We went on this cruise with our 2 kids, Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt, Uncle and cousins. We found that it was the perfect cruise line to keep everyone happy.
We had a VD cabin on the 4th deck. We loved the extra long balcony on this cabin. We were spoiled with how huge it was! It was so big, I wish they would have put a bigger table out there so we could have eaten on it. We had a quad room, and I wish the design of these could be better. Didn't care for the upper bunk being about 3 feet above our heads. I lost track of how many bumps everyone got. Our daughter bumped so hard 1 day, that she had a goose egg for the rest of the trip. Not good! Also, when the sofa bed was out, there was only 5 inches of space to get around it to the balcony. The storage space was excellent. I was worried about having 4 in a cabin and where we would put everything, but no problem. The bathroom was spacious for a ship bathroom, however it looked dingy. The ship is only 4 years old, and the bathroom needed some work. There were cracks in the floor, tub, sink... dirty areas that wouldn't come clean.
We thought the food was excellent for a cruise ship. We ate in the dining room 5 nights with open seating, Canaletto 1 night, Pinnacle 1 night. Everything was great with Pinnacle being outstanding. We did not try Tamarind. 1 person in our group does not like Asian food, so we didn't go. The downstairs main dining room did get loud after 6:30. It was impossible for everyone to hear. We ate lunches at the Lido or Terrace Grill. Food all good, but the lines in the Lido were awful, and then to try and find a place to sit... hard at times. It's best to avoid the Lido between 12 and 1:00, but when kids are hungry that was impossible for us. The Terrace Grill outside of the Lido made hamburgers, hot dogs and a few other grill items, and the line for this was always long too. Breakfast crowds in the Lido not as bad, people seemed to trickle in at all different times. Breakfast food excellent as well. We also did room service breakfast at times, and that was always on time and great. Loved drinking my coffee in my robe on my balcony.
SHIP & ACTIVITIES:
Ship was wonderful and in great condition. Pools were visited every day. 1 day they had to close the Lido pool due to some late nighters throwing glass into the pool the night before. So we all went to the sea view pool the next day (which is supposed to be the adult pool), and we got a lot of nasty looks from some people. Mind you our kids are older and very well behaved, and the reason the Lido pool was closed was because ADULTS threw glass into it. Kids loved the mid-ship glass elevators. It felt like they were suspended above the water. Several in our group loved the culinary demonstrations. They went to them every day. Our son enjoyed the steel drum band lessons and golf chipping.
We only went to 2 shows. We went to some singing and dancing number the 1st night or so, and nobody really cared for it, so we didn't go back again until the Magician was performing, and he was wonderful! Couldn't say enough good things about him. Also, around the ship the Halcats were good, the guitarist was excellent and the string quartet was very good as well.
Our kids were a little too shy to try Club Hal the first few days, so they stuck with us. However, on our last sea day (day 6), they decided to try it out, and they had a blast. They wished they would have gone sooner in the week.
Grand Turk was beautiful. We did a catamaran and beach snorkel trip which was fun. Snorkeling so-so, water gold, but crew was great and the beach they took us to was perfect.
San Juan - we did a do it yourself walking tour to El Morro. The walk was hard for the youngest and oldest in our group, but the fort was amazing. Great pictures there. We tried to find the trolley or a cab to go to the fort, but it was a zoo getting off of the ship with people coming up to you trying to sell you tours and we just wanted to avoid all that.
St. Thomas - we did another catamaran snorkel trip. Also great. Snorkeling was better here, and the water was warmer.
Half Moon Cay - wonderful! Wished we could have stayed longer. We rented a couple of clamshells which were worth it. Kids played in the sand and water all day. Lunch was good, but again don't go eat between 12-1... there was a huge line.
So, all in all, we thought this was a great cruise for all of the ages in our group. As you can tell, I don't like waiting in line, and maybe we should try a smaller ship, but with kids, I think they like having all of the activities of this size ship. Everyone had a wonderful time, and I'm sure we will cruise HAL again!