Our 9th cruise, 2nd on HAL. Our first cruise was on HAL 18 years ago and we've always compared our cruises to that first one. We've been looking forward to cruising on HAL again. We've cruised on Princess, Royal, Carnival and Norwegian. My spouse and I are 50. This would have and should have been a 5 star cruise...if not for the malfunctioning/ nonfunctioning stateroom toilet.
Flew into Tampa the night before embarkation and stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites Ybor City/Downtown Tampa. 5 stars for the Hampton Inn and would highly recommend. Clean, super friendly and helpful staff, a decent hot breakfast and a free shuttle to the cruise port. Great location right at the end of 7th Ave where all the bars and restaurants are. A quirky area where we felt completely safe. Check out The Florida Cane Distillery for free samples of various flavored vodkas. Tasty! We bought some to bring home. Had dinner at the Columbia Restaurant which was very good, highly recommend. If we cruise out of Tampa again, we'll stay here again.
Took the free hotel shuttle to the port at around 1100. Took approximately an hour to get onboard after going thru security and checking in. Stateroom was ready, clean and had a decent balcony with foot stools for each chair and a small table. Toilet worked at this time.