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JustinPlusLauren

What are your favorite things about sailing with HAL?

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The coming-home feeling... the ships with their promenades (except the newer)... staying in our cabin until called to disembark... daily Mass... and just the feeling that it’s your cruise, to make of it what you wish, without much sound, etc. forced into your experience... nice cabins and beds... variety of food... the feeling of being at sea on a relatively traditional ship.

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This is a great thread.  I agree with all that was said. 

 

We quickly achieved 4 star status (or as my wife calls it "unlimited free laundry"), with HALs long trips.

Voyage of the Vikings, Circling the South Pacific, repositioning to South America, Two & Three week Alaska cruises, Collector cruises (special priced B2B), etc.

 

The Prinsendam cruises were great. Even though this ship is no longer part of the fleet. HAL seems to carry on its tradition on the older smaller ships.

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Ships that feel like ships and not floating shopping malls/amusement parks.

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On 7/13/2019 at 6:28 PM, JimnKaren said:

Once, I forget which ship, Karen and I were sitting in the Ocean prior to the evening meal. It was sail away day and our first time into that lounge. Waiting for a server to approach...he passed by and said, "You want your usual?"

What? Wait a minute! Mark had been in the Ocean Bar on a previous cruise and remembered us. We were impressed beyond words.

Jim

 

 

Same happened to me in Alaska, and it had been two years since my last Hal cruise.

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Have been said by other posters earlier, but my favorite HAL things, compared to my Celebrity and Princess experiences:

 

- Dive In Burgers and Fries

- Lounging on the heated thermal chairs after a long day

- J-class Interior and CQ-class Outside view cabins

- Unlimited Laundry

- Breakfast choices in the Lido

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Posted (edited)

This is a mix of an old and new list.  Have a GREAT time!

 

The chilled soups are so good!  Love the cooking shows where we are taught how to make them and given samples. *

The Royal Dutch Tea is very nice.  Love the chicken a la king and swan boats.*

The Indonesian Tea is nice.  Love the special food and fried banana treats.*

Love the samples at the cooking shows.*

Love the craft sessions where we can make journals and jeweled lanyards for our key cards.*

Love the complimentary cappuccinos in the evening.*

Enjoy the private movie theaters.**

Love the wrap around decks with teak chairs.**

The library is a quiet haven, filled with a nice selection of good reads.**

Enjoy the Surf & Turf with lobster and filet mignon on Gala Nights.**

Enjoy the informative port talks by expert EXC Guides.***

The YumYum Man adds a nice touch as he greets you before and after dinner.***

*Items marked with an asterisk are no longer offered aboard HAL*

**Now not always offered**

***Being phased out***

 

Love the Grand Dutch Café on the newest ships.

Love the fresh flowers.

While not private and a bit loud at times, I do love the new seating areas to watch movies on the jumbo screen in the Lido pool.

Love the snack choices for movie times at the pizza place.

The Lido Marketplace (buffet dining) keeps getting better and better.  Excellent variety of choices and we enjoyed every single meal on our last sailing.

Love the art collections.

Love the variety of music offered in the Music Walk.

Love that you can order the dining room menu into your stateroom during dinner hours.

Love the Club Sandwich and Chocolate Cake from In Room Dining!

Love the Tamarind.

Love the new theaters aboard the newest ships.  Lots of potential for high-tech performances.

The crew is fabulous, professional, efficient and courteous.  Couldn’t ask for a better staff.  They go above and beyond.

 

 

We have enjoyed every HAL cruise we have taken and look forward to more in the future!  It is my hope that some of the things we love that have been or are in the process of being discontinued will be brought back.  As others have said, you do get that feeling of coming home every time you sail.

 

Happy Sailing!

 

 

Edited by syesmar

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On 7/12/2019 at 11:26 PM, SumoCitrus said:

Just a few random thoughts....

  •  
  • The Yum Yum Man

Who is the Yum Yum Man?

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29 minutes ago, davy jones said:

Who is the Yum Yum Man?

Sorry posted before moving down.

 

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I find it more relaxing because it is more quiet....

Their food is good

Love their "Quench" package....  NCL or Carnival don't have a drink package like that

 

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On 7/14/2019 at 12:26 PM, daisy-mae said:

Pickleball!

 

It appears that HAL has recognized that seniors have actively embraced the racquet sport and the cruise line has adapted their tennis courts to accommodate us, even scheduling a daily time slot for play.

It's about time.  DH is addicted to pickeball!

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On 7/12/2019 at 8:20 PM, JustinPlusLauren said:

what are your favorite things about HAL? What are some things that set it apart from other cruise lines?

Sadly, HAL is making a lot of changes recently.  One of my favorite things (no longer done) was formal night, and the enforcement thereof.

 

Also, while not the greatest shows, the production shows that were like Vegas-style musical revues were something else I liked - no longer there.....

 

Crows' Nest lounge - gone.....

 

Piano bar, now it's dual pianos, not bad, but not the same....

 

 

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On 7/12/2019 at 11:20 PM, JustinPlusLauren said:

I'm brand new to HAL and we're taking a cruise aboard the Nieuw Statendam at the end of July. I've sailed with Princess, MSC, and Carnival in the past. I'd love to know...what are your favorite things about HAL? What are some things that set it apart from other cruise lines? What are your favorite spaces on the ship to hang out on a sea day? What are your favorite activities, best entertainment options? I want to hear ALL about what you love about sailing with HAL so I can learn a few things before boarding! 🙂

 

 

We like the ship size and design with a promenade . We also like the friendly crew and officers that greet you as you leave each morning . The Tamarind is or favorite restaurant . Best of all we like a Neptune suite if you can afford it . Priority embarkation and tenders . Unlimited laundry , fresh flowers and the Neptune Lounge with snacks and a Concierge . We really like that we could order lunch or dinner from the menu delivered to our room or Veranda .

 

IMG_4954%202_zpsplr2sndo.jpg

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The chilled vibe ; the crows nest ; the crew ; BB Kings 

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20 hours ago, Shmoo here said:

Crows' Nest lounge - gone.....

Piano bar, now it's dual pianos, not bad, but not the same....

The Crows Nest is still there, just incorporating the Explorations Cafe in the same space? As far as I have seen, they no longer label it the Crows Nest only on the Nieuw Statendam -- but the space is still there and they do serve alcoholic beverages according to the answer to that question here on CC.

 

You are correct, Dueling Pianos sets a far different mood. I guess it's supposed to be more family-friendly or maybe more liked by younger crowd, IDK, we really enjoyed Mike on the Zaandam last August and only went to the players on Zuiderdam once or twice on the Zuiderdam this spring.

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1 minute ago, crystalspin said:

The Crows Nest is still there, just incorporating the Explorations Cafe in the same space? As far as I have seen, they no longer label it the Crows Nest only on the Nieuw Statendam -- but the space is still there and they do serve alcoholic beverages according to the answer to that question here on CC.

 

You are correct, Dueling Pianos sets a far different mood. I guess it's supposed to be more family-friendly or maybe more liked by younger crowd, IDK, we really enjoyed Mike on the Zaandam last August and only went to the players on Zuiderdam once or twice on the Zuiderdam this spring.

There used to be DJs/live music in the Crow's Nest.  It's no longer there.  Just a big "coffee shop" quiet space.

 

I've never been in a true "dueling" piano venue.  But I think it's not something I would like.  On our last cruise the Billboard Onboard had two pianos, and the piano players would just take turns playing music, occasionally they played together.  Almost like a true piano bar, but a bit louder.

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I concur, the Crows Nest is no longer an evening (or anytime) dance venue. We LOVE the big coffeeshop segue'ing into happy hour sometime in the afternoon, though.

 

Also agree the Billboard Onboard is dual, not dueling, pianos. Didn't mean to seem like I was correcting you! But it is music that may suit some. I did not see people "getting into it" as they did the Piano Man on Zaandam last August; he had a following!

 

 

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One thing that most lines do not provide - a Catholic Priest on every cruise.  Great for Sunday/Saturday night Mass (and not having to seek out a church at a strange port).

 

 

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On 7/16/2019 at 7:15 PM, syesmar said:

On a recent Nieuw Statendam sailing, I missed the previous design of the promenade deck, as the newest ship did not feature deck chairs and some of the views were obstructed by life boats.  The library offerings are now mostly coffee table books and it is located in the Crow's Nest.  Still a beautiful, nice ship, but those were 2 things that made HAL "HAL" to me and I missed having them.

 

This is what happens when the kids get to sit at the big table with the bean counters and look for ways to squeeze every dime out of every square foot of space.  The promenade and the library do not produce any direct revenue, and thus get shrunk in size and effectiveness - regardless of their contribution to the overall atmosphere of the ship.

 

A nice promenade to walk or sit on and watch the ocean is one of our "must haves" nowadays.  We spend a little more time investigating the ship's design and reviews than we used to after finding ourselves on a cruise with a group of friends on the worst ship's design we've ever sailed on - the NCL Epic Mistake.  The only cruise we've ever been on where we could hardly wait for the cruise to be over and off the ship.

 

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On 7/19/2019 at 9:04 PM, crystalspin said:

the Crows Nest is no longer an evening (or anytime) dance venue.

 

There was music and dancing every night in the Crows Nest on the Zaandam last month.  Of course, their Explorations Cafe is located on Deck 5 by the library.

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Excellent thread. Having sailed on HAL for over 37 years I agree with every post except I would like to add one more thing.

The best thing  for me is that HAL lowers it standards to allow someone named RedneckBob to board the boat.  :classic_huh:

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On 7/19/2019 at 4:59 PM, Shmoo here said:

There used to be DJs/live music in the Crow's Nest.  It's no longer there.  Just a big "coffee shop" quiet space.

 

I've never been in a true "dueling" piano venue.  But I think it's not something I would like.  On our last cruise the Billboard Onboard had two pianos, and the piano players would just take turns playing music, occasionally they played together.  Almost like a true piano bar, but a bit louder.

New to HAL, but it sounds similar to Howl at the Moon on NCL ships.  Far more lively than a typical piano bar and great fun.

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On 7/18/2019 at 8:31 PM, Shmoo here said:

Sadly, HAL is making a lot of changes recently.  One of my favorite things (no longer done) was formal night, and the enforcement thereof.

 

 

Wait...there isn't a formal night? I swear that I have 2 formal nights on my upcoming cruise and we were planning to bring our fancy clothes for it!

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