Friends talked us into going on this cruise with them. Before this HAL was their favourite line ... now they've said they'll never cruise with them again. Horrendous doesn't begin to describe this.
Constant maintenance (grinding rust most days for several hours), they closed the shops down, they closed the pools down, there was virtually no onboard entertainment (with the exception of the nightly show), few activities, and rude staff (not all of them, of course). Our cabin steward, Deny, was awesome - the best thing about the cruise.
This ship should have been in dry dock but instead, greedy Holland America put it into service and did the maintenance while passengers were on board. Disgusting. You couldn't hold a conversation in the lounge because of the constant rust grinding going on.
The gym was great - could always get onto the equipment. Only one gym instructor for the whole voyage. She worked from 6am-6pm every.single.day. Supposed to be two but this cruise line is so penny pinching.
Onboard band was pretty good but they only played about four times. New Year's eve was a 'mentalist' - so bad half the audience walked out. Happy New Year!
We've cruised many times but this was our most expensive and worst cruise ever. With the exception of breakfasts (waffles cooked to order with fresh fruit), the food was terrible. Christmas day consisted of boiled vegetables. We had asked for mashed potato but they were so incompetent they forgot to bring it. Merry Christmas!
I complained to Holland America and they didn't give a toss. Tough luck ... but thanks for letting us know. NEVER. EVER. AGAIN.
Do yourself a favour and go with a professional cruise line, like Carnival, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Cunard etc.
The cabin was ok. The ceiling creaked constantly. The DVD player didn't work but they replaced it (with another one that didn't work). The door to the balcony was hinged, which meant it wouldn't stay open if there was any breeze (unlike most other cruise lines that have sliding doors). The room had a large shower instead of a shower over the bath. Only problem with that was the catch to open the door was so small that, unless you had very dry hands or a towel, you couldn't grip the catch from the inside. I got stuck in there twice!
We weren't fussed on the pictures of fish on the walls. The woman in the next door cabin hated the pictures so much the steward had to cover them up with towels.