Holland America's Eurodam is a real beauty, with traditional lines and a mix of elegant and contemporary decor. My husband Ronnie and I enjoyed a delightful seven-day eastern Caribbean cruise on the Eurodam, sailing round-trip from Fort Lauderdale to Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos, San Juan, St. Thomas, and Holland America's private island, Half Moon Cay. The cruise itinerary included opportunities to enjoy water sports and the natural beauty of the Caribbean, as well as adequate time for shopping in San Juan and St. Thomas.
This eastern Caribbean cruise log summarizes our week in the eastern Caribbean on the Holland America Eurodam.
01 of 08
Fort Lauderdale is a busy port of call on the eastern coast of Florida. Its proximity to the airport makes it an excellent embarkation port for cruise ships. We drove to Fort Lauderdale from Atlanta in nine hours, spending the night at the nearby Hollywood Beach Marriott before joining the Eurodam the next day in the early afternoon.
The onboard atmosphere at the sailaway party was very festive. We had drinks in the observation lounge, appropriately named the Crow's Nest, at the top of the ship, followed by late seating (8:00 pm) dinner in the Rembrandt Main Dining Room. Dinner was excellent.
02 of 08
Our second day on the Eurodam was a beautiful day at sea. The weather was perfect, and the cruising was delightful. Sometimes I think that the first and last day of every cruise should always be a sea day! It certainly helps the passengers get into a relaxed vacation mode.
Ronnie and I ate a leisurely breakfast, always a treat when on vacation. We went to a free cooking presentation in the Culinary Arts Center. The chef prepared a couple of dishes, but I especially liked the mango gazpacho, which was on the menu that night, too. After the chef's demo, Ronnie and I ate a quick lunch before our tour of the engine room, stores, and galley. Dinner was formal, but only a small number of men were in tuxes. I wish more of them would dress up!
03 of 08
Grand Turk looks much like the Bahamas - very flat with beautiful sandy beaches surrounded by turquoise seas. The island was damaged during Hurricane Ike, and we were pleasantly surprised to see almost everything near the pier had been repaired. Carnival Corporation, who operates the cruise center, had to import and replant 200 palm trees on the beach and almost completely redo the swimming pool in a few short weeks.
Ronnie and I took a boat trip for snorkeling, and we saw many fish, a barracuda and some sting rays. After snorkeling, we went to nearby Gibbs Cay for beachcombing and swimming, and then explored the cruise center.
Drinks in the Silk Den, followed by a marvelous dinner at Tamarind, topped off a fabulous day on the Eurodam.
04 of 08
Sailing by the old El Morro Fortress and into San Juan harbor is a treat. Ships dock right in old town, so cruise passengers can do a lot of exploring along the narrow streets and see the historical sites on their own. We did a city tour, but the "new" part of San Juan is mostly resorts and hotels. All of the interesting areas were within walking distance of the Eurodam.
In the evening, we did a memorable excursion to the bioluminescent bay, Laguna Grande. The excursion started with a drive from San Juan to Fajardo at the eastern edge of Puerto Rico. We boarded two-man kayaks, and after some training, paddled through a mangrove forest in the dark to the bay. Seeing the water glow when we put our hands or paddles into it was amazing.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is a favorite island for most cruisers. There's good shopping and beautiful vistas from the top of the island. We did an island tour on an open air trolley bus and enjoyed sharing the experience with some of our fellow passengers. Since Ronnie is almost an "anti" shopper, we skipped Charlotte Amalie and returned to the ship after our tour. I think we were still a little worn out after our long evening on the kayaks the night before!
I got some terrific photos of the Eurodam from the top of the island and from the cruise ship pier. The next day was a welcome day at sea.
06 of 08
We had another lovely day at sea, and I spent much of the day touring the ship and taking photos of all the public areas. The outdoor areas of the Eurodam are lovely, and passengers seem to especially like the new private cabanas in the Retreat and next to the Lido Pool. They were sold out the first day of our cruise, which speaks to their popularity!
Since October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Eurodam also sponsored a 5K Susan G. Komen "Walk for the Cure" around the promenade deck in the mid-morning. It's always good to see corporate America (and the Eurodam passengers) support such a worthy cause.
Since it was Halloween, the nightlife on the ship was especially interesting, with many passengers dressed in creative costumes.
07 of 08
Our last full day on the Eurodam was spent at Holland America's private island Half Moon Cay. I had heard that this was one of the best cruise line private islands in the Caribbean, and I agree. Holland America has only developed a small portion of Half Moon Cay, leaving most of it natural. The developed areas are completely accessible, with paved trails and ramps.
Ronnie and I went deep sea fishing in the morning, but had only a little luck. In the afternoon, we went snorkeling and then checked out the beach. It was another glorious day in the Caribbean!
Our final night on the ship, we splurged with a dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. There's nothing better (to me) than a perfectly cooked steak that practically melts in your mouth!
08 of 08
Our final day on the Eurodam, the disembarkation process seemed a little disorganized, with many passengers standing near the gangway, despite being told to wait in the public areas. Finally, we were off the ship, quickly found our luggage, and were through customs in a breeze.
Our wonderful cruise on the Eurodam was over, but we took home memories of the beautiful ship and the picturesque ports of call. This Holland America Line cruise ship is certainly a "dam" good one!
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary cruise accommodation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our Ethics Policy.