Personal Background Information Two 65 yr olds. 14th cruise. Like the smaller ships. Normally have a large transit component for the cruise, so the cost is high and so is the expectation. HAL had been given a good reputation by the agency (5 star reputedly). We expected good western food and good service.
Travel To Port of Embarkation
The connections through our local travel agent were good and bad. We would not use them again. There was confusion about the level of cabin to be assigned and HAL, when contacted, were singularly unhelpful.
Hotel Info (if any)
Singapore and Hong Kong - through travel agent.
Pretty smooth. The introduction to the cabin was poor and rushed by the steward, but he did keep in touch to handle the annoying lack of information in the room. During ports of call, these went pretty smoothly.
Good standard room. Clean and tidy but absolutely NO instructions, pamphlets etc left in room. (No TV guide, power point instructions, meals etc etc.) The room attendant brought them pretty quickly when summoned.
Facilities were ok. Bars were in unusual places and we found them not very conducive to mingling and trivia shows. The ship tour was not advertised! The daily bulletin was all we got re positioning. The TV map was tiny and useless - especially as we were cruising through the Vietnam war zones and heritage listed marine areas.
We were flabbergasted to have a petty charge on the "self laundry" and then to be threatened with a surcharge if the Service Desk gave us $3 of quarters on credit!
We had about 35 meals in the Rotterdam Dining room and we expected this to be one of the highlights - share good food, wine and company. Sadly they could not make a cup of hot tea.
The food was 60% COLD and POORLY COOKED, even on second attempts.
Wine package was good quality but $310 for 10 "average" bottles is a bit steep. It's service in the dining room was poor until mid cruise. There was no Beer package.
These were pretty good but sometimes run by poorly trained people (we gave up on the aquaerobics as it was too crowded, too deep and the trainer did not have a clue about exercise. Trivia shows and the bar entertainment was good.
There appeared to be plenty of amenities for young folk, but there were not too many on board. There were the few kids that were completely out of control in the public areas and very poorly curtailed by their guardians or ship personnel.
Staff & Service
Our complaints and queries were handled quickly and civilly. (They missed our written complain on day 3 but caught up a day later with our second written complaint).Only once were we given the bum's rush. They assured us they would handle the poor service and food, but it continued throughout the trip. They gave us a complimentary Pinnacles Grill evening but it too was cold and too rich for us.
The Excursion desk was fair.
3 from 10 were ok. Rest were boring low class Vegas style efforts.
OK and ran smoothly ... but the alternatives were never exposed, where the ship was going to dock, what would be available there (taxis, buses etc), local maps were not available on ship or at the dock. This is the second ship we had been on that charged for shuttles from dock to civilisation???
Very disappointed with food, service and petty approach by HAL.