We read reviews for this cruise and were aware that rating for this ship is not too great, only fair. But this was the first Mediterranean cruise of the year and we took the risk. First and foremost I want to outline the pros:
Our stateroom attendant was great! Room was always perfectly cleaned, bedding was always sparkling clean and every evening we got those adorable towel pets which were the highlight of my evening entertainment.
Dining room food was acceptable. Adequate portions. Head waiter came to the table every day for a chat. We had lobster dishes 2 formal nights and crab legs 1 night. Crab legs were pretty good and we asked we will have it again. Were told there is no plan to serve crab legs again, but if we ask for it, he will prepare it for us on request. And we got crab legs again, as promised. What made dinner extra special are the people at our table. We asked to be sited at table for 6 and had delightful company, lot's of laughs. I have to say special thanks to the desert chefs. That was the best desert we ever had on the cruise. Every night different, very delicious pastries of top quality. And special chocolate night was magnificent. Great variety!
Lunch menu in the buffet was very good. Salads, very good selection of meets prepared differently. Great idea was to have different oriental variety every day. Pizza was fantastic all day long. Ice creams with different toppings.
Specialty restaurant we only visited twice. First time we really enjoyed the food and the service. Yuri, our waitress was a delight. She was friendly and allot of fun. Food was ok. Sushi were not really good and they served 4 very thin slices and you could not get seconds. Second night my husband ordered Vietnamese lamb but meet was very tough and he got a replacement dish. However, the chocolate filled fortune cookie was something awesome!
From entertainers want to mention Jenny and the HALcats. Jenny is a great singer and has wonderful personality.
That is where pros of this cruise end.
This cruise was designed for people over 85. Even thought there were allot of older folks we know people of all ages like to have fun. Shows were extremely boring. Low quality entertainers. Ship performers(singers and dancers) only performed couple of times in production numbers which again lacked quality.
Since HALcats were the only band and performed in the shows as well as wit Jenny, dancing was nonexistent as the band was busy with the shows every night. So Jenny performed perhaps 2-3 times during entire cruise. There was another sort of jazz band that were suppose to play from 5:30PM to 6:30PM the dance favorites/ballroom type songs. Whoever planned the timeslot for this band forgot that first dinner sitting starts at 5:45PM and can go on well until 8PM. Since we are passionate ballroom fans we skipped dinner one evening to catch some dancing. That was terrible!!!! They mostly played foxtrot and took several 5 minute breaks(which lasted up to 20 minutes) every 15 minutes. In other words really bad for those of us who can still move.
DJ Mario was allot of fun during some of the game shows. But his disco was at 11PM when most people are in bed considering that every shore excursion would start between 8 and 9 AM. One night we decided to stay up and go to the Latin night. All he played was Merengue, after half and hour we gave up.
Game shows were a joke. Deal or no deal....1 person calls the rest are sitting doing nothing for an hour, what is the point? 1 show was sort of fun "majority rules" where all the players were involved. Is it so hard to find more games where all attendants would participate?
There was no on-deck entertainment at all.
Deck area could not accommodate all the guests and it was impossible to find free lounge chair next to the pool.
At this time I should mention that dining room was terribly understaffed and waiter service that cruises are so famous for was not there. But there were plenty of waiters bugging every 5 minutes offering a drink from a poolside bar, dance floor bar, theater bar and so on. However wants a drink will get a drink, but no matter how many people will bug me to buy a drink I will not since I don't drink alcohol. So few less bar waiters and few more dining room waiters would have been great.
Getting a table at the buffet dining room was a challenge, especially for breakfast.
Getting food at the buffet was a challenge...First few days all the food were being served which created 30 minutes lines. 72 hours later they opened some stations for self service but meat and oriental section was still served and there was always long lines. So it was impossible to plan any activities around lunch time as we never new how long we might have to stay in line. I don't understand what was achieved by having food served. Poor employees don't get any rest at all, they work 12 hours shifts 10 months straight. And guests have to stay in line indefinitely to get the food.
Port of calls were not too exciting and shore excursions were not the best quality. For example our guide in Pisa was terrible, we got no useful information at all, the headphones were terrible quality and most of the time all we heard was noise. In Luca we had wonderful guide.
I have to say that unfortunately cruising is not what it used to be. Would I ever cruise with HA? Not unless they fix all the problems.