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JOHN 57

Difference between Holland America and Princess

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18 hours ago, AtlantaCruiser72 said:

 

But princess DOES have the International Cafe, on most ships, which is open 24hrs.  Some people might associate this with a buffet. 

...

And not all Princess ships have an IC.

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19 hours ago, JOHN 57 said:

thank you both, we went for a window view.  

 

I find this web site invaluable when booking an obstructed view cabin.  On some ships cabins E632 and E633 are practically unobstructed.  They get booked early, too.

 

Choose your ship on the left, and the cabin number range to see the window pictures:

 

https://sites.google.com/site/cabinviewbyrenmar/home

 

 

We prefer deck 8, and with the public areas a deck below, I also check the deck plans to see what is going to be below us.

 

We find the buffet on Princess ships to have poor traffic flow.

 

Princess has larger and more open lounges than HAL.  We find HAL's lounges more intimate.

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We have been on HAL and Celebrity. We "landed" with Princess

as our home and feeling comfy.

Remember, each person's experiences are very subjective. We avoid

 

HAL as the ship felt like a "bucket of bolts". Our mid 20's single daughters

were with us and we were all a bit bored. There really was just not much going

on. My personal highlight was doing a cooking seminar with one of our daughters.

 

Our last Celebrity ship was an Italy and Greece itinerary and it was a newer ship.

The staff as a whole were very snobby, dining room and buffet service was dismal

and food was repetitive. On Princess, buffet service is very friendly and VERY present.

Also, we felt claustrophobic on a ship with no center atrium.

 

Phew! The month after the Celebrity cruise, we were able to "come home" on the

Regal Princess. Bright, airy, great service. Also, we reserve a "Premium Deluxe Balcony"

which has a loveseat.

 

And that is our opinion and personal experiences.

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Our first cruise  on Holland America was Volendam out of Vancouver for Alaska.  We mainly did the cruise as a hotel for sight seeing. 

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This is only relevant to some travelers, but Holland America traditionally sponsors a priest on board7 its cruises, with masses most days. This is not guaranteed,  but they have always had one when I have travelled with them. Unlike other cruise lines, I believe all of HAL ships have a promenade deck that you can go all the way around,  and it is long. Other lines may have a tiny track for jogging on one of the top decks. Some other ships have this feature but it is a HAL signature element that I like.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

CAVEAT: Some of this info may be outdated a few years.

 

HAL has better cabins/bathrooms

Princess has better onboard activities.

HAL has better burgers

Princess has better pizza

HAL has better al fresco dining at rear of ship

Princess has better pools

HAL has better forward viewing

Princess has better audience participation shows

HAL has better quality live music

Princess has better outdoor cinema viewing

HAL has a better buffet layout/design

Princess has better variety specialty or ethnic theme-night dining options

HAL has better TVs/On Demand programming

Princess has a better Piazza/Atrium

HAL has better itineraries

Princess has better nightlife

HAL has a better overall traditional feel

Princess has a better overall relaxed feel

 

Edited by Skai

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1 hour ago, Skai said:

CAVEAT: Some of this info may be outdated a few years.

 

HAL has a better buffet layout/design

 

HAL has better TVs/On Demand programming

 

 

 

The Princess Royal class ships have a much improved buffet layout.

 

Most Princess ships now have TVs with great On Demand capability.

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"HAL has better quality live music"

Having been on both I rate Princess with better live music. On every Princess ship I have been on Princess has had:

a party band,  a ballroom dance duo or group, a guitar player/singer, a piano/singer entertainer on most ships in Crooner's, some sort of classical duo or group, a background piano entertainer in the piazza area, some itineraries, like Hawaii, have special local musical entertainers. They also have the 7 piece Princess orchestra which back many shows. The orchestra also performs sets in different lounges of big band, jazz, dixieland, ballroom, etc. Certain orchestra members also perform individually or as small groups.

"HAL has a better buffet layout/design"

This is accurate for the Sapphire Princess. Not accurate for Royal class ships.

 

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See if you can spring for a balcony. Outdoor space might be really important.in the future.  we have been on Princess  a lot ( our favorite) and  on Celebrity  and RCCL. NCL , Regent and Oceania. Princess is the most like Celebrity as are the passengers. Princess treats their trivia and games ( wonderful asst. CDs) more seriously and the nighttime and at sea entertainment is more varied and more fun. Of course nothing compares to RCCL’s big shows . But often Princess will have really great comedians. The food is similar to Celebrity too but I think Princess is just friendlier all around. I forgot how great the Princess internet people are. They will spend as much time with you as you need and print boarding passes from your phone if you want. I remember a surly Royal Caribbean lady that almost brought me to tears in comparison. And Celebrity has the best young guitarist , Danny Smart who is worth the price of the cruise alone.

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Posted (edited)

If there is more that one person in your cabin,   and you BOTH want a chair to sit on, then you would have to go for a mini suite.  Balcony, outside and inside cabins only have one place to sit.  The other person will have to sit on the bed or stand.

Edited by geocruiser

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1 hour ago, geocruiser said:

If there is more that one person in your cabin,   and you BOTH want a chair to sit on, then you would have to go for a mini suite.  Balcony, outside and inside cabins only have one place to sit.  The other person will have to sit on the bed or stand.

I was under the impression Premium Balconies still had an extra chair to sit in. Am I mistaken?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, geocruiser said:

If there is more that one person in your cabin,   and you BOTH want a chair to sit on, then you would have to go for a mini suite.  Balcony, outside and inside cabins only have one place to sit.  The other person will have to sit on the bed or stand.

 

No, you just ask the steward for an extra chair which they will deliver to the suite.

Been there, done that.

Edited by brisalta

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13 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I was under the impression Premium Balconies still had an extra chair to sit in. Am I mistaken?

Mistaken. All balcony cat. cabins now have one chair. You have to request an extra chair from your cabin steward on boarding day and you may be able to get one.

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Like what was said above, there is only one chair.  You can ask for one,  BUT you might not get one.  

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17 hours ago, Ken the cruiser said:

I was under the impression Premium Balconies still had an extra chair to sit in. Am I mistaken?

On the two newer ship that I have been on Regal and Royal, If you get a Deluxe Balcony cabin there will be a small love seat and a chair.  All balcony, and inside cabins on these ships have one chair.  The are no window cabins (outside ) on these ships.  I have now been on the newest ships.  But don't count on getting a chair if you ask for one.

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Just now, geocruiser said:

On the two newer ship that I have been on Regal and Royal, If you get a Deluxe Balcony cabin there will be a small love seat and a chair.  All balcony, and inside cabins on these ships have one chair.  The are no window cabins (outside ) on these ships.  I have not been on the newest ships.  But don't count on getting a chair if you ask for one.

 

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Production shows on Princess are far superior. Last time on HAL, really couldn't call any of the shows production.

HAL does have better cabins. Lack of a second chair and small table in Princess cabins has made it very uncomfortable especially for room service breakfast. It is now forcing us to go deluxe balcony cabin or mini suites  if we book a long cruise. 

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On 7/27/2020 at 5:01 PM, JOHN 57 said:

sometimes I have late night hunger.

I love the IC. (International Cafe). They rotate out the food according to time of day, so breakfast items/lunch/dinner etc. Sometimes we would just eat there instead of buffet. It's a small bakery size area in the Piazza area next to a bar and specialty coffee . They actually have really good food there. They have the best mozzarella and tomato paninis' at  lunchtime. Sometimes if you want a quick breakfast you can get bakery style donuts and croissants. or the breakfast sandwich that you can request to be hot in the panini grill. When my kids were teens they were be up all night with all the friends they met in the teens club. I found out later they would order up all the cookies and hot chocolate. They also said the servers there were so nice to them, which was good to hear. They probably would of drove me crazy. lol. 

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We were on Regal Princess in Feb in a deluxe balcony room and our deck had 2 chairs and a small table. The deck was small and I think actually smaller than the regular balcony room we had booked on Ruby Princess several years prior.

 

Neither deluxe balcony or regular balcony room compare to the deluxe balcony room on Norwegian which offered a spacious balcony and two lounge chairs and a small table. Instead of a worn-out looking love seat we had a very comfortable banquet type sofa which I think converts to a bed at night if there are 3 in the room as was the case with the family in the room next door to us. Although there were things I didn't care for on the Norwegian cruise, the room was far superior to similar rooms on Princess.

 

We had done HAL in Feb 2009 during the recession for 10 day Panama Canal trip and the ship seemed to be very limited in staffing but the timing might explain that. This was pre Anytime Dining and so we had the late dinner seating. The absolute best thing about that cruise was the indoor pool area with comfortable lounge chairs as well as the incredible library. Very comfortable leather sofas, tables to open and explore books and magazines and a full inventory of books you would want to read. The Regal Princess library was an embarrassment and quickly became the joke of the ship.

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Key difference for us is the entertainment.  We used to sail a lot on HAL but not any more. They have dumbed down the entertainment with the exception of Lincoln Centre which is wonderful (classical music).  Other than that, HAL falls very short on entertainment. It used to be that the Ocean Bar on HAL ships had great little ensembles playing music that was nice to sit and listen to or, for people like us who love ballroom dancing, to get some dancing in.  We spent many wonderful evenings listening to those groups. They now seem very focused on their BB King knock off band which we found had poor quality performances (on several sailings) with music played so loud we couldn’t stay even with ear plugs.  They also have excessively loud settings in the theatre.  For us, Princess wins hands down for entertainment.

 

We do wish that Princess would do an unlimited laundry service for a fixed rate per day as HAL does and HAL has better room service for breakfast.

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We really miss the piano bar - our favorite place after dinner.  These new music venues also leave us cold as well.

 

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