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jargey3000

Help? Will we like HAL?

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1 hour ago, ajtaylor29 said:

We just returned from our first HAL cruise, and while there was a lot to like, we will probably not cruise with them again, honestly because of the older demographics of the passengers. We are 60'ish fun couple, love to cruise, gamble, enjoy the sun and the ports. We just found this cruise rather boring, other than the port days. The food was very good - i was especially impressed with the Lido buffet. The staff was great, the ship (Zuiderdam) was very nice.

We have only cruised with Carnival before this, and we're looking for an alternative to them (we're definitely over the hairy chest contests! 🙂) but this was one extreme to the other.

We're going to try Royal Caribbean next, hoping that's a little closer to our tastes.

 

Luckily you have a lot of other  cruise line options for more lively onboard diversions. Those of us who actually seek out and like the HAL low-key onboard experience, have only HAL at the similar price point. HAL will fail a lot of customers if they try to be all things to all people and not maximiz what keeps them unique in the crowd - yes, the more quiet over-all cruising experience. That remains their special niche. They own that market now. However, even HAL is moving away from that prior niche with its newer ships their --noisydams.

Edited by OlsSalt

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2 hours ago, ajtaylor29 said:

We just returned from our first HAL cruise, and while there was a lot to like, we will probably not cruise with them again, honestly because of the older demographics of the passengers. We are 60'ish fun couple, love to cruise, gamble, enjoy the sun and the ports. We just found this cruise rather boring, other than the port days. The food was very good - i was especially impressed with the Lido buffet. The staff was great, the ship (Zuiderdam) was very nice.

We have only cruised with Carnival before this, and we're looking for an alternative to them (we're definitely over the hairy chest contests! 🙂) but this was one extreme to the other.

We're going to try Royal Caribbean next, hoping that's a little closer to our tastes.

Maybe give Princess a try.  They don't have all the bells & whistles that RCL has (ice skating, North Star, Flow rider), but we found the evening entertainment on Princess varied and enjoyable.

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Ok......lots of advice.  Good stuff   lots of info.........  However, you have not said just why you want to change from Princess and Celebrity....    What was it that made you want to seek another cruise line.     OR... was it the premise that the grass may be greener if we take another line and it will be,, it has to be better than what we are doing now.     But, why is that true.      If your just changing to change  and have no expectations thats fine. 

 

  However ,if you go to another line and start comparing this to that on HAL  then your looking for frustration and disappointment .    You might be down right upset that some things are not as good and start a blame game.  Your looking around at ships and lines that are just about carbon copies of each other .   Not really a change if any 

 

  If you want a real  improved  experience  you have to move UP a tier  to the Premium lines  like Azamar,  and Oceaina    All of whom are night and day different than the usual suspects.....  Id check them out  if its change across the board.

 

The question your posing  is like someone who wants to sell their house  only to move 3 doors down the street. Your not really changing much.....  Think this through

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54 minutes ago, Hawaiidan said:

Ok......lots of advice.  Good stuff   lots of info.........  However, you have not said just why you want to change from Princess and Celebrity....    What was it that made you want to seek another cruise line.     OR... was it the premise that the grass may be greener if we take another line and it will be,, it has to be better than what we are doing now.     But, why is that true.      If your just changing to change  and have no expectations thats fine. 

 

  However ,if you go to another line and start comparing this to that on HAL  then your looking for frustration and disappointment .    You might be down right upset that some things are not as good and start a blame game.  Your looking around at ships and lines that are just about carbon copies of each other .   Not really a change if any 

 

  If you want a real  improved  experience  you have to move UP a tier  to the Premium lines  like Azamar,  and Oceaina    All of whom are night and day different than the usual suspects.....  Id check them out  if its change across the board.

 

The question your posing  is like someone who wants to sell their house  only to move 3 doors down the street. Your not really changing much.....  Think this through

Hawaiidan, 

your absolutley right!!! I have read a lot of your CC blogs on Oceania. We will be on The Riviera TA 3/31/20 Miami to Rome and then a month later do on Riviera Monte Carlo to Barcelona. Done all of this on my HAL soooo many times but, this time they had no TA to The Med after our departure off Rotterdam so Oceania it is! We’re excited with all the perks great reports and especially the food!

we are 4 Star Mariners and still have another cruise happening next month on Eurodam and also in 2021. We sure do like 

Oceania from how we are treated so far!

look forward to more of your posts here and on Oceania!

Denise😊

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On ‎2‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 2:35 PM, jargey3000 said:

OP: good info. folks thanks!

FWIW ...we're not too much interested in the lectures ... (get enough at home!!!  LOL)

or those "broadway-style" shows...mehhh...zzzzz

BUT ...anywhere featuring BB King, the Stones, classic rock etc. AND art.(as per sevenseas post above-thanks) has really gotten my attention!

 

BTW - do any of their other ships have these venues above, or just Statendam??

The only two ships that currently have Rolling Stones Rock Room are Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.  BB Kings, Billboard Onboard, and Lincoln Center Stage are on all ships Vista class and above, which includes the two previously mentioned ships as well as Westerdam, Noordam, Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Eurodam.  Hope this information helps.

Edited by sevenseasnomad

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I like HAL’s food service above Princess.  All around, quality, service and selection.  

HAL is generally less densely populated  than Princess, be it the room size or public rooms, I don’t know but it is never as crowded.  

Princess has more nightlife than HAL 

if you book shore excursions through the cruise line I found princess has more variety especially for active folks.  I like biking 

what HAL excels at is enrichment programs and port intensive itineraries. I don’t think either of those would necessarily standout on a Caribbean cruise. 

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I hope you love HAL. We are a good family to join, and we all welcome you 🙂 We love the Rotterdam, of course, we also enjoy the smaller ships. We love all the ships. We do the up-sell and specialty everything, and we love it. Still so many ships we  have not sailed, but getting there. Good luck with your decision , happy sailing, and i do not think you can go wrong with whatever you decide. Missing the greenhouse spa about right now...

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I'm sort of in the same boat as the OP @jargey3000 (pun, I know).  Much like the OP, we just need the basics and don't go for specialty dining or upcharge services.  My first cruise was on Caribbean Princess but that was over 10 years ago. Next cruise was on Nieuw Amsterdam which I loved.  Then, we went on Celebrity which I really liked as well (Solstice, Summit, Reflection).  I'm going on Nieuw Statendam next month. I've only done 7 day Caribbean cruises.

 

I think you will find HAL similar to Celebrity when it comes to the 7 day Caribbean cruises.  Choose your ship based on the price and itinerary. HAL tends to skew to an older demographic than Celebrity, but that may change with the newer, bigger ships like Nieuw Statendam.

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I would choose the Nieuw Statendam.  New ship, great music venues, fantastic food (lobster & filet mignon in the lido (buffet).  We are cruising on her in March (can't wait).

 

I think you will find HAL to be a step above other cruise lines in food and service.  Just my honest opinion.  Give it a try!

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On 2/11/2019 at 3:12 PM, DeeniEncinitas said:

Hawaiidan, 

your absolutley right!!! I have read a lot of your CC blogs on Oceania. We will be on The Riviera TA 3/31/20 Miami to Rome and then a month later do on Riviera Monte Carlo to Barcelona. Done all of this on my HAL soooo many times but, this time they had no TA to The Med after our departure off Rotterdam so Oceania it is! We’re excited with all the perks great reports and especially the food!

we are 4 Star Mariners and still have another cruise happening next month on Eurodam and also in 2021. We sure do like 

Oceania from how we are treated so far!

look forward to more of your posts here and on Oceania!

Denise😊

Denise   thanks.     I think you will be shocked, by the difference.  mainly that just about everything   including the 4 specialty restraints are included and the lack of crowds and lines  Their buffet  also the Lido is outstanding  Waves the Pool grill serves Kobe beef burgers Lobster and Filet sandwiches and grilled Tuna steak. for starters and Truffle fries.

By the way  you can bring on board all the beer-wine- liquor you can carry at every port  .

Entertainment like HAL  is poor   Your fellow passengers are the real entertainment  and a  a pleasure to converse with  a very different crowd than HAL...  O is a ship for people who can entertain themselves.   

 On The RIVERA... IF  Graham Denison is teaching art classes.. go for it  He is a former Disney artist.  and great teacher.

 

That said  I enjoy HAL  for some of it's itineraries in Asia    Their upcoming Aug 28  29 day from Tokyo Sydney  Nagasaki-Iwo Jima-Siapan-Rabaul-Ghizo-Guadelcanal  is the best  I have ever seen.  This region is tough to visit except by ship and visiting it on the 75 annversary of VJ day and the first  engagments    is remarkable. and this o'l vet is pleased.  HAL is to me the upper limit of the mass market lines. 

The dividing point for me is on MassMarket ships you have to pay for sodas special coffee,specialties, juices and liquor or Shore ex's  nickel and dime art auctions, that sort of thing and a class system for their thousands of passengers.  

 On the Premium lines half the passengers, no class system, and your choice of Liquor or Shore ex's  included as well as ALL specialties includer with no limit on frequency

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On 2/9/2019 at 11:21 AM, jargey3000 said:

we're a 60+ active couple with 9 cruises under our belt, on various lines but never HAL.

we enjoyed all our cruise and Of the lines weve done , have to say we prefer Princess and  Celebrity. Key considerstions for us are of course pricing, cleanliness, food quality ( we never go to the specialty restaurants), activities, nice gym, musical & other entertainment.Dont spend any time IN the pool, dont care for any upcharge sevices, and dont bother  the crew too much for assistance or needs.

we're considering caribbean cruise in late april on HAL first time.

it appears the ships doing that run are Oosterdam, Rotterdam and Nieuw Statendam (weird name!)

given that we like princess  & celebrity, we'd appreciate any comments how those lines compare -pro or con- to HAL. And if you think we would enjoy any of those boats. thanks!

 

Like you, I've also enjoyed Celebrity and Princess.  I've also cruised HAL a few times.  If I'm to be totally honest, I think you'll be a little disappointed in HAL.  I base that opinion on your list of key considerations.  HAL falls short, compared to Celebrity and Princess, with activities, music and entertainment.  HAL might do 1 game show if you're lucky, there's no pool entertainment, the main shows are about the worst I've seen and the other nightly entertainment gets very repetitive after a few nights.  There are very few choices.  Also, I have found HAL's gym to be a little lacking.  You'll be fine with running or spinning but there are very few free weights.  

 

That said, if you choose any of those ships, I recommend Nieuw Statendam.  Although it still falls short of Celebrity, it does have a little better entertainment than the others.  

 

Sorry, not trying to discourage you.  You can see from my signature I do cruise around several lines so my opinion is based on that.  I like HAL.  It's a nice cruise line.  But I'm not as much a fan as some others on this board.  I'd rather be on Celebrity any day.  

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For a 10 day carribe cruise get the smallest ship in terms of passengers... with a port every day larger ships are way harder to get on and off every days just from the mass of humanity.  Less is better in that  region

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