This was our 19th cruise, 8th on Holland, so we have plenty to compare it too. We were all excited to get back to HAL as it, and Celebrity are our two favorite lines. Due to pricing and iteneraries this is our first cruise on HAL in two years.
The pluses: The food and service in the dining room was as good as on any of the other cruises. Embarkation and Disembarkation was a breeze. Overall the ship was in fine shape. All the crew were friendly and always smiling.
The minuses: The entertainment. This was two seven day cruises back to back. Each week there was one night where there was no entertainment in the theater, unless you want to consider kareoke or Name that tune entertainment.There was just one guest entertainer each week and they each did one performance only, except for Julie Barr who did an R rated show at 11pm one night. The ensamble cast consisted of six singers and just two dancers, and they performed the other nights. Constume changes were at a minimum as well as the set changes. It reminded us of a high school production show. To their credit though, the singers were pretty good. They were no competition to the ensambles we saw on our previous two cruises which were on Princess and Celebrity.
The Lido: There have been many cutbacks there. The most noticeable being no fruit juice availabe during the day. Also the coffee cups and drink glasses are about the size of my granddaughter's tea set. You either had to grab several or keep going back for refills. Lastly there is no food available between 8-11 pm as the buffet closes down except for water, ice tea. and coffee. Not that we need it, but we usually go up to the Lido, after the show in the theater, have a glass of juice and a slice of pizza, or a couple of cookies and talk about the day and what we had planned for the next day. Unless you want to sit around for an hour or so, that's not an option.
The stateroom: We always book a oceanview guarantee as, normally the location on the ship doesn't really matter to us. That has worked the previous 18 times but not this time. We were assigned to an "H" 701. This is the very first room on deck 4. The room it self was quite nice and we've had portholes before so that didn't bother us. What was unbearable was the noise. On port days it started about 4:45 am and lasted 1-2 hours constant, and the same when leaving port. On tender days it was constant, all the time we were in port. I went to the front desk and asked to be moved, anyplace, even an inside cabin, and was told the ship was full. They gave me a complaint form to fill out and I have yet to get a response, that was November 27. It was so bad that we were going to get off on the turnaround day in Tampa but when we found that the cost to change our airline tickets would be $500, we decided to tough it out. A few of the ports the second week were later arrivals so that helped some.
Lastly, getting the room made up. Since we were at the very front of the ship, our room was constantly the last one made up. That meant by 12:30 to 1pm the first time and 7;45 to 8:15pm at night. I mentioned it to the room steward and the next day it was earlier, but that was just for one day.
We are going on Celebrity in April and if it's like it was in May, this will have been our last cruise on HAL. Except for the noise, the rest of the issues are based on cost cutting measures. I'd rather pay more than, comparing this one to the previous 18 cruises, feel like I got screwed. Yes this went on my comment card at the end and I asked them I'd be glad to talk to them about my complaint, but still nothing.