I have traveled on three HAL cruises and like most had very high expectations. Our first cruise on the Westerdam had been under an alert due to an outbreak of the Noro virus. Not necessarily the cruise lines fault but how they handled showed their true colors. I assumed that the long lines at the buffet were due to the extra precautions. Until I took another cruise with Hal. Same long lines and disinterested crew. I travel with myntwo young children and was rarely asked if I or my husband needed assistance in any of the restaurants. It was even more rare for a waiter to ask if you wanted a drink other than a bartender looking to charge you for something. There were many times that we ordered a glass of wine just so that we could get the water we needed as well.
The dining rooms were no better. We did both assigned and open seating. Both seemed to have too many tables for too few waiters. When we ordered dessert we didn't get our coffee until long after we had eaten it. Mny times we just left before it even came. Similar story in the specialty restaurants.
As to why this is an issue for Hal the only thing I can identify as a potential problem is that the majority if not all of the waiters are Indonesian. Their culture may simply lack the urge to serve I really don't know. However I have been on just about every other line and don't think I can remember a one that has one nationality doing one large job. The diversity of the crew is a high point for me and is sorely lacking on these ships. The bar staff is mainly from the Phillapeanes and seems to be much pleasant.
I do like that Hal allows passengers to bring their own wine on board. a nice gesture that we enjoyed in our staterooms as that was the onlplace it was allowed. Steak house had wonderful food. The private island is one of the nicest stops ever. Of course the food line was another mismanaged cluster of people waiting while the crew took their time.
I write very few negative reviews however, I feel pretty strongly after three cruises with HAL that their excellent service record is nothing more than a manufactured snow job courtesy of the cruise line itself. Once home their customer service department continued their lack of courtesy. Dismissive and basically told myself and those tha cruised with me that we were wrong. We normally travel in a large family group and have decided we will no longer subject ourselves to the rudeness on HAL.