This was our first cruise on HAL. We were trying it out on a cheaper cruise before committing to and Alaska cruise tour. We will not be going to Alaska on HAL. We are seasoned cruisers who have tried several different lines from basic to luxury. We did not expect luxury on HAL but we weren't prepared for the low level of service, food or entertainment we received.
Service: While the staff tried to keep up they were obviously overwhelmed in the main dining room. Service was excruciatingly slow with dinner taking 21/2 to 3 hours. To make matters worse the food wasn't that good. They simply do not know how to do anytime dining. I called for reservations immediately on getting on board and was told you could not have a reservation between 5:45 and 7:45. They suggested coming at 5:30 or 8:00. Sounds a lot like early and late seating. After complaining at guest services I finally got reservations but was told they had signed up 800 people for open dining and only had space for 300.Saw our room steward once in 7 days but he did get the room made up quickly and left ice every day. Service in the Lido was non-existent. Staff would turn away if they saw you looking for something or for help with a tray. Water/Coffee station was out of cups, glasses, coffee and cream constantly.
Food: Absolutely the worst food ever on a cruise by a wide margin. Meat in the MDR was overcooked but cold and obviously of low quality. What they did to the baked potatoes was a mystery but one I only tried once. Poor menus, plus poor prep, poor quality, plus poor service can never lead to an enjoyable meal. The Lido was even worse. We tried it one evening and went back to the MDR. The servers in the Lido didn't even know what they were serving. We asked one where the mushrooms that were supposed to come with the meat were and he looked at the sign to see what he was supposed to be serving.
Entertainment: Mediocre at best. The production shows were fair, the magician was terrible and the comedian was the best. As far as other activities on the boat were concerned they were non-existent. Free iced tee on the pool deck at 10am and 3pm are not activities. I don't need a lot of excitement and booming music 24/7 but this boat was dead.
I certainly don't consider Royal Carib a luxury line but HAL sure made them look like one. I have had my one cruise on HAL and will not be back.