Our two experiences of HAL have been very good. Indeed, on the Zuiderdam in Oct 2005 we met more gay and lesbians friends than on any cruise before or since. In three weeks we embark on our 3rd HAL cruise (Boston to Montreal), one which I anticipate will be an older crowd but who knows - there'll be 14 of us plus my mother and her boyfriend.
The advantage of sailing with an older crowd - there's never crowding in the evenings.
We have met a couple of cruisemates through these boards but most of the time it's about making eye contact and saying hello.