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Old December 6th, 2010, 05:43 PM
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Default Need Help! How does Celebrity (and other lines) compare to HAL?

Hi all,
I would like to try a new cruise line but do not want to be disappointed--so I'd like other travelers' input.

By far, HAL is my personal best out of the lines I've sailed on (HAL, NCL and RCCL). Of course, food, service, itineraries, etc. are important, but to me what puts HAL over the top is:

1. MATTRESSES!!! most cruise reviews I read neglect to even mention this and I have found that on NCL and RCCL they are hard and lumpy--and I am unable to sleep. On HAL, I was beyond comfortable....great sleep...this is important to me!
2. service
3. quality, i.e. plentiful teak chairs as opposed to worn out, dirty plastic chairs that you have to fight for because there are not enough.

other examples would be the ease with which you can check out beach towels (if its for going on land, you pick it up on your way out and drop it off when you re-board and if its for use at the pool, etc. on the ship, there are numerous stations where you pick one up) vs. RCCL where there is one place on the ENTIRE ship where you have to use your keycard to pick up and, if they aren't returned to this one spot, you will be charged....

free video rentals at library vs. $5 and up charges for watching movies....


3. atmosphere/options: a heated deck with a pool that has a glass (or plastic?) covering that can be lowered when it is cold...so you can be "outside" and enjoy warmth AND the pool and ocean view when it is cold out....also, all ships have spas but HAL has beautifully tiled steam rooms and special heated pools that you can get passes for for a small fee.

so, hopefully you get my drift. i'd welcome all input. Thanks!!!!!
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Old December 6th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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When you've had the best why try the rest ?
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Old December 6th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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bob1973,

Quote:
Originally Posted by You View Post
By far, HAL is my personal best out of the lines I've sailed on (HAL, NCL and RCCL). Of course, food, service, itineraries, etc. are important, but to me what puts HAL over the top is:

1. MATTRESSES!!! most cruise reviews I read neglect to even mention this and I have found that on NCL and RCCL they are hard and lumpy--and I am unable to sleep. On HAL, I was beyond comfortable....great sleep...this is important to me!
2. service
3. quality, i.e. plentiful teak chairs as opposed to worn out, dirty plastic chairs that you have to fight for because there are not enough.
That's really not a comparison of equals. Holland America Lines (HAL) is a "premium" cruise line whereas Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean International (RCI) are "mainstream" cruise lines. It's like the difference between buying a Chevrolet or a Fort and buying a Chrysler or a Buick. (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., aka RCCL, is a holding company; not a cruise line.)

To answer your question, though, Celebrity Cruises is another "premium" cruise line, and thus should be on par with Holland America Lines. The demographics on Celebrity Cruises tend to be younger than on HAL, and the product tends to reflect that demographic (HAL offering more bland cuisine and more sedate activities), but the quality of service and the standards of accommodations should be pretty comparable. I cannot speak for others, but I have never had a problem sleeping during any of fourteen cruises aboard six of Celebrity's ships. One other difference, though, is that Celebrity's cruises do tend to be somewhat dressier than HAL's (nearlly all of the passengers do conform to the "modified formal" standard of dress that the line specifies for "formal" evenings), except for short cruises to the Caribbean where rowdier crowds tend to take over.

I should also mention that Celebrity's "specialty" restaurants are the most elegant (full gourmet) and most expensive ($35 per person per occasion) of any major cruise line.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
other examples would be the ease with which you can check out beach towels (if its for going on land, you pick it up on your way out and drop it off when you re-board and if its for use at the pool, etc. on the ship, there are numerous stations where you pick one up) vs. RCCL where there is one place on the ENTIRE ship where you have to use your keycard to pick up and, if they aren't returned to this one spot, you will be charged....
On Celebrity:

>> Your cabin steward will deliver beach towels to your cabin. You bring them back to your cabin when you return to the ship. Your cabin steward replaces used beach towels with clean beach towels during evening turn-down.

>> On Celebrity, there are several stations around each pool area where you can pick up pool towels. There's no check-out of pool towels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
free video rentals at library vs. $5 and up charges for watching movies....
Celebrity does offer free movies in the cinema and movies "on demand" via the cabin television system, which also has a couple free movie chanels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
3. atmosphere/options: a heated deck with a pool that has a glass (or plastic?) covering that can be lowered when it is cold...so you can be "outside" and enjoy warmth AND the pool and ocean view when it is cold out....
Celebrity's ships have two pool areas -- one without a cover and the other under a retractable dome that's hardly ever retracted. The latter is heated in cool weather.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
also, all ships have spas but HAL has beautifully tiled steam rooms and special heated pools that you can get passes for for a small fee.
Celebrity's spas, operated by Elemis, are the most "upscale" of any major cruise line. All ships of the Millennium and Solstice classes offer Persian Gardens as well as steam rooms, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
so, hopefully you get my drift. i'd welcome all input. Thanks!!!!!
Celebrity is a great line, but not right for everybody. Your choice.

And you're welcome!

Norm.
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Old December 6th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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good point, and i agree. however, might have a small window for a get away and none on HAL's dates/departure ports work...
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Old December 6th, 2010, 06:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rev22:17 View Post
bob1973,



That's really not a comparison of equals. Holland America Lines (HAL) is a "premium" cruise line whereas Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Royal Caribbean International (RCI) are "mainstream" cruise lines. It's like the difference between buying a Chevrolet or a Fort and buying a Chrysler or a Buick. (Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., aka RCCL, is a holding company; not a cruise line.)

To answer your question, though, Celebrity Cruises is another "premium" cruise line, and thus should be on par with Holland America Lines. The demographics on Celebrity Cruises tend to be younger than on HAL, and the product tends to reflect that demographic (HAL offering more bland cuisine and more sedate activities), but the quality of service and the standards of accommodations should be pretty comparable. I cannot speak for others, but I have never had a problem sleeping during any of fourteen cruises aboard six of Celebrity's ships. One other difference, though, is that Celebrity's cruises do tend to be somewhat dressier than HAL's (nearlly all of the passengers do conform to the "modified formal" standard of dress that the line specifies for "formal" evenings), except for short cruises to the Caribbean where rowdier crowds tend to take over.

I should also mention that Celebrity's "specialty" restaurants are the most elegant (full gourmet) and most expensive ($35 per person per occasion) of any major cruise line.



On Celebrity:

>> Your cabin steward will deliver beach towels to your cabin. You bring them back to your cabin when you return to the ship. Your cabin steward replaces used beach towels with clean beach towels during evening turn-down.

>> On Celebrity, there are several stations around each pool area where you can pick up pool towels. There's no check-out of pool towels.



Celebrity does offer free movies in the cinema and movies "on demand" via the cabin television system, which also has a couple free movie chanels.



Celebrity's ships have two pool areas -- one without a cover and the other under a retractable dome that's hardly ever retracted. The latter is heated in cool weather.



Celebrity's spas, operated by Elemis, are the most "upscale" of any major cruise line. All ships of the Millennium and Solstice classes offer Persian Gardens as well as steam rooms, etc.



Celebrity is a great line, but not right for everybody. Your choice.

And you're welcome!

Norm.
great info, thank you Rev22:17!!!!
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Old December 7th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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I have found that the ships and service on Celebrity are of a decidedly different style which, in large part, is because of what the passengers desire.

Celebrity ships are more open and airy with a modern flare, while HAL's ships are more stayed and, to be sure, dark. Celebrity tries to push the envelope on technology and trendy venues (ice martini bar, the Lawn Club, Acupuncture, Spa, etc.) And the cuisine is definitely more varied on Celebrity.

For me, if you are looking at suites, Celebrity provides far more in the way of amenities though HAL's SY and SS sort-of suites are a great value for a lot of real estate.

On the service end of things, both provide very good service, but I find the service on HAL to be subdued or subservient ("Your drink, sir.") as opposed to Celebrity's more engaged approach ("Please enjoy your cocktail. Is there anything else I can get you? There are some tidbits to try over on the left hand side.")

I find there are more HAL folks that find Celebrity an acceptable alternative than Celebrity folks that find HAL similarly acceptable. But each person has his/her own style and opinion.

If I was looking to get away during a specific period and HAL didn't have an itinerary of interest, I would not hesitate to give Celebrity a try.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 03:48 PM
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I agree about the mattresses, had some real horrors on P&O, had to have a topper but even then just too hard I could only sleep by taking pain killers! when ever I turned it was to a hard spot.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 04:09 PM
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For me personally - Holland America is a quieter ship that you take for a great value on a great itinerary.

I like the newer HAL ships - Eurodam, etc, especially. The S-class smaller ships are like the old Celebrity ships (Century) - you take them for a quiet cruise where you want to get away and read a good book.

But given a choice I would take the Solstice class on Celebrity; Eclipse being #1 due to the QSine restaurant. I agree with Eric that Celebrity is a flashier ship than HAL, and I have to say to dining room food is much better.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:00 PM
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bob1973,

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great info, thank you Rev22:17!!!!
You're welcome!

Norm.
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Old December 7th, 2010, 06:02 PM
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I go along with the Celebrity recommendation, but I wouldn't discount Princess cruise line either. I find Princess and Holland America very similar in most ways, though HAL has the better beds.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 07:57 AM
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I agree with everything said however Norm is not correct about the more formal dress on Celebrity. On almost all Celebrity cruises, you will see less and less people dressed in formal clothes especially tuxes. With the various dining options many are opting to not bring formal clothes at all and eat at alternate locations on formal nights. They no longer request formal clothes for the evening on formal nights and many now change. Specialty restaurants now request smart casual dress on all nights and many book these restaurants to avoid the formal dress. This does not apply to short Caribbean cruises but almost all of Celebrity's cruise offerings. I base my observations on having been on two cruises in the past few months and the thousands of posts I read on this and other boards. Additionally, whatever dress codes Celebrity has, they basically haven't been enforcing them..

One other minor point, the indoor pool area on the S class ships does not have a retractable roof...

I agree completely about the Specialty restaurants on Celebrity, not to be missed.

Last edited by dkjretired; December 8th, 2010 at 08:09 AM.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 09:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dkjretired View Post

One other minor point, the indoor pool area on the S class ships does not have a retractable roof...

I agree completely about the Specialty restaurants on Celebrity, not to be missed.
I agree that Celebrity's dress is not as formal as it once was. The number of tuxedos, on formal night, have become a large minority.

BTW: The HAL S-Class ships do have a retractable roof over the main pool. When I sailed Statendam the roof got stuck and made one heck of a racket.

Take care,
Mike
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Old December 8th, 2010, 04:52 PM
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Don,

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I agree with everything said however Norm is not correct about the more formal dress on Celebrity. On almost all Celebrity cruises, you will see less and less people dressed in formal clothes especially tuxes. With the various dining options many are opting to not bring formal clothes at all and eat at alternate locations on formal nights. They no longer request formal clothes for the evening on formal nights and many now change.
You keep saying this, but it is exactly the opposite of what I observed on a ten-night Southern Caribbean cruise aboard GTS Celebrity Millennium last month.

>> I saw only a handful of men not wearing either suits or "black tie" outfits (tuxedo or dinner jacket) on the "formal" evenings -- and even the ladies who were with those men were dressed very elegantly.

>> I overheard a few passengers remark that they did not expect the "formal" evenings to be so dressy.

>> I saw only one group of four or five passengers who did not remain dressed in formalwear for the shows on the "formal" evenings.

I know that the situation is very different on the four-night and five-night cruises aboard MV Celebrity Century, and acknowledged that difference in my earlier post.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
Specialty restaurants now request smart casual dress on all nights and many book these restaurants to avoid the formal dress.
Rather, the dress in the specialty restaurants is the same as in the main dining room. The only casual option is the buffet restaurant.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
One other minor point, the indoor pool area on the S class ships does not have a retractable roof...
Thanks for that detail. I was not aware that the roof did not retract, but there's no point in making the roof retractable if you are never going to retract it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by You
I agree completely about the Specialty restaurants on Celebrity, not to be missed.
Not to be missed???

They really worth the upcharge, though I will go with my tablemates if they decide to go as a group.

Norm.
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Old December 8th, 2010, 05:16 PM
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Dress in specialty restaurants is no longer the same as the MDR. It was changed several months ago. As per Celebrity web site.

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I keep saying this because you are the only person who I have seen write that the dress code is being maintained. There are hundreds of posts complaining about how Celebritys dress code is no longer what it was years ago. Posters are actively trying to find ways around the formal dress in any way they can. About three months ago Celebrity removed all mention of Jeans being excluded from the dining room in their dress codes. Jeans are now permitted in the MDR. I am not talking about 4 or 5 day Century cruises,I have not been on them, I am talking all cruises, regardless of location or length. As a matter of fact due to luggage restrictions, right or wrong, European cruisers are now having more people become less formal..I am again basing this on hundreds of posts and recent cruises.

If your cruise was more formal it was definitely an exception...

The Specialty restaurant dining is comparable to Celebritys every night dining in the MDR 15 to 20 years ago..
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