Ship: The ship is dated and many items just do not work. Coffee machines (two broken for 3 day straight), steam rooms for which you pay an upgrade fee and do not work for two days of complaining and flickering stateroom lights. The ship served a Mexican buffet lunch out on the Lido deck one day...the next day, the same food, now looking a bit onry , was re-served. They even ran out of milk on Day 6 and served chocolate milk at the buffet with the cereal. In a very small fitness center, one elliptical and one treadmill were broken the entire 7 days. Nobody around to fix things it seemed...and people were always standing around waiting to use the machines...
Service: But the ship's shortcomings were nothing compared to the staff
1. Room stewards being clueless as to when you are in or out-- and barging in to aggressively clean (or check the box)
2. A random breakfast we did not order left on the bed and not removed even after three phone calls to do so (ended up just putting it out in the hall)
3. The restaurant waiter asked what we wanted for dessert--then told us the souffle would be 30 minutes--why were we not told that at the beginning of the meal?
4. Multiple times the wrong food brought to our table in the restaurant
5. Tofu Korma with no tofu!...the explanation: "ooops....typo"
6. Even though the entire second level of the restaurant had empty tables, a refusal to seat us for dinner at 630PM because of concern about the 800PM reservations...we were told to "go to the buffet"
7. An upgrade restaurant that would not seat us on one of its several open tables because they could not guarantee we would get good service!
8. Incompetence in accounting....my son's "tips" were not put on the bill. We received a frantic phone call at 730AM the last day asking us to pay the bill which we did. But someone forgot to tell the gorilla bouncers who screen you as passengers leave the ship at the end of the cruise. My son was "detained" for 10 minutes because the computer told the bouncer he was a slacker. Then I heard the bouncer yell into his phone "this is the third passenger I have had to detain whose bill was already paid!"
9. Spa staff comes 20 minutes late to a treatment, short changes me on the time and then tells me afterwards I need to see her two more times to get "rid of tension"
10. The cruise director was AWOL at times except when it was time to push the port shops that provide HAL with a kickback...part of the guaranteed shopping experience.
11. Apple juice that looked like water with food coloring--"the machine is broken" we were told
12. Scoffing when simple requests were made like "Can he have cheese on his pasta?"
13. "nothing we can do" about broken fitness center machines.
We have sailed Carnival twice and had been told that HAL is "so much better", but in fact, Carnival runs a much better ship. As does Celebrity....
The PV and Cabo ports were fun and generally the Mexican Riviera is a good choice for a week's cruise. But HAL is not.