This was our 5th and last cruise with HAL.
From the moment we arrived in Barcelona to be met by a porter with no English (The HAL rep was 20 minutes late) and a taxi driver who could not find his cab in the airport car park we should have realised this was a sign of things to come!!!
The HAL ***** hotel was not conveniently located, had a trainee receptionist who took 20 minutes to check us in and out (rendering some else's bill in the process). The bathroom fittings were hanging off the wall.
Our fist night in our Superior Verandah Suite was spoilt by flooding from the pool valve. No plan of action just a blower in our cabin for 5 days. $300 in compensation for living in a jet engine.
Service everywhere was lacking and not what we are used to, cabin not made up in a timely manner, 10-15 minutes to get a drink in the bars and by the pool, tables not cleared in the Lido, no coffee or tea trolley on the pool deck and in the Lido.
HAL has always been fanatical about hygine, but no longer! The hand wash stations were mostly unsupervised and many times people entered public areas, restaraunts and returned to the ship with out sanitising their hands.
Fortunately the ports on the trip were great and we really enjoyed the land experience.
Tour guides on HAL organised excursions particularly in Spain, France and Italy left a lot to be desired. English was definitely a second language and in some cases almost a mystery.
The insistence on the shopping experience was extremely annoying especially on tours that specified shopping as optional at the tours end. We gave up being polite and simply returned to the ship on our own and we were not alone in doing so.
We have always enjoyed the Pinnacle Grille, well no longer. Staff cuts were also evident here, the service was terrible and on one occasion we weren't offered desserts or coffees simply rendered the bill. The night HAL paid for in compensation for some of our experiences was the same and it took 5 days and many requests to have the charge credited.
HAL have obviously severely cut staff in all areas and this shows in lack of service and no attention to detail. The crew, what there is of it, worked their butts off but could not match the previous HAL service.
The Officers were extremely stand offish and obviously did not want to converse with the passengers. Maybe too many complaints?
The show were at best ammeter and poorly presented in most cases. The sound technician in the theatre seemed to have a hearing problem as the volume was set to high even for talks and presentations.
Oh well Celebrity for Christmas and Princess for South America in Feb 14, hopefully these will live to expectation and not disappoint as badly as HAL.