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dmg1956

HAL Fans Give Princess a Try

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17 hours ago, polmcs said:

Informative review/ up to date comparison. I’ve done one HAL cruise that was about a decade ago and found the food exceeded whatever Princess was serving at that time (and Princess has gone down a lot since then, so hopefully HAL have managed to keep their standards a little higher than that). What put us off HAL was the amount of smoking onboard. From being choked off our balcony, or to have to leave our favorite bar when it got too smokey, or just walking about the ship. 😞

 

I do wonder if it’s gotten any better recently as it has with Princess smoking policies these days, but we’ve “invested” too many days at sea with Princess to think about changing cruise lines at this point.

 

. . .

We've been Elite on Princess for quite awhile and are 3* Mariners on HAL.  I don't believe they allow smoking on the latter anymore, at least in public spaces.  As a non-smoker, I would notice.  We were on HAL as recently as 4/2017 and I spent a lot of time in the casino, which can be "smokey" on some ships.  I have the food comparable.  Last Princess cruise in 1/2017.

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17 hours ago, Loreni said:

. . .

I thought about Celebrity, but the thumping music everywhere would drive me crazy.

We've sailed on Celebrity, starting in 1996 and last in 2014; don't remember "thumping music everywhere" at any time on our 11 cruises on that line and it would certainly annoy us as we're more into classical music than r and r or newer genres.  What's the basis for your statement?  Someone's review?

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23 hours ago, dmg1956 said:

HAL Cruisers Give Princess a Try

Our last HAL cruise was to Alaska on the Eurodam last July – August (2018). We have been dedicated HAL cruisers for some time now. DW decided she wanted to do another cruise so we did some exploring. The dates, itinerary, cabin choice, and price lined up for us doing the 15-day Hawaiian out of San Francisco on Grand Princess. This was our first Princess cruise and this review will be specific to that cruise. However, comparisons to HAL will also figure in my narrative.

. . .

You're comparing a ship built in 1998 (Grand) with one built almost 10 years later (2007).  Also, the Grand carries more pax (2,600) than the Eurodam (2,100).  Perhaps it wasn't an apples-to-apples comparison.  We've been on the Grand, but that was in 2010.  It was ok, but certainly not the same as the newer Princess ships we had already been on.  The last (and newest) HAL ship we've been on is the Zuiderdam (2017).  It was built in 2001 and it wasn't noticeable that it was "so old".

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I agree that the Grand is in desperate need of a complete overhaul.  I do understand they will be getting new sofas in all the staterooms (mini's and suites) during their next dry dock.  As for the furniture in the Horizon court, I think they did a great job on that during their last dry dock ... but that rust is everywhere.  Plus, I think they really did themselves a great disservice in putting that filth catching blue matting down on the balconies.  It's so disgusting ... 

I also noticed that there was still a lot of the same old furniture in the lounges, though.  And, in my cabin, the water coming out in the tub was actually rusty.  I think it was rust, anyway.  Yes, she needs a good overhaul.  But, those beds ... ahhhh, those beds!!  First time I've ever slept on a decent mattress in nearly 5 dozen sailings.  

 

Now, I've sailed on HAL a few times and on the Grand Princess double that, only because she is in our backyard.  I have two more cruises booked on her and know full well what to expect and what not to expect, though.  We've always had top notch service on the Grand, with a disappointment only on our last sailing on her, mainly with the dining.  I am not one to judge my overall experience on that one downfall, though.  I would rate Princess and HAL about the same with my experiences on both lines.  

 

As for the internet, I would just say that everyone has different needs and wishes on what makes their experience better.  I, for one, would love to see the MedallionNet on the Grand but it won't happen before she is replaced in SF by the Star.   I don't like it when people bring their phones to a restaurant and play on them the whole time while seated.  I think it shows a lack of class ... but that is just me being judgmental.  I know my sister in law was taking a class and was only able to go with us on a cruise if she could listen to her classes and go online to take her tests and she needed a robust internet to do that.  Some people still have to run their businesses or check in with family members while cruising.  I, for one, find it optimal for my marriage to not turn the TV on while my DH is trying to sleep.  I have a hard time sleeping if I am not watching TV ... so, win win when I can stream a show and drift off to sleep.  Also, I've used it to check into private tours, checked in on my brother that fell ill while we were cruising and possible options on how to fly back if needed and we were in the middle of closing on a home purchase once that required internet access.  There are many more reasons why people don't or can't disconnect....those are just a few of mine.  What works for you doesn't necessarily work for everyone.  

 

Thanks for your review and comparisons with HAL.  I am thinking of booking a HAL sailing for next year and there is one that fits what I want pretty well.  It's kind of pricey and there are no real perks included so just taking my time deciding but I think your review has helped me.  

 

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1 hour ago, BarbinMich said:

We've been Elite on Princess for quite awhile and are 3* Mariners on HAL.  I don't believe they allow smoking on the latter anymore, at least in public spaces.  As a non-smoker, I would notice.  We were on HAL as recently as 4/2017 and I spent a lot of time in the casino, which can be "smokey" on some ships.  I have the food comparable.  Last Princess cruise in 1/2017.

 

Thanks for the update. I’m glad to hear that smoking should cause us any issue on HAL these days. We do occasionally try other lines when the odd itinerary we like/suits our schedule, just to do a comparison and to make sure we aren’t missing out on anything with Princess, but we always gravitate back to Princess. Looks like I can put HAL back on the potentials list for the odd cruise or two.  Carnival however is barred sin die from that list! 😉 

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What are the music genres on HAL? Kids hate Carnival bc their entertainment isn't our 'style' and we cruise for entertainment (vegans & vegetarians)

 

Isn't the Grand off to P&O Australia in late 2020?

Edited by Ombud

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7 minutes ago, Ombud said:

What are the music genres on HAL? Kids hate Carnival bc their entertainment isn't our 'style' and we cruise for entertainment (vegans & vegetarians)

 

Isn't the Grand off to P&O Australia in late 2020?

 

If you're vegans and vegetarians, definitely try HAL.  They have a whole vegetarian/vegan menu available in the MDR you can order off of each night.  It was fabulous!  SO much variety and choice.  We also loved the entertainment.  Incredible classical trio on our last cruise that we couldn't miss.  Very high quality across the board, IMHO. 

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Thanks! FWIW I explain my restricted diet to the maitre d and am never disappointed in MDR (pepper allergy). But I've wondered about HAL as my shareholders OBC is there too. 🤑

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Thanks for the review-comparison.  It helps me visualize what HAL is like today -- I have been "faithful" to Princess for about a decade now (I've sailed on Princess for over 30 years, but I "played the field" for the first 20 years!), and I like to keep somewhat current on what the other lines are doing.

 

I am thankful for the explanation of the Beef Wellington.  I am also incredibly angry at Princess for the deception they have been committing by falsely calling the dish Beef Wellington.  I do not eat foie gras, and I have therefore avoided the Beef Wellington.  By calling it Wellengton, those #$%$#@ have prevented me from enjoying that beef dish.  I'm upset that I have deprived myself of this dish for years due to the false labeling.  Oh, well, next cruise I'll see what I've been missing.

 

I am thankful that we all have so many choices of lines/ships, and that we can all seek for that which suits our particular needs/wishes/tastes the best!

 

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8 hours ago, Cruise Raider said:

the Grand but it won't happen before she is replaced in SF by the Star. 

Golden goes to P&O Australia summer 2020, Star goes there in late 2020, no Grand sailings after September 2020 ... So what will be based in SF? (Actual think those 3 older ones are do for a refurb and rebrand + P&O Australia is selling 1 of their ships to another company not affiliated with CCL)

 

In looking at HAL it appears there's 2 prices (regular & restricted) + limited OBC. Can someone please explain?

Edited by Ombud

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I've sailed HAL 5 times and very much liked them.  I've probably done close to 20 Princess cruises and like them slightly more... likely a demographic thing.  As for food, I find them similarly adequate,  but for room service HAL takes it by a significant margin as anything on the MDR menu is available.  However, in my line of thinking the term "foody" and mass market cruise lines do not pair well.

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17 hours ago, dmg1956 said:

You should read the post again. I was not comparing a full suite on HAL to a Princess Mini suite. 

Seems to me you are. Here’s your original post. 

 

Our Cabin: We had booked a Mini-Suite that has a slightly larger veranda the other cabins in that class. Unpacking, we found that our stuff fit in the closet, drawers, and bathroom quite nicely. No lacking for space. We never over pack so we knew there would be no problem.  On our HAL cruise to Alaska we had a Neptune Suite so this was a big downsizing. Hey, it was fine. We enjoyed the mini-suite and our cabin steward Abriham was fantastic.

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On 3/6/2019 at 6:58 PM, Ombud said:

Golden goes to P&O Australia summer 2020, Star goes there in late 2020, no Grand sailings after September 2020 ... So what will be based in SF? (Actual think those 3 older ones are do for a refurb and rebrand + P&O Australia is selling 1 of their ships to another company not affiliated with CCL)

 

In looking at HAL it appears there's 2 prices (regular & restricted) + limited OBC. Can someone please explain?

 

I believe the Star is coming to SF in May 2020 ... she is on the schedule until Sept 2020.  I just assumed she was going to be home ported here after that.  I didn't realize she was going to P&O.  Thanks for the info.  

I understand we are getting the Carnival Miracle in SF sometime in 2020.  Sure wish it could be Celebrity or even RCCL ... not Carnival ... but if that is what they give us, I may give it a try.  I've sailed on Carnival before and it was fine ... but I was a lot younger then.  Not sure I would appreciate it so much any more.  I may have to deal with the dreaded flight before sailing.  hahaha!!  

 

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I just wanted to remark about the comment regarding the elevator doors closing too slowly.  I traveled with my mom last June on our first Princess Cruise.  I was glad the elevator doors did not close too quickly as mom was in a wheelchair.  If she had not been using the chair, she would have been on her walker. 

 

Not all people can run onto the elevator (most people who can, and are in a super hurry, use the stairs). 

 

If you find the doors are taking too long and there is no one coming, you can always push the button to close the doors more quickly.  

 

Final thought:  recently, a nurse at a local hospital received very bad crushing injuries from an elevator door that closed too quickly.  I am totally okay with waiting a bit for the doors to close.

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53 minutes ago, Cruise Raider said:

 

I believe the Star is coming to SF in May 2020 ... she is on the schedule until Sept 2020.  I just assumed she was going to be home ported here after that.  I didn't realize she was going to P&O.  Thanks for the info.  

I understand we are getting the Carnival Miracle in SF sometime in 2020.  Sure wish it could be Celebrity or even RCCL ... not Carnival ... but if that is what they give us, I may give it a try.  I've sailed on Carnival before and it was fine ... but I was a lot younger then.  Not sure I would appreciate it so much any more.  I may have to deal with the dreaded flight before sailing.  hahaha!!  

 

I booked PNW on Grand 3/29/20 only bc I wanted to take Bart to ship once. I sail on  Star next week and if I like it better than the Royal class I'll book another one for next fall.

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12 hours ago, txwriter said:

If you find the doors are taking too long and there is no one coming, you can always push the button to close the doors more quickly.  
 

 

And maybe about 50% of the time, that button will work.

 

(I have no problem with how long it takes the doors to start closing.)

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Thanks for the great comparison..  I've cruises both lines.  I cruised Alaska last yr on the Westerdam.    Loved the ship.   I have to say I was disappointed in the entertainment in the evening.  Guess I like all the silly game shows that Princess has.

The only real concern I had was the lack of eating venues during the day.

The Buffet closed between breakfast, lunch and dinner.   They were only opened a couple of hrs for each of these.   When we got back later at night from port there was literally no where to eat except ordering room service.   Had to wait until 10 pm for the small area in Buffet that served pizza, sandwiches etc to eat.   Because of the closed buffet during the day, the wait for hamburgers at the grill were crazy long.

I missed the  24 hr international cafe on Princess.

 That won't stop me from cruising on Hal in the future.   I love the size of their balcony cabins, but again i missed the walk-in closet that Princess has.     I bought a FCC.   Thinking of trying the new ships this fall out of Fort Lauderdale.

I think Princess and HAL have a good product and plan to cruise either of them again.

 

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On 3/6/2019 at 6:26 PM, Mike45LC said:

I am thankful for the explanation of the Beef Wellington.  I am also incredibly angry at Princess for the deception they have been committing by falsely calling the dish Beef Wellington.  I do not eat foie gras, and I have therefore avoided the Beef Wellington.  By calling it Wellengton, those #$%$#@ have prevented me from enjoying that beef dish.  I'm upset that I have deprived myself of this dish for years due to the false labeling.  Oh, well, next cruise I'll see what I've been missing.

 

Beef Wellington does not have to be made with foi gras. You can always ask which ingredients are used in the preparation of the dishes.

 

The reviewer is a smoker and smokers tend to like there food over seasoned so I take his review with a pinch of salt 😉

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On 3/6/2019 at 6:58 PM, Ombud said:

In looking at HAL it appears there's 2 prices (regular & restricted) + limited OBC. Can someone please explain?

Regular is refundable with whatever promotion is running and restricted is non-refundable without perks; it will be lowest price. I believe there are actually four price codes for at least most cruises: refundable with and without promo, Non-refundable with and without. But you or your TA have to call to find them all.

 

I don't know what you mean by "limited OBC"? 

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I was comparing the OBC on the 2 different lines for 1 future cruise in particular. Booked with Princess rather than HAL as I got more for about the same price 

Edited by Ombud

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On 7/6/2019 at 9:17 PM, brisalta said:

 

Beef Wellington does not have to be made with foi gras. You can always ask which ingredients are used in the preparation of the dishes.

 

The reviewer is a smoker and smokers tend to like there food over seasoned so I take his review with a pinch of salt 😉

Luckily I was never a smoker although many in my generation did smoke.  Before I retired a few of my fellow employees were smokers and when they quit their comment was that now they could taste vanilla ice cream.  Vanilla is my favorite flavor but has a light taste to it which they could not taste.  It would seem then that smokers do like their food heavily seasoned.  I agree take the comments with a grain of salt.  

 

I do take exception with the comment that all Mexican cities are the same while in fact they are not.  Clearly the OP is not a fan of Mexico and Central America.  

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Related to Ship age, there are several HAL ships older than the Grand Princess, and is far worse condition.

 

The last HAL ship (I am 2* and first HAL Cruise was 1986), I was on was the Veendam to Bermuda.  It is OLD!!! Although supposedly now fixed, it was extremely disconcerting to be sitting in the dining room on the upper level under a net.  The net was specifically there to catch debris that might fall.  Apparently this was due to a badly-added pool on the deck above.  

 

Buffet closes on HAL pretty early while you can always find some food on Princess as Buffet is open longer and there is always the International Cafe.  The Explorations Cafe is not close to being comparable to the International Cafe, unless they have added to the food choices of pastry (which they kind of keep secret are included) and hours.  

 

Also, the Italian specialty restaurant (which was an area of the buffet - unlike a different room for Sabatini’ss) served food that was inedible when I was on it.  At the time, they were still not charging for it.   Apparently they have changed the menu and are charging but they still have it in the buffet area.

 

What I did like was the various cobblers on the Dessert menu for the MDR for HAL.  

 

By the way, my pet peeve from original post is  how to spell the word “Dessert”. “Desert” is a dry place.  Again, it’s my pet peeve, and these are my opinions, and opinions and spelling pet peeves are subjective.

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On 3/6/2019 at 7:58 PM, Ombud said:

Golden goes to P&O Australia summer 2020, Star goes there in late 2020, no Grand sailings after September 2020 ... So what will be based in SF? (Actual think those 3 older ones are do for a refurb and rebrand + P&O Australia is selling 1 of their ships to another company not affiliated with CCL)

 

In looking at HAL it appears there's 2 prices (regular & restricted) + limited OBC. Can someone please explain?

I’m wondering where you got the info that the Star is going to P&O.   We have a cruise scheduled on the Star March 11, 2021,  Los Angeles to Hawaii and back.  Just booked it a few weeks ago.  

 

 

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