.......MY wife & I were at a recent " social gathering " &, in conversation, we remarked that we were going on a Cruise shortly & although we have Cruised with Princess, Norwegian & Costa before............this was going to be our first Cruise with HAL; adding that we had gotten a great price " on-line " on this HAL Cruise. A woman; who identified herself as a Travel Agent; replied that we had gotten such a good price because HAL is the worst Cruise Line & Carnival is the best Cruise Line. Subjectivity notwithstanding; I did not place much credence in the woman's comment; but my wife & I concurred that, if anything, the above comment was most probably based upon " sour grapes " because I booked the Cruise without using a Travel Agent. Since Carnival has purchased so many Cruise lines recently.......I imagine that Carnival is probably the largest; however, I wondered if any CruiseMates readers or Travel Agents would agree with the alleged Travel Agent ?
You are likely correct with your observations on that travel agent. Oddly, Carnival is the parent company of HAL, and Princess, Costa, Cunard, Seabourn, etc, etc.
Frankly all cruise lines appeal to certain segments of the market. The industry has grown so large, so many flovors and choices, I think they are all good. If you like that segment..it is the best, if not..maybe your worst. HAL appeals to a traditional, low key cruising enviroment. It is relaxed onboard, gracious service and a low density enviroment. It also, traditionally, caters to a more senior clientel. If that is your expectations...it will be your best. If you expect high energy, neon and chrome, late night energy and young clientel...you may be in for your worst.
Frankly, I cannot understand ANY travel agent criticizing a major cruise brand, especially compared to it's parent company. I would think a wise business would adopt a 'to each his own' attitude and encourage people to enjoy all the aspects of cruising that appeals to them.
I have sailed HAL 3 times this past year; Amsterdam in Alaska, Veendam in the Caribbean, and Prinsendam back to Alaska. I loved them all. Some more than others. But for all the cruises and brands I have tried..HAL appeals to me. It is my best brand.
Enjoy your cruise..enjoy the variety the industry has to offer and remember the critics who only criticize in the negative may be missing out on something.
I have 6 HAL cruises, 13 Princess, one Cunard (couldn't stand class system) and one Carnival (worst cruise ever). Whatever your agent is smoking don't try it. HAL is the best of the four and anyone who says otherwise hasn't tried them all. Princess does go to some place HAL doesn't and has more big ships. Been on Grand twice. But you will get more extras and less hassle with HAL. Try it and find a new agent.
Re: Re: Travel Agent said HAL is worst Cruise Line ?
We just completed a cruise on the Zaandam and our TA arranged everything for us and did a great job. The whole trip was so organized from beginning to end. We can say with a certainty that to us Hal is the best.
My Travel agents are high on the "dam" ships as well. As far comparing Holland America to Carnival, that is all accoring to your taste. Carival is the "fun ships" which are more casual, hip, and energetic. Holland America is a classic, refined, and relatively more dignified experience. Some might say Carnival is all party drunks and HAL is nothing but old farts. At least from my trips, neither stereotype is true.
Whoever this so called travel agent is, they cannot be very creditable. People have different taste and therefore no cruiseline can be "better" than another.
Oh my gosh...we're going on our 4th cruise with Holland America and would never
consider Carnival! We enjoyed the eastern and western Carib., a Mediterranean and this Dec. a southern Carib. & Pan. Canal.
I think it was the TA who had a problem i wouldn't listen to her at all enjoy your cruise on HAL it's a wonderful line and each one of the "dam" ships has their own personality,
Enjoy the cruise it's a BIg world out there to explore firstname.lastname@example.org
That poll speaks well for Holland America considering that both Crystal Cruiseline and Radisson Sevenseas are classified as luxury and priced accordingly. The fact the the "dam" ships are competive pricewise to the other mass market/premium ships and score below only luxury lines means to me that they are a better bargain for the $$$. Just yesterday I was shopping for next year's cruise and HAL offered the best price with my past passenger's discount added.
Conde` Nast Traveler also has an annual ships poll which records what readers think. These are inputs from many people who have actually sailed aboard various lines, not just one or two travel writers. Holland America's ships fare very well. In midsized ships, the flagships Amsterdam and Rotterdam played second fiddle only to the Crystal ships. The Maasdam, Statendam, Volendam, Zaandam, Veendam, and Ryndam were listed among the best midsized ships. I do not think the Zuiderdam or Oosterdam was reviewed becouse of their young age. The Noordam even though it was built in the 1980's still gets high marks from travelers.
None of the responders have said one thing about the best reason to cruise HAL. Passenger density!! HAL prides itself on not 'crowding' the passengers. This is another reason HAL is known for its high level of service.
I have cruised over 30 times on various cruise lines. My favorites are HAL, Princess, and RCCI.
I will never cruise again on Carnival or NCL. Costa was good, caters to Europeans and is one of the higher density lines.
The best way to explain passenger density is to compare the "standard" number of passengers on a 70,000 ton ship (as an example):
HAL may carry 1,200 passenger, where the other cruise lines may have up to 1,500 passengers.
Remember the less people on board, the fewer crowds, shorter lines, and more personalization from the staff.
HAL ROCKS!!!! I don't want to have anything to do with the TA who 'bad mouthed' HAL.
I 100% agree with slotI, I book HAL becouse of the relatively low number of passengers. 55,000 tons and 1,200 pax is quit comfortable compared to some ships which take over 3,000 people. As a solo traveler, I am a person not a number on the "dam" ships.
On some of these super mega 100,000 to 140,000 ton ships I feel I would be lost in a crowd.
We have been on many cruises, (2 on HAL) and are booked on the Zuiderdam for next month. Our review of our March '03 sailing on the Volendam is posted on cruisecritic.com (Southbound39) and we have received numerous replies in complete agreement with our opinion. After hearing about our friends' experiences on a Carnival cruise they took last year, we wouldn't even consider that line! But, then, different strokes for different folks.
We loved out cruise on the Rotterdam in June very relaxed, however our most memorable cruise was the 15 night Transatlantic Crossing on the Carnival Legend in Sept 2002. Hubby and I are in our 40's but the crowd on this sailing was on average, somewhat older. The service and food were wonderful and the itinerary was perfect.
It it certainly not fair to generalize about one cruise line. I know that the older Carnival ships attract the party crowd, especially in the caribbean, however the newer Carnival ships on the longer itinerary can be a great experience. Having said that we are currently booked on 2 more HAL cruises- one we one on board the Rotterdam and the other one was booked for the amazing itinerary(Westerdam 17 nights Nov 12 2004-Farewell to Europe) We do plan to continue sailing on both lines.
We have sailed on a few lines but prefer Holland America. I love the smaller ships and am looking forward to our next two cruises. The first one is on Princess but on a very small ship - The Tahitian Princess with only 600 odd passengers and then we are going on the Prinsendam which has a fantastic ratio of passengers to crew. We were on the Noordam in September and even though it is a small ship with a higher passenger ratio - around 1100 passengers - there were quite a few days when we wouldnt bump into someone we knew. The ship certainly didn't seem at all crowded and the crew were wonderful. In fact I loved the Noordam, and would sail on her again if she was cruising in the area we were interested in.
Re: Re: Travel Agent said HAL is worst Cruise Line ?
On the Noordam in 4 days out of Tampa. Is it true they have done renovations?
We were doing the Mini Suite for the extras and found out in October that they had stopped the extras for Mini Suite so we went to the outside deluxe. last sailed on Noordam in 1999.
Noordam has not been renovated recently. I believe she is the next ship to be "retired" by HAL.
We have been on 3 Noordam cruises to the Med. (2 Eastern Med and 1 Western Med) and loved them and loved the ship and it's crew. The crew even remembered us and our dining room likes and dislikes.
My only complaint about the Noordam is that you must book a "C" category room or above to get twin beds which convert to queen size beds. My husband and I are a little to "large" to share twin size beds and have been married long enough not to want to sleep apart. I really did not appreciate paying premium prices just for the "luxury" of sharing my bed with my husband.
As I said in my previous posting we were on the Noordam in September - Copenhagen to Rome. We had a mini-suite and it was delightful with a king size bed, large towels, robes, flowers in room, a bottle of champagne, Captains suite lunch and best of all free laundry and ironing. The whole ship was in tip top condition with new carpets, bedspreads etc. It was a great cruise and if I was to cruise on her again I would definitely go for a mini-suite, well worth the extra especially as the Noordam is much cheaper per day than the other HAL ships.