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Is Holland America a Good Fit For Me?


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I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

I would like to give Holland another chance.   What ship would you recommend?  My husband and I are early 60's, love the night life and martini bars, good entertainment and music.

 

 

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Based on what you like, I would recommend Celebrity over Holland. However, Holland is a great option over holiday or other busy weeks. The holiday cruises on HAL tend to have multi-generational groups, and the additional younger people onboard make for a fun cruise. I think the nightlife does still close down fairly early, but we find it works for us. We're in our 30's but we don't need to stay up super late every night. We enjoy meeting other guests at the bars and listening to the live music. Plus Holland has really good food and service.

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The pinnacle class ships would fit the bill nicely - Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam & Rotterdam.  The signature class would be a close second - Eurodam & Nieuw Amsterdam.

 

Sue/WDW1972

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We have yet to cruise on the newer (and larger) Pinnacle Class ships but have been on nearly every other HAL vessel.   If night life is a priority I would never recommend HAL.  On most of our cruises the large majority of cruisers are in their cabins by 10 and late night live entertainment is very limited.   In fact, prior to COVID HAL had eliminated Production Shows in favor of guest entertainers (who are expected to perform twice) and they sometimes even show a BBC Documentary movies and call that their main evening entertainment.   Since you are looking for a Martini Bar, evening entertainment, etc. I think Celebrity would be a much better fit.

 

That being said, we do not have any clue to what kind of product HAL will have post COVID.  The company has some new management and perhaps that will lead to some positive changes.

 

Hank

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1 minute ago, Hlitner said:

We have yet to cruise on the newer (and larger) Pinnacle Class ships but have been on nearly every other HAL vessel.   If night life is a priority I would never recommend HAL.  On most of our cruises the large majority of cruisers are in their cabins by 10 and late night live entertainment is very limited.   In fact, prior to COVID HAL had eliminated Production Shows in favor of guest entertainers (who are expected to perform twice) and they sometimes even show a BBC Documentary movies and call that their main evening entertainment.   Since you are looking for a Martini Bar, evening entertainment, etc. I think Celebrity would be a much better fit.

 

That being said, we do not have any clue to what kind of product HAL will have post COVID.  The company has some new management and perhaps that will lead to some positive changes.

 

Hank

Unfortunately everyone has their own definition of what this sentence means.

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1 hour ago, Lovincruisin1321 said:

I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

 

 

I can't imagine everyone in their cabin by 10 pm on a NYE's cruise, but I'll take your word for it.

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One of the new Pinnacle Class ships would work well for you.  There is live music entertainment with a BB Kings show starting as late as 11:00 PM.  Movies under the stars at the indoor pool are pretty cool with a pizza and chicken wings at hand. 

 

Here is a daily activities brochure from my Dec 2019 cruise to give you an idea of what to expect:

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/NS-CZ-Day-04-Jamaica.pdf

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17 minutes ago, Crew News said:

One of the new Pinnacle Class ships would work well for you.  There is live music entertainment with a BB Kings show starting as late as 11:00 PM.  Movies under the stars at the indoor pool are pretty cool with a pizza and chicken wings at hand. 

 

Here is a daily activities brochure from my Dec 2019 cruise to give you an idea of what to expect:

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/here/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/NS-CZ-Day-04-Jamaica.pdf

Tell us about the big Production Shows on the Pinnacle Class and the Piano Bar.

 

Hank

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I would make my own decision based on where I was going.  HAL is great for port intensive itineraries, long cruises and specialized Alaska cruises.   If that is why you are going then it is a great line.  If you want a lively Caribbean or Med cruise it would not be my first choice.

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26 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

Tell us about the big Production Shows on the Pinnacle Class and the Piano Bar.

 

Hank

On my two cruises on Pinnacle Class ships, I have yet to attend a single production show so others will have to answer your questions.

 

The live music venues and movies have occupied my after-dinner activities.  I was fortunate to attend a BB King show on their first season and cannot get enough of their live music on subsequent sailings.  The Rolling Stone brings back lots of R&R memories.

 

The attraction of current movies on a huge screen while relaxing on a lounger with a table of snacks (popcorn, pizza, and chicken wings) at hand attracts me more than giant production shows.

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2 hours ago, Lovincruisin1321 said:

I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

I would like to give Holland another chance.   What ship would you recommend?  My husband and I are early 60's, love the night life and martini bars, good entertainment and music.

 

 

The intineray is more importan the the ship.   For a NYE cruise in the carribean, every  on every cruise line ship will be  party central.....That being said, the Pinnacle class HAL ships have more options for entertainment.

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I'm 55, and if you want to try HAL again,  I would recommend either the Koningsdam, Nieuw Statendam, or the new Rotterdam.  All of these are Pinnacle class ships, and the Pinnacles are the largest of all HAL ships.  You may find there is "more for you to do" on the larger ships....like NOTES, the whisky bar.

 

They have the added venue to the Music Walk of the Rolling Stones Rock Room, as well as the asian fusion restaurant Tamarind, along with Nami Sushi.

 

Not sure if you are a "walk the Promenade" kind of person (I am not) but the Promenade is narrower than the other classes of ships.  I find that the Pinnacles are my favourite of all the classes.

 

L.

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7 hours ago, Lovincruisin1321 said:

I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

I would like to give Holland another chance.   What ship would you recommend?  My husband and I are early 60's, love the night life and martini bars, good entertainment and music.

 

 

My wife and I are also in our early 60s.  We sail on Holland America with our son (27yo).  We have sailed on several cruises on HAL and have 3 booked.  We love HAL for the crew.  The entertainment has never disappointed for us.  The Planet Earth shows are phenomenal and the Lincoln stage shows also enjoyable. The main stage shows are not Broadway but are always great.  The food  is very good.  We celebrated our 25th anniv. with my mother , our son and 2 great friends on the Veendam in Alaska. We also took the Veendam to Hawaii and have sailed Neiuw Amsterdam, Noordam and Zuiderdam .  I recommend that you give HAL another try.  BTW, I am seldom back to my stateroom before 1AM.  We have been sailing exclusively HAL and RCL due to the crews.

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8 hours ago, Lovincruisin1321 said:

I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

I would like to give Holland another chance.   What ship would you recommend?  My husband and I are early 60's, love the night life and martini bars, good entertainment and music.

 

 

I think it really depends on what you mean by night life. HAL has the music walk (someone will have to remind me what time these close down usually), as well as something in the crows nest after 10. That said. Around 10 or 1030 the ship basically shuts down. I am a night owl and usually walk around an empty ship by 11 or so. There may be some stragglers in the crows nest but other than one Panama Canal cruise that had a lot of 50s and 60s couples that kept the crows nest open I don’t remember much else going on late. 
 

I love HAL but I think Celebrity or Princess would be a better fit for night life. You may even look at Royal or NCL. Any of these will have more night life and a much younger and more late night crowd. 

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16 hours ago, Roz said:

 

I can't imagine everyone in their cabin by 10 pm on a NYE's cruise, but I'll take your word for it.

Well, my husband and I were on a NYE cruise.  Yes, aside from NYE, all other nights we had the ship to ourselves after 10pm.  Great way to meet the staff and bartenders but no social life.  

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Thanks to Everyone!

 

I also researched some videos on YouTube about Holland.  Great reviews on itinerary and ships but all stated the same about a bit more "traditional" "sedentary" cruise vibe.   

 

Recommendations also led to Celebrity.

 

Food, service and entertainment makes me lean towards Celebrity and yes, I LOVE the Martini Bar!!

 

If you look at my cruise history, you will see we primarily cruise Celebrity and Royal.

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We love HAL and sailed several of their ships. As others have already said, food, staff etc are usually great, and we especially like the options for scenic sailing as we have usually found vantage points without any difficulty.  And they also sometimes open up outdoor viewing spaces and bring round hot soup  or hot chocolate, but they are definitely quieter in the late evenings.

 

Much will depend on your itinerary.and if it is port intensive or not.

 

As an example, a Med cruise with ports for further away destinations such a Rome, Florence, Seville and others  could have these on consecutive days and they are long days with early starts..(10 or 11 hour touring is not uncommon).Shorex and DIY touring when the distance from the port can be around 2 hours each way, with sightseeing time in addition often means that folks are tired after a few of these days and perhaps have another long one the following day, so they are more likely to have a few earlier bedtimes than threy would usually want.

 

So, depending on your itinerary I would give HAL another chance.

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Posted (edited)
45 minutes ago, edinburgher said:

We love HAL and sailed several of their ships. As others have already said, food, staff etc are usually great, and we especially like the options for scenic sailing as we have usually found vantage points without any difficulty.  And they also sometimes open up outdoor viewing spaces and bring round hot soup  or hot chocolate, but they are definitely quieter in the late evenings.

 

Much will depend on your itinerary.and if it is port intensive or not.

 

As an example, a Med cruise with ports for further away destinations such a Rome, Florence, Seville and others  could have these on consecutive days and they are long days with early starts..(10 or 11 hour touring is not uncommon).Shorex and DIY touring when the distance from the port can be around 2 hours each way, with sightseeing time in addition often means that folks are tired after a few of these days and perhaps have another long one the following day, so they are more likely to have a few earlier bedtimes than threy would usually want.

 

So, depending on your itinerary I would give HAL another chance.

 You are right about the wonderful and port intensive itineraries.  Although the small ship we were on was just a 5 night Caribbean and still 10pm turn ins resulting in quiet ship - We may give it another shot with different expectations.  Thanks

Edited by Lovincruisin1321
I didn't complete my sentence
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If you want night life on HAL, you will have to book the larger ships during the holidays.  Otherwise it gets quiet quickly.  The piano bar might be a sole exception,  especially with the 10pm happy hour. 

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totally agree with the previous posters about doing the larger ships.. My neighbors do the world cruises with hal on the smaller ships in the fleet and evenings sound a little boring. They talked us  into trying hal and we did the nieuw statendam and thanks to the rock club and BB KIng's we had great evenings every night..They did away with the  live orchestra for the production numbers in the showroom and the canned music was a huge letdown..I assume that the reason was financial and thankfully that $ saved pays the bands in the aforementioned lounges.We usually sail with rccl and celebrity and the perks that we get on them for frequent sailings are a huge bonus.. We are going to sail on the new rotterdam in mar of 22' and that is only because we got a tremendous casino rate for the cruise...I must mention that the food and service on hal were on par with celebrity and everyone was very professional and polite...Life is good no matter where you sail. best wishes

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6 hours ago, JeffElizabeth said:

If you want night life on HAL, you will have to book the larger ships during the holidays.  Otherwise it gets quiet quickly.  The piano bar might be a sole exception,  especially with the 10pm happy hour. 

I believe that HAL has eliminated the Piano Bar from a majority of their ships.   

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)

The itinerary, cruise length, ports, season, all can make a difference.  The first segment of our Hawaii cruise was a two night booze crooze to Vancouver and B.B. King's was wall to wall people at any given time.  But on one of the sea days for our Hawaii segment I walked the ship on a sleepless night and it was absolutely dead, and it couldn't of been much past 10:00.  

Edited by atexsix
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We really like the long European cruises.  So, nightlife isn't that important to us, since we are crazy busy during the days.  But, the Caribbean is a different story.  I would cruise the larger ships, as others have mentioned, for the music venues particularly.  I do miss the Ocean Bar for Happy Hour, with the three piece bands.  That was so enjoyable.  We always loved the smaller ships, but that is simply a personal choice.  We like it somewhat quiet, since that's how we are.  Have fun in selecting a cruise.  It's fun planning ahead.

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On 7/21/2021 at 12:41 PM, Lovincruisin1321 said:

I have only sailed on Holland America one time - a short New Year's Eve Caribbean cruise.

 

It was a smaller ship and I was disappointed with the lack of activities and everyone turned into their staterooms by 10pm.

 

I would like to give Holland another chance.   What ship would you recommend?  My husband and I are early 60's, love the night life and martini bars, good entertainment and music.

 

 

I'll echo what some said, and that's if you do go HAL, make sure you book a Pinnacle Class ship.  I last cruised their second oldest class, Signature Class, and swore them off because the entertainment was so bad and so lacking. 

 

I too enjoyed Music Walk but the truth is, it is the exact same acts every single night.  After 3 nights, you've heard it all.  HAL's main theater acts, even on Pinnacle ships, is some of the worst in the cruise industry.  There is no relaxing piano bar, or solo, or down-tempo music lounges on HAL anymore.  No more live poolside entertainment either.

 

I totally agree with the post that recommended Celebrity based on your preferences.  HAL has nothing like Celebrity's martini bars with the bartender performers and swanky music.  

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