Based on previous sailings with same size HAL ships, I was really looking forward to an above average cruise. What we got was very ordinary. The ship is nice but has very subdued colour scheme and furnishings which are relaxing, but not exactly energising. In conjunction with very traditional ways of doing things, like calling out cabin numbers on deck for muster, repetitive menus and obvious penny pinching in certain area, I think we concluded that HAL is lagging behind other cruise lines. While this may suit the majority of HAL cruisers, We concluded that we prefer a ship with more modern decor and attitude
Good size of room, bathroom and balcony BUT, why did they make the entrance so narrow?? If the wardrobe and bathroom door are open, they overlap.. They both have to be closed to walk to bathroom and when one WAS open, it tore my new shirt - I was not happy! We left the bathroom door open all cruise ( it suctioned against the wall), so this didn't happen again.
Worst thing about the cabin is that it is right under the Lido Bar and we had noises throughout the day and night. Carts and vacuum cleaners being rolled over the lido floor tiles, opening and closing of refrigerators and deliveries of food and beverages being delivered. Being woken at 12.30 and 4.30 am by noises was a common phenomenon and even during the day, we often found us saying omg, what was that!!
We had anytime dining and started out going at around 6.30 pm so we could get to the 8 pm show. We quickly realised that wasn't going to work, so had to start queuing around 5.30-5.45 pm to get to the theatre in time to get a reasonable seat. One night we missed the show because we were on an 8 person table and service was so slow and this was not unusual. One night, I finally got so frustrated that I yelled at the head waiters, who were standing talking to each other. They obviously got the message because after that I got the royal treatment and every night got out in time! Adding to the frustration of slow service was that I need gluten free food. Whilst the Rembrandt dining room was good to accommodate this, I cannot say the same for the Lido buffet. While they supplied GF bread, no deserts were available, except jelly -yum, NOT and most of the food were floured in some form. For breakfast, I stuck with eggs Stanley ( a form of eggs Benedict) which was really nice and lunch was generally salad or sushi. A number of people I spoke to also needed GF food AND Lactose free food, so I definitely wasn't the only person. Hal needs to pay more attention to these needs
I must make mention of the formal night menu, that we thought was very ordinary- nothing too formal about it- and the the Cirque, which was equally, if not more disappointing. The Cirque is advertised as a restaurant styled on a classy NYC restaurant, only available once per cruise. At $38/ person, one would expect an exquisite menu- that it was not. The lobster appetiser was very nice, the pumpkin soup was no better if not as good as what I make at home and the main course of lamb was very nice but the sauce was extra salty and I told them. While I did not have desert as once again, it was getting late to get to the theatre ( we booked for 6 pm) but my husband had brûlée, which was the same as the everyday brûlée. Hmmm, so much for the special restaurant food- definitely not worth nearly double the specialised restaurant price
We went to the theatre most nights but couldn't stay awake for the crew shows, which we usually like. The shows highlight was the last production night which was excellent but the other shows by the singers and dancers were not. Very ordinary and traditional shows. The individual entertainers ranged from very good- professional performances as with Livewire, to those that shall we say, one would expect on budget cruise lines. There were 2 that we thought were well below average performers and 1 that needed a wardrobe overhaul. It seemed like HAL's budget for entertainment was mostly used on the last production show
Great, some better than others, the itinerary was this cruises highlight. Itinerarys are HALs redeeming feature. Maybe having many ports all in a row, is very tiring, but we really loved visiting so many French Canadian ports and learning the history. It is quite complicated and we needed being told several times. Then it was time to take in us history and that was also good. Really enjoyed Boston and our long 3.5 hr walk with guide. Boston is such an interesting place. I cannot say the same for Newport RI-seeing lots of large estates was quite boring!
I think that is enough from me. Cruising is like giving birth. At the time on board, frustrations about food, service or the cabin are uppermost in ones mind but after the event, we tend to forget the pain in lieu of the enjoyment of being on board. Overall, this Eurodam cruise was nice but I did not rebook, even with the constant advertising of what we would get if we did. The competition is so great that other cruise lines are making more effort to provide an above average experience and given that I have seen much of the world, I will be choosing them in preference to HAL