Cruising the Caribbean on the Eurodam

The Eurodam was launched in 2008.

ABOARD THE EURODAM-The carpet on the floor of the Eurodam’s glass elevator gives a hint of how relaxing this cruise is going to be. The rug is imprinted with the current day of the week.

“That’s so you’ll always know what day it is,” a fellow passenger behind me joked. “Cruises have a way of making you forget what day it is and even what month.”

How right he is.

When the Eurodam left Fort Lauderdale for our seven-day cruise, my sister Elaine and I settled into our stateroom with its classic décor, art-decorated walls and bigger-than-expected bathroom with both a shower and a tub. But what we loved most was the private verandah.

“If I never did anything but sat on this verandah and watched the ocean on this cruise, I would be happy,” Elaine said.

That is one of the grand things about the Holland America Cruise line. Each day brings a long list of possible activities on the daily Explorer newsletter delivered to our cabin. Guests can keep busy from before sunup to long after sundown. Or they can choose to do nothing.

Captain Jeroen van Donselaar toasts the start of a new cruise. “I’m drinking ginger ale,” he said. “I’m the designated driver.”

Elaine and I did a little of both.

On this particular day, I counted 83 choices on the daily schedule of what cruisers can do. And that didn’t include all the shore excursions, plus the first entirely complimentary digital program at sea. From photo editing to social networking, the program partnered with Microsoft Windows lets guests move at their own pace in the on-line world with the help of a trained Techspert.

“There is no way you could ever get bored on this ship,” Elaine said as we planned our first day at sea.

Launched in July 2008, the Eurodam is considered a mid-size ship in the new Signature of Excellence class. This new generation of ship has even more extras along with all the personal touches that cruisers expect from Holland America.

“It doesn’t get much better than this,” said Marilyn Counter of Punta Gorda, Florida, cruising with her husband and nine other couples. “We went to Alaska with Holland America and loved it. They do an excellent job.”

Public spaces on the Eurodam are both large and small. No reason to feel claustrophobic on the Eurodam. Panoramic windows everywhere keep the ocean always in view. A promenade deck is great for strolls. Even the landings on each ship level are large with plenty of elevators – including glass elevators that offer a thrilling scenic ride up and down the side of the ship.

But whenever you want to slip away for some quiet reading or to watch the ocean flow, it’s easy to find a quiet cubbyhole.

The Holland America new generation of ships remind me of the old ocean liners with grand interiors and great works of art. The Eurodam reflects all the glamour and romance of the sea, along with modern technology.  Luxury abounds, service is impeccable, dining is delicious and you always know that you are on a ship. After all, that is why most guests are here – for an ocean cruise where the mighty sea is the main star of the show.

Carpet in the Eurodam elevators reminds of the day.

In charge of this marvelous vessel is Captain Jeroen van Donselaar. Joining Holland America in 1986, he has been captain of Eurodam ever since the ship was launched.

The captain began his love of the sea as a teenager when his family was on vacation traveling by ferry between Amsterdam and Sweden. An officer on the bridge saw the teen on the deck and invited him up for a look.

The young Jeroen was hooked. Then and there he decided that the sea would be his career. His most important task, the captain said, is to provide a safe and pleasant journey for everyone on board his ship. On our cruise, the Eurodam has 2,137 guests and 895 crewmembers – that tells you how intent Holland America is on providing comfortable hospitality.

“Our goal is to give you outstanding five-star service,” the captain said.

So far, the ship and crew have exceeded our expectations. But this is only the first day of our cruise. Come along for the trip and see what we discover.

Photos by Jackie Sheckler Finch



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