My husband and I are 25, and we were travelling with his parents, his sister and her husband (they are 34 and 40). We knew from my husband's parents travelling with HAL before that it was an older crowd, but we were pleasantly surprised. We did see the occasional wheelchair, walker or scooter, but there were also 250 children on board and a lot of people in their 20's and 30's. We thought the general age range was WAY better than expected!
The embarkation process was very quick and smooth. We were on the ship at 1:00 and were able to go to our staterooms right away. We were right off the elevator on the main deck, so everything was close, which was nice! We were upgraded from an interior stateroom with no window to a Oceanview room, which was great. In the future, I would book the exact room again. I am prone to seasickness, and being on the Main Deck was nice (the higher rooms, which have the veranda's, I would imagine felt the movement of the ship a lot more because I know I did when I was on the upper decks). The rooms were super clean, the beds were AMAZING! So comfortable! Our room steward, Tono, was great. He seemed to know exactly when you left, because if you left for 5 minutes and came back, your room would be all tidied up again. Even if you left underwear on the floor (which we didn't, thank god!) they would be neatly folded and placed back on top of your bed. He loved to have conversations with you, and even showed me how to fold my towel into an elephant. Really neat!
The Lido had amazing food, and it was never overly crowded, and was great if you got there during non-peak times. They had everything we wanted, and literally, a little bit of EVERYTHING to choose from. The place was clean and the food tasted delicious. We ordered room service every day we were in port and it was always there on time, and tasted great.
We went to the Tamarind for lunch one day and it was wonderful. I am not a big fan of shrimp, and there was a lot of shrimp things, but you expect that at a Japanese restaurant. The hot and sour soup was one of the best soups I ever had.
The Rembrant (spelling?) was a great restaurant, very fancy and the staff were fantastic. They seemed to be able to read your personality, as they knew who they could joke with and be silly, and who they had to be serious with (aka: the cranky people who complain if something isn't EXACTLY perfect). One night there was a bit of a wait for our food, but it is to be expected when you're serving 2,000 people dinner. They bend over backward to make sure you're taken care of. I was feeling seasick the first night, and our waiter brought me tea to help soothe my belly, and even offered me green apples and crackers. The waiters would offer to take our picture with our cameras (it's difficult to get pictures all together!) and one even sang us a song to make us laugh.
The service staff will literally do ANYTHING for you. Everyone smiles and remembers your name, even if they only meet you once. Comments like "Good Morning, how was your breakfast?" goes a long way, even from strangers. No matter what deck you are on, you feel welcome. They just seem so happy to be there to serve you. I know I couldn't do that job without being cranky sometimes (especially at the crabby old people who think they are royalty....and we seen a lot of that!!)
The sea days were nice, because as the cruise director Jason said, "You can do it all or do nothing". They have TONS of activities and things going on during the day, lots of shows and night life after dark, and also lots of space to just relax and do nothing. We like to relax, so we chose that option a lot. The Casino is great, easy to spend money of course, and usually easy to get a machine to play on (tables not so much, but that is because of the 24/7 gamblers who are there every time you look).
Half Moon Cay was the best by far. It was a nice hot day and the beach was so beautiful. The sand is like walking on flour. We spent all day sitting on the beach and swimming. They served Strawberry Daquiri's and Pina Colada's in huge Holland America Half Moon Cay jugs for $9.75 a piece. It seemed like a lot of money, but they packed a PUNCH!!!!!! They even came around and poured more rum into ours (perhaps because our whole group bought one). Refills were only $6.00, but trust me, you wouldn't need one......whoa. Definitely not enough time in Half Moon Cay!!
The weather was beautiful. Every day was sunny and hot, and it only rained once and that was as the ship was leaving Puerto Rico. The first 2 days on the ship were really windy (60 mile an hour overnight, 45 average by day) and the ship did quite a bit of rocking. I was not feeling well at all the first 2 days, especially at night (being tired didn't help). I was popping Gravol because nothing else worked. I tried Ginger Root and Bonine, and neither one helped at all. Nobody else seemed to mind the rocking, although my husband woke up one night because we was literally rolling around in the bed. The funny part was the Captain said the weather was fantastic by comparison to the few weeks before (Note for all the people who get seasick: wait until at least mid-March to travel the Caribbean!)
Overall, a fantastic experience. I can't complain about the cruise for my sea-sickness, because I'm just one of those people who mind it! Nothing could have made the cruise better. I will never be able to explain the service. It certainly cannot compare to a resort. HAL is the best!