Posted November 30th, 2007, 10:44 PM
I think there are some major differences.
First off, most staterooms, head to head, are bigger on HAL than on Princess, especially on the older, smaller ships.
Second, if you get a balcony stateroom (called a Veranda Suite) on HAL, you will get a bathtub. There might also be bathtubs in oceanview rooms, but I am not positive.
Secondly, you will get a small sofa in your room on HAL, not so on Princess unless you have a minisuite.
The service on HAL can be superb. It is always very good.
HAL's perks for repeat customers are not as good as those on Princess. On Princess, if you are platinum captain's circle member you get free internet (less now than previously - it is no longer unlimited) which can be worth considerable money. Elite captain's circle members get great perks - a liquor setup and platinum level free internet. There are other perks, too, like an invitation to a Captain's VIP party. If you check the Princess website, they list them.
Princess perks for booking while on board are more generous than HAL's. HAL has just started accepting bookings for $100 deposit per person while on board, matching that of Princess, but the onboard credits are more generous on Princess.
If you are in a full suite on Princess, you get a two room suite. On the Sun Class ships (the Sun, the Dawn and the Sea) even the mini-suites are two rooms. On HAL, a suite is one large room with a small dressing room. However, HAL has a concierge and concierge lounge for suite passengers, a lovely perk.
I think the gyms are comparable.
HAL has one show lounge. Princess has a show lounge and a theater which has shows. HAL has entertainment in many small lounges. Princess usually has entertainment in one small lounge.
I think the food is better in HAL's Lido restaurants than in Princess' Horizon Court. HAL has ice cream every day for lunch and they serve bread pudding at lunch which is to die for. The food in the dining rooms is comparable.
Princess does not have a sommelier. They did away with them prior to 2000. HAL does have wine stewards, but by and large they are glorified bartenders.
Princess has pool games. I haven't noticed any on HAL.
We like both cruise lines and usually have a cruise booked on one or the other or both.
If you have specific questions, please do not hesitate to ask.