I never thought I would take a cruise on a large ship like Holland America’s Eurodam, but thanks to a friend in the airline business I was able to get a significantly reduced rate. And, since I had never been to Scandinavia I thought this would be a great introduction to this part of the world. I booked an inside windowless stateroom for myself (so the single supplement fare kicked in), which for me was well worth the double fare. I arrived in Copenhagen the day before boarding the ship; and, I had an additional two days for sight-seeing after docking back in Copenhagen on the 25th.
According to Wikipedia, the MS Eurodam is a Signature class cruise ship and the 80th ship to enter Holland America’s service. As one of the largest Holland America ships to date, the Eurodam weighs in at 86,700 tons and carries 2,104 passengers. And for those of you who understand the mechanics of ships and their technologies, she also has dynamic positioning abilities using three 1.9 MW bow thrusters and two 17.6 MW aft mounted Azipods. Total electrical power generation is 64 MW by six diesel generators.
The crew of the Eurodam is well trained, so boarding the ship, getting my luggage, and learning my way around the ship was accomplished in no time! My cabin was well appointed, with a nice compact bathroom, plenty of closets, television, and desk (and a nice wall of curtains to make me think there was a window there!). Given that the days are very long in this part of the world during this time of the year, I actually appreciated the total darkness when I went to sleep.
Meals on board were excellent, as well as the service. In fact, the service throughout the trip was excellent. The crew works very hard for very long hours, and rarely has an opportunity to get off the ship during the cruise. Even with that, I saw nothing but smiles and heard nothing but friendly greetings. Towards the end of the cruise, as part of our visit to Germany the crew set up a German Beer Fest in the mid-ship lounge with all the beers and foods of Germany, along with a German Band and ice carver to entertain.
When I wasn’t on the Lido Deck enjoying a meal or a snack (which seemed like all the time), I found myself at the Lido level mid-ship lounge, or the forward Observation Deck, which provided a tremendous view. In the evening, I joined new found friends in the mid-ship Silk Room Observation Room, where we could enjoy drinks and catch up on what others had done or seen during the day. I was traveling with my two friends from Denver, and others who joined us were from Alabama, South Carolina, California, Pennsylvania and Australia (currently living in London). Finding other like-minded single travelers made the 12-day cruise much more interesting, since a majority of the passengers were older, married couples, or younger couples, some of whom brought their children, as young as 6 months.
In retrospect, I should have packed fewer clothes and used the onboard laundry service; and, I would have left my laptop and cell phone at home. With them, there was a tendency to want to be “connected” to the outside world, and onboard ship that proved to be one expensive luxury. Internet service on the ship could be purchased using one of several packages, which offered a certain number of minutes for $100, $200, or $250. While that cost might not seem outrageous for the 12-day cruise, the fact that the download speed was extremely slow meant that half of my time on the computer was watching the spinning wheel until my information loaded . . . so the time (and money) went very quickly. As a result, once the ship was docked in any port, there seemed to be a mass exodus of passengers and crew to the nearest free “hotspot” in order to get online without acquiring roaming charges. We found that some tour buses, restaurants and coffee shops offered free internet service, so those sources were popular as well. All in all, my first cruise ship experience was a good one. I’m not sure I will take another cruise, but if I do I would not hesitate to check into Holland America . . . its a quality operation! For more information on Holland America and the Eurodam, check out this web site: http://eurodam.hollandamerica.com/non_flash/.
For a glimpse into the ports we visited, check out the following posts as I publish them online:
One Day in Tallinn, Estonia (Posted July 2, 2014)
Two Days in Saint Petersburg, Russia (Posted July 6, 2014)
One Day in Helsinki, Finland (Posted July 23, 2014)
Two Days in Stockholm, Sweden (Posted August 1, 2014)
One Day in Warnemunde and Rostack, Germany (Posted August 2, 2014)
One Day in Kiel, Germany (Posted August 4, 2014)
Two Days in Copenhagen, Denmark (August 5, 2014)