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Juli Wilbanks

Age: 47

Occupation:Office Manager

Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Holland America

Ship: Eurodam

Sailing Date: 2012-01-28

Itinerary: Eastern Caribbean

We enjoyed the cruise on Holland. However we were more impressed with Celebrity. Maybe part of that is due to the fact that Celebrity was our first cruise ever. It had been 4 years since we cruised and I think it will be another 4--we got a little tired of all of the people. We thought the ports of Grand Turk and Half Moon Cay wonderful. San Juan is pretty interesting for history and St. Thomas would have been great had there not been a total of 7 cruise ships in bay that day. Way too many people for such a tiny island. That along with having smoking neighbors which ruined our balcony experience were the biggest downers to the cruise. The highlights were snorkeling in Grand Turk, the fabulous relaxing day at beautiful Half Moon Cay and the ship's great entertainment. The ship itself is beautiful--very clean. Hand sanitizer is everywhere so you could always take advantage of that and not worry about getting germs. The ship's layout is great too. We did like the option of as you wish dining which we did a couple nights but we did have early seating and preferred eating with the same nice couple we met the first night. Nice to have options though. I would cruise Holland again but I would not pay for a balcony unless they change the smoking policy on the ship/have the smokers all grouped together in one area of the ship so I don't have to smell it the whole cruise.

The food on Eurodom's main dining room was good most nights and great a couple nights. The service was excellent. The buffet food was not that great--very bland. Just a soup/sandwich bar would have been great for lunches. Room service food was always very good and we enjoyed dining alone occasionally. Room service was quick every time we ordered. We only had one issue--our order was lost the day of debarkation and when we figured that out we just went down to the dining room for quick breakfast. No big deal.

The cabin itself was nice but I would warn upcoming travelers don't bother paying for a balcony. This cruise was the first time we splurged on the balcony and we were VERY disappointed. The white trash in the room next to us were chain smokers--before we left Ft. Lauderdale they were out on the balcony smoking and were nearly always sitting on their balcony enjoying the view while puffing away and ruining our balcony time. We only got to really use the balcony one night while they were at the magic show we chose to skip. We complained but were told there was nothing that could be done as all cabins were full. (They did send up a plate of chocolate covered strawberries). What Holland needs to do is change their booking process so that all of the puffers can have cabins at the end of the ship and smoke their lungs out while seeing the world. And the rest of us can breathe easy. I wish now we would have complained more and get a refund for the balcony upgrade.

We didn't do a lot of onboard activities. Nothing really looked that interesting to us so we just enjoyed pool time on the at sea days. I will say that the singers and dancers on HAL were fabulous--much better entertainment than Royal Caribbean. Although a comedian one night would have been a nice addition--skip the magician. Not everybody likes magic--it's creepy. The marriage game is always great fun---don't miss that. The workout center was really nice. They offer a 7 a.m. stretching class that was perfect for me. The spa is beautiful but pricey.

Don't miss Ultimate Snorkeling Tour in Grand Turk! Best snorkeling we've ever done and we've been to Hawaii numerous times. This tops all. The guys on the boat were great and the snorkeling is just unbelievable. In St. Thomas we did the Best of St. Thomas which took a tour bus to Magen's Bay (thank goodness got there early as by the time we left there was not even space to put a towel on the beach) and then the tour drove you around the island for photo opportunities and dropped you off at Blackbeard's Castle and the historic walking area. There were way too many cruise ships in port that day and that kind of ruined the island for us. It was so crowded we couldn't squeeze in to get photos and the shops were jammed--it was very unpleasant. Also the tour driver there was horribly rude and very dangerous. Plus the ferry that was supposed to take us back to the ship after we were done shopping was broken down so we had to figure out to take a taxi back to the ship. It was frustrating to say the least. We did have the credit ($4 per person for taxi ride to pier) on our ship account when we checked so that was a surprise considering the confusion. I think the people of St. Thomas are a little sick of the tourists although they need our money. They were not very friendly.

This was a nice cruise. It is very easy to fly in and out of Ft. Lauderdale. Stress free embark/debark. Beautiful clean ship. Very good customer service on board. Disappointed in the smoking situation on board. Great ports of call. Food was quite good--I wouldn't say great although the two formal nights the food was excellent. Desserts were nothing special. I think they may be trying to go a little too fancy for the average cruiser's taste.

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