I am considering my next cruise. I have been on RCL once, CCL three times. Now I am considering another cruiseline. Just because I want to see what else is out there in terms of cruising expieriences (I enjoyed RCL and CCL, but I want something different this time).
So that is why I am considering cruising on HAL.
I am a single male in the mid 30's. I live in FLorida and would prefer a cruise out of a port in this state. I don't mind lots of activities, but would prefer peace and quiet. Food is an important consideration since I don't drink.
So, with that all in mind, do you think HAL might be a good choice for my next cruise?
Hi Frase, HAL typically caters to an older demography, but....I cruised on them in my late 30s by myself. I had a wonderful time. It was my first HAL cruise. I met two ladies from Canada that were single and in my age group, and a bunch of couples that were in their 30s-40s. I did a Caribbean out of New Orleans on the New Amsterdam. It was in the early mid 1990s. The food wasn't as good as some of the other lines, to my taste only. The ship was immaculate, the service was great, the cabin was a nice size (I had an interior), and they offered some nice ammenities on board. The casino was tighter than on most cruises I've been on, but their tight on any of them.
I did cruise again with them in 99 or 2000, (can't remember) on the Rotterdam and thoroughly enjoyed it, still didn't think the food was that great. We all know that food is totally subjective. In fact, I was thinking about doing a 3 day out of Ft. Lauderdale, just for a nice weekend, they send me great email offers.
I don't think you'd be disappointed with HAL, it just won't be very lively after 11pm. Have you tried Costa or Princess. Costa is more like Carnival, Princess is more like Royal.
We were on the Zaandam in June. We felt the food quality and service was better on Princess and Carnival. We did enjoy the entertainment, it was great. Our cabin attendant was not as good as Princess or Carnival either.
With that been said we will sail HAL again. The Crows Nest, and all the little quiet area were nice.
Let me begin by saying I have over 165 cruise days as of last week with HAL so I might be considered biased. I'm not. However, I would define myself as a "foodie" and the food can be inconsistent. I am beginning to see a corelation between the length of the cruise/itin/cost of the cruise to the menu selection or level of food served. By that I mean all steaks are not created equal.
The service is excellent, the cabins in each category are the largest in the industry and very nicely appointed and the public rooms are beautiful with some incredible art work. Again, the space per passenger is very high so one never feels crowded.
When I cruise, I want to relax and be pampered. You really need to ask yourself what you are looking for from your cruise experience. Your answers will help you (and your cruise-qualified travel advisor) select the right cruise line and the right ship.
Personally, I think that if you sail on HAL, you will enjoy yourself. Bon voyage!
Hi Frase....I first sailed on HAL's old Noordam in my early 30's with my Aunt who was in her 70's at the time...we had a great time. I loved that ship. HAL so far is my favorite line for several reasons. For starters the ships are classic and not huge mega monster ships...I never have to search for a lounge chair, the service is great, the food to me is really good. I don't like to have a waiter pester me while I'm eating but rather stop by once or twice. I like that. I like to relax on a cruise and I don't like a lot craziness. Now that I'm in my mid 40's I'm going on the Eurodam in Oct. 2008 and I'm excited. Another reason I like HAL is because their cabins are bigger and more comfortable...and the rates are usually excellent compared to RCL and some others...With HAL its like Those who've cruise HAL know!!! Hey why don't you join us on the Eurodam Oct. 18th 2008?
For this topic: My wife and I enjoyed our HAL experience a few years ago on a 10 day Southern Caribbean cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Volendam. The Volendam, (at least at that time) looked a little worse for wear. We really dig the newer ships, so maybe we're biased. Had a really great time on that one though. There were a bunch of older people, average age seemed like 75. My wife and I are in our late 30's - very early 40's. I saw maybe 6 children the whole cruise, must have been someone's grand children. We actually enjoyed the older people.
I think the Zuiderdam has a nice 7 day out of Ft. Lauderdale that goes to Half Moon Cay, Grand Turk, St. Thomas and Tortola I think.
I wouldn't hesitate on reccommending HAL. Been on RC a few times. Would like to book a Carnival but my wife went on one once for spring break when she was in college and she said it was for the younger party set. That wouldn't bother me.
We found the food in the dinning room to be really great. In fact, we read that the Volendam had a 5 star rating which surprised us until we ate in the dinning room. We never seem to like the buffets much on any ship and this one wasn't any worse than others, but that dining room was definately 5 stars and the food was fantastic.
Regarding the "worse for wear" comment above.. You could see rips in wallpaper, dirty grout in tiles, tarnished, scratched brass, broken wood chairs on the deck. Two broke underneath me ,
(no, I'm not overweight!). There was more but I don't remember.
I might take f-mattox's idea about Princess. HAL was okay but f-mattox made a good point about the age group as far as activities. Like I said, the older people didn't bother me much personally. Penny and I had a great cruise last year on the SUN Princess which was just replaced this season with the new Emerald Princess. Penny went two weeks before us on the same intinerary. I booked that one because it was such a great deal for a balcony room for 10 days. It went to Grenada, Antigua, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Thomas, just a wonderful intinerary. You take that out of Ft. Lauderdale as well. Penny went on the Emerald more recently and said it was wonderful. From my experience, we generally prefer the new ships. The Sun was older too, but such a great value. The new fares for the Emerald only jumped up a hundred or so on the balcony rooms. I believe you can book a 10 day Southern Caribbean out of Ft. Lauderdale on the Emerald for around $1400 pp. not a bad deal. I hear the older people gravitate toward the longer cruises, so maybe HAL would have a younger set on a shorter cruise?? If not you will surely get the peace and quiet on a HAL. They all go to bed so early. By 9:00pm the ship was like a ghost town. You won't have to fight for a good spot by the pool as much either.