Thanks Brad. I did not think I would find any complaints about HAL. Then again, the only complaints I have seen are against NCL. To think I was told that there were complaints to be found on all the cruise line boards. Glad to see that was not the case.
My wife and I sailed with HAL on the Statendam in December, and the service was terrific and the smiles genuine. The food made every dinner the highlight of the day. What a mistake when we sailed with NCL on the Star in March. They couldn't have been more opposite to Holland America. The Star's service was literally unbelievable, completely distant, with a "we couldn't care less" unsmiling attitude throughout the trip. The food was bland and often tasted like it had been warmed in a microwave. No doubt in my mind there is a reason why NCL's board gets its share of lousy reviews. What is really unfortunate on their board is that there is a core of NCL supporters ("Nita", "Two Boys Cruising", "Jeff") who continually attack any and all criticism of NCL. I feel sorry for all the people who are misled by them into wasting their money on an NCL trip. I suspect they must work for NCL, because after I posted our cruise review of the below-lousy service on the Star, I received a nasty message from one of them on my home e-mail, and it read "This message was sent from: Norwegian Cruise Lines."
If I had to say anything bad about Holland America, it would be that I wished they had warned me that Norwegian isn't even close to being in their league...
The only "complaint" I've had with HAL is that they didn't have "basic" outside cabins with balconies, but they're taking care of this on their new Vista class ships. I personally like a mini-suite or suite, but when I cruise with my Dad that's sometimes a bit much in $$ for him. We have a mini-suite June1st on Amsterdam, though, that I got a good price on, so we'll have a balcony. I've also been on Niew Amsterdam, Westerdam, and Ryndam. Otherwise, absolutely no complaints about HAL, love the ships, the service is the best, and I think their food is the best too (and I've also sailed Celebrity which for some reason people think has the best food - don't be fooled!). Looking forward to the Amsterdam at the end of the month, and sailing on the new "Vistas" in the future!
You know I hadn't thought about it until someone else mentioned it .. we had previously sailed almost exclusively on Princess and loved it ... after sailing on HAL, I had to admit that the crew were no more familiar with my likes and dislikes on the 7th night than they were on the first, as compared to HAL where by the second night they knew my name, what I liked to drink and really seemed to care about my cruising experience. So, no complaint here either.
Well, I don't know if any of this helps Frank, but I feel better about our June HAL Alaska cruise on the Statendam. I have researched books and many boards and have always found more negative comments about NCL than any other major line with Carnival being second. My youngest son was on NCI cruise from Miami area and thought it was fine, but he had nothing to compare it to. Plus he had 400 of his company employees there to party with!
I will NEVER cruise NCL again. I have cruised them three times, and the third strike they were OUT!! My last experience was on a special transatlantic crossing on the Norway (old SS France) to LaHarve France (for a special cruise to it's originating home port) and on to South Hampton England to be refitted with water sprinklers to comply with US cruising regulations. Since it was a "special" cruise celebrating the France, most of the passengers on the ship were French and so were most activities. We had "fixed meals" in the dining room. ie this was the meal that Charlie Chaplin ate when he crossed the Atlantic on some date way back when. I have never been on a cruise ship where you had NO CHOICE in the dining room. It was an AWFUL experience. I will NEVER do NCL again.
On the other hand, my husband and I will be taking our 10 and 11th cruise on HAL in August. We will be on the NEW Rotterdam (we were on the OLD Rotterdam three times). We will do a 7 day Montreal to Boston, followed by a 16 day transatlantic from Boston to England, via Greenland, Iceland, the Orkney Islands, the Shetland Islands, Scotland, Amsterdam, and end in England.
Our repeat cruise lines are: Princess, RCCL, and HAL. We will never again do Carnival or NCL.
My husband and I took our first cruise in April 2002, we were on the Maasdam, we loved the ship and the crew. If i had any thing bad to say , it would be that there really wasn't any thing for young couples to do until after 11:00 pm. I would say that it probably would of been better if we had another couple with us. But, the ship is great and yes i would sail again with Holland America
Only one: The tipping policy is confusing and difficult. I dislike having to carry cash around, and wish I could just add whatever tip I want to each tab I sign. And, I think that many many cruisers believe that "Tipping not required" means "Tipping is included." I was surprised and concerned to see how many people were NOT tipping in the dining room and lounges.
we sailed on the maasdam 5/19/02. we loved the ship and the crew. wounderful cruise experience. my only "complaint" was that there was not enough shower hot water. but i realized that i was showering about the same time as everyone else on the ship.so i changed my shower time
this problem i can overlook and we sail again on hal maasdam alaska 8/3/02
my complaints against HAL are the tipping policy and the entertainment that is geared toward older people. For that reason I will not sail HAL again until I am a lot older!!!!
The tipping policy is confusing> I think the cruises on HAL are more expensive than some other lines and the tipping not required policy I think has a lot to do with that.
We were unsure all the time we were on the boat whether we should tip bar staff, waiters etc.
We ended up leaving tips at the end of the cruise, but I much prefer to know in advance.
Have fun on Carnival! I hope you enjoy the 18 year olds (4 to an inside room) drinking, partying, and sleeping outside your beautiful balcony room and stepping over drunk bodies trying to reach your room.
I'll take the 'older' HAL crowd anyday.
As far as tipping, even thought HAL has a 'no tipping' policy, I find myself tipping at the end of the cruise MORE than I do on any other cruise line -- why --- BECAUSE THE SERVICE IS OUTSTANDING and the CREW DESERVES the tip.
You are obviously NOT a seasoned cruiser. The cruise price has NOTHING to do with the tipping policy. Try Carnival the next time..... you will quickly change your opinion of HAL.
I have traveled on NCL starting in 1995, we enjoyed every moment.
I have traveled on Holland America 1996, we loved it, the service was great, the food was excellant, the ship was wonderful.
I have traveled on Carnival in 1997, we hated it...the service was bad to worse the food was very bad, the ship was interesting if you like Vegas meets Elvis. Never again on Carnival.
I have traveled back on Holland America 1998, we loved it, the service was great and even better the second time around, the food was great and the ship was wonderful.
I have traveled back on NCL in 1999, the internerary was great...however, the service on the ship was not up to expectations and the food was alright. The cabin was very small.
I have gone back to Holland America in 2000, we loved it, the service was great and the service keeps on getting better along with the food!!!!
I have gone back on NCL in 2001 but I really did not want to go because of our 1999 experience but I really liked the itenerary that NCL was offering...the southern Carribean...the best itenerary that I have experienced....we started off in PR and our ship went to Aruba, Carcao and St. thomas and tortola / verda gorda...it was great..however I did not like the "freestyle cruising"...the food was alright and the service was not that great....I vowed never to go on NCL again.
We are once again turning back to our love "Holland America" we have found from our experience and through other peoples experiences that Holland America is the best.
We are booked on the Maasdam for August 11,2002....to be continued
I have sailed with Carnival 3 times and have NEVER seen anything close to what you described! My latest cruise was on the Carnival Pride a couple of weeks ago. EVERYONE I talked to who has also sailed HAL told me that the Pride had better service and food than any of the HAL ships they had been on. Don't condemn an entire cruise line because of a few isolated incidents.
I will admit that my horror story on Carnival was many years ago before they starting getting control of the 'kids'.
I did a 7 day Mexican Rivera cruise on Carnival R/T Los Angeles on June 28 (I don't remember the year - but the time of year was very important).
The ship was FILLED with LA "Valley Girls" high school graduates who chose cruising as their graduation present over a trip to Hawaii - because Hawaii had just changed their drinking age to 21 and you could drink on the ship if you were 18... and drink they did.
Now, if the ship is filled with HS Valley Girls, what follows??? Lot's of sex-starved, fun-seeking boys. Also, drunk. Think Spring Break in Cancun.
My experience is as described. An absolute DISASTER and Carnival did NOTHING to control those "animals". There was NO PARENTAL SUPERVISION because it seemed the only adults on the cruise were suckers like me.
I swore "never again on Carnival" and I have been true to my word. Service and food did not play any part in my decision not to cruise Carnival.
At least the "older crowd" on HAL knows how to conduct themselves and respect the other passengers.
We cruise Carnival years back and liked cruising but not a few of the services: 1.The luggage service was awful. When we boarded the ship, the crew told where to go and get it. Well, we went to get it near the door where they bring it on and they were throwing on like garbage bags in a pile with everyone elses. We had to dig it, not very impressive. Something could have busted or got broken.
2. Having an 8:00pm dinner seating and they open the doors an hour late.
3. Crew treating passengers like dirt at the end of the cruise once they got their tips.(They were no longer the nice crew we knew our days at sea. They were rude when we ask questions. They rush us off like cattle and we had people whom couldn't walk too fast)
These were my only complaints about Carnival. I been told that Carnival isn't like this today. So, I'm anxious to try them again.
I have sailed with HAL twice, both times on the Maasdam and enjoyed the Holland America "experience" very much. The ship is "classy" and "elegant". There many great original art pieces (paintings and sculptures) on display throughout the ship (almost gives you the feeling of being in a small museum). Also, their fresh floral displays are really fabulous. The crew is the best I've ever encountered. Almost every one of them will greet you by name each time they see you. The food is very good as well - lots of choices on their daily dinner menus. I have also been on seven other cruises - my first two were on the Radisson Diamond (excellent, but more upscale and expensive than other lines), three on Celebrity (also very good), one on NCL (not as good), and my last one, in May of this year on Princess' new Star which, though it is very beautiful, is just too large for my taste. HAL is my personal favorite - Celebrity my second.
I have sailed with HAL twice, both times on the Maasdam and enjoyed the Holland America "experience" very much. The ship is "classy" and "elegant". There many great original art pieces (paintings and sculptures, some of which are centuries old) on display throughout the ship (almost gives you the feeling of being in a small museum). Also, their fresh floral displays throughout the ship are really beautiful. The crew is the best I've ever encountered. Almost every one of them will greet you by your first name each time they see you. The food is very good as well - lots of choices on their daily dinner menus. I have also been on seven other cruises - my first two were on the Radisson Diamond (excellent, but more upscale and expensive than other lines), three on Celebrity (also very good), one on NCL (not as good), and my last one, in May of this year, on Princess' new Star which, though it is very beautiful, is just too large for my taste. HAL is my personal favorite - Celebrity my second.Marty wrote:> We cruise Carnival years back and liked cruising but not a> few of the services: 1.The luggage service was awful. When we> boarded the ship, the crew told where to go and get it. Well,> we went to get it near the door where they bring it on and they> were throwing on like garbage bags in a pile with everyone> elses. We had to dig it, not very impressive. Something could> have busted or got broken.> > > 2. Having an 8:00pm dinner seating and they open the doors an> hour late.> > 3. Crew treating passengers like dirt at the end of the> cruise once they got their tips.(They were no longer the nice> crew we knew our days at sea. They were rude when we ask> questions. They rush us off like cattle and we had people whom> couldn't walk too fast)> > These were my only complaints about Carnival. I been told> that Carnival isn't like this today. So, I'm anxious to try> them again.> > HAL seems quite classy.
I am looking at both Princess and Holland America for an Alaskan cruise next year. I am 45 and going with my Dad (77). I have been on Princess twice, the last in 1992. Most recently on Celebrity.
From most of the posts on these boards, Princess and HAL seem to run pretty close. We like good food, service, a nice ambiance and friendly staff. What are the +/- between the two, specific to the destination of Alaska?
I don't doubt that your complaints are legitimate BUT please read my review of the STAR for May 12th of this year.....either the ship has undergone tremendous revamping or-------at least our experience was GREAT! food and all!....Max Early