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Is Holland America a Good Fit For Me?


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19 hours ago, Hlitner said:

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

 

Hank

They just renamed it. It's now the Billboard Onboard venue. The dueling pianos is quite entertaining.

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1 minute ago, LizO830 said:

They just renamed it. It's now the Billboard Onboard venue. The dueling pianos is quite entertaining.

I admit that I enjoy dueling pianos when both players have skill.  The first time I heard that format was back in the 60s when I first went to Pat O'Brian's in New Orleans.  However, there is a big difference between HAL's dueling pianos which are based on scheduled sets as opposed to a decent piano bar player (and HAL had some of the best).   Players like Barry from Boston and Stryker would often go from about 9 to midnight with a single short break.  Piano Bars also often develop a comradery among regulars (we have made some good friends in HAL's piano bars). 

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For clarification, HAL does not have dueling pianos.  It's 2 pianos playing together.  It's not the dueling format, like Howl at the Moon.  

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1 hour ago, LizO830 said:

They just renamed it. It's now the Billboard Onboard venue. The dueling pianos is quite entertaining.

 

Well, it’s two pianos not dueling pianos IMO.

 

But, it is a far cry from the piano bar.  There is a big difference.  If you have been in a piano bar which carries on and plays what the passengers want (at times) and builds camaraderie,  you know what I mean 😉 

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In Jan 2020 we had just moved and wanted total relaxation.  We booked HAL knowing it would be quiet.  It was and we had a chance to unwind.  However, it was even more sedate than we remembered.  The cruise director staff consisted of about 2 people plus the child care staff.  There was no live music at the pool or during sail away.  There wasn’t a band at any of the shows, just recorded music and a light show with a handful of dancers.  We are not night owls, but the bars were vacant long before 10 pm.  And, there is no place except room service to get a cookie, ice cream, or anything sweet after 8pm because the buffet closes.  HAL has some lovely itineraries and the crew is great, but the line needs an infusion of energy.

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40 minutes ago, 81Zoomie said:

In Jan 2020 we had just moved and wanted total relaxation.  We booked HAL knowing it would be quiet.  It was and we had a chance to unwind.  However, it was even more sedate than we remembered.  The cruise director staff consisted of about 2 people plus the child care staff.  There was no live music at the pool or during sail away.  There wasn’t a band at any of the shows, just recorded music and a light show with a handful of dancers.  We are not night owls, but the bars were vacant long before 10 pm.  And, there is no place except room service to get a cookie, ice cream, or anything sweet after 8pm because the buffet closes.  HAL has some lovely itineraries and the crew is great, but the line needs an infusion of energy.

HAL does have a late night buffet at least, they did, on my last cruise.  It started around 10.  Perhaps it wasn’t every night. 

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I have always thought the reason HAL shuts down at night is not because everyone is old and worn out but because they do have port intensive journeys.  I am usually off the ship by 8 am and may explore until 4 or 5 pm and if in port overnight we might go out for the evening.  Nights before days at sea tend to be more active on ship. 

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We are looking forward to our first HAL cruise in November.  Southern Car.   Just want to be on a ship!   From what I read - seems like Rotterdam will give us options in the evening.  


Betty

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4 minutes ago, Mary229 said:

HAL does have a late night buffet at least, they did, on my last cruise.  It started around 10.  Perhaps it wasn’t every night. 

There is a regular late meal at 10:30 PM every evening for the staff that are working during the regular dinner time (Spa, entertainers, Shops, etc.) and passengers may participate.

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2 minutes ago, BettyPC said:

We are looking forward to our first HAL cruise in November.  Southern Car.   Just want to be on a ship!   From what I read - seems like Rotterdam will give us options in the evening.  


Betty

Here is a link to the daily activities on a Pinnacle-class ship (Rotterdam) to give you an idea of what to expect onboard: 

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/on-locations-specific-cruises/caribbean-ms-nieuw-statendam-7-day-including-key-west-when-where-2019/

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4 hours ago, LizO830 said:

They just renamed it. It's now the Billboard Onboard venue. The dueling pianos is quite entertaining.

A Piano Bar and Duel Pianos are two totally different concepts. They are not at all the same. 

I, too, miss the Piano Bars. I would even accept the Piano Lounges that the R-class ships had, but there was nothing like the true Piano Bars on the original configurations of the S-class ships, and even the Vista ships. 

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33 minutes ago, Crew News said:

Here is a link to the daily activities on a Pinnacle-class ship (Rotterdam) to give you an idea of what to expect onboard: 

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/on-locations-specific-cruises/caribbean-ms-nieuw-statendam-7-day-including-key-west-when-where-2019/

Thank you so much!   Very helpful - looks like lots to keep us busy!

 

Betty

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18 minutes ago, BettyPC said:

Thank you so much!   Very helpful - looks like lots to keep us busy!

 

Betty

Here is a link to my photo review of the Nieuw Statendam (sister ship to Rotterdam) that with the exception of some decor, should be the same.:

 

https://rogerjett-photography.com/photo-reviews/ms-nieuw-statendam-images/

 

Feel free to ask lots of questions to help in your planning.

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One of my favorite HAL "activities" happened on the Prinsendam during a 2 month Grand Med cruise when the then CD (Thom Faulkner) had "Animal Toss" on the schedule for every sea day.  This involved passengers (almost all of us were seniors) tossing stuffed animals at a target.  Seeing a group of Seniors (some using their walkers) standing in the Crow's Nest tossing stuffed Teddy Bears over their shoulder was quite a sight :).  Only on HAL.

 

Hank

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HAL has good itineraries, but the ship life seemed more like a rest home to me.  The "entertainment and night life" was the worst I have ever seen on any cruise line.  Even their "party night" was like a sleep party with a few people playing the piano.  We are early 60, not the party type, but it was pretty boring.

Having said that, if HAL had a great itinerary at a good price, I would sail with them again and just treat the ship like a hotel. 

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