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Why Should I Choose HAL?

Discussion in 'Holland America Line' started by Charles, Jan 14, 2009.

  1. Charles

    Charles Guest

    OK, I'm and experienced cruiser. I've sailed on Carnival, Celebrity, RCCL, and Princess. Why should I sail on Holland America?

  2. suer182

    suer182 Guest

    Because they have an itinerary and/or ship that interests you.
  3. seamom

    seamom Guest

    I understand Charles. About to go on my first. A little leery about the quiet, especially with teen in tow but I need relaxation and I've seen reviews of both kinds for this ship....older and not older, excellent food and not a great meal......but as an experienced cruiser you know that if you are given a decent ship and itinerary, you have control over most of the enjoyment.

    I chose this cruise on the Westerdam because the itinerary was amazing to me...3 days at sea, a beach day on Half Moon Cay and Aruba and Curacao where I'd never gone. The quality comes as a reputation, the price was right, the rooms are bigger than Princess anyway, at any cost because I have an inside, and I hear the beds are amazingly comfortable. Mind you, from pictures, I'm not crazy about the decor as the colours look like the brash ones I see on Carnival but that's my taste.

    Good question!
  4. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Thanks Suer and Susan for replying.

  5. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Guest

    As a major HAL fan, I do recommend the line, because they provide what I am looking for in a cruise. I'm 58 and am not a party-animal. I no longer need to be drunk to have fun. I find enjoyment in quiet refinement, elegance and quality. Not quantity.

    1) The average age of HAL passengers has dropped over the years (or maybe I'm just getting older); but, the times have changed. It used to be that 75% of the passengers were 75 or over. Now however, as a direct result of HAL's marketing, those figures have changed. Roughly 10% are under 30, 10% in their 30's, 10% in their 40s, 10% in their 50s, and 60% are over 60. Yes, it's still an 'older' crowd. But, with older comes quieter. There is no chance that you'll have to put up with a party-party-party atmosphere (a' la Carnival or NCL).

    2) There are fewer young people (children) on board. The average count is between 20-40 for a cruise with 2,000 passengers. Even during Spring Break. Very low. And, the HAL youth program is very good. Additionally, because of the older clientele, the children are usually better behaved. I enjoy getting on an elevator and not having every button pushed, or spittle dripping done the panel. I enjoy not having gangs of children running up and down the passageways, banging on doors.

    3) There is a distinct lack of Formica, neon, chrome, plastic and glitz. There is a wealth of polished brass, thick carpets, beautiful artwork and oiled wood paneling.

    4) I am on a ship to enjoy a luxurious cruise to an exotic destination. Not to have the ship itself be the destination.

    5) When I go through the buffet line, I am served. I am not expected to pick through the food, trying to find something that others have already picked through.

    6) I am not greeted with, "Cabin XXXX? Well, you go down this hall and take the stairs up three decks. Turn right, or is it left? No it's right. Then go left and it should be on your right, or is it left? Whatever, welcome aboard."

    7) I am greeted with, "Cabin XXX? ... Cabin XXX!" ... And a white gloved steward appears, introducing himself, Captain Steinke? Mrs. Steinke? I am Sapto, your steward. Your bags please. This way please ...."

    That's why I cruise with HAL.
  6. GeneK

    GeneK Guest

    I have been on all the lines, 45 criuses total. Now that I am older, 60, I enjoy Holland America. Better service, more laid back, slower pace, etc. Yes the lines move slower, lots of walkers and wheel chairs, but I am not in a hurry anymore. If I was under 35, I would stick with Carnival or Princess.
  7. I have been on 48 HAL cruises alone -- some nice long ones.

    WHY HAL -- love the friendliness of the crew -- they go way out of their way to make your cruise an enjoyable one.

    Never did we have crew on Princess or NCL remember our names, drinks, or other things that we like from day to day.

    I do however miss being excorted to my cabin by a white glove crew member -- those days are gone.

    If you book well in advance you can request traditonal dining.
  8. tutak

    tutak Guest

    We booked our 2/1/2009 Westerdam cruise 11 months ago and are still "waitlisted." for traditional dining. This is my fualt. In the future, if we are not confirmed at booking time, we will choose another cruise, ship or cruiseline.
  9. ShipMaven

    ShipMaven Guest

    If you like a refined atmosphere, elegant ships and spacious cabins, those are three (of many) reasons that might make you consider HAL for an itinerary that's of interest.
  10. amistad

    amistad Guest

    I have to agree with everyone else, service and quality. I really enjoyed the Westerdam, it is a nicely decorated ship, not gaudy at all, and the rooms are very nice not bright colors. I really enjoyed being able to order a real hot breakfast in the cabin instead of just a continental breakfast. I also liked the waffles they served in the buffet and the pasta station at lunch, the homemade ice cream in the afternoon is also wonderful. The movie they show in the evenings is nice too if you don't want to gamble or go to the Broadway production. The costumes at the Broadway production are very nicely done. I like Holland when I want to relax. I could go on and on and really I have only been on 3 HAL cruises, I would choose them more often if they cruised to the Caribbean more instead of just fall, winter and spring.
  11. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Thank you all for your responses.

  12. christojo58

    christojo58 Guest

    I just returned from my third HAL cruise - 7 days down the Mexican Riviera on the Oosterdam. I loved my two previous cruises, and this one was even better. Why do I love it, and keep going back?

    The ships are elegant, well-laid out so that every space feels defined and inviting.
    The service is friendly, effiecient and professional - and not snooty.
    The food is excellent. I'm a bit of a foodie. I am impressed by the breadth of HAL's cuisine. Hamburgers, hotdogs and tacos available all day. The Lido Buffet includes a variety of pasta (carbonara, for example), carving stations, made-to-order deli sandwiches, soups, abundant fresh fruit and crisp veggies, a small selection of sushi, and great desserts (fantastic bread pudding with custard sauce). In the evening the meals at the Lido include the same offerings as in the main dining room, but in a more relaxed setting. The dining room offers excellent service and food to match. The Pinnacle Grill is truly a restaurant of 5-star quality. Each cruise I have been blown away by the quality of the beef offered there. Each meal in the Pinnacle is memorable. I have read reviews that state that HAL's food offerings are a bit wanting. Not in my estimation - and I consider myself a fairly tough marker.
    There is plenty of entertainment to meet most appetites. But, what I like is that there is always a welcoming niche that is perfect for a quiet drink and conversation. There is no sense of hecticness swirling around. The tempo is easy.
    This cruise, the Explorer's lounge had a string quartet. After dinner we sat sipping cognac listening to really wonderful live music in a lounge that seated about 40 people.
    The cabins and balconies are larger than most.
    The gym facilities are impressive.
    In one of the responses to you, someone mentioned the comfortable beds. Well, they're right! Every sailing I have had a suprisingly comfortable bed. I mean VERY comfortable.
    The ships have an elegant feel of how I would imagine reflect the ocean crossings of many decades past. I like that. It adds to the sense of a gentle pace.

    If you're looking for activities galore, or a crowd that skews young, or a party boat, then HAL is not for you. If you're looking for a relaxed pace, high quality service and food, and an elegant (not stuffy) environment, then I would definitely consider HAL.

    On this cruise I just finished last Saturday I met a small group who had sailed several times on Celebrity and were hesitant about their first HAL sailing. Several times during the trip they said to us that they loved the ship, service and food; that what they had heard about HAL's food being inferior to Celebrity was not true; that they would choose HAL again.

    I hope this helps!

  13. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Thanks Chris for responding

  14. Luci

    Luci Guest

    I love the beautiful jewelry on the HAL ships. I love the home-made ice cream and yogart cones.lol. Great food all around.

    If you like attending a Christian or Catholic service..... HAL is the only cruiseline that provides that.
    I have also attended a Jewish service just for one day on the Zuiderdam ship. They had koser sp donuts and laftka sp.
    I truly enjoyed attending all those services. It was a 7 day cruise. Luci
  15. Calgon1

    Calgon1 Guest

    Ahoy Luci,

    I'm not trying to be critical here, but speaking as a minister (Episcopal/Anglican Church), other lines also provide Christian and Shabbat services. Costa, Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Cunard come to mind. And, for what it's worth, many ships also provide an area for Muslims to observe Salat, since many crew are of that faith.
  16. dougfw

    dougfw Guest

    I've been on 8 cruises (RCCL-3 times, Norwegian-1 time, Princess-1 time, HAL-3 times) and my wife and I are about to take our forth on HAL. We've never had a bad cruise but RCCL and HAL have been our favorites and our choice is usually made by choosing the best sailing date that meets our schedule. Our first 2 cruises on HAL were when HAL was still independently owned. The last HAL cruise we took (Westerdam, Jan. '08) was after Carnival had full ownership of the line and you could tell it had been "Carnivalized" to some extent. The attention to detail by the crew had dropped a little and you could just tell they are going for the buck first and service second. However, the line is still fantastic and is ideal if you want to get away from the belly-flop contests and the loud, frat party atmosphere of other lines. My recommendation is this: if you are looking for a fun-in-the-sun, party atmosphere cruise (ex: Western Caribbean), go with RCCL, Norwegian, etc. They are great but not too much like a frat party...like Carnival. If you want to enjoy a more laid back, relaxing atmosphere, but still fun, when going on a cruise to INTERESTING ports (ex: Alaska, Europe, Panama Canal), HAL is a great way to go.

    Note: HAL does not have ATM's aboard their ships anymore. Why? They want you to use your cruise card to debit money off your credit card to play the slot machines in the casino...that way, it's easier for you to lose track. You are at the mercy of their computer system to keep track of winnings and losses. Another great Carnival innovation, or should I say, ripoff.
  17. Charles

    Charles Guest

    Thanks Doug for responding.

  18. Ryne08Rich47

    Ryne08Rich47 Guest

    How is the dining experience compared to Celebrity?
  19. rosey1946

    rosey1946 Guest

    Sorry to say this, but white gloves? When have you last been on a HAL ship? I just got off the Zuiderdam to the Panama Canal. I am not going to go through my whole story, but the gist is when my friend was injured on board, except for a few chocolates, HAL could have cared less. We had to find our own cabin, which is the least. The front desk people were rude and liars. I was repeatedly promised a wheelchair when we left the ship after the cruise, to no avail. We were on our own.
    I think the mark of a decent company is how they treat customers when there is a problem. If that is the case, HAL got an F.
    The staff were all great, except the front desk. I can say a lot of good things about the Zuiderdam, but when it is a matter of health, something serious, and no one gives a dam, that is the end of giving my business and hard earned dollars to that company.
  20. TomTerw

    TomTerw Guest

    Rosey: Amen to that. Most people have never had any problem and so they have no idea what happens when there is one. We were one of those "most people" until our last HAL cruise which was a real dog (posted elsewhere on this board; no need to repeat). So read everybody else's glowing reports with a healthy bit of skepticism. All the cruise lines are great if you are lucky and no problems occur. BUT, what happens when they do?

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