We are 37 and 38 years old and have been on 22 cruises so far. We cruise with Celebrity, Azamara, Oceania and Royal Caribbean. This was our 3rd cruise with HAL and will be our last one. We are easy and always treat people with respect.
I don't know if it's HALs 'fault' but this is the 3rd embarkation with the HAL were it took almost 1,5-2 hours to check in. Reason: Too few check in counters staffed.
The suite was refurbished earlier this year but several things were broken, missing and dirty (blood stains on the chair, loose curtains, broken lights. The stateroom was not clean. the stateroom attendant told us that they have to clean 24 staterooms with just 2 people. We saw 1 time during our 13 days cruise a vacuüm cleaner.
Main Dining Room: The food was mediocre, the taste was bland and the presentation was too simple. In some cases it was a joke, even at the gala evenings my fish looked like a schnitzel. The vegetables were the same each night. I should be ashamed as waiter and chef to serve this to customers. It was worse than the food in the restaurant at my work.
The waiters did a great job to make the best of it.
The food was good and tasteful. There was no background music so the ambiance was minimal. The waiters were very nice, no complaints whatsoever.
The production shows were OK, nothing special. We've seen better, but this is not important for us. It was a MED cruise and a lot of people enjoyed the sun at the aft pooldeck. The perfect place for some live music, but no, the ship was quit. No live music at the outer decks, no band, nothing. Too bad for the atmosphere and too boring to drink a nice glass of wine during sail away. A missed oppertunity.
Hit and miss. The friendliest people on the ship were the stateroom attendants, cleaners and the waiters. We were one of the youngest people on the ship and apparently we were totally not interesting for the head waiter. He ignored us completely.
Miscommunication / Rude staf
There were several situations onboard were passengers were treated like they were crew members on a cargo ship. Example: We were supposed to leave the ship on Deck A midship (port of Toulon). The securtiy crew sent us back to Deck 2 Forward. So we walked to the theater with other people. We asked a lady from the shore excursion staff where we can leave the ship. She told us to leave the room because it was for shore excursions only. We asked her several times where we can leave the ship because security on Deck A was sending more and more people to Deck 2. She refused to listen and started to shout that we have to leave and go back to Deck A. I asked her politely to contact Deck A about this but she ignored me completely. We were all amazed, is this really a 5 star cruiseline?
Sometimes we book ship excursions when we don't want to run the risk of missing the ship. The tour prices HAL charges are ridiculous. Other cruiselines charge half of the price for exactly the same tour.
The ships exterior is at this moment in good condition. The maintenance however is poor. The ship is not kept clean. Carpets are dirty, tables are not clean and especially on the pooldecks it's a mess. Waiters don't clean up empty glasses and food plates, sunbeds are covered with used towels for hours. It's the third HAL cruise we experienced such a mess on a ship.
The chairs on the pooldecks got dirty because of the soot coming out the funnels. The chairs never got cleaned so people complained about dirty clothes. My new trousers got black spots so I told the officer (he walked on the deck) to clean the chairs more often. He said to me to cover the chair with a pooltowel. In other words, he didn't care and ignored my dirty trousers. This is a cruise ship, not a cargo ship.
All ports were great, no complaints.
HAL does not deliver. The overall experience is poor. Definitely not in the same league as Celebrity Cruises. And definitely not a 5 star cruiseline. We paid a premium price for a poor product.
This wheel chair accessible suite is not wheel chair friendly. We are not disabled but we can't imagine how people in a wheel chair can enter the balcony, it's too difficult. The suite was not clean and some stuff didn't work.
The beds were fine. You can't use the shower without making a mess. So we only used the shower in the bathtub. No big problem, just a design error.
I would never pay the extra money for a Signature Suite. It's just a slightly bigger Verandah cabin, nothing more, nothing less.
The ports are easy to explore on your own. The ship docks/tenders in walking distance of the city centers (we are still 'young') .
Rent a car and enjoy the beautiful regions yourself. The ports are the highlight of the cruise.