Embarkation - we spent a night at the Renaissance in Amsterdam - since it was the HAL hotel, we joined their transfer - decided a cab on our own would have been easier and perhaps cost less. The embarkation process moved along quite easily.
Cabin - we had booked a balcony guarantee and got upgraded to a VB cabin - port side forward #6031 - we were shocked at the poor condition of the cabin - the bathtub was dirty - the air conditioner did not work - the outside handle of the balcony door was caked with a huge accumulation of salt - we immediately went to the front desk - they asked us to return to the cabin and wait for the supervisor. We did that. We were soon greeted by a lovely young woman. After we went over everything with her, she had someone (not sure what department) work on the tub - which needed re-caulking - I think that is what you would call the band around the tub. She then got the cabin steward working on cleaning up the other stuff. The AC came from a different department but that was also taken care of. What shocked me was that there was someone in the cabin before we arrived, who did not report the condition. After that the cabin stewards were great - I think they are young and just did not notice the poor condition until it was pointed out. Being a Princess convert, Im thrilled with HAL's balcony rooms - a sitting area - bathtub - equivalent of mini-suite on Princess
Dining - we ate at the Canaletto - alternative Italian restaurant - we chose this dining because - we were able to get a window table at watch the sail-away from Amsterdam (it is not Venice) but I found it interesting. The food is quite good - We also like the Lido on HAL ships - especially at breakfast - the choices are endless - any kind of eggs - Eggs Benedict - the version with Salmon - the British version etc. My favorite is the ready-made crepes with mixed berry sauce! The main dining room is slow - I have a small appetite and find it a lot of food - I always have to ask them to remove the flowers - since Im highly allergic to them. Since I have a small appetite we do not east in the Pinnacle Grill - being allergic to flowers, I don't do the Tamarind - there are flowers in the tea. I love the bread-pudding every day at lunch.
Public Rooms - we enjoy the Crow's nest - in the front of the ship on the 11th floor - our port specialist Ian gave commentaries from there at the sail-aways. There is a happy-hour up there every evening at 5:30 or so. We do not visit the Casino. The shops are what they are. We did not go to any shows - we had already seen one - but we usually ate on the late side and retired to relax in our cabin.
Passengers Im commenting on this because it was quite an unusual mix - I think because the ship sailed from Amsterdam, there was a young European contingent on-board. Many young children - rude passengers (this coming from a native New Yorker) - We avoided them and when we had a chance stayed by the Sea-View Pool (adult only) The night of the desert extravaganza - there was a young woman pushing her way through and her daughter was about to get at the food - but was stopped by the attendant.
DH and I - we are mid-70's and mid-80s - we both have mobility issues - thus our view of matters is from our point of view. We have traveled extensively in Europe - 3 River cruises - 3-Mediterranean cruises (the last one was 37 days) - a month in Italy on land on our own - this cruise is the last time we will cross the Atlantic - we have also been down under. Our stop in Asia was in Istanbul.
Link to my shutterfly site: https://haleurodambalticta2013.shutterfly.com/