Day 1-June 27, 2010 New York, New York
I was traveling with a group of nine for my grandparents 55th wedding anniversary. We arrived and moved very quickly through customs and security. When we arrived on board the ship we were told that the staterooms weren't ready yet and that it was recommended we go to the Lido for lunch. My only complaint about the service that afternoon is that it was a bit disorganized. However this was mostly because you could not get any of your own food yet due to health precautions. Around 1:00 an announcement came on that the rooms were ready. So we trooped down to our rooms and found small, but well appointed interior cabins. Exactly what we expected. I was in one cabin with my parents, while my aunt and cousins were in another and my grandparents had a third. Our luggage had not yet arrived so we left our carry ons and went upstairs to sit in the sun until the 4:15 briefing on emergency procedures. Immediately following this we returned to the Retreat where we sat and watched as we sailed away from New York. Around 6:30 my entire family decided to have dinner up in the Lido. The food was good and the music, while not to my taste, was well played. Afterward we hung out in the Retreat for several hours enjoying the view. While we did not attend the show, my grandparents did and they enjoyed it. We returned to the cabin and settled in for our first night at sea.
Day 2- June 28. 2010 At Sea
We awoke late to the knocking of room service at our door. We ordered for around 8:30-9:00 and it came somewhere in that timeframe. We all took our time getting ready and then split up for the day. My brother went upstairs to the kid's activites and absolutely loved them. He was never not busy and found a large group of friends. My parents and I decided to wander around and acquaint ourselves with the ship. My grandmother and I went to several of the talks that took place during the morning, and then headed off to lunch up in the Lido. The service had improved slightly and the food was once again excellent. I then took several hours to lounge by the pool and enjoy the hot tub. Around 3:30 I returned to the cabin to get ready for formal night. I wore a long halter dress and felt right at home during formal night. We had 5:45 reserved Upper seating and loved our table. Our dining stewards were incredible and answered any and all requests we made quickly. The food was excellent and while yes, dinner did drag out, it was not because of the stewards, merely that fact that you are eating 5 courses. They also immediately accommodated a request we had for my grandparents wedding anniversary. Afterward the entire family, minus my brother, attended the Broadway show. It was excellent. The quality of the singers was incredible and the music they choose to sing was perfect. The show centered around the costumes, which were all designed by Bob Mackey. The costumes were incredible. Just gorgeous. For anyone going on this cruise I would highly recommend the shows. Afterward we returned to our rooms for an early night. Especially since my mother and I had to catch the 8:30 tender to St. Georges. In the room we found a octopus waiting for us.
Day 3-June 29, 2010 St. George Bermuda
My mother and I woke up at 6:30 to our room service. We quickly ate in our room and prepared for our long day on land. We took the 5 hour Tour of Bermuda. Neither of us had ever been to Bermuda so this was a great way to get to know the island. The tenders were very crowded and only ran every other hour. Odd from the ship, even to the ship. Our tours was wonderful. We had an excellent tour guide, who had been born and raised on the island. She knew every nook and cranny, and every story and rumor. She gave us bathroom breaks, and even got us to Dockyard with enough time for us to take over an hour for lunch. When we returned to St. George, my mother and I visited the unfinished Church, and St. Peter's Church. We then slowly made our way to the tender for the 4:30. We made it there with plenty of time, and made it back to the boat with enough time to change for dinner. Dinner was again excellent. We skipped the show tonight as none of us like comedians. Instead we attended Karaoke up in the Crow's nest. My family, and my cousins all sang. We sang Sugar, Sugar, and Sweet Home Alabama. Afterward we returned to our cabins for another good nights sleep, finding another animal waiting for us.
Day 4- June 30, 2010- Hamilton.
Relaxation. That is what we spent the morning enjoying onboard the ship. I attended the 1:00 Cake decorating class and then lazed about some more before heading to dinner. Excellent as usual, with the entire family present this time. Afterward we attended Harbor nights, which was fun, but very crowded. We did some shopping and got some of our gifts taken care of. Afterward I believe this was the night the Filipino waiters put on their show. It was so cute and interesting. Their culture is so different and unique it was a pleasure to watch. Afterward it was bed time.
Day 5- July 1, 2010 -Hamilton
My father woke up early and left to attended the golf tournament. He and my grandfather were gone all day. My mother and I took our time getting ready and then the two of us, plus my grandmother went ashore to do some more shopping. We returned to the ship around 11 am and had an early lunch. After lunch my brother and I prepared to go on our Snorkel Expedition. We went with our cousins and enjoyed the experience. My only complaint here is the length of the boat ride compared to the length on actual snorkel time. However it was enjoyable and with some power walking I even made it back to the ship in time for my dinner seating. After dinner I attended the Duwop show. It featured the four male stars. Again I highly recommend the show. They made it entertaining and made it into more than just group of songs. It was a really entertaining experience.
Day 6- July 2- Hamilton and at Sea
We had to be back on the ship by 1:00 pm at the latest and show we got up fairly early and went into town to do a little shopping. It wasn't raining when we left, and then it started to pour. We finished shopping quite early and headed back to the boat to hang out by the pool. We grabbed loungers and just relaxed for several hours. We caught a little of the World cup match, which the Netherlands won so it was good for us. At 1:00 the horn blew to round up any late passengers, and then at about 1:15 we headed back out to sea. At 2:00 my mother and I attended the $10 sale in the shops. I picked up a nice evening bag, and a shawl, we got some ties for my brother and father and a belt for my dad. This all came with a free winter item. My mother got a watch and bag. We then headed over to the cupcake tea. It was good, although tea is not my favorite beverage. This was the second formal night and so it was another night of early showers for everyone. We met up for 5:45 dinner and then took some family photos. At dinner they sang to me for my birthday and then we all had birthday cake. Then 5 of us headed to the showroom to see the classical music show. I must say when they tell you this is the best show, they are not exaggerating. It is absolutely breathtaking. The best part is the end when both singers sing Ode to Joy. It was simply beautiful. So people might complain that it is geared towards the elderly, but it was truly geared towards those who appreciate such music. Afterward we attended the country line dancing which was another fun filled activity. Embarrassing, but fun. Then we went to Dessert Extravaganza. It was so incredible to see all of the cake, and chocolate, and ice sculptures. It all tasted so good, and we took home two marzipan animals, which joined the towel monkey in the room.
Day 7- At Sea
This was another late morning, although my father did get up in time to attend the 10:00 disembarkation debriefing. Afterward my mother and I attended the mini show in the Showroom. This was another incredible performance by the singers, and I am still in awe of their voices. We then ate lunch and headed up to the Lido for some final time around the pool. It was cold though so I didn't stay too long. I went back to the room to start packing and shower for tonight. We went to one final dinner at the MDR, and thanked our stewards profusely for the wonderful meals we had had. The entire staff sang a farewell song and then we had the special dessert. Baked Alaska. There were nine of us and so we had several pieces of it on the table, and then right in front of my father an entire Baked Alaska was set down. And amazingly he ate over half. That was a Kodak moment. Afterward we attended the final show, "Live from the Stardust Lounge." This involved all but one of the singers and again it was a wonderful show. They sang Doris Day, and Dean Martin, Judy Garland, and more. Then it was down to see "Extraordinary Measures." A good movie. Not the best, but certainly worth seeing. Then I finished packing and went to bed on the ship on last time, where I found an elephant sitting next to the pink one that is my safety blanket. It was so adorable on top of the earlier animals all week.
Disembarkation-We got into port a little late, and so all the disembarkations were a little late, and a little rushed. However it was amazingly organized and well done. There was no hassle, and the worst part was finding your luggage since they didn't put it all together.
Fashion- I had no run ins with the fashion police. Although that might be because I dress up not down. I dressed for the the formal nights, and even on "SMART casual" I dressed up in clothing such as I would wear to church or out to a fancy restaurant. Not jeans, not casual clothing. My family is not the type to dress down for anything. So for me the fashion police were not a worry. We dressed how we liked and had a great time. It worked perfectly that out way of dressing is HAL's way of dressing.
People- Almost everyone was incredibly nice, and kind, and helpful. I met only two nasty people, and they were within quick succession. One afternoon at lunch we were waiting in line at the Lido. Now the line came from both directions and there was little order. I had my brother hold my spot while I dropped our plates off at the table and then came back. A woman next to me proceeded to lecture me on the act that the line came from the left not the right. Well unfortunately for her the bread and appetizers were on the right so logically the line should go from the right. She then proceeded to tell me I was rude and needed to "know my place." I couldn't even think of a reply before she walked off. When I reached the front the server looked at me and asked, "Madam what would you like," so I of course replied and gave him my order. Well this just set the gentleman(I use that term loosely) next to me off. He began to yell about my rudeness, and how I had cut the line. He yelled that he had been waiting 8 minutes and should have been next. He called me several nasty names, and insulted me multiple times. Well two times in five minutes was too much. I proceeded to give him a lecture on being rude to young women, and that it was server's choice who to serve and when. Beyond that lunch line, everyone was incredibly pleasant.
Overall- It was a really incredible trip. The ship was gorgeous, and everyone was so nice, and kind. From some of the earlier reviews I was afraid I would be bored, but that was just not the case. I enjoyed all of my activities, and had few complaints. The shows every night were incredible, and although some people claim they cater to a much older crowd I saw many people my age(college) and younger loving every show. The shows required a love of all types of music. The talent in them was amazing and worth seeing every night. There were many activities for teenagers and younger kids. There were things to do all day and all night, and so you were never bored. I found this cruise to be a quality experience and would most certainly take another cruise on a DAM ship. I would recommend HAL, and this cruise for everyone and anyone.
Suggestions- Go to all the shows, especially Day 2, 4, 5, 6, 7. Dress as the dress code states. Enjoy yourself. Relax, don't make scenes, and make some friends.