This was our first HAL cruise. Previously we have cruised on 4 times on Celebrity and once on NCL. We chose it for the itinerary -- Panama Canal -- and we wanted to be away for New Years. We had also heard good things about HAL from others who had cruised on the line. We flew in the day before and stayed at the Marriot Courtyard in Dania Beach since they had an airport shuttle and a cruise shuttle the next day included in their room rates. The hotel was fine, and there was a seafood restaurant in easy walking distance for dinner.
We got to the port at around 1 PM and were in our stateroom in maybe half an hour. Boarding was easy and efficient. Our stateroom was clean and the crew everywhere was cheerful and helpful. We had a VA balcony cabin on deck 8 towards the front of the ship with amazing views. We were extremely happy with it as we had booked a balcony guarantee cabin.
There have been some negative comments on the condition of the ship -- ignore them. There was always some maintenance, cleaning, painting, and whatever going on. Yes, there were some dings and dents in the walls at spots, and maybe the carpet was worn in a couple of extremely high traffic areas. If that is what ruins your vacation, then stay home.
8010 Very forward and high so you really can feel the boat rocking when the sea is rough. Nice sized room and balcon, quiet location.