From the time we stepped out of the taxi at the port, our embarkation was smooth sailing. We were moved right along by the friendly and helpful staff. It was such a nice change to be able to go directly to our cabin to drop our carry-ons and freshen up before visiting the Lido for lunch. Everything was fresh and a wonderful variety of foods, even for picky me. I am so happy that the food is served on the line rather than pax helping themselves, so much more sanitary. We like to be waited on, so it was the only time we dined in the Lido though DH visited often for snacks.
Our room was immaculate, and a smell of some cleaning solution dissipated while we were at the safety drill and cool enough for me once I cranked the AC. There was a slight odor in the bathroom but it must have been seeped into the tiles or grout because it really was clean. We had plenty of closet and drawer space, never even using the nightstand drawers.
I can not say enough about the staff in the dining room accommodating our requests for window seating and tables for 4 only. We're not unfriendly and would share,(did once to get a table we wanted)but DH's hearing issue makes it difficult for him to converse with people who don't know to speak face to face and he can't hear soft, higher pitched voices. Only once, on Saturday night, was the wait staff a little slow and forgetful at dinner.
The food was high quality, cooked to my taste with vegs tender-crisp and fruits ripe and sweet, not too salty and beautifully presented. I only eat poultry so I can't vouch for other meals but my DH and friends seemed happy. There also was a vegetarian offering whenever I remembered to look. All requests were honored with the exception of asking for LESS of anything. Ordering one egg, one strip of bacon, or one piece of french toast at breakfast was futile, people who are watching their calories have to be self-disciplined. One little touch I liked was the dish of small cubes of butter, instead of the little foil packets...much classier!
I feel lucky to have avoided all the experiences other cruisers have been complaining about re tendering in to St. George and bus and ferry transportation. We loved the breezy ride in the bow of the Bermudiana over to St. George, made the most of our day and were among the last few on to return to the ship.
We ferried to Dockyard the next morning, were asked where we wanted to go and directed to the bus stop for #8 to take us to Fort Scaur. Later that day a full bus went by us towards Hamilton, but another arrived in less than 5 minutes.
The Indonesian Tea and the Cupcake Tea were fun diversions in the afternoon. The evening shows were probably geared towards a retirement age crowd, lacking a bit of energy and and sparkle for me, but we wandered the ship and enjoyed some of the music in the lounges, played basketball on deck and were treated to an unexpected fireworks show Thursday night!
I spent more time than I wanted to in the library because I'm enrolled in an online college course and had to keep up with the assignments but it was a quiet and relaxing place to get it done. The internet access is expensive and slow, but got the job done.
We will definitely cruise HAL again, because it was worth the money, good service and food (DH gained 2.2, I struggled with control over the delicious offerings but maintained!)and friendly staff. This particular itinerary gives us the most time on our favorite destination, the incredibly beautiful island of Bermuda.