Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
tyrannosaur

Looking into HAL in 2020

Recommended Posts

I am new to HAL, was looking into June 2020 Europe 12-day cruise on Zuiderdam (Rome to Copenhagen), and was surprised to see that most of cabins were almost booked a year in advance!  A few questions for you HAL experts here:

1) is this a glitch, or most people really do book a year in advance in HAL?  HAL website actually had Nothing across the board for 3 or 4 passenger cabin, but Costco website still has a few cabins, I am surprised and confused.

2) would teenagers feel out of place in HAL?

3) can you eat at the Lido buffet most of the time without a reservation?  We cruised with Norwegian in Europe last 3 years and enjoyed their freestyle cruising, now looking into HAL because of the really interesting itineraries.  We don't enjoy sit down restaurants and formalities.

4) How would you place HAL compared to other cruise lines?  I noticed the price was on par with Norwegian and Carnival and RCI, and much cheaper compared with Celebrity.

Thanks in advance!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can't say that I'd be any help on your first question. With regard to the rest: a summer cruise will likely have some younger folks aboard. I would suspect that your teens would love to cruise so if it's a new experience for them I don't know that HAL would be better or worse than any other line. Norwegian would likely have more on-ship activities but you probably won't be on the ship all that much. YES - you can always eat in the Lido with no reservations, many do. HAL is a mid-level line they aren't top of the line but they do seem to cater to an older, more traditional clientele. You'll get a ton of replies...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I’ve always booked over a year in advance for a couple of reasons. We get to choose our favourite cabin and it gives you a chance to save for those extras you like to indulge in while on holidays and it gives me incentive to get through the the working year.  We never go to the main dining room and prefer to use the lido as it’s more casual and we personally prefer it. The food has always been great. Last year we did  a cruise with Oceania. It was our first, last and only time with that line. The atmosphere was no where near as comfortable as HAL. I don’t have youngsters so can’t comment. We are booked on the Rome to Copenhagen and managed to get a better price as we booked early. Good luck and hope you find what you’re looking for.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For us to get the exact stateroom we want we always pre book a year in advance! In 2018 we booked our cruise on Rotterdam 2020 Panama cruise! We already booked Koningsdam 2021 24 day cruise too! Always want our room  of choice. There are a lot of wonderful cruises like VOYAGE OF THE VIKINGS that are so popular if you don’t book it ASAP you might be out of luck or on a wait list!

Denise😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Sometimes the big cruise agencies reserve big blocks of rooms for popular cruises when the itinerary is first announced.  Later they release many of those rooms. I had that experience last cruise with Oceania.  That said HAL may not have as many 4 person rooms as other lines with larger ships.  The HAL new larger ships do. They actually have family rooms that are affordable too.   You may actually have to call for the family rooms - they are not advertised very well 

Edited by Mary229

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

(1) What Mary said and also HAL is doing a thing where all available cabins are not displayed (!). When you see cabin(s) you are interested in, there is a place on a screen after "Chose my own cabin" where you can put in a cabin number -- then it will either display the deck plan with that cabin highlighted OR come up footnoted that the cabin is not available. But as Mary said, not available today is not necessarily booked by someone else; it could be on hold by a large travel agency.

(1a) You could also call HAL (the operator that answers or ask to be assigned a Personal Cruise Consultant) and see if they can give you some 3-4 person cabins; have a deck plan in front of you. They may or may not be able to list them readily; I knew there were two connecting cabins available on a 21-day HAL cruise because they were showing on the two 10 and 11 day cruises it was also sold as, but not showing for the long cruise; my PCC had to call "Inventory" on her other line to confirm that!

 

(2) Teens have their own hang-out (Club HAL) on HA ships. As long as it's during common school break periods, there should be some in the age group to pal with.

 

(3) No reservations in the Lido, and you can also opt for As You Wish dining, which really does mean no reservation necessary on HAL. You just show up at the correct dining room and indicate whether you are open to sharing a larger table with others or ask for a table to yourselves. You may have to wait for a table for two, but usually not long at all. 

 

(4) In terms of how they treat you, HAL is a cut above NCL (our experience) and I think Carnival (based on their own marketing and reports on CC). We found RCI quite comparable in service and amenities, just a little different "flavor" (a bit more energy less sedate-ness in performers, for instance). I've been told Princess (which we're booked to try) and Celebrity will be more alike than different. 

(4a) Now, in terms of trampolines and flow-riders, HAL is not even trying to keep up. TG. So if lots of different on board activities is your interest, may not find it on HAL. Our last cruise was on the Zuiderdam and we -- a couple over 60 -- found her just the right size and the crew living up to HAL high standards.

Edited by crystalspin

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Those of us who like certain cabins as soon as an itinerary opens up.  We have been known to book 2 1/2 years out.

 

You can certainly eat in the Lido -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- without a reservation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Those of us who like certain cabins as soon as an itinerary opens up.  We have been known to book 2 1/2 years out.

 

You can certainly eat in the Lido -- breakfast, lunch and dinner -- without a reservation.

LOL I thought we were the only crazy ones KK!!

Denise

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...