We're a couple in our late fifties, early sixties--probably 17 cruises (10 days plus) with Holland America. We don't have children or grandchildren with us, so prefer the more sedate, elegant atmosphere. We arrived in Rotterdam on 30 Jun so we could attend the naming ceremony. We stayed at the Golden Tulip (arranged by HAL)--very nice, but with no air conditioning. It was very warm, so that was a little unpleasant, but OK. We attended the naming ceremony, which was fabulous--very well done, with lots of entertainment and elegance--very well done--(and the champagne bottle broke!). We were part of the the Prelude cruise (which may be shown in another posting), and were disappointed to say the least.
In Copenhagen, we began the Inaugural--still not the hoopla on the ship we expected, but fine. We were in an SA Deluxe Suite, and enjoyed the room--spacious, with plenty of closets and other space. It took some time to get the temperature adjusted to other than polar conditions, but that's part of a new ship and fine. As always, the Indonesians and Philippinos on board were their accommodating, smiling selves! One of the joys of this trip for us was seeing so many we had known from previous cruises--they were fabulous (very overworked during the Prelude, with little thanks!) For the first time, we used room service for dinner with some friends we'd made, and it was very pleasant! The Neptune consierge service is fabulous, as always! We did several excursions, and enjoyed those in Oslo and Flan especially. It was cold and wet in Scotland and England, and our allergies had acted up, so while we had tours, we opted for the comfort of our cabin! Our cabin steward, La Ode, was fabulous, and very accommodating. We sailed Copenhagen to Copenhagen, and endured the long flight back to the U.S. We really wish parents would let their children know that screaming with glee about a video game(s) for hours is just not appropriate--it made the long flight longer--no fault of HAL's!
We chose to go with the standard upstairs at 2000 seating, table for two. There seemed to be a lot of confusion between the "as you like it", and structured seating--and lots of folks seemed very frustrated with dinner reservations. Ours finally got resolved--we finally got our table for two, but it took the Neptune Lounge to get it sorted out--and we'd had the same request in for over one and a half years?!
The entertainment was fine. Especially nice was the special entertainment that was brought on board as a result of being on a new ship. There were some very sweet, and cute presentations. We loved the addition of the "Silk Den"--how nice. Since there were so many Europeans on board, HAL seemed to relax on some of their smoking rules. Where we normally would have spent a lot of time in the Ocean Bar, it was difficult because of all of the smoking. The Silk Den is something we will miss on other ships.
Having the library combined with the Crow's Nest was a little strange. There's no longer any nightime activity in the Crow's Nest, other than a pianist, so it's just not the same. Where there had been a DJ on other ships, here that's moved to the "Northern Lights". Having a bar, next to the library, just doesn't always seem to be a logical mix. WE're due on the ship for Christmas/New Years, so it will be interesting to see what happens.
Disembarkation was relatively easy, although it seemed like we went through security in Copenhagen at least three times. I personally tired of Europeans who were loud, rude, and didn't understand the concept of a queue or line--but that's probably a personal problem.
The ship is lovely. The colors in the Lido are more muted than in the past. The Caneletto seemed to be very popular, although we couldn't get in there. The Pinnacle was fabulous--to us well worth the extra money ($20. per person). We ate in the Tamarind, and enjoyed it although it was an off food night for us! Lots of interesting, inventive dishes, and Bagus is a fabulous host.
The ship is going to go through some growing pains, but overall is lovely, sure to please, and well worth the visit!!