Arrived a day early in Venice to enjoy time since our first trip to Europe, caught the #5 bus from the airport to the P.Roma and dropped off our luggage except for the carry on at the baggage storage. Caught the #1 vaporettato to St Marks and found our hotel the Anastasia a couple of blocks off St Marks. Great staff and location being in a central location.
Picked up our luggage the next evening at the baggage storage and caught the people mover to the port, check in was quick and painless, luggage within 30 minutes (only downside the walk from the gate to the ship, a shuttle would be great). Unpacked and back out on the town since this as our overnight in Venice.
This was a port intensive cruise with 9 in the 12 days. Not going to comment here on all the ports but we only took ONE HAL shore excursion and the others were private. As posted before the HAL excursions are getting a little pricey for what you get, comparing fellow passengers experiences I think we had a better experience with the locals and the cost was a lot cheaper not to mention way less crowded.
Shipboard entertainment we mostly passed on except for the comedian which the second night he appeared was a lot funnier.
Our cabin was on the verandah deck aft. Would like to mention Iwan and Edang who were our cabin stewards and were great from day one.
We prefer late upper seating and worked out with all the late departure ports we had. Food to us seemed better this time than the last cruise(which was a Caribbean on the NA). Sat at table 12 (6person) with Andri and Wayan for our table stewards, if you can get this table with these gentlemen you will have a memorable experience (Andri you still owe us how to do the coffee cup trick!!!). Ate at the Pinnacle and Tamirind once each for dinner and was worth the money.
Disembarked in Barcelona with no problem and stayed at the Hotel Jazz at the top of Las Ramblas and was also an outstanding hotel.
One thing that stands out was the fellow cruisers we met on our Roll Call. Before leaving we had a couple of great people that prearranged all of our private tours on line and organized groups for tours and did a fantastic job.
All in all another great HAL cruise and will be looking forward to number 6 with them.