Before booking our trip on HAL to Alaska, I read all of the cruise critic reviews on best lines and ships to take on this journey. After reading all of the glowing reviews on HAL, we booked with them. Plus they had special pricing for kids where it was only $399 per kid vs. other cruise lines where you had to pay full price. this was a deal. Also, there wouldn't be a lot of kids on the ship making it a more intimate kids club experience for our two kids (4 yrs)
the customer service from their 800 line was awesome! they were always there to answer any questions we had. the online check was was simple and easy. the embarking process was very well organized and fast.
When we got on our ship, the room was quite large. but the bathrooms were tiny and gross. it smelled like a gas station bathroom. no ventilation, dated tiles and bathroom decor. ugly and stinky. Plus the toilet stopped working one day and the hot water stopped as well. they were having major plumbing issues in several state rooms. i think it's because its super old.
The room had plenty of storage. about 4 closets and 6 drawers. plenty! There was also plenty of lighting in the room so that was nice. The only negative about the room was the brown tinted mirror in the main room. I don't know why it was tinted but you couldn't use it to put on your make up. very strange.
the ship overall was average. it was very dated and old. something out of the 80's/90's dance fever era. the interior design was very ugly. they need a major make over or something. they had tile floors with one granite then a different granite on the walls, then a funky paint color. nothing matched. But it was very clean.
the major thing we were disappointed with was the quality of service. for classifying themselves as a white glove 5 star ship, the service was poor and very low quality in our opinions. I would rate the service a 3 out of 5. The speed of service in the main dinning hall was very slow. we had to wait 30 minutes for drinks. A few times, my husband would walk up to the buffet to get our drinks. especially the milk for the kids and bring it back to the dinning room since it was faster than waiting for the servers. the wine steward was crazy weird too. we brought a bottle of wine that she said we could bring to our dinner. but she wanted us to wait until she opened it and poured it. she took so long that we decided to open and serve ourselves. she got a little mad about that.
all of the servers were unhappy. as if they didn't want to be there. in the dinning room, the waiters didn't really go over the menus with us. just wanted us to read on our own and order immediately. if we asked what it was, they just repeated the title. that didn't answer our question. Plus majority of the time, we couldn't understand what they were saying. their english was not very good.
we were not happy with the service. in the lido buffet, same type of low standard of service. they people behind the buffet were like mall food servers. very uninterested and unfriendly.
the Kids program was great though. the staff was very nice and the kids enjoyed all of the activities onboard. they loved it. there were about 30 kids on the cruise. for the age group 3-7, about 14 kids. which was nice to have a smaller group of kids.
overall, we were not happy with the service on the ship. If the ship was updated with fantastic interior design but with poor service, we would consider HAL again. But, with the tacky interior design, old ship, and poor service, we don't plan on sailing with HAL again.