As this is our third Zuidy cruise in 12 months, many of my comments will be the same. Differences in cabin, staff and ports will be noted, but amenities are much the same. If you think you have already read this review, you might be mistaken. To further complicate matters, our 4th Zuidy is scheduled for May, 2005, so there will be at least 4 reviews to confuse you.
This is one of the best cruise we have ever taken. The accommodations (although a lesser category) and ship amenities are first class and the food superb! Hunky Dory from the Lido wins the award for best staff member! He always remembered our names whenever he saw us on the ship. The casino staff was fabulous, and made it SO easy to win enough to pay for the next two cruises.
Shopping & Booking & Stuff: We didn't have to shop for this cruise. The last two Zuidys were near-perfect, and we knew we'd sail her again. It took us 4 minutes to book this one. We booked 2 Cat A wake cabins and knew it would take no less thanfree upgrades to Cat S to get us to switch. The large veranda and gorgeous wake view made this choice a no-brainer.
Embarkation: After a quick taxi ride from the airport, we left our luggage with the attendant at the pier and stood in line outside for the doors to open for check-in. Once inside, the lines went quickly. Even though we had registered with immigration online, we were led to the non-online line which was shorter. After that we walked through the scanner and onto the ship. No more waiting in a stuffy room for three hours. We were allowed to dine in the Lido and roam the ship before rooms were open at 1:00. While you're waiting you may: Make reservations in the Greenhouse Spa Make reservations in the Pinnacle Grill at the Odyssey Restaurant Visit the Lido Pool Bar, Atrium Bar, Seaview Bar, Ocean Bar Have coffee in the Windstar Café Lunch in the Lido Buffet (until 3:45) or Pool Grill Check your E-mail in the Internet Café Check your dining reservations (staff will be in the Smoking Room) Browse the Art Gallery
Cabin: We were in 5181, a Cat A Verandah Suite on the wake. It was roomy compared to our usual ocean view cabins and had a veranda that was easily 3 times larger than the side cat A cabins. The sitting area was generous and the bathroom average. Our major complaint about this suite were the closets. The entranceway is so narrow that if one of us was looking in the safe, the other couldn't get into the bathroom. Rearranging clothing from one closet to another was at best frustrating. The 4 small nightstand drawers were not suitable for clothes, and the drawers under the bed were clumsy to use. Mounting the TV up on the wall saved counter space, but was uncomfortable to watch from the couch for long periods.
Spa: The Greenhouse Spa & Salon (a premier, luxury day spa brand) offers the widest variety of beauty treatments, water floats and facials, in addition to the sauna and steam rooms (all in the Thermal Suite, $15/day or $120/week) and the fabulous seawater hydrotherapy pool (same prices). Hair appointments should be made early for formal nights.
Vista Dining Room: We requested Main Lower seating at table 136 and were delighted to be seated there with two young men who were fun to dine with (our friends even took an excursion in Tortola with them). We found the service to be excellent (Zane wasn't ours this trip, but was most cordial everywhere we saw him on the ship). We had wonderful wake view and experienced no vibrations during dinner. This was the first cruise where the Dining Room wasn't overly air-conditioned. The food was still varied and beautifully prepared and presented.
Lido Restaurant: Imam (Hunky Dory) is back! You must introduce yourself to this amiable steward at his post at the head of the Bistro Line. He will remember you by name (and the friends you're traveling with) anywhere he meets you the whole week!
There is a wonderful selection of hot, cold and ethnic foods and salads, and the ever-popular and highly demanded Bread Pudding with Vanilla Sauce. We loved the great layout of this buffet! It has the cafeteria-style order, but to eliminate standing in one long, long line (we never stood in a line behind more than 2 people).
Odyssey Restaurant (Pinnacle Grill): This alternative dining venue offers elegant service in beautifully furnished rooms and serves the finest cuisine on the ship (you must try the Chocolate Volcano). This romantic dining experienced is enhanced by choice wines of the Northwest. Some tables near the windows provide a beautiful view as well. The menu does not change daily, so if you visit more than once, you'll have the opportunity to try something different. (See Menu) The $20 per person charge (only $10 on Embarkation night) for this dinner may or may not include a tip (consult the new tipping guidelines).
Photo-Flash: In addition to selling the beautiful candid and formal shots taken by the ship's photographer, you can drop off your film at drop boxes located around the ship. Sorry, I don't know about the price or if it can be burned on a CD. They also offer a Cruise Chronicle Video of the activities on your cruise together with some stock footage. This customized 40-minute video features your fellow guests and highlights, ports of call, tour of the ship, a glimpse behind the scenes and a Farewell from officers, staff and crew for only $34.95.
Internet Café: You can find this place on Deck 3, aft, (open 24 hours) and offers these packages for use on their equipment or yours: 1 Minute for 75¢ (+ $3.75 service charge) 40 Minutes for $24.00 100 Minutes for $50.00 250 Minutes for $100.00 Dialup acces in your cabin is 50¢ per minute. WiFi access was in the Internet Center, the Library, Lobby and some other public rooms. You may use your own wireless-enabled laptop or rent a wireless card ($10 per day; optional insurance $3/day). You can also rent a laptop/wireless card combination if required (IBM ThinkPad $20 per day; optional insurance $10/day).
Enter the Raffle anytime the first day and maybe win 100 free minutes. I didn't go online this time, but when I visited at various times during the day and evening and there were always terminals available.
Future Cruise Shipboard Credits: To qualify for these credits you must dial a special number that connects you with Seattle (no charge) and book your next cruise while onboard. Credits range from $50 pp for a 7-9 day cruise to $150 pp for 15 days and longer.
Excursions: This is my stock advice. I print it with every review. When you arrive at your cabin you will find a Shore Excursions brochure listing the various activities available shoreside. You may fill out the order form at your leisure and deposit it in the Express Drop Box at the Shore Excursions Desk. Please keep in mind that the most popular trips sell out very fast. If you are traveling with friends and want to go together, put all the tickets on one room card. One time we ordered separately and one couple got the tickets and one couple didn't.
Ship Activities: Casino, ship and Spa tours, Spot the Fake Ring, Liquor Tasting, Long Drive Golf Competition, Hollywood Trivia, Pizza & Dance Party, Walk-a-Mile, Adult Lap Swimming, New Body Step or Pilates, Taboo, Hole-in-One Golf, Catch Phrase, shuffleboard, Trivia in many forms, Ping Pong, Yoga, Volleyball, Scattergories, Closest to the Pin Competition, Bad Hair Day Seminar, Perfume Seminar, Slot Clinic, Port Shopping Talk, Cooking Demo, Digital Camera Seminar, Slot Tournament, Facial Demo, Gem Stone Seminar, Pictionary Madness, Wet & Wacky Pool Games, Slot Tournament, Jewelry Seminar, Bar Tending Class, Name that Tune, Outburst, Blackjack Tournament, Tennis, Dice Lessons, Cigars Under the Stars, Hole-in-One Golf, Ice Carving, Line Dancing, Not-so-Newlywed Game, Open Mic Night, and finally... what would a cruise be without SNOWBALL JACKPOT BINGO and ART AUCTIONS!
The Zuiderdam is by far our favorite ship... HAL is our favorite cruise line and we always consider HAL first when planning the next cruise. Our fourth Zuidy will be in May, 2005, and know we will have an outstanding cruise!
We just returned from a shortened 5 day cruise on the Zuiderdam. Holland America was very fair in their adjustments as a result of Hurricane Jeanne.
This was our seventh cruise and the second on Holland America. It was clear from the decorations that HAL is going after a younger crowd, more on that later.
The service was excellent. In the tradition of HAL, it is a much more reserved style of service than on some other lines.
The buffet food was above average, their main dining room dinner food was very good and their upscale restaurant was worth the extra $20.
The entertainment was weak and there were no alternates to the main evening show for the early dinner crowd. There were no bands playing in any of the lounges until after the main show for the early seating was over.
For a line trying to attract a younger crowd it was very strange that they closed the Lido pool and hot tubs at 7PM and the main pool and hot tubs at 10. Forget about a late evening swim or relaxing in a hot tub.
Over all I would compare this shipfavorable to others we have been on.
7th Cruise 2nd on Holland America
Quick "Important" Issues Hot (eggs, bacon etc.) Breakfast Room Service. Can order bottles of Liquor to room (approx. $25/bottle) Casinos/Discos/Bars open until at least 2AM Access to the bow "Real" promenande (wood deck chairs, beverage service nearby)
For cruisers who know what they want, Holland America is still the choice for those who will appreciate decent cabins and decor, decent service, and a restrained level of service (cruisers who want their "luxery" service without paying for it or towel animals need not apply).
No paper or plastic (always glass or ceramic/china) and unobtrusive service is always evident. The food is mediocre (what do you expect for around $100/day) but the Pinnacle Grille did serve good beef.
Subduded passengers, not many children, but much younger (average age maybe 45) than Holland America is known for.
This is a review of my cruise on the HAL Zuiderdam on 3/13/04. I was traveling with my 10 year old daughter. This was an Eastern Caribbean cruise departing from Fort Lauderdale. Embarkation was a breeze. The lines looked long, but we were processed and on board the ship in under a half an hour. We boarded about noon and headed up to the Lido dining room to grab a bite of lunch. First impressions of the Lido were very good.rather than one long buffet line, there were several "stations" offering Chinese, Italian, a deli, and a "Bistro" line for the other food. This worked quite well to keep crowds to a minimum, however, as the cruise progressed, I did notice some room for improvements. More on that later. We ate on the aft deck by the pool. Although it was a bit windy, it made for a very relaxing start to the trip. The lifeboat drill was much more thorough than the one we experienced on Celebrity. HAL also had a wristband (or ankle band) for kids under 13 to wear that would identify their lifeboat stations so thatthey could be reunited with their parents in the event of an emergency. While I thought this was kind of a nice thought, my daughter thought otherwise, since she was the one having to wear the band.
The ship - I didn't know what to expect - but I found that the colors were quite nice. The ship was large, but pretty easy to navigate. The directory posted at most elevators (all except the outside elevators) made finding things easy. The elevators (with the exception of the midship center elevators) were quick to respond and very fast between floors. The interiors of most elevators had a suede type of fabric that many seemed to enjoy writing things on. Unfortunately on a couple of elevators, someone decided to leave a more "permanent" mark by scratching the fabric. The outside promenade deck was very nice to walk - 3 times around the ship was a mile, and you were somewhat protected by the winds. The observation deck was okay, but often times rather windy.
The cabin - It seems like everybody writes about the suite or verandah room that they had. This is a report from one in "steerage" - a main deck inside stateroom. I have to say that I was impressed. I was in a category K stateroom - main deck aft. The room was remarkably roomy, with two beds, a writing desk, a sofa and a nice sized bathroom. Noise was not a problem at all.and I was somewhat concerned because of the vibration stories I heard. This room was quiet - and motion was barely noticeable (we had a couple of days with "rough" seas).
Dining - There were 2 early seatings and two late seatings in the main dining room, we were in the second early seating (6:15). This worked out well for us. Originally, my mother and sister were to join us on this trip, but my mother was taken ill a week before the cruise and the doctor orders were "no travel". So they cancelled. There were still two empty seats at our table for them. The second night, when going to the dining room, we noticed that a completely different group was sitting at our table, so I spoke to the maitre'd about this. Apparently, they received the notice that my sister (who shares my daughters name) had cancelled. So they thought it was us. We were given a new table rather quickly, and the maitre'd seemed to be servicing our table a bit more than the others. All in all, this "mistake" was handled very well. I can only compare service to my only other cruise, on Celebrity - the nod for food and service has to go to Celebrity in this case. While the food was good, I did not feel that it measured up to what we were served on Celebrity. Service also seemed to be a step behind Celebrity, although good, there were enough "little things", like the waiter remembering your name, that stood out. With one big exception.there was a waiter who worked the breakfast buffet line named Imam, or as most cruisers called him, "hunky dory". This gentleman made it a point to ask the names of everyone who came through his line. After that, he never missed addressing you by name whenever he saw you. He was given the moniker "hunky dory" because he'd wish everyone a "hunky dory day". Even in the main dining room, while having a cup of coffee with a friend at his table (neither of us had Imam as our waiter), he asked "Can I get you another cup of coffee, Joe?". HAL should realize what a jewel they have in this man. A note here about vibrations in the dining room. Some other posts indicated a "horrible" vibration in the main dining room. While I did notice a slight vibration, "horrid" is not the word I would use to describe it. It was noticeable, but not overwhelming.
Club HAL - My daughter can be a bit shy at first, but I coaxed her up to Club HAL Sunday evening. She asked me to come get her in a half an hour. When I returned, she asked me to come back later. From that point on, I had a rough time keeping track of her.she was having the time of her life. The Club HAL staff was great - she met about 10 new friends her age, and they kept busy. Club HAL allows you to either have your child to come and go on their own (which I did), or they require that someone sign them in and out. They provide a "CD" packet with activities for the childs age group - kids 5 to 9, "tweens" from 10 to 13, and teens from 14-17. It was VERY well organized, and my daughter looked forward to "planning" her days on the Club HAL activities.
Shows - We attended shows four of the seven nights. All were quite enjoyable, and suitable for adults and kids.
Miscellaneous - There were bars everywhere, and the only thing that bothered me was that HAL didn't include a 15% gratuity for the wait staff. I don't carry cash with me on the ship and I felt bad that I couldn't give the waiter a tip on my room charge. From what I read, HAL will be changing this in May. It's for the better, in my opinion.
Room for Improvement - I found only two areas that I felt had any need for improvement . First, the Lido for breakfast. I am an early riser, so these weren't problems for me - but my daughter woke at about 10:00 on our at sea days, and one half of the Lido was closed down - making for a rather long line on the other side to get breakfast. They should leave both sides open for a little longer. The second area was with the "Baked Alaska Parade". I had the "late-early" seating (6:15) in the main dining room. "parade" began about 6:45.the upper restaurant diners were most likely finished, but those of us in the later seating were still working on salads or entrees.certainly nowhere near finished eating, when the lights were dimmed and we were encouraged to clap along to the music as the baked Alaska was paraded. I'd suggest combining the seatings for that night - it just felt out of place to be doing this while many guests were still eating.
All in all, this was a great cruise. The ship is very nice, the service was good, the itinerary was wonderful. I am sorely tempted to take this ship again in the near future. Out of 5 stars, I'd give it 4 and a half.
I booked the Zuiderdam Eastern Caribbean itinerary. I had never cruised on a Holland America ship prior to our cruise this past September. I had always shied away from Holland America due to the reputation that it had catering only to older guests and not families. As background information, I have taken 70 plus cruises in the last 40 years. I was accompanied on this cruise by my wife and my six year old daughter.
My wife and I decided to book a category S suite on the upper verandah deck. This was a special treat for us since we had never booked a suite before. Unfortunately, our September 28th sailing was interrupted by Hurricane Jeanne and instead of a 7 day cruise we wound up with a 5 day cruise.
Embarkation was a breeze, due in part to only 1,180 passengers being on board for the sailing vs. regular capacity of 1,800. As suite passengers we enjoyed our own private dedicated check in area. Check in was very quick and before we realized it we were on board the ship. As soon as we boarded the ship we proceeded tothe Neptune Lounge to meet the concierge staff and catch up with my cousin and her husband who were also traveling with us. We found the Neptune Lounge to be a quiet and elegant retreat from the ship's activities. It ended up being a place that we spent considerable time in. A great spot for a cappuccino and a snack.
Due to the cancellations my cousin was able to move the location of her S suite to one adjoining our cabin. Once the cabins were ready for passengers we immediately went to the cabin to check it out. The cabin steward was coincidentally there and he was nice enough to open the balconies between both cabins. My wife and I were impressed with the spaciousness of the cabin and the amenities. The closet space was great!
We also were surprised to find a great stereo system (JVC) with a CD and a DVD player. My wife brought CD's for her own entertainment and DVD's for my daughter to watch. The interior space of the cabin, as well as the balcony space made spending time in the cabin a "treat". The amenities made the stay even more enjoyable. I would give the accommodations an A rating. It is for this reason that we spent the majority of the time in the cabin.
The cabin steward that we had assigned was great! He anticipated our every need and was as unobtrusive as possible. I think the cabin service on the Zuiderdam also deserves an A rating.
The first evening we had dinner in the main dinning room. We found the service to be sub-par. It was not what it should be for a premium cruise line. We found the cuisine in the main dinning room to be about average. The food tasted bland, was unimaginative in presentation and was not up to the quality I would expect from Holland America.
Due to our experience the first night in the main dinning room we dined in the Pinnacle Grill (A la carte) dinning room the remainder of the cruise. The food and service in the Pinnacle was excellent, except for the last evening when it was just "good".
Since we had our adjoining suites and we were traveling with children we only attended one evening show. On the second from last evening we went to the Vista Lounge for the Broadway show. The show was a disappointment based on my experiences on other cruise lines such as Celebrity, Princess and Royal Caribbean. In retrospect I am glad that we did not attend any of the other shows.
The children's program was also a disappointment. The program was only available for selected short hours on a daily basis. Even though Holland America has made an effort to cater to families, they still have a long way to go to provide a quality children's program. The children's program does not compare to other cruise lines that cater to families.
The Lido food and service were excellent. The variety of food offered was beyond what anyone would expect. The hours of operation were also very accommodating. My daughter especially liked the pizza available each day.
We did enjoy the cruise, but unfortunately it was too short. The ship is elegant, without being glitzy with a friendly and attentive crew that always tries to please. I would again travel with Holland America if the price and accommodations were right.
If Elton John designed a ship and then everything shiny was covered with coal dust and then he ran out of money to decorate the passenger hallways, you would have the Zuiderdam. We booked a room in the 'S' category- the only better room was the owner' suite. Our room was beautifully decorated with a huge wrap around balcony on the aft port side. The food was great as well as the service and entertainment.
We reserved two nights at the Pinnacle restaurant but cancelled the second night. The restaurant was supposed to specialize in steaks. I had to send my steak back three times to get it cooked medium, they over cooked each time. The service was poor. We were not interested in the itinerary as we did not plan go get off the ship at any of the ports. We had to skip between tropical storms and got an extra day at sea. Most people were over 50 and the bar scene was boring.
Overall we had a great cruise, but we never got used to the wierd decor. We will cruise this ship again.
We had a fabulous time on our cruise, even with the hurricane dodging! I was disappointed that St Thomas had to be skipped, as was Half Moon Cay. We will now just have to look forward to seeing them on our next Caribbean cruise, which I truly hope won't be too far in the future! The crew were really fabulous and treated us with such respect and concern. They knew our names and what we drank after the first day! That was amazing to me.
The rooms were just impeccable and spacious. Fresh fruit and chocolates. What a nice touch! Our veranda got a lot of use. We had our breakfast there most days. The view couldn't be beat! What luxury...sitting in your pj's with that plush robe on, eating breakfast as you watch the sea go by. Oh my..I have only been home several days and I miss it already. I can't wait to go on another cruise and it will definitely be with Holland America.
This was my 9th cruise, 1st on Holland. I had read many reveiws about the Zuiderdam on the net, most of which were negative, and I was hoping for the best. My first disappointment was the ship itself. The decor is so tacky, looks like they just threw some colors together nothing matched. I was very disappointed with the atrium, very small. The ship just has no pizzaz to it at all, very boring.
The service was terrible, took us 30 min just to get a menu on the first night. They had saran wrap on the ceiling aboove us in the dining room, said they got complaints about it being to cold, haw tacky is that. The cabin was nice, we had a deluxe veranda. The entertainment was noting to rave about. I have to say that I will never cruise Holland again, was a terrible experience.
My husband and I booked our own air and flew from CA to Ft. Lauderdale. We stayed overnight at the Amerisuites on 17th street. This is an excellent location as the Outback Steak House and a good Mexican Resturant are just across the parking lot. The hotel provides a free shuttle from Airport to Hotel, and Hotel to the pier. Around 10:45 we hopped on the shuttle to take us to the beautiful Zuiderdam.
Be sure to go to the middle of the terminal not the two ends. The sign in front said they would open at 11:30 however, they opened the doors at 11:10 and we paraded in. At the dock/reception area we were ECTASTIC to find out we had been upgraded from a category AA to a category S full suite room 6084 next to the glass elevators mid ship. Perfect location. We had originally booked a BB balcony, then 5 days before sail we got bumped up to the AA, then finally the suite. I give all the credit to my FABULOUS TA, that pushed the cruise lines every single day to get us upgraded as far aspossible. This guy is has the worlds best customer service, & competitive pricing. Please send me an e-mail @ firstname.lastname@example.org for his contact info if interested.
We dined the 1st night in the Odessey/Pinnacle since it is a 2 for 1 on the 1st night. Call HAL and book your reservation before you get on the ship. We thought the food was worth $10 each but not worth $20 p/p + tip. Food in the Lido and regular dining room is very good. My husband especially loved the hot soups, and I enjoyed the cold ones. The cheesecake is heavenly.
Service was excellent and the crew aimed to please. Nice!
Key West - We walked around the corner from the dock and saw the sign for the Conch Train. Cost $22 each for 1.5 hours. It is great, and they show you the whole island. The ship charges $24 p/p.
Cozumel: We grabbed a taxi with another fun couple we met and headed for Chaakanub (spelling ?) park. $10 per taxi NOT P/P + tip. Chaakanub is a beautiful park. It is $12 p/p to get in. Rental of mask, snorkel and fins was a total of $6 p/p. The snorkeling is excellent. We lounged in the chairs under the grass huts. Paradise. Everything is sparkeling clean, and there are no beggars. Including cab, park entrance fee, snorkel equipment we paid $20.50 each. Ship charges $49 p/p.
Grand Cayman: I pre-booked a trip to Stingray City, and Coral Reefs through NativeWays Sports. Their rep Sharon Eubanks met us in the North Terminal which is where the tenders dock. Great lady. Since we had a later excursion she kindly offered to take us to 7 mile beach, then picked us up later. We went to the dock where we boarded a small boat, and had refreshments. Richard & Michael the 2 crewman were excellent. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Nativeways. Cost was $30 p/p for stingray city and 2 snorkel sites, for 2.5 hours. Ship charges $49 for Stingray City alone.
Half Moon Cay: Very pretty island. It was super windy when we were there. We got a clamshell which I would recommend if you are pasty white, or don't want to get too much sun. The snorkeling from the beach is NOT GOOD, so if you want to snorkel take the boat trip. We had a delicous barbeque there.
Cruise-Critics: There were about 35 people who I corresponded with via e-mail before the trip. About 20 or so showed up for our get together the day of sail. I want to thank Sandy and Peter from Australia who we pal'd around with and made our trip so much fun.
Bottom line. OUTSTANDING CRUISE, gorgeous ship, great food, excellent service.
This was our 12th cruise but first on HAL. I won't bore you with all the HAL flight arrangements and so forth. Transfer from Miami airport to Fort Lauderdale was smooth after being greeted at the airport by very courteous HAL staff.
We arrived at the pier just before noon and remained on the bus while luggage was off loaded. Once inside embarkation was the fastest we have ever experienced. An incredible eight minutes from walking into the terminal to walking on the ship.
Perhaps our expectations were set too high due to all the reviews we have read about other HAL ships. Everything about the cruise was great but overall not noticeably better than our previous cruises on RCCL, Princess, Costa and Carnival.
We booked a BC balcony guarantee and received an A balcony cabin on Navigation deck forward. This is a great location. The view from the glass elevators into other balconies was a concern for me and I observed that these balconies are not private.
I found this cabin to be slightly smaller than our last balcony cabin on the Carnival Victory but the balcony was larger. I never sawour cabin steward but the cabin was always tidy.
We changed out table assignment due to an awful location and ended up by the rear windows in the lower dining room. There is a definite vibration and rumble here but I know I'm on a ship so it was not a concern. We had great table mates so we did not try the Odyssey Restaurant. Food was generally very good and the service was excellent.
This cruise was Western Caribbean, Key West, Cozumel, Grand Cayman and the private island Half Moon Cay. We did not book any ship's tours and pre-arranged snorkeling tours on the internet prior to leaving. Half Moon Key is very nice but comparable to the other cruise lines' private islands.
The entertainment in the main show lounge was average cruise ship fare including the usual singing and dancing routines. Some of the lounge bands have some very talented musicians.
A very nice touch was the hors d'ourves available in all lounges prior to the dinner hours. Room service was usually very fast with an large selection. On the second sea day a Dutch dessert buffet was presented at 3:00 p.m. I skipped lunch to attend and it was excellent. A much more agreeable time here than midnight on most other ships.
The cruise director and her staff tried very hard to get a party atmosphere started on several occasions when sailing out of ports but there did not appear to be much passenger participation. It was rather comical on our first day when there were announcements for the first sail out party from Fort Lauderdale. The sail away party began at 5:00 p.m. with music and activities. Four other ships were leaving the port, horns blowing and crowds cheering. For what ever reason the Zuiderdam did not move. The crowd finally dispersed by 6:00 p.m. when all other ships were out of sight. We didn't set sail until after 8:00 p.m.
We found the main public room decks confusing and very winding. Many public rooms have very low ceilings. The center atrium is small and not very impressive.
On this and other boards a great deal has been written about what is acceptable attire, especially at formal dinners. I was expecting more formality on HAL but this was not the case. Tuxedoes were in the minority and I observed many women on formal nights with bare legs, flip flop style beach shoes and wearing dresses more suitable for a trip to the supermarket. I am personally not a big fan of formal nights but dressed in a dark suit out of respect for the dress code. From what I saw here passengers on some Carnival cruises were better dressed.
Overall the cruise was very good with great service. We will probably not take another cruise on the Vista class ships since we do not care for the design.