We celebrated our 100th day with HAL on this cruise. We started sailing with them about 10 years ago and they, along with Oceania have remained our favorite cruise line.
Unfortunately as the fares have decreased, so has some of the quality that we have come to expect.
First is the food. They still have all the glitzy items, Escargot. lobster etc. But some of the overall quality is gone. The Dover Sole is almost inedible and the pastries and any baked goods have really suffered. They are not using butter in their cookies or piecrusts, just shortening. The muffins are made in a steam over and raw in the middle and slightly brown outside. Since we were on 30 days, we saw all the menus at least twice. I can remember specific entrees I loved the first time, ordered again and were delivered incredibly overcooked.
Also things to do have been cut back. No lecturers on board except the Destination Specialist who is there
to sell shore excursions. No guest chefs in the cooking theatre, not even many cooking classes, just game shows. Also they only booked the bridge teacher for half of the cruise. HAL was our first choice for long cruises since there was plenty to do, no more.
Now for the age of the passengers, very old, especially on the first part which was repositioning from the Baltic to the Med. Maybe the age group doesn't lend itself to doing anything but sleeping in the room. I am in my mid 50's and since most of the passengers won't be cruising in a few years, what is HAL going to do to keep my interest?
As for the staff wonderful on every level. A special call out for our room stewards, Didin and Fadil. There was not a instance in 30 days when our room wasn't cleaned exactly when we wanted it. We had really erratic schedules, since we were doing a lot, and they never missed a beat.
Overall the itineraries are interesting but concerned about where this line is going.