This was our first cruise on HAL, chosen for the interesting itinerary and we have wanted to try HAL. Primarily, our cruises have been with Princess but we also like Celebrity and Royal Caribbean.
Embarkation: This went very smoothly. There was no waiting and there were many employees there to help.
Cabin: The cabin was very nice and I was pleased with the large balcony. The bath was much larger than others we've had for a verandah cabin, with a tub as opposed to just a shower stall. The bed, pillows, linens were wonderful. Plenty of storage. Counter space was very limited and the cabin always seemed so cluttered because of this. Part of the problem was that the TV set sat on the desk, making the desk unusable. We use our balcony alot and appreciated the comfortable furniture. I just wish another lounge chair was provided as there was plenty of room. Cabin service was fair. The steward was pleasant but not that attentive and I didn't like the fact that our cabin wasn't made up until late afternoon everyday.
Service: Excellent. HAL has the best deck service I've ever experienced. Everyone was very pleasant and helpful.
Cruise Staff: only saw one cruise staff member. Never saw the Cruise Director-only heard his voice, making announcements. I would rate the cruise staff as poor. Entertainment: We don't usually attend the production shows, but I did enjoy the music onboard. One trio called Rosario Strings was particularly good. The casino was unremarkable and small. Food: the best I've ever had on a cruise. Food service in the dining room was fast and friendly. Bar service in the dining room, however, was slow-but I find this on every cruise. A great service offered was the wine and cocktail prepaid cards, like the soda cards offered on most lines. This was a great idea!!
Spa: Seemed somewhat disorganized and not very attentive. I felt the price for manicure/pedicure was outrageous with only fair service. The massage was reasonably priced and I was given an excellent massage. I also appreciated that I was not pushed into buying products from the spa.
Shore Excursions: Comparable with other lines.
Public areas/ship: We loved the nautical decor-so much better than some of the gaudy decor we've seen on ships. The ship, however, was unremarkable in appearance. The upper deck area wasn't pretty at all-very drab and has a worn appearance even though the ship is not that old. We missed a multilevel atrium which is often a hub of activity. The layout of the ship was not user-friendly-very disjointed. In walkways, things were often left in disarray-trays, carts, linens, etc. The ship is part of the destination for us, and in this respect, we were disappointed.
Disembarkation: The easiest we've ever had. I hope the other cruise lines can learn from HAL that disembarkation doesn't have to be a frustrating, crowded , uncomfortable mess. I LOVED the fact that we could wait in our cabin to disembark. What a difference!!! And there were so many people in the pier to help out and guide you to the right transportation. Overall, a very nice experience on HAL. My fellow passengers were mellow and friendly. A very nice atmosphere.