What an experience. We flew from New Zealand to Rome with a one day stop over in Hong Kong to break the flight. Because we had been to Rome before we just explored on foot (very tourist unfriendly place). We decided to rough it and get the metro out to Civitavecchia which was a big mistake, but after 4 train changes (dragging luggage behind us) and one instance of being stuck in a small lift, we finally made it four hours later. The moment we stepped onto the Noordam, all the stress was gone, she was BEAUTIFUL!
The itinerary was fabulous, we visited some amazing ports and did 5 ship excursions, otherwise we wandered around near the port or went swimming at a beach(it was extremely hot).
The food was simply magnificent. We dined in both the formal restaurant and the lido (buffet), and twice went to the Pinnacle grill which just blew our socks off!! Lunch at lido was very good especially the tasty little deserts and king prawn and crab leg days.
Entertainment was average, but on a port intensive cruise like this, it didn't really matter, because we had fairly early nights for early starts the next day. However, Diane in the Piano bar was fabulous. Best bar on the ship!
We subscribed for the thermal room and hydro pool extra, which was well and truly worth it, and great to relax after a hot, busy day sightseeing.
We had a free upgrade from outside cabin to veranda state room, which was ideal and spent many hours drinking bourbon in the evening on our own veranda and reflecting on the day we had just had.
All the staff were lovely, friendly and very attentive.
The only thing I could criticise is that on a 20 night cruise they had 6 formal nights which we thought was absolute overkill. We would have made the effort twice, but really couldn't be bothered getting glammed up 6 times and we noticed many others didn't bother either. It was a pity because formal night could have been very special, but it was watered down with too many.
HAL is certainly my cruise line of choice now, and I will be seeking out HAL cruises in the future.