My wife and I had done the Alaska cruise twice before and decided to take a fourteen day cruise to relax and enjoy both Alaska and Holland America. What a disappointing experience.
First of all the weather was not good. We realize this is not HAL's fault but future cruisers should realize that late August and September are not the best dates to go to Alaska, cool wet weather.
We have sailed on HAL twice before, once to the Med. and once to Alaska. This experience on HAL was eye opening and we will have to reconsider if we want to go with HAL again.
The service and service people (Wait staff, room service staff and crew wonderful as usual).
The ship is showing its age, worn, dirty, old and smelly. They worked on the ship at sea and during every port stop, smelly paint, poor air quality, blocked stairs, very inconvenient. False alarm fire, very rough cruise, ship seemed to always rolling. This had never happened before on any ship, even the small Azamara ships.
Food servie during fixed seating in main dining room was great. Breakfast in Lido was fine. Lunch and dinner in Lido was terrible. Food preparation, good selection, food quality was just poor in Lido for lunch and dinner.
Ship had a gastro intestinal problem that took over a week to clear up. Very difficult for both passengers and crew. I am sure that food prep and presentation during lunch and dinner in Lido contributed to this problem. Food off of the line was not hot enough, held and served at low tempertures which can lead to gastro problems. This was pointed out to the crew with no response.
Cleaning was a problem, checked into our cabin and found a 'pill' on the floor. Gave it to the desk and was assured this would never happen. How can you clean and leave a pill on the middle of the floor.
Air quality throughout the ship was poor. Our cabin had no ventilation, no fresh air. Lead to both headaches and nasal problems. Complained to the desk with no results. Noise level in cabin was very high. Joggers on third deck every morning at five was wonderful. Complained to front desk with no results.
Smoking on board is a problem. Could not use Crows Nest, smoke smell everywhere. Went to Lido aft, lots of smoke. Smoking is allowed on all open decks. Very few smokers but inconvenienced everyone. Can't HAL limit smoking.
Ships entertainment, singers and dancers just very amateur, saw two shows, not worth the effort.
In general it seems HAL is beginning to fail in its promise of high quality cruising. Comparing HAL to previous cruises and to other cruise lines, they are going down hill and we will have a high level of hesitation before we book on HAL again.
The Filipino crew and Indonesian crew are great, they are the only thing that makes cruising HAL worthwhile.