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Carnival vs Holland?


dlanesman
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We are looking for a cruise during the Easter Break 2015. Carnivals prices are higher than some of its competitors during that week (and most of them in the summer - I don't get it, but its true!) I found a Holland cruise that is reasonably priced and I'm thinking about pulling the trigger and going. Should I? A little background - We are in our mid 50's, love the fun of Carnival. However I find it a little too loud in the Lido area and find the Hairy Chest Competition horrible. Everything else I love about Carnival.

Have any of you guys been on Holland?

How was it?

Were there things to do on it other than get older?

How was the crew?

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I have not yet cruised on HAL, but would love to. For me, if I could get a lower price on HAL, than on Carnival, I would snap it up in a heartbeat! I am still ok with Carnival, but would like to try other lines just to have a comparison, and HAL has always appealed to me. I am however bound by price:(, and sometimes have to space my cruises up to four years apart because of cost. If I could get a cruise on Holland America for less than Carnival than it would be a no brainer for me, and you can only try it and then decide if it is a cruiseline for you.

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Having cruised on both HAL and Carnival (still do from time to time), there's a world of difference between HAL and Carnival.

HAL is a great cruise line but make sure you can deal with a very laid back cruise. HAL is perfect for port intensive cruises! ;)

LuLu

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I have sailed both and prefer HA. Carnival is high energy but a little loud, as you say, on the Lido (IMHO). I also found some of the folks with the drink package bothersome, rude, and obnoxious. But no more than people do on other ships. It just appeared to me Carnival had their fair share or more. Holland is a bit quieter and perhaps a bit more classy (IMHO). If given the choice with comparable fares, I would pick a Holland every time provided the itinerary was something I liked. In all fairness, my one and only cruise on Carnival was very "interesting" but not in a good way. We enjoyed it but too many "hiccups."

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We've done 10 HAL cruises (we're 52) it's a great line and the crew are fantastic and friendly. I would go on one of the bigger ships,if I were you

 

Saying that- we just took our first Carnival cruise last month on the Breeze and it was off the charts. We had an absolute blast.

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We tried HAL for the first time last year to go to Alaska. Like you, we found prices to be cheaper on them than on Carnival. We are in our late 30's and early 40's and found the demographics to be pretty similar to what we've found on Carnival. Some young, some old, married couples, singles, families, seasoned and well traveled cruisers, as well as first timers.

 

- The general vibe is definitely much more toned down and sophisticated than Carnival. White gloved service, room service delivered in china, laundry folded in tissue paper and gold foil and delivered in a wicker basket, full dining room menu available in-cabin, daily fresh flowers throughout the ship, quality linens, unobtrusive announcements, well stocked library, additional throw blankets for balcony use, nice china in your dining room, quiet debarkation, etc.

 

- About the lido, it was blissfully void of DJ's, hairy chest contests, jumbo screens, or bartending competitions. They did have a live band playing great music throughout the cruise (at enjoyable levels).

 

- The ship's decor tends to be refined, with a multi-million dollar art work collection throughout, but overall it felt a bit dark and gloomy. There are some wonderful areas though, like the Crow's Nest, the Lido Pool, and the Greenhouse Spa.

 

- Cuisine, both at the MDR and the buffet was a few notches above Carnival, but where HAL truly excelled was in their alternative Pinnacle Grill. Absolutely wonderful.

 

Overall, we tremendously enjoyed our HAL cruise. I would consider them for a unique or longer itinerary for just my wife and I in a heartbeat, but I would be more inclined to sail on one of the newer, larger, amenity-filled, and more innovative ships for a cookie-cutter Caribbean itinerary with my family.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

Edited by Tapi
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HAL is our favorite line.We are not loyal to any cruise line we always pick according to itinerary & price. However because HAL is more pricey than the others we have sailed on different lines because of this.

 

HAL is definitely quieter given the older demographics than Carnival. I don't have much experience with Carnival we will be sailing on her for the 2nd time in May but if HAL is sailing out of Norfolk I will definitely choose HAL.

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All of the previous posters are right about their observations about HAL. One thing I would add is they have great mixology classes! We did the Panama Canal on HAL last year and the mixology class was a highlight. We took all 4 classes and met a great group of people, both cruisers and staff!

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I have cruised both and agree with what the above posters have said.

 

I will happily sail either (or any other line just to experience them) based on price and itinerary. But when it comes down to it, I usually favour a HAL ship!

 

In addition to the great points that the others have made, one of my favourite aspects of the line is their Culinary Arts Centre. In addition to the culinary demonstrations, free crafts (I made a cute journal on one cruise, and a nice beaded lanyard on another) I love signing up for their small cooking classes (there is a fee for these, but they are well-worth it in my opinion).

 

As well, I adore the fact that I can order a hot breakfast to my cabin!!

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We've done both. During the winter the demographics on HAL are much older compared to Carnival. The rest of the year the demographics are not that much different. Food in general is a little better on Hal, service is not that much different, some excellent some not so much. We prefer the Steakhouse on Carnival than the Pinnacle Grill on HAL. Although it is comparing apples to oranges. Carnival is like a true NY Steakhouse and the Pinnacle Grill is more of total fine dining restaurant with a much more varied menu. Hal is much more laid back we were kicked out of the casino one night at 11:30 as we were the only two people in there.

 

Keith

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We are looking for a cruise during the Easter Break 2015. Carnivals prices are higher than some of its competitors during that week (and most of them in the summer - I don't get it, but its true!) I found a Holland cruise that is reasonably priced and I'm thinking about pulling the trigger and going. Should I? A little background - We are in our mid 50's, love the fun of Carnival. However I find it a little too loud in the Lido area and find the Hairy Chest Competition horrible. Everything else I love about Carnival.

Have any of you guys been on Holland?

How was it?

Were there things to do on it other than get older?

How was the crew?

 

We have sailed both, we sailed the Magic the first two weeks in Sept and there was less than 100 kids on the ship, so didn't find the demographics that different. We like the longer cruises of HAL. The Culinary Arts Centre is great, and the Explorations Cafe and Digital Workshops are great and the smaller ships are more to our preference. I would sail either one, if HAL is cheaper, then go for it!

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We sailed HAL on our honeymoon (mid-30's) and we thought we fit in just fine. Granted there were a lot of other people older than is, but we found a lot of interesting people to talk to on that cruise!

 

We did the same sort of activities that we do on Carnival ... Shows, comedy, bingo, casino, reading in comfy chairs. Plus the balcony furniture is WAY nicer!

 

I would give them a shot ... If it's cheaper, what do you have to lose? Also, not sure if it's offered on your sailing, but I've noticed them throwing in the drink packages free on some of their Alaska cruises.

 

:)

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Yea I think I read the avg age for Carnival is 30 and HAL 90. :)

 

 

This statement turned out to be as true as the one about Carnival being for trashy people :rolleyes: (see other thread going around).

 

We found the demographics on our summer, 7 night cruise on HAL to be basically the same as on our previous Carnival cruises.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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This statement turned out to be as true as the one about Carnival being for trashy people :rolleyes: (see other thread going around).

 

We found the demographics on our summer, 7 night cruise on HAL to be basically the same as on our previous Carnival cruises.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

 

 

Agreed. Was just a joke.

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I too, have sailed them both, but I've found that when I sail Holland, they keep putting that damn wrist band on me, and sending me to camp Carnival! :eek: Just kidding,,,,I too, have enjoyed my HAL cruises, but seriously speaking, the ships do shut down a lot earlier in the evening than the Carnival cruises do. Great cruises however,,,,and oh yes, I too agree that the worst thing about a Carnival cruise is the volume of the "music" on Lido deck. (Guess that's why they invented the serenity deck!) :cool:

You won't go wrong with either a HAL cruise, or a Carnival cruise.

 

"SKY"

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Thanks for starting this thread, as we too are about to change over to HAL for next years cruise. I always thought that Carnival should offer one week loud party week, and the next week- soft topical, but alas no-so we are heading over to HAL, and trust me, for Alaska, I just cant wait!

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Yea I think I read the avg age for Carnival is 30 and HAL 90. :)

 

Not true. 2010 census says it's only 89 for HAL.

 

Since we didn't have our AARP card upon check in, they put on a wrist band for us & told we also have to check in to Camp HAL once onboard....

 

Seriously, we loved our only HAL cruise! Traveled without our kids & found it Quite refreshing. Very upscale! Highly recommend it....

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MS Westerdam. It would be a 7 day Caribbean cruise in April.

 

No question, then, I would pick Westerdam. It's a big ship with a lot of bells and whistles (for HAL), it's easy to navigate, good crew, actually one of my favorite cruises ever. Carnival is fine but in this case I would definitely go with HAL.

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My folks only took 2 cruises..they were more 1 big trip with each grandchild at 12, sports travel as much as possible for each grandchild..and a family cabin type.. Camping before that.

 

Their 2 cruises were to Alaska..very spread apart. One on the old Niuew Amsterdam (sp) and the Disney Wonder with grandchild #7. My two youngest siblings did go on that Alaska cruise on HA with them and they never stopped talking about it positively..same with the Disney experience with a grandchild. Holland and Princess are the 2 lines with the heaviest Alaska experience.. I have only been on one 24 hr Vancouver, BC to Portland, OR cruise on the old Westerdam...of course that was younger age average because a try it out kind of cruise..still all ages.

 

The fresh fish in Alaska is awesome and i really think they try and hit the mark with the salmon and halibut on Holland..and lets face it..Holland and Celebrity are Premium..vs mainstream lines,,what everyone has said is true. Carnival is great because they added just the right things to make it special for a huge budget line that made them able to buy these other lines...although they each run differently. I can't wait to try the Breeze level..but when good deals come along on NCL; (to me Carnival's mainstream competition) RCI and Princess ( to me upper mainstream) and Holland and Celebrity (Premium)...I am going to look at them. I can tell you Carnival pleased me to no end and was NOT what others said but Holland is totally different....the beds are good on Carnival...they are GREAT on Holland and to me the food had no comparison..apples and oranges.... especially in the fish department.

 

To me, the real fun is trying out different places, including ships, lines, hotels, and destinations...

Edited by sjn911
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