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pmjnh

Antarctica HAL vs Princess

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We are currently booked on a 22 day  HAL cruise to SA and Antarctica . Embark in Buenos Aires and disembark in Santiago.  Princess has a  similar itinerary  offered this year, but  longer cruise (34 day) embarking Fort Lauderdale , disembark in Santiago. We are seriously changing to the Princess cruise, if for no other reason, to avoid the flight to Buenos Aires and just have the one flight home....clearly not to save on airfare costs, but rather to avoid one long flight. 

 

I have read that the Antarctica experience in better with HAL than Princess . I would love to hear from anyone here that may have done both to compare. Both cruise for 4 days along the Antarctica Peninsula....has anyone done both to compare?

 

Thanks

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Posted (edited)

Princess hasn't done this itinerary for probably 10 years - so it is difficult to say "HAL does it better". Also, in the past 10 years, there has been re-organization at CCL and Princess and HAL reports to the same Holland America Group.

 

I don't think anyone really knows if Princess or HAL does a better job today. I know in Alaska - the 2 lines are run by one group. My friend did a Princess tour and was put at a HAL hotel.

 

BTW - I have not done either.

Edited by Coral

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In 2010, we were on the Star Princess for the "last" Antarctica cruise for Princess.  We cruised Buenos Aires to Santiago and had a FANTASTIC time!

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Haven't done Antarctica either, only a Celebrity Cape horn one. But I've sailed the Zaandam. The HAL cruise is 22 days from BA to Santiago, The Princess portion of BA-Santiago of the 34-day cruise you referenced is only 16 days. HAL itinerary visits a lot of the Chilean fjords, while Princess itinerary seems to skip most of them. HAL also stops at Puerto Madryn, which gives you another chance to walk among penguins asides from the Falklands stop.

 

HAL Zaandam is smaller and you may feel more of the "Drake Shake" while in the open sea. It also doesn't have as many balconies (lot more expensive than the Princess Coral balconies). However, it may also be a more intimate and cozy experience watching the glaciers and wildlife on the deck. Both ships have promenades and good exterior viewing spots. 

 

I personally recommend that you stay in BA for a few days before the cruise to recover from the flight, and so you'll be fine with the HAL choice.

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Sorry, didn't notice that you're doing the 2021 sailing. Main point still stands - HAL has more days on the actual BA-Santiago itinerary. Even more reason to stick with the HAL cruise since the vista class Westerdam should be nicer than the Zaandam.

 

 

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Having done a long Princess all around  South America cruise recently I would now like to go to Ushuaia and embark on a smaller expedition ship there  to really go and land on and experience Antarctica rather than do a sail by.

Not cheap but we feel it would be worth doing.

Maybe we can work it into a couple of sectors of major cruise line cruises around South America to avoid much flying.

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4 hours ago, Griller said:

Having done a long Princess all around  South America cruise recently I would now like to go to Ushuaia and embark on a smaller expedition ship there  to really go and land on and experience Antarctica rather than do a sail by.

Not cheap but we feel it would be worth doing.

Maybe we can work it into a couple of sectors of major cruise line cruises around South America to avoid much flying.

Given the new Polar Class requirements for ships operating south of 60* South, most ships that are currently sailing to Antarctica will have to stop doing so I believe in 2021.  Only ships purpose built to Polar Class will be allowed after that.

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Posted (edited)
54 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Given the new Polar Class requirements for ships operating south of 60* South, most ships that are currently sailing to Antarctica will have to stop doing so I believe in 2021.  Only ships purpose built to Polar Class will be allowed after that.

What are the requirements that ships sailing to Norway must need in the future? Sorry - change of subject, I was trying to find this out the other day and couldn't locate it.

Edited by Coral

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32 minutes ago, Coral said:

What are the requirements that ships sailing to Norway must need in the future? Sorry - change of subject, I was trying to find this out the other day and couldn't locate it.

Norway has an exemption from the Polar Class since the Gulf Stream warms the area.

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Posted (edited)

We have sailed on the 22 day Antarctica cruise on the Zaandam in Jan 2018 and had a great time. However, today, we just finished booking a mini-suite on a Jan 2021 16 day Antarctica cruise on the Coral and can't wait for that one either.

 

One thing IMHO Princess has over HAL hands down is the number of assistants their CD has. On Princess the CD usually has 5-6 assistants whereas on a HAL cruise, their CD may have 1. For us this interprets to more fun onboard. On the HAL Antarctica cruise, they had some great lecturers, but their evening shows were pretty blah with their other entertainment options pretty minimal. 

 

So, if you're looking to have fun on the ship, especially on all those sea days as well as have a wonderful time viewing the wonders of Antarctica, then I would suggest booking with Princess. However, if you enjoy more of a relaxed cruise environment while enjoying the wonders of Antarctica, then HAL might be a better bet.

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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28 minutes ago, chengkp75 said:

Norway has an exemption from the Polar Class since the Gulf Stream warms the area.

I thought I read that Norway is banning several ships from a few of their fjords - Geringerfjord and Flam are 2 of them. It is an emission thing that will take several years to fully implement. I was looking for a list of ships that meet the requirements. I will post on Northern European boards. Sorry for the off subject question.

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7 hours ago, Coral said:

I thought I read that Norway is banning several ships from a few of their fjords - Geringerfjord and Flam are 2 of them. It is an emission thing that will take several years to fully implement. I was looking for a list of ships that meet the requirements. I will post on Northern European boards. Sorry for the off subject question.

Right now, I think there are only one or two ships that meet the emissions standards.  I recall a thread that discussed it, with some Norwegian members knowing the exact ships.  I think it was on the HAL board.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, Coral said:

What are the requirements that ships sailing to Norway must need in the future? Sorry - change of subject, I was trying to find this out the other day and couldn't locate it.

 

Coral - I saw an interesting discussion on the Northern European boards about the changes in Norway: 

 

We are so glad we got to cruise to Flam and Gerainger in June!

 

Oops - just saw that you contributed to that discussion so you already know all that 😀.  Maybe others will find it interesting.

Edited by capriccio

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16 minutes ago, capriccio said:

 

Coral - I saw an interesting discussion on the Northern European boards about the changes in Norway: 

 

We are so glad we got to cruise to Flam and Gerainger in June!

 

Oops - just saw that you contributed to that discussion so you already know all that 😀.  Maybe others will find it interesting.

I was looking for it recently and couldn't find it. Thanks for locating it. :)

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21 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

So, if you're looking to have fun on the ship, especially on all those sea days as well as have a wonderful time viewing the wonders of Antarctica, then I would suggest booking with Princess. However, if you enjoy more of a relaxed cruise environment while enjoying the wonders of Antarctica, then HAL might be a better bet.

Ken,

 

On HAL, is there any music and dance throughout the night like Princess? Usually Princess will have at least 2-3 in parallel, I was hopping HAL will at least have one?

 

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26 minutes ago, aprilsp88 said:

Ken,

 

On HAL, is there any music and dance throughout the night like Princess? Usually Princess will have at least 2-3 in parallel, I was hopping HAL will at least have one?

 

I'm not picturing a lot of dancing on a HAL cruise. There are music venues, but most people in attendance are usually sitting down. If you want to have more fun and dancing in the evening, you'll definitely have more on a Princess cruise. There is a reason why Princess has 5-6 assistant CDs and they are definitely strategically placed around the ship in the evening to make sure there is plenty of fun times available for all ages. For us who are in our mid 60s, we're pretty much done after the last show/trivia in the Explorers Lounge, but there is usually always something going on in the Fusion or Vista Lounge at the back of the ship until around 11 pm or so from what I hear.

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On 8/8/2019 at 3:12 PM, Ken the cruiser said:

I'm not picturing a lot of dancing on a HAL cruise. There are music venues, but most people in attendance are usually sitting down. If you want to have more fun and dancing in the evening, you'll definitely have more on a Princess cruise. There is a reason why Princess has 5-6 assistant CDs and they are definitely strategically placed around the ship in the evening to make sure there is plenty of fun times available for all ages. For us who are in our mid 60s, we're pretty much done after the last show/trivia in the Explorers Lounge, but there is usually always something going on in the Fusion or Vista Lounge at the back of the ship until around 11 pm or so from what I hear.

Ken,

 

I see you've been on Oceania, how do you compare the live music with Princess? Does it have ongoing live music played by a band in at lease one lounge?  Not sure when HAL people don't dance, is it because of the music.

 

Thanks,

April

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On 8/7/2019 at 12:05 PM, Griller said:

Having done a long Princess all around  South America cruise recently I would now like to go to Ushuaia and embark on a smaller expedition ship there  to really go and land on and experience Antarctica rather than do a sail by.

Not cheap but we feel it would be worth doing.

Maybe we can work it into a couple of sectors of major cruise line cruises around South America to avoid much flying.

 

The smaller expedition ship from Ushuaia is a great decision -- the only way I have seen Antarctica. One important tip -- make sure the vessel has less than 100 passengers as only 100 an be on land at a time. That way you go on all "landings".

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On 8/7/2019 at 5:38 AM, pmjnh said:

We are currently booked on a 22 day  HAL cruise to SA and Antarctica . Embark in Buenos Aires and disembark in Santiago.  Princess has a  similar itinerary  offered this year, but  longer cruise (34 day) embarking Fort Lauderdale , disembark in Santiago. We are seriously changing to the Princess cruise, if for no other reason, to avoid the flight to Buenos Aires and just have the one flight home....clearly not to save on airfare costs, but rather to avoid one long flight. 

 

I have read that the Antarctica experience in better with HAL than Princess . I would love to hear from anyone here that may have done both to compare. Both cruise for 4 days along the Antarctica Peninsula....has anyone done both to compare?

 

Thanks

 

We have not been to South America or Antarctica on Princess  . But we have been to Alaska , Norway and Iceland last month and South America and Antarctica in December last year on HAL . We liked the SA and Antarctica the best , by far . here's why :

 

IMG_5265_zpstdh9zn6e.jpg

 

IMG_4875_zpsl32amnbm.jpg

 

IMG_8974_zpshf6igyg8.jpg

 

IMG_7010_zpshjxgwsuw.jpg

 

DSC03298_zpsgotldyc5.jpg

 

IMG_7115_zpszlmxozjz.jpg

 

 

 

 

You can read all about it here :

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, aprilsp88 said:

Ken,

 

I see you've been on Oceania, how do you compare the live music with Princess? Does it have ongoing live music played by a band in at lease one lounge?  Not sure when HAL people don't dance, is it because of the music.

 

Thanks,

April

Yes, there is usually a live band up in the Crows Nest on O ships. As far dancing goes on HAL ships, I may have misspoken. I believe the BB King area has a dance floor.

Edited by Ken the cruiser

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I know that you are looking for comparisons, and I can’t do that, but I do want to pass along my experience earlier this year on a Princess South America cruise.  Other than someone who lectured about the most basic of things in each port, we had no one onboard who knew anything about South America.  With 24 sea days I expected something more than jewelry sales, art auctions and enrichment lectures about how to get along with your kids.   If learning something about South America is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere than Princess.  I’m still not sure whether what we experienced was the norm for Princess, but that aspect of the cruise was extremely disappointing to us and has shied us away from wanting to book another ‘once in a lifetime’ cruise on Princess.  We have been very loyal to Princess over the years, so that is hard for me to say, but I did want to pass that along for what it’s worth.

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1 minute ago, KimCHouston said:

I know that you are looking for comparisons, and I can’t do that, but I do want to pass along my experience earlier this year on a Princess South America cruise.  Other than someone who lectured about the most basic of things in each port, we had no one onboard who knew anything about South America.  With 24 sea days I expected something more than jewelry sales, art auctions and enrichment lectures about how to get along with your kids.   If learning something about South America is important to you, you might want to look elsewhere than Princess.  I’m still not sure whether what we experienced was the norm for Princess, but that aspect of the cruise was extremely disappointing to us and has shied us away from wanting to book another ‘once in a lifetime’ cruise on Princess.  We have been very loyal to Princess over the years, so that is hard for me to say, but I did want to pass that along for what it’s worth.

 

Wow - your experience with lecturers was entirely different on our LA to Valparaiso to Rio cruise in December 2016/January 2017 and had both a guest lecturer and a destination expert.  The guest lecturer was a retired US professor (unfortunately I've forgotten his name) who had been doing research in South America for decades and gave very interesting lectures on archeology, history, culture, etc. on every sea day at the very least.  He even introduced himself in advance on our roll call.  We also had a true destination lecturer (IIRC his last name was Delgado) who provided wonderful information for DIYers on transportation, sites to visit, etc. (not the kind that tell you where the nearest jewelry stores).  His talks were frequently standing room only.

 

I would be very disappointed too if we had your experience.

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9 minutes ago, capriccio said:

 

Wow - your experience with lecturers was entirely different on our LA to Valparaiso to Rio cruise in December 2016/January 2017 and had both a guest lecturer and a destination expert.  The guest lecturer was a retired US professor (unfortunately I've forgotten his name) who had been doing research in South America for decades and gave very interesting lectures on archeology, history, culture, etc. on every sea day at the very least.  He even introduced himself in advance on our roll call.  We also had a true destination lecturer (IIRC his last name was Delgado) who provided wonderful information for DIYers on transportation, sites to visit, etc. (not the kind that tell you where the nearest jewelry stores).  His talks were frequently standing room only.

 

I would be very disappointed too if we had your experience.

Thanks for responding.   It’s nice to know that Princess can do a good job with this sometimes.  Your experience is what I thought we would have, but it did not happen. 

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I did the 3 week Santiago to BA Antarctica cruise with HAL a couple of years ago.  Initially I wondered if I would regret not booking a smaller ship from Ushuaia.  But I was wrong.  It was fantastic.  We had 3 expedition leaders, each of whom had worked for the US stations in Antarctica for 15-20 years.  They gave commentary from the bridge, they gave lectures in the theater and they were in one of the lounges almost every night.  They arranged for about 15-20 workers from one of the US stations to board our ship and give a presentation in the theater one day.

 

All in all I am not sure how another cruise line could have done a better job in Antarctica than HAL did.  I was on an outside forward facing viewing area so much (dressed in many layers!) that one of the other passengers asked if I had a stateroom to go back to!

 

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On 8/12/2019 at 6:22 PM, scubacruiserx2 said:

 

We have not been to South America or Antarctica on Princess  . But we have been to Alaska , Norway and Iceland last month and South America and Antarctica in December last year on HAL . We liked the SA and Antarctica the best , by far . here's why :

 

IMG_5265_zpstdh9zn6e.jpg

 

IMG_4875_zpsl32amnbm.jpg

 

IMG_8974_zpshf6igyg8.jpg

 

IMG_7010_zpshjxgwsuw.jpg

 

DSC03298_zpsgotldyc5.jpg

 

IMG_7115_zpszlmxozjz.jpg

 

 

 

 

You can read all about it here :

 

 

 

Wow, Thank you so much for posting this!

 

And thank you all for your input! 

 

For those who have sailed in and out of BA and Santiago, how did you find the airports as far as organization, timely immigration procedures, etc. I have read about some pretty chaotic experiences in this airports.

Thank you again.

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