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Rogillio
10-19-2010, 12:17 PM
I just booked a 7 day holiday cruise for this Christmas with Holland America. We have sailed about 6 times on DCL, once on NCL. If you have sailed on HAL and on DCL, please compare and contrast. We were totally unimpressed with NCL so I'm hoping to lowerer my expectations with HAL so we won't be too disappointed.

~Mike

NancyIL
10-19-2010, 12:30 PM
Traitor! :rotfl2: Which HAL ship did you book? I have been on the Zaandam in the Caribbean and the Veendam in Alaska - both older/smaller ships. Those ships tend to attract an older demographic, whereas the Vista-class and newer ships tend to attract more families.


I thought the food and service were very good on HAL. Their cabins were almost as large as similar cabins on DCL. The interiors of HAL's ships don't wow me, but they have some great itineraries.

collectoraholic
10-19-2010, 12:30 PM
My husband and I cruised on HAL (Zaandam) just weeks after taking our 1st DCL cruise (April `05). It wasn't that bad, but honestly, I wouldn't sail on them again. It was just me and him and we were two of the youngest (I was 34 & Dh was 35) ppl. on the ship. :rofl: The entertainment was just ok and you (general) ate in the same dining room each night. The food was ok. Not as much menu selection as DCL, if I remember correctly. & The adults only restaurant (paying) was not nearly as good as Palo, imho. The pool area was teeny-tiny and the only other thing to really do during the day other than the pool or the casino was to go to the art auctions. LOL!

I will say though that the ports that we stopped @ were good. :thumbsup2

If you're going with kids, I can say w/o a doubt, they will not be too happy with it. Even though it was just myself & my DH, I didn't see many others with children on our sailing, so that leads me to believe that their kids activities will be nowhere on par w/ DCL's Kids Clubs.

Not too much else to tell really. Hopefully what little info I've provided will help.

clukas
10-19-2010, 12:34 PM
I just booked a 7 day holiday cruise for this Christmas with Holland America. We have sailed about 6 times on DCL, once on NCL. If you have sailed on HAL and on DCL, please compare and contrast. We were totally unimpressed with NCL so I'm hoping to lowerer my expectations with HAL so we won't be too disappointed.

~Mike

My family has don HAL, NCL and DCL (3 times). HAL was nice but very quiet compared to the other 2, it is an older crowd but not in a bad way. My kids 3 and 1 at the time were well received by other guests and I felt like they had about 500 sets of grandparents. It was nice.

DCL obviously has more kid friendly events and spaces. HAL had a kids room and program but very small compared to DCL and NCL.

I was not very impressed by NCL, they had decent kids camp and staff but overall not the feel of DCL or HAL. Buth then again, NCL was significantly less expensive.

We would sail on HAL again if the itenerary and price were right.

jxd
10-19-2010, 12:51 PM
If you're going with kids, I can say w/o a doubt, they will not be too happy with it. Even though it was just myself & my DH, I didn't see many others with children on our sailing, so that leads me to believe that their kids activities will be nowhere on par w/ DCL's Kids Clubs.We had the exact opposite experience on our Alaska cruise with the kids clubs 2 years ago. Our kids, 4 and 6 at the time, loved it. There were about 20 kids at any one time in the club and they loved the personal attention by the staff. They begged to go. Keep in mind, this was before we exposed them to DCL!

The food and staff was very comparable with DCL...both excellent. The evening entertainment was less family friendly for our liking. The Alaska itinerary naturally draws an older crowd but that didn't bother us in the least. In fact, if you take the time to listen, you can learn a thing or two from those older and wiser...we enjoyed their company. Many of them were in the disco dancing longer and harder than me! I hope that when I am cruising in my senior years that a younger couple won't avoid me because of my age...maybe I can return the favor and teach them a thing or two!

AlexandNessa
10-19-2010, 12:57 PM
I have been on many HAL cruises.

Can you share your ship/itinerary?

HAL varies very much according to time of year, itinerary, and ship.

If you give us a little more info, I'm sure I can be more helpful.

But, I will say, barring having to tender, Half Moon Cay kicks Castaway Cay butt. :)

Rogillio
10-19-2010, 01:18 PM
Here is the cruise we booked. It is a 7-day cruise out of Tampa. Since we sailed DCL/Baltic this summer, I could not sell my wife and daughter the cruise so it will just by my 17 yo son and I. The entire cruise came to $1725.12.

Ship: ms Ryndam

Dates: Dec 19 - 26, 2010

Tampa, Florida, US
Key West, Florida, US
At Sea
Belize City, Belize
Mahogany Bay, Honduras
Cozumel, Mexico
At Sea
Tampa, Florida, US

MousseauMob
10-19-2010, 01:19 PM
If you're going with kids, I can say w/o a doubt, they will not be too happy with it. Even though it was just myself & my DH, I didn't see many others with children on our sailing, so that leads me to believe that their kids activities will be nowhere on par w/ DCL's Kids Clubs.
I have to disagree. We just got off the Oosterdam in September, and the kids LOVED it. Both said they liked it better than Disney. Which suprised me, but the more I analyzed it the more I think it was because their was less kids. With less kids, they were able to bond better with the other kids and with the counselors. It also made things a bit more flexible and kid driven. Where as, if you have 1000 kids on board, you have to stick with the schedule for crowd control. Don't get me wrong we LOVE Disney but we've also loved HAL and Celebrity, and as far as the kids clubs are concerned, the kids have prefered both Celebrity and HAL.

I've decided it is SO hard to compare cruiselines because they each do something better, but different. On HAL it was the best (hands down) embarktion and disembarktion I've ever done. Walked right on, and walked right off - so easy! Suite amentities was much better on HAL, the Neptune Lounge was awesome, and you can't beat free laundry services.

Entertainment on Disney cannot be beat, IMO - it is the best I've experienced on any line. The shows are awesome, and they KNOW how to throw a party - sail away and pirate night beat everything.

The best food I've had at sea was on Celebrity, their specialty place rocked, and was better than Palo's.

So, book the cruise that fits what you want to do for the price you want to pay and have a great time. They each do different things well, and you can have a wonderful time on any of them.

:surfweb:

Rogillio
10-19-2010, 01:24 PM
My son is 17 so too young for the bars/casinos. Hopefully they have a 'Stack' equivelent for older teens?

Anyone know how 'strick' they are about the casinos? If my son and I went in with a roll of quarters (we're not high stakes gambles), would we be able to play the slots?

~Mike

Rogillio
10-19-2010, 01:25 PM
Traitor! :rotfl2:


Yeah, I knew you were gonna razz me about this Nancy. :-)

~Mike

AlexandNessa
10-19-2010, 01:31 PM
Here is the cruise we booked. It is a 7-day cruise out of Tampa. Since we sailed DCL/Baltic this summer, I could not sell my wife and daughter the cruise so it will just by my 17 yo son and I. The entire cruise came to $1725.12.

Ship: ms Ryndam

Dates: Dec 19 - 26, 2010

Tampa, Florida, US
Key West, Florida, US
At Sea
Belize City, Belize
Mahogany Bay, Honduras
Cozumel, Mexico
At Sea
Tampa, Florida, US



Ok, I was hoping you were going to mention a newer ship that went out of Ft. Lauderdale and included HMC.

I am hesitant to sell you on this one.

I have been on the Ryndam (and a few of her sister ships). She is very small. The crew is lovely, and will no doubt give you a nice Christmas.


But you will find the entertainment/activities lacking compared to DCL.

They are pretty strict as far as Casino age. Make sure you are the one putting the quarters into the slots. You need to put your key card in the machine to collect your winnings.

Rogillio
10-19-2010, 01:42 PM
Ok, I was hoping you were going to mention a newer ship that went out of Ft. Lauderdale and included HMC.

I am hesitant to sell you on this one.

I have been on the Ryndam (and a few of her sister ships). She is very small. The crew is lovely, and will no doubt give you a nice Christmas.


But you will find the entertainment/activities lacking compared to DCL.

They are pretty strict as far as Casino age. Make sure you are the one putting the quarters into the slots. You need to put your key card in the machine to collect your winnings.


Yeah, I was kind thinking that may be the case. I looked on their website and they mention the shows in the evening, casinos and movies. Well, we'll be exploring the ports most of the time...and there are pools and a fitness center.

~Mike

AlexandNessa
10-19-2010, 02:19 PM
The good news is that unlike Disney, your son will be allowed in the upcharge restaurant. :) As long as you aren't vegan, The Pinnacle Grill is VERY good!

I recommend the bone-in ribeye with scalloped potatoes. Yum.

Honestly, the service is good. The food is good. The fitness center is nice. The pools are nice. The staterooms are a bit more function over style compared to Disney, but they are generally well-appointed and comfy.

You just aren't going to be as entertained, and you'll have to make a bit more of your own fun.

I am sure with it being over Christmas though that there will be a younger crowd, compared to most HAL cruises. That will be a bonus.

HookedonMagic
10-19-2010, 03:26 PM
We enjoyed our HAL New Year's cruise almost two years ago on the Eurodam. We love DCL (11 trips and counting), but had a great trip with HAL. They have the reputation of being for the more "mature" (read old!) crowd, but we found lots of families and multigenerational groups on our holiday cruise. The food was excellent (especially the specialty restaurants) and the staff was effecient and friendly. The onboard entertainment was lacking, but overall it was a nice experience. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them or sail them again, ourselves. For the record, we did not enjoy RCCL. Awful food, sub par entertainment, a ship filled with "old folks" who were not happy to see our children onboard and a feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn.

Enjoy! :thumbsup2

denas
10-19-2010, 03:43 PM
Here is the cruise we booked. It is a 7-day cruise out of Tampa. Since we sailed DCL/Baltic this summer, I could not sell my wife and daughter the cruise so it will just by my 17 yo son and I. The entire cruise came to $1725.12.

Ship: ms Ryndam

Dates: Dec 19 - 26, 2010

Tampa, Florida, US
Key West, Florida, US
At Sea
Belize City, Belize
Mahogany Bay, Honduras
Cozumel, Mexico
At Sea
Tampa, Florida, US

While I haven't sailed on HAL, I did a very similar itinerary on Royal Caribean 2 years ago. The ports are fabulous - especially if you dive (that is why we went). We dove in both Belize and Cozumel and it was great and I would recommend it to anyone. I have been to honduras before - both on cruises and just travel and there are some wonderful things to do on land there. I like DCL ships but find their itineraries lacking. By contrast, RCL wasn't so great, but it was a floating hotel that got us from one port to another for some great dives!

AlexandNessa
10-19-2010, 03:45 PM
We enjoyed our HAL New Year's cruise almost two years ago on the Eurodam. We love DCL (11 trips and counting), but had a great trip with HAL. They have the reputation of being for the more "mature" (read old!) crowd, but we found lots of families and multigenerational groups on our holiday cruise. The food was excellent (especially the specialty restaurants) and the staff was effecient and friendly. The onboard entertainment was lacking, but overall it was a nice experience. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend them or sail them again, ourselves. For the record, we did not enjoy RCCL. Awful food, sub par entertainment, a ship filled with "old folks" who were not happy to see our children onboard and a feeling of being nickel and dimed at every turn.

Enjoy! :thumbsup2

We sailed RCCL too and had similar experiences, though we don't sail with kids. Very commercialized product. But then, there is a reason they advertise.

Eurodam seems like a great ship. We have not sailed her yet, but have been on the Zuiderdam, Oosterdam, and Westerdam. I was hoping that the OP was sailing on the Vista or Signature class ships. The R and S class ships definitely bring an older crowd who like the smaller, more intimate feel of the ship. But I'm hoping that since the cruise is over a holiday, it will draw a younger crowd.

tvguy
10-19-2010, 03:58 PM
I have to disagree. We just got off the Oosterdam in September, and the kids LOVED it. Both said they liked it better than Disney.
On HAL it was the best (hands down) embarktion and disembarktion I've ever done. :

Our kids first cruise was on HAL's Amsterdam to Alaska. Loved it so much we immediately booked a HAL cruise out of Orlando 18 months later. However, HAL changed the itinerary (basically from an Eastern to a Western) so we switched to Disney because it was an Eastern that week.
On paper, the kids clubs operate the same hours, I can't speak to quality because, honestly, my kids found kids club options on both ships to be lame.
But we have discovered that cruises are vacations we take to be WITH our kids, not away from them.
No Mickey, and no Disney shows on HAL but otherwise a comparable quality cruise at a lower price.

jiminyC_fan
10-19-2010, 05:15 PM
We have taken 8 DCL cruises with 2 booked on the b2b MV of the Dream and one in 2012. We just took our first cruise on HAL. It was on the Statendam to Alaska. I felt like a traitor and didn't mean to but compared the two lines. We loved it. I like the feel of the ship. I loved the price. For 1100.00 pp we had 5 land days and a 7 day cruise complete with the train, lodging, oceanview, transfers and insurance. I like how quiet it is. I like the layout. The food was about the same. The cabin size was about the same. We aren't huge drinkers and didn't gamble. I definitely will cruise HAL again.

MousseauMob
10-19-2010, 09:19 PM
My son is 17 so too young for the bars/casinos. Hopefully they have a 'Stack' equivelent for older teens?
My son is 15, and they do have a teens program. He had a great time.