We sailed on the Spanish Serenade voyage which was one half of a 14-day Mediterranean itinerary (we joined in Barcelona at midpoint sailing westward). Overall the ship was clean and in good shape despite it being one of the older vessels. We got bumped up from an obstructed view stateroom to an unobstructed view which we were quite happy about until we found the air conditioner didn't work well and there was a good bit of noise coming from above us (more on that below).
The itinerary included Majorca, Ibiza, Casablanca and Cadiz (positioned as Seville) as well as a sailing day through Gibraltar. The Gibraltar passage was a non-event however as we first sailed thru late in the evening and then later returned very early in the morning where the fog/haze prevented any viewing. In my opinion if one of the sail thrus had been midday we'd have stood a much better chance of viewing the Straits and the Rock.
Another comment on the itinerary is that we wish we'd had more More
time in Ibiza and less in Casablanca. Casablanca was the longest port stop from early am to 7:30PM whereas on Ibiza it was a short 11:00am to 5:30pm (we docked 1/2 hour late so it was really only 6 hours).
We found the food quite good in the main dining room (Rotterdam) and had 3 meals in the Pinnacle Grill (PG) Dining room which was excellent as well. We like the fact that HAL allows you to bring wine onboard and brought a bottle of wine for 2 of the nights at the PG (note that there is an $18 uncorkage fee per bottle). The staff at the PG was excellent as well, and the staff at the Rotterdam was very friendly too (the majority of whom are from Indonesia).
The casual dining room - the Lido - was slightly disappointing in that it was the least clean and also had water problems each day (dripping from the ceiling) that caused them to close one half of the restaurant on several days. This was the traditional buffet fare but probably a cut above the grade of other cruise line buffets.
In terms of entertainment the piano bar was a great way to kill an hour or two and we had some hits and misses with the club up in the crows nest. The other bars had good service, some with talented musicians and almost all had great views of ocean. I also enjoyed the library and found a great book to read on the trip.
Our room steward was excellent and brought us ice each am and evening and we tipped him extra accordingly.
Overall a great experience for our anniversary and I recommend both HAL and the Ryndam. Less
The air conditioner was weak and asked several times to repair. They attempted but the stateroom was still too warm. Overhead we heard constant clanging and what sounded like carts rolling around so wondered if we were below the laundry room.
Loved Ibiza, only though we only had a short 6 hours. We walked via the brand new port directly into town and easily caught a cab to take us to Bossa beach (Platja d'en Basso) which was a beautiful beach with a number of beach clubs where you can rent chaises with cushons and umbrellas. There are also a number of kiosks to get drinks and light fare and at the end of the beach is a nice natural park that you can hike or bike around.
We took a cab to the train station to catch the train to Soller which was one of the top rated attractions for Mallorca on TripAdvisor. The train ride was nice enough and the scenery toward the end was mountainous and pretty (sit on left hand side riding out) but overall not spectacular. We didn't stay in Soller rather we caught a cab to the beach at the port of Soller which was a pretty little beach with small strip of stores and beachside restaurants (note - the beach is on a bay, not the open Med).
It was a nice day overall and the Sept weather was perfect.
This should be recategorized as Cadiz as Seville is inland and the port is Cadiz. We opted to stay in Cadiz and found it a beautiful and chambering city. We easily managed to walk the whole old city and visited the Camera Obscura in one of the towers which was a great excursion.