What made you first choose the Holland America Line?



I have to say that I am glad you said that - we are going on our FIRST cruise ever in June to Alaska... kids and all. And after reading some of the postings, I am getting nervous. My advantage is that I have nothing to compare it to, so I will most likely be thrilled, but still some of the remarks in "decline of service" and "rude employees" disapoints me. I am glad to hear you say and point out it is all from perspective.



My first HAL cruise was in 1994 aboard the Nieuw Amsterdam. I was in an inside H497. Mom and Dad were in an outside D499 ... right across the corridore. I went on this cruise because my parents knew I was exhausted and that I needed to get away from my congregation for a couple of weeks. So, at the "last minute," and after checking with me, they booked me. I already had my passport, so there was no problem there, and 13 days days later the three of us were aboard. I was hooked. I keep cruising on HAL because I like their ships, their traditions, their itineraries, and the people which cruise with them.

My parents made their first HAL cruise on the Rotterdam V in 1977. Before that they had traveled on Cunard and the United States Line. Since first cruising on HAL they've also cruised on NCL, Princess, and (more recently, with me) the Orient. However, they've always come back to HAL because of it's gentle atmosphere and high style.

Spender Nui

We were in Bermuda staying in a hotel on Hamilton Harbor. The Statendam was tied up and they were encouraging people to tour the ship so we did. We then watched her sail out on her way back to New York, remembering Home Line Cruises we had taken.

The next year we were walking by a local travel agency who was running a Statendam Bermuda cruise. They had pictures, menus, etc. in the window. While looking the agents came out of their office and started to lock up for the day. One asked us if we'd like information and went back in and got for us. They then closed and left.

We read the information, decided to give it a try and went on the cruise. That was September, 1980.


Out here in Australia P&O was the only cruise line that anyone knew of in the 70's and 80's. Even now, very few people have heard of HAL, they mainly only know of Princess.

My sister had lived in Hong Kong and was a travel agent so had been on a HAL cruise for TA's and also for leisure. When she returned to Australia in the early 80's she decided to see if HAL was available.

After she did the Baltic cruise one year, I decided that would be our next cruise and didn't even think of using another cruise line other than HAL. We loved the experience and of course we now choose HAL first if the itinerary suits us.


Santa Fe Jim

I "came to" cruising fairly late (but it's my vacation of choice now) and somewhat accidentally. I made a very low bid on an online auction site just on the spur of the moment. I won the auction (about the lowest price I've ever seen) and first tried to get out of it. Couldn't, so I found a friend who agreed to go, (since I was paying) and off to San Juan (a city I'm quite familiar with) for 7 days on Carnival. I had an enjoyable time -- enough that I decided I wanted to cruise more -- but wanted a different atmosphere than Carnival. I looked at ALL of the lines for over a year and decided that HAL (allegedly) had the right combination of good service, good food, good music (strings, not a rock band), and at a surprisingly reasonable price given that I'm now paying the single supplement.

One cruise convinced me that I had made the right choice and I'll continue with HAL. If I were able to cruise often enough for one line to become stale, I'd probably try Celebrity, but that situation is unlikely. There was mention of "nickle and diming" on HAL -- according to my research, it's still much less than on other lines. There are still enough freebies on HAL to make it's price comparable or less than many other lines. Probably the main features for me are the relaxed, calm, quiet atmosphere (on the S class ships anyway) and the excellent service. No line is perfect and there are always some little problems that can be overlooked -- no need to think a cruise is terrible because of having embarkation problems.

I think one reason there are more critical reviews of HAL is that the passengers have higher expectations than on some of the other lines. I've seen dozens of Carnival reviews that give it 6 stars, even though there were shortcomings that would be viewed much more critically on HAL.

[Hi Greg -- getting your cruise board fix here?]



My first HAL cruise is coming up in October. I wanted to pick a cruise that leaves from Norfolk, which is about 20 minutes from my house. That narrowed it down to HAL, Celebrity, Carnival and Radisson.

Radisson was too expensive to consider.

Carnival had 6 day cruises to the Bahamas that were actually more money than HAL's 10 day cruises to the Caribbean.

Celebrity went to Bermuda, and I was a little nervous about storms and the weather that time of the year (and preferred the Caribbean).

That left HAL with it's reputation, itinerary I wanted and price that was right.

I'll find out if I made the right choice this fall.


Before our first cruise, we read every cruise web review that we could find as well as library books and Travel Agent materials.

It came down to HAL and Celebrity as being consistently rated very well, and we gave a slight edge to HAL.

We loved the Westerdam, and so had to see it again just before it was sold. We did not particularly like the Niew Amsterdam, and do not mind that it has been replaced.

On our last cruise, it seemed the food and service had gone down hill some, but overall was still a great vacation, and this was before the Signature of Excellence program. (Some of the description of that mentions specific areas we saw decline.)


We scheduled a HAL cruise on an impulse. But reading and studying up on cruises we are glad we chose Hal. Did a short 3 nighter on Carnival Miracle to whet our appetite for cruising, and wow did it ever. Hal in October and Carnival in January.


Keith & Rita

Our first HAL cruise was our second cruise and was also our second www group cruise. It was on the old Westerdam and the service staff was outstanding! They were the main reason we booked another HAL cruise for our anniversary and our first non-group cruise.


We are booked on HAL Maasdam August 21 and August 28. Montreal to Boston and back. We love the east coast run and this will be our 3rd time on it. We have done Cunard with the east coast run on the Caronia which they no longer have. We also did it on NCL on Norwegian sea. We wanted to leave from Montreal. We live in Toronto and it is such a treat not to have to fly to catch a cruise ship so we found Hal Maasdam leaving from Montreal. We have cruised Cunard (transatlantic) Carnival ( too much of a party crowd for us), RCI, NCl. Looking forward to the HAL experience.

Benjamin Smith

I sailed HAL at age 10, that was in 1970. The Rotterdam.

Different HAL now of course. I like the size of ship (Statedam and Rotterdam class), the style of cruise, the emphasis on grace of a bygone era. Sorry to say I'm disappointed in HAL going with Vista ships, I like the idea of a ship for people who don't want a floating resort, but a fairly traditional cruise ship. The Vista ships may try to mimic the Statendam class in some ways, but in general are fairly generic modern ships with HAL flavoring, IMO. I also think HAL may have too many ships now and many folks are cruising to cruise HAL but are cruising because HAL happen to be convenient for them. Makes for a different onboard environment.


we booked because it's the only cruiseline the Walt Disney Company allows for tradeouts (exculding the Disney Cruises which we did and loved) for their Disney Vacation Club (timeshare).


I booked because of the departing port's location (Norfolk). I don't have to pay for airfare and can take a 10 day cruise for less than 7 days plus air. The timing of the cruise met my needs - Fall. I also wanted a sailing with less kids onboard (had enough spring break cruises). Another reason was I've never tried HAL before so there's a first for everything. The bonus is I get to sail with the HAL-O-WEENIE group.