We will be a group of about 20, ages ranging from 9 to 50. We'll be going for a 50th birthday celebration. About half of our party will be first time cruisers. At 28, I've sailed Princess, Carnival and RCCL. January is really the only time convenient for all to go. Unfortunately, ship options are painfully limited on the west coast.
We enjoy the finer things in life (i.e. good food and quality service). I've heard excellent things about HAL and would very much appreciate the service and food as would the majority of our party. My concern is regarding activities throughout the day and nightlife. I understand there is a kids program on HAL. How about the disco for college aged kids? Will the ship be dead at midnight? The Star Princess wasn't exactly hopping at midnight so I can only imagine what HAL would be like at that time. I guess that would be fine. Let's face it, I'm rarely able to keep my eyeballs open past 11:00 any more.
I just want to make sure that everyone is having a good time and they aren't completely bored. On my recent Carnival cruise, they had activities galore: Pictionary, Scattegories, Survivor, trivia, Name that tune, etc. (That was the only thing it had going for it, IMO, but nevertheless...) Has anyone sailed the Golden Princess or HAL Oosterdam? And were there enough activities throughout the day to keep you satisfied? Another thing is the availability of food at midnight. Do both ships offer something, even if it's just the buffet, 24 hours a day?
And yes, I'm sure we'll have a great time amongst ourselves regardless of what ship, but ya'll are feeling me on this, right?
We have sailed many times with Princess and were always impressed with the amount of things to do during the day. We just returned from a HAL cruise on the Noordam and were very dissappointed with the lack of activities especially on the port days when they were practically nonexistant.
I would say that the service between Princess and HAL is very comparable but I would give Princess a slight edge in the food department. Much better selections in the menu and a little tastier.
Cabins were also very comparable and the stewards on both lines were excellent.