1. Room # J1064
2. Class (inside K)
3. date-November 23rd to 30th
4. Itinerary- FL Key West, Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Half Moon Cay
If you find anything let me know with a helpful vote!
5. Pros-Large interior room, large drawers under the bed, ottoman with storage, fridge, USB charging ports, Glass elevators, luggage delivery
6. Cons- Pre-boarding communication, no place for kids to run and play, dinner service was very slow, grumpy old people (maybe b/c we have kids). They have removed the self-laundry facilities.
7. Comments- HAL has very poor communication, in fact no contact was made with me until as emailed them several times asking for information did they say that any communication has to be done with my travel agent until about a month before did they tell email me to inform me to fill/print my documents for the cruise.
I was already told that HAL is an older crowd and that our kids might not be well received, but for the most part they were. There were a few couples that apparently had no clue that kids are off for Thanksgiving and 1 was very rude, but overall, we really enjoyed sailing with HAL.
8. Room- We were lucky to pick a large interior room (see pics) and along with that came a corner sofa and a much larger TV, I would say 32-40". We have 2 boys so we were very happy with our room. We were thrilled to have several USB charging ports throughout the room along with 3 or 4 outlets (very rare). Something so little can make things so much better.
9. Bed= Floor bed was comfortable but upper was much firmer, but the boy was fine with it. It also has a pull-out sofa bed. We really liked the arrangement of this room (see pics)
10. Pillows=Med in size and comfortable.
11. Heating and air= We stayed comfortable, didn’t get too hot as on some ships.
12. Metal walls= Magnets only stuck to the doors.
13. Bathroom- Typical small interior cabin bathroom but worked ok for us.
14. shower size= Typical size for a cruise ship, maybe slightly larger. The water pressure was good and temperature was always good.
15. Internet: I didn’t use this at all on the ship and no one mentioned it.
16. Ship GPS= They had a great interactive TV and a great ship stats in the Crows nest that gave great details about the ships rotors rotation rate, degree angels, water depth, etc. I found it very interesting.
17. noise= Our cabin location was very quiet even though we were only a short (convenient) distance from the service desk.
18. Atrium= The smallest I’ve ever seen. The size is so small that it could not be used for entertainment like all other ships I’ve been on... which is fine, just very different. (see pics)
19. Smoking= Smoking was very well managed on this ship. It was great that this ship has the casino in a completely separate area, which would have been perfect in itself, but even in the casino no smoking is allowed.
20. Lido deck/pool= We enjoyed the retractable roof in the pool area so we were able to swim even on cooler, windy days.
The Retreat Adults only area and is where they put the pizza place. So, the place that is supposed to be kid free is where you put the pizza place?? Yeah, seems pretty dumb to me too.
21. Smoking= very well managed and is not allowed in the casino. Was allowed on the starboard in lido and in the aft.
22. smooth= We were lucky on this voyage as the seas were pretty calm and the ship was well managed.
23. weather= Again, another lucky thing as the weather was good for this trip.
24. Dining=The food was mostly good, I will give a longer (more boring) detail about dining later if that suites your fancy (I like to know what to try and what to avoid, so I include).
I will say that the service was sloooooow. Even on the days we go there before most, we often were the last ones to leave. We thought perhaps it was because of the kids menus? No, other tables with kids also left before us. It was so bad after day 2, the Maitre’ D asked how the service was and we asked if it was possible to get it a little faster. It did for the next day but increasingly got slower and slower each day and we were fully staffed the entire voyage.
25. seating room-The seating was tight, but still manageable. There were times the staff had to go around because of seating but we were not uncomfortable.
26. laundry=Huge letdown… The ship map show a laundry area but they have removed it.
Per Cruise Critic
27. Personal Background Information=This was my 13th cruise and we often travel with my family with 2 young boys currently 5 and 2. We went with my parent in laws that have been on over 50 cruises.
28. Travel To Port of Embarkation= Drove to Ft Lauderdale and stayed at
29. Hotel Info (if any)=Quality Inn Kennedy Space Center $80
30. Embarkation= We arrived early and was able to board quickly and enjoy lunch in the dining room. We were happy with this as this is our preference so we don’t have to fight the hoards of people that flock to the buffet on boarding day (that is always rough).
- Children's Clubs: There is no place for the kids to play.. Yes, we were able to send our 5 year old to kids club during certain hours and he did enjoy it when he went, but the 2 year old had no where to go. We don’t leave our older kid at kids club all day so when we had both, they had no place to play with each other.
32. Entertainment= We didn’t get to go to many shows, but what we saw we enjoyed and seating seemed to be enough for the crowd.
33. Shore Excursions=None
34. Disembarkation=Getting off the ship went quickly as well. We were in no hurry so we ate breakfast in the dining room and stayed as long as possible so the majority of the crows were already off.
35. Our Favorites=
• The large interior room with large TV, plenty of seating.
• We loved the glass elevators that you could see all the way to the water on most floors (this is a gem).
• Out luggage was placed in our room before 2pm.
36. Summary=We enjoyed HAL and the little extras they provided (like actually putting our luggage in the room). We were very happy with our large interior room.
HAL (or at least this ship) needs to provide some free space for kids to run around in, both the kids and other HAL guests will appreciate this since they have to use other common areas to play outside of club HAL where 2 year olds are not allowed and are not open 24/7.
Be aware: you might be used to few to no kids on a HAL ship, but if it is any kind of break or vacation, don’t get an attitude that you see kids on board… We have paid just as much for them to be on board as you have (more than you in total) so either make the best of it or don’t book during these times… A bad attitude makes for an unpleasant cruise for you and me.
Dry Rub Brisket= C- you would think it would be good but not so much
Whiskey cake= D (but I don’t like whiskey)
Veal tenderloin=A+ the best thing I had, it was great
Lobster=B Tasted ok, but took so long to bring the drawn butter it was cold
Flourless choc cake= B+
Pizza= C- I’ve heard it was good but it wasn’t for our trip
Crab cake= B very good, VERY tiny
Master Chef ice cream=C Ice cream was really iced milk, not so good.
Strip steak=A It was surprisingly good, wish we didn’t wait to the end to order it.
Beef Wellington=C- I was excited to get this since I like it so much but it was not good. Strange spices in it.
Room- We were lucky to pick a large interior room (see pics) and along with that came a corner sofa and a much larger TV, I would say 32-40". We have 2 boys so we were very happy with our room. We were thrilled to have several USB charging ports throughout the room along with 3 or 4 outlets (very rare). Something so little can make things so much better.
Really didn't do anything in the city other than board the ship so N/A would really be more accurate.
• FL Key West,
There was a free train trolley (the kids loved it) that took you to ‘downtown’ and also took you back.
I’ll try to make this sound non-offensive, but as a Christian we have been told to avoid this area due to liberal lifestyles in the area. Truth is that I didn’t find it to be that bad. I did meet a couple of people where things may not be as they seemed but they played the part well and where not obtrusive about it.
There is also a free bus that we took us to just a block or two from the ‘most southern point’ for the photo opp. There is a line to get the iconic pic, but you don’t have to do that, you can just take pics of the area and that is what we did so we could get back in time for lunch. I was told the line was about 30-45 minutes, but of course I’m sure that will depend on the size of the crowd when you arrive.
• Grand Turk,
We did some snorkeling there but I really don’t like the beach here, it is pretty rocky and the water is pretty rough. Our best bet is to go to the big pool they have with a beach type gradual decline at the entrance. Since it starts so shallow it is ideal for the very little ones to play in, but sometimes can get pretty crowed with older kids running and jumping. We enjoy this resort style area as well and didn’t leave it to explore the island. We have before and was extremely disappointed.
• Dominican Republic,
We just stayed in the resort style area with the pools and swam and enjoyed the sun. It got really busy after a carnival shipped docked and got a lot noisier, more drunks and more foul from the type of crowd that got off. Reason why we decided to go with HAL during Thanksgiving break instead other cruise lines.
• Half Moon Cay
We always enjoy this private island and no different this time. We were the only ship there and the beach has plenty of people on it but still don’t have a problem finding seats. We like to snorkel while we are here. It’s not the best but it’s not bad either and given the small crowd we usually always snorkel when we visit.