So happy to be back on board one of HAL's ships and the newest of the fleet but very quickly disappointment took over. We were allocated our Spa Stateroom which we felt was more like a Best Western Hotel room with a view/balcony. The decor was drab with the most hideous lighting which you could not make intimate or cosy and the carpet was dreadful. It was brown and dirty.
The lack of outside seating areas on this ship was our biggest gripe. You could either sleep with your neighbour on one of the loungers by the pool (you can not put your hand between each one!) - or take a lounger to and upper deck and sit by the one of extractor fans. There are not many people in these areas not surprising as you have to shout to be heard, that is if you have not been overcome by the heat expelled from them. I would also add that the pools are small.
This ship is designed and built for cold climates - without a doubt. Alaska or Antartica, somewhere you do not spend much time outdoors - or sitting around. In the Med where you want to be outside, you are crammed into small spaces. The cabanas took up valuable space and during 12 nights we only noticed 2 being used on a couple of occasions. In addition there was a basketball type of area which was used of an evening by the crew and whilst they do need their own space, more could have been made of it.
A big thing was made about the friendliness of the crew - really??? Over a 12 day period, we were elbowed by crew as we were getting on coaches - on more than one occasion, snubbed by staff outside of the cabin/formal dining room and had a door flung open in our face with no apology whatsoever. If it had been a one off I would not have made a comment but it was constant - everyday. Our last evening in the Silk Den with friends, the bar tender (Boosie - quite apt for a barman) who on a previous occasion had introduced himself and seemed quite jolly (although more like someone out of James Bond - and not a goody!) was ignorant, hostile and blatantly ignored me - even when I asked him if he was alright, he stared into space and nothing. I wanted to report him to the front desk but decided against it but how I wish I had.
Laundry - oh yes, we had 4 t.shirts cleaned and pressed? Pressed - they came back wrecked. I had to throw one away, another had a whole in the sleeve, the next had a pull and the 4th one had a pink colour running through it when it was beige! They were also creased. Total waste of money.
Overall, our experience was nice. We rose above the Best Western cabin, the moody staff and bathed our bruises from being elbowed by the crew but we would not use this ship again and perhaps would revert to one of the other cruise companies we have used in favour of HAL.
Try it for yourself, you might have a better experience.