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Princess vs Holland America


LynnSD
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On 4/16/2021 at 10:33 AM, Tennessee Titan said:

Unfortunately, we all can only talk about the past. NO ONE knows what any cruise line (rexcept of course for the physical ships)  will look like when they reopen...

Great point. I am really worried cruise lines after a year or more of no cruising are going to be penny pinchers initially.  Cheaper food offerings, fewer courses, etc. 

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6 hours ago, JeffElizabeth said:

Great point. I am really worried cruise lines after a year or more of no cruising are going to be penny pinchers initially.  Cheaper food offerings, fewer courses, etc. 

I think that might be true and I think the hotel/restaurant crew might be a bit off because of the new protocols.   I am hoping some ships do sail from the US this fall so we can get some first hand reports.

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20 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

I think the hotel/restaurant crew might be a bit off because of the new protocols

 

That's a reasonable thought.  "Rust" sets in when skills are not used for awhile.  The new protocols will require remembering to follow them and not do "what I once did".  

 

Cheapening the cuisine, entertainment, etc.:  if they would choose to do so, that would be a poor business decision in my opinion.  If anything, enhancing those offerings would be a wise business strategy.  

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9 hours ago, rkacruiser said:

Cheapening the cuisine, entertainment, etc.:  if they would choose to do so, that would be a poor business decision in my opinion.  If anything, enhancing those offerings would be a wise business strategy.

I agree.  I am hoping that the decision makers will follow my thinking and throw everything at the first six months to create good press with the fewer pax permitted onboard.  They will need good reviews and the last thing needed is cutbacks in quality or peformance.

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My view:

 

Food in the buffet and MDR have been better on HAL (obviously personal and variable).

Specialty restaurant gets a slight benefit for HAL with Pinnacle Grill being, by far, the best from either line - though that tends to be the only specialty option on HAL that we like.  On Princess, specialty options are all fine-to-good, and tend to be more varied.

Princess offers really great dining experiences with chef's table, UBD, etc. HAL has nothing close.

Princess ships tend to be gold/silver and shiny, and tend to have a more wow factor. HAL more reds/blues - still elegant, but not as opulent.

I've found HAL ships intended to relaxing - with an quiet observation lounge and promenade.  

I've found the live music on HAL to be exceptional.  

My personal view is that Princess has more going on in the day, and their events are a bit more high energy. 

Princess is probably ahead on tech.  From the website to their wifi to their interactive systems onboard - they do well here.  HAL is functional, but not flashy.

 

Live shows are about the same.

Service is good on both.

 

Overall, we strongly prefer HAL - but that's because we are looking for the environment that HAL puts forward.

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5 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

My personal view is that Princess has more going on in the day, and their events are a bit more high energy. 

 

When one compares the Princess Patters for the same type of cruise, i.e. Alaska 7 day itinerary, with a HAL When and Where:  there is no comparison as to the onboard events that's available.  Princess wins.

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8 hours ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

My view:

 

..............................

 

Live shows are about the same.

Service is good on both.

 

Overall, we strongly prefer HAL - but that's because we are looking for the environment that HAL puts forward.

How on earth can you say that live shows are about the same when HAL completely eliminated their major Production Shows prior to the COVID shutdown.  HAL's idea of evening entertainment was sometimes showing a documentary movie while Princess was continuing Production Shows, piano bars (also gone from most HAL vessels), party bands. etc.

 

Personally we enjoyed both lines (5* on HAL and Elite on Princess) and thought both lines had their pros and cons.  I did not find the food on either line to be anything more then normal cruise cuisine with a few exceptions.  As to specialty restaurants we were more impressed with the Pinnacle when they served lunch then at dinner.  And the Princess Crown Grill (and Italian venue) were nothing special.  The truth is that neither line's alternative restaurants compared with some of the offerings we have had on other lines.  

 

But none of us has a clue as to what we will find after COVID.  DW and I will likely book mostly the higher end lines (where the food is consistently better) until we see some reviews of the mass market lines.  We do have a long HAL cruise booked for the Spring of 2022 and will probably have some indications prior to final payment whether to keep that booking.

 

Hank

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11 hours ago, Hlitner said:

How on earth can you say that live shows are about the same when HAL completely eliminated their major Production Shows prior to the COVID shutdown.  HAL's idea of evening entertainment was sometimes showing a documentary movie while Princess was continuing Production Shows, piano bars (also gone from most HAL vessels), party bands. etc.

 

... 

 

 

Hank

 

I hadn't heard that HAL stopped their production shows.  I haven't cruised on HAL since summer 2019 (?, NA), but they were still doing the shows at that time.

 

When did production shows stop?  And, is HAL still doing guest entertainers?

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27 minutes ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

 

I hadn't heard that HAL stopped their production shows.  I haven't cruised on HAL since summer 2019 (?, NA), but they were still doing the shows at that time.

 

When did production shows stop?  And, is HAL still doing guest entertainers?

It was sometime in 2019 that HAL announced they were ceasing production shows.  To some degree they were to be replaced by Guest Entertainers but HAL also uses documentary movies (as their main show) and "dark nights" (no show) on longer cruises.   Here is a link to just one of the related threads (there are many others):

No more production shows? - Holland America Line - Cruise Critic Community

 

Hank

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56 minutes ago, Jeremiah On a Cruise said:

When did production shows stop?  And, is HAL still doing guest entertainers?

We still had production shows on my last cruise, which was also in the summer of 2019. And there were always guest entertainers on board---much better than the production shows, if you ask me. 

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Posted (edited)

The last thing we want on a cruise is a cheesy production show.

 

 Much prefer a guest entertainer as long as it is not a magician.

Edited by iancal
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I have been surprised how many people really enjoy the production shows.  It cuts across generations which really surprised me.  We use production show nights for luxuriating in the empty pools and hot tubs.  We prefer stand up and solo/small group artists.  For us even the lounges could be disc jockeys with the possible exception of a piano bar.  The docuseries they present in theater might be better enjoyed under the stars on the huge outdoor screens or as we did - in room.

 

  Give me more high quality lectures and a decent wifi connection and I am happy.  

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Regarding production shows on HAL, this leads me to a major gripe as a shareholder of CCL as well as a HAL guest.

 

Millions and millions have been spent over the years on the showrooms on HAL ships for production facilities that have been extremely poorly used.  The World Stage concept on the Nieuw Statendam (my only experience thus far on a ship of that class) REALLY irritated me.  The "Theater in the Round" concept--which intrigued me when I learned about it--was a dismal failure in the productions that I attended.  

 

It seems to me that an entertainment Executive V-P for the company develops these innovative ideas.  Then, either he/she leaves the company (and the plans wither) or someone else further up in the "food chain" overrules those plans.  

 

Meanwhile, millions of dollars have been spent on "stuff" that is not being appropriately used.  

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On my last HAL cruise, the main stage entertainment was atrocious.  It was a movie on one night and a port lecture on another.  They did have 2 production shows (Step One, I think they were called) but the talent was the worst I've seen on a cruise.  One of the shows had about a 5 minute period where all they did was flash the lights with no one on stage.  

 

HAL and Princess are worlds apart with entertainment.  

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On 4/19/2021 at 2:46 PM, Mary229 said:

  Give me more high quality lectures and a decent wifi connection and I am happy.  

 

I second the request for good lecturers. This can't be a huge expense to a cruise line, and it's a draw for a line that attracts an older crowd. 

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Just now, Maya_C said:

 

I second the request for good lecturers. This can't be a huge expense to a cruise line, and it's a draw for a line that attracts an older crowd. 

Age, maybe but it definitely draws a more sophisticated crowd.  For me HAL's strength has been its in depth itineraries with a program to match.  I live and have always lived in big cities, if I want night life I know where to go.  I cruise for enrichment.  

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We believe that food and entertainment are so inconsistent on cruise lines that it really would not matter if the label on the ship was HAL, Princess, or something else.  Not to mention personal tastes.

 

We do not see a great deal of difference, other than the size of the ship and the onboard amenities.

 

We have excellent food and mediocre food on both cruise lines.

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Our last cruise before lockdown was Princess, which offered a production show, a game or trivia event , and some kind of music in 3 bars in the evening; plus movies  or concerts on the outdoor screen.  
The upcoming Holland America  cruise is a CA coastal getaway so I understand it may be limited, but I’ll be really disappointed if there is nothing to do after dinner!

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56 minutes ago, LynnSD said:

Our last cruise before lockdown was Princess, which offered a production show, a game or trivia event , and some kind of music in 3 bars in the evening; plus movies  or concerts on the outdoor screen.  
The upcoming Holland America  cruise is a CA coastal getaway so I understand it may be limited, but I’ll be really disappointed if there is nothing to do after dinner!

Maybe I missed it but what ship are you sailing? You will get the production show, some trivia, live music.  The outdoor movies depend on the ship and the variety of live music will depend on the ship.  HAL is trying to make its mark as a music entertainment venue with BB Kings, The Rolling Stones and others.   

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17 minutes ago, LynnSD said:

Koningsdam for a week.  Thanks for the info.   We’d be happy with the music venues.  

With the Koningsdam you will get the full slate of music venues and an outdoor movie theater.  If you are a person who likes the evening bands with a dance floor, this is the ship for you.  

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