Introduction – My “Free” Holland America Cruise on the Eurodam

5
1928
a large cruise ship in the water

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I can not tell you how excited I was for this cruise. First off because it had been over half a year since I had been on a cruise ship (not very Frequent Floater like I know) but also because I have been so dedicated for so long to Norwegian Cruise Lines that I have not for a very long time had the chance to try very many other lines.

Regular readers know this was a “free” cruise offer from my Caesars Diamond status that I got free by matching from my Wyndham Diamond status. I put free in quotes because while my offer was for a free inside cabin I paid $300 x 2 to upgrade to a rear balcony cabin. Next I paid even more to upgrade to a cabana in The Retreat on the top of the ship. Plus I had to pay port taxes as well as hundreds of dollars in tips – so nothing really free about this cruise but still greatly discounted.

an airplane with a door open

We flew down to Fort Lauderdale on Delta Air Lines in 1st class using a combination of award tickets as well as award tickets with regional upgrade certificates. Flights were on-time and the service was outstanding and it is great to travel to my cruise in style almost for free (only a few bucks in fees). Our bags made it inside of 20 minutes of arrival to the luggage carousel so no free bonus awards points for us.

a group of people walking on a street

a sign on a pole

I was impressed with the well organized and location for ride share pickup right outside Delta’s Terminal 2 arrivals location. We ordered a LYFT because, what became an ongoing theme for our entire trip, UBER was way, way more expensive for an “XL” type ride. I am not the kind of traveler who requires “black cars” but with large cruise luggage, including 2x carry-ons each, having a larger car is nice for comfort and space.

a person's feet on a pool

For the hotel we chose the Hyatt Place Fort Lauderdale Plantation as it was only 8000 Hyatt points per night vs. hundreds per night in cash and the points were a quick and simple instant transfer from my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The hotel also was close to a number of dining options as we were spending two days there plus it had a pool and we wanted to start working on our tan before the cruise. Our stay was fine and the personnel were great but know this hotel is scheduled for a major overhaul (and it does need it). But like our flights not having to pay for our stay before our cruise is always a winner.

The beginning to my Holland America adventure was not without stress. I had a major tech issue that I really tried my best to avoid but was, for lack of a better term, “Bonvoyed” but overall the flights, hotel and transfers were all working as planned (so far).

Next up my eye opening experience of just how good and remarkable check-in for a cruise can be and why all cruise lines are not this good! – René

 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Were you on the Dec 9 sailing? I was on it too. My friend got picked on for the comedy show. We were the 4 youngest people on the cruise..

    • @Eric – Yes. So you were in the front row getting all the attention? He was funny the 1st round but day 2 was not so good IMO.

      Also yes the demographic for the cruise was rather tilted to the older side 🙂

  2. My friends were. I knew to sit back a little bit. I agree. His first day was better. But yes even though the older demographic, it was great without the kids.

    I’m sure we probably saw each other at some point. Prob at the casino getting the drinks. They didn’t care if you didn’t actually gamble.

  3. we were on the cruise leaving FLL leaving Oct.28. I did also receive the Caesar’s Diamond status match. i remember attempting to book the casino match andi t took about 4 or 5 calls before I could find a Holland America rep who understood what promotion I was referencing.
    But I do receive promotional emails from Holland offering a free interior stateroom. I found the band in the BB King lounge to be the highlight of the cruise. Food was average at best and too crowded, especially at the buffet.

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