We travelled from Rome on the Eurodam to Amsterdam for the first leg of the cruise and then continued on from Amsterdam up to the Baltic and back to Amsterdam.
The Deluxe Verandah suite was great. Very spacious with shower cubicle and a bath with another shower, 2 handbasins. Plenty of wardrobe space and a nice touch, a dressing table in the walkin wardrobe.
Service from our cabin stewards was exemplary - we have nothing but praise for the twice daily service they provided - we could not fault them.
The suite service included laundry which we sent out every day - well washed and pressed and returned promptly.
Deluxe Verandah suite gave entree to breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill - the menu was the same as the Rembrandt restaurant however it was much quieter and service excellent each morning. A special thank you to the unflappable maitre d' - Anne in the Pinnacle Grill - great front of house service.
The entertainment - especially from Rome to Amsterdam was first rate - Eurodam singers and dancers most enjoyable.
We really enjoyed and benefited from Rob in the Computer Training Centre. Not only for his expert advice on computer issues, but also for assisting with camera problems. This was a big plus for us - many thanks Rob - much appreciated your classes.
Tours were well organised - tenders at two ports passed without a hitch.
The pursers desk personnel were unfailingly polite (much the best of any cruise we have been on).
Cuisine at Pinnacle Grill and the Tamarind for both lunches and dinners was 5 star - it does have an extra cost, but we thought it was worth the extra expense.
Canaletto, the Italian restaurant - in the Lido buffet area was also excellent.
The Lido Buffet always provided a huge range of dishes for every taste. We would especially like to mention the Italian chef at the pasta bar who made my husband's special Pasta Al Oglio for lunch - pasta was especially good thanks to him.
The coffee, both regular and espresso was woeful. We would not have had a decent cup of coffee at any time on this ship. We have noticed in Cruise Critic other references to the awful coffee and we wonder why HAL cannot make changes to its coffee supplier. Espresso is made in push button machines in the restaurants and is certainly not Italian quality. The regular coffee is strong and bitter. In the Explorations Lounge, espressos did cost and were still not up to standard...we would think more training required for the staff if charging for coffee.
The shampoo, conditioner and wash in the bathrooms in large self service containers in the cabins was so harsh and really felt like detergent.
The internet cost is absolutely prohibitive considering how slow it is. We know that at sea the coverage is slow due to the satellite, however cost should be reduced to compensate for the slowness.
Party Planner Taylor didn't have the experience for her culinary role - demonstrations were very basic and we felt the cooking experience could have been upgraded into more advanced recipes.
Food in the Rembrandt Restaurant was very basic - as mentioned above, we dined on numerous occasions at the specialty restaurants. Food was not presented well on the plates, and left a lot to be desired in flavour.
However despite our "cons" above, we did enjoy our cruise thoroughly - whether we will cruise with HAL again - we're not sure.