We choose HAL because it's low key, we like Lincoln Center Stage, daily Catholic mass, and America's Test Kitchen. We paid extra for Neptune class, but besides having a bigger room don't know what it really gets you. Saw a lot of staff fawning over some cruisers (perhaps repeat cruisers), but then would not give others the time of day. In the end, the penny-pinching was obvious with food and entertainment, and the overall value was low: we are rethinking any future cruise with HAL.
4 out of 5
Getting on the ship was easy, but the elevators were jammed with passengers trying to get to their decks. We ended up climbing 5 decks with our luggage -- not a great way to start the cruise.
Food and Dining
2 out of 5
Main Dining is good service, attentively cooked awful cuts of meat and fish. Advice to others: do not eat in the Main Dining room, but go to Pinnacle (or if you like the "easy dining" approach, head to Lido Deck on 9 deck or "Dive In" for a hotdog or a pizza. As for specialty dining, they were HEAVILY looking for people to dine at Tamarind, the asian-infused restaurant, so perhaps that was low on everyone's list. The real, "cruise experience" dining is in the Pinnacle Lounge, and sadly you have to pay up to $25 per person per dinner to have the experience and the food that Main Dining just isn't going to give you.
4 out of 5
We LOVED Lincoln Center Stage, America's Test Kitchen, daily Catholic mass and whatever activities we went to.
4 out of 5
Lincoln Center Stage was the best, followed by BB King's. Main Stage had a great "house band," but the shows were truly "on a budget" (we had two comedians, one of whom was phenomenal, a few nights with solo singer/performer, and I think about 3 nights with dancing). Sadly, you could see the "cost cutting" with the Main Stage, as the only solid saving grace was the band, dancers and soloists -- they were outstanding.
Service and Staff
3 out of 5
Room stewards work their butts off -- they and the laundry people are unsung heros. I have never seen so few stewards for so many rooms, but the stewards took good care of us.
The Main Dining wait staff were great. They were the only shining light with such dismal food.
The Neptune Lounge staff never introduced themselves to us. We were there twice a day and do not even know their names.
Specialty dining ranges from good/experienced staff (Pinnacle) and incredibly inexperienced staff (Canaletto). I got so tired of our last name being mispronounced by a sing-songy, high pitched voice that belonged to someone who really didn't know how to guide a diner through their experience.
Again, it felt like the ship was run by cost-cutters who did not know the business.
4 out of 5
The ship was clean, and you could always see staff out and about cleaning. It is just a bit worn, and there are not enough seats in Lincoln Center Stage for everyone to enjoy their music. But again, staff seemed to be overwhelmed with the amount of work they had, even though none complained (or even stopped smiling).
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Very comfortable cabin, which was very spacious. Our cabin stewards kept it clean, and even better, they always seemed to work around our schedule. I totally respect their hard work and dedication.
We came here for Pearl Harbor, and recommend you visit only after they reopen the Arizona Memorial. When we went on the tour it was not open, and we had a docent aboard the craft that kept talking as we passed by the ARIZONA -- so we never even had the chance for a moment of silence out of respect for those who lost their lives.
The tour group we used was Hoku tours, and the tour guide we had was among the very best we ever had. If you have to choose a good tour company, they were FANTASTIC. We had Kane, who was an awesome ambassador for Hawaii.
Weather caused the captain to waive off of trying to get into this port. He said, "You are either 100% right or 100% wrong going into Nawiliwili," and as far as we are concerned, we liked being 100% right by not attempting to get into that port when the seas and winds were a bit much.
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency,
and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners
(travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our
users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or
prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site
for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on
external web sites.
Need help from a personal vacation planner?
Find the perfect cruise with weekly tips and cruise deals for as little as $30/night!
Sign up for weekly cruise deals
Join other subscribers and get the best
cruise deals of the week in your inbox every Thursday.