HAL passengers tend to be an older bunch than Celebrity...I don't know what age group you are, but on one of our HAL cruises we seemed like the kids on the cruise and we were early 40's. Its not a problem, but it does matter to some younger passengers.For us Celebrity is a better fit.
I've been on both and I would do either again. We had sky suite on Celebrity Mercury and a full suite on HAL's Maasdam (for roughly the same price). I'd take the full suite any day over the sky suite - even the upkeep of the room was better, no scotch taped tears in the wall paper, etc. We liked the decor on both ships, perhaps leaning toward HAL - it was a little more traditional and the fresh flowers were much better than Celebrity's fake ones. The service on Celebrity was MUCH better than HAL and we really enjoyed the Butler - HAL doesn't have them. I also really missed the T-pool while traveling on HAL, on Celebrity I used it almost every morning. The age group was a little older on HAL, but that doesn't bother us at all (we're in the AARP card set ourselves).
If given a choice of the same cruise for the same price on either line, I'd probably pick Celebrity, but not my much!
we just got back from our first HAL cruise this week. We went on it for the same reason as you. We had done three Celebrity cruises- two on Zenith and one on the Millennium. We enjoyed them but just wanted to try something new.
Just did a HAL Caribbean cruise on the Volendam. The crowd was quite old and that is not at all atypical. Apparently the transatlantic cruises had an even older crowd. There was no pushing, rarely crowds, everyone was polite- but it was missing an edge, It was extremely pleasant. The ports were interesting. But it was hardly exciting.
The HAL cabins were nicer. The food was consistently better oojn HAL although Celebrity tries more elaborate recipes. Celebrity 's food was more hit and miss. I think the ship was nicer on HAL , more tasteful but less glitzy.
The all INdonesian/ Filipino crew on HAL was really consistently happy, gelpful and freindly. The HAL shows were consistently bad, the prodcutioin numbers lame. I wasn't overwelmed by the Celebrity shows but they were much better.
I think it is worth a try. It was a good experience but certainly is not a ship for partying.
Just my opinion....Have cruised three times on Celebrity and 25+ on HAL.
HAL is what Celebrity wishes it were.
IMO Food very much better on HAL; condition and cleanliness of ship way ahead on HAL; friendliness and efficiency of stewards hands down goes to HAL; Suite comfort and amentites way ahead on HAL; beauty and decoration and tastefulness of ship (IMO)...art, flowers,...hands down to HAL;
We've learned our lesson. Everytime we go to another cruise line we always say to ourselves "Why did we do this?"
Must agree with Sail7seas- sailed on HAL 6 times and have 2 more booked this year. Like their musicians, friendly staff and our favorite feature on all the new HAL ships- that wonderful teak all-around lower promenade deck, shaded from the sun, shielded from the rain, open to the sea and with plenty of padded deck chairs. We sailed Celebrity's Zenith to Bermuda but were not impressed
We are HAL cruisers, but have decided to try Celebrity, just for the heck of it. We are in a Sky Suite. We usually have a B Category Balcony on HAL. I'm looking all of the replies and think that we are wasting our money on the Mercury. Should we change? We love HAL. We never had a problem with the age factor and I just hit 50.