New to HAL and I have questions


MEL from PA

Hello everyone.

I am new to HAL but not to cruising.
I am looking for your honest opinions regarding a HAL cruise.
Your input will help me decide if I want to book a HAL cruise, or not. ; )

Here we go:
The cruise I am interested in is the 10-night on board the Rotterdam IV, out of Philadelphia.
Ports of call are San Juan, St Maarten, Tortola, & Half Moon Cay. (I've been to these destinations before.)

What type of atmosphere shall we expect?
My past cruises have been on Royal Carribean & Carnival. I'm 36 and my husband is 42. We are not "crazed party animals" but we do like to engage in karaoke, dancing, gambling, wine, socializing, conversations games, etc.

What type of dining room attire do HAL cruisers wear?
We like to dress more like business casual and usually shun the extravagant gowns and tuxedos. Although we do appreciate well dressed individuals, we feel the "glamour" is not needed if one is going on a carribean vacation.

Should I expect excellent cuisine in the dining room?
I have been hearing that the HAL Rotterdam is like *banquet dining*. This description concerns me.

Anything else you would like to add is greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much!


We cruised on the Rotterdam VI for 12 days in May and then again for 10 days in you think we like this ship??!!?? :grin :grin :grin

There is no way that I would consider the food "banquet" food. We found the meals to be very good on the whole, with some meals (lobster tails for one) being excellent!

As for dress, you'll see a lot of tuxedos on formal night, but you'll also see a lot of dark suits. The women by and large wear what you might call "special occasion" outfits, some gowns, some dresses, some pant suits.

Bear in mind that the longer the cruise, the older the crowd. I suspect that a 10 day cruise would draw a slightly older crowd than a 7 day would.

Good luck and let us all know what you decide!


I agree with Judy on the "Longer the cruise the older the passengers" IN GENERAL -& that makes sense when you consider the time and money available to people employed in the workforce with limited vacation time. Another generality would be that MORE people who are first time cruisers cruise Caribbean and/or Alaska - they are generally less expensive because travel TO them is less/locale....and there is no language barrier. WE are retired now and traveling to Europe and the far East. WE have the time, we can attach an ocean crossing to it -lengthing the cruise but cutting the flight time. BUT these are all generalities. On our TransAtlantic last summer on the Rotterdam there were SEVERAL darling teenagers enjoying the longer cruise and cruising to and from Europe; We THOROUGHLY enjoyed these young people.
In general, then - the Rotterdam with its European itineraries -tends to be a tad more formal. I think SOME of that is THESE are the frequent cruisers who have purchased multiple formal outfits! And that just makes sense. I don't think ANYone looks down on somebody in a "Church/Sunday" dress -I certainly wouldn't. But I tend to get VERY hostile when I see a fat man in a slogan T-shirt that says "Pull my Finger" for formal night; That on ANY ship, is inappropriate [OK -MAYBE that's a slight exaggeration] and really NOT up for debate; Tacky tacky outside a biker bar! [ Sorry if I insulted the bikers here!]


Just wondering how you managed to get to Half Moon Cay if you have never cruised HAL before. As for the Rotterdam, she is the fleet's flagship and the service and food are anything but what you have described. It is more like a 4 star restaurant IMHO.

MEL from PA

Thanks for all your input. However my decision is not yet made.

Oh, BTW Cruzman, I haven't been to this particular "Cay". I didn't feel like typing extra words because I had to go to work. But since you mentioned it let me clarify it for you:

" I have been to San Juan, Tortola, and St Maarten, but not Half-Moon-Cay."

Thanks again.