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Experience with European Sailings?

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by Conniemc, May 3, 2009.

  1. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    I am now officially booked on 6 (yes, I did type 6) ships and different lines for Oct/Nov Europe sailings.
    Since jumping ship from Celebrity (I smoke), and the madness of the price cuts, I've hedged my bets and just booked everything I could find that goes to Santorini.
    So, here's my question, as I attempt to narrow down the madness. Does anyone with actual recent experience (no guessing please) know if the European sailings tend to have pax a tad younger than "over 65" (in general, of course). HAL has certain distinct advantages I am aware of, pillowtop mattresses for one!, but I am concerned with being an a ship with mostly elderly pax.

    My GUESS it the pax would be vastly different than what I see get "loaded on" at FLL several times a year. However, I don't want to guess with this. I want to know. Any input is appreciated.
  2. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    No one can promise you what the demographic will be for any particular cruise except the cruise line that has the manifest of their booked guests.

    One week you might see loads of families and young folks and another week, an older crowd. We have been on over 60 HAL cruises (including Europe) and can tell you the 'hype' about all senior being the only ones who sail HAL is ridiculous. Sure, on a 45+ day cruise you will have an older crowd. Who has the time for such a cruise except mostly those who are retired?

    We cruised Eurodam two weeks in March and one week there were 250 children aboard and the next there were about 110 or so. There was a large mixture of passenger demographics and it was wonderful. Everyone enjoyed.

    How fabulous you have all those cruises booked. Have a fantastic time.
  3. Lisa63

    Lisa63 Guest

    I don't know if this is qualifies as recent, yet we cruised to North Cape in July 2007. This was on Celebrity, yet we had also taken a Celebrity cruise in the Caribbean the year prior. Yes, there was a difference in demographics. And, no, we didn't mind. In fact, we preferred it. Many pax on the North Cape cruise were into their retirement years, and many were very well traveled and had marvelous stories to share about those travels. Our then-13-year-old son made a good friend in an 80-year-old gentleman and his wife, with whom our family still keeps in touch. (The gentleman was in a wheelchair, and as PizzaBoy needed a wheelchair earlier that year, he felt a kinship with him--that was the ice-breaker.) Although we were well below the average age of the pax that week, we never felt like we didn't belong. There was enough of a variety in entertainment to please everybody.

    We are booked on Prinsendam for two weeks this coming July, and I am certain that we, in our mid-40s, will be among the youngest group of passengers aboard. That doesn't bother us in the least. I look forward to meeting my fellow passengers and benefiting from their experiences.

    Have a wonderful time on your cruise, whichever you choose. How I would love to go to Santorini one day.
  4. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Thank you for your replies. Yes, I know Celebrity has a different mix on different embarkation points. I also know not ALL Hal pax are elderly. Just most of them.

    Ah well, maybe I'll just use a dartboard and hit which ship I hit :)P)
  5. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Conniemc.... You say you KNOW about HAL pax but you are mistaken. NOT most of HAL pax are elderly. Period. It is untrue and incorrect. Most of HAL guests on World Cruise are elderly. Most of HAL guests on a 60 day Asian cruise are senior. Many HAL cruises in Europe, Alaska, Canada/New England and Caribbean have a mixed demographic with plenty of younger folks.

    There is a divergent demographic that sails HAL and each year there are more and more under thirty somethings.

    You have bought into the misstated generalization that has attached to HAL for years.
    You will see plenty of "young 'uns" on the ship. There is simply no way to give you numbers or percentages for any specific sailing.

    BTW........ We are NOT retired, not on medicare, not elderly and have sailed HAL since 1992.
  6. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    My apologies if you took personal offense to my question.

    I have been sailing HAL since 1976. My parents have been on over 75 HAL cruises. I do know a little bit about the line.

    My question was very specific to European sailings. Cruiselines earn a reputation for a reason. That reason being the "general population" views them in a certain light. Carnival is known for college drunks and families, NCL for poor service and food, etc. Obviously, not all pax on these lines fit into the "reputation".

    I've taken enough cruises to understand your point that you will indeed find all kinds of people of all ages on all cruiselines. That doesn't negate the fact, IMO, that reputations are a good general indicator of what you might expect.

    Having said that, I doubt the particular sailing I'm looking at would appeal to a very elderly crowd.

    BTW, now that we are "seniors" at 55, we're going to need new words to describe "over 55" and "over 75". Young, middle aged, and elderly doesn't cut it anymore.
  7. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Also (too late to edit) I just did a search for some recent reviews. Unfortunately, nothing less than two years old on the ships I was looking at. But I did find this, which I found quite helpful. It confirmed a lot of what I knew (which always gives more credibility to the author) and gives lots of insights on visiting other continents on HAL.

    I think the reviewer did an outstanding job.

    The more I read, the more I'm becoming convinced there just aren't that many differences anymore and it also seems the pre-paid gratuities are taking a toll on overall service on all lines. All the reviews in 2009 read the same....falling quality across the board, etc. no matter what the line, but more intense with "loyalty" lines like HAL, Princess and Celebrity.

    So bigger cabin and pillowtop mattress (HAL) vs. guaranteed early seating (Princess). It's the little things that make or break my cruises. I'm leaning toward a guaranteed table without wandering the ship, wishing I had dinner companions to get to know.:cool:
  8. Lisa63

    Lisa63 Guest

    Connie, I don't mean to sound rude, but I don't get it either. Why did you ask the question if you say you knew the answer?

    Of course the demographics are different in Europe than in the Caribbean. But, please read the rest of my post. Sailing with seniors, or whatever designation we choose to assign, can be a wonderful and enlightening experience. THAT was my point. If this is your primary concern, then, IMO, you are missing out on a lot.

    I'm not even going to comment on a review that critiques the wait for another passenger regarding radishes.
  9. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    I was just wondering if anyone had actually sailed out of Europe with a lot of HAL experience. I've never sailed out of Europe. I actually adore "seniors", always have. Most of my friends are much older than myself. Some of them can completely tucker me out and I have often "hung out" with much older pax. I've always said anyone with more experience on this rock than I have, deserves my respect. Frankly, I was concerned with the hygiene issues and Noro, HAL seems to have a lot of outbreaks and the handicapped often seem to be somewhere in that mix. Not sure why. In a perfect world, I guess I would love a cruise with 40-70 age group. But there's no such thing as perfect world, such as getting your radish immediately.
  10. Lisa63

    Lisa63 Guest

    One member of our party is "handicapped"--our teenaged son. In his nearly 30 cruises, he has yet to have "hygiene issues."

    I honestly think that HAL is not a good choice for you. I say this based on several dozen cruises, some out of Europe (including my next two), and some on HAL.
  11. amistad

    amistad Guest

    Connie, I have taken a Greek Isles cruise a couple of years ago and the passengers were a mix on age, but to be honest it was so port intensive and I was trying to see as much as I possibly could fit in that the other passenger's did not have much to do with my cruise. I am one of those people that plans everything before I go in case I never make it back again, so I was exhausted by the end of the day. I do want to make it clear though, I was not on HAL that time, I have cruised HAL, but not to Greece. I was just going to point out the fact that the destinations kept me so busy I don't think it would have mattered to me what the passenger demographics were. Just my opinion. By the way I too like the service and food on HAL. My dream trip is one including Egypt, I want to see the pyramids before I'm too old to do all of the walking and climbing involved.
  12. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    I agree, this particular sailing is far more about the ports than the cruise. That's a first for me. Still and all, I probably wouldn't be happy with HAL's demograhic over the last 5+ years. I will be dining with the same pax each night and while I'll be taking excursions, I'll still spend a significant amount of time on the ship. Back in the 70's through early 90's, it was a different mix. I think HAL would have had more quality, but in the end, I decided since it was such a port intensive 12 days, I'd go with the lower priced option. I don't have the same expectations of cruising anymore that I had for over 30 years, I now expect minimal everything. So I booked the Grand Princess. About $1500 cheaper than HAL, plus I was able to reserve early fixed dinner - HATE ANYTIME - and got an amazing cabin, where HAL only offered a "guarantee" veranda. Like yourself, I try to plan as many details as possible to ensure no unpleasant surprises, and my cabin location is a pretty big deal. The biggest swaying point for HAL was they have smoking sections in all the bars. But on Princess, I can still smoke in my cabin and veranda and some bar locations.

    So Princess it is!! Found round trip air NON-STOP for less than $600 on Expedia. ::eek: Princess wanted $1200. So now the cruise is the lowest price I'll ever see to get to Greece and ports in Italy I've never been to. Like yourself, I don't want to wait until I'm not physically able to really enjoy myself. The last few years, I've pretty much seen most of the world I missed. I saw the rest back in the 80's, where I traveled the world many times. This will be the last place I really wanted to get to. Then I can get old and stay HOME. My mother kept taking HAL and was hardly able to leave her suite - she just liked watching the water. Hope you get to see the pyramids this year, while the prices are still rock bottom. I looked into the 2010 sailings, thinking it would be more prudent (financially) to wait a year, but the prices were far higher.
  13. nedstar

    nedstar Guest

    How many younger pax onboard depend on the season, in the summer time you have more change because of holyday’s. After august the holyday’s are finish in Europe and if you are not retired you have to work or go back to school. If you keep this rule in mind you will know the mix of pax.
    And last but not least you will have a wonderful cruise in Europe.
  14. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    Yes, Connie. We have sailed HAL in Europe at least three times. Might be more. We sailed from Copenhagen and it was fabulous!
    Twice we sailed from Pireaus (port of Athens) and had two incredible cruises. I think we may have sailed from Civitevechia...port of Rome. We've spent a great deal of time in Italy and I don't recall if we ended cruises there or also boarded from Rome.

    Hope you have as good a time on HAL ships as we always do. :)
  15. sail

    I wasn't aware that you recently cruised in Europe?? OP wants reports from recent European cruises.

    It has been several years since we sailed in Europe -- Med - - Baltic, etc. So I can't really answer the OP's question.
  16. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    KK.....=huh Just what about my response do you suppose is inaccurate? What part do you imply you think needs to be corrected? Please point it out so I can make any corrections you think necessary. :) ::eek:
  17. OP according to her first post wants "Acrual RECENT Experiences!!"
  18. Conniemc

    Conniemc Guest

    Thank you everyone for your responses.

    I went with Princess and am booked. Have a great weekend!
  19. sail7seas

    sail7seas Guest

    It's okay, KK. Relax. It's just a BB. :)

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