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Devo12

Considering HA Eurodam first timer with ?'s

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We are looking at going on the Eurodam over Christmas.  We are early 40's, won't have kids on this trip.  We are NCL cruisers and enjoy their cruises but I am a little concerned about the amount of kids that will be on the cruise that time of year. I know there will be kids on this cruise but maybe not as many?? I assume HA is a little more "classier" than NCL but I have nothing to go on other than some reviews I have read.  I have a few questions to ask if you would.

 

-Is there a set time for meals or is "freestyle"

-I am correct on thinking this a little classier? 

-attire for meals?

-For people that have made the switch to HA from the mass cruise lines, did you enjoy the switch?

 

Sorry for so many questions but just trying to get a feel.  We are pretty easy going people that just enjoy being away with a drink in our hand, sitting somewhere kind of quiet and enjoying the day.

 

Thanks,

Devo

 

 

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I'm a 4-star Mariner with HAL (meaning 200+ nights onboard), but in 2020 I took two short cruises on the NCL Bliss and Joy. There are definitely differences between the two lines. First of all, virtually all NCL ships are bigger. The Bliss, for example, holds 4004 passengers (vs. around 2,100 for the Eurodam), assuming two to a cabin, but at holiday times people with kids on NCL will often sail with three, four, or more in the cabins.There could be 5,000 or more on some sailings.

 

Although NCL will always have lots more families and kids kids, the one time of year that HAL will have more kids than usual is Christmas/New Year's weeks (and sometimes spring break weeks in the Caribbean). I usually avoid holiday and spring break weeks, but I would certainly think that HAL would still be relatively "saner" than NCL during those periods.

 

As for MDR evening dining, HAL gives you the choice of either fixed dining times (5:30PM---I think---or 8:00PM), or anytime dining (I believe it's from 5:15PM to 9:00PM, but don't quote me on that because we always opt for the late-seating fixed dining). From what I understand, early fixed seating is more in-demand than late seating, so if that's your choice you should request it at the time you book your cruise. If a table for two is important to you, be sure to request that, too.

 

In general, MDR attire tends to be dressier on HAL than on NCL.

 

I was surprised to find that the MDR food on NCL was as good as that on HAL, although I think the HAL service is usually better, at least in the fixed-dining section. The specialty restaurants on NCL are more numerous than those on HAL, and are probably better, too.

 

For me, the good aspects of NCL (the dining, the cost-to-value ratio, the cabins) are very good, but the bad aspects (the generally zooey atmosphere) are pretty bad.

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If you choose Anytime Dinning, you can make reservations a few days ahead, while on board. There are certain times (I don't remember what they are) that are not available for reservations.

What used to be formal nights, are now Gala Nights, the dress code is now the same as other nights, but some people choose to still dress up for Gala Night. But it is not necessary.

The dress code for dinner is Smart Casual. For men this means a collared shirt and slacks.

There will be less kids on a HAL cruise than on a NCL cruise.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention that HAL ships are decorated in a more classical manner. And there will be not be gaudy painting on the hull.

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I meant to say in my response, above, that I took two NCL cruises in 2019 (not 2020).

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43 minutes ago, jimdee3636 said:

For me, the good aspects of NCL (the dining, the cost-to-value ratio, the cabins) are very good, but the bad aspects (the generally zooey atmosphere) are pretty bad.

 

Very well put.  These are the exact reasons we've sailed with NCL in the past, and also the reason (zooey atmosphere) we've decided to give HAL a shot and see if it more closely meets our needs as we've readjusted our priorities for a cruise.

 

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Have never sailed with NCL, but was on the Eurodam in October and liked the experience. My biggest gripe, and this is throughout the HAL fleet, is the small number of live music venues. 

The anytime dining pretty much mimics the time for the fixed dining in a separate dining room, same menus. If you make advance reservations the system is pretty good. But, if you truly just show up anytime during the meal period you might have a long wait to get seated.

I think it is a good cruise experience, not overrun with kids and not too dull.

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9 minutes ago, boom_boom said:

The anytime dining pretty much mimics the time for the fixed dining in a separate dining room, same menus. If you make advance reservations the system is pretty good. But, if you truly just show up anytime during the meal period you might have a long wait to get seated.

 

Curious, were you in a NS/PS by chance?  I thought I read somehwere on here that those guests somehow got priority seating for anytime dining.  Thanks.

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24 minutes ago, boom_boom said:

 

The anytime dining pretty much mimics the time for the fixed dining in a separate dining room, same menus.

 

Both fixed time and anytime dining are served in the Main Dining Room and have the same menu, I believe this is the same on all cruise lines. If you want a different menu then you can go to a specialty restaurant. Or you can purchase the Club Orange option, where you have one extra item to choose from.

If you want to have no waiting at all, you can choose fixed dining.

Or you can do what I do, I order the MDR dinner to be delivered to my room. I can eat in my pajamas if I want to.

Edited by Tom O.

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38 minutes ago, boom_boom said:

Have never sailed with NCL, but was on the Eurodam in October and liked the experience. My biggest gripe, and this is throughout the HAL fleet, is the small number of live music venues. 

The anytime dining pretty much mimics the time for the fixed dining in a separate dining room, same menus. If you make advance reservations the system is pretty good. But, if you truly just show up anytime during the meal period you might have a long wait to get seated.

I think it is a good cruise experience, not overrun with kids and not too dull.

there is usually 3 on a ship at a time -   I can only do one at a time -- works for me LOL

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1 hour ago, Tom O. said:

Or you can do what I do, I order the MDR dinner to be delivered to my room. I can eat in my pajamas if I want to.

 

I like this idea a lot.  Do they bring the whole meal all at once or is it staggered?

Edited by DivotMaker
Spelling mistake

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32 minutes ago, DivotMaker said:

 

I like this idea a lot.  Do they bring the whole meal all at once or is it staggered?

 They bring it all at once.

First step in doing this is finding out what the menu is for that evening. There is sometimes a way to do it with the tv. Or we have done this by using the HAL app on my wife's Iphone. If all else fails you can walk by the entrance of the MDR in the afternoon and the menu for that night will be posted.

Once you know what's on the menu, you call room service, and tell them that you want to have your MDR dinner delivered. I usually call around 3pm. They will take the order for all of the items you want off the MDR menu - don't forget desert! They will ask you what time you want it delivered. They have always shown up within 15 minutes of the appointed time. There is no extra charge for this service, but I usually give the delivery person a $5 cash tip.

It all comes in covered plates, I have not had a problem with it being cold. But I don't recommend getting ice cream for desert. By the time you finish your dinner, it will be melted.

 

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21 minutes ago, Tom O. said:

 They bring it all at once.

First step in doing this is finding out what the menu is for that evening. There is sometimes a way to do it with the tv. Or we have done this by using the HAL app on my wife's Iphone. If all else fails you can walk by the entrance of the MDR in the afternoon and the menu for that night will be posted.

Once you know what's on the menu, you call room service, and tell them that you want to have your MDR dinner delivered. I usually call around 3pm. They will take the order for all of the items you want off the MDR menu - don't forget desert! They will ask you what time you want it delivered. They have always shown up within 15 minutes of the appointed time. There is no extra charge for this service, but I usually give the delivery person a $5 cash tip.

It all comes in covered plates, I have not had a problem with it being cold. But I don't recommend getting ice cream for desert. By the time you finish your dinner, it will be melted.

 

 

Thank you Tom, this is very helpful.  As for the ice cream, I guess I'd just have to eat that first 😂

 

Speaking of dessert, is there any issue with ordering an extra?  We typically only eat dessert on cruises, so we find ourselves splurging and having a difficult time deciding between all the amazing selections.  Thanks.

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2 hours ago, DivotMaker said:

 

Speaking of dessert, is there any issue with ordering an extra?  We typically only eat dessert on cruises, so we find ourselves splurging and having a difficult time deciding between all the amazing selections.  Thanks.

Yes you can order extra desserts. And if you don't care for the dessert that you ordered, you can go to the Lido and grab one and take it back to your room.

Edited by Tom O.

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7 hours ago, DivotMaker said:

 

Very well put.  These are the exact reasons we've sailed with NCL in the past, and also the reason (zooey atmosphere) we've decided to give HAL a shot and see if it more closely meets our needs as we've readjusted our priorities for a cruise.

 

We, too, will be trying HAL for similar reasons as yours. We are Platinum Plus on NCL but had a trend of not so great experiences. Looking forward to the new attempt at loving cruising again. 

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6 hours ago, boom_boom said:

Have never sailed with NCL, but was on the Eurodam in October and liked the experience. My biggest gripe, and this is throughout the HAL fleet, is the small number of live music venues. 

 

?  Small number of live music venues?  Pinnacle-class has B.B. King’s, Rolling Stone Rock Room, Billboard Onboard, and Lincoln Center Stage.  These are the major live music venues.  Am I missing something in your post?

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I think you will really enjoy HAL and the Eurodam. Although we haven't sailed NCL, we “graduated” from Carnival and RCI to HAL couple of years ago and we found it’s perfect for us. Yes, classier is accurate in my opinion, or maybe more refined and mature. No bellyflop contests by the pool. Many fewer kids. Way less crowded; 2100 passengers vs. 4000 or more. I have never once seen drunken adults yelling and acting like they are at Cousin Jethro's bachelor party on HAL, like I have on Carnival. You won’t get that corny, fakey “ARE YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME?????   I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!” stuff like on Carnival, which seems part of every show or pool activity. Service seems more genuine, personable, and consistent on HAL. As early 40’s people, you will be in the minority, as HAL’s guests skew older. But I don’t think you will feel out of place at all. Enjoy your cruise!

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6 hours ago, DivotMaker said:

 

Thank you Tom, this is very helpful.  As for the ice cream, I guess I'd just have to eat that first 😂

 

Speaking of dessert, is there any issue with ordering an extra?  We typically only eat dessert on cruises, so we find ourselves splurging and having a difficult time deciding between all the amazing selections.  Thanks.

 

Just for clarification, you can order anything on the menu in multiples such as two soups, two entrees, three salads, and four desserts.  Here is a link to my Caribbean 7-day menus from last month to give you an example of what to expect:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/specifc-cruise-lido-and-mdr-menus/caribbean-7-day-series-a-dining-menus

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We were on Eurodam with our kids and grandkids during the Christmas to New Year week a couple of years ago.  There were more kids than usual and the ship had some special programs for them...but I never felt the children were ever a problem or a constant presence.  Our youngest grandkids were 8 and 11 and they preferred to hang out with the family rather than at Club HAL.  We seldom saw children around after the early  main theater show.

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Thanks to everyone for the replies.  It has helped significantly. 

 

Devo

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