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Introduction. Last year (2008) we didn�t take an overseas trip for the first time in many years. Jane had various medical problems that made it difficult for her to travel. When we came across what appeared to be a very relaxing ocean cruise, we decided it would be an excellent way for her to start traveling again. It was an 18-day repositioning cruise on Holland America�s Eurodam, a new mid-size ship in service less than a year. The route was from Ft. Lauderdale to Copenhagen, with six stops en route. Most importantly, there were ten full days "at sea.." Even though we expected lots of cool, overcast, and wet weather that time of year crossing the Atlantic and in northern Europe, we decided to go.

Friday, 24 April. We elected to fly to Florida a day early just to avoid any risk of us or our luggage not getting to the ship on time. We left home at 7:30 and drove to our son Randall�s house in Culpeper. He got us to Dulles about 10:00 for our 11:17 flight on Jet Blue. The weather was great and it was a very nice flight.

Airport & Hilton grounds

Ft. Lauderdale Hilton

We got to Ft. Lauderdale at 2:00 and took the hotel shuttle to the Hilton. It was 3:00 before we finally had a light lunch in the hotel bar. We strolled around the beautiful grounds and otherwise relaxed. The hotel had an arrangement with an independent company for shuttle service to the pier, so we made a reservation for that. After dinner in the hotel restaurant, we retired early.


The Eurodam

Saturday, 25 April. We had a breakfast snack in our room, then took the 11:30 shuttle to the pier. Our travel agent had told us that boarding began at 1:00 p.m., but saw in a brochure that Holland America began transfers from the airport at 11:00 and decided to get to the pier before lunch. When we got there, we found that boarding had begun at 11:00. There was a long line but it moved fast and we were processed and on board by 12:30.

We had a leisurely buffet lunch in the Lido Restaurant on Deck 9, then went on a 2:00 tour of the ship. That was very helpful in orienting us to where things were. The tour was just ending when it was announced that the cabins were ready. Our cabin was on the Main Deck (Deck 1), close to midship on the starboard side. The cabin was comfortably large and well appointed (including a full size bath tub).

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A life boat drill had been announced for 4:00, so we donned our orange vests and waited for the alarm. By the time the drill was over, our luggage was in the cabin and we started unpacking. There was more storage space than we needed. The ship sailed at 5:30. It was a beautiful sunny day in upper 70s, a foretaste of the wonderful weather we would have for most of the trip.

We had been assigned "open seating" and went to the Rembrandt Restaurant for dinner at 5:45. It was a mad house and we had the worst service of the entire cruise. Our dessert arrived 30 minutes after the coffee was served (and long since finished), and there were no refills on the coffee. It was 8:15 before we left the dining room. (That�s 2 � hours for dinner, if you�re counting.). There was a crew show at 8:00 but we didn�t go. We finished unpacking and went to bed.

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