There are many cruise passengers for whom food is an obsession, and Holland America’s Eurodam caters for them all with impressive ease.
The quality and the variety of the cusine on offer is among the best I have experienced at sea, probably surpassed only by Cunard’s Grills Class restaurants.
Take breakfast, for example, in the Lido buffet restaurant. Orange juice is freshly squeezed, a rarity these days when volume caterers seek to cut costs by offering reconstituted concentrate.
You can order fried eggs any way you want, or any sort of omelette imaginable, freshly-made; There’s a whole station devoted to serving a bewildering number of variations on Eggs Benedict.
Fresh fruit, muesli, cereals, toast, cold meats, cheese, and anything else you might want – it’s all there, apart from good old English bacon. Those wafer-thin crispy-fried streaky rashers the American’s call bacon are nothing like the real thing.
At lunch-time there’s another array of options. A deli sandwich counter; a pizza bar, a section serving pastas and fajitas, and Flavours of the World for regional specialities – today it was Indonesian. There are always four or five main course selections, a vast salad bar, and a dessert counter which doubles as the ice cream bar.
The Lido is a casual option for those who prefer not to dress for dinner, even though the dress code on most nights is smart casual, and there are only two formal evenings. A section also converts to become the Canaletto Italian restaurant at night, with waiters who look like they just stepped off a Venetian gondola.
Waiter service is available in the Rembrandt restaurant, which provides traditional fixed-seating meals at 5.45 pm and 8.00 pm, or open seating at any time from 5.15 pm to 9.00 pm.
The menus are mouth-watering. Tonight there is pate de foie gras, escargots, and Alaskan crabs legs among the starters, and surf and turf – filet mignon and lobster tail – rack of veal, and chicken Marsala among the main courses.
There’s the Tamarind restaurant where we ate on Monday, and the Pinnacle Grill, where last night I took on an inch-thick rib-eye steak that hung over the sides of my plate.
And if all that is not enough, there’s a “late-night snack” available in the Lido from 11.0 pm to 12.30 am. It’s not really a snack; there’s enough on offer for another full-sized meal.
Plus 24-hour room service if you ever feel peckish and in need of a hamburger or a plater of chocolate chip cookies at four in the morning.
To complete the obsession with food, the Queen’s Room mini-theatre is dedicated as the ship’s Culinary Arts Centre, where visiting chefs, and cooks from the ship’s kitchens, put on demonstrations. Today, energetic chef Phil from the Pinnacle Grill, was demonstrating his Canadian take on Jerk Chicken.
Oh, and by the way, there’s something special about the wardrobes on Eurodam as well . . . they make your clothes shrink.