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ProfCruise

What do you LOVE most about HAL

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Great blog post, ProfCruise! With all the negativity lately, it's great to see some reasons to love Holland America. I agree with most of your favorites, especially the wonderful crew! I hope HAL management takes note and works to maintain the unique character of the HAL experience.

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I loved the way it was with Kirk, before Orlando, Stein, Arnold and Oprah...

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Smaller, mid size ships.  Itineraries. Moderate pricing.   I have sailed 5 or 6 other lines and they all have their pluses but I keep coming back to HAL. I see great itineraries on other lines but with 3400 people onboard .   I see great itineraries with small ships but with a gigantic price tag .    HAL has shortcomings but when I weigh all the variables I pick HAL.    

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I agree with all that has been said!  I took my daughter in law and 10 1/2 year old grand daughter on their first cruise, the Oosterdam to Alaska in July.  As we were waiting to disembark I asked grand daughter what she liked best about the cruise.  She threw up her hands and said EVERYTHING!  She kept a journal on the ship and loved all our excursions.  We had her take a look at Club HAL, but she wisely decided to stay with us and got to experience much more.  She was all smiles from beginning to end.

DH and I enjoy HAL and have a total of 70 days (3 cruises) booked for this year and next.

Karen

 

 

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I love the ease of embarkation. I sailed on Royal Caribbean recently and it was a zoo on embarkation day. Maybe some of that was needing to get visas for Cuba, but never again.

 

I love the crew. They are hard working polite, and caring.

 

I love the new Lincoln Center Stage where we were able to listen to classical music every night. I wish it was a bit bigger because so many people wind up standing.

 

I love the calm and peaceful atmosphere.

 

I love the feeling of being home. No matter which ship I'm on, I pretty much know where everything is.

 

 I loved being able to access the internet via my phone from anywhere on the ship instead of having to go to a designated area like the Crow's Nest. Although my recent Zuiderdam cruise only had three public computers, there was never a line waiting to use them when I passed by. I think most people have a cell phone these days.

 

I love being waited on my the crew. it's a real vacation not to have to cook, clean, do the dishes and shop. Pure relaxation.

 

I love my grandkids dearly, but I love that HAL is not inundated by tons of children on most of the itineraries I've been on. Again, it's the calm atmosphere I like.

 

I also like many of the people I have met. Most are seasoned travelers from all over and I love to hear their stories of where they've traveled and the cruises they've taken.

 

I also love the people I've met via this board. Though many of us haven't met in person, it feels like a family.I knew who will always give advice I can count on, who has the correct info, who will use humor and who will use great sarcasm. 

 

 

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All of this has us looking forward even more to our first HAL cruise in several weeks.

 

What time are the Lincoln Center performances?  Is there just one per evening?

I'm interested in how the timing would work with dinner.

 

(I'd need to have a seat,for medical reasons, so we'd want to be able to arrive "early".)

 

Is it always classical music? 

 

Many thanks.

 

GC

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There are specific things I love about every cruise line I've sailed.  Regarding HAL, I think what I love the most is the ability to relax in an atmosphere that is not focused on activities.  I do complaint about HAL's lack of entertainment and activities, yet I always return from HAL cruises totally refreshed.  

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7 hours ago, mamaofami said:

I love the ease of embarkation. I sailed on Royal Caribbean recently and it was a zoo on embarkation day. Maybe some of that was needing to get visas for Cuba, but never again.

 

I love the crew. They are hard working polite, and caring.

 

I love the new Lincoln Center Stage where we were able to listen to classical music every night. I wish it was a bit bigger because so many people wind up standing.

 

I love the calm and peaceful atmosphere.

 

I love the feeling of being home. No matter which ship I'm on, I pretty much know where everything is.

 

 I loved being able to access the internet via my phone from anywhere on the ship instead of having to go to a designated area like the Crow's Nest. Although my recent Zuiderdam cruise only had three public computers, there was never a line waiting to use them when I passed by. I think most people have a cell phone these days.

 

I love being waited on my the crew. it's a real vacation not to have to cook, clean, do the dishes and shop. Pure relaxation.

 

I love my grandkids dearly, but I love that HAL is not inundated by tons of children on most of the itineraries I've been on. Again, it's the calm atmosphere I like.

 

I also like many of the people I have met. Most are seasoned travelers from all over and I love to hear their stories of where they've traveled and the cruises they've taken.

 

I also love the people I've met via this board. Though many of us haven't met in person, it feels like a family.I knew who will always give advice I can count on, who has the correct info, who will use humor and who will use great sarcasm. 

 

 

 Could not agree more  .you hit on all the keys  that makes HAL our preferred cruise line as well 😄

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  1. The low percentage of actual children and drunken man-babies. They're both too loud and messy for my taste. You couldn't pay me to sail on Disney or Carnival. 
  2. All the odd touches of art around the ship. I spend at least an entire afternoon walking every floor and enjoying them, as well as any time I ever have to wait anywhere.
  3. The limited entertainment. We live in Nashville, TN. What counts at professional live entertainment most places is barely a 7pm Tuesday night act at one of a hundred+ daily live show venues here. We're spoiled and home and would likely be unimpressed by almost anything on offer. We go to sea to get away from having things to do. Plus port days are exhausting for me and so I love to take it easy in the evenings and on the sea days. I would happily take a 100% sea-day cruise (we came close when the terrible whether in Hawaii resulted in only 4 port days on our February 17-day voyage). 
  4. The spa's thermal suite. I hate to even mention it here for fear too many others will catch on to my favorite little haven. 
  5. The fruit crisps after dinner. The muesli and Benedicts at breakfast. I like most of the food, but those are the ones I miss long after I'm home.
  6. The casual lending library in the crow's nest where we can drop off the books we brought along to read after we're done so they can go live a new life with someone else. While I do miss the old "real" libraries, we have far too many unread books at home that cruises give us an excuse to work on.
  7. Public toilets with proper full walls/doors (not the usual US open stalls). Sinks with cloth towels and moisturizer. I wash my hands a lot on board and the latter two are most appreciated to help keep my skin and nails from drying out and cracking. I especially like the restrooms with the separate "powder room" area to fix your hair or makeup, especially those with a seat for unsteady seas or unsteady legs. 
  8. The captain's updates. Especially the random nautical tidbits portion. I find noontime announcements incredibly soothing for some reason and miss them when I'm in port and when I get home.
  9. When available, the cultural programming. We had amazing Hawaiian ambassadors and I loved the nature talks as we cruised Alaska. 
  10. The peace I feel standing on my verandah and enjoying the sea breeze with no land in sight. Even better wrapped in a robe with the second of my happy hour cocktails in hand munching on some snack I squirreled away from the lido at lunch. 

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Classic decor with modern colors, excellent food and bedding, loyalty points for spend, friendly crew, itinerary options, fairly priced.

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9 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

All of this has us looking forward even more to our first HAL cruise in several weeks.

 

What time are the Lincoln Center performances?  Is there just one per evening?

I'm interested in how the timing would work with dinner.

 

(I'd need to have a seat,for medical reasons, so we'd want to be able to arrive "early".)

 

Is it always classical music? 

 

Many thanks.

 

GC

Remembering our cruise on Zuiderdam  a couple years back, LST performed three shows a day with some matinees.  We always had to arrive early to secure a seat. These guys were great.  I remember one night a violin player was sick, so the piano player went solo with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition arranged for piano.  It was one of those performances you never forget. Not always but mostly classical compositions...thats what they loved to play and it showed in their execution.  Enjoy HAL, I always have.   Stephen 

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11 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

All of this has us looking forward even more to our first HAL cruise in several weeks.

 

What time are the Lincoln Center performances?  Is there just one per evening?

I'm interested in how the timing would work with dinner.

 

(I'd need to have a seat,for medical reasons, so we'd want to be able to arrive "early".)

 

Is it always classical music? 

 

Many thanks.

 

GC

 

2 hours ago, kucherov said:

Remembering our cruise on Zuiderdam  a couple years back, LST performed three shows a day with some matinees.  We always had to arrive early to secure a seat. These guys were great.  I remember one night a violin player was sick, so the piano player went solo with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition arranged for piano.  It was one of those performances you never forget. Not always but mostly classical compositions...thats what they loved to play and it showed in their execution.  Enjoy HAL, I always have.   Stephen 

 

Timing depends on the ship. I was very disappointed on the K when I discovered that the Lincoln Center sets were all early. So if you have early dining, it conflicts with dinnner. This is because LC shares space with BBKing on that ship. Where LC has its own space, the sets are spread out more and, although you do need to get there early to get a seat, you won't be completely shut out by any dining time. As kucherov said, mostly classical. But the set of movie themes is not to be missed. 

 

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On my recent Zuiderdam cruise, Lincoln Center played at 7, 8 and sometimes 9. Since we had early dining, we were always able to get a seat for the 7pm performance. Sometimes the 9pm was a repeat of the 7pm.

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1 minute ago, mamaofami said:

On my recent Zuiderdam cruise, Lincoln Center played at 7, 8 and sometimes 9. Since we had early dining, we were always able to get a seat for the 7pm performance. Sometimes the 9pm was a repeat of the 7pm.

 

I am so glad to see this! I'm on Zuidy this winter and really looking forward to Lincoln Center.

 

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The music venues, especially Lincoln Center. Much better than bland production shows.

 

Tamarind--it's so nice to find a cruise line who understands there's more to fine cuisine than steak, seafood, and Italian.

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2 hours ago, DougK said:

The music venues, especially Lincoln Center. Much better than bland production shows.

 

Tamarind--it's so nice to find a cruise line who understands there's more to fine cuisine than steak, seafood, and Italian.

 

I agree with you on Tamarind - it's one of the best specialty restaurants on any line, IMO. 

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Posted (edited)

#21 - Prof. Cruise's reviews about HAL :classic_biggrin:

 

Seriously, HAL earns a lot of detailed reviews on this board (positive and negative ones). Love CrewNews'  menus and materials from his HAL cruises, for example.

 

I've always enjoyed reading your reviews, esp. the Golden Princess one before I went on my cruise. Hope you sail on HAL in the future more!

Edited by vicd1969

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1 hour ago, vicd1969 said:

#21 - Prof. Cruise's reviews about HAL :classic_biggrin:

 

Seriously, HAL earns a lot of detailed reviews on this board (positive and negative ones). Love CrewNews'  menus and materials from his HAL cruises, for example.

 

I've always enjoyed reading your reviews, esp. the Golden Princess one before I went on my cruise. Hope you sail on HAL in the future more!

 

LOL.  Thank you so much for your kind words, vicd1969.  Thanks for the tip about CrewNews, I'm going to check out his stuff!  I like reading cruise reviews even more than I like writing them!  And I definitely plan on many future cruises on HAL.  So far, one to Alaska planned for next summer. 

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We're in our 50's, but we prefer peace and quiet and go to our room at 9 pm to relax, so HAL is a perfect fit for us. We've only been on 2 HAL cruises since 2018, so we don't know what it used to be like. Maybe that's why, but we're VERY happy with HAL so far and have two more cruises booked (and one unused FCD).

 

What we love about HAL:
- Smaller ships with fewer passengers.
- Not too many children.
- Older and mellower fellow passengers. (Yes, it's POSITIVE for us.)
- Quiet, relaxed, and elegant atmosphere without any pool parties, silly game shows, vulgar comedians, loud and obnoxious music in public areas, etc.
- Affordable (meaning, not owner's suite-level price) aft-corner suites.
- Lincoln Center Stage. 

 

Lack of entertainment doesn't bother us, since we cruise to see and feel the ocean, so we'll happily spend hours on our aft-wrap balcony watching the wake, instead of sitting in dark, window-less main theater.

 

We'll probably start looking for other lines when they start playing hip hop and rap to attract the generations younger than us, but for now, we're happy with HAL and don't feel any need to try other lines.

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First, thanks for your positive topic.  I am sorry that I opened up a hornet's nest with mine that was questioning why some people seem to love hating HAL.

 

I love being on the sea, and being surrounded by smiling, polite crew.  I love that I am never bored.  I can always read a good book, find an activity I enjoy, and ignore the rest. There is always an item on the menus that I enjoy.  Each day with Hal is a gift that is relished by one living with cancer.  Life is good, especially on a ship!!

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14 hours ago, crunchii said:

We're in our 50's, but we prefer peace and quiet and go to our room at 9 pm to relax, so HAL is a perfect fit for us. We've only been on 2 HAL cruises since 2018, so we don't know what it used to be like. Maybe that's why, but we're VERY happy with HAL so far and have two more cruises booked (and one unused FCD).

 

What we love about HAL:
- Smaller ships with fewer passengers.
- Not too many children.
- Older and mellower fellow passengers. (Yes, it's POSITIVE for us.)
- Quiet, relaxed, and elegant atmosphere without any pool parties, silly game shows, vulgar comedians, loud and obnoxious music in public areas, etc.
- Affordable (meaning, not owner's suite-level price) aft-corner suites.
- Lincoln Center Stage. 

 

Lack of entertainment doesn't bother us, since we cruise to see and feel the ocean, so we'll happily spend hours on our aft-wrap balcony watching the wake, instead of sitting in dark, window-less main theater.

 

We'll probably start looking for other lines when they start playing hip hop and rap to attract the generations younger than us, but for now, we're happy with HAL and don't feel any need to try other lines.

Yes, yes YES......    Add to that interesting UNUSUAL itineraries, and you have our "fall back" cruise line.   While 3 of our last 4 cruises have been on other lines, almost all of the itineraries we are looking at (after this one on NCL) are HAL....  Not saying that they will be ON HAL, but if everything is equal...............

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Being a 4 star mariner, my favorite things are the balcony cabins with a sofa since I have a bad back. Also, this summer we to a competitors ship and the forward area like the Crows Nest was not open during the day. The Crows Nest is my favorite place to read and watch the water. I’m sticking to Hal!

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5 hours ago, Dunelm said:

First, thanks for your positive topic.  I am sorry that I opened up a hornet's nest with mine that was questioning why some people seem to love hating HAL.

 

 

 

Actually, this positive thread is the right thing to do. No need to disrespect the critics who are/were paying customers.
 

Or, try to disrupt the discussion between the critics.

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