Final Thoughts on My Holland America “Free” Casino Match Cruise on the Eurodam

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a group of cruise ships in a harbor

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I have begin with the fact that I am so very impressed with Holland America and I simply can not wait to book another cruise with HAL. Almost every single part of this adventure was, not only fun, but such a pleasant experience.

a plane flying over a beach

If this is your first time reading about my review I encourage you to look at the other posts but I started this trip as a free match from my Caesars Diamond status (that I also got free from my Wyndham status since I don’t gamble) and was offered a interior room at no charge (plus port taxes and tips). I paid to upgrade to a rear balcony at the time of booking. All of this was seamless and quick.

a blue water with a beach and land in the distance

When you think of Holland America you think about an older crowd, and you would be right, but even so the technology HAL uses for every part of the trip is nearly perfect including the app that not only gets you on the ship fast but makes wifi simple and even reading daily papers in the morning a treat.

a large room with tables and chairs

I was really apprehensive that I was not going to enjoy having to “dress up” so many nights for dinner on the cruise but learned that my fears were unjustified as I could dress smart casual just about every night and for formal nights no one said boo to me about a Hawaiian shirt and slacks or jeans.

 

a plate of food on a table

Speaking of dining I was so impressed with almost every meal. Not only were the flavors amazing but the portion size was perfect so I did not feel so full when I was done with all the courses that I needed assistance to move! I also was pleased that my wife and I never were forced to share a table with others – something I detest on a cruise (unless they are traveling with me that is).

a plate of food on a table

Specialty dining was the one thing I was underwhelmed with on HAL but when the main dining was oh so good for my next cruise I will simply avoid the upcharge and stick with the outstanding service and meals I get included with the cruise!

a chair and a chair on a deck

Oh I loved our cabin. Even though it was a small rear balcony cabin the storage was outstanding, the bed fine (with our normal adjustments) and the room stewards were some of the best we had ever had on any ship. Plus the fact that HAL still uses two to clean vs. so many others that have moved to just one to save on costs. Plus the balcony, including the neat and unique chairs, were so enjoyable. I would book this cabin again in a heartbeat.

a person's feet on a deck overlooking a river

Then we have “The Retreat”. Oh I will never ever sail (in warm weather) on HAL if there is not first confirmed space for me to have my own cabana. The only odd thing about our sailing was the folks in the larger corner unit, that had booked it all week, hardly used it at all.

a man playing a violin on a stage

 

two men on a stage

One of the things I have not covered so far in this review is the entertainment. It was just OK I would say but not something to move me to book HAL. The comedian ventriloquist was solid but some of the other shows were not something I would pay for if they were not included in the cruise.

a rocky beach with people swimming in the water

We took a few shore excisions and one of them was a champagne snorkel. Unlike what you would think from the name it did not include bubbly wine but at one island stop there were volcanic fissures under the water and from the heat it created constant bubbles you could swim over. That was fun as was the wildlife along the swim.

a row of slot machines in a casino

One thing I think many wonder about is was there any pressure to gamble since this was a casino status match offer. First off let me tell you I do not gamble (not at all) and the only reason I did this was because it was offered. I am sure HAL wanted me to plunk down my cash and play but I never ever – not once – felt the slightest pressure to gamble at all. Nothing was ever mentioned or said by anyone. Now to be fair, since I am clearly not their target casino cruiser, I seriously doubt I will get another free offer but I am good with that because I enjoyed my cruise so much I will be booking with them again.

a sunset over the ocean

Bottom line is I was overall thrilled with Holland America and find them a great fit for my kind of cruise needs. Yes I wish some things were a tiny bit better but the bulk of what really matters to me was simply the best and HAL giving me a cruise has won me over for life! – René

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Advertiser Disclosure: Frequent Floaters is part of an affiliate sales network and receives compensation for sending traffic to partner sites, such as CreditCards.com. Some or all of the card offers that appear on the website are from advertisers. Compensation may impact how and where card products appear on the site. This site does not include all card companies or all available card offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed, or approved by any of these entities.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. Rene – Try HAL in Europe. Much better experience. Or maybe my “casino cruise” on the Eurodam was at full capacity. My least favorite of my 6 previous HAL cruises.

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