Wife and I arrived two days early on Good Friday April 10 and stayed at the Sheridan at the FLL airport.
Flying there was the worse of the trip but thats flying today. The hotel was fine, had a shuttle to airport but not to port.
We arrived at 1130 and got on the ship in a reasonable amount of time. The room was not ready until close to 2PM which was not as we expected. The suite was very nice when we were allowed in. We were on the Port side of the ship on the 8th floor midships. Great views, great room, clean and well maintained. The two cabin Stewards were wonderful, never in the way, and very attentive.
We took this cruise over Princess for two reasons. We always wanted to try HAL ( we are both in our late 50s) and the price at time of booking in Sept was 499 dollars (each) less then Princess . It was going to be a comparison no matter how we tried not to compare ... this is HAL and this is Princess whether it was the service, the soda cards, the pool area or whatever.
We have been lucky to go on the first Love Boat so we know about small ships, and have traveled on the large Princess ships ( Carb. Star and Crown). This size ship I felt was very good , never feeling crowded .
Food was better then on Princess at night and the eating when you wanted to was much better then Princess. Last April on Princess each night we went we had one of the red blinking lights that told you the table was ready and waited over 20 minutes. One of the Formal nights on Princess the wait was so long we left and at buffet. The room service in HAL is much better then Princess as well.
The extra 20 dollars for the steak place was well worth it, we tried to get a second night but could not.
The buffet was a buffet.. we did not go there much. We had Breakfast on the balcony each morning and most lunches as well.
The entertainment was very good... we went to several shows and had no trouble getting seats.
We did not do any of the on board things such as bingo or cooking .
Internet on Princess is free for us at this stage. This leads me to the only minus for the entire cruise.
What do you get to be a member of the Mariner Society? IN my view nothing, it does not compare to the perks of Captains Circle on Princess. On Princess at the level we are we get a free upgrade on travel insurance, quick line to board the ship , free internet . What do you get on HAL after 7 trips.. looks to me like not much...
So how do they compare? Wife and I decided we will go with which ever has the best price.. but if HAL is a little more.. (100 dollars) its worth it to go on HAL
So great trip, no complaints to speak of. The staff was excellent on HAL, the Food was EXCELLENT !
The Gym was good ( after all the eating) and we are sold on HAL if the price is there.