Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
ghstudio

An elite plus tries HAL - on Veendam now

Recommended Posts

4 minutes ago, ghstudio said:

I am sitting in the large food hall in front of holy fox

 

I will be over in 3 minutes. I will have a blue Callaway baseball cap on. Founder Hall?

Share this post


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

 

 

I'm following your thread with interest. Our first ever cruise was on Noordam. I had no idea about cruising at that time. Like many Brits we vacationed regularly in Florida and decided to see a bit of the Caribbean. I looked at last minute pricing and itinerary and settled on the HAL ship after reading reviews for probably less than one hour. 

I was blissfully unaware that we'd be the youngest as we were in our thirties at the time! Next we sailed Aqua Class on Silhouette. And my thoughts at the time were :-

Cabin wise there wasn't much in it. Maybe Silhouette was a little nicer with the Aqua Class bathroom but no massive difference. 

The food was better on Noordam in the MDR than it was in Blu. As was the service. We'd been sold Celebrity as a step above HAL, but didn't really see it. Since then I've read that their has been a degradation in food quality and service on HAL, along with pretty much every other line discussed on here. So I'd love to know how they stack up against one another now. 

 

The HAL ship did seem dead after 11pm though. 

HAL seem to have much more interesting itineraries than X. They also seem to offer deep discounting after final payment date so do make a lot of sense for those interested in price and itinerary rather than the actual ship. 

Agree one of the main reasons we left Hal was nothing there after 11 or 11:30pm except casino 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, ghstudio said:

Buffet...not sure about hot dogs vs sausage. But I like prosciutto and sliced ham va the mystery cold cuts on celebrity. I think it’s a trade off but I do like having them serve vs everyone touching the tongs, etc

 

 

Same here on the prosciutto.

 

Them serving everyone is a step up.

 

The Edge where almost no one washes their hands is gross.  Now take that to the salad bar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Fouremco said:

Yes indeed. Although now called officially named Explorations Central & Café, it's still the Crows Nest for most of us. One of our favourite spots on this and other HAL ships.

Awesome.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, hulamoon said:

Funny I was just looking at this and in the HAL board. Thank goodness there is a newer ship NA, with no smoking casinos. 
 

Thank you

 

14 hours ago, Fouremco said:

This is the current fleet policy:

 

All staterooms, suites, and verandahs are non-smoking. Guests in violation of our policy will be charged a $250 per day cleaning fee.

E-cigarettes are permitted in staterooms, otherwise only in designated smoking areas.

Except as otherwise noted, cigar and pipe smoking is not allowed anywhere inside the ship; it is only permitted in designated outdoor smoking areas.

Designated Smoking Areas

Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam

  • Sea View Bar area
  • Oak Room (Noordam only, including cigar and pipe smoking)

Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam

  • Sea View Bar area
  • Casino (designated nights, active players only)

Amsterdam, Maasdam, Volendam, Zaandam

  • Sea View Bar area
  • Sports Deck, outside Crow's Nest
  • Casino (designated nights, active players only)

Rotterdam, Veendam

  • The Retreat Bar area
  • Sports Deck, outside Crow's Nest
  • Casino (designated nights, active players only)

Note that outdoor smoking areas may be designated as port or starboard, varying by ship. Please comply with ship signage.

Holland America Line reserves the right at any time to modify the smoking policy onboard or alter the locations where smoking is permissible.

Wow, I had no idea that Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam were smoke free in the casino --- am I correct in that interpretation?  This will certainly persuade me to try HAL again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, ghstudio said:

I think the buffet is better on Hal

How about the physical layout?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, ghstudio said:

I do like having them serve vs everyone touching the tongs, etc

👍

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interessting review. I did just the same this year- after around 20 cruises with X-  jumped ship to Cunard- and then tried HAL. I agree with most - but what I found totaly lacking with HAL is the self service in the Dutch Cafe ( I was on board NSTDM). Dutch Cafe of course compares with Al Bacio- very strange!

I sailed Zuiderdam once and the the new NSTDM. Absolutley not my ship. There was really not much i liked about this brand new ship. To dark, to much " indoors"...! The so called Prommenade Deck- a joke really!

The service- if provided was excellent! The food - as the OP mentioned compareable to X and Cunard.

HAL again? No certainly not!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24 minutes ago, Shadow9612 said:

 

Wow, I had no idea that Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam were smoke free in the casino --- am I correct in that interpretation?  This will certainly persuade me to try HAL again!

Yes the newest of these ships is about 10 years old. Wish they had no smoking on a new one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are at Canaletto last night.  Good and well seasoned food.  We finished at 8pm and we closed the restaurant... at 8pm.  They said they were very busy at 5:30.  I guess that speaks to the age demographic.

 

magician last night was good,  casino was busy and smoke free.  I was at $10 blackjack table and they bought us a drink...nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Shadow9612 said:

 

Wow, I had no idea that Eurodam, Nieuw Amsterdam, Noordam, Oosterdam, Westerdam, Zuiderdam were smoke free in the casino --- am I correct in that interpretation?  This will certainly persuade me to try HAL again!

 

11 hours ago, hulamoon said:

Yes the newest of these ships is about 10 years old. Wish they had no smoking on a new one.

The Nieuw Amsterdam was built in 2010 and refurbished in 2018. A Signature-class ship, as is the Eurodam, she's my favourite HAL ship without even considering the non-smoking issue. We've sailed the newer Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, but don't enjoy these Pinnacle-class ship nearly as much; bigger doesn't always mean better.

Share this post


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

We are at Canaletto last night.  Good and well seasoned food.  We finished at 8pm and we closed the restaurant... at 8pm.  They said they were very busy at 5:30.  I guess that speaks to the age demographic.

 

magician last night was good,  casino was busy and smoke free.  I was at $10 blackjack table and they bought us a drink...nice.

 

 

Very nice. Thanks for the updates on the entertainment.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are in Sydney with the summit which isn’t supposed to be here...they altered their schedule due to the oncoming storm and will spend 2 nights in Halifax.  We haven’t heard of any changes for us, but I can’t imagine we’ll keep to our itinerary...we’ll likely miss bar harbor or Boston or maybe both...but nothing announced yet.  Today, BTW, is sunny and beautiful...I guess the lull before the storm.  We are in a rear facing cabin on the top passenger deck, so potentially we’ll have a fun time if there are high seas:)
 

they have thin crepes for breakfast, made to order...wow! My Asian lunch at the buffet was spicy and very good...clear noodles with spicy shrimp and spicy chicken curry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We are doing the same cruise next Oct, on Zaandam. Originally supposed to stop at Charleston SC, one reason we booked it, then changed things around. I'd like to know how the fall colors are up there.  Also do they have a beverage pkg like Celebrity? Could probably find out that on the HAL board, but haven't gotten that far.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interested in this comparison .  We are Elite plus on Celebrity and Diamond on Royal (without the reciprocity)  We didn't like Princess as much as Celebrity-found it "plain vanilla" and Carnival- not for us either-  Also tried Disney- but it is very overpriced and for a niche market for young children and those who enjoy Disney.  NCL IMO is at the bottom of our list-unless you sail in the haven which is very good- but pricey.

 

Thus far- the negative take a way is the smoking policy- that might make me not consider HAL.  For now, will stick with Royal and Celebrity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My most recent HAL sailing was on Koningsdam almost 2 years ago (loved the ship).  There was smoking in the casino at that time.  Sailed Zuiderdam almost 3 years ago (really liked her too - had one of the J class interior cabins that are quite large, centrally-located, and a great cabin, especially for a solo).  Both had the BB King's Blues club which had great bands.  Open until about midnight, I believe.

 

I had no idea that HAL had further restricted their smoking policy since I sailed.  Makes me very happy since I just received a casino offer for a free interior and am currently trying to get in touch with my PCC.

 

I haven't yet sailed X (am booked on Infinity for March 2021).  One of the main reasons I've wanted to try X was because the casinos are non-smoking.

 

I do wish HAL was more transparent with their pricing structure.  I search for a sailing that looks interesting, see the price, then log on and almost every time the price drops about 30%.  I have no idea why.  Is it because I put in my Mariner number?  Is it because I get casino offers?  Is it that they aren't charging 200% as a solo?  I'll take the discount.  Just wish I knew why I was receiving it!

 

Anyway, thanks to OP for posting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Fouremco said:

 

The Nieuw Amsterdam was built in 2010 and refurbished in 2018. A Signature-class ship, as is the Eurodam, she's my favourite HAL ship without even considering the non-smoking issue. We've sailed the newer Koningsdam and Nieuw Statendam, but don't enjoy these Pinnacle-class ship nearly as much; bigger doesn't always mean better.

How would the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam compare to the S class Celebrity ship?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

 

 

I do wish HAL was more transparent with their pricing structure.  I search for a sailing that looks interesting, see the price, then log on and almost every time the price drops about 30%.  I have no idea why.  Is it because I put in my Mariner number?  Is it because I get casino offers?  Is it that they aren't charging 200% as a solo?  I'll take the discount.  Just wish I knew why I was receiving it!

 

Anyway, thanks to OP for posting.

 

 

I wish we had your problems 😀.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been on Nieuw Amsterdam twice, 8 nights total, and a 7 night cruisetour in Alaska.  I'll compare the food quality I experienced on X from 2014 - 2018, not Spring of this year, which was awful.  I agree with most of what the OP has said.

 

1.  Food:  HAL wins, a slightly superior MDR, better room service menu, freshly served buffet food, and even better junk food.  The intimate setting of Blu is missed, unless you book a superior suite.  

 

2.  The Ship:  X wins on interesting and modern design, at least for my taste in my early 40's  Though for scenic places like Alaska, the Crow's Nest comes in quite handy.

 

3.  Cabins:  HAL wins, with a mattress that's more comfy, better storage, foot stools, and more movies on demand.  Suite perks however are reduced.

 

4.  Loyalty Program:  X wins with happy hour drinks at Elite.  HAL's happy hour however, allows us light drinkers at lower tiers, an affordable way to drink without a package. 

 

5.  Itineraries:  HAL wins, with vastly more options.  They don't do Galapagos though...  

 

Enjoy your cruise ghstudio!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We r in Halifax rain wind generally ugly day...hopefully will clear later. We are staying overnight, then skipping bar harbor going directly to Boston.  On days like this, the buffet does get crowded and the crows nest last night was packed.  I enjoyed a made to order crepe for breakfast... can’t get on celebrity.  Waffles, eggs omelette a are all made to order....very nice...and no lines unlike celebrity.  I really do think Hal’s buffet is better than celebrity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 hours ago, Shadow9612 said:

How would the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam compare to the S class Celebrity ship?

We've sailed twice on the Nieuw Amsterdam, most recently in February 2019, and on the Eclipse 3 times, most recently in March 2018. In each case, we've been very happy with the ship and would embark again on either one without hesitation. The Eclipse, whose maiden voyage was in April 2010, holds 2850 passengers. The slightly smaller Nieuw Amsterdam, which holds 2106 passengers, had her maiden voyage three months later. Based on our latest sailings, both are in excellent condition.

 

There are far too many potential points of comparison to try to go through, and many are pretty subjective. For example, the Nieuw Amsterdam doesn't have the larger production shows like Topper, but does have things like the B.B. King Blues Club. The Eclipse has its lawn, but the Nieuw Amsterdam has a full promenade deck.

 

Given identical itineraries, pricing, cabins, etc., I'd be very hard pressed to make a choice between the two. It would probably come down to something as minor as Café al Bacio versus the Explorations Café. The former used to be my favourite coffee shop on land or at sea, but the crowding is destroying it. The Explorations Café and the wonderful views from the Crows Nest make it hard to beat. All in all, my nod might go to the Nieuw Amsterdam, yet my next two bookings are on the Eclipse and the Equinox. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Stateroom_Sailor said:

5.  Itineraries:  HAL wins, with vastly more options.  They don't do Galapagos though...  

While HAL doesn't cruise directly to the Galapagos currently, on a number of its South American cruises it offers multi-day, fly-in excursions to the islands. One 6-day adventure includes both the Galapagos and Machu Picchu.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 hours ago, Shadow9612 said:

How would the Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam compare to the S class Celebrity ship?

 

These two more closely resemble Celebrity's M-Class ships, to me.  S-Class are larger and hold more people.  They also have more specialty restaurants. 

 

I've been on Nieuw Amsterdam twice in the last year and love it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

REVISED VIEW

 

Now that I’ve spent a few days on the ship, it’s like spending a week at an assisted living community.  Not sure where all the folks with walkers, canes and carts have been, but there seemed to be an army of them today.  I think the lack of younger faces and folks is getting to me....I’m not ready for that assisted living yet....why am I paying to vacation in one?  I’m now thinking this might be our first and last Hal cruise.
 

 

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...