The Tour Desk did a great job with providing tours on short notice and we were happy with the selections.
Our group never sailed w/HAL before and I started to research by visiting Cruise Critic, etc. Needless to say, I started to worry. A lot of complaints about the A/C, service, etc. Since I chose this line, I felt I would be the one that would be blamed for any troubles. Well folks, my sleepless nights were for nothing--all our cabins were clean, the a/c worked (a little too well in my mother's cabin but better to be cold than hot!), service was great and food was delicious. I don't like to comment on food because that is really a personal preference but all 12 of us enjoyed all our meals. Service in the LIDO was great-they helped with bringing our food/beverages to the tables, cleaned up immediately and always polite. The Rotterdam staff was accomodating to our large group and our waiter was fabulous. Within 2 days, knew what each of us wanted at dinner--no need to remind him.
Any time I had to go to the front desk was always pleasant-in fact, one woman always greeted me by name.
On Friday, HAL hosted a Walk for the Cure (Breast Cancer) and you could donate $15 and you rec'd a t-shirt and pink rubber band. Joined up with @ 30 others and walked my 12 laps (3 miles). I learned that HAL donated (in July 2010) over $2 million to this cause--very impressive and happy to do my part.
I have two issues that I feel HAL should improve on-first, while at sea, I never saw the Activities Director--no pool games. All other lines have this while at sea and it is a lot of fun and gets passengers to mingle. Yes, there are other indoor activities but come on--the sun is shining, there are people of all ages, why not have some fun in the pool and get people involved?
Second, I knew I was in trouble when I walked into the very small casino and there were no pictures of previous winners--all other lines that I have cruised with always had photos of winners with a check, t-shirt, etc. Gives us gamblers a bit of hope that the machines will hit. We all know that the casinos are there to make money but it would be a good idea to "loosen" up those machines and get more people in there. More machines would be a plus!
Our group enjoyed the shows -- singers were awesome.
I have to say I probably will check out HAL for future cruises but will choose a newer ship. I hope other passengers had as good experience as our group did.