Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
ProfCruise

What do you LOVE most about HAL

Recommended Posts

We love virtually everything about HAL but the one thing we most love and treasure about our HAL cruises is having daily Mass on ship every day on every cruise.  Only HAL has a Roman Catholic priest onboard every one of its cruises, which allows us to attend daily Mass and recharge our spiritual batteries while enjoying a fantastic cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t been on HAL yet.  But I can tell you right now I’m gonna love breakfast in the main dining room.  I really like the choices.  Texas French toast, English breakfast, eggs Benedict.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/5/2019 at 12:12 AM, 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.

Crunchii, you expressed much of what I love about Holland America really well.

 

I dare say such opinions are more common than one might think, too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2019 at 12:29 PM, kazu said:

 

I don't care for ATK but different strokes for different folks and if I don't like it, no one is making me go 😉 

 

 

 

I was on my 1st HAL cruise aboard N. Statendam in May and ATK was one of the highlights during the day at sea. I appreciate the presenter's seriousness toward cooking as well as the diversity of cooking topics covered. On other cruise lines, I am annoyed how these "cooking lectures" turn into chefs (and the Maitre-D) thinking they are comedians and goof off while "cooking".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/3/2019 at 2:41 PM, ProfCruise said:

What do you LOVE most about HAL

Most comfortable and spacious cruise ships at sea.

Best 7-day itinerary in the Caribbean.

Bets 7-day cruises in the Caribbean.

Best value for money in the Caribbean.

Best value for money for families in the Caribbean.

Happy cruising!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many people here know my cruise line of choice is Crystal, so how should I respond to a question about why I love HAL.  I sail several cruise lines more or less regularly and each of the ones I favor have something I like find better than Crystal.  Unfortunately, some of those HAL exclusives have gone by the wayside recently.  A couple of the things I loved about HAL that are no longer there were:

1: The EXC guide position is something I have seen nowhere else, not even with close relative Seabourn.  Nobody else had somebody so devoted to practical and generally unbiased information and background material on the ports, even being stationed at the gangway at ports for last minute questions.  While I understand others may be taking on some of their functions they will be missed.

2. Not really a HAL exclusive but never seen on Crystal are the chilled soups and they also seem to be on the wane with several other cruise lines.  I really miss those.

 

I choose not to dwell on the past but look to the future.  HAL has a couple of advantages that while not individually exclusive make a very nice package in total:

 

1. Prices that are pretty attractive.

2. Classic ships

3. Civilized atmosphere

4. Choice of fixed or flexible dining

5. Varied and attractive itineraries

 

HAL's range of itineraries are not quite unique but there are very few cruise lines that can touch it in that department.  The one thing really exclusive about HAL is On Deck For a Cause with every cruise, and a promenade deck that can support it on every ship, even the ones where many people decry the changes in that department.  I've had great On Deck For A cause experiences on every HAL ship I've sailed including the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam.

 

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Same as the rest -- the charm of classic cruising, fantastic service and staff, comfy beds, MDR and Pinnacle, daily Catholic mass, and exciting destinations and itineraries. My husband loves the music options (and so do I.) 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1.  I like the smaller ships - I'm not sure I would want to be on a ship with 5000+ people.  (although I will admit I'm going to try a larger ship with 3690 in February but I'm cruising with a group)

2.  I like that you can sit in a common area (Lido pool or aft) and have a conversation with your cruise mates without having to holler above the loud music, Zumba class, dance contest, etc

3.  Crew is top notch.

4.  I don't feel the "rush, rush, rush" like I have on some other cruise lines.  I feel more relaxed.

5.  Prices are reasonable for the type of cruising I like.   I'm not paying more because the ship offers the rock walls, go karts, ice rinks, massive water slides, bumper cars and other things that would never use at my age.  

6.  Fellow passengers seem quite friendly.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
23 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

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.

 

23 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

I am not sure you understood my previous post.  I was applauding this topic, and apologizing for mine.  How was I disrupting the discussion between critics by being baffled by them?  I was actually trying to understand the criticisms, so I apologize again.  Am I misunderstanding you?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, rafinmd said:

Many people here know my cruise line of choice is Crystal, so how should I respond to a question about why I love HAL.  I sail several cruise lines more or less regularly and each of the ones I favor have something I like find better than Crystal.  Unfortunately, some of those HAL exclusives have gone by the wayside recently.  A couple of the things I loved about HAL that are no longer there were:

1: The EXC guide position is something I have seen nowhere else, not even with close relative Seabourn.  Nobody else had somebody so devoted to practical and generally unbiased information and background material on the ports, even being stationed at the gangway at ports for last minute questions.  While I understand others may be taking on some of their functions they will be missed.

2. Not really a HAL exclusive but never seen on Crystal are the chilled soups and they also seem to be on the wane with several other cruise lines.  I really miss those.

 

I choose not to dwell on the past but look to the future.  HAL has a couple of advantages that while not individually exclusive make a very nice package in total:

 

1. Prices that are pretty attractive.

2. Classic ships

3. Civilized atmosphere

4. Choice of fixed or flexible dining

5. Varied and attractive itineraries

 

HAL's range of itineraries are not quite unique but there are very few cruise lines that can touch it in that department.  The one thing really exclusive about HAL is On Deck For a Cause with every cruise, and a promenade deck that can support it on every ship, even the ones where many people decry the changes in that department.  I've had great On Deck For A cause experiences on every HAL ship I've sailed including the Koningsdam and the Nieuw Statendam.

 

Roy

Roy your the best!!!! Love having my coffee and reading all of your adventures! 

ESPECIALLY YOUR SUNRISE AND SUNSET PICTURES! I treasure those moments.

Take care my friend. You have taken me to soooo many exotic places and have given my husband and I the courage to expand and use more than one cruise line to have wonderful adventures! Ours start I March with Rotterdam and we use Oceania  on 2 more cruises in Europe in April!

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

They finally upgraded the internet service to the cabins on the older ships. We just boarded the Maasdam, one of the oldest in the fleet, and have excellent reception in our veranda cabin in the aft area!! Prior to this when we sailed on the Ryndam, Maasdam, Amsterdam, Zuiderdam, Veendam and Zaandam, we have always had to go to either the Crows Nest or Explorers Lounge to check email and other internet-based stuff. Thanks HAL!!

Edited by Ken the cruiser

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Dunelm said:

 

 

 

Hmmmm.

 

I'm sure that I didn't say what was in the second quote?

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, HappyInVan said:

 

Hmmmm.

 

I'm sure that I didn't say what was in the second quote?

 

 

Actually, I said the second quote.  Oh, dear.  So sorry.  I have no idea what happened.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for starting such a positive thread. 

I love many things about HAL, almost all of them have been mentioned. One thing that comes to mind that I don't think has been discussed --- the towel animals! They just make me smile! My husband and I try to preserve them and make a little zoo, until at some point they fall apart or our cabin steward decides it's time for them to be removed. The little things can make a pleasant difference.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/7/2019 at 10:08 PM, Canadaclyde said:

Thanks for starting such a positive thread. 

I love many things about HAL, almost all of them have been mentioned. One thing that comes to mind that I don't think has been discussed --- the towel animals! They just make me smile! My husband and I try to preserve them and make a little zoo, until at some point they fall apart or our cabin steward decides it's time for them to be removed. The little things can make a pleasant difference.

 

 

I love the towel animals too.  You're right, the extra little things really make it a unique and fun experience. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, ProfCruise said:

 

I love the towel animals too.  You're right, the extra little things really make it a unique and fun experience. 

Many cruise lines do towel animals.  What I've found unique about HAL lately is that on my last 2 HAL cruises (Prinsendam and Nieuw Statendam) one morning the pool deck was FILLED with a veritable zoo of towel animals running from the same ones we get in our rooms to some giant ones like a full sized horse.  What an amazing sight.

 

menagerie.jpg

Roy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, rafinmd said:

Many cruise lines do towel animals.  What I've found unique about HAL lately is that on my last 2 HAL cruises (Prinsendam and Nieuw Statendam) one morning the pool deck was FILLED with a veritable zoo of towel animals running from the same ones we get in our rooms to some giant ones like a full sized horse.  What an amazing sight.

 

menagerie.jpg

Roy

I remember these photos from your thread Roy!! I really liked this thread on the Prinsendam you did.

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I love most about HAL is the reliable service and friendly crew.  I appreciate their eagerness to please that doesn’t slosh over into the obsequious. 

Like many others, I prefer the smaller ship size and the classy, mellow atmosphere.  My party boat days aren’t exactly over - they never ever were.  I go on cruises to relax. We were on the Zaandam for 21 days (SoAmerica/Antarctica) and it felt as comfortable as home to me. It was hard to leave.

The port talks are usually interesting (depends on the EXC staff) and I’ve seen things as a result that I might have otherwise missed altogether.  This was especially true our our recent spring cruise in Japan.  The timing couldn’t have been better nor the Sakura more stunning.

HAL’s food is consistently good - often excellent - and (perhaps best of all) I don’t have to plan, prepare or clean up after. Those first few days back home are HARD, I tell ya! I realize that all lines provide food, but in my experience HAL offers better. I especially enjoy the extra touches, like the frozen orange sherbet cups served on the hot and sunny deck as we went through the Panama Canal and the welcome cup of hot chocolate that greeted us portside on a cold, rainy Christmas Eve in Puerto Chacabuco as we waited for the tender back to the ship.  I haven’t experienced that level of personal touch except on the much smaller river cruises in Asia. 

 

I imagine that for (considerably) more $$$, there is better to be found, but I’m happy right here...

 

 

26D39E30-E7B2-4B01-94D7-BF369A1F16A5.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So many have expressed my feelings.  HAL has reliable service and friendly crew!   The cabin crews, bartenders, wait staff, laid back atmosphere.  After a day they all know your name.   Room service breakfast.. with eggs.   Love the room service!!    The in room movies, the spotless ship,  lectures in your room, the art on the ship,  the promenade walking deck.  The crew makes the cruise so special.  The Dutch traditions that prevail.  

  My favorite thing..  the Split Pea Soup..   if you love it like I do..  you can ask the crew to save you a bowl for "tomorrow"  which tastes better.   Served with a smile..  and a wink..  they will do that!!  Guess who asked?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A: Cruise Insurance with Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...