We booked a seven night cruise on the Eurodam, as the ports looked interesting and it seemed a good time to try out HAL. We normally cruise with Celebrity (we are going on the Silhouette in August) and wondered if HAL would be a disappointment. Absolutely not! The Eurodam is a nice ship, smaller than the giants of Celebrity, but sometimes a smaller ship means you can get to interesting ports. We stayed in an ocean-view room for the first time (normally go in Concierge Class with Celebrity). The room was large,a bonus, especially with 3 of us in a room. The cabin was clean and our steward kept it tidy. I was pleased to see that he replaced the towels on the last night of our cruise - something that has NEVER happened with Celebrity.
The staff are exceptionally friendly and contact between staff and clientele is encouraged. The barstaff would dance with us on the dance floor. You can invite an officer to dine with you. This takes staff friendliness to a new level. It makes it more fun. I loved this aspect of HAL.
Entertainment - impeccable. The shows really are Las Vegas style - fabulous costumes, scenery. No gimmicks, just good singing, dancing & style. The band Gen and the HALcats were the best I've ever seen on a cruise ship. I really loved listening to them.
Food - superlative! The Rembrandt restaurant was excellent and I think the food was the best I've ever had at sea. We chose open-seating which meant we could go whenever we wanted. We didn't mind sitting with other guests and had some really fun evenings this way. The Lido Buffet wasn't as good as Celebrity's and HAL insists that their staff serve the buffet, instead of allowing you to help yourself. This makes for long queues and sometimes the food 'backs up' as the staff try to streamline the service. This can lead to errors and then the dish has to be scrapped and started again, causing more delays.
Ports of Call:
La Goulette - went on Best of Tunisia tour - it was fantastic.
Trapani - took Segesta tour - wonderful and walked round Trapani afterwards. Civitavecchia - we didn't go to Rome as we've been to Rome many times and will be back there in August, so after 2 days of tours, we had a look at Civitavecchia.
Sta Margherita for Portofino - independent travel to Portofino - absolutely spectacular.
Monte Carlo - we didn't get off and took the opportunity to relax onboard. Everyone I spoke to seemed to enjoy the tours.
Downsides - my husband complained that the loudspeakers for the tender service to Monte Carlo woke him up at 7am, as they could be heard in the cabins. Maybe there is a way you can turn this off?
Check in - very streamlined and easy. Check out, equally good.
One last thing: on the morning of departure, I went to the Lido restaurant and left my handbag with passports, money, credit cards, camera, mobile phone, etc behind. By the time we got back to the cabin, the phone was ringing and front-desk was calling me to say my bag had been handed in. Everything was untouched.
I'm a fan.