This was our 9th cruise and our 2nd on HAL. As a 40 year old couple we were in the bottom 1% in average age of the passengers. But we had a great trip.
We booked this cruise about 2 weeks before departure and had A LOT of reservations about booking on this particular ship due to the reviews. A big thank you to Middle Aged and Happy for posting, that review helped us decide to take the plunge. We are so glad we did.
There does seem to be a section of cabins that are having intermittent toilet issues, but maintenance was able to fix them. Some people complained about the temperature of their cabins; when we would walk into ours I would say "geez it's cold" and he would say "too hot" and start taking off his shirt. All of the elevators worked. A few of the urinals were out of order. The gym has new cardio equipment. The weight machines are old but work fine. The only other complaint was that the free weights only went up to 35 lbs.
Other than that we had a great time. The ship was built in the mid 90's and even though is was refurbished last spring, it is still not a new modern boat.
The cruise staff was great and there were many activities during the sea days. Anthony the cruise director was great at his job and made sure everyone had a good time. The performers were the best I have ever seen on a cruise ship. We had no complaints about the food. All of the staff was polite and smiling. Our room stewards did a perfect job keeping our room neat.
We were on the cruise with the medical emergency as the other reviewer said we missed Aruba, but we will catch it another time.
Ocho Rios, Jamaica was the substitute for Aruba. We did the traditional Dunn's River Falls and Jamaican bobsled. The falls were fun to climb and the guides kept us entertained. The bobsled is like a gravity roller coaster, it is on rails and you control you speed with a break. It was a lot of fun.
Transiting the canal was fascinating. A guide gave a narrative over the loud speaker through out the day.
Puerto Caldera, Costa Rica- there is nothing at the dock so you are pretty much stuck with a tour. We did the zipline, which we had done before in Belize. But this one was WAY better. Lush rain forest with ten platforms and up to 25 mph if you are heavy enough. We saw white faced monkeys in the treetops while waiting on one of the platforms. Lunch was delicious chicken, rice, beans, plantains, and salad.
Huatulo, Mexico- Most folks on the ship commented this was their favorite stop. Small Mexican town with a gorgeous beach next to the pier. I did the mountain bike ride and got to see beautiful views, some of the back roads of town, and swim at a resort.
Acapulco, Mexico-We did the turtle release excursion. It was so moving everyone was close to shedding a tear. It is sponsored by a local conservation group that is trying to save the turtles from poachers and increase the waning population. There are four different kinds of turtles that nest in the area so they are coming and going all year round. Our babies were born at 4 a.m. I wish we could have seen the cliff divers but they did not jump in the mid afternoon when we had free time. I am sure we will be back again.
Cabo, Mexico- we did the dune buggy excursion. Drove through town, out some dirt roads to the desert, stopped at one beach with amazing rock formations, stopped at a mini mart for snacks (had a homemade burrito and did not get ill), and stopped to snorkel at a beautiful beach. The sand was soft, the water was clean, and tons of fish were swimming around our ankles.
We couldn't believe 14 days went by so fast and didn't want to get off the ship.