This is such a simple review. There is no bad or ugly. We are "later 60's" seniors from California and evidently easy to please. This was only my second cruise on HAL, the third for my better half. The most recent previous cruise was Celebrity Solstice in the Med last year in October, a great experience. Previous to that was the Maasdam in June last year, Boston to Montreal, also a great experience.
Having spent two and a half glorious days in London we took the Eurostar train from St Pancras station (beautiful) to Brussels, then Thalys to Rotterdam, the departing port. We spent the night there, as we usually do. It makes for a very relaxed no-rush boarding. Again, as we usually do, we checked out of the Manhattan Hotel at 11 and taxied for ten plus minutes to the port for 12 Euro. Boarding was a non-event, no long waits whatsoever, and we were having lunch in the Lido at noon. Perhaps we are just lucky, but this timing has always worked for us. And YES, I had read the horror stories about boarding in Rotterdam. Not true!
We lunched with new-found friends, having been welcomed to join them at a table for 8. Finding a seat was no problem though many were onboard already. As a new custom, food was served by the ship's staff for the first 48 hours. This, too, was a non-issue. Just point at want you want. It is very quick. Lunch provided the opportunity to evaluate the service staff of mostly Filipino and Indonesian staff. Good grief, incredible! Perfect English, smiling faces, bending over backwards to be of service. This portended of good things to come!