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We have a HAL cruise booked Athens to Rome and will be our second and dare say probably last, then 2023 I am looking at Tokyo to Vancouver on X for our first time.  I spent the better part of this morning looking at the X site and videos and here is what I am thinking, perhaps someone seeing my cruising thread can see where I am heading:

First Cruise, Premier cruises in 1987.  I am surprised I got on another cruise ship after this one.

RCCL 1994 - A real cruise loved it.  Stuck with RCCL due to price but watched quality go down.  Tired of the pool parties and belly flop contests as well as the thump da thump da thump night clubs.

From 1995 - 2019 did RCCL and Princess.  I thought P was a little fancier than RCCL but to me RCCL was a little classier. 

2019 Tried my first HAL cruise.  Everything I was looking for in customer service, but felt I was boxed in.  Not much in the way of outdoor spaces or windows except from your stateroom.  Food was okay.  At 56 I felt on the young side of the spectrum.  Formal night is gone and now Gala night.  Miss not seeing tuxedos but being in my fraternal organization as an officer and having to wear a tux once a month, it was nice not having to bring it.

2022 Doing one more HAL cruise Athens to Rome

2023 Trying X as it looks like it is a very outdoor ship with quite spaces and doesn't seem to do an emphasis on pool parties. I want a nice cozy bar to sip a beverage with newly met friends with a window to see the moonlight reflect in the water.  Still miss the old days of cruising but seems like X tries to hang on to it to an extent.  It seems people still dress up to go out in the evening, may not be old school formal black tie, but seems X enforces the dress code at night.

 

Opinions, comments?

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Posted (edited)

If you liked the service on HAL but missed open space, you are going to enjoy Celebrity.

 

We sailed on Westerdam after almost 30 cruises on Royal and Celebrity. We did enjoy the cruise, however, we missed exactly what you are looking for. We missed the open space and airy feeling we are so used to on any Celebrity ship. Almost to a point where we felt as you described it... boxed in. The more modern design of Celebrity ships also helps. Even the older M class isn’t as dark and traditional.

 

Service is good on HAL, but better on Celebrity IMHO. 
The choice of food is larger on Celebrity and we felt the quality of food is also a bit better on Celebrity. Beverage prices are much higher on Celebrity - which doesn’t matter any more since they have become AI.

 

One area where we felt HAL beat Celebrity was the service at the buffet restaurant. An empty plate did not stay on the table for long and empty tables where easy to be found - set and waiting for passengers. 

In terms of dress code we didn’t see much of a difference... I guess it also depends on the destination. And we don’t do the Caribbean 😉

 

Edited by Miaminice
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Posted (edited)
25 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

It seems people still dress up to go out in the evening, may not be old school formal black tie, but seems X enforces the dress code at night.

 

Opinions, comments?

Only in the MDR. The suggested evening dress guidelines for the MDR is a lot more relaxed since Celebrity introduced evening chic around late 2015 early 2016. 

Edited by davekathy
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We have enjoyed many cruises on X. The answer to your questions might be 'it depends...' Our usual experience has been spring and fall cruises outside of school holidays, when there are less large groups or families and things are a bit 'quieter'.  If yours falls in this time frame, it would be a great experience.

 

 

For our cruise around South America over Christmas and New Year's, it was not quiet, and you would not find a cozy bar on the ship. It was a similar experience in July on a cruise to Bermuda. During that cruise it was crazy busy and noisy around the pool.

 

As an FYI, in my experience, any enforcement by X of the dress code only applies to the main dining room. Jeans are OK under both the Casual and Chic dress codes. Many people are quite casual throughout the ship otherwise. On our Bermuda cruise on a 'Chic night' I was seated next to a gentleman in the theatre, he was dressed in his best 'clam digger' shorts and a sleeveless tank top.

 

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3 minutes ago, davekathy said:

Only in the MDR. The suggested evening dress guidelines for the MDR is a lot more relaxed since Celebrity introduced evening chic around late 2015 early 2016. 

Well, I guess gone are the days of cruises like back in the Titanic days of morning dress, day dress, afternoon dress, evening dress.  Like an actress said from Downton Abby, "no wonder people had personal valets, they were always changing their clothes."

 

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My wife and I are in your same age group, however we really don’t have the same extent of cruising experiences.

 

This said, in response to your request, we started on RCCL in 1992 and years later returned to the same brand with our children. We loved our experience on both cruises, but as we are gaining in age and experience, so we decided to try something different.

 

Then due to opportunity and itinerary, we did two cruises on HAL: on the Rotterdam and the smaller Maasdam.  Although we mostly enjoyed ourselves on HAL, to my surprise, I found sea days a bit boring. This was likely due to a misconception on my part, on what a cruise should be. I would not hesitate to sail HAL again if opportunity knocks, but would bring a book and other personal activities to better enjoy the much more relax sea days.

 

On X, we did Solstice (Hawaii to Vancouver), Infinity (Alaska) and Constellation (Italy and Greece). So far, X is the cruise line that seems to better match with our personalities: a bit of sophistication to make us feel special, excellent service, nice itineraries and shore excursions, and excellent team to organize activities and shows. I did not feel bored on these ships. On the plus side also, I found enjoyable the much smaller amount of public announcements (one a day), I found the captain and crew more approachable, more publicly presents, I found the  food and service quite enjoyable, and the art teams less intrusive.

 

All things considered, we have found in X a cruise line we really enjoy. We have one more cruise booked on X in 2022....keeping our fingers crossed

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5 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

Well, I guess gone are the days of cruises like back in the Titanic days of morning dress, day dress, afternoon dress, evening dress.  Like an actress said from Downton Abby, "no wonder people had personal valets, they were always changing their clothes."

 

You got it. That ship has sailed. 🙂

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13 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

Well, I guess gone are the days of cruises like back in the Titanic days of morning dress, day dress, afternoon dress, evening dress.  Like an actress said from Downton Abby, "no wonder people had personal valets, they were always changing their clothes."

 

If you would like a more structured cruise when it comes to dress codes, you may want to check out Cunard? After 6 pm, all men in most areas have to wear at least a sportscoat. 

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43 minutes ago, ScottC4746 said:

Opinions, comments?

You mentioned sailing in the past with RC. If you decide to book with Celebrity, give them your CAS numbers. Your RC C&A tier level is reciprocal with Celebrity's Captains Club  up to elite. 

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Take a look at S class ships.  The E class is new and shiny.  S class is much more functional as a cruisers ship.

 

The one thing that I did like about HAL was the views all over the ship.  We could see whales spouting in Alaska just from the MDR.  Humpbacks spouting in Cabo, etc.  

 

E class has taken away many of the views.

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We are 4star Mariners with HAL, Elite with princess and X and cruised to a lesser degree with crystal, Oceania, and royal Caribbean. Started in 1981. Seen great change of course, some good (balcony cabins) some not (cruising used to be “special” holiday it become a bus trip in water) All lines are 90% fantastic and seemingly 10% oops what were they thinking.

While the majority of cruisers in many destinations are our southern neighbours, we’ve found the personalities on board change based on the length of the cruise and destination.  Our best cruises were circumnavigation of South America - 49 days on princess, rome to hongkong, b2b2b - 44 days on Mclass X mostly UK and European guests and HAL hongkong to Vancouver 30 days,  Princess had great port reviews and lectures. X dressy and sophisticated - everyone seemed to dress for dinner every night. HAL - aging with, minimal enrichment.  But all that being said we are itinerary driven and each line delivers to our expectations based on what our expectations are for that line.  If all priced the same with the same ports - Celebrity first, HAL second, Princess third likely because their elite perks are the poorest. So looking forward to a somewhat normalization of the industry.  

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We have sailed both HAL and Celebrity and enjoyed both. Service levels are similar on both.
However, of late we have felt that HAL has suffered significant cutbacks. There are now very limited daytime activities on sea days and on our last HAL cruise the evening entertainment in the theatre was very poor. There is also much less music in the bars although they have introduced the music walk.

One thing HAL got right was the buffet restaurant where almost all the food was served for you which we consider much better. With the Coronavirus all lines should be introducing this.

I hope that helps.

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IF you plan on sailing Celebrity I would stick to the Solstice Class ships, based on your what you enjoy on a cruise. I don't think the new Edge Class ships are what you are looking for in a cruiseship experience. 

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Do not eliminate the Celebrity M class ships with around 2000 pax.  They are the oldest ships in the line but they are bright and airy and most of them have been recently refurbished.  Although the S class ships are nice with 2800 pax, we never pass up an opportunity to cruise on M class.  Our favorite bar/lounge is the Ensemble Lounge on S class ships with windows and views.  However the Sky Lounge on both M and S class is a can't miss location especially if you can score a 180 deg. table overlooking the bow of the ship.

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We sail normally twice a year have done Hal and Celebrity multiple times , celebrity some times enforced dress codes sometimes not, saw someone in cut off jean shorts and a baseball cap on backwards in celebrity mdr in evening. Entertainment is not a strong point for either but prefer Hal. We do suites and celebrity has way better perks than Hal.

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Just now, davekathy said:

Or the SS Poseidon?

More fantasy.  Sadly, cruise planning right now is 70% fantasy and 30% speculation for me.   I have not been on an airplane in a year and a half or on a cruise in over 2 years now.  It sucks, I am not happy but I believe in science and I hope that 2022 will be better for all of us.

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13 minutes ago, Mr. Click said:

More fantasy.  Sadly, cruise planning right now is 70% fantasy and 30% speculation for me.   I have not been on an airplane in a year and a half or on a cruise in over 2 years now.  It sucks, I am not happy but I believe in science and I hope that 2022 will be better for all of us.

Yup. I don't speculate.  I trust my Magic 8 Ball. 🎱😉 All of our 2020 and now 2021 cruises were/have all been wiped out by RC and Celebrity. Hopefully our RC and Celebrity 2022 cruise will be a go. Hopefully everyone, no matter their age has to be vaccinated before being allowed to cruise in 2022. But back to the topic, we prefer Celebrity over Holland America and dress suggestions have nothing to do with it.  Agree, we need to continue with making sacrifices for a better 2022. Here's to 2022. 🍻

Edited by davekathy
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3 minutes ago, davekathy said:

Yup. I don't speculate.  I trust my Magic 8 Ball. 🎱😉 All our 2020 and now 2021 cruises have all been wiped out by RC and Celebrity. Hopefully our RC and Celebrity 2022 cruise will be a go. Hopefully everyone, no matter their age has to be vaccinated before being allowed to cruise in 2022. But back to the topic, we prefer Celebrity over Holland America and dress suggestions have nothing to do with it.  Agree, we need to continue with making sacrifices for a better 2022. Here's to 2022. 🍻

 

Don't give up on 2021.  We'll be able to cruise in November or December

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3 minutes ago, davekathy said:

Yup. I don't speculate.  I trust my Magic 8 Ball. 🎱😉 All of our 2020 and now 2021 cruises were/have all been wiped out by RC and Celebrity. Hopefully our RC and Celebrity 2022 cruise will be a go. Hopefully everyone, no matter their age has to be vaccinated before being allowed to cruise in 2022. But back to the topic, we prefer Celebrity over Holland America and dress suggestions have nothing to do with it.  Agree, we need to continue with making sacrifices for a better 2022. Here's to 2022. 🍻

I gave up on the Magic 8 ball and accepted the reality that we are not going anywhere beyond a few hours drive for the rest of 2021.  Like you, all of 2020 and 2021 have been canceled by X Canceled by airlines.  For now we are just looking at ideas for 2022 and sadly crossing X off our list from the start. Their AI pricing does not work for us but that is a story for a different day.  If I had to guess, I would guess we would be on a Princess or Royal cruise sometime in 2022 through the Panama Canal.

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3 minutes ago, ipeeinthepool said:

 

Don't give up on 2021.  We'll be able to cruise in November or December

You are just itching for me to buy you that free always included drink, aren't you!

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Posted (edited)

We sailed once on HAL on their new Nieuw Statendam immediately after disembarking the Edge. Despite not being enamored of the Edge, we found it much more to our liking than the N.S.

 

I felt we were in a time warp sailing HAL. The new ship was closed in with no flow to the layout of the public spaces. Decor was dark with lots of vinyl. We prefer the buffets on Celebrity as it is much easier to get a sense of what is available and like being able to serve ourselves. And smoking was allowed by HAL in the casino at certain times which was senseless since the cigarette odor remained. We did like HALs music row. Love all the bar options on Celebrity. 
 

We like S-class best but would happily sail any Celebrity ship over any of HALs!

Edited by TMLAalum
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