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Old January 21st, 2006, 03:42 PM
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Default Why Holland America?

We've cruised on RCL, Celebrity, Norweigan, and Carnival. A seasoned cruiser we recently met told us how much better Holland America is. I'd like to hear comments from those of you who've cruised on HAL and other lines. Oh, forget the fact that the ships are smaller; large ships don't bother us.

We're in our mid-50s. Will we feel like youngsters on HAL? Or are we just the right age?

And are there any older HAL ships to avoid? What's your favorite HAL ship?
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Old January 21st, 2006, 10:42 PM
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For the last few years I've been sailing HAL for my 10+ day cruises and I like HAL because I like having the Neptune and the concierge better than having a butler. I find the concierge and the Neptune very convenient, pleasant and the concierge to be more helpful than any butlers I've had on other cruiselines that I've sailed on.

I LOVE the Volendam because I like the size of the ship, the ambiance of the ship and the staff and crew and I like where she goes.

I also like Celebrity and the Century in particular and I really liked Costa's Romantica when I sailed her as well. I think the friendliest crew and staff was on Costa, then HAL, and then Celebrity...JMO.

Believe it or not, the best food I've ever had on a ship was on Carnival's Fantasy...and I like to sail her for short cruises of 4 days. I also like the Fantasy because she's not as gawdy or roudy as some of Carnival's other party ships.

I guess you could say that different lines offer different things for whatever "floats your boat".

My Volendam cruise on Feb 1st will do the trick for me this time and I hope for many times to come.
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Old January 22nd, 2006, 02:06 PM
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Thanks for your insights, Georgine.
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Old January 26th, 2006, 10:25 AM
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You're the right age for any HAL ship. The relaxed atmosphere is what us "oldsters" enjoy. Loyal HAL cruisers resent the push towards a "Carnival" type frenzy. For now, sit back and enjoy!
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Old January 27th, 2006, 02:37 PM
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Holland has many pluses over the other main line cruises and this is my opinion only having cruised on all the lines with over 30 cruises and 100days on Holland This line has the best overall service,only one serving hot appetizers in most bars before dinner,Chocolates served after dinner in the lounge on right hand side walking to the show lounge,a crew show on every ship which all enjoy thoroughly.the number one line in repeat cruisers and the did not get this by accident.They do appear to be going after the family with more emphasis on their children,s programs and this only makes sense from a marketing point as they do have the more elderly grours travelling.Their most recent addition to their signature of excellence program has certanly improved the overall cabin experience with robes, lighted make up mirror,soft comfortable beds and pillows,and fresh fruit uin the cabin at the begiining of your cruise.For theses reasons they are not second to anyone.
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Old January 29th, 2006, 04:21 PM
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HAL is number one in our book. Crystal is finer, but much more "stuck up." Holland has beautiful ships with great art, dark wood, and rich colors. ships that actually look and feel like ships, not Las Vegas hotels. Fine friendly crews, good food, spacious cabins, a lack of excessive PA announcements, art auctions etc. And I think you will find that you are just the right age. No drunken twenty-somethings and no more elderly than on any other first class line.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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Have only been on two HAL ships so far, the Zaandam and the Westerdam. Liked them both, would probably repeat on both, but we liked the Zaandam more. Will be on the Veendam in April and see how it compares.
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Old January 30th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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I tend to think of HAL as a luxury-like cruise ship on a regular ship price. They are quieter. less crowded, more sophisticated entertainment (string quartets, etc.) The buffets are good, service can be good to excellent.

On their 10-day cruises you will find almost no children at all. Yes, there are plenty of oldsters. No late-night blue comedy, for example. The ships are quiet, little acitivity afer midnight.

Cabins are large & comfortable.

Probably the only non-luxury aspect is the dining room food which could be just a touch better & service faster.

But value for dollar, it is very hard to beat Holland America.
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Old February 3rd, 2006, 05:35 AM
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I'm 50 my husband is a little older. We first cruised HAL about a year and a half ago on the Rotterdam. We found that there was a mix of different age brackets. The service was fabulous, everyone was gracious and helpful, the casino and entertainment was top notch. I agree that the HAL product is more high end for a very competitive price. We are sailing on the Maiden Voyage of the Noordam in a couple of weeks and then will be repeating the Noordam in the Mediterrean this summer. The food in the dining room, in my opinion is better than some of the luxury lines that we have cruised on. Although we like meeting new people and often do on these trips, we would not be bothered if the entire ship was older than us. I am still working and we still have kids (well not kids) living at home and we like to just have this time away alone. It depends what you're looking for. The itiniaries are wonderful IMO and what you get can't be beat.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 09:33 AM
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HAL is very middle America, luxury-lite. Heavy on auctions and bingo. While HAL may market towards more families, my experience was the crew, staff and veteran passengers resent having children and families on board. The longer the cruise, the older that passengers and HAL is second only to Cunard in age. But Cunard is an unfair point of comparison. HAL isn't close in terms of quality of food and service.

If you are a mid 50's couple in search of a nice quiet vacation, HAL is it.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 10:49 AM
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Disagree with some of your statements as HAL is now marketing their ships toward families and has expanded the children programs and also those areas on the ships as noted on the newest ships plus those who have recently gone to drydock.Yes, they will have an older group however this is true on all lines on trips over one week in length.As for auctions and bingo will agree however have you been on celebrity recently where the same emphasis is happening and I feel that this will continue as this is very profitable area for the cruise lines.On a most recent cruise Veendam we had all the games at the pool area with participation at the same level with the older group getting with the program along with some new ideas such as chipping waffle balls into the pool for various trivial prizes.As for food comparison to Cunard Let,s compare apples to apples as Cunard much more pricy toHAL.Give me Holland any day as I am not into eating in a special dining room based upon what catagory my cabin is located.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by big apple
Disagree with some of your statements as HAL is now marketing their ships toward families and has expanded the children programs and also those areas on the ships as noted on the newest ships plus those who have recently gone to drydock.
I worked for the line aboard 2 ships for 8 months. The number of kids varies greatly by the length of the cruise. On our 10-day cruises, even to the Caribbean during the school months we rarely had more than a handful of children on board. But a 7-day cruise in summer might have over 100.

If you don't like kids running around - and there is nothing wrong with that - then you will find HAL a good choice. They control their kids and you won't see them playing leapfrog on the stairs. The have facilities for the kids to keep them busy, and the kind of parents who take HAL are usually not the type to just let their kids run free.
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Old February 22nd, 2006, 01:54 PM
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I love HAL but for reasons you may not expect..AFter my back fusion operation in 2004 my GF noticed that the Zuiderdam had a hydro therapy pool and mention it to my doctor who said that would be a great part of my "rehab"..My "rehab" therapist contact HAL medical department and work together to give me a reduced price on the hydrotherapy pool with unlimited use for 7 days and worked out a very intense rehab program..Combine the hydro therapy pool with the great bedding and when I boarded the cruise I was walking with a brace and cane..at the end of 7 days I could walk brace/cane free and my "rehab" therapist said a week on the Zuiderdam was worth 8 weeks of land therapy...Was able to write off a portion of my cruise on my taxes since my doctor included it as part of my therapy

I agree with the the above poster about HAL marketing to all age groups
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Old February 28th, 2006, 08:00 PM
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Default HAL

I must agree with the other post. We took Holland America Ryndam to Alaska this past year. The service was outstanding in all areas of this ship. The wait staff remembers your name, likes and dislikes. Each staff member we encountered did an outstanding job and our cruise was a hugh success.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 04:46 PM
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to be honest out of all of the lines that yuou have sailed you will like holland america and CELEBRITY the most. personally i like them both but i would rather sail celebrity any day. they have better ships and the cruise is more friendlier. i also do not care for food on holland america much. it all depends on the ship you go on with holland america. my opinoin is to sail celebrity. when ever carnival buys over a company the quality goes down. you saw that with holland america and it is also going to be seen with princess.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 06:36 PM
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We haven't yet had the pleasure of a Celebrity cruise (We plan to remedy that in the next year or two) so we can't compare. but we have been on Princess (3 times) and Crystal (once). I think overall we prefer Holland, because Crystal is too stuffy and HAL just seem to have the edge over Princess, even though we like all three a lot.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 11:21 PM
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Rich, you are going to find that Celebrity right up there with Hal and some areas you will find even better:The pastries and desserts are the best of any cruise line;champagne as you board a very nice touch;sushi bar every nite in the lido before dinner;cold towels brought to you while at the pool;also sorbet given to you at the pool;also a very mature crowd who have cruised numerous times.;their alternative restaurant at the top for service and food and in particular the one on the Millinniumcalled the Olympic.You will not be making a bad decision with Celebrity any time.Go broncos.
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Old March 1st, 2006, 11:35 PM
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Big Apple, that's what everyone says about Celebrity so were are anxious to give them a try. Weve seen their ships all over the world and never heard a bad word about them.
The Broncos didn't quite get it done this year. I hope they'll be back. A few years back we lived in San Jose for five years. Our neighbors were big Raider fans, and we were Bronco fans, having lived in Wyoming and Colorado for years. Every time the two teams met, if the Broncos won, I'd discreetly hang a bit of bronco paraphernalia on his door, like a coaster or something. If the dreaded Raiders won, he'd do the same to me. Glad to say that he collected more Bronco stuff than I did pirate gear!
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
Cr. Odyssey, Scandinavia, '91, 30 Day S Pac. 2002
Crystal Harm, Aust., N.Z., '94
Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
Old Cr. Pr. Canal, '97
RCCL, Carib, 1998
Volendam, Car, 2000
Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
Is. Pr., Canal, 2004
Statendam, 34 day China, Japan, AK '06
Cr.Pr., Carib. 08
Eurodam, Atlantic, Med. '10
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Old March 29th, 2006, 09:35 AM
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Like Big Apple, my husband and I have been on over 30 cruises and are also 100 night HAL Mariners. Our favorite ship -- the Prinsendam -- we will be on the November 7th Capetown to Ft. Lauderdale voyage. This will be our 3rd time on the Prinsendam. We also loved the "old" Noordam (twice) and the "old" (3 times) and "new" (twice) Rotterdam.

Food, service, and passenger density keep us returning to HAL. As you can tell, we also love the "smaller" more intimate ships. We will be on the Pacific Princess (30,000 tons) from Beijing to Bangkok in May.

We tend to book our cruises on HAL (first), Princess (second), and RCCL (3rd) depending on itinerary. We have not been on a Celebrity cruise yet, but would definitely book one if the itinerary was were we wanted to go.

You will NEVER see us on NCL or Carnival.

Slotl

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Old March 29th, 2006, 10:15 AM
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Default Holland America

My wife and I are in our mid 50's and took our first cruise last April on the Veendam. I had always been like Jimmy Buffet "never see the islands from a tacky cruise ship". but my wife talked me into going. I am glad she did.

We had a wonderful time, the food was excellent, the service first rate, the entertainment was very good and the deluxe verandah suite gave us plenty of room to get away from the crowds (not that the Veedam can be considered crowded). Fermin Van Wahl, the hotel manager, seemed to go out of his way to make us feel welcome and at home. The whole experience felt up scale and 7 days was not enough.

We go again in two weeks on the Westerdam and if that experience comes close to last year then it will be HAL forever for us.
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Old April 2nd, 2006, 11:31 AM
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We just completed our first HAL cruise on the Oosterdam. We have previously sailed on RCCI 3x's and Celebrity 1x. And we cannot wait to book another HAL cruise. We're booked on the Celebrity's Infinity in May for Alaska...and we hope we're not disappointed, because after the Oo we feel our standards are a little higher. ()

But in all seriousness...Our experience on Oosterdam was excellent...our cabin (SS catagory) was the perfect size for a 7 day cruise and it was spotlessly clean. (the mattress really nice...the best nights sleep at sea ever!)

The food: Very good to excellent.
Service: Outstanding

The ship is beautiful and spotlessly clean...everything shines. There is quality seen everywhere on the Oo, from the various lounges and their wonderful chairs..to the teak deck chairs and art throughout the ship.

We are NOT oldies (whatever that means)...but after trying RCCI and Celebrity...we've found HAL (at least on the Oo) very different and we liked it.

The only caveat: Everything does close down alittle early. But with all the pluses...we can live with that!
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Old April 6th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Just got off the Ryndam, last week ,two week cruise out of Tampa and as usual Holland provided an excellent cruise experience.The servive is the best of all the main line cruise lines and we have over 30 cruises on all the main lines.Have determined that this is due to the most part of separating the cabin staff and the wait staff.The cruise director Bobby Broughton has a wonderful background and along with the Captain make the cruise a very memorable cruise.Shows are good nothing spectacular however strins grp. in Ocean Bar excellent.Need to hire a Steel banr for cruises in the carribbean as music lacking big time in the pool area and also need more pool activaties especially if they are going to market their ships aas a family cruise line There is no doubt that Holland has the most repeat cruisers and we were also presented an award for 110 days with this line.If you want a relaxing cruise with excellent food ,great service ,large cabins than Holland would be my choice They definitely know how to please.
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Old April 7th, 2006, 01:54 PM
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I just returned from a fourteen day Asian cruise on the Statendam and I will say that the service staff was the best of all the cruise lines I have sailed. The ship had a relaxed and laid back atmosphere that fit the port intensive cruise. I do have to say that after 11:00 p.m. there was little to do except dancing in the Crow's Nest. The casino shut down each night around 12:30 a.m. due to lack of players. There were a number of under eighteen year olds on the ship but they were rarely seen.

Their food while being beautifully presented lacked some seasoning and many times was quite bland. The Asian dishes were the best bet if you were looking for a more flavorful experience. It was by no means bad but it was "safe" in that the preparation was not very creative.

If you want a cruise with great service and a relaxed atmosphere and to escape the singing waiters and being constantly hassled to buy a drink then HAL is the right cruise.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 9th, 2006, 12:18 PM
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You know...food is such a personal thing. I've heard fellow cruise passengers complaining that the food was too spicy....and others complaining that the food was too boring...this on the same ship!

So...all in all...I think that Cruiselines do a great job of feeding thousands of passengers eveyday from different social and cultural backgrounds and with a varity of health and diet restrictions! They try to find a nice middle ground to please everyone...and I give them kukos for that.

On our recent cruise on Holland America Oosterdam we enjoyed some very good food. But again...this is just a personal opinion.
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Old April 22nd, 2006, 09:28 PM
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This was nice thread to read. Candid.

We are not experienced cruisers. One cruise on Sapphire Princess to Alaska. Service and food very good, but we had few expectations. Every time I saw a Holland America ship in port it looked lovely and more like what I had envisioned a cruise ship to look like. Sapphire was very nicely appointed, but huge. It never felt crowded & kids well managed. But, at dock it looked more like a Motel 6.

As I read this thread, Sapphire was probably a terrific choice for our first cruise as we had both my son and his fiance (late 20's) with us and they loved the late nite atmosphere. We were in bed by midnight.

For just the 2 of us to Panama Canal, we've booked on Holland America. I think the ship is Amsterdam....... Almost same iternary as a Princess cruise to Panama, but I'd like to once sail on a cruise ship that looks like one. And, I liked the whirlpool bath in the Verandah Suites! Hope it's not as small as the shower on Sapphire...

Dining choices seem more limited on HAL.......but the traditional cruise form of dining seems also a must do at least once for those of us who might never cruise again.

Wont know until I sail, but those of you who posted lead me to believe that we may have made another good choice.

Seems to me, it's the iternary that's really most important. But nice to have a comfortable ride.

Marty
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Old June 2nd, 2006, 12:07 AM
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Marty...I am sure that you will enjoy your transcanal cruise on the AMsterdam. She is a beautiful and elegant ship and is the co-flagship along with the Rotterdam for HAL. We did the transcanal on the AMsterdam a few years back and tho we have enjoyed all the ships that we've been fortunate enough to sail with; the Amsterdam is our very favorite ship. And the all day transit of the Panama Canal is fascinating! It really is an amazing engineering feat! Go the lecture that is offered about the history/building of the Panama Canal...it will add a lot to your appreciation of what you see!
HAL is our very favorite line; we find that the size of her ships are just the right size for us and the ambiance is elegant but not stuffy. We love the wrap around teak decks with the comfy wooden deck chairs that invite you to linger awhile and enjoy the sea air. The fresh flowers everywhere is just lovely. And the crew and staff are simply wonderful!
Happy sailing!
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Old June 6th, 2006, 02:52 PM
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Marty, have you done the canal cruise on Amsterdam yet? I'll be interested to know what yo think. We have not been on Amsterdam but have been on Volendam, Ryndam (35 days) and Statendam (34 days). we have also been on Royal, Orient, Crystal, RCCL, Princess and Windjammer. Love them all, but overall HAL has it. All teak decks, finest crews afloat, best itineraries, good food, good lectures, and a new addition -- the best mattresses at sea!!
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Polynesia, Carib. '86
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Royal Odyssey, AK,'96
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Ryndam, 35 day S. Am., Antarctica, '03
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Old June 7th, 2006, 12:58 AM
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Just returned from our cruise on the Celebrity Infinity....We sailed HAL and Celebrity less than 8 weeks apart.

With our HAL Oo experience fresh in our minds...we are now comparing our two cruise line experiences. Guess we got very spoiled on HAL's Oo...because we are now seriously rethinking our booked Panama Cruise on the Summit 2007.

We are waiting for a HAL Panama Cruise brochure...if we can find the same or similar sail dates etc...we'll change.
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Old June 13th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richstacy
Big Apple, that's what everyone says about Celebrity so were are anxious to give them a try. Weve seen their ships all over the world and never heard a bad word about them.
The Broncos didn't quite get it done this year. I hope they'll be back. A few years back we lived in San Jose for five years. Our neighbors were big Raider fans, and we were Bronco fans, having lived in Wyoming and Colorado for years. Every time the two teams met, if the Broncos won, I'd discreetly hang a bit of bronco paraphernalia on his door, like a coaster or something. If the dreaded Raiders won, he'd do the same to me. Glad to say that he collected more Bronco stuff than I did pirate gear!
We are about to book HAL for the Panama Canal 10 day cruise: it is either that or Princess. I may be in the minority here, but I expect to enjoy HAL more than Celebrity. We have sailed Celebrity twice in the past 2 plus years and were not totally impressed. Don't get me wrong, we had a good time and with the exeption of service in the dining room our last cruise nothing was really bad, but it certainly wasn't what it was cracked up to be. BTW we are Bronco fans after the Redskins. NMNIta
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Old June 26th, 2006, 02:32 PM
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I've only been on Holland 1 time and want to return again very soon. It was the best time I've ever had. Went on the 10 day cruise to the Southern Caribbean. We had the Deluxe Verandah Suite.....wouldn't have any other cabin type. The steward, bartenders and waiters were wonderful. I've also been on RCCL (my first), Celebrity and going on Carnival, but my heart belongs to Holland.
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