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Old August 21st, 2007, 09:23 AM
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Default What should I expect?

Having sailed NCL and Carnival exclusively, I am now getting ready to book on HAL for the first time.
What are the major differences that I should expect? We will sail from Fort Lauderdale on the Westerdam.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 11:01 AM
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You are definitely moving up to a more premium line and you will see better service overall to include all aspects on the ship The food presentation is one of the best.Production shows are not as good as Carnival and your age group will go up with most retiring in the early evening. Most of the ship,s activities more geared to an older audience.All lounges will have free appetizers before dinner and do not miss the after dinner candy on the right hand side of the ship.If not displayed ask for them.We have 110 days on this line and have enjoyed every cruise.
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Old August 21st, 2007, 02:56 PM
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From our experience with NCL and HAL, on HAL, you should expect to see a very friendly and attentive crew and an impeccable level of service. The crew on HAL ships seem much more genuine than on the NCL cruise. You get the sense the truly want to make you happy on HAL. On NCL, you get the sense that they will try to make you happy because the have to.

The food on HAL is far better, especially so in the buffet. I really cant comment on the shows, because we dont generally go to them. You'll probably find a marginally older crowd on HAL. Good for some, bad for some. There is not as much "nightlife" on HAL and the lounges are rarely crowded. The nightlife is there, its just a bit less "spirited" than it is on NCL and Carnival. For us, its perfect. We like to drink and have fun, but we're far from being party animals. You'll find the pool decks to be rather sedate on HAL. Not much music playing. Actually, thats a bit of a complaint I have on HAL. I think some poolside music would be great. Others will disagree.

Westerdam is a great ship and FLL is a superb port.

Unless you're a hardcore party animal, I'm sure you will enjoy the HAL experience.

Tim
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Old August 21st, 2007, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for the replies. We are not big party people, and actually from what I have read this sounds like a good fit for us.
We are looking at either the Southern or the Eastern sailing. I had thought that HAL was more expensive than others, but I am not finding that to be the case.
I will let you guys know when I decide and book. I guess maybe I am getting older?
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Old August 21st, 2007, 03:17 PM
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In my experience:

1. You will receive a higher and more personal level of service. The staff is more genuine and sincere in their approach to service and the guest.

2. A more laid back but not "dead" cruise. The ship will basically be shut down after midnight but after a long day, that may not be too bad.

3. A less "drastic" interior design and more refined feeling to the cabins, ship's interiors, restaurants and lounges.

4. No dancing waiters between courses.

5. I wouldn't set your dining expectations too high. I personally found HAL food quite bland and none too impressive. In the last few years, Carnival has come up greatly in that category and NCL's alternative restaurants show more imagination and dining selections than you will ever find on HAL. The HAL food is perfectly fine but don't think you are going to find nirvana and may have a bit of a let down.

6. HAL is something that you evolve into. I would book a HAL cruise in a heartbeat. Carnival's decor and "singing/dancing" waiters really do bother me and that is a problem that I shouldn't have but I do cruise with them, as well as most other cruise lines.

If you are looking for service, a more refined and laid back cruise with still having enough activity to keep it fun then HAL is a great choice.

Take care,
Mike
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Old August 21st, 2007, 10:51 PM
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Reverend Jeff, glad you have come out of seclusion. Good to see you're still about.
By all means book HAL. I think you will be very glad you did.
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Old August 22nd, 2007, 09:03 AM
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Thanks Ron, I had been in hiding for awhile. I came back and no longer see DBG. What happened?
My wife and I are both in graduate school in counseling psychology. We are near the end, and that is why we are going to reward ourselves with this next cruise!
From what Mike wrote I think we are making a good choice.
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Old August 24th, 2007, 07:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisbum
...and your age group will go up with most retiring in the early evening.
This is not necessarily true. Depends on the ship and the itinerary. On some sailings, especially on the Vista ships, there is a pretty good nightlife going around the ship. The shorter itineraries on the Vista ships tend to draw a younger crowd, and hence people stay up later.

Now if you do a longer, more port-intensive, "exotic" type itinerary ... then, yes, you will see the ship go to bed early ... especially on the eve of a port day. Folks pay a lot more money for those cruises ... and they tend to book them primarily for the ports. Therefore, their priority is on seeing that port which they've probably never been to before. They turn in early because they have an early tour. The night after they've been there, they turn in early because they are exhausted.

I'm a relatively "young" 52, and I know that when I'm doing ports I look forward to seeing ... and ones that I don't know when I will see again ... my priority is not on hanging out on the ship in the evenings. That's fine for a slew of sea days, but when we're visiting ports, my priority is on touring them and getting to bed early so that I have the energy to do so.

Blue skies ...

--rita
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Old August 25th, 2007, 12:36 PM
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I agree with Rita's assessment. I've closed down the Crow's Nest at 3 am on a HAL ship, but not the night before I had a 7:30 am shore excursion the next morning.

Shelby
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Old August 29th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kryos
Quote:
Originally Posted by tennisbum
...and your age group will go up with most retiring in the early evening.
This is not necessarily true. Depends on the ship and the itinerary. On some sailings, especially on the Vista ships, there is a pretty good nightlife going around the ship. The shorter itineraries on the Vista ships tend to draw a younger crowd, and hence people stay up later.

Now if you do a longer, more port-intensive, "exotic" type itinerary ... then, yes, you will see the ship go to bed early ... especially on the eve of a port day. Folks pay a lot more money for those cruises ... and they tend to book them primarily for the ports. Therefore, their priority is on seeing that port which they've probably never been to before. They turn in early because they have an early tour. The night after they've been there, they turn in early because they are exhausted.

I'm a relatively "young" 52, and I know that when I'm doing ports I look forward to seeing ... and ones that I don't know when I will see again ... my priority is not on hanging out on the ship in the evenings. That's fine for a slew of sea days, but when we're visiting ports, my priority is on touring them and getting to bed early so that I have the energy to do so.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Excellent follow-up Rita...I agree. In fact, that was the case for my husband and I.

We were always brand loyal to one cruise line. Then we tried HAL on a fluke...so glad we did! Wonderful wonderful service. Large comfortable cabins. And we enjoyed all the meals at the buffet and in the dining room.

The food on Celebrity might be a slightly better...but not enough to make us switch back.

HAL is tops in our experience when it comes to service and quality.
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