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This was our first cruise on HAL and the family really enjoyed it. I was hesitant about HAL because I was concerned that there wouldn't be any families with kids on board, but there were people of all ages and plenty of kids. We were on the 3/24 sailing and the weather in Mexico was great --in the 80's and sunny. We live in Arizona, so we drove to San Diego and parked at the garage across from the pier. Embarkation was very fast -- there were no lines to check-in and we got right on the ship. Our luggage arrived at the stateroom quickly. We were in cabin 4180, an aft suite. The cabin was very nice with a big bathroom/dressing area and comfy king size bed. There was more storage space than we could fill -- we probably only used half of it! The wrap-around balcony for this suite is very large, however, the balcony furniture is worn and needs to be replaced. The cabin steward was attentive and brought fresh fruit every day. The kids gobbled up all the grapes and the steward kept bringing bigger bunches each day...yummy! The suite is a triple, so we also had an interior cabin, 4171, for two of the kids. The interior cabin was small but it was fine since the family spent most of the time in the suite. The bedding was comfortable in the interior cabin - I really didn't notice a big difference between the "upgraded" bedding in the suite compared to the interior cabin. The suite did have better toiletries than the interior cabin, but the main difference between the two was the space (of course!). The only complaint with the suite was the vibration from the broken motor. The vibration was very noticeable in the suite as well as the aft portion of the upper dining room where we were seated. It was like sleeping on one of those vibrating beds - constant shaking. The interior cabin was on the other side of the ship and there was no noticeable vibration there. We ate breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill each morning which is a perk that comes with the suite. The breakfast menu was the same as the dining room but we really enjoyed the attentive service there. Another great perk was the Neptune Lounge which has a cappuccino machine and tasty snacks. We ate lunch and dinner in the main dining room. Our waiter, Hari, was awesome. He did magic tricks for the kids each night and provided excellent service. The food was very good -- we liked it all, appetizers, soups, salads, entrees. The selection of entrees was good - fish/seafood, beef, pasta and other options like pork, lamb or duck each night. The only entree that I did not like was the sirloin steak on the first night. There was a kids menu available at dinner which was the same each night. The food in the Lido was actually pretty good. The kids liked the ice cream and the pizza. The "chocolate extravaganza" was disappointing...there were many chocolate fountains but there weren't enough interesting things to dip -- just sticks with fruit like melon and pineapple but no strawberries to be found! Chocolate covered grapes - yick! We really enjoyed the comedian, Derrick Cameron. He had two shows, one of which was an adults-only show at 10:30 -- both shows were excellent. The other entertainment was good. I'm not a big fan of musical production shows - we did go to the show "Escape" and found it better than most shows of this type. The comedy-magic show was just "okay". The cruise director, Dan, said that usually they have more of a traditional Vegas-type magic show - we would have enjoyed that more. We did not take any shore excursions. We just went to the beach in Cabo where we rented a wave runner (the beach vendors there are overwhelmingly annoying). We went to the El Cid resort in Mazatlan which was nothing special but the kids had fun swimming in the pool. In PV, we went to the waterpark in Nuevo Vallarta and had a great day there. The cab ride was $20 each way and the admission to the park was $17 for adults and $14 for kids. The water slides and lazy river were great. They also had a bird show, seal show and dolphin show. My son did the swim with the dolphins program ($99 including park admission). My 7 year old daughter really enjoyed Club Hal. They had many fun activities - art projects, games, outdoor games like water balloons and such. She loved it all. The 11 and 13 year old boys had no interest in Club Hal or the teen activities, so they did not participate. They enjoyed the movies, the pool and the sports court. Disembarkation was a breeze. The only delay was getting the car out of the parking garage -- there was one person working and a huge line of cars to exit. Overall we had a great cruise...we felt the service and food were terrific.

Oosterdam - Mexican Riviera

Oosterdam Cruise Review by ScottsdaleFive

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2007
  • Destination: Mexican Riviera
  • Cabin Type: Neptune Deluxe Verandah Suite
This was our first cruise on HAL and the family really enjoyed it. I was hesitant about HAL because I was concerned that there wouldn't be any families with kids on board, but there were people of all ages and plenty of kids. We were on the 3/24 sailing and the weather in Mexico was great --in the 80's and sunny.
We live in Arizona, so we drove to San Diego and parked at the garage across from the pier. Embarkation was very fast -- there were no lines to check-in and we got right on the ship. Our luggage arrived at the stateroom quickly.
We were in cabin 4180, an aft suite. The cabin was very nice with a big bathroom/dressing area and comfy king size bed. There was more storage space than we could fill -- we probably only used half of it! The wrap-around balcony for this suite is very large, however, the balcony furniture is worn and needs to be replaced. The cabin steward was attentive and brought fresh fruit every day. The kids gobbled up all the grapes and the steward kept bringing bigger bunches each day...yummy!
The suite is a triple, so we also had an interior cabin, 4171, for two of the kids. The interior cabin was small but it was fine since the family spent most of the time in the suite. The bedding was comfortable in the interior cabin - I really didn't notice a big difference between the "upgraded" bedding in the suite compared to the interior cabin. The suite did have better toiletries than the interior cabin, but the main difference between the two was the space (of course!).
The only complaint with the suite was the vibration from the broken motor. The vibration was very noticeable in the suite as well as the aft portion of the upper dining room where we were seated. It was like sleeping on one of those vibrating beds - constant shaking. The interior cabin was on the other side of the ship and there was no noticeable vibration there.
We ate breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill each morning which is a perk that comes with the suite. The breakfast menu was the same as the dining room but we really enjoyed the attentive service there. Another great perk was the Neptune Lounge which has a cappuccino machine and tasty snacks.
We ate lunch and dinner in the main dining room. Our waiter, Hari, was awesome. He did magic tricks for the kids each night and provided excellent service. The food was very good -- we liked it all, appetizers, soups, salads, entrees. The selection of entrees was good - fish/seafood, beef, pasta and other options like pork, lamb or duck each night. The only entree that I did not like was the sirloin steak on the first night. There was a kids menu available at dinner which was the same each night.
The food in the Lido was actually pretty good. The kids liked the ice cream and the pizza.
The "chocolate extravaganza" was disappointing...there were many chocolate fountains but there weren't enough interesting things to dip -- just sticks with fruit like melon and pineapple but no strawberries to be found! Chocolate covered grapes - yick!
We really enjoyed the comedian, Derrick Cameron. He had two shows, one of which was an adults-only show at 10:30 -- both shows were excellent. The other entertainment was good. I'm not a big fan of musical production shows - we did go to the show "Escape" and found it better than most shows of this type. The comedy-magic show was just "okay". The cruise director, Dan, said that usually they have more of a traditional Vegas-type magic show - we would have enjoyed that more.
We did not take any shore excursions. We just went to the beach in Cabo where we rented a wave runner (the beach vendors there are overwhelmingly annoying). We went to the El Cid resort in Mazatlan which was nothing special but the kids had fun swimming in the pool. In PV, we went to the waterpark in Nuevo Vallarta and had a great day there. The cab ride was $20 each way and the admission to the park was $17 for adults and $14 for kids. The water slides and lazy river were great. They also had a bird show, seal show and dolphin show. My son did the swim with the dolphins program ($99 including park admission).
My 7 year old daughter really enjoyed Club Hal. They had many fun activities - art projects, games, outdoor games like water balloons and such. She loved it all. The 11 and 13 year old boys had no interest in Club Hal or the teen activities, so they did not participate. They enjoyed the movies, the pool and the sports court.
Disembarkation was a breeze. The only delay was getting the car out of the parking garage -- there was one person working and a huge line of cars to exit.
Overall we had a great cruise...we felt the service and food were terrific.
ScottsdaleFive’s Full Rating Summary
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Rates
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
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