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loyal celebrity cruiser thinking holland america

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I'm 40-something and  have 5 cruises on Celebrity and 2 on HAL in the past 4 years- some solo, some with others. Here are my thoughts:

 

Rooms: Insides on Celebrity are in general larger than most inside classes on HAL. Balcony rooms about the same, although HAL has tubs instead of just showers for X.

 

Food: Subjective. I like X's breakfast better (dining room, lido & room service), HAL lido lunch better (love the salad bar and asian station), find the MDR to be about the same, and X specialty restaurants to be generally better although more expensive.  Tamarind on Eurodam was the exception- as good or better as any X specialty and half the price.

 

Itinerary: HAL tends to have more interesting itineraries to me.

 

Pool: X- Cool weather itineraries- I love the indoor adults pool area much better than the retractable roof HAL pools that don't stay warm in cooler weather. Warm weather itineraries are tied.

 

Burger joint: HAL wins hands down.

 

Cabanas: HAL. I love this option, especially as a solo traveler, or for large #s of sea days in warm weather. inside + cabana for less than an outside, never mind a balcony, was a major win!

 

Bars: X.  The martini bar is my favorite place on ship after dinner. I have yet to find a great bar on HAL with the fun social atmosphere as the X martini bars. Maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places?? Also like the drink package upgrade for such a small fee and just paying the amount over the package on X.

 

Entertainment: MainStage is pretty even, although I appreciated HAL trying to appeal to a younger demographic with PostModern Jukebox. HAL BB Kings and Billboard OnBoard are great for dancing or singalongs. X's silent disco is one of my favorite things to do on a cruise.

 

In-room tv/movie selection: HAL by a landslide.

 

WiFi: X by a landslide.

 

Crew: equally wonderful with a few exceptions on both lines.

 

Laundry: edge to HAL because their prices are cheaper, but both lines do a great job.

 

Solo travel: I really like X giving double loyalty points to solo cruisers, since we are usually paying 200%. I was able to get a great solo discount on HAL which made me try them in the first place.

 

Loyalty Program: It was easier to get to 2 star on HAL than to Select on X for someone like me who books balcony and below cabins as opposed to suites. However I enjoy the X perks like $ off wi-fi more than the HAL perks so far. I might change my mind once I get up to higher tiers.

 

I have enjoyed both lines and will likely continue to cruise on both when the itinerary and price make sense. I'm looking forward to trying Princess as well someday soon. I'd encourage you to give HAL a try and see if it fits what you are looking for.

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thank you everyone for all the tips and advice    still confused though   will be a hard choice

 

carol

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We stopped sailing on HAL eight years ago because we were finding little or nothing to do in the evening.  We then

decided to try Celebrity, sailing on the Constitution and the Solstice.  Both were great and we particularly enjoyed the nightly entertainment. This year we found an itinerary in the Mediterranean on the Koningsdam that we really liked.  Checked X and found a similar itinerary but 2 days shorter and more expensive for comperable accommodations so decided to give HAL another chance.  We have just returned from our cruise on the Koningsdam and we had a wonderful time!  The daily program is full of activities, and we loved Lincoln Center Stage and BB Kings. We feel that HAL excels in certain areas while Celebrity excels in others and you can have a great cruise on both lines.  Good luck with your choice!

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3 hours ago, cruisehome said:

thank you everyone for all the tips and advice    still confused though   will be a hard choice

 

carol

Carol -- my DH and I have been pretty much exclusive X cruisers (after moving on from RC) for the past decade. But, the ever-higher prices, unappealing new-builds (the Edge lost me at 'infinite verandah'), and never-ending nickel-n-diming -- not to mention a dearth of West-Coast itineraries -- have us looking for greener pastures. I was so pleased when HAL finally decided to ban balcony smoking, that we decided to give them a try. We're booked on a K-dam Pacific Coastal,  next year -- and VERY much looking forward to it!😎

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We are in our mid 60s and are currently on the Maasdam and are very much enjoying their in-depth EXC program which is unique to this ship where there are 4-5 enrichment lectures a day as well as an evening show performed by guest entertainers. But as others have said, HAL no longer offers production shows. 

 

The food is quite good in the MDR at all servings and Internet service is also quite good in the cabin. 

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5 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

We are in our mid 60s and are currently on the Maasdam and are very much enjoying their in-depth EXC program which is unique to this ship where there are 4-5 enrichment lectures a day as well as an evening show performed by guest entertainers. But as others have said, HAL no longer offers production shows. 

 

The food is quite good in the MDR at all servings and Internet service is also quite good in the cabin. 

 

I know you have been quite concerned re: how this experience would be. Do you plan to provide a report after your cruise, or at least a summary on how you found the EXC experience?  Would love to see it.

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It is tough to generalize in comments about experiences, as both lines have a lot of variation depending on which ship /vessel class you book.

 

For example, “HAL no longer offers production shows,” but back in April, the Step One Dance Company show Humanity, in the Nieuw Statendam’s main theater with amazing lighting effects, was one of the most enjoyable shows we’ve seen on a ship. And the Music Walk shows kept us up later than we’ve ever been on HAL, night after night.... But that’s a very different experience than on the HAL Veendam.

 

Another example - Celebrity’s newest ship, the Edge, is completely different than any of their other ships. (And not in a good way, IMHO.) Verandah rooms have a big window, not a balcony, room furniture was uncomfortable, closets were tiny, and the emphasis overall seemed (to us) to favor trendy style over comfort on our January cruise. ... But that’s a very different experience than on the X Reflection.

 

We cruise both lines about equally (3 star HAL, Elite X), and have mostly ended up booking Sky Suites on Celebrity to get a better dining experience and roomier stateroom. Now, Sky Suite prices have risen to extreme levels that aren’t worth it any more. Too many other luxury lines are out there at those rates.

 

On HAL, we’ve always had consistently good experiences regardless of the price/room category/ship we chose. In my opinion,  HAL stresses passenger comfort, Celebrity goes for trendy to get the travel writers’ headlines. We’re leaning more toward HAL now, except for the rare X deal, like the Tampa departures.

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9 hours ago, cruisemom42 said:

 

I know you have been quite concerned re: how this experience would be. Do you plan to provide a report after your cruise, or at least a summary on how you found the EXC experience?  Would love to see it.

I can do that. Better yet as knowing me I’ll probably forget some stuff, I’ll open a new thread today and periodically post stuff there as our internet is pretty good. 

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6 minutes ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I can do that. Better yet as knowing me I’ll probably forget some stuff, I’ll open a new thread today and periodically post stuff there as our internet is pretty good. 

 

Excellent, thank you!

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what is considered 'older ships"

 

Is Eurodam a good ship to choose for good music and food -  you all have said the shows

are not great -   shows are not great on celebrity either

 

suggestion for a decent balcony room with no obstruction in the middle of the ship??

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1 hour ago, cruisehome said:

what is considered 'older ships"

 

Is Eurodam a good ship to choose for good music and food -  you all have said the shows

are not great -   shows are not great on celebrity either

 

suggestion for a decent balcony room with no obstruction in the middle of the ship??

 

I just got off Eurodam and if I'm to be honest, I'd say no.  

 

But if you do pull the trigger, I was in veranda 8038 and thought the location was excellent.  

Edited by Aquahound

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On 10/8/2019 at 9:42 PM, cruisehome said:

thank you everyone for all the tips and advice    still confused though   will be a hard choice

 

carol

One other thing about HAL that is somewhat unique.  There are tremendous differences between the various ships of HAL when it comes to entertainment.  But this is not always obvious when you book.  For example, the Maasdam in the only ship in the entire fleet to have the so-called EXE concept with lots of lecturers and much less entertainment.  Go on some other smaller HAL ships and you will have a piano bar.  Go on the newer larger ships (or the Vista Class) and you should have a BB KIng group and perhaps Lincoln Center.  But go on the smaller ships in the fleet and you get none of that.  And things have changed so some of the posts are not quite accurate.  Somebody mentioned the "salad bar" but HAL no longer has salad bars....they now have salad stations where your salad is made by a crew member (you can tell them what you want).  Or course this could all change next week :).

 

To be honest, we have a long HAL cruise booked next year and have no clue what to expect on the ship...despite having more then 500 days on HAL.  Will we have a production show?  Will we have a dance group?  Will they try to make us think that showing a documentary movie is a good substitute for real entertainment?  Will there be a decent dance band?  Will there be a decent port lecturer for our interesting ports?   One big problem with HAL is that nobody on CC has real answers to any of these questions.  Sure, folks can tell me what happened last week.  But the way things have been changing on HAL that has little meaning when thinking ahead to next April.  Like many folks who have previously enjoyed HAL, we booked on faith.  But that is not the way it should be.

 

Hank

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Nobody mentioned port times. I have been on two HAL cruises and five X cruises. Actually have booked Niew Statendam for December because it looks fabulous but I have noticed that HAL has shorter times in port. I don’t really mind because I am ready to embark early but that might matter to some. I agree that buffet on X is better, I love it. HAL has lovely room service dining and I love BB King’s. I also have X booked for the spring because of the beverage perk which I really enjoy, love the speciality coffees ang smoothies. I wish HAL had more going on .

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We are in our late 60's.  We have two booked cruises coming up:  a Caribbean cruise in December on Celebrity and a Norway/Iceland/Scotland on HAL in July.  We've given up going to the Caribbean on HAL even though I will miss Half Moon Cay - its just too boring.  Although I enjoy BB Kings, the other music venues become repetitive after two days into the cruise.  In January of this year on the Niew Statendam, every time I walked by "Billboards" they were either singing Billy Joel or Elton John.  All week.  And, IMO there is absolutely nothing worthwhile going on in the Mainstage. 

 

HAL has Celebrity beat when it comes to interesting and varied itineraries.  For that reason, we have the Zuiderdam booked in July. We have learned to adjust our expectations.

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1 hour ago, baggal said:

We are in our late 60's.  We have two booked cruises coming up:  a Caribbean cruise in December on Celebrity and a Norway/Iceland/Scotland on HAL in July.  We've given up going to the Caribbean on HAL even though I will miss Half Moon Cay - its just too boring.  Although I enjoy BB Kings, the other music venues become repetitive after two days into the cruise.  In January of this year on the Niew Statendam, every time I walked by "Billboards" they were either singing Billy Joel or Elton John.  All week.  And, IMO there is absolutely nothing worthwhile going on in the Mainstage. 

 

HAL has Celebrity beat when it comes to interesting and varied itineraries.  For that reason, we have the Zuiderdam booked in July. We have learned to adjust our expectations.

Since you mentioned the words boring and HAL in the same sentence, may I suggest taking a look at Princess.
 

We have recently jumped ship from HAL (except for the Maasdam) over to Princess for two main reasons - cool itineraries in the 2-6 week range and way more FUN things to do in the evening and on sea days. But, make sure to book at least a premium balcony or higher as I understand you only get 1 desk chair to sit on in the regular balcony and lower category cabins. 

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On 10/11/2019 at 6:13 PM, Ken the cruiser said:

Since you mentioned the words boring and HAL in the same sentence, may I suggest taking a look at Princess.
 

We have recently jumped ship from HAL (except for the Maasdam) over to Princess for two main reasons - cool itineraries in the 2-6 week range and way more FUN things to do in the evening and on sea days. But, make sure to book at least a premium balcony or higher as I understand you only get 1 desk chair to sit on in the regular balcony and lower category cabins. 

 

Yes, we have also sailed Princess and they do have a similar itinerary to the one we are taking. But for this particular cruise, we think HAL will work best for us taking into account "included" perks (never "free') that we are getting on HAL and the itinerary itself.  We hope to be so busy during the day that we won't be looking for that much evening entertainment.  But clearly we are managing our expectations. 

 

Hope you're enjoying your current cruise on the Maasdam.

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