September 2006 Destination:
Australia & New Zealand Embarkation:
K. Johnson's review of this cruise covers a lot of the ground. Embarkation itself was OK, but HAL's traditional bus from the Seattle Airport to the pier in Vancouver was replaced by an air flight, which came with all the hassles, at both ends, that international air travel entails...bad idea! No problems with cabin a/c or plumbing, except when the water was turned off, not always with prior notice. Friends in the pricey verandah cabins complained of poor a/c, or none at all. Toilets in the public areas were a disgrace: when they worked at all, the rooms sometimes smelled like the rhino cage at the zoo. Of the 8 elevators, not enough to begin with, only 6 were ever in service, and on one day at least, only 4 were available. The onboard repairmen seemed to be doing everything within their powers, but this ship needs some time out for the kind of service that can only be done when passengers are absent. Dining room service was amiable, but irregular: my table's stewards had trouble More
remembering just who had ordered what. Many things came out of the galley not as advertised on the menu. Anybody ordering a flambe dessert had to wait until everybody else's dessert plates had been cleared. At the Lido salad bar, depleted items were replaced very tardily. With over 3 dozen cruises in my book, about 2/3 of them with HAL, I think I can speak with some authority. HAL remains my line of choice, but if this had been my first encounter with the firm, selling me another HAL cruise would be difficult, I hope this was just an aberration. Less
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