I am interested to hear what you all think sets HAL apart from the rest. I am set to cruise the Noordam in January, after cruising Cunard, Carnival and NCL in the past. Just wondering what comes to mind when you think "distinctly HAL."
Thanks for the help! I can use any and all tips, advice, impressions...
I really cannot say much about other cruise lines as I have only cruised the Ryndam and the Oosterdam. I loved them both. My mom is on oxygen and on a wheelchair. We had help at every turn for her, someone pushed her through the buffet line while another took her plate through for her, they pushed her down the ramp and back up in ports, they pushed her into the show room, dining room, etc. About the only place they didnt take her was the bathroom (how embarassing would that be). I would like to try another cruise line but am very content with HAL. We are planning a Mexico cruise for 2008 and am very excited that we will back on the Oosterdam. Have a great time, you will not be disappointed.
The things that comes to mind are a great crew and a clean ship. Only sailed HAL once, Princess is my preferred, however, I thoroughly enjoyed my cruise on HAL. The crew members were extremely attentive and the ship was very clean. For my taste, Princess is better, but that's just me. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time. Bon Voyage
We have cruised on the Veendam(1) and Zuiderdam(3). HAL ships are elegant. Having cruised on NCL, Crown Cruises(Cunard) they don't stack up. Evening entertainment and entertainers are better, piano bar to big shows. The staff is the friendliest we've found. Our kids 21&18 enjoyed it as much as my wife and I. We like dressing up for dinner so the 2 formal nights are fun for us. Freestyle dining on NCL just didn't stack up.
Just got of the HAL Westerdam from a great Western Caribbean cruise, literally (arrived home from Ft. Lauderdale this afternoon).
For me, the "HAL difference" is 1) the service - ever attentive and never missing a detail. 2) the friendliness - EVERYONE on the crew has a smile and a "good morning" or "good evening" - even if they're not "your" steward or what-have-you 3) the elegance - string quartet/piano at every dinnertime, fresh flowers everywhere on the ship, fine china (Rosenthal) and crystal (Reidel) at every meal in the restaurant 4) the "History" - they are duly proud of an amazing 133-year history in the shipping business, and it shows 5) the art - rather eclectic at times, but something for everyone.
Make SURE you have dinner at the Pinnacle Grill at least once during your cruise. It's FABULOUS and well worth the $30 cover charge. Steaks and lamb to die for!!
I've been on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Costa and Carnival... they all have their charms/positives... but HAL has a special place in my heart.
Don't let this get around the Princess page but I'm taking my first HAL cruise next June on Veendam to the Scandinavian Capitals; not because of any disenchantment with Princess, but solely for practical reasons: we're taking my mother (age 91) to see Denmark, where her parents were from, and HAL is the only major line to go to Arhus, where my grandfather was born. And Veendam is smaller which means less walking for Mom.
I"m very much looking foreword to discovering what is "distinctly HAL".