Very enjoyable Cruise Holiday with friendly service and a good clean ship through out. Great variety of food and drinks at all times and plenty of space for relaxation.
Fantastic holiday, great ship and crew, good cabin, ports of call were superb, food on board was very good, only hiccup was the transfers from airport to hotel, and hotel to port, and vice versa, did not turn up. We were speedily reimbursed the taxi fares on our return, and received a voucher by way of recompense. We would highly recommend this holiday.
This was our fifth cruise with HAL, though the first for several years and we felt that their standards have dropped. Whilst it was a very enjoyable cruise they let themselves down in key areas such as the following:- 1. The food, whilst mainly good, was frequently served on cold plates and was often lukewarm, at best. 2. The entertainment was very average, at best, apart from the string quintet, but even their programme was limited and became repetitive. 3. The ship was “tired” and in need of refurbishment. 4.The excursions, whilst good, were grossly over-priced. Similar or identical trips were available for purchase on the quayside. None of the above was the fault of the staff, who worked very hard, but there were obvious indications of cost-cutting
Considering that the ship is due for a refurb, it was in spectacularly good order, inside and out. The ship seemed much bigger than the number of passengers that it carries (1860) warrants. That is, on the one hand great as it means more space per person and it verandah stateroom was excellent. However, it did also mean that the ship did often seem empty, which is not great for atmosphere. I did struggle to find the "soul" of the ship? As with most cruises, the staff were brilliant. They really do try to make the cruise special and in every way delivered. We enjoyed the variety of entertainment (sing and dance, ventriloquist, pianist etc) though a couple of the performers were Marmite. The food was excellent throughout the ship with no need to visit the specialty restaurants. However, if you like your food piping hot as I do, you may need to point this out. We gave it as feedback early on and all credit to the restaurant staff, we receved personal attention from that point on and all was hot from that point on. We did find that HAL do take feedback on board One thing we did note which was different to other cruises was the paucity of on board activities such as scavenger hunt, ring toss, bean bag toss etc i.e. the on board trivial stuff which just acts as the glue to get people together in friendly competition. We did mention this when on board and hopefully they will note? Ports of call were extremely good and docking arrangements good, with use of a free shuttle bus to town where that was needed. Some cruise lines will charge for this but well done HAL. The Hyatt hotel in Darling Harbour, Sydney was first class and well situated within the city and walking distance to The Rocks area. The Cordis in Auckland was equally top notch and well situated. Both were 5* hotels, in keeping with the cruise line. Flight landing times and ship docking times do not always coincide with being able to get into your room though. However, staff are helpful and both gave access to the gym/spa area to freshen up and we could leave luggage at the front desk, which helped. The captain and senior crew were very communicative and at all stages we know what to expect regarding weather in board and in ports and also sea state. This was much appreciated. All in all, I would highly recommend the itinerary and the ship:- a great vacation (though the flights will never be good!).