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loyal celebrity cruiser thinking holland america

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I would love to hear opinions from Holland America cruisers

 

we are average age of 70 but act more like 50   we love to dance to good music like pop and r&b   

we like good shows

we like good ports - which this cruise has -  have been thru the canal and would look forward to doing it again

how is the food compared to celebrity

 

any advice is definitely appreciated.

 

thank you  carol 

 

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13 minutes ago, cruisehome said:

I would love to hear opinions from Holland America cruisers

 

we are average age of 70 but act more like 50   we love to dance to good music like pop and r&b   

we like good shows

we like good ports - which this cruise has -  have been thru the canal and would look forward to doing it again

how is the food compared to celebrity

 

any advice is definitely appreciated.

 

thank you  carol 

 

I've cruised both lines and prefer HAL.  I dislike Celebrity's treatment of passengers who don't book suites.  I feel as though I'm a "second-class" traveler when I sail with them.  I don't get the same vibe from HAL.  I like the more traditional feel of HAL's ships, although if you've sailed on Celebrity's newer ships, you might want to start on HAL with the two new Pinnacle Class vessels, Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam.  My only complaint about these two ships is the narrow Promenade Deck, although passengers can walk 360 degrees around the ship.  

 

Recently, HAL seems to be cutting their entertainment budget, so don't board the ship thinking you're going to see great shows.  You won't.  Music Walk is a great addition with BB Kings Blues Club, Lincoln Center (classical music), Billboard Onboard (two pianos playing contemporary tunes) and Rolling Stones Rock Room (available only on the two Pinnacle Class ships).  The shows in these lounges are paced so you can move from one venue to the next.  Multiple shows per night with chances to dance.

 

Food is subjective, so I hesitate to compare; however, the only dish I feel Celebrity did better was  corned beef hash which isn't that good on HAL for some reason.  At least, I don't care for it, but on Celebrity it was wonderful.  At the Lido Marketplace (the buffet), HAL staff serves you; this prevents the spread of Noro virus.  It does build the lines, though, during peak times.  You'll find a lot less lamb dishes, which were featured each night on Celebrity the last time we cruised with them.

 

No one can say whether you'll find HAL a good fit or not.  Try it and see if it meets expectations.  You could also visit a local bookstore and browse through a book that reviews the various cruise lines to compare Celebrity and HAL.  Good luck, Carol, trying to decide whether to try HAL or not.  If you do, write a review and let us know your impressions.

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We're in our early 40's, and prefer HAL since the recent cuts to X's food, maintenance, and our subjective opinion of a foolhardy direction.   Still generally prefer X's ship layout and design, but HAL's mid-century modern is pleasing as well.  The promos were better on X, but based on current prices, there's no more free lunch.

 

BB King Blues club is the best for dancing, mostly pop and Motown hits from the 60's and 70's.  The theater shows are not much of a strength, but I don't think X is either.  The food, cabins, and itineraries are hands down superior on HAL.  Expanded breakfast menu, servers hand out the food in the buffet, that is hot and fresh, MDR equivalent to Blu.

 

Edited by Stateroom_Sailor

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We have never experienced much difference between HAL, Celebrity, and Princess for that matter.  Yes there are some differences but we have never experience any differences in service levels or staff friendliness between the lines that some people wax poetic about.  Perhaps we were simply on the wrong ships.

 

Having said that we are big proponents of trying other cruise lines and other ships.  Competition is changing mass market cruising.  The cruise line of seven or ten years ago is not the cruise line of today.....any of them.  As you can probably discern we are not so called ‘loyal’ to any brand-cruising or otherwise.

 

Go for it and book a HAL cruise.  But choose your ship carefully to match your travel preferences.  Would we book a cruise line because of free 24 hour room service, a library, etc.  No, not on our radar.

Edited by iancal

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Agree with what has been said above.

 

HAL's corned beef hash is a cheap canned brand.  DH loves a good corned beef hash and HAL no longer serves it.  Entertainment has gone downhill the last few years.

 

Only you can decide if you will like HAL.

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We're Elite on X and are taking our third HAL cruise next month earning just our second star.  We're really like Aqua Class on X but the cost is not always in range for us.  But, even not considering Aqua Class, it is the cost that has us considering HAL more now.  The food in the MDR and the buffet are pretty much the same on both lines.  I can't agree with what was said above that the MDR on HAL is equal to Blu.

 

We actually enjoy the entertainment on HAL a bit more than X as we really like Lincoln Center, BB King's etc. 

 

If the prices were closer to be being equal, we'd probably chose X though.  But, as of now, that is not the case. We're at the point now where we have little loyalty to any line and will book whoever gives us the most value for our buck with the possible exception of Carnival.

Edited by ricka47

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We are a bit younger than you (late 40's) and enjoy both Celebrity (Elite) and HAL (two star). Our last cruise was on the Nieuw Statendam and we really liked it. The ship itself reminds us of the S-class ships (open, airy, nooks and crannies to explore) with a bit more refined / laid back feel. The shows on both X and HAL are (IMHO) pretty poor. The comedy can be fun, but the actual stage productions are weak. We ate in the MDR on HAL and thought the food was substantially (I know, opinion) better than X's MDR. Rooms (balcony) were relatively similar (although the HAL shower is much better). The biggest difference for us on HAL was the music ... Wow! The Lincoln Center Stage and BB King Blues performances were super. We went multiple times each night. Really, really enjoyed it.

Having said all that, the lines are similar in many ways and (if you go with a good attitude) you'll enjoy both of them.

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We've reached the third-tier of Celebrity's loyalty program and 4-star with HAL.  We prefer HAL in all categories, with one exception -- that we think the food in the Lido buffet is better on Celebrity, BUT we prefer the table arrangement and outdoor seating on HAL's Lido, and that is much more important to us than the food.  

That's just our take on the two lines.

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Good observations above. We feel the 2 lines are almost interchangeable and determining factors are destinations and costs.  Being Elite Plus with Celebrity gives us many perks that HAL doesn't We are 3 star with HAL. Need 1 more cruise to reach 4 star and free laundry. 🙂 All things being equal we would chose Celebrity for the perks. We like the entertainment better on Celebrity but not by much. Food and service are great on both. Celebrity is better for non smokers as HAL allows smoking in the casino on Their new ships. Smoke permeates the ship as one has to walk through the casino to get to dinner etc. 

You will not regret sailing on either line.

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11 hours ago, cruisehome said:

I would love to hear opinions from Holland America cruisers

 

we are average age of 70 but act more like 50   we love to dance to good music like pop and r&b   

we like good shows

we like good ports - which this cruise has -  have been thru the canal and would look forward to doing it again

how is the food compared to celebrity

 

any advice is definitely appreciated.

 

thank you  carol 

 

 

As long as you choose one of the newer, larger HAL ships with all of the new entertainment venues, you will probably find HAL has what you are interested in and like. Try not to compare every little point between the two lines -- there will always be some differences -- some better, some worse. You will likely find HAL a bit quieter at night than Celebrity.

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We are Elite + with Celebrity , We now sail on HAL ships for many reasons . We do find HALs itineraries the best of all main cruise lines .We also find their food  & service better  .Strikingly ,we get much better pricing for our HSL cruises than any other cruise line  

 We love the entertainment on their newest ships koningsdam & Nieuw Statendam . Both are sister ships & a third one of it's class in on the way 

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I'm going to have to offer a dissenting opinion from the rest.  To be honest, I don't think HAL measures up to Celebrity.  Too much entertainment and activities have been cut.  You said you like good shows? Celebrity blows HAL away in the main theater, with evening theme parties, and interactive game shows.  Celebrity's specialty restaurants are much better.

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I haven't been on Celebrity for several years, because their itineraries are identical to several other cruise lines, and they charge more.  Since we are suite passengers and don't go to the shows anymore, we look for itinerary, price, service, and food quality.

 

I always shop HAL when I'm looking for a new cruise.  RCCL is always my first stop, but as I've said in more than one thread, we are straying because RCCL doesn't offer us the variety we would like in the itinerary (usually:  we had a blowout amazing 50th anniversary string of RCCL cruises last March and April).

 

We are looking more at West Coast departures now with HAL and Princess as our choices.  I just switched a HAL cruise from next September 2020 to this November.  HAL has a 24 night from the West Coast that was CHEAPER than the 12 night next September.

 

I love the buffet on HAL.  They have an appetizer and dessert bar that is usually great.  We both love the staff-served individual portions, instead of everyone-dig-in-to-the-same-bowl.  I had the best night of unlimited lobster in that buffet on our last HAL cruise when we stopped in Honolulu.  

 

HAL cruises are much quieter and relaxing, too.

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We like Hal...but we would be very selective in what ships we chose to cruise on.  Not at all interested in their older ships.

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16 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

I've cruised both lines and prefer HAL.  I dislike Celebrity's treatment of passengers who don't book suites.  I feel as though I'm a "second-class" traveler when I sail with them. 

Isnt that interesting you should feel like that, we have had just the opposite expierence! It seems we can book an inside cabin on deck 3 on Celebrity and since we are elite we are treated like vip's once on board. Celebrity always makes us feel extra special.

Hal also treats us well, I just wish HAL had a 1 hour cocktail lounge for  4 and 5 star mariners like celebrity..

Both lines still on occasion make us feel special, but not as frequently as they once did.

 

Joseph

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5 hours ago, mcrcruiser said:

We are Elite + with Celebrity , We now sail on HAL ships for many reasons . We do find HALs itineraries the best of all main cruise lines .We also find their food  & service better  .Strikingly ,we get much better pricing for our HSL cruises than any other cruise line  

 We love the entertainment on their newest ships koningsdam & Nieuw Statendam . Both are sister ships & a third one of it's class in on the way 

This is us too.  We're Elite+ over at Celebrity, but so many itineraries on HAL are really really nice while Celebrity's seem repetitive and tired.  HALs pricing is a lot better too, especially in the verandah category that we most often occupy.  I also don't love how they've carved out so much public space just for use by suite passengers.  I like the Neptune Lounge concept at HAL better for that. 

 

I find the food and service to be about the same, though the bar service went downhill fast at X once everybody on board had a beverage package and there was no hustling for sales and tips.  I hope the same doesn't eventually happen at HAL.  The only bars open during the day at all anymore on X are the one in the buffet and the one at the pool, and good luck finding a waiter.  You just have to belly up to the bar and get in line.

 

We have 10 weeks worth of cruises booked on HAL upcoming and only one cruise on X, and that's only because it's a transatlantic arriving in Tampa where we live.  I always look, but I rarely find an itinerary at a price I like over there anymore.  I do agree that you have to pick your ship though.  We sailed on Rotterdam and didn't care for it at all.  Very old and tired.  😞

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So lets boast (not really) :).  We are 5 Star Mariners on HAL, Elite Plus on Celebrity and Elite on Princess.  We routinely cruise all three of those lines (and others) and have found that there are things we like and dislike on each line (and also on certain vessels).   What makes me happy may not satisfy the OP and vice versa.  I think this is an area where you have to try it for yourself.  There is much to like about HAL.....but also a fair number of negatives.  The dance opportunities (to live music) on HAL vessels will vary depending on the class ship, but might not satisfy many who love ballroom dancing.  We thought that Princess (on our most recent Caribbean Princess cruise) did one of the best jobs we have seen in years, when it came to dance opportunities.  There was several hours a day of dancing (in 3 venues) to live music the bands (in one case a solo piano player) did a great job playing the type music requested by the dancers.  There were some excellent dancers on that Princess cruise and DW and I really enjoyed watching them do their thing :).    Princess also had several lounges with decent dance floors.  

 

For us, the biggest current negative about HAL is their entertainment...especially on their smaller ships.  Most HAL cruises tend to die around 10pm which may or may not be an issue for the OP.  But on Celebrity we have spent many a late evening at the Martini Bar with a decent crowd....or at a late night adult comedy show (you will not see this on any HAL ship).  Speaking of comedy, some have now reported that even the HAL Cruise Directors have been told to avoid comedy.   The new normal is to not do anything that might offend anyone...which means you cannot really do anything!  I once heard a HAL passenger complaining to the CD that she was "Offended" by one of the questions at Team Trivia!  ARGH!

 

Hank

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Have sailed both lines. MDR food is a tad better on HAL except for desserts. Buffet food much better with Celebrity, way more choices.

Entertainment better on Celebrity. Both lines have excellent service and beautiful ships. Drinks on HAL cost less especially with the 2 bucks for a second drink at Happy Hour time. At one time HAL ships had great library's, Celebrity still does. 

Now to the bottom line, Cruises on HAL will cost you much less than Celebrity.

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9 hours ago, woody14h said:

... Smoke permeates the ship as one has to walk through the casino to get to dinner etc... 


This is not true of dining venues in the slightest.  The casinos of all HAL ships are forward whereas the MDR is aft and the Pinnacle Grill is midship.  One is only forced to go through the casino on the way to the same floor's entry to the Main Stage.  🙂 
 

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9 hours ago, woody14h said:

Smoke permeates the ship as one has to walk through the casino to get to dinner etc. 

?????? In over 200 nights on HAL ships I have never needed to walk through the casino to get to dinner.

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20 minutes ago, oneijoe said:


This is not true of dining venues in the slightest.  The casinos of all HAL ships are forward whereas the MDR is aft and the Pinnacle Grill is midship.  One is only forced to go through the casino on the way to the same floor's entry to the Main Stage.  🙂 
 

I'm glad you cleared that up. I guess the etc. was what I meant. You did mention that one is forced to go through the casino.  Not to denigrate the loyalists who were offended by my comment, but the aura of cigarette smoke did escape from the casinos.  We love HAL and will continue to sail on HAL but not on the ships having the lax smoking policy.

 

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HAL will usually win in the "Good ports" department but will usually lose in the "good shows" department when compared to Celebrity. If your trip is port-heavy in new places, HAL may be better. I would stick with Celebrity for Caribbean sailings.

 

One advantage HAL has over Celebrity - all of HAL ships have a nice promenade deck that you can fully walk around. For example, you can almost reach out to touch the actual Panama canal docks on the promenade deck (of course don't do that!). This could provide a better experience sailing through the canal. 

 

Food depends more on what are your preferences. Standard MDR HAL is better for seafood and vegetarian, Celebrity is better for meat. Buffet again depends on your favorite foods - Celebrity has a nice grill in its buffet but HAL offers more diverse Asian dishes. 

 

Please note I'm comparing HAL Vista or newer ships with Celebrity's ships. The smaller HAL ships don't really have an equivalent comparison to Celebrity's fleet.

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13 hours ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Agree with what has been said above.

 

HAL's corned beef hash is a cheap canned brand.  DH loves a good corned beef hash and HAL no longer serves it.  Entertainment has gone downhill the last few years.

 

Only you can decide if you will like HAL.

 

I can't believe that corned beef hash would be a  discussion item on comparing cruise lines!

 

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We've sailed HAL and X twice in the last 15 months. Here is one man's take:

PRICE - HAL - we just got an incredible deal for a Dec HAL cruise

FOOD - X for Lido buffet but HAL for main dining room, both have great extra fee restaurants

ROOM - same - I could not find a significant difference

ENTERTAINMENT - Music is better on HAL, shows are better on X

FUN - the X ships are more fun - with some innovative things going on we enjoy

BARS - X

DRINK - HAL - a little cheaper

 

For us, we choose on date, price, and itinerary. Don't be afraid of HAL. It will be an older crowd then X, but that never bothered us.

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