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Old September 9th, 2003, 04:01 AM
TM Nelson
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Default 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

Hi...I am hoping any fellow HAL cruisers can help me out in making a decision on a Mexican Riviera cruise. We have cruised NCL in the past and found it okay, but not great (the food and dress code were very mediocre). We are considering a HAL 10 day Mexican cruise in November and there are two ships to choose from (Statendam and Ryndam). I read mixed reviews for HAL and am hoping for some good advice. Specifically, we're looking for a first class cruise where we don't feel like we're the "only ones" dressing up and where the food is wonderful and worthy of remembering. We'd like to experience outstanding dining, a nice dress code, and good entertainment. I have been told the cruise experience on HAL is awesome, but the online reviews I have been reading haven't been the best. Specifically, that the boats are old and outdated, and the food isn't what it used to be. Personally, we would like to be on a ship that is reminiscent of the way cruises used to be. I am a 43 yo professional female taking my 70 yo mother. Am I too young for this line? I hear the average age for HAL is 80. Any advice on the two different ships and what to expect would be appreciated. Also, any advice on what deck to book our room on would be appreciated as well. Any comments are appreciated.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 08:34 AM
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

I would choose either ship. In my opinion they certainly are not outdated and old - to me a ship that has been around for 30 years is old. Statendam came out around '92 and Ryndam followed a year or 2 later.

You most definitely will not be the youngest on the ship, in fact I have friends in their early 50's who are travelling next month on the Statendam. They love to dress up and I have found that most people do. While I wouldn't call the food outstanding, it's good food and they have quite a variety. Both ships have an Alternative restaurant, so you may want to eat there one night.

HAL's never been known to have top-notch entertainment and as we no longer go to the shows, I can't say what they are like.

As to a cabin, you may want to take a Verandah mini-suite or a Suite. If not Lower Prom or Main deck, are fine - go for something mid-ship, if they are still available. They have lots of room and closet space.
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Old September 9th, 2003, 01:42 PM
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

TM - We took our first HAL cruise this year on the Veendam, and it was even better than I expected. Like you I was expecting an older crowd but it really was a good mix. In fact, they sat me and my boyfriend at a dinner table with one other couple close to our age (mid-30's). I don't know if it was a coincidence or not, but it really worked out well. We had a mini-suite with a verandah, and it was by far the nicest cabin I've ever had. We had a jacuzzi tub, a nice bar set up, and a real king-sized bed. If you can swing I definitely recommend the extra cost. I also suggest that you invest in their 'unlimited pressing program', where they will iron anything you give them for the entire cruise (for us it was $15 for 7 days). The food and service were also excellent. I say, GO FOR IT!!
Cheers,
MaryC
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Old September 9th, 2003, 04:51 PM
b.krewson
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

I 'm 48, I and I have been on Hal ships 6 times. My wife and I have been to every show and they are very good. We have never missed a show yet. Dinners are very good. Yes, they are a older crowd but not 80 average. Last Feb we were on a 14day trip. We sat at dinner with a table with eight. Two couples were the same age to early 40's. The other couple was 55. We had a good time with them on the ship. Hal ships are very warm (woods) and great flowers thru out the ship. Their ships are just the right size not too big. They take very good care of the ships. The crew is always cleaning the brass railings on the stairs. Also the crew might be painting outside during your cruise , it never stops. I sure you will love the cruise, they will take good care of you and your friend.

It is the only way to travel.

I hope I've helped you.

Brad



Post Edited (09-09-03 15:52)
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Old September 9th, 2003, 05:06 PM
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

I've been reading this board for the last few months and was concerned that HAL had cut back like some of the other lines.

I just returned from a 14 day Alaska cruise on the Prinsendam and am happy to report that I wasn't disapointed. HAL is as good as ever and much better than the 6 NCL cruises I've taken.

The Mexican Reviera Cruise and the Sea of Cortez are great destinations. I sailed the Sea of Cortez on the Statendam last year.

You'll have at least 2 formal nights and people do dress up, especially more so at the 2nd seating. I think the group that choses to eat at 8 PM is a little more sophisticated and younger than the 6 PM dinners.

The average age isn't 80 years old. The were a lot more 40's, 50's & 60's on my recent Prinsendam cruise. Cruises that are more than 7 days do attract more of the retired, but not old crowed. When I did the 7 day Statenday cruise last year the average age was closed to 50. But there shold be as many 80 years olds as there are 40 year olds. The thing you'll notices are that there are a lot more experinced cruisers than NCL and the average passanger is looking for the elegance of the old world cruise experience not a party. You can also asked for a table by age range. We were in the 45 to 60 range.

I enjoyed my 4th HAL cruise so much I booked my 5th and 6th HAL cruises (back to back Carribean) before I left the ship.
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Old September 13th, 2003, 02:28 AM
TM Nelson
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Default Re: Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

Thanks for all your replies! I'm glad I found this site, it seems to be very current on the cruises and everyone is so helpful. After a lot of reading, I've decided to book the Statendam on 11/9 -- I really feel it's a good choice. Thanks everyone for your advice -- it's very much appreciated.
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Old September 13th, 2003, 10:54 AM
LuvShips
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Default Re: Re: Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

We have taken 2 cruises with HAL this year. (Zandam and Zuiderdam) They were both very nice and the entertainment was very good.
Sharon
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Old September 13th, 2003, 04:45 PM
JamesLK
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

My wife and I have been on the 10 day Mex Riv cruise with HA both in 12/01 and 12/02 (it goes out of San Diego and round trips to Acapulco). Also, we have done a 10 day one on Princess in 1996, and a 7 day one starting in Acapulco and ending in LA in 1992.

First, you should love the cruise - especially take the cliffdiver tour in Acapulco - that is a nice tour, and we have done it 3 times.

I think you will like Holland America - I have been on 4 cruises total with them and was never disappointed. I BELIEVE the 2 Mex Riv cruises we took were on the Statendam, and it was a ship not too large and not too small with great service, great food and great entertainment (it takes one heck of a show to get us out of the casino, but we saw most of them).

Hope you enjoy it!!! jlk
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Old September 13th, 2003, 09:51 PM
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

We've done 3 Hawaii cruises on the Statendam and always wished we were staying on board for the Mex. Riveria!

At that time of year, there's a great mix of ages and kids are few and far between.

Bon Voyage!
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Old September 24th, 2003, 01:18 AM
thoth
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Default Re: 1st HAL Cruise -- Any Advice?

I just returned from a week in Alaska on the Statendam. She may be 11 years old but I found no rust! She looked fresh and smelled clean. She is very classy and so is the guest who choose this line. In the evenings we dressed up and just had a ball. Yes there are a great deal of 60 plus travelers aboard however as a 39 year old, I had no trouble finding peers. Unless you are a hard core party animal, you will most likely love HAL.
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