Set aside what you’re doing for a moment, and come with me. Together, we will board Holland America Line’s brand new Eurodam for a virtual cruise. I’ll give you a few minutes to pack. Let me know when you’re ready.
You’re lucky to be traveling with me, because I’ll make travel painless for you. We’ll whisk through airport security, breeze through baggage claim and make a quick transit to the ship, where, with an air befitting royalty, we’ll cross the threshold into this lovely vessel.
Resist the temptation to ooh and aah. That marks you, and me by association, as a rookie cruiser. Still, take a moment to ponder the three-level atrium.
Notice that the lower atrium level resembles the lobby of a fine hotel, with reception area, excursions desk and atrium bar.
One level up, on Lower Promenade Deck, you spot the Pinnacle Grill and Bar. We’ll return here for one of the best dinners you’ve ever had. The elegant reservations-only dining venue features Pacific Northwest cuisine at its finest. At $20 per person, the Pinnacle Grill is one of two restaurants on Eurodam that carries an additional charge. I’ll tell you about the other one in a moment.
Up another level, on Promenade Deck, is the Ocean Bar, which serves as the ship’s social hub, with its cozy nooks, expansive bar and lounge. Later, we’ll enjoy live piano music and cocktails at the Ocean Bar before heading to dinner. (After dinner and the show, by the way, we’ll gather round the sing-along Piano Bar on Lower Promenade Deck for some late-night fun).
For now, though, let’s make haste to our staterooms, unpack and meet up for lunch at the Lido Restaurant on, that’s right, Lido Deck (deck nine).
Our rooms are on Navigation Deck (deck eight). The keycard that you’re holding will serve as your room key and charge card on Eurodam, so that you’ll never have to dig into your wallet for cash. Insert the card into the door at stateroom 8013, and voila, you’re in!
Your stateroom looks inviting — perhaps a little too inviting. You’ve just flown across the Atlantic, and that big bed is calling your name. Resist the urge to insert yourself between the crisp white, high-thread count Egyptian cotton sheets. We’ve got some exploring to do! Later tonight, you can climb into the ultra-comfy confines of the appropriately named Mariner’s Dream bed, a Holland America Line “Signature of Excellence” feature. Feel free to sleep in tomorrow.
As you unpack, you’ll find lots of storage space — three roomy closets with a safe, two humongous drawers at the foot of the bed, and two storage bins above the sleeper sofa. Store your luggage beneath the bed.
Before unpacking, however, take a moment to get your bearings: Check out the balcony, with seating and a table for two. You’ll spend some quality time here taking in the ocean air and gorgeous scenery.
Note the flatpanel television. You may want to spend an afternoon (not now!) watching a movie. Take a peek in the bathroom, where you’ll find large Egyptian cotton towels, Elemis bath amenities, and a combo tub and shower.
The hair dryer, by the way, is in the cabinet underneath the make-up mirror at the desk. There’s also a stocked mini-bar. Note that items you consume are charged to your shipboard account. Feel free to consume as much as you like on our virtual cruise. In fact, I think I’ll have a glass of champagne as I unpack.
You’ll no doubt eye the deluxe waffle/terry bathrobes and the note that tells you that for $49 you can take new bathrobes home with you. Consider it a way of extending your cruise. You wake up at home next week, don your bathrobe, and throw back the curtains half-expecting to see Stockholm — or your stateroom steward coming with breakfast. Keep on dreaming!
Now that you’re done unpacking, one more thing: Before heading up to the Lido buffet, do as I do. Sign up for “unlimited laundry,” which will cost you $45 for your seven-day cruise. Hand over any clothes that need pressing or cleaning to your stateroom steward. You’ll receive them the next day, crisp and clean to keep you looking your best.
The Envy Factor
I knew you’d see them. Darn. The Deluxe Verandah Suites and Penthouse Verandah Suites on Rotterdam Deck (deck seven). Yes, they’re roomy, ranging from 510 square feet to 700 square feet with verandah, about double the size of our staterooms. You’re angry with me, aren’t you? Let me talk to reception to see about getting us an upgrade.
Thanks for waiting. I have good news. Yes, we are being upgraded. Don’t worry, our room steward will shift all of our luggage. Laundry, pressing and dry cleaning are now complimentary throughout our cruise, one of the many perks that comes with this category stateroom. The bath towels, still the same quality, are now oversized. And we get all sorts of extras, including my favorite: access to the Neptune Lounge.
For the exclusive use of guests cruising in Deluxe Verandah Suites and Penthouse Verandah Suites, the Neptune Lounge features worktables, large-screen television, library, sofas, chairs and refreshments, including continental breakfast, a mini-bar, specialty coffees, sandwiches and pastries through much of the day. Also, the concierge is at our service to make reservations for both shore excursions and dining.
We’ll return here later today. For the moment, however, it’s time for us to have lunch at the Lido Restaurant. The expansive dining area features several serving stations. No need to make the trip all around, because the stations are identical on each side of the restaurant.
You go your way, I’ll go mine, and let’s meet aft for al fresco dining. It’s a gorgeous day, so why not enjoy time in the sun? Save room for a slice of pizza from the 24-hour pizzeria, located in the aft dining area.
After lunch, we head to the pool. The pool looks inviting, as do the cabanas on Lido and Observation decks. The cabanas are a new feature for Holland America Line. Think of the cabana as your own private oasis. With privacy curtains and large bed-like lounges, the eight Lido Deck cabanas go for $30 on port days and $50 on sea days.
Up one deck in an area called “The Retreat” are airy, tented private cabanas furnished with woven chaises, ottomans and upholstered settees. The private cabanas go for $45 on port days and $75 on sea days.
We’ll definitely reserve a cabana on one day of our cruise, but for now, let’s head to the Greenhouse Spa and Salon, where we can opt for a number of treatments, or work out in the well-equipped and ultra-large fitness facilities. One area we won’t want to miss is the thermal suites, with heated, ceramic chaise lounges. Is it time for a nap yet?
New for Holland America, the Spa Staterooms and Suites offer easy access to the spa and a host of amenities ranging from organic cotton bathrobes and slippers to a minibar stocked with specialty waters.
Let’s walk up two decks to Explorations Cafe, powered by The New York Times. The combination coffee shop/bookstore/library/internet cafe is a favorite spot on sea days. Adjacent is the Crow’s Nest, where we’ll sit back and enjoy the panoramic views.
Before heading back to our staterooms for some rest and relaxation, let’s take the midship, glass-enclosed exterior elevators to decks two and three. Those are the decks where the majority of activities take place.
The three-level Mainstage Theater features nightly shows. There’s a casino, piano bar, sports bar and even a disco, Northern Lights.
We will watch cooking demonstrations at the Culinary Arts Center and attend free workshops at Holland America Line’s Digital Workshop powered by Microsoft Windows. If time allows, we’ll even catch a movie in the Screening Room.
Tonight, we’ll dine in the two-level Rembrandt dining room. Thanks to Holland America Line’s new “As You Wish Dining” program, which offers flexible dining times, we’ll pick a time that suits us. Shall we say 7 p.m.? There are even tables for two, should we prefer an intimate dinner.
Later this week, we’ll dine at the Northwest-inspired Pinnacle Grill and also at the reservations-only (for dinner) Tamarind restaurant for a Pan-Asian dining experience. Tamarind carries a $15 cover charge for dinner, while lunch is complimentary.
On one night, we’ll also dine at the Italian-inspired Caneletto, which is offered with no surcharge in a section of the Lido buffet that is transformed each evening. Of course, you should order room service and dine on your balcony at least a couple of times. I use breakfast room service as my wake-up call.
The one thing I haven’t mentioned is that we get all of this — and the wonderful ports of call on this cruise. Aren’t you glad you’re aboard Eurodam? Welcome aboard! Now let’s go cruising.