We were a group of 4. Myself & DH and another couple who booked the cabin next door to us. Since I'm the CC member in the group, this review sums up all of our experiences.
SHIP OVERALL Overall it's a beautiful ship. It's laid out nicely and it feels spacious inside. We loved the mid-ship glass elevators - - really neat. We also found the ships decor & art very appealing. We did not, however, enjoy the movement of the ship. Even with the stabilizers, this ship gets rocked around quite a bit. Make sure to bring your sea sickness remedy of choice.
CABINS We booked inside cabins right next to each other. Ours was 4175 & theirs was 4169. The cabins we purposely chose (to keep within our budget) were the smallest of the inside type and to be honest, it wasn't terrible. It was tight but not terrible. We had enough space to unpack all of our clothes, bathroom necessities, and to store our suitcases under the bed.
EMBARKATION Embarkation was a breeze. Except for one of us, we had all cruised before with either Royal Caribbean or Carnival and found HAL's embarkation process the smoothest hands down.
FOOD The dining room was really hit or miss. The first formal night it wasn't great; both in terms of service & quality. It seems like HAL is still working out the kinks in its As You Wish Dining experience which is what we chose. For non-formal affairs, we didn't have a problem, the service was good & the food delicious. The Lido restaurant really does feel like a restaurant which is nice change from the cafeteria feel on most other lines. The selection & quality on Lido were very good. The pizza station is a nice touch and a great place for a late night snack. The Pinnacle Grill & Tamarind were both excellent. Very, very good dining experiences at both. In cabin dining was a nice treat and we request breakfast in cabin on 2 days prior to our early shore excursions. Our breakfast orders never were right but at least instead of leaving things off, we got extra stuff which was just fine with us.
ENTERTAINMENT The shows on HAL were okay. I wasn't thrilled with them and to be honest, they could use a little beefing up. The comedienne, Julie Barr, was excellent. During the day there were usually several activities we each found interesting such as the wine tasting, art auctions, cooking classes, computer classes, trivia games, etc. but at night the ship simply rolls up the sidewalk. While we're not hardy partiers it would have been nice to have a trivia game, a walking tour of the ships fabulous art, or even bingo offered in the evening. By far, this was our biggest disappointment with HAL - not enough evening activities. Even the pool areas turned off their lights and shut down once it became dark regardless of the fact that the actual pools themselves didn't close till 10pm.
SPA I booked a special on the last sea day and found the spa both good and bad. The dressing/locker room was beautiful. Great big windows looking out to the sea, lots of natural light everywhere. What a nice change from the typical windowless locker room. The massage beds, however, did not feature typical land based linens & instead was covered with terry cloth towels both beneath & on top of you. HAL's spa bedding desperately needs a face-lift. The massage rooms featured the same big windows and vast peaceful seascape as the locker room. The actual services themselves were comparable to land service right down to the pushiness of the estheticians selling product. Had the linens been traditional land based linens, I would have felt I had gotten my moneys worth.
SERVICE The service on the ship is very efficient. The crew know their jobs and perform them well. However, when unusual things came up, staff were sometimes flustered and occasionally took a "not my job" attitude which was rather off putting. Only if the voyage continued at status quo, did the service remain excellent.