My husband and I had not travelled on HAL for 8 years as he become weary of the dress code and the set dining so we switched over to Oceania with their open seating and smart casual dress code. We understood that their policy on dining and dress code had changed so when we saw this cruise advertised we thought it would be a good opportunity to try HAL again and to also get some sunshine. We were very impressed with the entire experience and are very happy with some of their innovations.
Positive impressions for us were the following: Entertainment-Best we have ever experienced on any cruise. Activity Staff- Patty and her staff were also the best we have ever experienced and Capt. Vanderloo has to be one of the most personable Captains afloat. Lido Restaurant-We really liked the idea of the separate food stations Culinary Centre-Great idea and enjoyed the cooking classes and culinary chats Crew-Friendly and efficient Cabin-Roomy with lots of storage space and nice sized balcony Cleanliness-We have always been impressed with HAL in this area and with the concern of the outbreak of a gastric infection on one of the other ships in port in Acapulco with thought the manner in which the Oosterdam went into alert was excellent. It says something for the staff when you have the entertainers working in the Lido pleasantly handing out food in the daytime and then putting on a fabulous show for us at night.
Only negative that we thought could be handled more efficiently, was the immigration process for non US Citizens. There were several of us on this cruise and they did not allow enough space for folks in wheelchairs to get up to the officers. The delay of the disembarkation time was not HAL's fault but that of passengers not reporting on time. Overall a great experience and we shall be sailing again on HAL. The other positive for us was San Diego as the port of embarkation. Great destination in itself. We flew down the day before and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express,Downtown which we would highly recommend. Good accommodation and they provide a free shuttle from the airport and to the ship.