We had a wonderful cruise with our family. This was a first cruise for myself and my sister in law but we traveled with 9 total.
We were in two sets of attached rooms on the same side of the ship 2 rooms apart which was perfect. Embarkation was smooth, because we were traveling with my one year old nephew they allowed us to be part of the priority boarding (huge plus looking back on it now) Went to the lido for lunch and the food was really good and well stocked for being the first 100 people up there. Our stateroom was ready when we arrived on the ship at 12:30, luggage was delivered by 1:30. We met our steward and asked for ice, which he had in our room each day following. Air conditioning worked perfect for us all week.
Dinning: We had chosen early seating due to our young nephew so we missed most of the sail away. Our server was awesome, he understood we wanted to order wine each night, but didn't want a bottle as not everyone was drinking and each night asked us More
right away what we wanted. It was my Mom's birthday that first night and he brought a cake and had his fellow staff come and sing happy birthday in their native language, a very nice touch and special. Dinner each night was quick and he did a great job with our small requests if we had them.
Ship's public areas: Some of the carpet is worn and the deck chairs on the top decks aren't that comfortable to lounge on, but the chairs on the promenade deck were wonderful, where many people each day and night would take naps in the sun or shade. We did walk a lot on the promenade deck and it was very well maintained and clean.
Pools: Very crowded in the lido pool with children, but they were all having a lot of fun and was nice to see. The Aft pool was usually full but not terribly crowded on sea days. Wish they wouldn't allow smoking at the ocean view bar as it traps the smoke if you aren't moving very fast. Pool towels were restocked often and the water temps were perfect.
Grand Turk: We did the Catamaran tour and it was awesome, fun group of people and great staff, well worth the money for snorkeling tour.
San Juan: Self Guided tour of the city and it was awesome to see the history. Great city with good food and shops.
St. Thomas, probably our least favorite port, not close to a beach by where we were docked and the excursion we did didn't take us out to one.
Half Moon Cay: We rented a cabana and it was an awesome day. Well worth the money to be able to store all of our stuff and get out of the sun. The weather was great, we were in the green one so over halfway down the beach, which made it quite a trek to make it to the shops or to get lunch, but it was less crowded so well worth the walk. The beach Lunch was really crowded, but it was good food. Our waiter stopped by and said hi to us while we were in line, which showed how much customer service they all have!
Entertainment: New Years Eve: The Vista lounge was where they did the countdown and had the HALcats singing (i didn't like them but others did) It was a really fun celebration. The next day each and every staff member we met in the hallway or on the ship said "happy new year" which was nice to see how excited they were to celebrate with us.
Larry the piano guy was really nice and well versed in his music talent, it was always full and standing room only.
Magician was ok, he was good but not "oh my gosh how did he do that" good.
Hal Cats were not good, maybe because we spent each night with the BB King Blues Club and were super impressed with how great their talent was. They had wonderfully talented musicians and vocalists, we spent each night with them, and never got sick of it. Even saw them around the ship and they were very friendly.
Cruise Director Jason: He did a great job, always sounded happy to be with us and very informative. Saw him one day in the stairwell and chatted for a moment and he was very personable. He was a great show host for the wedding game on the last night, everyone was laughing during that game!!
Captain: Saw him several times and always said hi and smiled at people. He made a point to let us know what the weather would be like the next day and how the wind would be.
We ordered room service 5 mornings and it was delivered hot and on time. Good variety and selection of times. They understand people might not wake up right away and knock gently at first as to not scare people.
Motion of the ship: My brother was really nauseous a couple days, as was i one night due to the strong winds. The Captain made a point to advise us if it would be a more rough night. They had the Dramamine at the front desk if you asked for it for no charge.
Disembarkation was smooth, we were given our number and didn't have to wait more then a minute for the customs agent.
Overall: It was a wonderful week, great food at all meals, drinks were always tasty and cold. We loved the level of customer service each crew member takes to make the guests be comfortable. We would recommend anyone to cruise with HAL, great vacation! Less