We are second time cruisers, hoping to do a New Years eve cruise of the Caribbean Dec '09. We've been on Celebrity in October '05 on our first cruise on the Millenium. LOVED IT. Did the CC upgrade and ate twice in the specialty restaurant. We're early 50's but consider ourselves younger at heart. We love good food, excellent service and fine wines.
I hear that Celebrity has dropped it's standards since we've been 'on board'. That concerns me.
How is the Summit as far as wear and tear these days?
We're looking at the Summit a year from now doing the Caribbean / Bahamas 7 days vs the HAL Eurodam 7 day Southern Caribbean. Both are on our list so the ports of call will be mostly ports unseen or visited prior.
Any words of wisdom Summit vs Eurodam? We also want to have some dancing fun on New Years eve but when we were on our Millenium cruise the dance floor was all but abandoned almost every night. That may not make for such a great New Years party.
Just had some really good friends back for a Eurodam cruise and they really liked it!
We have always enjoyed our Celebrity cruises ... but like HAL as well. Both tend to not be the best for activities after 11 PM. Feel sure, New Year's Eve will be different ... at least until mid-night!
We got off the Statendam after a 30 day Hawaii/South Pacific cruise. We have been on the Statendam several times before. It was disappointing to see the level of servcie dropping on HA. In fact we think the number of staff is much less. Food service is not as good as in the past, however it was still acceptable. We ddi not like the "anytime type dining".The Statendam needs some upgrading and we understand that is planned. Ports were excellant. We still like the HA because of the smaller ships. As you are aware that is changeing thus mega ship crusing seems to be taking over.
It was disappointing to see the level of servcie dropping on HA. In fact we think the number of staff is much less.
As you know, I was on the same sailing as you, and I can pretty much echo what you are saying. While we differ in that I absolutely loved the As You Wish Dining, I do agree that certain things have dropped off from their previously very high levels. While I didn't find service as being one of them, I did notice that the food was not what it used to be. I was very surprised not to see any chocolate covered strawberries at the Chocolate Buffet. They had always been there in previous years.
I also saw conditions around the ship that were problematic, such as that terrible sewage smell that absolutely permeated the ship for the first five days of the cruise (before you got on ... from Vancouver to San Diego). Every so often we would smell it again, though, throughout the voyage. I think a good drydock will straighten things like that out, though.
We are faced here with something that unfortunately is only going to get worse, however. In this tightening economy, all large cruise lines have to stay competitive if they want to fill all those ships every week. HAL has 15 ships sailing, and that's a lot of berths to fill each and every week. So, what do they do? They cut prices. They have to. And while we all rejoice over the fact that the price of the cruise we booked a year ago has come down, we have to expect that other things are gonna come down right along with it, and that includes a certain degree of quality. The cruise lines have to strive for a certain profit margin on every sailing ... and to do that they have to either reduce costs, increase revenue or, usually, a combination of both. That's why we are gonna see more and more revenue-generating activities onboard, and we're gonna see a decline in quality. That won't be on just HAL, that will be on Celebrity, RCI, Carnival, and everywhere in between ... with perhaps the only exceptions being the luxury and niche cruise lines who can hold their prices at previous or even greater levels than they were in the past.
I don't know what the solution here is except to say that while we are getting lower prices (mostly on those seven to ten-day Caribbean and even Alaska sailings), we are going to have to realize that there are certain things we are going to have to forego ... those extra touches ... that we once enjoyed and that the cruise line can no longer afford to provide.
And, just a sidenote, trust me ... on our 30 (or 35-day) cruise, we had more of those "touches" than one will see on those shorter ones. With them, many more things have been scrapped in the interest of cost savings. On our cruise, we paid top dollar to begin with because it was more of an "exotic" voyage. On the shorter cruises, the prices are at rock bottom, and therefore quality has probably gone down to a much greater extent.
As my momma (God rest her soul) always used to tell me ... you get what you pay for and there's no way around that.
If you go on Holland and care about nightlife, I'd probably pick a school vacation week when you will see younger people.
I've no problem with the food; it was great on Westerdam Nov. 30, but I felt like I was visiting a nursing home.
Don't get me wrong. I want to be old someday, too. Just not yet.
Susie, good to hear the food was good as we are on the Westerdam next month. We were on the previous Westerdam 7 years ago in our late 40's and we never felt like we were in a nursing home even though many said we would. There were many cruisers our age. For our cruise next month, we have over 50 signed up for a Meet and Greet on another cruise board and we are older than most and we are only 56/58! It will be interesting to see how it turns out.
Teresa and Larry
#36-Carnival Splendor 9/16/12
7 night Mexican Riviera
#37-Allure of the Seas 11/11/12
7 night Eastern Caribbean
For either cruise line, for maximum satisfaction stick to the newest ships. Both Solstice and Eurodam are wonderful ships.
I have seen a few complaints about the older Celebrity ships (and they are all getting older except Solstice).
For Holland America - stick with the ships built after 2002, the Vista class (Westerdam, Oosterdam, Zuiderdam Noordam) or R-class (Rotterdam/Amsterdam). Avoid the S-class unless you really like the itinerary. Those smaller, older ships are meant to be destination oriented cruises, not so much about the ship.
The newer ships with the better Explorations Cafes and alternative dining venues are much nicer. Eurodam is the best by far, though.
I am the editor, but I also speculate, ask questions and play devil's advocate. I reserve the right to change my mind.