Embarkation: Took a taxi to Canada Place - delivered right to where we needed to check in! Arrived at 10:45 - process was painless and we were on the ship 45 minutes later. Made our way to the Lido and found a table for 4 - all the tables for 2 were taken. Shared with two nice ladies from Canada.
Cabin. We were able to go to the cabin at 1:30pm. We booked a VF guarantee - that was all that was available in the balcony class - and we were assigned a VF on Deck 4 - one with a steel railing. We actually liked the steel railing as it seemed more private and we had more space on the balcony itself. Cabin itself: when we arrived the safe wouldn't work, the connecting door to the cabin next to us wasn't locked (we were QUITE surprised when our next door neighbor poked his head in!), no bathrobes, no wire fruit basket. We called the front desk immediately about the safe and the unlocked connecting door - said they would send More
someone - but neither were fixed until 8pm and 4 phone calls later. Didn't see our room steward at all that first day.
We ate dinner the first day in the Vista MDR - anytime seating. Asked for a table for two and got it - except it literally was 8 inches from a table for 4. A bit noisy and not very private. Dinner was fine, except the serving of ling cod that was about 2 inches by 2 inches square - not really enough for an entrEe, so ordered the coho salmon in addition. Let me digress for a moment to the attire of the passengers.
Attire. One of the concerns I had was the "Smart Casual" requirement - as I prefer to live in jeans I realized that I would have to forego them. Black dress pants seemed to fit the "Smart Casual" rules. I needn't have bothered. Jeans, even the shredded knee ones, seemed to be acceptable. T-shirts were not out of the norm. My favorite was the woman wearing a hot pink halter top in the MDR, which was nicely co-ordinated with a matching bra and with straps the world could see, and gray jersey leggings. Second place went to the three girls wearing bathing suits and wrapped in wet towels in the Lido at lunch. Third place went to the overweight men who wore their bathrobes (and nothing else) to the Lido at lunch, too. I'm sorry I paid attention to the dress code and left my jeans at home.
Breakfast in the MDR on Day 2. Table for 2. Slow service. Bacon was undercooked; chocolate croissant tasted rancid, the French toast was crisp on the outside was soggy and raw eggish on the inside - like it had soaked too long? We decided on the Lido for breakfast after that meal. Robes mysteriously arrived while we were at breakfast.
Spent the day in Astoria. Cute little town. Interesting watching the docking process from our balcony.
Made a dinner reservation in the MDR for 5:30pm that day. Received a confirming card in our mailbox. Left for dinner. Room still not made up; still no fruit basket. At the MDR gave the maitre'd our confirmation card. He told staff to take us to table XXX; when we got there we saw it was a table for 6! We told the staff we had a reservation for a table to 2. We went back to the maitre'd - he had kept our card but it was nowhere to be found. He said we did not have a reservation for a table for 2 and that there were no tables for 2 available. As we were leaving to go to the Lido he magically found one. Off in a corner behind a pillar. At least it was private! Dinner was OK - not overwhelming. Service was slow. The baked Alaska dessert was strange - it really didn't seem like meringue on the outside - more like that marshmallow goo that comes in a jar? I'm pretty sure meringue doesn't get that way even when soggy.
Back to the cabin. Finally made up. Wire basket for fruit, but no fruit in it. We really enjoyed listening to the musician playing on the dock from our balcony, and the casting off process. Found 2 wine glasses and enjoyed some of the wine we brought on board.
Decided to try room service since I was still hungry. Ordered a BLT, two bananas and cheese plate. One hour later it arrived - the cheese plate was amusing - 4 very small pieces of cheese, a few crackers and a berry in the middle of the plate. Seriously, each piece of cheese was 1 inch by 1 inch! My BLT had processed cheddar cheese on it - it tasted OK once I removed the cheese. Decided further room service was not in the cards!
Ate at the Lido for breakfast and lunch the rest of the cruise. It was fine, but tough finding a table for two. Made a reservation at Canaletto for dinner the third night - highly recommend it! Food was excellent as was the service. Loved the lemoncello dessert. Tried to make reservations for the last two nights we would be on the ship but it was booked solid.
Dinner was at the Lido the last two nights. Kept checking the MDR menu to see if lobster was on it; as that was the only reason I would even consider going back. No lobster the entire cruise. Oh, well.
I had heard great things about HAL room stewards. Ours wasn't. Even though we were out of the cabin for chunks of time, it was only made up early in the day once. And the last two days it wasn't made up at all. No garbage emptied, no clean towels, no new toiletries. Our wine glasses disappeared on day 3 and never returned - but we made do with the water glasses for our wine on the balcony.
Disembarkation was a breeze in San Diego. Had time for breakfast in the Lido, went back to our cabin - which was partially made up for the next passengers! Off the ship at 9am.
And very unlikely to be back. While we have traveled extensively - on our own to rather remote parts of the world, and we're pretty friendly people, I didn't like the "forced socialization". At 6:30am - when I'm enjoying a cup of tea and watching the sea I'm not interested in the "I'm from......where are you from." And I found the level of chatter in the MDR and Lido to be very loud. Less
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