The laundry is piled up and gradually working through the machines. Just returned home yesterday after 18 days at sea, boarding in Rome, Italy and disembarking in Fort Lauderdale. Eight port cities, some surprises, and seven lovely days at sea on the HAL Westerdam.
We traveled with another couple whose cruising experience was limited to a couple FL/Bahamas excursions. It was interesting "seeing" this extended cruise through their eyes. Specifically booked on a Vista class ship for the hydro pool and "lizard lounges" in the Thermo suite. Also, this ship itinerary had an overnight in Funchal, Madeira which was highly recommended as a must-see by friends. Did not disappoint.
Received a super upgrade from HAL - booked lowest level outside (fully obstructed view) cabin. Were immediately upgraded to a full view outside cabin, then ten days before sailing, was offered balcony (VA) cabins for $99 each - took the offer, obviously and sailed on the Rotterdam deck.
Entertainment was superb - continually surprised that it didn't disappoint. You learn early to not assume anything with regards to the vista lounge entertainment. Don't judge a comedy/juggler until AFTER you've seen his act!
Food was good, as always. Crew were friendly and helpful, always. Passengers, not always so much.
Took some issue with the information (or lack) regarding the ports we were visiting. Of course, the incentive is to book excursions through the ship, which we only did twice (Funchal and Malaga for the Alhambra). Other ports, there were some unpleasant surprises re: getting into town (buses, long lines to board, pushy passengers, and Euros needed for transport) Needed a little more info from the ships crew re: what to expect. don't mind paying for a bus, but would rather have the Euros in hand ahead of time; not have to ask the bus driver "how much?"
All said, another great cruise.