Hi there, I'm an experienced cruiser who normally stays with Celebrity. However, I've got an opportunity to try HAL next March based on my husband's business travel to the West Coast. Anyway, I am looking for a comparison between the two lines, good information on the itinerary (San Diego to Acapulco for 10 days) and (hopefully) comments that will sway us to make a change from Celebrity. I've know the ship is older and some comments indicate she is "shabby". Also, some comments included the facts that the crew was either not attentive or that the ship was understaffed in the Dining Room. I hope somewhere out there can lend some first hand information.
I have always been a H.A.L. fan until our last cruise on the Amsterdam. It was so-so.
I still have a warm spot for H.A.L. and am giving them another try this November on the Veendam.
I have had mediocre cruises on Celebrity a couple of times as well. In my opinion Celebrity, H.A.L. and Princess are pretty close in terms of overall product quality. Everything is pretty good most of the time but seldom spectacular in any way.
I've only had one cruise I disliked out of fourteen I've experienced. That was on R.C.C.L.'s Radiance of the Seas. It was not the right cruise ship for me but many others enjoyed it greatly. Everyone is different and we all have differing expectations.
Even a mediocre cruise can be a lot of fun if you have the right mindset. The itinerary you speak of is wonderful. Sometimes a great itinerary can make up for a so-so ship experience, at least for me it can.
We did the Baltic cruise on the Norwegian Dream. It was a fabulous experience despite the ship having many flaws. The itinerary was fabulous.
On Sept. 14 I took the Statendam on the week long inside passage to Alaska.
To me she seemed very well kept and always clean. I do not know where anyone can claim that she is "shabby" in any way. The service was impeccable. Personally, I am unable to compare HAL with Celebraty, however I can say that the 1,200 passenger ships(Statendam Maasdam) do seem to give a much more personal ambiance than the 2000 plus ship that I was ONCE on. Many of the best of Celebrity's ships (Infinity, Millennium, Summit) are around 90,000 tons and around 2,000 passengers, which is great if you love mega ships. However, there are travelers like me who like something a bit relatively smaller. As a solo traveler who enjoys meeting new friends and the actually seeing them again, HAL is a good fit.
Also, I am 30 something. So much for Holland America being your grandfather's cruiseline or being nothing but old folks.