This cruise was an absolute pleasure. We had no trouble driving to the pier in New York, parking, checking in and getting on board. We were able to get into our cabin as soon as we were on board, even though it was earlier than the posted time.
The food on board was fantastic. We had breakfast in the Lido buffet each morning. Each side of the Lido had slightly different choices. You could choose between a variety of eggs benedict options, omelets cooked to order, pastries, fruit, pancakes, french toast, waffles, etc. There were a ton of options for lunch - the buffet, the dining room, the terrace grill (hot dogs, burgers, etc.) and pizza by the retreat. Dinner in the dining room was outstanding. Everything was delicious and service was wonderful. We also ate in the Lido a few nights for a more casual atmosphere with our kids. Canneletto was also good, although the chicken marsala was very salty.
Club HAL was great for our four year old. There weren't very many kids on board. But those who participated in Club HAL seemed to have a wonderful time. The club was open every day, including port days. Most days, it was closed for lunch, and it was closed each night during dinner. It would have been nice to have at least one night to eat dinner without the kids. It reopened in the evening at 7 and late night babysitting was offered after 10pm for $5 an hour. We were told there was private babysitting available on board. But we never inquired. The kids made lots of crafts, played games, and did all sorts of age appropriate activities. Our son had a blast and was sad to say goodbye to his new friends at the end of the week.
Entertainment on board was really good. There was a broadway review, a magician and more. Unfortunately, I didn't get to experience any of it as our baby goes to sleep pretty early. But I heard the magician was especially good.
One concern we did have on board was about the ventilation system. Our air conditioning was fine - perhaps a bit too cold at times. But while we were docked in Hamilton, the crew was painting somewhere on the ship. The fumes got into the hallway and cabins, and it smelled awful. After several complaints over a few days, the ventilation system was rerouted and the smell went away. HAL apologized with a bottle of wine and some candy. A nice touch, but clean air to breath would have been nicer.
All in all, it was a great trip and I would certainly consider sailing on a HAL ship again.