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4 Transpacific Group and Theme Cruise Reviews

We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! ... Read More
We booked this highly-touted HAL EXC 6-Week Japan/ Western Pacific cruise back in May 2018, & expected great things. Suffice it to say that it turned out to be the most over-hyped & disappointing cruise we've every endured! We feel that the HAL marketing team sold us a bill of goods, & are guilty of false advertising at the very least! The HAL EXC cruise concept (available only on Maasdam) promotes the heavy use of its fleet of on-board Zodiac small craft (exactly 9 of them were strapped down on the bow) for more indepth exploration!! Right up until the day we departed TX for JAPAN, we received HAL emails recommending we book our HAL Zodiac excursions in advance, because there were limited seats & they were selling out fast. Imagine our surprise (once we embarked in Yokohama in mid August) to learn that there would be NO HAL EXC Zodiac tours available during our entire 43 day odyssey down to Sydney!! The HAL EXC concept involved a heavy schedule of lectures on sea days in both the showroom at sea and the Wajang theater, covering Pacific region flora and fauna, WW2 battles & history, Asian/Japanese cultrure, photography, future NASA Space exploration, etc. Unfortunately HAL has chosen to eliminate the staff videographer position & none of these EXC presentations were videotaped for the convenience of those who would have preferred to hear the lectures in the privacy of their rooms. Thus, the lecture venues were always jam-packed with ill-tempered passengers jostling for the best seats. Unfortunayely Maasdam staff frequently jammed extra folding chairs into the aisles creating extremely unsafe conditions that would have given fire marshalls heart attacks. The male cruise director, who shall remain nameless, was the most unfriendly, colorless, unexciting, boring individual we've ever encountered in almost 50 cruises. He let everyone know, on a daily basis, that he was even more eager than we were to be disembarking in Sydney at the end of his contract!! We feel the cruise director was overworked, under-staffed, & in way over his head!! Overall, we feel the Maasdam is too small, too old, and too poorly laid out to support the noble objectives of the HAL EXC in-depth cruise concept!! Read Less
Sail Date August 2019
i worked 40 y ago as a motorman on a ship. so for me this trip was a good review of the feeling on sea. this region "kamtschatka" was a dream a long time ago and that was the oportunity. Excellent ship ... Read More
i worked 40 y ago as a motorman on a ship. so for me this trip was a good review of the feeling on sea. this region "kamtschatka" was a dream a long time ago and that was the oportunity. Excellent ship "L'Austral". excellent service and genious guides. Very special was the viewing of the aurora borialis right the first night on board. We saw orkas, humpbukwhales, seals and many many birds as the stellersche eagle. sorry not to see the bear a step closer than 400m. securitiy reason. Also the encounter with the tuschtschuken at tymlat was very emotionaly. We appriciate this trip very much. We have bukt for the next trip to the french polinesiens island. next Oktobre 2017. Read Less
Sail Date September 2016
This is the second Carival cruise to Hawaii with the twelve day itinerary. My first experience aboard the Spirit was an magical adventure. Unfortunately, I didn't get the same experience as last time. This voyage lacked a variety ... Read More
This is the second Carival cruise to Hawaii with the twelve day itinerary. My first experience aboard the Spirit was an magical adventure. Unfortunately, I didn't get the same experience as last time. This voyage lacked a variety of entertainment. The Cruise Director Jen was to hung up on dressing like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. She even brought out a Mad Hatter outfit one night equipped with tuxedo jacket. With five days at sea I would have expected entertainment to be set a high priority. i selected three health care seminars on my sea days, out of the selected two was cancelled. When I tried arts and crafts the instructor didn't show and a replacement showed up dumped a box of plastic door tags at us and said there you go Jacks couldn't make it. I felt insulted at how this was carried out. Another time we were making greeting cards they set out the supplies and then when we're all at our tables left with us holding the scissors, I decided one day to go shopping at the fun shop. I found a perfume I loved and asked a clerk náme Laura to explain more shout it. She rudely told me that wasn't her department, and turned her back on me, thus she lost my interest in shopping. There WAS some saving grace to this cruise, our dinner waiters/Waitress was exceptional. Jowie, Kadek, and Ako you truly out did yourself. Without you this cruise would have been hard to make memories. In al, if your looking for a budget friendly cruise to see Hawaij then look no further. If your looking for an elegant ship, you will find yourself disappointed. There is many nude painting with symbols on the walls. It was one of the worst themes I have seen on a Carnival ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2016
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten ... Read More
HAL is one of my favorite lines. . I like long cruises of 30 day and have already booked next year's HAL Cruise to S. AMERICA why? 1.dining room service w/ yudi was as good as the pinnacle and i tipped xtra. my roomie was gluten free and i am vegetarian.and diebetic yudi was told once and after that always asked what i wanted for my evening snack when a table became available he moved us to a window table. hal now offers a full vegetarian menu - very nice! of course, there was surf and turf on a night; lobster on another and gigantic steaks any time.the saladsandchilled fruit soups were to die for and the desserts were decedant w/ a non-sugar choice the female the female wine stewart. instead of asking again and again when we said :no" to wine .like the male stewart. instead she came every nite and enquired about our day..low key -- no pressure -- polite and friendly i only had dinner in the dining room because lunch interfered w/ my trivia game. the lido buffet was boring the chef thinks vegetarians eat pasta. luckily i like mac and cheese. but daily. once i had asian noodles and korean/japanese pickles -- yes! i am from vancouver and prefer asian food. the sushi was ho hum. a gala asian buffet held on the deck andmost enjoyed it hal decorated w/ chinese lanterns and served food in street stalls. unfortunately, no vegetarian fare. strange. many chinese. korean and japanese folk r buddhist hence vegetarian. they tried. but thy r dutch. the specialty dutch tea was british interpreted by americans. (myfather's a brit) -- the indonesian hi tea was also british altho the actual indonesian tea was terrific the server let me take some back to my cabin.great service the only disappointment is the 24 hr. room service. if u order continental all is well. tricks of trade. if u r having ci=offee for tow write "large" beside coffee. if you risk a poachd egg -- write 'soft' beside egg. the coffee was not starbucks. but drinkable the vegetarian thai wrap is delicious. but only available til 10 pm. after that vegetarians starve. cabin cleaning on par w/ other cruises -- minimal. lectures: mr. terry greenburg lectured on the history of china. japan and alaska. terrific. factural w. human elements. cultural info regarding japan wee fascinating. dr. helen ayers lectured on geology incl. ice burgs the talk on oil mining was an eye opener and really clarified the conflict regarding fraking. wonderful. pARK Rngers came on board when we entered glacier bay. i've been to alaska twice so i skipped it. down side -- cruised for 6 days over date line and changed time 1 hr fwd each day so i was in constant jet lag (time lag) then changed 2 hrs fwd just b4 vancouver. activities - mixed -- steve was a phenomenal bridge teacher for two wks, then katherine took over and she sucked windows 10 couraes helpful. dynamic and patient teacher. trivial always fun. library/wifi area the best of any line. jazzy shore manager a dud, but available to hand out maps and provide tips for those going ashore on their own did not take hal shore ex. cruised w/ craig travel and took their tours and cruise critic hal tours too expensive. cabin inside as good as an inside can be. better than ncl. carnival and princess. boarding and disembarkation smooth Read Less
Sail Date March 2016

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