My husband and I eagerly embarked on our cruise to nowhere on HAL's brand new ship, for it's maiden U.S. voyage. The embarkation process was the smoothest yet of my 14 cruises, with pleasant staff and efficiency. Our cabin was attractive, but quite small for a standard veranda. HAL seeks to make up for space reduction with cabin design features, ie. storage inside desk seat/ottamon and adjustable and removable shelving in closets. The bedding, towels and robes are above-grade. The flat screen TV had a surprisingly limited number of available stations.
The ship is easy to get around and attractive, with an elegant flare. The theater is spacious with comfortable seats, and there is a separate "Screening Room" for movies, which is small, cozy and comfortable. The public areas, bars and lounges are pleasant and well staffed. The Lido had some of the usual chaos and a shortage of various essentials, such as cream for coffee. The lack of self service for breakfast dishes such as waffles and eggs made for unnecessarily long lines. The food on the ship overall was of a decent quality as expected and the staff was generally helpful.
The thermal suite and hydrotherapy area (for an extra charge) were worth it for us. The gym was ample and well supplied with quality equipment. The location of the spa is awkward, as the public passes through it to get to the pool and Lido areas on Deck 9.
There were less enrichment activities than I expected on a Cruise to Nowhere, although the ones that we attended were of good quality. The shows were excellent, with the best in-house production talent that we have seen yet.
The least appealing aspect of our cruise was signing up for Anytime Dining in the Rembrandt (the two level main dining room). Reservations for the selected times filled up quickly and upon arriving at our daily reserved times, there were always dinner lines to get seated. Those who didn't reserve at all had to wait longer. Next time, we will book assigned seating (late) and then go directly to our table each night. If you choose Anytime Dining, make your reservations (you can book up to to two days ahead) right as you get on the ship, either by going straight to the Rembrandt or by calling 88 on any ship phone.