We went on the Maasdam for the 14 day cruise to the southern Caribbean and the Panama Canal from December 20/13 to January 3/14. It was our first time on HAL, and we loved it. We cannot say enough about the staff! They were so friendly, personable and fun.
The size of the ship was good. It was just the perfect number of passengers (1265). We never had to wait to for a table, food or drinks. The vista suite stateroom we had could use a few upgrades. The " jet-tub" in our room needed to be replaced. The towels were grey.. And they were white at one time! A few dollars need to spent on replacing the linens. There was always a place to sit in the public areas if you were looking for one.
We liked the more elegant touches on the voyage, like a more traditional cocktail hour and the live music on the ship. The explorer cafe was so fun. A place to read, play games, and relax. The atmosphere was exactly as I thought it would be. We are in our 50's. People were dressed up at night, enjoying the restaurant and activities. It was nice to see, as we have been on several cruises before ( Royal Caribbean and Carnival), and it was very casual.
I heard some people were complaining about the ship and the activities, and that was because they didn't do their homework. This was not a loud party boat.. There are other cruises available that cater to that market. The Rotterdam dining room was outstanding and so was the Pinnacle. The Lido was good for breakfast and lunch, but a few times we wanted a quick dinner in the Lido and the selection was "limited", and bland.
The crew was great and they went out of their way to get whatever you wanted. We will be back!