Note: Because of internet connection at sea, photos will be uploaded later. You can see some voyage photos on our Facebook Page.
A few months back I was invited to come along on a 10-night Canada/ New England cruise with Holland America Line. The cruise, which is on the five year old Eurodam, departs New York City and terminates in Quebec City, stopping in Boston, Bar Harbor, Halifax, Prince Edward Island, Sydney and Saguenay.
While this fall is pretty stacked up for me with co-hosting Cruise Radio and hosting the new Weekend Travel Show, I thought I could get some great content, plus, Holland America has four dozen Canada/New England sailings through 2014, so there’s definitely an audience for it. This will be the first time doing a Eurodam review in Canada/ New England.
On this cruise I’ll go into detail about:
- Sailing from New York
- 10-night cruises
- Canada/New England ports
- Dining venues on the ship
- Children areas
- What really stands out
- Things to do onboard
- Venues to eat
Embarkation at a cruise pier can go one of two ways, quick or long. Boarding Holland America’s Eurodam was quick and efficient. But lets back up to arrival into New York City.
I flew in a day before because I wanted to take the ferry over the Statue of Liberty. That turned out to be a total wash because the government closed down the morning I flew out and all the state parks were closed for business.
Arriving into LaGuardia airport was pretty flawless although it did take 45-minutes for the bags to come out. Everyone I spoke with at the airport says they are the worst for plane to baggage claim times. Fair enough. At least they know it.
I opted for the Holland America transfer service to get from the airport to the hotel, and then the next morning to the ship. Flying into LaGuardia isn’t as easy getting into downtown as JFK. I am a big fan of public transportation and you get into Midtown Manhattan for $7 from JFK. They do have a shared Go Shuttle service for $15 that will take you to your hotel from LaGuardia, a cab can run you about $50.
I overnighted at the New York City Hilton at 7335 Avenue of the Americas. For a good reference points it was a couple blocks from Hell’s Kitchen area and I could see Radio City music hall and see Sullivan Theater from my hotel (where Letterman tapes).
The next morning we took the transfer to the pier. Once arriving at Pier 88 all of the employees were really helpful in getting checked in. The porters were hounding the guests for tips which was annoying but otherwise it was an easy process once we made it to the check-in counter.
From the time we arrived to the pier til we stepped foot on the cruise ship was about 30-minutes. I feel it would have been quicker have we arrived at the cruise pier a little bit later. The ship wasn’t cleared by customs at the time we arrived. It was cleared around 11:30 and boarding began immediately after.
Stepping on the ship we were greeted by stewards who guided us to the elevators, told us where to get food and offered assistance if anyone needed it. I just had a backpack so I went straight up to deck 9 to grab some food. Being one of the first people on the ship was nice because people aren’t jockeying for space in the food line yet.
One thing I noticed when I got to the lido deck was Holland America’s policy where the kitchen staff serves you for the first 48-hours. Really smart actually. This prevents anyone that could have come on the ship with a stomach flu bug or something to spreading it to other people. They always make you double sanitize before coming into the lido deck. The first time is when you board the ship and the second time is when you walk into the food area.
When I say they “serve you,” basically you can’t touch anything from a piece of fruit, to a plate in the line or a glass of water. The executive chef told me this dramatically reduces, and for the most part, eliminates norovirus.
If you’ve never experienced a cruise out of New York City, it must be on your bucket list. Seeing the New York City skyline and the Freedom Tower gave me goose bumps. I also got to see the Statue of Liberty that I didn’t get to go to (thanks government).
You better get a good space on deck early because the whole ship comes outdoors for a NYC sailaway!
We are doing the late dinner this cruise and it was your typical five-star dining experience. A large selection of steaks, chicken and veggie options were on the menu. The dinner experience took about an hour and a half but a great experience. My favorite part of the meal is the end when you can order the cheese plate. They have a dozen different cheeses and they slice them for you table-side.
Tomorrow is a sea day and we are going to experience the BB King Blues Club, a kitchen tour and all the other at sea activities. I just looked at tomorrow’s itinerary and they have 48 things for guests to do. There’s not even that many hours in a day!
Til next time…
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