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dougnewmanatsea

An Introduction to the Ships and Classes of the HAL Fleet

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I've always considered Prinsendam to be in a class by herself. Nancy

 

 

I'm just curious as to why? What makes her so different? Isn't the age of the ship starting to show?

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...As faith would have it, Premier Cruise Line ran into financial difficulties. On 13 September, 2000 during a northbound New England/Canada cruise, her captain was ordered to return his ship to Halifax, Nova Scotia. After off-loading her passengers, the ss Rembrandt was placed under arrest. As a special condition of her warrants, she was allowed to depart for Freeport, the Bahamas where she arrived on 30 December 2000 and was laid-up pending sale. Premier Cruise Lines filed for bankruptcy and went out of business.

 

Ship+Photo+Rembrandt.jpg

 

We were aboard when she was arrested. I recall, standing in line in Halifax for the tender back to the ship, saying "Halifax was a delightful town, we should come back some time!" Little did we know that time would be early the following AM after the bankruptcy announcement. I was still happy that we had a few days aboard such a magnificent ship, with the unchanged decor showing the pride of the nation in their flagship from the era.

 

I'm told she is being well cared for in her new life as a conference center.

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One of the most common questions we get on these boards, particularly from new members, is about the different "classes" of HAL ships - the Vista-class, S-class, and so on. Naturally, everyone wants to know which ships are in each class, and what the differences are.

 

With that in mind, I decided to post this "sticky" post explaining the different "classes". I hope this clarifies the situation.

 

Now, let's meet the different HAL ships, starting with the smallest and oldest:

PRINSENDAM

 

PRINSENDAM - Built 1988 - 37,983 Gross Tons - 793 passengers

 

The smallest and oldest HAL ship, she is in a class by herself. She generally does the longest and most expensive cruises. She is the only HAL ship not built for the line, she was built in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, became SEABOURN SUN in 2000 and then PRINSENDAM in 2002. Among things that separate her from the rest of the HAL ships - she does not have a two-deck dining room or main lounge, an indoor/outdoor pool, or dedicated children's facilities. Her smaller, more intimate size and off-the-beaten path itineraries are appreciated by her increasingly loyal following.

 

S-class

 

STATENDAM - 1993 - 55,810 GT - 1,251 pax

MAASDAM - 1993 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

RYNDAM - 1994 - 55,819 GT - 1,251 pax

VEENDAM - 1996 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

 

These four ships are the "backbone" of the HAL fleet. They are virtually identical except for color schemes and artwork. They were the first new HAL cruise ships to have features like the atrium, the two-deck high dining room and main lounge, and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. These very versatile ships have done everything from 7-day Caribbean and Alaska cruises to full World Cruises. Recently they have been upgraded with features like the Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant and the Neptune Lounge concierge lounge (for suite passengers).

 

R-class

 

ROTTERDAM - 1997 - 59,652 GT - 1,316 pax

VOLENDAM - 1998 - 60,906 GT - 1,440 pax

ZAANDAM - 1999 - 61,396 GT - 1,440 pax

AMSTERDAM - 2000 - 61,484 GT - 1,380 pax

 

The R-class ships are very similar to the S-class, but a bit longer and wider. Unlike the S-class, they are not all identical. The first of the four was ROTTERDAM. Specially designed for longer cruises, she is the fastest ship in the fleet. She also introduced new features like an alternative restaurant, concierge lounge, and Internet Cafe (all since retrofitted to the older ships as well). VOLENDAM and ZAANDAM followed; they are similar to ROTTERDAM but slower (the same speed as the S-class ships) and are a bit larger because the aft pool was moved up one deck, creating more indoor space on the deck below. Unlike ROTTERDAM, they were designed for yeoman duty in the Caribbean and Alaska though they also are suitable for longer cruises. Like the S-class ships, only decor separates these twins. The final R-class ship, like AMSTERDAM, like a hybrid of ROTTERDAM and VOLENDAM/ZAANDAM. She is faster than VOLENDAM or ZAANDAM but not as fast as ROTTERDAM. Like ROTTERDAM, she was built specially for longer voyages. ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM, together, are considered HAL's "flagships" and along with PRINSENDAM they usually do the longest and most prestigious cruises - the World Cruise along with the various Grand Voyages.

 

Vista-class

 

ZUIDERDAM - 2002 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax

OOSTERDAM - 2003 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax

WESTERDAM - 2004 - 81,811 GT - 1,848 pax

NOORDAM - 2006 - 82,318 GT - 1,918 pax

 

These are the biggest and newest HAL ships currently in service. They were designed mainly for shorter (less than two weeks) cruises in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe. Like the S-class, they represented a departure from previous HAL ships in size and design. While bigger than HAL's other ships, they are still much smaller than some competitors' ships which are now sometimes bigger than 150,000 GT and can carry over 3,500 passengers (Royal Caribbean have now ordered a ship that will be 220,000 GT and carry over 5,000 passengers). These ships are notable because of the exceptionally high number of private balconies - over two-thirds of cabins have them. They are called the Vista-class because they are named after the points of the compass in Dutch - Zuid (South), Oost (East), West, and Noord (North). The first three are identical; NOORDAM incorporates a few design changes which make her larger and have a slightly higher passenger capacity.

 

Signature-class

 

This will be two (or more) ships which will be larger, improved versions of the Vista-class, much as the R-class can be considered improved versions of the S-class. Right now there are few details but they will probably be about 90,000 GT with a passenger capacity of about 2,000.

 

 

Thank you for this! I am considering my options for a highschool grad vacation with my daughter in Nov 2019. I have been on 8 Celebrity cruises, 1 Royal Caribbean, and 1 Norwegian (which was a last min. change as our Celebrity cruise was changed d/t engine repairs). I found NCL and RCCL to really nickel and dime (NLC's drink pkg does not include bottled water!). We love Celebrity as it just feels different- attentive staff who seem to love their jobs, perhaps this is due to their 1:2 staff to guest ratio?

And we are big foodies- love the AquaClass where we eat in the Blu dining room with no set dining time. Not really into night life- I'm a morning person, so up at 6:30 sitting on the balcony enjoying a chai tea, and love snorkelling and in the ocean, as opposed to land tours, and we always book excursions off the ship- much better and with less people.

 

My question is, given all of this info, do people recommend I try HA? Any advice is greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Caroline from Toronto, Canada.

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Love this thread! MDH and I have 13 Celebrity cruises under our belt and due to recent experiences decided that whether it was our tastes changing, or Celebrity's vibe changing, it was time to try something new. After a three year hiatus from cruising we have booked our first HAL cruise on the Nieuw Amsterdam for February 3, 2019 in cabin 7106. It has been too long! We are taking my 80 yo mother and her cousin, they'll be in the cabin next door (7110). We are very excited about the music venues and the specialty dining. My mother and husband are very excited about "high tea". We are running out to a work event in a sticky hot and humid afternoon (I'll close my eyes and dream of being on the high seas) but I did have a question for the experienced crowd here. I need reassurance that the aft cabins we booked were a good choice. I want cabins above and below for sound management and I wanted a balcony that my 6'2" husband could sit on without hugging his knees. I read in one of the threads on CC that the midship verandas are very shallow (4' deep) and decided to go for aft on the navigation deck to get a standard balcony depth. Thoughts? Experience with these cabins or similar? Thanks for any input offered. Happy cruising!

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I am looking at a cruise on Rotterdam and am curious about the lanai opening to the promenade.  How does this work?  Can anyone walk by your cabin?  Are there private balconies?  What are the best locations on the ship?  Thanks, Alicr

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All the cabins are on the Lower Promenade Deck. Everybody walks by, no private balconies. There are two deck chairs by your door reserved for your room. You'll have to keep your curtains closed at night because people can see in with the lights on.

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I think it's safe, never heard of anyone having a problem. Privacy does seem to be or can be an issue. We've never had one of those cabins, we are very happy with an Ocean View or even an interior as we spend very little time in our cabin. We did get an up grade to a balcony on one cruise. Which ever cabin you decide enjoy your cruise. 

Allan

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Cabin VB 6162 Alaska cruise Westerdam. Deck 6 veranda,

stern. Can't decide if this would be great or terrible. Anyone?

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1 hour ago, GJHR said:

Cabin VB 6162 Alaska cruise Westerdam. Deck 6 veranda,

stern. Can't decide if this would be great or terrible. Anyone?

DW and I love stern cabins. I wouldn't hesitate to book it.

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Cabin 6036 VB quad eurdam

 

I have been assigned this cabin. I am a single. 

 

Anyone know if pullman pull down is stationary or does it retract. Hopefully it folds back into wall. Help!

 

Jo Ann

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13 minutes ago, taosjellybean said:

Cabin 6036 VB quad eurdam

 

I have been assigned this cabin. I am a single. 

 

Anyone know if pullman pull down is stationary or does it retract. Hopefully it folds back into wall. Help!

 

Jo Ann

You've asked this question in four different threads. It was adequately answered, with pictures, in the first thread where you asked.

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Hi Ruth

 

I  am obviously having computer problems or I do not know what I am doing? More likely! 

I would really like to know what the answer was to my question. Leaving Feb 3 and hate to have surprises. 

 

Would you  be so kind as to tell me where this post is because I cannot find it?

Need to read more Holland America for Dummies I guess. 

 

Jo Ann

 

 

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1 hour ago, taosjellybean said:

Would you  be so kind as to tell me where this post is because I cannot find it?

Hold your cursor over your avatar. A block will pop up listing some choices; the one on the right will offer to show your posts. Click on that.
You will now get a list of your most recent posts, with the first several words of that post, the thread title, and the name of the thread. Look for the one where you asked the question in a thread someone else started. It is not the 'HAL for Dummies' thread, or the 'Need Help Using the Boards' thread, but I can't remember who started it.

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On 5/22/2006 at 6:27 AM, dougnewmanatsea said:

One of the most common questions we get on these boards, particularly from new members, is about the different "classes" of HAL ships - the Vista-class, S-class, and so on. Naturally, everyone wants to know which ships are in each class, and what the differences are.

 

With that in mind, I decided to post this "sticky" post explaining the different "classes". I hope this clarifies the situation.

 

Now, let's meet the different HAL ships, starting with the smallest and oldest:

PRINSENDAM

 

PRINSENDAM - Built 1988 - 37,983 Gross Tons - 793 passengers

 

The smallest and oldest HAL ship, she is in a class by herself. She generally does the longest and most expensive cruises. She is the only HAL ship not built for the line, she was built in 1988 as the ROYAL VIKING SUN, became SEABOURN SUN in 2000 and then PRINSENDAM in 2002. Among things that separate her from the rest of the HAL ships - she does not have a two-deck dining room or main lounge, an indoor/outdoor pool, or dedicated children's facilities. Her smaller, more intimate size and off-the-beaten path itineraries are appreciated by her increasingly loyal following.

 

S-class

 

STATENDAM - 1993 - 55,810 GT - 1,251 pax

MAASDAM - 1993 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

RYNDAM - 1994 - 55,819 GT - 1,251 pax

VEENDAM - 1996 - 55,451 GT - 1,251 pax

 

These four ships are the "backbone" of the HAL fleet. They are virtually identical except for color schemes and artwork. They were the first new HAL cruise ships to have features like the atrium, the two-deck high dining room and main lounge, and the indoor/outdoor Lido pool. These very versatile ships have done everything from 7-day Caribbean and Alaska cruises to full World Cruises. Recently they have been upgraded with features like the Pinnacle Grill alternative restaurant and the Neptune Lounge concierge lounge (for suite passengers).

 

R-class

 

ROTTERDAM - 1997 - 59,652 GT - 1,316 pax

VOLENDAM - 1998 - 60,906 GT - 1,440 pax

ZAANDAM - 1999 - 61,396 GT - 1,440 pax

AMSTERDAM - 2000 - 61,484 GT - 1,380 pax

 

The R-class ships are very similar to the S-class, but a bit longer and wider. Unlike the S-class, they are not all identical. The first of the four was ROTTERDAM. Specially designed for longer cruises, she is the fastest ship in the fleet. She also introduced new features like an alternative restaurant, concierge lounge, and Internet Cafe (all since retrofitted to the older ships as well). VOLENDAM and ZAANDAM followed; they are similar to ROTTERDAM but slower (the same speed as the S-class ships) and are a bit larger because the aft pool was moved up one deck, creating more indoor space on the deck below. Unlike ROTTERDAM, they were designed for yeoman duty in the Caribbean and Alaska though they also are suitable for longer cruises. Like the S-class ships, only decor separates these twins. The final R-class ship, like AMSTERDAM, like a hybrid of ROTTERDAM and VOLENDAM/ZAANDAM. She is faster than VOLENDAM or ZAANDAM but not as fast as ROTTERDAM. Like ROTTERDAM, she was built specially for longer voyages. ROTTERDAM and AMSTERDAM, together, are considered HAL's "flagships" and along with PRINSENDAM they usually do the longest and most prestigious cruises - the World Cruise along with the various Grand Voyages.

 

Vista-class

 

ZUIDERDAM - 2002 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax

OOSTERDAM - 2003 - 81,769 GT - 1,848 pax

WESTERDAM - 2004 - 81,811 GT - 1,848 pax

NOORDAM - 2006 - 82,318 GT - 1,918 pax

 

These are the biggest and newest HAL ships currently in service. They were designed mainly for shorter (less than two weeks) cruises in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Europe. Like the S-class, they represented a departure from previous HAL ships in size and design. While bigger than HAL's other ships, they are still much smaller than some competitors' ships which are now sometimes bigger than 150,000 GT and can carry over 3,500 passengers (Royal Caribbean have now ordered a ship that will be 220,000 GT and carry over 5,000 passengers). These ships are notable because of the exceptionally high number of private balconies - over two-thirds of cabins have them. They are called the Vista-class because they are named after the points of the compass in Dutch - Zuid (South), Oost (East), West, and Noord (North). The first three are identical; NOORDAM incorporates a few design changes which make her larger and have a slightly higher passenger capacity.

 

Signature-class

 

This will be two (or more) ships which will be larger, improved versions of the Vista-class, much as the R-class can be considered improved versions of the S-class. Right now there are few details but they will probably be about 90,000 GT with a passenger capacity of about 2,000.

 

Perhaps someone should update this sticky post? It's great but dated and sits at the top of the HAL forum.  A friend tried to tell me the Vista ships were the largest HAL ships yet in service and when I begged to differ and explained that there are actually two larger classes already sailing and even named the ships, they said "but on cruisecritic I read that post explaining all the ships and classes".  Oops! :)

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On 2/13/2019 at 6:55 AM, summer slope said:

Are there any outside cabins on the Volendam that do not have the bed under the window? 

Lanai cabins do not have the bed "under" the window (which is actually a door) If you mean Ocean View cabins, then probably very few do not have the bed under the window. (I believe only one or two handicapped accessible cabins - the rest have the beds under the window.  Also, .  If you mean verandahs or suites, none have beds under the window. 

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On 11/30/2018 at 7:21 AM, AliceS said:

Thanks, ski ww.....doesn’t sound inviting or safe?

 

We loved the lanai.   We always found the balconies isolating and boring. The lanai is closer to sea level for a great view of passing glaciers and a very social atmosphere.  We enjoy that and have made great friends hanging out on the promenade and sharing room service coffee direct through the door.   

 

Caveat- we have worked at home together for 25 years so we are probably a bit more social on cruises 

 

unlike other cruise ships I have been on I have always felt safe when sailing with HAL 

Edited by Mary229

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