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This was our 7th cruise and first on HAL. We have been on Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean. DH is retired and DW is close. We travelled with another couple - sister-in-law and DH. Having been told that nobody on HAL is under 50, we noted that at least two-thirds of this cruise were indeed under 50. Boarding was a snap, very slick. Lovely ship, every nook and crannie seems to be filled with some objet d'art. Atrium is not impressive though, it's as if it had been crowded in to create more square feet for revenue-producing activities. We liked the historic black and white photos that lined our corridor. Proper lifeboat drill at the your station with roll-call. It's a pain but full marks to HAL for doing it. We decided on an inside room for this cruise and it was the tightest we have ever seen on any ship. Seven days was enough - a longer cruise on this ship would have to be in a bigger space. Bed was comfortable though. We did not experience any line-ups at any time. Met the famous Hunky Dory in the Lido. The guy is amazing. He came up to DH and called him by name although he had never met him. He recognized DW and had memorized who she was sailing with. The Lido was the best buffet we have seen at sea, good variety and quality, lots of stations. Bread pudding was delicious and well-tested. No dancing lessons, no classes at sea, no guest lecturers, no midnight buffets, can't check your room charges on the TV. Pinnacle grill food was excellent but we felt service was rushed. Wine list was very expensive and all from Washington State. Did we enjoy the Grill? Yes. Was it worth it? No. Would we do it again? Highly unlikely. The main dining room food was very good but too often was not as hot as it should be. Our wine waiter (Leo) was excellent and had our cocktail sitting on the table when we entered. Several times during the week waiters would appear around the ship with trays of canapes, very nice too. New Year's Eve was fun, with the captain ringing a ship's bell at midnight. Lots and lots of bubbly, funny hats, party favors etc. and a good band for dancing (Counterpoint). The ship has a decent size of dance floor in the Crow's Nest, unlike many others, and there were plenty of keen dancers in the crowd. We liked deck 3, our favorite place to sit on a bed reading and watch the world go by. It is also a nice feature for walking - three times around is a mile. The sliding roof over the pool is also a nice feature since the first and last days may be on the cool side. On one of the sea days, we went for lunch in the dining room. We particularly wanted a table for two. "Very sorry, we can normally do it but today we are short staffed." The logic of that escapes me. We went to the Lido instead but were not pleased. We had an outbreak of the dreaded norovirus. We thought that HAL dealt with it very well and it really was a minor inconvenience. Disembarkation was a bit of a shambles. We were scheduled to tie up at 6:15 but the captain made several attempts (three?) to get snug in so we were late. Hence immigration clearance was late. Our scheduled 8:15 expedited departure was an hour late by which time there was a huge crowd at the exit and too many people thinking they had the right to jump the queue. There was also a terrible lack of staff to impose some discipline on the proceedings. The rain was pelting down and it was a nasty day in San Diego. Once off, high marks to U.S. Customs - they were expediting things very well indeed. Overall, an excellent cruise and we'll be back on HAL in future. Not exclusively though, we'll take the others when it suits us.

Oosterdam - Mexico - New Year's

Oosterdam Cruise Review by DougYWG

Trip Details
This was our 7th cruise and first on HAL. We have been on Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean. DH is retired and DW is close. We travelled with another couple - sister-in-law and DH. Having been told that nobody on HAL is under 50, we noted that at least two-thirds of this cruise were indeed under 50.
Boarding was a snap, very slick. Lovely ship, every nook and crannie seems to be filled with some objet d'art. Atrium is not impressive though, it's as if it had been crowded in to create more square feet for revenue-producing activities. We liked the historic black and white photos that lined our corridor. Proper lifeboat drill at the your station with roll-call. It's a pain but full marks to HAL for doing it.
We decided on an inside room for this cruise and it was the tightest we have ever seen on any ship. Seven days was enough - a longer cruise on this ship would have to be in a bigger space. Bed was comfortable though.
We did not experience any line-ups at any time. Met the famous Hunky Dory in the Lido. The guy is amazing. He came up to DH and called him by name although he had never met him. He recognized DW and had memorized who she was sailing with. The Lido was the best buffet we have seen at sea, good variety and quality, lots of stations. Bread pudding was delicious and well-tested.
No dancing lessons, no classes at sea, no guest lecturers, no midnight buffets, can't check your room charges on the TV. Pinnacle grill food was excellent but we felt service was rushed. Wine list was very expensive and all from Washington State. Did we enjoy the Grill? Yes. Was it worth it? No. Would we do it again? Highly unlikely.
The main dining room food was very good but too often was not as hot as it should be. Our wine waiter (Leo) was excellent and had our cocktail sitting on the table when we entered. Several times during the week waiters would appear around the ship with trays of canapes, very nice too.
New Year's Eve was fun, with the captain ringing a ship's bell at midnight. Lots and lots of bubbly, funny hats, party favors etc. and a good band for dancing (Counterpoint). The ship has a decent size of dance floor in the Crow's Nest, unlike many others, and there were plenty of keen dancers in the crowd.
We liked deck 3, our favorite place to sit on a bed reading and watch the world go by. It is also a nice feature for walking - three times around is a mile. The sliding roof over the pool is also a nice feature since the first and last days may be on the cool side.
On one of the sea days, we went for lunch in the dining room. We particularly wanted a table for two. "Very sorry, we can normally do it but today we are short staffed." The logic of that escapes me. We went to the Lido instead but were not pleased.
We had an outbreak of the dreaded norovirus. We thought that HAL dealt with it very well and it really was a minor inconvenience.
Disembarkation was a bit of a shambles. We were scheduled to tie up at 6:15 but the captain made several attempts (three?) to get snug in so we were late. Hence immigration clearance was late. Our scheduled 8:15 expedited departure was an hour late by which time there was a huge crowd at the exit and too many people thinking they had the right to jump the queue. There was also a terrible lack of staff to impose some discipline on the proceedings. The rain was pelting down and it was a nasty day in San Diego. Once off, high marks to U.S. Customs - they were expediting things very well indeed.
Overall, an excellent cruise and we'll be back on HAL in future. Not exclusively though, we'll take the others when it suits us.
DougYWG’s Full Rating Summary
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