Our trip was great. We stayed at the Embassy Suites Tampa Airport. That was a great place to stay the night before. It was clean and they have a free happy hour and breakfast buffet (with made to order egg dishes). Shuttle to the cruise port was $10 a person.
Embarkation was okay. There was some trouble with the water on board, so we boarded late and left late. This ship is getting ready to go to drydock and this was the cause of the water issues.
Our room was fine (read below).
The food was good. It wasn't as good as Princess, but good. The buffet during the day has very limited hours and a limited selection. I didn't like the pizza or the taco bar (this was open the longest). The salad bar was always lovely. The deserts were lacking in flavor, but the ice cream was fantastic! We ate dinner in the dining room every night and had the As You Wish Dining. It was never a problem to make a reservation or just walk right up (we did both).
The nightly entertainment wasn't as good as other cruise lines, but it was geared towards an older audience. We were the minority for sure. There were probably 100 people in their 30s, 50 children and the rest were 55+. We never went to the casino. The pool was clean and nice. We used the hot tubs nightly and there was rarely anyone else there.
We went to happy hours a few times. The drinks are half-priced, but so are the sizes of the drinks. Daily trivia was fun and we teamed with a couple who were HAL regulars, so we won every time.
Mama Lou was on this ship. She is a HAL icon and lives on these ships. We were told she's been living on HAL ships for about 10 years. She was great to see around the ship because it really highlighted the personal touches of the ship and crew.
The crew was friendly and awesome. I would go again on this line because of the crew, smaller size of the boat and the very few children on board. I would choose other lines for their food and activities for people my age.
This port is actually Santo de Tomas Castilla (this wasn't offered in the drop down menu). We did the "Go with Gus" tour. We got off the ship at 6:15am to make sure we had a spot. There was a lot of confusion about which tour we were going on. Everyone thought they were doing something different, getting back at different times, seeing different sites, eating, not eating, etc. We all ended up on the same tour with the fishing expedition as the exception. I'm not a fishing woman, but if you are expecting a large chartered boat then this wouldn't be for you. We got to see the 'fishing' boat. It was a very small boat that could hold about six people. We ended up on the humanitarian tour (which is what everyone else was on). It lasted all day. It was beautiful, but disorganized. It was $45 a person and $14 a person extra if you wanted to eat lunch at his hotel after. Five of us chose to not eat and he sent us back in a smaller boat than what the 25 of us were on all day. It was fine with me because as much as he said it was safe to eat and drink, I didn't want to be sick the rest of my trip. I would do this again and recommend it to others. There was a lot of crawling in and out of the boat, so this might not be a good excursion for anyone who has mobility issues. I'm in my early 30s. There were a few older people with us and the crew helped them a great deal.