We have been on the Ryndam and Statendam several times and will likely never sail on Princess (25 cruises) again. We did take the Sea of Cortez cruise and it was quite nice. I will tell you how we liked the Oosterdam next year when we cruise on her in February. I think a person could fly to Florida take a cruise and end up saving money as compared to cruising on the same ship out of San Diego. The reason we don't go back east anymore is the hassle of flying.
Have been on Holland America 5 times, and have been on about 15 cruises total.
Booking a cruise is like purchasing a mattress: no two alike so you can't compare. Prices vary according to time of year, light travel weeks, holidays, and many, many other factors. A good travel agent can advise. We're paying a high rate for our coming Christmas cruise on the Ryndam simply because it's Christmas. No cruise line discounts cruises that week. We find Holland America to be most reasonable, very dependable and classy.
HAL is known to be a bit more upscale than the other lines. Hence the price difference.
We loved the Zaandam, and thought the Zuiderdam was good, but not the nicest ship we had been on. What really made our cruise was a FANTASTIC UPGRADE from a
cheapo BB balcony to a FULL SUITE, thanks to the push of our DYNAMITE TA.
As a whole you are correct about HAL pricing. However, there are some unbelievable deals on the Oosterdam sailing in Nov 2005. I have booked an SS suite for under $900 per person. The specials are out their but you have to really look for them.
65+ cruises on over 10 cruiselines.
Celebrity Mercury 09-24-07
HAL Veendam 12-16-07
PCL Golden Princess 04-19-08
Cunard QM2 11-29-08
CCL Splendor 04-26-09