November 2015 - Nieuw Amsterdam to Transatlantic
HAL still has the best crew of any cruise line and that's been consistent over the years. The line handled the delay in Barcelona beautifully and it wasn't easy to find about 1000 hotel rooms in Barcelona on short notice! Where was music in lounges and public areas? The endless loud passenger chatter everywhere was annoying and could have been moderated with serene background music. Food choices were far more limited than I remember. Few breakfast options are available for late sleepers. Casino slot machines are difficult to operate in comparison with Las Vegas where you simply deposit cash and start betting. Having to summon help to operate a simple slot makes customers have to work too hard to lose money. The 1-cent labeling for slots with 40-cent or larger minimums is misleading. A few bells and whistles in the casino to attract attention would certainly be more profitable. Shop selections were uninteresting and need more than the usual jewelry and evening bags on sale. Shop clerks appeared aloof and uninterested. I can't say enough good things about crew members who make or break a cruise (see below for notes on individuals). Critical areas like menu planning, vendor contracts, and casino operations need evaluation and improvement.