I would like to preface this review by saying that we met two couples on board which made the cruise a success. On another positive note we learned that there was a happy hour at some of the bars 4:30 to 5:30 which was a pleasant surprise for those of us that drank.
.HAL offered bottles of liquor for purchase on board to be consumed in your cabin I asked four times for a list of brands and prices, by the time this information was delivered to the cabin the cruise was half over .
That being said HAL has many more shortcomings. It truly believe that HAL has taken a page out of Carnival,s book and has cut corners creating a substandard cruise line. As an example there was an advertised Italian restaurant. We came to find out that the Italian restaurant was only a small portion cordoned off portion of the Lido buffet area where I Italian food was served for a surcharge.
I believe that food was the primary issue of criticism, breakfast and lunch were adequate however dinner was awful, particularly the beef dishes. In the middle of the cruise we were told we would not dine in the main restaurant and that evening there would be a barbecue at the lido pool area. The meal was a very weak attempt any true barbecue. HAL also allowed smoking in the Lido pool area bar which annoyed the six of us.
The main dining room staff was efficient however were not social or informative. After we purchased three bottles of wine, the wine would appear on the table however the wine steward was invisible. On the positive side there was a good selection of sugar-free desserts.
While we are still on the topic of food the Dive in restaurant was actually a hole in the wall next to the middle pool they served hamburgers which were tasteless and hot dogs that were pedestrian.
Another thing that puzzled us about HAL was the short time that we stayed in each port of call, most other cruise lines gave you a full day at each stop.
Another thing worth mentioning was the cabanas around the main swimming pool, I felt that this was a money grab and took valuable space away from other patrons.
I also think that with the demographics/age in the 60s there should be more age appropriate music i.e. show tunes, Frank Sinatra, rock 'n roll, doo-wop etc. Early dining should be 6 PM, 5:30 is much too early..