Help never cruised HA

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365 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
We have never cruised Princess or Holland America and are considering going on a different cruiseline. We have cruised on CCL, RCI and DCL. This is a last minute cruise for just my husband and myself before he deploys back to Iraq. Can anyone give me a lesson in Princess and how it would compare to the following.

I understand all cruiselines are family friendly but I do not no much about these ships at all.

Remember this time we are cruising without our boys. We have been on CCL 3 times in 9 months, Disney 3 times with 4th coming up (and still ranks the best ........and one short RCI cruise.

I will be taking them on the DCL Magic again this fall while my husband is gone to keep them occupied and we are going for a week to a AI in Playa at the end of July.

We want good service, laid back, some shows or casino's, nice cabin with balcony, not into parties. We want quality time together before his deployment.

All eastern ports

PO Caribbean Princess BG or BD balcony's
CCL Glory looks like balcony choice is a 8B or 9a deluxe balcony
RCI Mariner of the Seas E2 Deluxe balcony or D1 Superior balcony
HA Zuiderdam AE Mini Suite

Need help asap. Does anyone have any opinions on how these ships rank against each other and the category of balcony cabin to book?

Colorful Colorado
7,035 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
If you are taking your boys, I'd stick with Disney or RCI. HAL is geared to be an upscale cruise experience, many older/retired pax... we've taken our kids numerous times (we are early 40's), but I have to wonder if they (our kids)would have enjoyed another line. Our children enjoy HAL, but at times I wonder if other HAL pax really enjoy having kids onboard.

My parents LOVE Princess, the new, larger ships have more to offer than HAL, but you may also run across the age issue - please, this is not disrespectful, just an honest observation.

On our last HAL cruise, my son met another boy who had sailed on RCI several times, he said he thought RCI had it all over HAL for kids and activites...

We were on the Zuiderdam last summer. We booked a Suite (the pricing was awesome). My hubby and I didn't care for the size of the ship (too many people), but the kids loved it - it is their favorite ship. There were tons of kids, they had a blast!
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108,118 Posts
Joined Jul 2001

You didn't mention when you will be cruising - this summer? This fall?

If it is this summer, the number of Caribbean cruises is very limited for all cruise lines.

I assume that since you live in NC that you will want to cruise out of Ft Lauderdale.

If you are cruising this summer, only the Zuiderdam (HAL) is in the Caribbean. Most of the other ships won't be returning from Alaska until near the end of September or first part of October.

787 Posts
Joined Apr 2004
Originally posted by ekerr19
If you are taking your boys, I'd stick with Disney or RCI. HAL is geared to be an upscale cruise experience, many older/retired pax... we've taken our kids numerous times (we are early 40's), but I have to wonder if they (our kids)would have enjoyed another line. Our children enjoy HAL, but at times I wonder if other HAL pax really enjoy having kids onboard.
I disagree - if you are taking your kids, don't worry about what the other PAX think or want. Your kids deserve to cruise as much as they do. And they will enjoy themselves fine - especially on the Z

We have taken our daughter on DCL, NCL, HAL and she loved all of them. Kids will find plenty to enjoy themselves.

As to what line to take - quite frankly each line has its good and bad points - so I would suggest booking by which one offers you the best itineray and price
Bella Vista, Ar, USA
5,531 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
Especially if just you and your husband are going I would say give HAL a try. It should be much more laid back and yet refined than some of your other cruising experiences. The other passengers may be a little older than you but as long as you enjoy meeting people, especially people who may have cruised a lot, you should do fine.

We have enjoyed the food and atmosphere on all our HAL cruises. Princess is also nice and we had a good time on the Golden but the mood is a little more upbeat and a little less laid back than most HAL ships.

Whichever you decide have a GREAT next cruise.
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365 Posts
Joined Mar 2003
Thanks for all of the replies. No we are not taking the boys on this cruise because we already took them on a CCL cruise at the end of May, we are taking them to Playa del Carmen for a week at the end of July and hwile my husband is deployed my parents and I are taking them on their 3rd Disney cruise in a row and heck they are only 3 and 6.

This is a special get away for my husband and myself only the beginning of September. We are early to mid 30's. Don't party, like laid back, quality of people and good food and service.

I am looking into the Zuiderdam and a balcony cabin. Is this a new ship? Does it have a gym, in cabin movies etc. Is the service good? Any suggesyions on a cabin category with a balcony. We want to sit together and be together as a early 10th anniversary cruise and gather strength for my husbands deployment to Iraq.

Also we LOVE Disney when taking our young boys. You jsut can not beat the Disney experience on the Magic but I am taking them in October......we want good service, no beer or hairy chest contest, nice gym, maybe a little black jack,,,,,,,nice people.

We have sailed over 7 times in less than 2 years but never on HA or Princess and I really am considering it
Salisbury, NC, USA
2,357 Posts
Joined Feb 2003
If it is a 10th anniversary cruise then the Zuiderdam is perfect for you.
For a modest $99 you can renew your vows by the Captain while at sea.
How romantic is that? You get a lot of great extras for that $99. I would get at least the SS minisuite and if you can go a bit more blow it out on the S suites with all the extras HAL has to offer you. More than any other cruise line in the suite category. The ship is only a few years old and seems to have gotten the early "kinks" out of it. It's big with more people but now the square footage ratio of the other ships you mentioned so you have more room on the Zuiderdam. Food is great, service is fine and don't forget that extra dining at the Pinnacle Grill one night(ususally the night you renew your vows is what most do). Both East and West are great ports. Can't go wrong with either one. The Mariner would be my second choice but they don't offer the renewal of vows package and would be more costly for the same sized room. Unless the rock wall climb, ice skating,puttputt is turns you on stay with the Zuiderdam.
Simpsonville, South Carolina
9,180 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Just got off the Maasdam. I previously only sailed Carnival and RCI.
From what you have stated I think HAL would be a wonderful fit for you. IMO, you should book the Zuiderdam. Let us know what you decide.

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