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We sailed the Caribbean on the Summit in Jan. 2002 and had a wonderful time. We chose the Volendam in Jan. 2003 because we liked the itinerary better. We sailed the Volendam again, last Jan. They are both wonderful ships, the Volendam being smaller. We had balcony cabins on both and they were similar size. The Summit has a shower in the bathroom and the Volendam has a shower/tub combination. The new Vista ships are more similar in size to the Summit. Whichever you choose, you'll have a wonderful cruise.
Sailed the Grand Princess (not quite the Sun or Dawn, but not all different either) -- Did not like "anytime dining" at all -- never ate with the same folks -- it was always introductions and all that competitive get to know you stuff for dinner conversation even though the food and service were excellent -- some nights we had to wait to get into a dining room -- they would give us a "beeper" like you receive when you wait in many restaurants -- not the way I like to spend time at Sea
The Princess ships you mention are a lot larger than the Volendam -- have not been on the Volendam either but I know the Statendam and Zaandam -- the HAL ships (excluding the Vista class ships) are smaller and hold fewer people, but have as much if not more space per person in public areas -- the HAL ships actually have a small enough complement of people on Board to actually more than occasionally run into the same people more than once -- that hardly ever happened on the Grand Princess!
The cabins on the Zaandam are much larger than even the balcony cabins on the Grand Princess. They have a sofa in the cabins - only a single chair in our balcony cabin on Princess -- Also the HAL ships have much better storage space -- for two people we were really cramped storing all our gear on the Grand Princess, the storage we had was not well designed -- The HAL Vista class ship cabins are smaller and probably more similar in size to those on the Grand Princess
On HAL there are free hot munchies in the bars if you order drinks before dinner (not so on Princess) -- you do not have to pay for ice cream -- free cappuchino at the Java Cafe (you had to pay on Princess) -- HAL has a movie theatre (with free popcorn), Princess only had movies on TV in the cabins (not the same experience)
Cannot give you any advice on Celebrity -- haven't done that --sorry
Last edited by arzz; August 13th, 2004 at 01:14 AM.
A few month back (on the old board) I ran into this site "http://www.cruisestateroom.com" and is a good one. You can compare ships, decks or staterooms. Also have a lot of interesting information and links.
I can relate to your difficulty. I have sailed on all of these ships and given the opportunity again I might choose the Summit. That being said, I would want to have a large verandah cabin. Any of the smaller cabins would be "too small" for me.
The real advantage with Holland America is the size of the ship. Volendam is not much smaller in size but holds less people. There is more public space per passenger than any of the other cruise lines except Crystal and Radisson. Holland America is also known for having larger than average cabins.
I don't like open seating dining. That was my main complaint with Oceania and one of the reasons that I won't sail on NCL.
Are Sun and Dawn Princess sister ships to what was Ocean Princess?
If so, I can give you a comparison as we cruised back-to-back in their huge suite on Ocean Princess and on Voldendam (and her sister Zaandam a number of times). The comparison favors Volendam/Zaandam hugely IMO
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I've sailed X's Summit and what I really enjoyed was the "no-announcements" over loudspeakers so no forced upon sales pitches in your cabin, around the ship, etc, very classy I felt. I'm sailing HAL for the 1st time next week. Is HAL also "announcements" free?