Will we be disappointed if/when we defect from Princess and sail in HAL's new build?

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1,696 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
We are looking forward to finally sailing on the Regal, later this year!
Princess has some features that we really love on their newer ships...
The large Piazza, Alfredo's, Sanctuary and Retreat pool area, (which it appears that Princess is totally ruining on the Sky by making this area enclosed and cramped, to get a few extra cabins onboard.)
Supposed to be a very good, and large, buffet. Etc....

I am seeing a better itinerary for a future cruise on the HAL Nieuw Statendam.
I love the idea of being on a really new ship!
Itinerary has a key point or two that Princess does not have, except for longer sailings on older ships, like the Emerald. I am just not wanting to sail this class of ship. Especially when a new build might be available.

In general... Food, Service, Ambiance, etc....
What thoughts would you have about sailing on a new HAL ship.
Any input appreciated!!!!
686 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
Having sailed both KONINGSDAM and CARIBBEAN PRINCESS within the last year, just disembarking CB last week, I think the food is noticeably better on Princess. Also service was friendlier, faster, and not appearing to be as short staffed on Princess compared to HAL.

If your primary motivations are the itinerary and sailing on a new ship I don't think you will find sailing HAL to be that fundamentally different from Princess as to cause any real concern.

We sail Princess, Celebrity, Cunard, and HAL these days and other than the formality aspect of Cunard there is nothing so uniquely good or bad or different that would cause us to rule any of the four out.
In the kamloops in the dry and hottest part of BC
12,285 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
You'll find that HAL is letdown after Princess. They have to many charges for items the free on Princess.
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Princess 23 cruises
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Princess 3 cruises 2018 , 2019(x5)
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Petaluma, Ca. 94954
30,989 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Originally posted by Kamloops50
You'll find that HAL is letdown after Princess. They have to many charges for items the free on Princess.
They do? Such as?
1,772 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Originally posted by Kamloops50
You'll find that HAL is letdown after Princess. They have to many charges for items the free on Princess.

Interesting comment I would like to know what items also? Have sailed both but mostly HAL and see the food and service pretty equal. To us the entertainment favors Princess. OHO

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
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1,696 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Ohhhh, the International Cafe is another thing on Princess that we like and will miss!
How do the venues on HAL compare. They do have the coffee/pastry counter. Seems to have unfamiliar Nordic offerings???

It will be a new ship, I have my eye on a nice cabin with a Caribe type larger 1/2 covered balcony.
The Music venues seem nice! (I do not see the Atrium as a good or acoustic music/dancing venue, at all....)
HAL has a Covered mid Pool area, and large AFT pool area... deck space and promenade...

A lot to compare!!!
686 Posts
Joined Nov 2008
KONINGSDAM and the upcoming NIEUW STATENDAM have both an Explorations Café which will be similar to Princess (just smaller) as well as a Royal Dutch Café. This second venue is the one that features Dutch food items. We enjoyed trying them.
25,636 Posts
Joined Jul 2001
I encourage you to try different lines. I went from Carnival to Princess to RCCL to Celebrity and back to Princess all in about 3 years. I was scheduled to do HAL and the HAL board scared me. I cancelled but later tried HAL and liked it.

Life is short - you may actually like HAL more but you won't know unless you try! I would go with the better itinerary.
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South Carolina
29,818 Posts
Joined Dec 2001
Nothing wrong with giving a new cruise line/ship a try!
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Happy Sailing! OCruisers (LuLu & Roundman)
80+ Cruises .... Princess, Celebrity, RCCL, HAL, Carnival, NCL, Costa, etc. (Still miss Sitmar)
Hamilton, Ontario
2,102 Posts
Joined Jul 2010
We have sailed on both the Regal and Royal and really liked them both. Our last 3 cruises have been on HAL's Koningsdam, their newest ship. It's the sister to the Nieuw Statendam coming out soon. We loved the Koningsdam. I think I have to say it's my favourite ship right now. It is beautiful, the service was great, food was very good, crew is friendly and eager to please. We loved our balcony cabins on the Koningsdam. I would suggest you try HAL. It's always nice to see and experience new things. We go back and forth between Princess and HAL and have enjoyed every cruise we have been on.
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1,696 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Thanks you guys.... I will have to look up that Explorations Cafe...
We are def. ready to give the Nieuw Statendam a try, especially on this itinerary.

I am not so sure HAL will measure up to our last Princess cruise with the food.
But, I don't think anyone will go hungry!!!
Raleigh, N.C.
12,864 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
HAL is our second choice. Our most recent HAL cruise was a year ago--a partial Panama Canal. I chose it because it was considerably less expensive than the Princess ship doing a similar itinerary. I did miss the activities and entertainment that Princess has. The plus on HAL, though, is the Culinary Arts Center and its hostess. We've always enjoyed doing the culinary-themed activities. On that cruise, we won every single culinary trivia.
Las Vegas
19 Posts
Joined Oct 2016
We cruise HAL and Princess both with the itinerary held as the most important thing. While the two lines have some minor differences there is much to enjoy either way. I find the dining to be similarly very good on both lines. I'd encourage you to try HAL.
271 Posts
Joined Jan 2004
If I wanted to sail on a new ship, then I would definitely go with HAL's Nieuw Statendam rather than one of the newer Princess ships, if I like the Itinerary.

Why? HAL is the only mass market line that is still building reasonably sized ships instead of the mega ships. The additional 1500 to 2000 (or more) passengers makes a HUGE (pun intended) difference. I like sailing on the mid-sized Princess ships a little more than on Holland, but there really isn't a great deal of difference IMHO. However, if you like the Princess mega ships you probably won't like HAL.
102 Posts
Joined Jul 2012
We are Elite on Princess and 4* on Holland. They are our 2 go to cruise lines. Couple of thoughts: as you can tell we love both lines, each has their strengths and weaknesses,. We tend to choose by itinerary and price. To me, as food is so subjective but let me explain what I believe to be the differences. The MDR food in HAL is far and away better, on Princess the Horizon Court is far and away better. Princess has decided to focus on buffet food and HAL focuses on MDR. As the clientele changes people seem to want less formal, and more flexible. HAL buffet has far fewer choices and is open far fewer hours. Princess, on the other hand, is spending more resources in the buffet, especially on Royal and Regal. Both are open for much longer hours than HAL and many more selections and often some regional specialties, Indian, Mongolian BBQ, American and on and on. Recently, the MDR on Princess has had fewer and less exciting choices. All that being said, we are leaving next week for 20 days on the Royal and I am sure we will have a blast. Both lines are great, but very different in feeling and ambiance. Princess with the atrium seems more energetic and HAL more laid back, both have their places. Spent 45 days on HAL in the South Pacific and that attitude was fitting for that itinerary and cruise. They really are very different lines with very different personalities, but both great! I hope this helps define what we think are differences. Enjoy both as we do, both lines are lots of fun, cruising is great!
1,696 Posts
Joined Oct 2002
Your descriptions seem to match the impressions that I am getting.
I think that HAL would be a good fit for Europe, maybe.
We are SO looking forward to the Regal, in the Caribbean, for some of the factors/differences that you mentioned!
847 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
Yes...Disappointed that you didn't defect earlier.

I kid...I kid.

HAL makes for a very comfortable itinerary-based voyage -- IE. a Europe sailing. Additionally, HAL often offers more unique itineraries that trump those of Princess(especially in the Med.).

If one is needing a lot of activities to keep them entertained on Sea Days/Evenings aboard, HAL may disappoint a little in comparison to Princess. That stated, there are still some nice quality(not quantity) offerings by HAL in this dept.

For one looking for a nice comfortable ship to unwind after long days in port -- Leisurely enjoying evening meals w/out feeling the need to scramble over to the theater or lounge to grab a seat for the next show right after the one being attended -- HAL is good for this.

The space to PAX ratio can seem a little less crowded on HAL ships.

Speaking from personal experience, I've found that some of my more memorable pleasant cruising experiences have been aboard smaller ships with less fellow passengers aboard. From embark to disembark and in between -- Less lines and waiting in most every place from dining to elevators, to getting on/off the ship @port etc.....more available seats in lounges, the buffet and on deck....Simply a more intimate experience overall.

Some of the cabin niceties offered on HAL that I noticed are: comfortable beds, bigger showers, not needing to book a mini-suite(or higher) to get a sofa, and 42" wall-mounted TVs w/ on demand features.

Having real orchids on the dining tables(even in the buffet) is also a nice added touch.

I can absolutely recommend HAL as a viable line for mature experienced cruisers that may no longer need all of the bells & whistles to be 'wowed', and are perhaps looking for a more subdued, relaxing cruise.
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2017 Crown Princess - Southern Caribbean -- 2016 HAL Oosterdam - Adriatic Dream -- 2016 Ruby Princess - Mexican Riviera -- 2015 Carnival Sunshine - Eastern Caribbean Journeys -- 2015 Norwegian Dawn - Western Caribbean -- 2015 Carnival Dream - Western Caribbean -- 2014 Sapphire Princess - Mexican Riviera -- 2013 Emerald Princess - Southern Caribbean Medley -- 2013 Star Princess - Alaska/Glacier Bay -- 2010 Royal Princess - Tahiti and French Polynesia -- 2009 Caribbean Princess - Classic Southern Caribbean
Anchorage, Alaska
1,242 Posts
Joined Apr 2000
We have found that the service levels and cuisine quality depend heavily on the particular ship and the type of voyage it is on at a given time, as well as the cruise line's reputation. For instance, on a 4 week international cruise versus a short term booze type Caribbean cruise on the same ship, guests are likely to experience a significant escalation of overhaul quality on the voyage of longer duration.

We also find that the Berlitz ranking of the nine major cruise line cuisine scores has generally been a fair representation. I.e. Princess is rated # 3 (6.9) and HAL # 4 (6.2) while MSC is # 1 (7.1) and Celebrity # 2 (7.0).

We have about 200 days cruising on HAL, 120 days on Regent and 300 days on Princess. In recent years we have only sailed on Princess, last cruise on HAL was about four years ago, (started shunning HAL for a variety of reasons) and we haven't been on Regent for three years (Regent suddenly started learning how to charge about that time.) However, Princess has been pulling some shenanigans with their product as of late so for our next we are looking at Regent again