We were on the March 25 Spring Break cruise. We're a family of four, with two boys 11 and 9, and were excited to find an itinerary that fit us so well. We've sailed on NCL and Carnival in the past and have usually had to hunt out a quiet place on the ships to avoid the constant "fun," so HAL looked to be the right fit for us. A TA tried to talk me out of sailing with HAL due to the usual "walker and scooter" line, but it only served to whet my appetite for a nice, quiet ride. We planned on (and did!) have active and exhausting days on shore, so relaxing ship days were perfect.
We boarded at around 11:30am in Fort Lauderdale, and since we were in an SA category cabin, we dropped our bags off at the Neptune lounge before exploring the ship. We hit the Lido right away and found the sandwiches to be pretty good (although the kids concluded they weren't as good as Panera's). I was looking forward to the bread pudding but found myself confronted by a bowl of Vanilla Icing Soup with a Raisin Bread Crouton. Well, now I knew to ask for less icing next time! So now I might as well talk about the
FOOD: Reviewing the food is so subjective, but what the heck! Overall, I have to say we were satisfied with the food but only at the Pinnacle, which we ate at 8 times during the cruise (6 dinner, 2 lunch). After our first two nights in the Main Dining Room, we were not looking forward to anymore (although I did have excellent lamb chops). Too bland and overcooked for our tastes in general and the service, while friendly, was rushed and impersonal. The soups especially were uninspired. Most everyone else we talked to during the cruise loved the food in the Main Dining Room, so what do we know? And also, being a desert person I was disappointed (but my waistline was grateful) that there was not one desert I tried, with the exception of a few at the Pinnacle, that I would care to try again (and most I thought were pretty terrible). I gained no weight on this cruise, so maybe this is something I should look for on future cruises?