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Princess vs Holland America


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We really need to know which HAL ship you booked. If one of the smaller R- or S-class (Maasdam, Veendam, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Volendam, Zaandam) or the even smaller Prinsendam the experience is quite different from the larger HAL ships. The smaller passenger loads (900 on Prinsendam, 1200 on Maasdam and Veendam, 1400-1500 on the other four) make for a much more comfortable and personal experience. But will maybe seem a bit too laid-back for someone who just sailed Royal or Regal Princess. Though on my one cruise on Maasdam I saw plenty of people still all around the ship after late sitting dinner. And the average age on HAL and Princess are actually within one year of each other, so the HAL reputation as a floating nursing home is not real.

 

Princess gets a small edge on MDR dining, a much larger one on casual dining. HAL the edge on cabins (but the new Koningsdam, like the newest generation of Princess ships, has shrunk cabin as especially balcony size as well). Princess the edge on daytime activities (in that they have a small amount vs HALs virtually nothing other than daily cooking demonstrations), evening entertainment a toss up. But if you chose mainly for itinerary there's no reason to let the ship disappoint you.

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We did a HAL cruise for the itinerary also, but did not like it, but who am I to say what you will like or not like. Every one has a different experience and what I say should not influence you at all. How do I or anyone else know what you would like. Try it and make your own mind up.

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We did a HAL cruise for the itinerary also, but did not like it, but who am I to say what you will like or not like. Every one has a different experience and what I say should not influence you at all. How do I or anyone else know what you would like. Try it and make your own mind up.

I did not ask for anyone to make up my mind for me. All I asked was how the two lines compared. Thank you for your reply, it is appreciated.

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We really need to know which HAL ship you booked. If one of the smaller R- or S-class (Maasdam, Veendam, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Volendam, Zaandam) or the even smaller Prinsendam the experience is quite different from the larger HAL ships. The smaller passenger loads (900 on Prinsendam, 1200 on Maasdam and Veendam, 1400-1500 on the other four) make for a much more comfortable and personal experience. But will maybe seem a bit too laid-back for someone who just sailed Royal or Regal Princess. Though on my one cruise on Maasdam I saw plenty of people still all around the ship after late sitting dinner. And the average age on HAL and Princess are actually within one year of each other, so the HAL reputation as a floating nursing home is not real.

 

Princess gets a small edge on MDR dining, a much larger one on casual dining. HAL the edge on cabins (but the new Koningsdam, like the newest generation of Princess ships, has shrunk cabin as especially balcony size as well). Princess the edge on daytime activities (in that they have a small amount vs HALs virtually nothing other than daily cooking demonstrations), evening entertainment a toss up. But if you chose mainly for itinerary there's no reason to let the ship disappoint you.

My daughter did ask me about the food. I take it there is nothing that compares to the IC? I will miss my cookies, LOL. I'm not sure yet which class of ship I am on (Ms Eurodam). Thank you for your reply!

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I've never sailed on HAL but they used to allow smoking on the balcony. I "think" they changed that policy last year though. If I'm wrong someone will surely correct me. I would never have sailed in a balcony on HAL previously because I don't want someone else's smoke intruding onto my balcony. If you are a smoker, be aware of this change.

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I've sailed on Princess, but not on HAL since 1997. I was watching some videos of HAL's Rotterdam and the decor seemed to be a bit gaudy, in comparison with Princess. I know that this is pretty much in the eye of the beholder, but I am curious about the opinions of those who have sailed on both.

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I've never sailed on HAL but they used to allow smoking on the balcony. I "think" they changed that policy last year though. If I'm wrong someone will surely correct me. I would never have sailed in a balcony on HAL previously because I don't want someone else's smoke intruding onto my balcony. If you are a smoker, be aware of this change.

Thank you, Thrak but no smoke for me!

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My daughter did ask me about the food. I take it there is nothing that compares to the IC? I will miss my cookies, LOL. I'm not sure yet which class of ship I am on (Ms Eurodam). Thank you for your reply!

 

I have heard that HAL has recently improved the food offerings between lunch and dinner, and late night. But there is nothing like the IC, and very very few sweets at the buffet outside of the lunch and dinner peak time.

 

I haven't been on Eurodam but on the near-identical build for another line (Cunard Queen Victoria) and it was a very easy ship to move around in and get on and off in port. Deck plans appear that Eurodam has the same large theater with a true separate balcony and single large MDR; I believe HAL does fixed dining in the upper level, open dining below.

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We've sailed HAL a few times on the same class of ship as you will be sailing. Generally we find the two lines very comparable.

 

I will admit our most recent HAL cruise (on the Nieuw Amsterdam which we have also sailed before), paled in comparison to our previous Royal Princess cruise. This was the first cruise where I well and truly felt the sting of the notorious cut-backs. I like that Princess has more variety in terms of places to eat, and in options at those same places. HAL seems to have done away with some of the few options they had (like lunch in the dining room even on sea days) and their hours for the outdoor grill were 11:30-5:00 - seems odd to cut this off as a dinner option? The ambience on HAL ships is nice, a little more sedate, and the crew have always been fantastic. Happy hours are lots of fun and well worth doing. Entertainment is generally better on Princess but HAL does have the enjoyable BB King Blues Club, and the various BBC Earth/Discovery options.

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Love our Princess but HAL follows closely. Love the large cabins and bathrooms with tubs. Also love the retractable pool roofs on HAL. As for entertainment I think it depends on the ship, have had good on both but Princess seems to win out a bit for us. Like the Microsoft computer lab and classes with HAL. Food again is subjective.

 

Both are better than RCCL!

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We've sailed both Princess and HAL - and done both to Alaska so can compare experiences on the two lines with a similar itinerary.

 

Here is our opinion only so take it with however many grains if salt you choose...

 

HAL "feels" like a slightly older clientele but that can vary as much by itinerary, season, ship, etc. as between the two lines so I wouldn't read too much into that. Both are more adult than family/kids but we've seen kids on every cruise on every line we've done - even Seabourn.

 

HAL feels a bit more refined and elegant. Not over-the-top so - just a tad - so call it comfortably refined, not stuffy nor pretentious. Think Seabourn = tux, HAL = jacket, Princess = long-sleeve shirt, RCCL = polo, Carnival = t-shirt (yes, I'm generalizing to characterize things in an illustrative manner so don't everyone jump on me for being wrong or stereotypical...[emoji6] ).

 

HAL would get our nod for the food being just a bit nicer. Not a ton so not "what-am-I-eating" foodie nice but just a bit more "restaurant-like" versus "dining room/catering-like."

 

Princess would get our nod for activities. It's not that they are better - just more to choose from. Think HAL for a cruise tilted toward relaxing and Princess toward doing things (but at a comfortable, not frenetic, pace)

 

Princess would also get our nod for a slightly better per person per day price for comparable cabins but that, as with other things, can be very season and itinerary dependent so it's best to directly compare two similar itineraries and dates.

 

So while based on the above it would appear we'd prefer HAL it is Princess that we have repeated, not HAL. But we would definitely go on HAL again in a heartbeat if it were the right itinerary, ship, price, etc.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Forums mobile app

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...And the average age on HAL and Princess are actually within one year of each other, so the HAL reputation as a floating nursing home is not real.

 

I'd be curious to know where you found that info. Our one cruise anecdotal experience with HAL is the clientele is definitely older and more catered to. A line of staff ready to carry your buffet tray to a table. Staff to assist in the theater up and down the stairs.

 

If you think Princess rolls up the sidewalks and goes to bed early...

 

With all that said I liked HAL and would compare the experience to be similar to Princess. As noted, some things are better on one when compared to the other.

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Our last HAL cruise was a little under a year ago on the Zuiderdam. It was our fifth. We took two Princess cruises last year after that. We prefer Princess for a number of reasons but don't rule out HAL when the price is much better.

 

What we like about HAL is the culinary arts hostess and the activities she does. There's nothing comparable on Princess. On the other hand, the cruise director doesn't have much of a staff on HAL ships--just a DJ and a port lecturer to cover trivias occasionally. Evening entertainment is also lacking, without as many venues providing the variety Princess has going on simultaneously. HAL gets some interesting guest entertainers--the types of acts we haven't seen on Princess.

 

I still give Princess the nod on food, especially availability. Service is a toss up. We've had good and bad on both cruise lines, especially at morning and lunch meals in the main dining room.

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Just got off a 14 day Holiday cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam we sail mostly with Princess but Hal had the best time line for us,so here are some things we noticed.

We booked this cruise through Hal in April of 2017 and requested a table for 2 well we never got it and were put on await list,when we got on board we were told we were in anytime dinning which did not work out so well for us so we ate mostly at the buffet.

The buffet at breakfast,lunch and dinner was fantastic and a lot better then Princess with different stations for regular fare and international food as well as omelettes and crepes.What I really liked was that they served you at the buffet which I found to so much more hygienic.

Dive's burgers Amazing.

Pizza better on Princess.

Entertainment better on Princess with more shows and more actives through out the day and evenings.

No Mutts which we really didn't miss.

No carts in hall ways.

Half moon cay was beautiful.

Good coffee at the buffet

Princess has much better desserts.

Loyalty program with Princess is better.

Loved the covered pool.

This was a very relaxing cruise and we would go back on Hal if the if price is right and the itinerary is good.

Great staff always happy with a smile.

Nice cabin with sofa and nice big shower and new balcony furniture.

Hope this helped.:D

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I've cruised many times on both HAL and Princess over the last 20 years. I found HAL service and employees have really deteriorated. Both lines have good food but the service on our last HAL ship was so slow on two nights we missed the show! The waiters just disappeared. We figured it was the kitchen but didn't know. It wasn't just us, it was all over the dining room. We heard many people complain.

 

I love the Microsoft seminars on HAL but find the entertainment and activities better on Princess. For me, it's itinerary and price. The demographic on HAL is much older than Princess and the children's program is MUCH better on Princess.

 

Your choice, depends on what's important to you. I'll choose Princess but if the price is right and I like the itinerary I would go HAL.

 

I agree with the previous poster Princess has the BEST past passenger program.

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After 5 cruises you receive complimentary internet on Princess. 150 minutes on 7 day, 250 8-14 day cruises. 16 cruises + you also receive free laundry, one time mini bar setup, free wine tasting once per cruise and canapés in cabin on formal nights on request.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Interesting thread to read. Carnival Corp has organized into several groups with the Holland American Group controlling HAL, Princess, Seaborn and P&O Australia. Most likely information you did not really want.

 

We were on a HAL cruise last decade so long time ago. One thing I had wished was to have purchased walker (metal kind) insurance as they were everywhere. This was a north bound cruise to AK. The average age must have been close to 80 as there were a huge group of elderly aboard with mobility problems. The only younger ones on board 50's up acted old. At night after dinner the clubs and bars were mostly empty as it must have been past the bedtime of the pax. We decided to find a cruiseline with "younger" pax like we found on Princess. However now that we are closer to the octogenarian group ( a few decades to go) we might have to reconsider. The food was definitely great as was the ambiance of the ship. Not much activity though particularly at night.

 

HAL dining schedule:

First seating 3:30

Second seating 5:30

Midnight buffet 7:30

Lights out 8:30

;p;p:rolleyes:

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We have cruised both HAL and Princess many times. While we prefer HAL, there are some thngs that we really like about Princess. They are mainly the cruise staff and the greater number of activities during the day and at night.

 

We think that HAL has an edge when it comes to food, but that is a very subjective area.

 

HAL banned smoking on balconies a little more than a year ago. They do allow smoking in the casino, but only if you are playing. There is a designated smoking area outside.

 

Another change on HAL is the culinary arts center that was mentioned in an earlier post has been replaced by Americas Test Kitchen. The demonstrations are now parly live by the hostess and partly a video presentation. They no longer pass out samples of the recipe according to reports.

 

Our feeling is that if you like Princess, you will probably like HAL, but like most cruisers will probably prefer one over the other. The only way you will know is to try HAL. Remember, you will be on a ship, so it cannot be all bad.

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I love Princess but I just booked a HAL cruise for the first time for the itinerary. What can you tell me? How do the two lines compare? I hope we are not disappointed. Please share with me :)

 

Let’s put it this way. If I could combine Princess entertainment and their nice Piazza with HAL’s service, lack of crowding and more spacious cabins, it would be an excellent cruise line. (Actually, that would be Celebrity;)).

 

That should tell you where HAL’s strengths and weaknesses are. HAL lacks in entertainment and an attractive central atrium. But their crowding and cabin designs are so much more comfortable than on Princess. One more thing - HAL’s Crows Nest is a lot nicer than Princess’ Skywalkers.

Edited by Cruzaholic41
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HAL lacks in entertainment

IMHO, the BB King Blues club actually gives HAL the edge over Princess (Neither has very good stage shows).

 

Our feeling is that if you like Princess, you will probably like HAL

This. They are very similar.

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