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How does Princess compare to HAL?


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Years ago I use to cruise HAL because they left from San Diego (still do). At first it was the Osterdam which was new at the time. Then it aged as well as the other ancient ships leaving from here.

I did like the food, service. However, the buffet closed early so if you wanted anything after 8pm, out of luck. Didn't like the layout of the ships, very closed areas. After dinner, everything shut down. The shows started being very basic.Cruise director basically had no staff except the DJ. Meanwhile we were cruising on Princess and that became our cruise line of choice.HAL seems to have much more people using skooters. Unfortunately a lot of them rent for just the cruise and need  instruction in its usage. We have had our feet run over, knocked into etc.We were on one Hawaii cruise that had to have traffic control in the public areas because of all them.

Always still enjoyed HAL cruises if they were short ones, after all it's a cruise but doesn't compare to Princess.I do prefer their cabins since they have sofas to sit on.

My husband is upset with Princess now only having one chair in the balcony cabins. We enjoy room service in the morning and hate having to sit on the bed to drink my morning coffee.We will probably be booking mini suites in the future.

 

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18 hours ago, nbsjcruiser said:

Anyway, we did a HAL cruise a few years ago. The food was exceptional, the service excellent but the cruise consisted mainly of older people (70's and later for the most part) and the ship rolled up the streets in the evenings as many of the elderly crowd disappeared into their rooms.

 

Not on the newer ships such as the Nieuw Statendam. On one evening:

10 PM StepOne Dance Company show in showroom

10 PM billboard onboard: The 1960s

10:30 PM B.B.King's All Stars music

10:45 PM The Rock Room Band

11:30 PM billboard onbord: All request music

11:30 PM B.B.King's All Stars music

12:15 AM B.B.King's Blues Club: Dance to the Hits

 

Of course there was music and entertainment before 10 PM also.

 

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7 hours ago, caribill said:

 

Not on the newer ships such as the Nieuw Statendam. On one evening:

10 PM StepOne Dance Company show in showroom

10 PM billboard onboard: The 1960s

10:30 PM B.B.King's All Stars music

10:45 PM The Rock Room Band

11:30 PM billboard onbord: All request music

11:30 PM B.B.King's All Stars music

12:15 AM B.B.King's Blues Club: Dance to the Hits

 

Of course there was music and entertainment before 10 PM also.

 

In fairness, on our HAL cruise they did have  band playing in the BB King's Blues Club that was exceptionally good. They played 5 of the 7 nights and we sat in on each one they were that good. But other than that, it was really quiet at night. Again, I was ok with it and would definitely cruise again with them but I wouldn't bring kids or grandkids on the cruise. I'd pick Princess over them.

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We have only been on HAL once. The Oosterdam was 5 years old when

we did a Mexican Riviera itinerary. At this point, we only had a Princess ship and

a Celebrity ship to compare.

 

I think of the Oosterdam as a "bucket of bolts". Carpets were worn and dirty. It felt and

sounded like the ship was 20 years old!

There were not many activities, especially in the evening. The food was ok, nothing

memorable. Also, the famous "Gas Tax" was added to our charges per person! Halfway

through the cruise, the tax was lifted and I wrote to HAL to have a 50% refund. NOPE!

As they say, Bon Voyage to you HAL!

 

Skynight was accurate. San Diego Sue as well; however, Princess Premium

balconies have loveseats on the newer ships.

 

We have now determined Princess as our cruise line of choice because it really feels like home.

 

And yes, we do need to pay attention to itineraries.

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Nini, You have to be careful with your category terminology. On Princess only deluxe balcony categories, mini suites and full suites have sofas/love seats. Deluxe balcony cabins are available on royal class ships only. Premium balcony cabins do not have a love seat. They are just standard balcony cabins in better locations, usually mid ship and aft. 

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7 hours ago, skynight said:

Nini, You have to be careful with your category terminology. On Princess only deluxe balcony categories, mini suites and full suites have sofas/love seats. Deluxe balcony cabins are available on royal class ships only. Premium balcony cabins do not have a love seat. They are just standard balcony cabins in better locations, usually mid ship and aft. 

Oh, 

I see the confusion. 
on the newer ships nini mentions like the Enchanted Princess.

There are 3 categories:

balcony- no sofa

deluxe balcony - no sofa

premium deluxe balcony- sofa/bed

 

look up on website. 

 

 

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5 hours ago, dog said:

Oh, 

I see the confusion. 
on the newer ships nini mentions like the Enchanted Princess.

There are 3 categories:

balcony- no sofa

deluxe balcony - no sofa

premium deluxe balcony- sofa/bed

 

look up on website. 

 

 

Not exactly. The problem exists with the word "premium." Princess uses this word to indicate location on the ship and in some cases, but not all, a larger balcony. The word does not refer to a difference in the cabin's interior. All deluxe balcony cabins, weather designated premium or not have a two person sofa/bed. Balcony category cabins, premium or not, do not have a sofa/bed. 

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1 hour ago, skynight said:

Not exactly. The problem exists with the word "premium." Princess uses this word to indicate location on the ship and in some cases, but not all, a larger balcony. The word does not refer to a difference in the cabin's interior. All deluxe balcony cabins, weather designated premium or not have a two person sofa/bed. Balcony category cabins, premium or not, do not have a sofa/bed. 


my post lists the 3 cabin types directly from Princess website when you go to book a balcony. 
corrected deluxe & premium deluxe on Enchanted have sofa,as nini said. 

 

Done here

Edited by dog
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7 hours ago, dog said:

Oh, 

I see the confusion. 
on the newer ships nini mentions like the Enchanted Princess.

There are 3 categories:

balcony- no sofa

deluxe balcony - sofa/ bed

premium deluxe balcony- sofa/bed

 

look up on website. 
 

 

 

 

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On 1/16/2021 at 4:03 PM, Coffeeluvr05 said:

Having been faithful to Princess for a while, we have decided to check out HAL since we saw something that caught our eye and also that they have some offerings Princess doesn't.  For instance, they offer free or reduce fares for kids on some sailings (great for taking grandkids), and their staterooms all have a sitting area.  On Princess ships you have to get a deluxe balcony to get any type of sofa to sit on in you room.  Not saying they are better, haven't sailed with them.  Just noticed a couple of differences so far and wondered for those of you who have sailed both Princess and HAL, what you have noticed, both pros and cons.  Thanks!

We avoided HAL because until a few years ago HAL had the worst smoking policy of all the cruise lines.

I do look at HAL as well as Princess, Celebrity, Royal C. and NCL  prior to booking.

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I have cruised on HAL only once, over two decades ago.  At that time, my wife and I were the two youngest passengers on the ship.  [That is a slight exaggeration -- there was a couple with young children, brought by the grandparents.] 

 

There were very limited entertainment choices after dinner.  There were too many wheelchairs and walkers, making walking dangerous.  And forget the elevators, they were always filled. 

 

Some people age gracefully, but some older folks are demanding and hostile.  I am not on a cruise as some stranger's personal slave! 

 

That one experience was enough to strike HAL from my list of possible cruise lines; I had enough to select from, among Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and RCCL (aka RCI) without invading the old folks home of HAL.

 

I saw this thread and read it in hope that HAL has changed, but I don't think so.  I'll keep my list s it was, maybe adding MSC Yacht Club if there is a great itinerary I want.

 

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1 hour ago, Mike45LC said:

I have cruised on HAL only once, over two decades ago.  At that time, my wife and I were the two youngest passengers on the ship.  [That is a slight exaggeration -- there was a couple with young children, brought by the grandparents.] 

 

There were very limited entertainment choices after dinner.  There were too many wheelchairs and walkers, making walking dangerous.  And forget the elevators, they were always filled. 

 

Some people age gracefully, but some older folks are demanding and hostile.  I am not on a cruise as some stranger's personal slave! 

 

That one experience was enough to strike HAL from my list of possible cruise lines; I had enough to select from, among Celebrity, Princess, Carnival and RCCL (aka RCI) without invading the old folks home of HAL.

 

I saw this thread and read it in hope that HAL has changed, but I don't think so.  I'll keep my list s it was, maybe adding MSC Yacht Club if there is a great itinerary I want.

 

Mike,

You should broaden your horizon.  Generally, HAL may feel like an old's home, but strangely it can occur no matter what mass market line you go on.  I find that the longer the cruise the older the crowd though I'm not sure about World Cruises that may be a catergory by itself.  With those longer cruises, if it is a r/t, it is going to be an even older crowd.  The exception would be the those Panama Canal transit cruises because it is a one-way trip, the embarkation and disembarkation is the same country.  When I did an around Australia cruise with Princess, we thought we were in an Australian's old folk's home.  My wife and I are elite and the people on this Australian cruise was older than the people aboard the Coral Princess transiting the Panama Canal which was my oldest crowd on a Princess ship.  Holland America should be fine in Alaska as all cruise lines seem to cater more to families than to their core base.

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Lots of great info here for comparing with HAL.  In summary, I had read many of these.  Sofa in more cabins.  Similar good customer service and food quality.  Older demographic, not as good entertainment, less daytime activities.  

 

I have heard/read that HAL does well on grand voyages.  For example, they do a circle Africa trip and I didn't see where anyone mentioned that above.  Their South America resembles Princess very much.  

 

We are thinking about the Africa one (71 days on Zanndam in 2022).  It's a small ship and there is a one week set of sea days on each end of the voyage as it is round-trip from FLL.  It seems we should bring our own things to entertain selves and travel with friends to play games and other diversions.  There are a LOT of sea days in total on this trip, but it does go places Princess never does. 

 

Maybe we should just stick with a land trip to South Africa area with a trip north for a safari experience.

 

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16 hours ago, Steelers36 said:

It seems we should bring our own things to entertain selves and travel with friends to play games and other diversions. 

On our 28 night HAL cruise the cruise director had a 9,000 piece puzzle that she put out for people to work on.  And we connected with our Roll Call here on Cruise Critic for lots of onboard activities.  Someone in our group contacted HAL and reserved one of the meeting rooms for us on all the sea days that we could congregate in for games.

 

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Edited by Shmoo here
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22 minutes ago, Shmoo here said:

On our 28 night HAL cruise the cruise director had a 9,000 piece puzzle that she put out for people to work on.  And we connected with our Roll Call here on Cruise Critic for lots of onboard activities.  Someone in our group contacted HAL and reserved one of the meeting rooms for us on all the sea days that we could congregate in for games.

 

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WOW!!!

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Princess Elite, I'll cut too the chase everybody just LOVES HAL to absolute death, but 90% of the time they end up cruising with Princess. 

HAL is a nothing short of a floating nursing home if your familiar with cruising ANY other lines. Certainly don't take my word for it I'd book a 14-21 day sailing on HAL and see for yourself. 

Have fun.

 

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Having sailing on several of the cruise lines including HAL, Prince, Celebrity, RCL, etc. They are more similar than they are different.  

 

As with most cruise lines a lot depends upon the specific ship, and cruise.  Longer cruises (which HAL tends to specialize in) tend to have older demographics.  Shorter cruises such as Alaska tend to have younger demographics. Go on a 14 day or longer cruise and the age gets up there as on most lines.

 

The age on HAL seems to have been coming down in recent years compared to a few years ago.

 

The production shows have traditionally been more Lawrence Welkish on HAL, but they have replaced those with dance and lighting routines (similar to what you see some groups do on Americas got Talent and similar shows.  They have added a fair amount of entertainment with Lincoln Center, BB King, etc.

 

The worst cruises I have seen for scooters are the west coast round trips to Hawaii on Princess.

Edited by nocl
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2007 Emerald Princess Inaugural the Horizon Court Buffet instead of flip flops we should have worn steel toed boots and shin guards. We called it the Scooter Store 500 cruise. Those fossils were running over EVERYBODY, it got old quick. The Horizon Court was a race track.☹️🙄

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On my Sky Princess transatlantic as I exited my cabin, a man on a scooter came barreling down the hall and just as I put one foot in the hall, wap, he ran over it. The rest of the cruise my foot was hurting badly. It hurt for a couple of months. Possibly chipped the bone.

Unless someone has their own scooter with them or has one at home (and then rents one on the ship), others shouldn't be allowed to rent one. The worst is when they back into an elevator and have never done it before. A ship isn't the place to learn to "Drive".

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I forgot to add that HAL makes a much bigger deal of awarding the high level loyalty awards. Medal with big ribbons. It was quite a show. Sadly, this pomp and circumstance can go to one's head. We found many of the loyalist to be standoffish. Not our kind of crowd at all.

 

Over the summer, we received several free/cheap sailing offers from HAL's casino department, and we decided not to book with them. We only require 4 things when sailing: Good food & beverage, good service, friendly fellow passengers, and a launderette. 

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18 hours ago, drsel said:

After reading this thread, I don't see how anyone would prefer HAL to Princess, unless it is priced much lower.

Some people prefer the considerably smaller average ship size, and the wider variety in cruise itineraries.  As Princess has gone to larger and larger ships, the variety of their itineraries has shrunk.

 

To us the itinerary is the single most important item in selecting a cruise.

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On 1/16/2021 at 3:03 PM, Coffeeluvr05 said:

Having been faithful to Princess for a while, we have decided to check out HAL since we saw something that caught our eye and also that they have some offerings Princess doesn't.  For instance, they offer free or reduce fares for kids on some sailings (great for taking grandkids), and their staterooms all have a sitting area.  On Princess ships you have to get a deluxe balcony to get any type of sofa to sit on in you room.  Not saying they are better, haven't sailed with them.  Just noticed a couple of differences so far and wondered for those of you who have sailed both Princess and HAL, what you have noticed, both pros and cons.  Thanks!

they are more similar than different. HAL is more stuffy imho. I am not a fan of live orchestra on HAL. My old roommate was a music major with a cello, so I have had my fill of classical music.  

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