August 2016 - Rotterdam to Canada, New England, New York
Life on Board: HAL has a reputation for attracting a more mature crowd, and we knew this going when we booked. Once on board we were shocked to see that "mature" meant people in their 80s instead of the 60s or 70s we expected (we are in our 50s and ended up being the youngest people on board!). Not sure what HAL can do about this, but you should be well aware of it when you book because it does affect daily life onboard ship. We wanted to slow down and relax, not grind to a stand still! Seriously though, the people were nice enough but we missed having a peer group.
Food: The food quality in the main dining room was mediocre - bland and over-sauced. We found that we preferred the Lido for all of our meals due to better variety and healthier choices combined with a great selection of desserts (it's all about balance). The salad and stir fry stations were offered at both lunch and dinner. The main dining room menu is posted around 10AM daily on Deck 5, and the Lido daily menu is posted by the doors going out to the outdoor pool area (Deck 8) and it's worth a look as many times several items found on the main dining room menu were served at the Lido as well. We also enjoyed in-room dining for breakfast a few mornings when we had an early excursion and it arrived on-time, hot and accurate. My husband, a self-proclaimed coffee snob, found the onboard brew to be just fine.
Cabin/Interior Spaces: We had an interior cabin on Deck 2 and found it to be a great place to stay. Lots of closet space and our stewards were wonderful. I am an early riser and my husband is an afternoon napper, and it was always possible to find a quiet place to read or just look out the window whenever I felt like it. The ship was very livable.
Entertainment: The magician and comedian were good. HAL revue was mediocre. Shows were definitely geared towards the elderly crowd. The Band and classical duo were good too - nice to hear them while walking through Deck 5. Huge onboard library with a lounge area for reading. In-room TV viewing was very limited, and the DVD selection looked extensive in the booklet but nothing was available when we tried to arrange for viewing.
Ports/Excursions: The ports of call on this cruise were wonderful. Canada is beautiful, and the people were friendly too. We will definitely go back to many of the places we visited so that we can spend an extended time there. Our favorite excursion was sea kayaking in Saguenay Fjords National Park.
Overall impression: The Rotterdam was a great place to call home for 10 days. HAL has excellent service, but we will probably wait 25 years to sail with them again so that we fit in