Excellent embarkation, and oddly, they seem to have dispensed with the silly health declaration. The nature of the muster drill has changed. One must not leave the cabin at the first alarm, but wait for the third or be told off by Miss Trunchbull, who now works for HAL. Shades of Costa Concordia telling the English speakers to jolly well stay in their cabins as the ship went down is what this brought to mind for me, but ‘whatever’.
We booked this one knowing that the lanais would mean very few non - reserved deck chairs on the walking deck. Initially we were pleased to see that there were plenty of deck chairs but then we noticed that they were almost all where the steel side went up to the railing, so no sea view. As the cruise went on, our fellow cruisers took to “reserving” the very few good loungers with towels. This is not the cruise for anyone who loves sitting on the boat deck. HAL also removed the cushions every night at 5:30! (Nobody on the cruise was quite THAT old.) We note that some passengers seem to have adopted a “Manifest Destiny” attitude on the walking deck, and will bark out “Coming through!” Or an imperative “Excuse me!” (As opposed to a polite one) and then expect you to clear the entire path for them instead of merely passing by. There were a few odd ducks on this cruise, but more on that later.
Food in the MDR was disappointing compared to previous HAL cruises, as well as every other line, except MSC. The portions are beginning to be skimpy, even for a small adult.
I don’t remember the room number or exact category. It was an outside. The toilet had a black ring around it that looked like dirt or mold, but was just old age, I think. The tub had black marks that were not dirt, just chips. You operate the tub plug by turning the cover for the overflow. Tucked inside the excursion catalogue on the desk, there are USEFUL maps of all the ports, not those silly maps that just show the ship at some unknown location next to a Diamonds International. A nice touch. There are more drawers and closets than you could use, about twice what the newer ships offer. Drawers under beds, too. No fridge, but they actually fill the ice buckets, so useful for carrying really cold water ashore in hot ports. A tiny, blurry tv, but they replaced it with a tiny brand new one. You can order videos (free) to watch on the DVD. Bring a clothes pin to keep curtains closed if you like to sleep past dawn. There is no nightlight. Put a bathmat along the crack at the bottom of the door if you like to sleep in the dark. The bathroom door has the nice magnetic catch to keep it open at night and there is a clothes line in the tub. All very functional.