Holland America?

Travel60

Mouseketeer
Joined
Feb 8, 2012
Our "bucket list" DCL cruise to Norway and fjords was cancelled last year. We used the credit to book WBPC in 2022. Hopefully it will fine to sail by then.

This week we learned that our church and a couple of others in area are putting together a 14-day cruise out of Amsterdam visiting several more ports in summer 2022. It will be on a brand new Holland America mid-size ship scheduled for delivery this year. And the price is just a bit more that half our 7-day DCL. I know nothing about Holland America. It seems to get better ratings than Princess or Celebrity. Has anyone sailed this line? How does it compare?
 

Iceman93

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 2, 2004
Yes, Holland America is my other line; I've had quite a few cruises with them including a spectacular Norwegian fjords cruise several years back.

It's not Disney--let me start with that. Disney is an entertainment company that runs cruises, and it shows in the depth and breadth of their entertainment offerings on board. Holland America is an actual cruise line with a rich history; of course they offer on-board entertainment, but it is much more laid back and sparse. One entertainment venue HAL has that Disney does not is a casino, if that matters to you.

I would put their food on par with Disney, in the main dining room, specialty venues, buffets, and quick service. There's no rotational dining on HAL. I would put their customer service (cabin stewards, dining room stewards, etc.) on par with Disney as well, except that the concierge staffs on Disney are quite a bit more polished and impressive.

Of course Disney has a more impressive kid's program, but my kids have loved Club HAL too on our many voyages. The spa is the same, in fact both are run by Steiner. And I'd say on-board nickel-and-diming is equivalent too--many things that I think should be included in the cruise fare are an upcharge (specialty coffee, ice cream, etc.), but it's more irksome on Disney given their much, much, MUCH higher base fares.

In summary, I've really enjoyed cruises on both lines. With Disney, my best memories are of various things on board. There's never a dull moment, in fact there are often two or three things going on simultaneously that I want to do. With HAL, my best memories are of the voyages themselves--the ports, the scenery, the chance to slow down and really relax.

Is there anything else specific you'd like my thoughts on?
 

smacmillan83

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 29, 2016
We sailed Holland America from Singapore to Hong Kong. We were very impressed. Staff are great, food was good and the ship was clean. The entertainment was no where near the same as Disney in the main theatre but they had great music options. We loved the dueling piano guys as an example. The spaces are more catered to adults and we found the ship to be very quiet but that was likely due to the itinerary. We would sail them again.
 

mylael

Earning My Ears
Joined
May 20, 2014
I've sailed on Disney, Princess, and HAL, and HAL was probably my least favorite of the three, but it was still fine. Depending on the itinerary, I'd consider doing another cruise with them. Yes, the passengers skewed older than other lines, but there were all ages on board. Lots of honeymooners. Teens, especially, seemed to come out at night to enjoy the buffet. There weren't a lot of activities that appealed to me (no trivia, and none of the shows caught my interest) but if you're on a port-intensive cruise it won't really matter. That said, the ship I was on DID have a library (yes!) And one night, they had chocolate tasting (free!). Food was on par with the other lines -- some fantastic, some mediocre. So, yeah, it's not Disney but I'd still go, especially for the right itinerary & price.
 

Hegemon

Mouseketeer
Joined
Nov 8, 2019
Quasi-relatedly...my family and I just binge-watched two seasons of "Mighty Cruise Ships" on the Smithsonian Channel (we use YoutubeTV). It was SO much fun getting a taste of a bunch of different cruise lines and seeing what it would be like to sail with them. Thanks to that show, a Viking sea cruise is now on my bucket-list. :)
 

FWRR3

Engineer for "The Little FWRR"
Joined
Sep 3, 2010
Speaking of HAL, if you would like to do a back-to-back or round-trip cruise to Hawaii but also wish to spend some time there, you can try HAL to Hawaii on April 10, 2022, stay in Hawaii for two weeks and then do Disney Wonder back to Vancouver. Of course the HAL cruise is a round-trip so you have to pay the full fare and depart early in Oahu, but it's still cheaper than Disney one-way.
 

tvguy

Question anything the facts don't support.
Joined
Dec 15, 2003
We have been on two HAL cruises, they rock. Service was on par if not better than DCL. My kids didn't care for the kids clubs on either HAL or DCL but we cruise as a family to be together, not apart,for the week.
 

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  • hrhdhd

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2010
    I am a three-star Mariner on HAL, if memory serves. The hubs and I haven't sailed them in a while now, but we'd sail them again if the price and itinerary are right. I'd echo most of Iceman93's comments; as long as you know HAL isn't Disney, you can enjoy a good cruise on a new ship and save some money for excursions.
     

    Travel60

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 8, 2012
    Thanks to all who responded! I didn't mention in original post but it's just DH and me and our ages will fit right in with the older age of passengers. 😁

    We don't do casinos and are pleased that the casino on this ship looks relatively small and toward the front of the ship. The only other ship we've sailed that had a casino had it located right in the middle so you had to either go through it (ugh!) or up and down stairs to get around it.

    We can deal with the lack of Disney-quality entertainment and glad to read that services and food quality are at least on par with DCL. Our "deal" being offered includes an alcohol plan and premium dining plan. So, hopefully we will get to try the various restaurants without being nickel and dimed too much. On DCL, often our only extra charges are excursions.

    Next year is looking to be travel intensive (catching up 2years)....WBPC in March, 2-week trip to Passion Play (Germany) and river cruise in June, and Norway Fjords cruise in July. Maybe that will keep my spirits up over the next few months!
     

    Iceman93

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 2, 2004
    Thanks for following back up. It sounds like HAL will be a good choice for you, and that you definitely have a lot of traveling to look forward to!
     

    Intr3pid

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 2, 2018
    OP, you seem informed enough, and your decision-making is in good hands. I do want to provide a balance here to the somewhat one-sided opinions you are reading.

    HAL and Princess together have been two of the worst offenders to the environment within the cruise ship industry. They have had criminal charges on record against them - in particular, for dumping in the Alaskan waters while already under probation. And that's just from a couple of years ago.

    Here is more color:

    Many in the industry also feel that the two brands were single-handedly responsible for earning the cruise ships the 'petri dish' label last year. (You may or may not care about any of this.)

    And it's quite unfortunate because there are plenty of great people who work on these ships and honest guests who want to have a good vacation. Even with an older fleet, the service remains good. The staff understand the clientele very well.

    Plus, I really like their itineraries - probably the most exotic outside of the small ships. (They have a 2-month 'Circle South America' trip which is just mouthwatering.) I want half of their planning team recruited by Disney!
     
  • mevelandry

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Aug 22, 2013
    I don’t have experience with Holland, however, when in doubt, I am always looking for tours, vlogs and shows extracts on youtube. This way, I usually have an idea whether we’ll enjoy our experience or not.

    As I always say: the money you are saving can always be used to upgrade where you think the included experience might be lacking. It’s always good to research and find out what will be different before the cruise happen.
     
    Last edited:

    Chrissy-Mickey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 23, 2016
    I went with Holland America to Alaska. Great service and wonderful food. I didn't like the entertainment (except for their information sessions on Alaska), but I didn't like the entertainment on Carnival and Celebrity either.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    I went with Holland to Alaska (because a group I was with was on it) and I personally would never voluntarily choose them. Way too stuffy and uptight for me. And multiple things not done when they said they were (such as closing my account on the last night - I was assured it was done, got to scan off with the end of cruise tour I was taking before my red eye back to NY and was sent back because they had NOT closed it out properly and it still showed open - the only reason I didn't get left behind by the tour is the crew member who had been leading us out made the guide she was handing us over to wait while she came back to look for me and was able to jump me to the head of the line because I had something saying it was closed out).

    OTOH, I adored my Celebrity cruise and would be doing a lot more of them if they weren't going to this semi-all-inclusive thing that punished single cruisers even more than we normally are.
     





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