All in all the cruise was a positive and fun experience. As this was our first cruise on HAL ( 6 others on Princess).
The embarkation was very smooth as it was well planned. Thus smaller groups of passengers were boarding at one time.
We had booked what was to be a balcony room but it turned out to have a small Juliette balcony...no room for any furniture. The room was smaller than I had anticipated. Storage was amble and the bathroom - with tub - was good.
Room location was terrific...deck 11. It was quiet and convenient to the library, spa, and sun deck. However, as we hit two days of rough seas, we were really rocking on deck 11.
The food was ok...but not as good as we had experienced on Princess. Fish was usually dry and selection limited. One formal night, king crab legs were offered...very messy to eat in "dress up " clothes. Food in the Lido was fresh and good selection. We ate in the Italian restaurant one evening, ( no extra charge). It was More
The staff was terrific. We opted for the dine around option but usually were seated at the same table ( there were four of us). The wait staff was excellent. The room steward did an excellent job. All staff were professional.
The entertainment was weak. The productions were amateurish. We left most shows before they were ended. Good entertainment was found in the bars except for the piano bar...he was so annoying! There was a variety of activities.
Half Moon Cay...the best stop and better than Princess' Cay. Turks and Caicos...the beach is free so don't book an excursion.
One very positive aspect was that the HAL staff never urged you to shop or buy extras. The last Princess cruise we took, it seemed that there was always someone selling something extra.
The age group is old old old. It was very noticeable that the staff was trained to be helpful and patient with that age group. The public areas are deserted after 10 pm but that can be a good thing as you could always find a seat in one of the lounges.
All things being equal ( cost, destinations, and time of year ) I might select Princess over HAL. Less