First time cruiser on HAL to the Caribbean. Had an excellent time. Only downside was that we missed our stop in the Bahamas (Half Moon Cay) because of rough seas. HAL service was excellent. Our cabin stewart: JoJo was great. Every time we came back to our room, even if we'd only been gone an hour - the bed was made up, our clothes were folded. Towels were refreshed!
Food was good. The Italian restaurant was so-so. Good Anti-Pasto. The pay restaurant was worth it. Ate there twice. Had Tuna tartar, crab cakes, lobster. Would definitely spend the bucks to eat there. The meals were like eating in a fine dining room in Paris! The only down side was that the Maitre de was a real snob. He totally dissed us and tried to sit us by the door until we presented him our Expedia cards for the meal, then he was "oh let me get you a good table". We named him Toady. Recommend the Vista dining room, sit down, white linen, for all meals. Really worth it. Service is good - especially the breakfast "sexy buns". Room service was good, food was okay! Stay away from the Bacon on board, it's some really weird stuff. The Dessert Night was horrible -90% of the desserts were wasted. The forting between layers tasted like Crisco. Some of the food was so-so, but everything can't be perfect. Lots of deck BBQ'a, fish, ribs, chicken, tuna. The Lido deck - cafeteria type service was good. Ice-cream and cookies all day long.
Our room was mid ship, recommend going to a lower deck so there is not as much rocking - but it was still ok. Checked out a deck 1 with a view - worth the few extra bucks. We got some strange bites - didn't itch, and they checked our cabin daily and found nothing. They gave us a free meal at the upscale "pay" dining room for our inconvenience. In the Vista, look for Tree - he dishes out the after dinner candies. I didn't bring enough warm clothes, sleeveless in the dining rooms got a bit chilly, so bring a sweater or a few long shirts. You don't need a rain coat, a sweatshirt will do. Had too many capris and not enough shorts.
Definitely go to the Trivia game every day! The Casino was fun and full of old people. We did find a lot of people our ages (late 30's to late 40's) and found you could go all day without hearing English. Met people from Sweden, Denmark, Holland, France, Germany, Brazil, Russia. Port stops- my favorites were Barbados and snorkeling with the turtles and Martinique - very French. Make sure and have Euros for Martinique - either they don't take dollars or you pay much more (we paid $29 American for 4 diet cokes).
Do the Island Tours - just don't do anything over 4 hours. We had an 8 hour tour on St.Lucia. Air conditioning broke down and we were miserable. After all if was 85 degrees and muggy.