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Cruise Companies: Mainstream, Premium, Deluxe or Luxury (Part 3)

| Friday, 13 Dec. 2013

The cruise industry slots each cruise company into one of four categories. Here are the definition and occupants of each category.

Holland America Lines Although Holland America once had a reputation of drawing an older crowd, generally this is no longer true. On Caribbean sailings the average age is the same as other premium cruise lines, especially since many Holland America cruise fares are competitive with the contemporary cruise companies listed above. However, on the longer and more exotic itineraries one can still expect the older Holland America crowd.

If you're looking for a more refined cruise experience than the contemporary cruise companies you are likely to be pleased with Holland America. The ships are much smaller and carry fewer passengers. The average ship size is under 80,000 tons and the passenger capacity up to the low 2000s. The smaller and older ships are a mere 70,000-tons and carry up to 1800 passengers. These are the most quiet and refined ships in the fleet, although many younger people may find them too quiet.

Activities and menus on the newer Holland America ships have become much more baby boomer and family oriented over the years. Still, they have accomplished their goal of adding these elements to the cruise experience without disenfranchising their older, dedicated repeat passengers. You will find midnight adult comedy shows, daytime enrichment lectures, very well attended trivia contests, and often a crowded dance floor in the ship's lounges and the karaoke contests.

Holland America offers traditional assigned dining as well as "anytime dining" with open seating. Over the years the dining room food and service has generated more complaints. For many years Holland America's strength had been its Filipino and Indonesian crew. However, the Indonesian waiters no longer appear to understand English well enough for the critical levels of service one expects on a premium ship. One can always count on the Filipinos, however. Their English is excellent and they perform their jobs expeditiously and in good humor.

Passengers on any ship won't find better beds and bedding than on Holland America. The standard cabins are generous in size, and the higher balcony categories are quite luxurious and spacious, even before getting to the full suites.

Princess Cruise Lines Princess is an anomaly in the premium category. Although many of their ships are even bigger than Carnival ships, 110,000 gross tons with as many as 3600 passengers, they still manage to keep the premium experience intact by careful management of the passenger flow.

For example, these large ships have three separate "main" dining rooms, each of them just one deck tall and holding well under 1000 guests at any given time. Each Princess ship has at least two alternative dining spots, one Italian and one for grilled steaks and chops.

Continue Article >> Princess Cruise Lines (Cont.) (Part 4)

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