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kcool

ROYAL TO HAL

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Hi everyone. I am thinking of trying Hal after sailing on all the other major lines. specifically the Nieuw Stantandam. what can i expect to be different? Thank You.

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Hubby and I are Diamond Plus on Royal. We are taking our first cruise on HAL since 2001 and back then we did only one HAL cruise. From what I've been reading, entertainment is going to be one big disappointment to anyone used to the entertainment Royal Caribbean offers.

 

See this thread:   Click on No More Production Shows

 

Edited by coffeebean

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Depending on the itinerary and time of year, there are typically WAY fewer kids/families on HAL than Royal.

 

Also, we think HAL's itineraries are better than almost any cruise line … thus, we keep coming back.  🙂  

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If you're into the floating resort-style cruise ship, which is RCCL, and if you enjoy that aspect of cruising, you'll be bored silly aboard any HAL ship.  If you want a traditional cruising experience reminiscent of the Golden Age of cruising (minus ballroom dancing) with excellent service and gracious ambiance, HAL will float your boat every time, IMO.  Only you can decide what is more important to you. 

 

Since you're considering one of HAL's newest Pinnacle Class ships, you may be pleasantly surprised; however, even these new sisters to the fleet don't have climbing walls, water slides, ice rinks, wave runners, Central Park spaces etc.  None of these attractions interest us in the least when we cruise, so we're extremely happy with HAL.  Do your research online or browse through several books which explain each cruise line's pros and cons before you commit.  If you decide to sample HAL, come back and share your impressions.  Best of luck making your decision.

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2 hours ago, kcool said:

Hi everyone. I am thinking of trying Hal after sailing on all the other major lines. specifically the Nieuw Stantandam. what can i expect to be different? Thank You.

 

RCI and HAL are very different cruise lines.  As mentioned, one of the biggest differences you'll notice is the entertainment.  Production shows have gone downhill or are totally non existent.  There might be one passenger participation game show on the cruise.  No live music by the pool, and no nightly theme parties.  There is some good live music, like the BB King band, but those couple live venues are pretty much your only options at night.  

 

On the good side, the service is right on par with RCI....maybe even better in some areas.  Also, I think the MDR food is a slight notch better.  RCI has better buffets though, and better buffet hours.

 

If the cruise goes to Half Moon Cay, you'll find the best beach of all private islands.  It's nice soft white sand as far out into the water as you can walk for the entire length of the beach.  

 

To enjoy HAL, just realize you're going in to a very sleepy atmosphere with an older crowd.  It's a great cruise line for relaxation and getting away.  I think it's a good line for older couples, but a terrible line for extended family or groups of friends.  

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On HAL, you don't need to swipe you room card when getting a pool towel.  Much less announcement on HAL.  Room service included.  Wifi not as fast.  Much less entertainment.  HAL has bathtubs in most oceanview and up cabins.  HAL offers unlimited laundry package - $7 per day per cabin ($9 for European cruises)

 

Btw, we cruised as a family and our last 6 cruises were, in order, Liberty OTS, Eurodam, Anthem OTS, Veendam, Oasis OTS, and Koningsdam.

Edited by Friend100

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We’ve cruised multiple times on RCI (only on explorer class ships) and three times on HAL— Eurodam and Oosterdam— and transitioning between the two lines was easier going to Eurodam first (or in your case, Nieuw Statendam) rather than one of HAL’s smaller ships— just my opinion. We are looking forward to our Nieuw Statendam cruise in November. 

 

Biggest difference in my opinion is the laid back atmosphere of HAL vs RCI. Far fewer daily activities offered by the cruise director staff, for example (in addition to the obvious lack of on board water park/slides/rock climbing, etc). I think service is comparable, but HAL is less obvious and obtrusive. More polished and classy. And  we cruise HAL with our 5 year old, who loves Club HAL and does not need the distraction of water slides, etc. Go and enjoy! 

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I have sailed other cruise lines, but not RCI.  I have had wonderful cruises some better than others.  We just sailed this past March, as a family, 19 of us, on the Koningsdam, ages were 22 - 80+.  Some in the party were first time cruisers, first time HAL cruisers and I can honestly say that everyone had a great time, so much so, that half in the group re-booked for 2021 on the Nieuw Statendam, yes all the younger ones did, they LOVED the Koningsdam.

 

I agree with everyone's opinions of HAL, you will find onboard seasoned travelers, wonderful service and IMHO GREAT food.  HAL is a great traditional cruise line, one that I enjoy and when I am on HAL, I feel like I have come home.

 

Don't sweat the small stuff, go with an open mind, you have chosen a great ship, the newest in HAL's fleet, you will have a great time.

 

Hope you come back and share your experiences with us.

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HAL has better itineraries, service, cabins, movies on demand, live music, and elegance.  The food is FAR superior!  Royal Caribbean has better shows, activities, and tech features.

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We're Diamond on RCI and took our first HAL cruise in 14 years last November (Nieuw Amsterdam) and will repeat that cruise this year.  I can't agree with the posts that say the food is much better on HAL.  The food in the buffet and the MDR is about the same as it is on RCI which, in general, is just OK these days.   The service is the same on both lines.

 

The newer RCI ships are engineering marvels and more "glitzy" than HAL but not glaringly so as you might find on Carnival.  There certainly are more things to do on the larger RCI ships.  We're in our late 60's and have enjoyed the zip line, ice skating, and other features of the Oasis class ships.

 

The entertainment is different.  We actually liked the entertainment in Lincoln Center and BB Kings very much and didn't miss the Royal Caribbean Singers and Dancers in the production shows.  Now, the shows on the Oasis class ships are a different story and nothing on HAL matches that.

 

But, what we liked most about HAL is that good deals are often available.  The price for our Thanksgiving cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam was (and is again this year) significantly less than what we could get on RCI.  We're at a point now where we have no loyalty to any line and will go with the itinerary that we like and the price that we like as all of the mainstream lines (HAL, X, RCI, Princess) are pretty much the same.

 

 

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We've gone on 4 Hal cruises with our kids and my in laws and found that with each cruise there was less and less to do.  We love the shows, but also love game shows, trivia and just need more.  Our last Hal cruise was a Christmas cruise 2017 and several nights at 8:30 at night there was nothing to do but BB Kings, and we had already seen that show. 

 

We prefer more and switched to Royal for Christmas 2018.  We went on Navigator of the seas which we all loved.  There was plenty more to do and even my father in law, who wasn't sure of the bigger ship, loved it.  We all love the amenties of a bigger ship, including the rock climbing wall, flowrider, mini golf and more.  We all loved doing trivia together along with the game shows every night and the production shows as well.  We are going on Royal again for this Christmas on Adventure of the seas.

 

We simply can't imagine going back to Hal again because of the change in entertainment, plus we love the music by the pool and just the vibe of a later night.  

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In my opinion, if you’re coming from RCI, Celebrity is a better choice. HAL is too different.  It can’t be emphasized enough that the activities are almost non existent. Sea days on a HAL ship are downright boring. Even the ship itself has no wow factor. 

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If you have status on RCI it's worth exploring Celebrity as they'll have some status reciprocity. 

 

I've been shopping RCI, Princess, Celebrity, and HAL and for the specific itinerary and dates I'm looking at HAL was much less expensive.  I haven't sailed RCI in a while now ('13), but the feeling we had was that Princess, X, and now HAL all felt a little more refined and just a little more premium than our RCI experience.  My biggest thing about X is that they've started to differentiate their cabin offerings a lot (friends joked that being in an inside cabin felt like being in steerage because of how X had lines for everything set up), and I really want to be in Aqua if I sail X again.  

 

I'd sail any of the 4 lines again if the price is right, but we did HAL for the first time last year and are booked on them for this winter because it was easily the best deal on a balcony cabin between the 4 lines.   Balcony on X was $600pp more than HAL for a essentially identical Western Caribbean itinerary, Princess was $280pp more (but HAL included free gratuities on top of being >25% cheaper than P'cess)

 

No kids, don't care about having access to rock climbing wall and flow rider.  Want good food, clean room, attentive service, decent musical & performing entertainment, and interesting ports to visit. 

 

Hope the above helps 🙂

 

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We are almost 4 star on HAL and almost Diamond on Royal.  We have not done any of the new Oasis class ships.  But since HAL ships are smaller (<3000) then it might be a fair comparison.

 

I echo a lot of what is said here.  I think HAL has better service.  The people are great.  I like the buffet better because they do not let the guests handle the food.  I think the main dining room has similar quality between the lines.  HAL is much less "party" and more "refined sailing".  But the entertainment on HAL is not good.  The newer ships that have BB Kings, Billboard, etc. are nice.  But the main shows are lacking.  

 

So if you want to be entertained then for sure Royal.  If you want a quieter more relaxed cruise than HAL.

 

We use both cruise lines because they are different and we are mainly interested in the itineraries.  We have found that HAL goes to more places than Royal.  And the cruises are longer, which is what we like.  Royal caters to more families and almost all of their cruises are 7 days or less.

 

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Interesting discussion here. We’re a mid-30s couple with no kids and picked HAL for our first cruise for a couple reasons:

- We wanted an Alaska itinerary that included Glacier Bay, so of the mainstream lines, that left HAL, NCL, Princess, and RCCL.

- NCL included Hubbard Glacier but was $400 more per person for a comparable balcony cabin, and the same shore excursions were also 30 to 50% more expensive.

- Princess was cheaper but we decided we’d prefer to end in Seward rather than Whittier.

- The prospect of a traditional, laid back (more adult rather than family oriented) experience was appealing. My mother in law is joining us and felt the same way.

 

I’ll post in June of next year if we made the right choice. 🙂

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We have cruised HAL, Princess, Carnival and Serenade of the Seas. We probably won't sail RCCL for a couple of reasons. The first is their Anytime Dining. The first night we went to Steakhouse. The next night we asked for a sharing table and we seated at a table of 2. My husband's chair was hit multiple times by the waiter.  We were told that because we hadn't been in the MDR the first night, there were no tables for sharing as everyone sat at the same table. We enjoy sitting with different people each night. The second reason was getting on the ship. The web cam to take our picture was on the ship. There were only 2 and it took a long time (a long, long lineup) to get on the ship. The third was the beds were uncomfortable. Generally, we didn't feel as welcome and sometimes like 2nd class citizens.

 

We are in our 60's, like shows and other Main Theatre Entertainment, piano bar, and BB Kings; hate trivia and the smokey casino!

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On 9/16/2019 at 5:02 PM, kcool said:

Hi everyone. I am thinking of trying Hal after sailing on all the other major lines. specifically the Nieuw Stantandam. what can i expect to be different? Thank You.

Hi Kcool,

It's a good thing to specify the ship you are asking about ("RCI vs HAL " wouldn't make much sense).

Based on the list of past cruises you have provided, imagine a mix of Radiance and Splendor both in size, amenities and capacity.

Imagine a slightly smaller (vs Splendor) cabins with light finish, and way more spacious shower stall in the bathroom.

Public rooms decor is more subdued, much classier, in tones that remind of traditional polished veneer of the past.

You'll see a forward observation lounge (think of the Viking Crown Lounge relocated forward).

The ship features a stylish two-deck high ball room, also a home of proper afternoon tea ceremony (much better vs Splendor), and the ship's second stage. It serves the same purpose as El Morocco lounge on the Splendor, but the whole experience is much classier.

The Atrium is much smaller on the Nieuw Satendam. It's rather a "grand lobby" concept than an open "piazza" (Radiance).

The theater has an unusual setup. It's a round show room with the stage moved towards the center of the space, with large LED screens in the background. 

Expect at least one show in the main theater to feature live orchestra.

The food quality both in the restaurants (MDR and a few specialty) and the buffet surpasses Radiance/Splendor with a good margin.

The spa features are comparable to the Splendor, including a hydropool (sadly not the best one).

Outdoors, you will miss a proper promenade deck with open views.

You'll miss glass elevators and openness to the sea (Radiance).

The central pool area is structurally similar to the Splendor, but smaller, less elegant and more hectic, with various kinds of junk food available pool side.

The aft pool is similar to Splendor. Same related to the sports court.

No water slides.

The ship is fully egalitarian, same as Radiance/Splendor, with no hint of class segregation.

The forward upper deck is similar to the Serenity deck on the Splendor.

A feature you won't find on Radiance/Splendor is a separate retreat cabanas area (can be reserved for extra $) that is located where the water slide is on the Splendor.

As you can see from this brief comparison, the Nieuw Statendam is a kind of mass market (or "carnivalized", or "solsticized") version of the HAL top product, that is still showing touches of high class at sea.

Happy cruising!

 

 

 

 

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On 9/16/2019 at 4:33 PM, Friend100 said:

 HAL has bathtubs in most oceanview and up cabins.  

No bathtubs on the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam..... Showers only

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23 minutes ago, Tennessee Titan said:

No bathtubs on the Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam..... Showers only

 I said "most".  In fact, the oceanview cabin I stayed on the Koningsdam last month has both a bathtub and a shower.

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21 hours ago, ronbe65 said:

Hi Kcool,

It's a good thing to specify the ship you are asking about ("RCI vs HAL " wouldn't make much sense).

Based on the list of past cruises you have provided, imagine a mix of Radiance and Splendor both in size, amenities and capacity.

Imagine a slightly smaller (vs Splendor) cabins with light finish, and way more spacious shower stall in the bathroom.

Public rooms decor is more subdued, much classier, in tones that remind of traditional polished veneer of the past.

You'll see a forward observation lounge (think of the Viking Crown Lounge relocated forward).

The ship features a stylish two-deck high ball room, also a home of proper afternoon tea ceremony (much better vs Splendor), and the ship's second stage. It serves the same purpose as El Morocco lounge on the Splendor, but the whole experience is much classier.

The Atrium is much smaller on the Nieuw Satendam. It's rather a "grand lobby" concept than an open "piazza" (Radiance).

The theater has an unusual setup. It's a round show room with the stage moved towards the center of the space, with large LED screens in the background. 

Expect at least one show in the main theater to feature live orchestra.

The food quality both in the restaurants (MDR and a few specialty) and the buffet surpasses Radiance/Splendor with a good margin.

The spa features are comparable to the Splendor, including a hydropool (sadly not the best one).

Outdoors, you will miss a proper promenade deck with open views.

You'll miss glass elevators and openness to the sea (Radiance).

The central pool area is structurally similar to the Splendor, but smaller, less elegant and more hectic, with various kinds of junk food available pool side.

The aft pool is similar to Splendor. Same related to the sports court.

No water slides.

The ship is fully egalitarian, same as Radiance/Splendor, with no hint of class segregation.

The forward upper deck is similar to the Serenity deck on the Splendor.

A feature you won't find on Radiance/Splendor is a separate retreat cabanas area (can be reserved for extra $) that is located where the water slide is on the Splendor.

As you can see from this brief comparison, the Nieuw Statendam is a kind of mass market (or "carnivalized", or "solsticized") version of the HAL top product, that is still showing touches of high class at sea.

Happy cruising!

 

 

 

 

Thank you for the detailed information. I am leaning towards trying  HAL and the Nieuw Statendam.

Edited by kcool

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