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I know it's off the subject, but with all the HAL ships you've been on, any offer free steam and sauna?

 

On HAL there are free saunas (small, men and women separate) but the thermal suite is for an extra fee.

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  • 1 month later...

Like several others commented, my first time on Holland I , too, felt it was a mistake to be aboard with the older crowd. By the end of that first cruise, the dining experience, the room service, the lounge service, the crew, and the ships itself had won me over. I have been on RCCL, Celebrity, Carnival, Princess, and Norwegian since and more than ever prefer Holland. When the smaller HAL ships are sold off, and they will, it will be a loss for me. I always feel like a special guest on them with frequent name recognition and respect. The best HAL cruises are often the longer cruises with smaller ports where you often are the only ship in port. The longer cruises also have a higher food budget allowing them to purchase local seafood, etc., such as fresh caught salmon in Norway and Icelandic Cod in Iceland which was outstanding.:)

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Well, its official. Finally going on HAL Volendam for my birthday next June Vancouver 7 nights inside passage round trip. Ocean view is the most we can afford this trip unless a sudden price drop.

 

Good choice! I think you will enjoy HAL, and Alaska is beautiful.

 

BTW - I also responded to your thread on the HAL forum. :D

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  • 2 months later...
I am 51 and have been on HAL twice back in 2008 and 2011. Both times were great. Meet great guys onboard. Great service and food and entertainment. Both times were on the smaller HAL ships, the Veendam and the Amsterdam. I love the smaller ships. We have a cruise booked on the Veendam for Dec of this year. Hoping the price drops a bit more. We are also booked on Celebrity which is cheaper. Celebrity is great but I find HAL just a little nicer and more traditional. Give them a try I am sure you will have a great time.

 

Hi, We are sailing on the Veendam on Dec 3 to Hawaii. Is that your cruise too?

Jim and Andrew

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  • 5 months later...

Next month my husband and I will be on our first HAL cruise, Maasdam from Boston to Montreal. We were semi-last minute looking for a late-spring/early-summer cruise that wasn't too far afield (and my mother and uncle will be coming too, so looking for an experience that we could all enjoy was a consideration), and this itinerary seemed to fit the bill.

 

Great thread, folks. All your input is useful to us HAL first-timers!

 

Jeff

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  • 1 month later...

Glad you're giving it a shot. Personally, we fell in love with the Nieuw Amsterdam. There are original works by Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein's, Richard Estes and others onboard. It's a very modern ship but has so many classic qualities about it. We love the "New York" theme. The LGBT meetings are always well attended and we have met some wonderful gentlemen from all over the world. The string quartets and jazz trio, and solo guitars are all fantastic. Unfortunately, the "big shows" on HAL are so amateurish and bad. At first they are kind of funny in their tragicness, but quickly just become painful to watch.

 

We prefer the Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam and are reluctant to sail on the smaller ships in the HAL fleet for a few reasons...

1. We are addicted to Tamarind. It's simply amazing.

2. We love the larger Thermo pool and gym.

3. Private Cabana's. We're addicted to these. Unlike on other lines, they are very reasonable. $299 per couple for the entire cruise and includes champagne every day!

4. Master Chef's tasting. Hands down one of the most fantastic and over the top meals we've experienced. Well worth the upcharge.

5. Finally, the smaller ships tend to cater to the oldest segment of the HAL cruisers. Though I prefer a mature crowd, some of those sailings can be a week-long vacation of scooter and walker dodging.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We have cruised on HAL for the itinerary, the timing and the price. Their food is decent but tends to be on the bland side, boring desserts. I much prefer Oceania's food and their elegant ships, country club casual.

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On this thread and others, it is always helpful when making comparisons between cruise lines that we stay somewhere in the same category of cruise line. The OP mentioned comparing HAL and RCCL... which is reasonable.

 

No offense, but I doubt that there is anyone who would not prefer a small-ship luxury line to a more mainstream line. Westin is preferable to Holiday Inn. Suites are preferable to interior cabins.

 

Just a quick look indicates that you can easily find a HAL cruise for $100 per day per person. Industry standard for that category of line. Certainly when paying $200+ per day per person, one would expect twice as good of everything.

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On this thread and others, it is always helpful when making comparisons between cruise lines that we stay somewhere in the same category of cruise line. The OP mentioned comparing HAL and RCCL... which is reasonable.

 

No offense, but I doubt that there is anyone who would not prefer a small-ship luxury line to a more mainstream line. Westin is preferable to Holiday Inn. Suites are preferable to interior cabins.

 

Just a quick look indicates that you can easily find a HAL cruise for $100 per day per person. Industry standard for that category of line. Certainly when paying $200+ per day per person, one would expect twice as good of everything.

 

Good point.

 

On a somewhat related note, there was a thread recently over on the HAL forum about Neptune Suites, and a discussion ensued about people paying full price for them vs. getting an late upsell at a much lower price. It was pointed out (by me, I think :D ) that for the retail prices they charge for Neptune Suites on HAL, you could sail for the same or less on the luxury lines. Perhaps you might not have quite the same real estate as in Neptune Suite, but the other amenities would be far superior. I have not sailed a luxury line myself yet, but perhaps someday... :)

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Morning to all! I have been agonizing (well - not agonizing cuz I enjoy the research and dreaming...) over which Holland cruise to pick. We can only travel Dec, Jan & Feb (we run a County campground) and live in the northwest. Has anyone had specific experience with the Lanai Cabins on MS Veendam? I've cruised 5 times since the late '80's but the last time (Olivia/Westerdam 2006) was my wife's first cruise. It seems Cruising has changed a lot so any advice is appreciated.

 

We are 55 & 50.

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  • 1 month later...

Anyone sailed Transatlantic on HAL?

 

We love Celebrity and are considering a Transatlantic sailing but the dates for Eurodam work much better for us with our work schedule.

 

We are just concerned that we may feel out of place-we're 46 & 36.

 

Are there likely to be others of a similar age? Many LGBT passengers?

 

I've looked at the general roll call and there's not much happening-it's very quiet.

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Hi,

 

I have not done a TA, but I have sailed on HAL in Europe and will answer as best I can.

 

My suspicion is that on a TA the age level will rise and you will be among the younger passengers, but I would not bet that you would be the youngest. I don't think I'd worry about the age issue... many will enjoy lively company at dinner and since there will be fewer port visits, quality conversation will be valued. Don't worry about age. :)

 

As far as sailing with other gay passengers, on any cruise it is a chance you take. I will say that my last cruise was on HAL and to Alaska... neither known for young or gay passengers, and we happened into the most lively FOD/GLBT mixers daily that we've ever encountered, short of cruising with a gay group. We even made some rather good friends... ;) ahem.

 

Enjoy the TA for what it is... long at sea days, time around the pool, jacuzzi, and sauna. Be open, friendly, and ready for surprises.

 

Enjoy your cruise.

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We have decided we are going to go for it-our first Transatlantic.

 

We are planning a couple of nights in New York City pre-cruise (We have been wanting to return since our first trip there back in 2002) then down to Fort Lauderdale to join Eurodam.

 

I will return here to share our experience next April.

 

Thanks for the replies.

 

Simon:)

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My partner and I will be doing departing Barcelona on the transatlantic voyage to FLL on the 27th Oct 2014 never been on Holland America before but have done around 5 Med cruises and 2 Caribbean cruises, Im 35 and my partner 30 an as Im reading now more and more Im starting to worry about these 8 days at sea lol... Hopefully will meet great people and get to hang out all around the ship..

If anyone is doing this trip let me know...:)

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  • 4 weeks later...

Oh that's a shame - I'm travelling on Noordam's transatlantic crossing on the 19th. I'm 37 and the guy I'm travelling with (who I met on Oasis just 4/5 weeks ago!) is 31. It seems we're in almost exactly the same situation.

 

I share your concerns, mostly about the age of the fellow passengers and whether they may be more conservative.

 

HAL is totally new to me too. Is there a bar which is more favoured by the guys? And will anyone still be awake on the ship after about 10pm? And where's the door to the crew mess?!

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Hi Simon...

 

A couple of years ago I sailed from Barcelona to NYC on Prinsendam....the ship was great to sail in deep waters....I went solo and enjoyed the 16 days onboard - I know we stopped in Lisbon.

 

Its a slower pace onboard simply due to the # of sea days. But it was not boring at all & lots of fun could be had. I went to rest after my parents both had cancer - the days in the deck chair w/ the sea air was wonderful & I even danced a bit at nite later in the voyage. I was about 50 when I went but as long as you enjoy ship life you & your partner will be fine...it wasn't Studio 54 but there was lots to do & fun people onboard. The Eurodam is a newer & larger ship than Prinsendam and on the Prinsendam there were a good amount of GLBT and more importantly lots of interesting and well travelled passengers & crew / officers.

 

QUOTE=simon stingray;43996969]Anyone sailed Transatlantic on HAL?

 

We love Celebrity and are considering a Transatlantic sailing but the dates for Eurodam work much better for us with our work schedule.

 

We are just concerned that we may feel out of place-we're 46 & 36.

 

Are there likely to be others of a similar age? Many LGBT passengers?

 

I've looked at the general roll call and there's not much happening-it's very quiet.

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