I want to open this negative review with a disclaimer that I am of a minority that this cruise line caters to. We went on this cruise with 2 adults and 3 children (4, 8, 10). This is not the "target audience," so our experience will inevitably vary wildly from, say, a 50+ couple or a solo traveler. I am writing this for the people like us whose intention is a family vacation.
With the above said, if you:
- Are 50+
- Enjoy fancy specialty dining and wine-drinking
- Like live music but don't care for other types of entertainment
- Don't spend a lot of time in your room
...then this is the cruise for you. HAL focuses tremendously on high-end up-charge activities such as one the half dozen specialty restaurants and wine-tasting seminars
Rather than going into explicit detail about what I didn't like (which will go on and on), I will err on the side of brevity with bullet points:
- The room is too small for 5 people. With 5 of us the room was literally just beds with a 1.5' walking space.
- There's nothing to do on the boat if you don't want to see live music.
- Activities on the daily itinerary have no description and are misleading. For example, one event called "A Night at the Ballet" was not a ballet at all but a violin player. How were we supposed to know that?
- HAL Kids Club is essentially a room for kids, with riveting "activities" such as "draw a picture" planned. Essentially they want to be able to say they have a kids club, but don't actually put any effort into it.
- Food was mediocre across the board.
- Wildly varying and inconsistent food times.
- Constantly told they were "out" of a certain food item like chocolate milk but then it would suddenly appear the next day.
- Incessant sighing an eye-rolling on Lido deck.
- Charged $6.33 for a mini-bar bottle of water that we DID NOT TOUCH. Had to talk to 4 different people before it was removed and even then I was told it was a "one time exception."
- Cancelled Key West port of call.
- Lido buffet 'stations' is an awful way of setting things up. They say it's so that you don't have to wait in a long line but the tradeoff is you now have to wait in MULTIPLE medium-sized lines to get the things you want.
- There are no drink stations on Lido. You sit at a table and a server is supposed to come to you. Good luck with that. We had a server come maybe 10% of the time and the little button on the table to purportedly summon them was practically a placebo and did nothing.
- The Coke Freestyle machine was clearly and evidently broken but they refused to put up a sign. I had to fight to get a refund on my purchase.
- Dinner in main dining room took 2+ hours each time. Food was incredibly slow.
- No soft serve ice scream dispensers open 24/7. You had to go to the Sweet Spot on Lido and wait in a line to get scoops of ice cream, and he was only open for a few hours each day.
Overall just an awful experience. We couldn't wait to get off. We are NOT the party crowd that goes to Carnival, but we are also not the pinky-raising tea-sippers that this cruise clearly caters to.
The only thing positive I have to say is the cabin steward was excellent and the ship didn't have the obnoxious party atmosphere nor the screaming-at-you Cruise Directors Carnival has.
Way too small for 5 people. The 2 bathroom novelty thing wears off when you realize how much cabin space you lost for it,
Very useful chair, though they fill up quick so arrive early.View All undefined undefined Reviews