A quick taxi from the airport was a snap as usual, and we were pleasantly surprised to walk into an empty terminal. We had our documents ready, so in less than 20 minutes we were on board. We went immediately to inquire about changes to MDR seating, and then went to our cabin to drop off carry on backpacks before heading for something to eat. Two of our three bags were already in the room, and we saw the third going as we were waiting for the elevator, so we went back to unpack our hanging clothes.
We found the ship to be very clean, and although there are a few signs of her age, like some minor rust spots and dinged up handrail sections, she is in very good shape. Room was clean upon arrival and maintained well during cruise, and even though we were in and out frequently, we were never intruded on by our attendant. There was no noise from any ship activities, but with the movement of the ship in rougher seas, there was an annoying "squeaking" noise from the forward wall, like the two cabin modules were not properly isolated from each other. Not a major problem, but pretty annoying if you cannot block things like that out of your mind. There is however the ever present banging noises of the doors in the balcony dividers. Bring a pack of plastic "furniture wedges" from the hardware or Home Depot and you can at least wedge yours quiet. The in room robes are a nice touch, and very comfortable, and the towels are huge, very plush, and in excellent shape. Although the tub is not full size, it is a nice feeling to shower without feeling claustrophobic like the typical on board shower stall. We removed a few items from the mini fridge and stored them in a drawer, but be sure to tape a note to the fridge so you don't get charged for the items.
Food in the MDR had a nice selection and the quality was excellent, hands down better than our only comparisons, which are RCI. Food in the Lido tended to be a little more average, but there was always something to be found that was good (don't pass up the bread pudding, served only at lunch). Staff was friendly, and service was always available without being intrusive,, both in MDR and stateroom service. Entertainment was very good IMO, and there were a pretty typical daily assortment of shopping seminars, spa, etc to choose if desired. I enjoyed the Microsoft sponsored digital workshops, but they are well attended, so get there at least 25 min early if you want a work station. And the more mature, quieter atmosphere around the decks and pool areas were a welcome change from the usual blaring music and constant screaming for belly flop or sexy legs contests.
Overall we had an excellent experience, but I would be remiss if I did not at least mention the ac issue. There are lots of posts on the HAL board addressing this, so take a look, just to be aware.