Cruising on Holland America’s Eurodam
Well, if you looked up “weary traveller” in the dictionary, you would see my sunburned face and crazy hair, after the night I just spent trying to get home from the cruise I was on with my parents and my aunt, thanks to Delta Airlines, who have to be one of the most incompetent and weird airlines I’ve ever flown on. After a comedy of errors involving plane delays, transfers, flights into cities across America trying to get back to Canada during a snowstorm, lost luggage, closed border bridges, and freezing rain, I finally made it back home to the loving arms of my family (most of them), only to be greeted with this:
Mishima: You’re back. What the f*ck was THAT?
Me: Sigh. You’re mad about last week’s blog. I TOLD Ken to include you. This is NOT my fault.
Mishima: I am the linchpin that keeps this motley platoon together, and no one wants to get MY perspective on anything?! This is as bad as the day I said we should “go over the top” but nobody listened, and we were stuck in a trench for 3 weeks.
Me: Um…that’s not ringing any bells.
Mishima: Lest we forget, baby—lest we forget.
Me: You’ve completely lost me, which is not surprising. Anyway, I’m sorry about the blog, but it wasn’t my fault. I brought you back this cool seashell for your tank though.
Mishima: Is there a tiny mermaid trapped within it, and when I rub the shell, she’ll grant me three wishes?
Me: No. It’s just a seashell.
Mishima: You disappoint me once again, woman. And I’ll bet you can guess what the first wish would have been.
Me: So many options…
But aside from Mishima’s disgruntlement, I was glad to be home. Not that the cruise wasn’t great, because it was. In fact, here are the reasons why I would highly recommend Holland America:
The staff: If you’ve ever felt Downton Abbey-ish, and wished for the more simple days when people treated you like royalty for absolutely no reason, you’ve come to the right place. I was called “Milady”. Every f*cking day. Like, “Would Milady like more wine?” Um, yes. Obviously (and by the third day they stopped asking and just poured it). The general staff on this boat were not only adorable, but they were the nicest people on the planet. The majority of them came from either the Philippines or Indonesia, and I don’t know whether they actually liked us or not, but they always acted like they did. I’ve never seen a more cheerful group of people—they had great senses of humour, did whatever they could to help you if you needed it (like how many times did I have to ask Agus, my cabin steward to let me in the room because my keycard had gotten de-magnetized again?), and had the uncanny ability to immediately remember ALL our names after meeting us only once. A huge shout-out to the crew of the Eurodam (and especially our wine steward, Lester)—you guys were awesome and made us feel like we were all in this together.
Here’s an exchange between my mom and our dinner steward, Tomo:
Mom: Could I have the fried chicken, corn, and salad, but without the fried chicken?
Tomo (confused): Milady? You don’t want the fried chicken that comes with the fried chicken?
Mom: No, I’m not that hungry. Oh, and I’d like Jello for dessert.
Tomo: Well, only if you eat your corn and salad…
The next night:
Mom: I’d like the rainbow trout, carrots, and mashed potatoes, please.
Tomo (deadpan): Without the trout. Yes, Milady.
Mom (laughing): No, I’d like the trout.
Tomo: Of course. If you eat it all, I’ll bring you Jello again. (winks).
Seriously—these guys were AWESOME.
The food: The food was bountiful and delicious. Almost TOO bountiful. A word to the wise—just because it’s an “All You Can Eat” buffet, doesn’t mean you should eat ALL of it. After the first day, I realized I needed to pace myself, because they literally give you food all day, and there are only so many times you can walk the deck in an attempt to burn it all off. Me, I’m not too consumed with food, so I was able to have my cereal and yogurt for breakfast, a salad or something small for lunch, then have a good dinner. But there were people, a LOT of them, who you’d think hadn’t eaten for a week the way they were shoveling down the crab legs and prime rib—at breakfast, no less! I guess for some folks it’s as much a food-cation as a vacation.
The passengers: As it is in any situation, you will always meet really nice people that you might normally never have much to do with. Personally, my favourite was Jan, a hulking 77-year-old retired aviation instructor who asked to join our trivia team the first day (trivia is the driving force behind everything that happens on the ship—people literally plan their entire days around when the Trivia Challenge is taking place. The prizes are crap—a cruiseline pin, or a mug, but these people are hardcore, all guts and glory). Jan proved to be invaluable on occasion, knowing the colour that the majority of original Corvettes were (white), or the name of the Wright Brother’s first plane (I said “Kittyhawk”, but he reminded me that was where they took off from, not the name of the plane, which was the Wright Flyer). Our whole team won three times and came in second or third on most other occasions so we were like minor celebrities in the world of cruiseship trivia. On the last night, we won and got free drinks, so it made the struggle to remember how many teeth a shark loses in a year worthwhile.
The room: The room was fantastic, with a great balcony. But the best part was that every night, we’d come back after the room had been turned down, and someone had put a towel animal on the bed. One night it was an elephant, another night a crab—you never knew what you might find. The last night, I walked in, and a towel monkey was hanging from a coat hanger attached to the ceiling vent. I laughed my ass off—I may or may not have been drinking pina coladas during Happy Hour—but it’s the kind of thing that just adds a little bit more to the experience.
Overall, it was a great trip—we did some amazing shore excursions (seriously, can I LIVE in Key West?), my dad and I went snorkelling together (his first time and my second), I got to pet a stingray, and visited a rum factory. Of course, it wasn’t all fantastic—being aboard a floating hotel with 2500 other people can be a bit of a challenge, and there was a serious lack of on-board entertainment (if you don’t count eavesdropping on people debating over whether or not Donald Trump is great, or will ruin the United States—we stayed out of that sh*t because who wants to ruin a good holiday with politics? Am I right?). So I wrote this little ditty for you, based on Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado, and the song “As Some Day It May Happen (I’ve Got A Little List). Here’s a link so that you can listen to it first (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NLV24qTnlg).
The song is updated with each production of The Mikado so that it’s contemporary and relevant. And now, you can apply my own lyrics, based on Holland America’s Eurodam and the people who are on MY list:
As some day it might happen that a victim must be found
I’ve got a little list. I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground
And never would be missed
No, never would be missed.
There’s the couple from the lower deck whose stateroom “smells like mould”,
The people who can barely walk because they’re so damned old,
The 30-something single gal who’s travelling on her own
Who talks and TALKS to anyone but “prefers to be alone”
The buffet line enthusiasts who simply can’t resist—
I’ve got them on my list and they never will be missed.
There’s the gentleman from HBO who’s “smartest on his team”,
Whose wife just lets him brag away but always looks quite steamed,
The ladies playing dominoes whose faces seem so grim,
The people hogging hot tubs but who never want to swim,
The man who calls you “Honey”—f*cking misogynist–
I’ve got HIM on my list and he never would be missed.
There’s the smarmy cruise director who won’t pay you any mind,
Until it’s time to fill the survey card in, THEN he’s kind,
The folks on shore excursions who forget their boarding cards
Despite repeated warnings—hey, is listening THAT hard?
The husband-wife piano team who simply won’t desist–
I’m got them on my list, and they never would be missed!
Well, that’s all. I still have my sea legs, and it feels like the whole room is swaying as I’m writing. Or it could be the pina coladas…