casino.
Other evening activities include movies in the Screening Room, wine tastings, bar hops, late-night dancing to the hits and casino competitions.
There are plenty of bars and lounges on Eurodam but most them are straightforward and lackluster. Two exceptions are the Gallery Bar and Tamarind Bar that offer up unique settings and cool vibes.
Explorer's Bar (Deck 2, aft): Although listed on the deck plan, it is really part of Lincoln Center Stage and there is no actual bar. There is bar service but we assume the drinks come from nearby Pinnacle Bar.
Pinnacle Bar (Deck 2, aft): The perfect spot for a pre-dinner drink, the Pinnacle Bar is across from Pinnacle Grill. It's vast windows along the length of the room, comfy window seats and sleek decor make it a perfect place to enjoy a cocktail with friends or simply watch the scenery sail by.
Queen's Lounge (Deck 2, midship): There is a tiny bar at the back of Queen's Lounge that is designed primarily to serve drinks in the B.B. King Blues Club. There are a few seats around the bar.
Gallery Bar (Deck 2, midship): This is one of the cooler bars onboard. The lounge area is filled to the brim with all kinds of contemporary artwork and modern furniture. The vibe is smoking lounge meets chic New York City club. One drawback are the several large-screen televisions that take away from the ambiance. The Gallery Bar serves draft beer, wine and an inventive cocktail menu from master mixologist, Dale DeGroff.
Ocean Bar (Deck 3, aft): Located in the atrium, this pleasant bar is a bit out of the public space hubbub and is a great spot for the daily happy hour at 4 p.m. while listening to the tunes of the house band.
Sea View Bar (Deck 9, aft): This aft bar services the Sea View pool as well as cocktails to go for the nearby New York Pizza. It also services the only onboard smoking area.
Lido Bar: (Deck 9, midship): The Lido Bar services the Lido pool and Dive-In Grill. It has plenty of chairs, tables and very cool fish barstools.
Tamarind Bar (Deck 11, midship): This unique space is across from Tamarind Restaurant and offers exotic cocktails and saketinis in pagoda-style seating areas, along with small tables and chairs along the midship windows.
Crow's Nest (Deck 11, forward): With the best views of all the onboard bars, Crow's Nest is situated right at the top and front of the ship, with windows all around and is often the hot spot, particularly during the daily happy hour (4 to 5 p.m.) where you can enjoy a second drink for $2.
Eurodam features two pools to accommodate its 2,104 passengers. The Lido pool is the primary one and it's found on Deck 9 midship. It features a retractable roof that can be closed during inclement weather or on colder itineraries. The full-sized pool is flanked by three hot tubs and has lots of chaise lounges with towels lining the sides. On the port side along the windows of Deck 9 are four-top table and chairs for Lido Market dining. The starboard side features eight private Lido cabanas along the windows, available for daily and weekly rentals. Each cabana has curtains for privacy, chaise lounges, two-person tables with chairs, fruit baskets, towel service, sparkling wine and lunch served in your private retreat. Prices start at $30 for a port day up to $199 for a weekly rental.
The secondary pool is the Sea View pool on Deck 9 aft. It's smaller and has two hot tubs. Holland America claims it is adults only but we saw a kid -- or three -- sneak in. There are plenty of chaise lounges for sunning or watching the views from the back of the ship and tables and chairs for alfresco Lido dining.
There are no dedicated kids' pool or splash facilities and children must be potty-trained to use the pool.
The Sports Court is on Deck 11 aft with basketball and volleyball courts. Shuffleboard courts can be found along the aft sides of Deck 10. Two Ping-Pong tables are on the port forward corner of the Lido pool deck. Lastly, there is a 360-degree promenade for walking on Deck 3, where nine laps around are a mile. There is no dedicated jogging track.
There are tons of sunning spots at the Lido and Sea View pools on Deck 9. There is also the Retreat overlooking the Lido pool on Deck 11. These 14 for-rent private cabanas are like the cabanas on the Lido deck with chaise lounges, two- and four-person table and chairs, privacy curtains, fruit baskets, chilled water, hot and cold towels, fans, misters, a separate breakfast and lunch menu served in your private retreat. Prices start at $55 for a port day up to $549 for a weekly rental. Although we were on an Alaskan itinerary and these cabanas were not in use, we can only imagine how lovely they would be in the Caribbean.
The helpful Guest Services desk is in the Atrium on Deck 1, along with the Journeys Ashore shore excursion desk and the Future Cruises sales desk. Eurodam has no card room, per se, but there are three meeting rooms (Stuyvesant, Half Moon and Hudson) on Deck 3 that are available for small group games and meetings.
The shops are adjacent to the meeting rooms and the space feels more like a mall than the traditional shops on older ships. The shopping area is an open floor plan with a high-end retailer feel and has departments for jewellery and watches, clothing and handbags, duty-free cosmetics, liquors and cigarettes, as well as Holland America-branded items. During our sailing to Alaska on the "O, The Oprah Magazine" Share the Adventure cruise, they also had a pop-up O Shop with "O, The Magazine"-branded items. This pop-up shop will be on all Eurodam North American sailings through the end of 2018.
The photo gallery is located on Deck 3 aft and sells print and digital photos taken by the ship's photographers on embarkation and port disembarkation, as well as on Gala Nights. They also sell some photo gear and feature a Joe Craig Black Label portraiture studio.
The Art Gallery is on Deck 2 and features paintings, drawings, watercolours, mixed-media works, sports memorabilia and animation art. They offer live auctions, gallery exhibitions and educational seminars throughout the cruise.
Although there isn't a traditional library on Eurodam, there are library services available on Deck 11 forward in Explorations Cafe. In addition to a surprisingly small and unorganized book selection, there is also a reference book area, a book exchange that had a tiny selection, a jigsaw puzzle area with many puzzles in progress, chess and crossword tables, board games available for free usage, 12 computer stations that were seldom used and a printing station. There were no magazines or newspapers, which was disappointing. The cafe also has plenty of tables, chairs and sofas for conversation, reading or studying. The highlight of Explorations Cafe is the coffee bar that serves coffee drinks, tea and sodas (all for a fee) as well as complimentary light breakfast items, snacks and sweets.
There is Wi-Fi throughout the ship, but the service is slow and challenging, and a bit pricy when you consider these limitations. The connection often struggles with sites that require a lot of bandwidth (web surfing, social media, etc.) and you often waste precious time just making the connection. The basic per minute rate is $0.75 but you can save by purchasing a package, starting with the $55 100-minute plan and going all the way up to the $250 1,000-minute plan. There are also two last day plans ($8.25 for 15 minutes and $12 for 30 minutes) for those who just need a connection to make plans for getting home.
There is no self-service laundry but there are several shipboard laundry options including laundry by the piece (varied pricing based on the item), laundry by the bag ($20 for all the laundry you can fit in the Holland America laundry bag), unlimited laundry and pressing for the entire cruise ($49 for a seven-day cruise) and unlimited pressing for the entire cruise ($28 for a seven-day cruise).
The Greenhouse Spa & Salon covers a vast space on Deck 9 forward, just off the Lido pool. It includes a full-service beauty salon, fitness studio and gym, varied massage and body treatment rooms and a thermal suite.
The spa consists of 10 treatment rooms offering a wide variety of Elemis-based facials ($119 to $209); massage treatments, including a unique bamboo massage ($199); body treatments (splurge on the couple's lime & ginger scrub for $295); acupuncture, medi-spa services such as Botox and cellulite reduction treatments (they offer several seminars during a weeklong cruise on the benefits of medi-spa services) and a separate menu of grooming treatments for men including shaves and facials.
The Salon offers full hair services, nail services, waxing and teeth whitening. The spa and salon are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and all services require advanced reservations.
The highlight of the spa is the Greenhouse Retreat, a thermal suite relaxation centre that offers therapeutic sauna, steam grottos, heated ceramic lounges and a hydrotherapy pool. You must have a pass to use the Greenhouse Retreat; options include daily passes, a seven-day cruise pass or a couples pass.
One drawback of the spa area is that it is located in the major thoroughfare for Deck 9 forward. Passengers are often walking through the area while you are walking around in your robe from the treatment area to the Greenhouse Retreat and back to the locker room, making for a bit of awkward relaxation.
The impressive fitness centre fills up the space all the way forward on Deck 9 and is accessed through the spa. The room is large, spacious and bright and includes treadmills, stationary and recumbent bikes, rowing machines, ellipticals, stairmasters, weight machines and free weights, all with a front-row view of the ocean. The fitness center is open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
A variety of classes are offered throughout the cruise including Pilates, spinning and yoga, all for a fee of $12 for 45 minutes. You can also participate in a four-session Body Sculpt Boot Camp for $120, hire a personal trainer ($85) or have a nutritional consultation ($85) or body composition analysis ($35).
The fitness centre also offers health seminars and free sessions such as Walk-a-Mile or morning (and evening) stretch.
There is no dedicated jogging track but the Promenade Deck is available for walking, with nine laps for 1 mile.
Dining is one of the highlights of a cruise onboard Eurodam. Overseen by a long-standing Culinary Council, led by Master Chef and Culinary Consultant, Rudi Sodamin, and an innovative team of acclaimed chefs from around the world, the food and various dining experiences are of the utmost quality and creativity. There are plenty of free options for breakfast, lunch and dinner (as well as in-between snacks) with several for-fee restaurants providing alternative culinary options for lunch and dinner. Special dietary needs are easily met with vegan and gluten-free options available throughout the ship. The bottom line is that you will never go hungry.
Dining Room (Decks 2 and 3): The two-story dining room is the heartbeat of the ship's dining. The space is elegant, comfortable and beautifully decorated with silver walls, coral red, brown and grey carpeting and coral leather seat cushions and banquettes. The backs of the chairs have a rich tapestry upholstery that is carried through on the roman shades covering the back and side windows. The floral arrangement at the entrance of both decks is stunning with an oversized vase filled with lilies and shellacked white twigs. The tables are adorned with daisy and alstroemeria floral arrangements and work well with the colours of the floral acrylic and aluminium paintings on the walls. Accent lighting is provided by two-foot-high crystal beaded wall sconces. There are plenty of two-tops, as well as square, round and oval tables for four and six. There are some larger eight- and 10-tops in the center of the dining room. The music is subdued and of a smooth jazz genre to enhance the dining experience.
The friendly wait staff dress informally by day in light khaki slacks, white shirts with orange trim, gray ties and orange belts. They dress up a bit more in the evening with dark suits and formal attire on Gala Nights.
All three meals are served here with breakfast being a full-service smorgasbord of every kind of breakfast food you could desire. From simple choices such as cereals, yoghurts and fresh fruit to egg classics, omelettes, hearty skillets, and varied waffles and pancakes off the griddle, there is plenty to choose from. They even serve up some specialities like full English breakfasts with pork banger, baked beans and mushrooms; European breakfasts of smoked fish, ham and cheese; and Asian miso soup and rice dishes. Breakfast service seemed a bit slow but it is a nice opportunity to start the day off slowly and relaxed.
Lunch offers a much more streamlined menu including a small selection of starters such as bruschetta, soup or salad. Main dishes were varied with pastas, sandwiches, burgers and a choice of several hot entrees, including a vegetarian dish -- one unique option we opted for was a corn and zucchini pancake served with couscous salad that was delicious. On sea days, the dining room offers an Express Combo with a choice of two options from a list of a half-dozen items. This was handy if you had a timed event you were trying to attend. On port days, the options were even more limited: a choice of two appetizers, three entrees (Alaskan Halibut fish and chips were the special of the day during our port call in Juneau) and two desserts, so that passengers can eat and make their tour departure times. The service seemed a bit inattentive at lunch. But, due to the extensive port calls on our Alaskan itinerary, it was typically a get in, get out kind of dining experience.
Dinner is a more leisurely experience. Each evening menu features recipes by one of the Culinary Council members and typically offers six or seven small-taste starters, hot and cold soups and salad choices, along with eight dinner entree choices including pasta, chicken, fish or seafood, beef, pork and vegetarian options, all served with creative sides and vegetables. The nightly menu also always offers Holland America Line Signature options including French onion soup "Les Halles," classic Caesar salad, grilled Steelhead salmon, broiled New York strip loin and turkey scaloppini.
Each evening's menu also features recommended wines and eight to 10 dessert options in addition to nightly ice creams and sorbets.
Gala Nights took the dining up a notch with appetizers such as jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab bisque and escargots and luxury entrees like beef tenderloin with grilled shrimp, rack of lamb and duck breast. We're still talking about the chocolate souffle with dark chocolate sauce dessert that we had.
All menus feature symbols indicating vegetarian, responsible seafood, sugar free or Culinary Council dishes. You should always tell the waiter if you have any dietary requirements or allergies.
Although the hours vary by itinerary and port calls, the dining room is generally open for breakfast (8 to 9:30 a.m.), lunch (noon. to 1 p.m.), two fixed seating options for dinner (5:45 and 8 p.m.) and open seating for dinner (5:15 to 9 p.m.). Be sure to consult your When & Where listing to confirm daily times.
Lido Market (Deck 9): Eurodam's Lido Market is a marketplace-style buffet in a cafeteria-like setting, where passengers select items from various stations, along with several made-to-order options. The various stations include Breadboard (freshly baked bread, ready-made sandwiches and made-to-order deli-style sandwiches), Wild Harvest (a premium salad bar with dozens of ingredients that you select and are made to order in an oversized bowl -- they even offer a creative salad of the day suggestion), Homestead (hot comfort foods such as scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast and meatloaf, roasted chicken and a freshly carved roasted meat of the day for lunch and dinner), Distant Lands (featuring the Asian corner with varied Asian cuisines daily, an Italian buffet with changing pasta shapes and sauces made-to-order, and a Mexican buffet with made-to-order tacos and burritos with all the fixings), Market Central (cheeses, fruits and varied prepared salads) and Sweet Spot Bakery & Creamery (sweets, baked goods and ice cream).
The Lido Market is made up of two cafeteria-style lines back-to-back with the varied stations on each side. In between and perpendicular to the lines are 24-hour coffee and beverage stations with coffee, tea, water, juices and iced tea. The decor is open and airy with blond wood tables and yellow and green leather chairs all on a green, blue, yellow and purple striped carpet. They add a nice touch with live orchids on every table. There are plenty of tables along both sides of the Lido Market with expansive windows to watch the world go by. There is also alfresco dining aft near the Sea View pool or midship around the Lido pool.
The food is quite good when you consider how much and how often food is being served in the Lido Market. Because of health and cleanliness concerns, passengers are not allowed to serve themselves any food, other than the Market Central salads, desserts and beverages. Because of that, there are occasional waits. On port days when most of the shore excursions are leaving around the same time, it can be a bit congested at breakfast. But we didn't find it too bothersome and passengers were generally quick with their selections.
The Lido Market is open from 6 to 10 a.m. for breakfast; 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch; 2 to 4:30 p.m. for late lunch at select stations; 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. for dinner and 10:30 to 11:30 p.m. for snacks at select stations.
Dive-In (Deck 9): Situated in the Lido pool area and just outside of the Lido Market, Dive-In serves three versions of grilled burgers, a grilled portabella mushroom sandwich, a grilled chicken sandwich, three varieties of hot dogs and fries -- naked, topped with Dive-In sauce or smothered in cheese sauce. Open 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
New York Pizza (Deck 9): Located near the Sea View pool aft, the pizzas are made-to-order with varied set combinations or you can pick your own ingredients. The thin-crust pies come out piping hot in individual-sized portions and can be paired with salads and desserts. Open 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Explorations Cafe (Deck 11): Sharing space with the Crow's Nest all the way forward, Explorations Cafe offers light snacks throughout the day including fruit cups, yoghurts and pastries in the morning, finger sandwiches and cookies midday and sweets in the evening.
Afternoon Tea (Deck 3): Served most afternoons in the Ocean Bar, afternoon tea offers a variety of teas, finger sandwiches such as prosciutto and fig and cucumber and boiled egg, pastries, scones and a variety of sweets such as profiteroles, tiramisu and fruit tartlets.
Room Service: Complimentary in-cabin dining is available around the clock. On offer are a breakfast menu (6 to 11 a.m.), an all-day menu (11 a.m. to 11 p.m.), a late-night menu (11 p.m. to 6 a.m.) and a kid's menu (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.).
Pinnacle Grill (Deck 2, midship); $10 lunch/$35 dinner: A Holland America staple, this restaurant is all about refinement and luxury. With a nod to Holland America's Seattle home base, this classic steakhouse and grill serves up Pacific Northwest cuisine in an intimate and elegant dining room with rich, plush decor and attentive and professional service. Serving lunch on port days and dinner every night, the menu is luxurious. It begins with an amuse-bouche at dinner that awakens your palate. There are nine lovely starters to choose from such as lobster bisque, jumbo shrimp cocktail, crab cakes and even Osetra Malossol caviar (with a $70 supplement). There are also some vegetarian options such as a spinach arugula salad and a beefsteak tomato and basil starter.
The mains are broken into Land and Sea. Steaks are the speciality and there are six cuts to choose from. They all come with a choice of six sauces (our favourite was the maitre d' garlic butter) and eight traditional sides like creamed spinach, sauteed mushrooms and the can't-miss shoestring fries with truffle aioli. If steak isn't your thing, there are plenty of other options on the Land menu, including a double-cut pork chop or wild mushroom risotto. We had a tough time passing on the grilled Colorado lamb chops and we're glad we didn't -- it was delicious. You also can't go wrong with the Pacific Northwest sea options like Alaskan king salmon, cedar planked halibut with shrimp scampi and seafood cioppino.
Cap off the meal with one of their decadent desserts like the Not-So-Classic Baked Alaska (made with Ben & Jerry's Cherry Garcia ice cream), Grand Marnier Chocolate Volcano Cake or an international cheese platter. They also have an extensive port, dessert wine and brandy list.
At a reasonable $10 for lunch (slightly pared down menu) and $35 for dinner, a meal here is truly an indulgent and memorable experience and should be enjoyed at least once during a sailing. Be sure to call ahead for reservations.
Sel de Mer (Deck 2, midship); $35: The Pinnacle Grill also plays host to the occasional pop-up restaurant. On Eurodam, that is an evening at Sel de Mer, an intimate seafood brasserie. With a contemporary twist on French seafood classics such as escargots bourguignonne, bouillabaisse and salt-crusted whole fish, you will truly feel like you've arrived in France. If seafood isn't your thing, they have plenty for the landlubber including steak tartare, foie gras torchon, duck cassoulet and souffle au fromage. At $35 per person and only available once during a seven-night cruise, it's a wonderful evening and worth the splurge.
Canaletto (Deck 9, midship); $15: At night a corner of the Lido Market becomes Canaletto, a popular Holland America staple that features an Italian sharing menu for a reasonable price. Start with a couple of small plates like antipasto, zuppa di pesce or mozzarella di bufala. Pick a pasta from spaghetti, ravioli or gnocchi. Then share a large plate of veal tenderloin, braised chicken cacciatore or grilled sea bass. There are vegetarian options in each category. Finish your meal by sharing a tiramisu, cannoli or gelato.
The food is delicious (this was one of our favourite menus on board) and the service is attentive. They even offer an Italian-only wine list. The one negative is that it's located in a corner of the Lido Market. And although the views are stunning, you are still in the highly trafficked buffet area. So, you hear the din of people passing through, having dinner and even coming in from the adjacent pool in their bathing suits. Making a reservation is suggested and going later in the evening helps with the noise and traffic control.
Tamarind (Deck 11, midship); $25: This was, hands down, our favourite speciality restaurant on Eurodam. Serving dinner only and representing the culinary traditions of Southeast Asia, China and Japan, the Pan-Asian menu features dishes honouring the elements of water, wood, fire and earth. The decor is Asian-themed with muted bamboo-inspired lighting and Asian artwork. Table settings are also Asian-themed with bamboo-like place mats, chopsticks and chopstick holders.
One of our favourite things about Tamarind was sharing starters and sushi with the table (as is often the case with Asian restaurants, the more the merrier). Some of our favourite starters included the satay sampler, shrimp tempura Indochine, Peking duck with crepes, and crispy vegetable spring rolls (vegetarian option). They feature a nice selection of sushi, nigari and sashimi as well as sushi and speciality rolls that are also great for sharing.
There are three entree options in each category: Water (sea bass, lobster or barramundi), Fire (Sichuan shrimp, red curry chicken, and Vietnamese-style lamb), Wood (beef tenderloin, pork belly or duck breast) and Earth (three vegetarian options including vegetable massaman, sesame udon noodles and sweet and sour vegetable tempura). Try the Tamarind Chocolate or Mango Cloud for dessert.
There is also a sushi bar with seating if you just want to come in for an evening appetizer before heading elsewhere for dinner. As with all the speciality restaurants, reservations are suggested.
Room Service: Varied items from some of the speciality restaurants can be ordered as well and carry a delivery charge: Bento boxes from Tamarind are $9.75 per item; burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs from Dive-In are $4.95 per item; and steak or lobster tail from Pinnacle Grill, are $15 per steak and $20 per lobster tail.
Eurodam keeps it fairly simple and straightforward when it comes to cabin choices. Of the total 1,052 cabins, there are three standard options (interior, ocean view and veranda) and three suite types (Signature, Neptune and Pinnacle). Many of these categories also come as a spa cabin. In general, the cabins are comfortable but don't offer much in the way of unique bells and whistles.
All cabins feature Mariner dream beds with Sealy premium pillow-top mattresses that can convert from two twins to one queen. All also have a small sofa, side chair, vanity/desk with ottoman, two nightstands with bedside lights and separate reading lights, ample closets/wardrobes with hanging space and shelves, a safe, robes, some storage cabinets in the vanity (stocked with a variety of glassware), two huge drawers at the foot of the bed, a mini-bar, hairdryer, makeup mirror and American and European outlets and USB chargers.
The LED flat-screened television in each cabin features an interactive menu of programming including on-demand movies, pre-recorded television programming, live television, multichannel music and ship information including dining options, daily programming, shore excursion and port information.
All rooms also include complimentary fresh fruit on request, 24-hour in-room dining, an ice bucket with twice daily ice service, complimentary shoeshine service and nightly turn-down service.
Bathroom amenities in all cabins include a premium massage showerhead; Elemis shampoo, conditioner and bath gel in an in-shower dispenser; and Elemis body lotion, bar soap and shower cap on the vanity. There are ample glass shelves to store your toiletries, as well as a shelf and trash can below the sink. Two hooks are on the inside bathroom door for your pajamas or robe. The suite bath amenities take it up a notch with a new expanded line of Elemis Aromapure products.
The bathrooms in the interior cabins are a bit snug with just a stall shower, while the ocean-view and balcony cabin bathrooms have a bit more space and a full tub/shower combination. The suite bathrooms feature double vanities, granite floors, tiled walls and a separate whirlpool bath and shower and have a cool blue and grey colour scheme that give them a spa feel.
Eurodam features 30 accessible cabins in a variety of categories. There are also 318 triple cabins that can accommodate three people and 155 quad cabins that can accommodate four people. For families and groups travelling together, there are 148 inter-connected cabins.
Interior: The 151 standard Interior cabins and four Interior Spa cabins run 150 to 200 square feet with the majority coming in around 175 square feet. Although they utilize the space well, they can feel a bit cramped, due to the lack of natural light. There are varying layouts depending on the deck and location; large interior cabins feature a sofa bed.
Ocean-view: The 175 standard Ocean-view cabins and four Ocean-view Spa cabins run a comfortable 185 square feet and have one large window with ocean views. They feature a short entry corridor lined with three wardrobes on one side and the bathroom on the other side. All ocean-view cabins have a sofa, but only triple and quad occupancy ocean-view cabins feature sofa beds.
Veranda: The 558 Verandah cabins and 46 Verandah Spa cabins are slightly larger than the ocean-view cabins at 200-square feet and have a 54-square foot balcony. They generally have the same layout as the ocean-view cabins. The door to the balcony opens, rather than slides. The balcony is ideal for two with two adjustable sun chairs and matching ottomans, as well as a small side table.
Suite: There are three suite categories: Signature, Neptune and Pinnacle. Passengers staying in Neptune and Pinnacle suites get access to the Neptune Lounge, an exclusive spot for suite cruisers to relax, socialize with other suite guests and enjoy the personalized service of a concierge. The lounge provides a continental breakfast, though suite passengers may also head to the Pinnacle Grill for a full breakfast, plus midday snacks, high tea, evening appetizers and an all-day honour bar. In the lounge, you'll find worktables, a large-screen television, a library, a sofa and chairs.
Other amenities Neptune and Pinnacle suite passengers receive are complimentary laundries, pressing and dry cleaning; welcome Champagne upon embarkation; welcome reception on the first evening; priority tendering and embarkation/disembarkation; Bose Bluetooth-enabled Soundlink speakers; lighted closets; an expanded in-suite breakfast menu; and complimentary mimosa with in-suite breakfast.
Other amenities available in a Neptune Suite include premium duvet and bathrobes, in-suite coffee/espresso machine, complimentary bottled water in suite, binoculars and umbrellas for use during the voyage, lighted closets, expanded Elemis bath amenities, corsages and boutonnieres on the first Gala Night, priority dining and seating requests and a special Suite guest lunch on cruises over seven days in length.
Signature Suite: This smallest suite category offers a comfortable 300 to 456 square feet with an additional 98-square-foot balcony. There are 50 Signature Suites and two Signature Spa Suites onboard. The general layout is the same as lower-category cabins but also has a living area with a full-sized sofa bed, coffee table and a side chair. The door to the balcony opens, rather than slides, and opens to a spacious balcony that is perfect for entertaining with two chairs and a small table on one side and a chair with ottoman on the other. The bathroom has a double vanity, whirlpool bath and separate shower stall.
Neptune Suite: This suite category offers up 506 to 590 square feet of luxury. There are 60 Neptune Suites onboard, but none in the spa category. Although a similar layout as the Signature Suite, the entrance corridor is a bit wider with three wardrobes along one side and a dressing room on the other side that leads to the bathroom. The rest of the cabin is considerably wider allowing for more living space. The full-sized sofa across from the bed covers the full wall and is longer and curved to create a side chair. The massive LED flat-screen TV is above the sofa facing the bed. There is a glass coffee table and two side chairs to make more of a conversation area. The desk/vanity runs the length of the far wall -- save the balcony doors. The balcony is one-third larger than the Signature Suite at 130 square feet and has a sitting area as well as a table and chairs for alfresco dining. The bathroom is identical to the Signature Suite.
Pinnacle Suite: The two 1,000-square-foot Pinnacle Suites are luxury cruising at its finest. Featuring a full living room (with a sleep sofa for two people), dining room with seating for six, full pantry, refrigerator, microwave, guest bath, private stereo system, a dressing room and a separate bedroom with a king-sized bed, the Pinnacle Suite is perfect for the couple looking to splurge or for a family. The private balcony is about the size of the full Signature Suite (318 square feet) and has two separate relaxation areas with chaise lounges, a dining table and chairs and an outdoor whirlpool. The bathroom has an oversized whirlpool bath and shower, as well as an additional shower stall.
Spa Cabins: One additional category of cabins you'll find on Eurodam are spa cabins and are so named because of their proximity to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon. Located on Decks 10 and 11, the cabins have a spa decor and nature theme with soft earth tones and green fern-like patterns on the bed runner and pillows. Amenities in the spa cabin bathrooms include organic cotton bathrobes and slippers, a Burmese teak shower and bath mat, an invigorating massage showerhead, a loofah mitt and aromatherapy bath salts. In addition to standard cabin amenities, the spa cabins also include an iPod docking station, yoga mat, pedometer for use aboard the ship and an extra-fee mini-bar stocked with speciality waters. There is a special in-room dining breakfast menu for spa cabins featuring a selection of Greenhouse Spa breakfast items including juices, fresh fruit, bran muffins, Eggbeater or egg white omelettes, turkey bacon and chicken apple sausage. Spa cabins also have the use of a spa concierge to book treatments. Spa cabin passengers also can book exclusive spa packages in advance.