In General: This was our second cruise (both with HAL). The flight in and hotel in Quebec were booked by us and not via HAL. The embarkation process couldn't have gone smoother. We were in our stateroom after maybe 10-15 minutes. The luggage was delivered promptly.
We went on to explore the ship and found the colour scheme a lot less gaudy than de Zuiderdam'. We got our selfs a Greenroom Spa pass because we enjoyed the spa so much on the Zuiderdam. We proceeded to visit the dining room manager because of my wife her food allergies. We notified HAL before we left and we spoke to the dining room manager. She advised us to that the Fixed seating. We would have the same stewards which would make it easier. We were seated in her sector so she could keep an eye on the menu. This worked out well. The dining room stewards were wonderful and took really good care of us.
The stateroom was a huge improvement over our first (inside) stateroom. The stateroom attendants were great. Very attentive and I can't image me being so cheerful and sincerely interested in our well being after working such long hours..
We had breakfast in bed every day. Sometimes they didn't exactly deliver everything we asked for. But on the whole we were very pleased with it.
Lunch (if we didn't have it on a tour or in a port) was usually in the Lido. A lot of choice and always good. Who ever made the bread pudding deserves a medal.
Dinner: At the Rembrandt most of the times. Great food and they took good care of my wife's allergies.
The Tamarind: Great staff and food. The chef even thanked us for telling about the allergies so they had more time to prepare an alternative. We skipped lunch there because most of it is made in advance so it was hard for them to make changes. Good of them to tell us that in advance. Prevented us from being disappointed.
The Pinnacle: The first night. The menu was adapted for my wife and we had a great night. Great stewards and great food.
Le Cirque.... We checked in before twice notifying them about the allergies. FIVE minutes before we were about to head to the Pinnacle restaurant the Pinnacle manager informed us that she failed to spot the fact that everything in the menu contained at least one of the foodstuffs my wife is allergic to. She admitted that the food is prepared 3 days in advance and couldn't be altered even if we had known and asked.
She profusely apologized for her oversight and offered us a free dinner at the Pinnacle the next day.
My wife and I were very very disappointed because we had been looking forward to this evening.
We then proceeded to the dinning room to get dinner. The dinning room manager made sure we had a table for two. Our steward saw us coming in and came down to ask us in everything was alright because he knew we had an evening at Le Cirque planned.
Talk about dedication.
Our second night in the Pinnacle was less enjoyable. Whether it was a different cook or a very grumpy unimaginative one there was nothing he was able to offer my wife as an alternative to the starters. What a difference with the first night there.. The manager did try to offer as more options by offering us starters from the main dinning room.. Although the main course was good it didn't save the evening from being somewhat of a let down.
We thoroughly enjoyed the showes put on by the HAL performers and the Celtic singer and the Comedian.
In the evening we went to listen to Matt Murphy in the Crow's nest. Great singer and Great guy.
The captain and his staff made sure we wouldn't suffer from Sandy too much. He and the cruise director kept us well informed on what was happening.
The work it must have taken him and the staff to make it possible to disembark 2000 people and their luggage within the limited time he had in a port with very limited capabilities (for cruise ships)must have been incredible.
Our compliments for all people involved.
Too bad the follow up in ft. Lauderdale (pier 29) was so bad. We were stuck in a hangar for 2,5 hours waiting for our luggage (got a suitcase damaged in the process) after a 6 hour bus ride. Not a lot of information about what was happening. The Seattle office was better informed than the people in the hangar.
Can't understand how the same company that disembarked 2000 people and their luggage in a port with VERY limited capabilities couldn't make the luggage be transported in time and at least keep us well informed.
We had a great time on this cruise. Hope to see you on the next one...