It's the first time we haven't driven down to Florida from Ont. Ca. We flew using the services of HAL, on A/C, we had checked out the air fares before we booked the flight, and the fares were cheaper than what was quoted with ... Read More
It's the first time we haven't driven down to Florida from Ont. Ca. We flew using the services of HAL, on A/C, we had checked out the air fares before we booked the flight, and the fares were cheaper than what was quoted with A/C, by a few $. We always arrive the day ahead, especially this time in case of snow, and if the flight was cancelled, needn't have worried, no snow. we booked the hotel our selves, not with the HAL., and took the hotel shuttle to the port. We have been on HAL before, September 1994, one of the last ships to Alaska, at that time I had slipped a disc, 10 days before, the Dr allowed me two travel if I rested and did my exsercises. HAL at that time were excellent, with me needs. We had wanted to cruise the Panama Canal, for my husband's 80th, and we had checked out other cruise lines, and HAL had the best itenery to suit us. We weren't disappointed.
Yes, it's an older ship, and may need some repairs, what ship doesn't, but maintanence was being done and keeped in check. One review I had read, stated it was rusty, yes it had some rust, but remember it's salt water, and when it rains, salt is in the rain, and metal doesn't like salt water. Stair carpets were being replaced, no problems, they have to be done some time, and they weren't all done at the same time.
I did hear the second day out, that the aft balcony cabins had problems with the plumbing, on some decks, but I don't know for how long. Also some of the ladies toilets did get plugged and maintenance was onto it. BUT THIS HAS HAPPENED ON OTHER SHIPS TOO.
We had booked a guarantee in side, and when we received our cabin number, main deck 1031, right under the bars and casino, we were worried about the noise level, (we go to bed early most nights) we needn't have been, didn't hear a thing, heard more of people walking down the hall. Was disappointed that the walls weren't metal, couldn't hang my hooks on them. My over the door shoes rack, only just made it, a bit tight. Lots of storage, could put the cases under the bed. The cabin was very spacious, had a 1/2 moon shaped sofa, with table and the usual dressing table. Plenty of room in the bathroom too, was a shower only, which is fine with us. Did appreciate the handle bars in the shower, plus all the amenities.
Wasn't keen on the "Half Noon Cay", must say RCL's much better by far, but my husband did enjoy the swimming there the first week, the weather and water around 80f. The second week the weather was bad, cold and rainy, which should have been a warning to my husband, he caught a very bad head cold. Bad for him, great for me, as I got to do things I wanted to do. First two days, I would take his meals down to him, he eventually did wander up for meals and sitting on deck three, promenade, for the next 4 or 5 days. As I said, I got to do a lot of trivia games, and things that I liked to do. Met a lot of cruisers that way.
EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION:- was a breeze, even when we had to disembark in F.L. to continue on to our second portion of the cruise.
DINING:- we had booked first sitting, and asked for 6-8 size table, was placed on a table for 4, the other couple didn't show. The waiter had two other tables of 8, making our service slow, no fault of his, very nice waiters, so tried "any time dining" for a couple of times, then we ended up in the Lido restaurant for all meals, suited us better, food the same, especially while my husband was sick.
THE ENTERTAINMENT:- was very good. In the Adagio lounge the first week was "Dmytro and Eugenia" Who were EXCELLENT. When they preformed on the Vista stage, with "The Band" (asked for by many guests, and HAL put on as a special event) you couldn't have asked for a better concert. They were missed the second week. "The Band", in the Ocean Bar, were good, they're not too sure about the tempo for Ballroon dancing, and the tunes were too long at times, but was still enjoyable. The floor needed to be bigger. BB King was loved by all. Nice dance floor and bigger, they need to switch floors for ballroom dancing, even if every over day or so. The Zuiderdam Singers and Dancers were good especially the second week.
FITNESS CENTER:- Rich and Matt very pleasant, Rich gave us a exercise to continue with when we got home.
SHORE EXCURSIONS:- Only did two. One in Cartagena on my own, as hubby sick, went with the ship, well worth it, just a two hour walk about on my own, got my coffees for presents, the other one on disembarkation, did the "land and Water" tour ending up at the airport. was good, was raining, passed the time away.
PUBLIC ROOMS AND CREW:- All the crew were great and helpful, always a smile on their faces, nothing was too much trouble, even in the Lido at 10.30pm, when I had forgotten my milk for Meds. Cruise direct Rick, and Show host Andy, and Alice were great, The public rooms were always clean. I would do my "walking at 5.30-6.00am, on the inside on the promenade deck, there was always cleaners cleaning.
DIGITAL :- We took a few work shops for "Windows 10"
DECORE:- with it being a New Years Eve cruise, every where was decorated for the season, and looked lovely and festive, the only thing was, I left it too late to take photos, not thinking they would take them down, so don't have any memories of them.
THE CANAL:- it was all that we expected, they did open up all decks, so we could see going through. Must do it again when they open up the new canal.
OVER ALL:- Would we go on HAL again?, yes we would, Would we recommended HAL to other cruisers? Yes we would.
Thank you HAL for a great cruise. Read Less