Go Back   Cruise Reviews Forums > Cruise Lines > Holland America Line
Register Forgot Password?
New! Use your Facebook, Google, AIM & Yahoo accounts to securely log into this site, click logo to login  
Search

Closed Thread
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #11 (permalink)  
Old 06-28-2007, 08:07 AM
gdjoslin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Near Yosemite, California
Posts: 1,937
Default
quote:
Posted June 28, 2007 05:44 AM Hide Post
Be careful that you are comparing services and not cruise experience. I have only cruised HAL so far (so admittedly not an experienced cruiser) but I read this board everyday. Carnival and HAL will give two very different experiences. I want a quiet relaxing cruise where I can sit in the sun, see the ocean pass by, and read. No excessive noise or poolside entertainment like belly flops & hairy leg competitions (some days I could win that one). I love cruising with the older generation (I am 47!!). Couples enjoying the music, dancing (swing, foxtrot etc), afternoon tea, no excessive drinking. Staff giving extra care to the more senior cruisers. The ship is still and quiet late at night. I would not bring my teenagers on HAL.
I gather from my readings that Carnival is an active, party, alcohol rich, and youthful atmosphere with activities late into the night. I believe that Princess and Royal Caribbean would be somewhere in between but more active and family oriented. My 2008 cruise will be RCL or Princess with my mother and sister (50th b-day). My sister was bored on HAL and loved RCL. Her boyfriend won the hairy back competition!!
I

That is what you will hear. That is why HAL is rated 3 in my book.
__________________
Gary
Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
http://joslin-family-photos.smugmug.com/Cruises

  #12 (permalink)  
Old 07-03-2007, 10:33 AM
gdjoslin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Near Yosemite, California
Posts: 1,937
Default
quote:
Posted June 28, 2007 05:44 AM Hide Post
Be careful that you are comparing services and not cruise experience. I have only cruised HAL so far (so admittedly not an experienced cruiser) but I read this board everyday. Carnival and HAL will give two very different experiences. I want a quiet relaxing cruise where I can sit in the sun, see the ocean pass by, and read. No excessive noise or poolside entertainment like belly flops & hairy leg competitions (some days I could win that one). I love cruising with the older generation (I am 47!!). Couples enjoying the music, dancing (swing, foxtrot etc), afternoon tea, no excessive drinking. Staff giving extra care to the more senior cruisers. The ship is still and quiet late at night. I would not bring my teenagers on HAL.
I gather from my readings that Carnival is an active, party, alcohol rich, and youthful atmosphere with activities late into the night. I believe that Princess and Royal Caribbean would be somewhere in between but more active and family oriented. My 2008 cruise will be RCL or Princess with my mother and sister (50th b-day). My sister was bored on HAL and loved RCL. Her boyfriend won the hairy back competition!!
I need to hear comparisons about cuisine, staff and entertainment. Please be clear so I can understand what you are rating.
This board is so informative but we have to remember that not everyone is looking for the same experience. Not even sisters.

Free Cruise Tickers
Posts: 17 | Location: Ottawa, Canada | Registered: October



Just posted at
http://cruise-chat.com/eve/forums/a/...1/m/1511086023
__________________
Gary
Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
http://joslin-family-photos.smugmug.com/Cruises

  #13 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2007, 06:32 PM
f-mattox's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
Default
Hooked-on-HAL,

I'm a long-time Princess cruiser who just got off Veendam yesterday and would love to give you some comparisons of cuisine, staff and entertainment.

Meals in the dining rooms, and I'm including breakfast, lunch and dinner, were practically indistinguishable; I would have to give equal marks for taste, variety and presentation. Princess has a slight edge for soups and salads, especially the cream soups. For example Veendam's cream of cauliflower was very plain; Princess' was seasoned with ginger and curry. HAL's salads were basic greens, tomato, cucumber, etc.; Princess added nice touches like glazed walnuts, tiny fresh raspberries, mandrin orange wedges, little touches that made a big difference. But HAL had the edge on desserts; on my last few Princess cruises the cakes and pastries were on the dry side. Veendam's were moist, flavorful, that "just baked" look and taste. And the "dessert buffet" on Veendam was unlike anything I have ever seen on Princess. But the entrees were so similar in variety and style that I can't point to even a slight difference.

The buffet is a different story. I have generally liked Princess' buffet food; I have never liked Princess' use of multiple
"islands" for different courses--it always leads to chaos and a"feeding frenzy" atmosphere at peak meal times. And recently on Island Princess I was even dissapointed with the food. On Veendam the difference was like night and day. Not only was the food of much higher quality and a significantly better variety--but the atmosphere was much more civilized. The buffet was laid out in a single line, cafeteria style, one on each side of the ship. I thought at first it would take longer this way--but it was actually the opposite; If somebody was waiting for something to be prepared (i.e. an omelet) you simply went around them. And salads, drinks and desserts were in a different area altogether. The result was a much quicker and quieter experience. I also liked that real ice cream and toppings were available free everyday from 11:00 to 5:00 and again in the evening. Eggs and meats were available with the room service breakfast--a distinct advantage over Princess.

I have always been favorably impressed with Princess' staff, both the cruise staff and the dining room and housekeeping departments--until my last Island Princess cruise, where something seemed to be really bugging the dining room staff. But having that cruise so fresh in my memory, the Veendam staff really was a stand out! Our waiter was the best I have ever had on any ship. The head waiter came to the table EVERY night and was genuinely interested to know if everything was to our satisfaction, quite unlike Princess where he came by twice in 15 days, and only because I asked for him.
One word comes to mind when trying to compare cruise staffs
--"dignified". Princess cruise staffs have always been enegetic, hard working, friendly and attentive, but with a "cheerleader" quality that has always been a little off-putting to me; that quality was good in high school and college, but I get a little weary of hearing, "are you having a good time? I SAID ARE YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME??". The Veendam staff, by contrast, was just as energetic and hard working, without all the rah-rah-rah.

The production shows on Veendam were every bit as good as Princess, which is really saying something since Princess has the reputation for its shows. One slight disadvantage Veendam has is its size; so the stage sets and lighting were not quite as sophisticated. But the singers and especially the dancers and show band were as good or better than any I have seen. And every act was top notch--something I can not say for Princess.

So overall I would have to say HAL, or at least Veendam, has a slight edge; but then it was also more expensive. Both are good values for the dollar spent. Both have their good and not-so-good points. I would go on either again or recommend either without hesitation.
  #14 (permalink)  
Old 07-04-2007, 09:53 PM
gdjoslin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Near Yosemite, California
Posts: 1,937
Default
quote:
f-mattox

Did your ship have a Crow's Nest? The view from there on the Zaandam was breath taking.

I will agree that the show on the Zaandam were great. We had a new group of dancers and singers but they worked together well with only some very minor glitches.
__________________
Gary
Cruise Photos from Mexico and Alaska
http://joslin-family-photos.smugmug.com/Cruises

  #15 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2007, 07:07 AM
Chef Ken's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Bloomington, MN
Posts: 2,258
Default
High praise indeed! For an devoted Princess enthusiast to post such a positive review is great for HAL. (Not that they were suffering much negative press.)

Rick, what about the "age factor"? With HAL being noted for having an older crowd, was this significantly apparent in comparison to your recent Princess cruise?

Welcome back, you were missed.
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2007, 10:49 AM
Banned
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New York
Posts: 1,790
Default
Welcome back home Rick. Sounds like you had a wonderful time on HAL. Home just in time for the hot weather.

A'ndrea
  #17 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2007, 12:33 PM
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Posts: 11,612
Default
Rick, Thanks for the great comparative review. Welcome back again, and yes you were certainly missed

Dwayne
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2007, 04:10 PM
TrvlPro's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Houston TX
Posts: 2,172
Default
Alright, it feels like Cruise-Chat again, Rick's back! That was a great review and I'm amazed and pleased. Like Ken, I expected it to be good but didn't expect from a Princess loyalist for it to be that good. HAL is a line I've never sailed. I get good reviews on them and even recommend them often but never felt they'd be my cup of tea. Now I'm going to have to re-evaluate. I may just have to book one and see for myself.

Welcome back Rick, as others here have said, you were indeed missed.

Cheers, Neil
  #19 (permalink)  
Old 07-05-2007, 07:59 PM
f-mattox's Avatar  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Costa Mesa, California
Posts: 4,740
Default
First, thanks to you all, or should I say y'all for the warm welcome back; it feels so unusual to be missed by people you only know as words on a monitor!

Yes, gdjoslin, the Crow's Nest was the place to be to watch those glorious sunsets at 10:30 p.m.; and sailing into and out of Oslo was even more spectacular than Alaska's Inside Passage--so narrow in places all you could see from the side views was trees. And it was of course where the night owls, the hip and the cool, congregated--so my son tells me.

Which leads me right into Ken's question about age. I don't have actual statistics to back me up, but my wife and I agreed that the average age was considerably younger than our Island Princess cruise to Hawaii. One of the distinct advantages of a 1250 pax ship is that you actually see people more than once. And my wife is very convivial; we made many friends and got a good feel for what was going on on the ship. There were many families of all ages; and many multi-generational families--toddlers up to grandparents. There were quite a few pre-teens, not too many teens, not a lot of twenty-somethings, but enough so that our 24 year old son had friends to hang with; and many couples in their 30's and 40's; and a good number of non-U.S. passengers--not too surprising considering the itinerary. But there were definitely more canes, walkers, wheelchairs and scooters on Island Princess.

I would think length of cruise would be a factor--10 days on Veendam vs. 15 on Island Princess; but then the ten days on Veendam was considerably more expensive than the 15 days on Island Princess when you factor in air and transfers. So I really can't explain the difference. I could say maybe it was an anomaly, but I really don't believe that. What I do know is it was a pleasant surprise.

Don't get me wrong--I have nothing against old people; good Lord, at 64 I'm one of them; but I also like being around younger people. I would never want to live in a "seniors only" community. This cruise had an energy about it that was missing from Princess. And the crew had a lot to do with that. Veendam's crew seemed to really be enjoying their jobs--something I can't say about a lot on Island Princess. But as I have said before, I feel Island Princess was undergoing some sort of morale problem, because that was not the norm for Princess in my years of experience with them.

So there it is--a myth-bustin' cruise!

Rick
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 07-06-2007, 07:49 AM
penny3333's Avatar
Moderator
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Alabama
Posts: 10,601
Default
Welcome back Rick, we sure did miss you. I would have posted earlier, but had chemo all day yesterday and go in a little while to finish off. I am glad to hear that the food has improved, but you did say that the dining room still was lacking. What I found was they didn't season well. I really couldn't taste much difference in the chicken or the fish. I would go back on HAL again, because I too found the crew and the cleanliness of the ship to be excellent. I guess we've just been lucky on Princess, we've always had outstanding service and great crew. I'm not much of a desert person, but everything I've tried on Princess has been wonderful except for some of the pastries. The pastries I've tried have been dry with little flavor, but the ice creams, pies, and souffles have always been wonderful.

How was the intinerary? What was your favorite port? Had you been to the Baltic before?

Sure glad you're back, we definitely missed you
 
Closed Thread

Tags
alaska, america, cancelling, compare, cruise, cruises, expensive, hal, holland, lines, princess, toddler, v, veendam, versus

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Princess or HAL lovesnow General Cruise Chat 2 01-04-2010 03:43 PM
Passageway accessibility HAL vs Princess RMLincoln Disabled Travel Forum 1 05-05-2008 06:37 PM
Princess VS HAL Lady Vidora General Cruise Chat 6 08-02-2005 04:22 PM
Alaska: Princess v/s HAL General Cruise Chat 10 11-20-2004 11:55 AM
HAL, RCI or Princess - Which One? BeachBunny All Other Cruise Lines 10 09-20-2004 10:36 PM


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On
 

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 01:26 AM.

Contact Us - Terms of Use - Cruise Reviews Home - Archive - Privacy Statement - Top

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
SEO by vBSEO 3.5.2