Previously we have cruised twice, both times with Celebrity. This was our first cruise with HAL and probably our favorite so far. On the negative side, Norfolk is not ready for cruises. The ship was very late getting into port and embarkation was slow and annoying. We had a low number and still had to wait in line for a very long time, unlike our previous experiences in Ft, Lauderdale and Charleston. disembarkation was extremely slow, taking about 3 hours I believe.
Once aboard everything changed. Our standard inside cabin was much larger than the ones we were accustomed to on Celebrity. It was clean, pleasant, and our attendant was excellent. There was much less pool-side activity on this ship, which we liked. Also, it was a treat to be able to get a lounge by the pool without having to be out very early.
Celebrity is known for their excellent cuisine, however we much preferred the meals in the dining room on this ship. Every course at every dinner was excellent. The selections are a bit less gourmet, but to our taste they were superior. Neither my husband nor I had a tough piece of meat which hasn't always been the case previously. Their breakfast pastries and desserts were much better on HAL as well. Don't miss the pecan danish offered on alternate days at breakfast at Lido. My only disappointing meal was in the dining room at breakfast-- cold dry waffle. We took all breakfasts at Lido after that. The service was friendly and special.
The ports on this cruise were the typical eastern ones. Had been to all of them before except for Half Moon Cay which was exquisite. We, as the sign says, didn't want to go home. Wish we could have stayed longer there, especially since our late arrival due to late departure from Norfolk. Be warned that there are rough seas on your return from the Caribbean to Norfolk.. Many people were absent from dinner on the last formal night. Too bad;it was the filet/lobster/baked alaska parade night. I wouldn't recommend Norfolk to anyone with a seasick situation. We were fine, although it made taking a shower quite interesting! It was a great cruise: beautiful weather, friendly people, excellent service, a charming ship. Who could ask for more? We'll be back.