Embarkation for the trip was in Rome. The ship had an outbreak of norovirus on the previous cruise so they were sanitizing the ship so they did not want to start boarding the ship until after 2 in the afternoon. I had purchased the HAL transfers and they handled it very well. Instead of taking us to the port and letting us sit there for 6 or 7 hours HAL put all of us on the transfer bus and gave us a mini tour of Rome while we were waiting. To those who hadn't been to Rome before I'm sure it was a real treat as they covered a lot of the highlights of the city. Obviously we couldn't stop and tour but it was much better than sitting at the port for a long time.
The ship was on code red for the first week of the cruise, but the staff handled it very well, serving everyone at the LIDO, and the service staff bent over backwards for the guests making it a good experience.
Ports were Ajaccio, Corsica, Barcelona, Cartagena, & Malaga, Spain, Tangier, Morocco, and Funchal More
Madeira. I did a ships tour at every port but Funchal as I had been there before and was comfortable on my own. Excursions were fine and were worth the price of the tour.
The food aboard ship was good tasting but I think the variety has slipped a little on HAL. I realize you are going to have repeats on a 15 day cruise, but it was not as diverse of menu as it used to be. Pinnacle Grill was excellent, and the food in the Canaletto was good, but I thought the service was a bit slow.
I did not go to any of the shows in the showroom because none of the shows really appealed to me. The explorations staff offers a diverse mix of things to do, but I did not partake in many of those activities so I can't comment on them.
The weather was rainy while crossing the Atlantic but there is not much you cn do about that and its certainly not HAL's fault for bad weather. The ship had gone off code red by the time we started crossing the Atlantic so with the library reopened that helped a lot. HAL has one of the better libraries at sea in my opinion.
Over all it was an enjoyable trip, but the ship is starting to show its age a little, although the public rooms were very nice. The retreat in the back of the lido deck was not utilized too much as I only saw a few people in the wading pool and almost no one out there for the evening concerts on the big screen. Less
Rotterdam Cruises to Transatlantic