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My wife and I are college professors and love travel. This was our 10th ocean cruise, our first on HAL, the prior nine were on Princess Cruises. We arrived at the embarkation port in Fort Lauderdale at about 12:30 pm. We were in our stateroom in about 1/2 half-hour. We had reviously been upgraded to a VA veranda stateroom. On most of our princess cruises we have had balconey (veranda) staterooms. Overall this one was superior to the one's on the Princess ships. From the couch to the wonderful mattress and bed linen, and from the closets/shelf space to the bathroom with tub, the stateroom was was was designed and layed out. The veranda was also excellent.
Both the food and enterainment were excellent. The dining room staff were also excellent, but HAL's organization as far as the delivery of food from the kitchen to the table could be improved. On one or two occasions we had to wait about an hour between courses. Princess Cruises has a leg up on HAL in the Dining room service area.The buffet on the Lido deck was very superior compared to that on Princess Cruises. Overall the entertainment on HAL and Princess Cruises are quite comparable.
Our fist port of call was Grand Turk. We took the Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Tour, it had three stops: the point of origin, Her Majesty's Prison, and the Lighthouse. We saw everything in about two hours and returned to the ship.
Our second port of call was Tortola. It reminded us of it's next door neighbor, St. Johns. It was much better than Grand Turk.
Our last port of call was St. Thomas. The was our fourth time there, so we went on our own. It was exciting. We got a taxi to go to town. As our driver search for more fares, he got into a heated argument with another driver, who pulled a knife on him. He retaliated by breaking the other drivers side window with a whip baton. At this point my wife insisted that we immedately leave, so took another taxi to town.
Our last stop was at Half Moon Cay, HAL's private island. We took the island nature walking took, which was excellent. After eating and a short swim we returned to the ship to pack because the next day we returned to Fort Lauderdale.
In early Mardh we are taking a Mexican Riviera cruise on the Golden Princess, with of course a balconey stateroom. After that, we are taking a 15 day transAtlantic cruise in August on the Eurodam from Copenhagen to New York. We have also booked a veranda stateroom for that cruise.
We love to cruise and both Princess & HAL have proven to to excellent cruise lines and con count on our trade.