We chose this cruise for two main reasons: good friends had already booked and the cruise was leaving from our home city of NYC. So no airplanes and extra hotel nights.
While we had been to Bermuda several times, we had not gone their via ship.
Things began well. Check in was smooth and our verandah stateroom (with a sitting area) was ready early.
The first negative thing we notices was the odors. First, there was an overwhelming smell of diesel fuel. Second, we notices a musty or mildewy odor in the hallways. Lastly, the smell of stale cigarette smell was evident. Even though smoking is restricted to certain areas, it was impossible to escape.
The weather in NYC and Bermuda was hot and humid. It was frustrating that the air conditioning system was spotty. Our room was quite comfortable, but areas in the Lido and Pinnacle restaurants were seemingly without air conditioning. Some vents weren't working. I had complained that water was dripping on tables in one part of the Lido. The response was that it is hot out and that causes condensation.
the food and service were really poor. We showed up at the main restaurant for inner one night and the line was about 50 people long. The maitre'd was giving out buzzers like the ones they have a the Cheesecake Factory! Once finally seated, we struggled to get a server's attention. Dinner took forever! When my wife complained about the bread being stale, the waiter said "all the bread is the same", and made no effort to help.
Even the the cabin was stayed in is in a newly built area (apparently only 4 years old), there were signs of wear and tear. Paint needed retouching, the carpet was dirty and the bathroom a little smelly (not us!). There was a whirlpool tub, but entry into the tub was so difficult I don't know how anyone could use the service.
We felt the spa services were okay, but there was always a good deal of pressure to buy additional services and products. the acupuncturist on board made a pitch indicating his service was a cure all. Not only untrue and misleading, but dangerous for some people.
We ate in the Canaletto section two nights. while the food was good, the service was fair. And it was another example of the air conditioning not working. One part of the section was cool and another was quite uncomfortable.
Overall, we felt the staff was not trained or supervised well and perhaps this cruise was under-staffed.
Things can go awry on any cruise, but our experiences on other ships have been much better and when things did go wrong, there were immediate attempts to rectify the problem.
Not so here.
But there were some good things. Our cabin steward, Feri, was very good. the embarkation and disembarkation went well. Dan, the cruise director was always upbeat and pleasant.
Sadly these high points were few and far between and I doubt we'll be taking another HAL cruise anytime soon