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  #1  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 08:14 PM
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FoxyTerrier FoxyTerrier is offline
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Default My Comparison of HAL vs X - Pros and Cons

Background
We have cruised on HAL for a dozen plus cruises in Deluxe Suites or Penthouse and recently took our first Celebrity cruise on the Summit in a Celebrity Suite. While planning this cruise I was very anxious for comparison between HAL and X. I decided to post some HAL/X pros and cons.
· Check-In
o Pros
§ HAL - At each desk there is a camera to take the cruise ID picture. On X, after you checked in you then proceeded to a 2nd location for the picture taking.
§ X - Presented with champagne or mimosa as you board.
· Venues
o Pros
§ X - Michael Club – very pub like with many small craft beers. Also had nice entertainment each night.
§ X – Martini Bar with its frozen bar top. Loved the Martini sampler.
§ X – Revelations – better dance location compared to Northern Lights on HAL.
§ HAL – Crow’s Nest – with the panoramic views from the full width of the ship.
§ HAL – Piano Bar – No explanation needed
o Cons
§ X – Cellar Master self-service wine bar. Maybe a nice idea but never saw anyone use this venue.
· Staterooms
o Pros
§ X – Multi-room staterooms other than Penthouse
§ X – Bath room more luxurious but the raised bath/shower difficult to get in and out
§ HAL – More storage. I prefer the closets that convert from stacked shelves to hanging.
§ HAL – DVD player in room
§ HAL – larger balcony with nicer balcony furniture and cushions
o Cons
§ X – Lack of US outlets/plugs
§ X – Lack of lighted make up mirror.
§ X – Grab bars needed in bath/shower.
§ X – Shower height too low.
· Food
o I think the Buffet and Main Dining room are comparable.
o Pros
§ X – Normandie specialty restaurant is excellent. Normandie has a $40 upcharge but Suite guests get one comp’d meal. We ate two meals there and both were just outstanding. While I do love the Pinnacle Grill I do think Normandie is better. I do not know if Normandie is open for lunch.
§ X – Bristo on 5. A very nice casual restaurant with a minimal upcharge $5.
§ X – The two times we ordered room service they called to let us know it would arrive within 5 minutes. Give you time to get a robe on if necessary.
§ X – Saturday Brunch – many different food stations.
o Cons
§ X – No room service for breakfast on disembarkation day. The only breakfast option is the buffet.
· Suite Perks
o Pros
§ HAL – Neptune Lounge. I really missed the NL, from a simple continental breakfast to the full service concierge staff. Also the famous coffee machine.
§ HAL – Breakfast in the Pinnacle Grill.
o Cons
§ X – Was not sure how to utilize the butler and when to call the Butler vs the room steward?
· Miscellaneous
o Pros
§ X – All inclusive drink packages. We had the premium package which included all bottled water (still and sparkling), coffee drinks, and wine and cocktails up to $12 – anything over $12 you just pay the difference.
§ X – There were many activities that involved the ships officers which got them engaged with the passengers. Example: Dancing with the stripes, Water volleyball game, poker tournament, Navigation under the stars.
§ HAL – Can remain in stateroom until time to disembark.
§ HAL - Suite Luncheon – my favorite is the Indonesian Luncheon in the Pinnacle Grill.
§ HAL – Suite cocktail party. We were not invited to any Suite functions.
§ HAL – Elemis products in the bathroom especially the tingly shower gel.
o Cons
§ X – Not of enough bar staff in the Main Dining room. It would routinely take 30-45 minutes from the start of dinner until a cocktail would arrive. While wine would arrive quickly. Cocktails are not served by the wine stewards. Can’t recall if the same person is in charge of cocktails and wine on HAL.
§ X – No bar/lounge in close proximity to Normandie restaurant. It would be nice to go for a cocktail without having to travel to a different deck for dinner. On HAL the Pinnacle Lounge is next to the Pinnacle Grill.
§ X - Laundry – DH’s tuxedo shirt arrived laundered but not pressed and unfortunately he didn’t realize it until 15 minutes before dinner. He thought it had pressed and folded. On HAL shirts arrive on hangers.
§ X – The sofa in our suite was just plain uncomfortable for sitting and sleeping. I have slept on a HAL sofa sleeper and it’s quite comfortable and very comfy for sitting.

Will we continue to sail on HAL – ABSOLUTLY!
Will we consider future cruises on Celebrity – ABSOLUTLY!
I posted my review of our July 8th Summit cruise here:
http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1675669

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My blog - https://foxyterrier.wordpress.com

Future cruises
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Caribbean - New Years Eve Cruise

Past cruises
Noordam - Lisbon to Rome - 2001
Rymdam - Alaska - 2002
Maasdam - Western Caribbean - 2003
Noordam - Baltics - 2004
Zuiderdam - Eastern Caribbean - 2005
Noordam - Greek Isles - 2006
Westerdam - Eastern Caribbean - 2007
Oosterdam - Mexican Riveria - 2008
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - 2009
Noordam - Western Caribbean - 2010
Veendam - Bermuda - May 8, 2011
Celebrity Summit - Bermuda - July 8, 2012
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean - March 15, 2013
Queen Mary - New England/Canada - October 15, 2013

Last edited by FoxyTerrier; July 22nd, 2012 at 08:25 PM.
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  #2  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 08:31 PM
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kazu kazu is offline
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Loved the way you compared Foxy Terrier - thanks so much

Really great that you did this - adds a lot of insight for a lot of people.

Everyone can choose what's important to them.

Thanks so much - off to read your full review - and appreciate you providing the link as well.

Welcome home Did you bring a room steward with you or are you toughening it out on your own
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  #3  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 09:31 PM
whogo whogo is offline
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Thanks for the comparison, FoxyTerrier. I have never cruised on Celebrity, although I want to. The big pro for me on Holland America is their itineraries. For Cape Horn, I ended up sailing HAL again because all Celebrity's cruises missed either the Falkland Islands or Valparaiso. Glad I went before HAL dropped the Falklands. Itineraries favor HAL for a possible fall Mediterranean cruise, too.

Celebrity's Solstice Class ships get the best member reviews on Cruise Critic.

Celebrity Eclipse, 91% loved it
Celebrity Equinox, 93% loved it
Celebrity Silhouette, 90% loved it
Celebrity Solstice, 88% loved it

Compare to HAL's newest Signature Class
Eurodam, 83% loved it
Nieuw Amersterdam, 81% loved it


Full disclosure, Celebrity Summit, 82% loved it
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  #4  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 09:36 PM
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Thanks for the comparison.
We haven't sailed "X" in years so it was interesting comparison.

Happy you enjoyed your cruise.
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  #5  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 09:49 PM
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fann1sh fann1sh is offline
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Thread so useful, added to my bookmark hoard.

Thank you!
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Old July 22nd, 2012, 09:52 PM
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Thanks for the report on your Celebrity cruise. You did a great comparison of the two cruise lines.
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  #7  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 10:28 PM
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ariawoman ariawoman is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fann1sh View Post
Thread so useful, added to my bookmark hoard.

Thank you!
so YOU are the one hoarding all the bookmarks lol

Great comparison, OP. I tend to agree with most of what you said, though I was on a different X ship. I'd sail on either line, depending on itinerary. I do have to say though, the stewards/staff on HAL just had a little special something that I didn't entirely feel on X. Their staff was really good, but the HAL staff was remarkable.
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Prior cruises:

Silhouette - Celebrity - Mediterranean - 5/16/2014 (Honeymoon cruise!) - Cabin 1243
Oasis of the Seas - Royal Caribbean - Western Caribbean - 12/7/2013 - Cabin 8151 (Wedding cruise!)
Summit - Celebrity - Canada/New England - 10/05/2013 - Cabin 8046

Reflection - Celebrity - Mediterranean - 10/12/2012 - Cabin 8279
Equinox - Celebrity - Mediterranean - 10/10/2011 - Cabin 8279
Nieuw Amsterdam - Holland America - Mediterranean - 10/6/2010 - Cabin 5051
Seabourn Spirit - Seabourn - Mediterranean - 10/10/2009 - Cabin 322

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  #8  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 10:34 PM
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Thanks, great comparison! We enjoy both lines.
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  #9  
Old July 22nd, 2012, 11:43 PM
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Our experience is very similar with the 2 lines. With regards to room service on X we were told we always had to order through our room steward (who doubled as our concierge). The kicker was that with dinner we could not order until after 7PM vs with HAL you can order as soon as the MDR is open.

On X we also had some drama at the pool each day with security having to be called to break up fights. Never seen a fight on HAL and certainly not over a deck chair! But that may have less to do with Celebrity and more to do with the particular clientele on the cruise.
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Past Cruises
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Eurodam - Eastern Caribbean - February 2010 - first cruise with a baby
Zuiderdam - Mediterranean/TA - October 2008
Veendam - Western Caribbean - October 2007
Westerdam - Eastern Caribbean - October 2007
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - October 2006
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  #10  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 04:13 AM
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Well done. I hope to cruise on Celebrity one day soon.
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  #11  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 04:57 AM
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Thank you for taking the time to write your comparisons.

It is very much appreciated.
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  #12  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 09:03 AM
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Default Size counts

I have sailed on Celebrity more than HAL. But.... now returning to HAL. Celebrity is going the way of most cruise lines with bigger and BIGGER ships. I love the smaller and older ships that HAL has and hope they will continue to use and maintain for many more years! Prinsendam is next Oct. 31st. Can't wait!
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  #13  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 09:28 AM
George C George C is offline
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very intersting, thanks, the one thing I disagree with is I thought MDR was much better on HAL and buffet was much better on Celeberity
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  #14  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 11:43 AM
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Thank you for the comparisons.
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  #15  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 12:22 PM
eandj eandj is offline
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As a frequent cruiser on X, and cruising HAL for the first time in Sept., I appreciated your comparisons. Thanks you. Altho never staying in a suite, appreciated the other general ppoints of your critique. I'd be interested in knowing your feelings after cruisein one of the new S class ships on X. A totally different feel than the Summit or other M class ships.

Food and entertainment are totally subjective, so I'm glad you didn't spend much time on that.

Last edited by eandj; July 23rd, 2012 at 12:23 PM.
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  #16  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 12:29 PM
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innlady1 innlady1 is online now
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Thanks, FoxyTerrier, for such an easy-to-read, concise comparison! I'm particularly interested since we're thinking of doing the Summit for our 45th wedding anniversary next May...and sadly, the Veendam, will no longer do that run.

How did you find being at the Dockyard? Did the ferries run fairly often into Hamilton? I will read your review, too!
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Last edited by innlady1; July 23rd, 2012 at 12:29 PM.
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  #17  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 04:12 PM
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FoxyTerrier FoxyTerrier is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by innlady1 View Post
Thanks, FoxyTerrier, for such an easy-to-read, concise comparison! I'm particularly interested since we're thinking of doing the Summit for our 45th wedding anniversary next May...and sadly, the Veendam, will no longer do that run.

How did you find being at the Dockyard? Did the ferries run fairly often into Hamilton? I will read your review, too!
I too am sad the Veendam is leaving Bermuda - our taxi driver said she was being sold.

Actually being at Dockyard was better than I thought.

The ferries to Hamilton run hourly. The ferries to St. George's less often. The best deal is to get a 2 or 3 day bus/ferry pass.

There is a small mall at dockyard as well as a glass factory and pottery factory. A snorkeling beach with a $5 entry fee and the Bermuda Maritime Museum $10 the dolphin swim is located at the maritime museum so you can watch the dolphin swim included in that fee. If you want to swim with the dolphins that is not included.

There is also a small tram that runs from the ship to the various stops in the dockyard area.

There are also many tours run right from dockyard (not through the ship) such as jet ski, glass bottom boats, parasailing.

I think if you like HAL you should like X - while not exactly the same both are fine cruise lines.
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My blog - https://foxyterrier.wordpress.com

Future cruises
Royal Caribbean Quantum of the Seas - Caribbean - New Years Eve Cruise

Past cruises
Noordam - Lisbon to Rome - 2001
Rymdam - Alaska - 2002
Maasdam - Western Caribbean - 2003
Noordam - Baltics - 2004
Zuiderdam - Eastern Caribbean - 2005
Noordam - Greek Isles - 2006
Westerdam - Eastern Caribbean - 2007
Oosterdam - Mexican Riveria - 2008
Zuiderdam - Panama Canal - 2009
Noordam - Western Caribbean - 2010
Veendam - Bermuda - May 8, 2011
Celebrity Summit - Bermuda - July 8, 2012
Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas - Caribbean - March 15, 2013
Queen Mary - New England/Canada - October 15, 2013
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  #18  
Old July 23rd, 2012, 04:20 PM
SJSULIBRARIAN SJSULIBRARIAN is offline
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Enjoyed your comparisons - we have sailed on Celebrity only twice - both 7-day and not in suites. Hopefully, we can find a 14 day cruise with an itinerary to our liking and try a suite. I don't think we would like the larger Celebrity ships as we prefer HAL's R and S class ships. But we thought the size of the Summit and Infinity were OK and similar to HAL's Vista class, I think.
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  #19  
Old July 24th, 2012, 08:09 AM
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bobnjeff bobnjeff is online now
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Default Back to back on Solstice then Amsterdam

Three years ago we sailed on the Solstice for a TA then we did the Carnival Miracle in between ( the only miracle was surviving ) for a week then 15 days on the Amsterdam doing the Panama Canal.

The Solstice is beautiful. Pristine white. Large cabins and pubil spaces. The Mdr is huge, too huge for me. Food OK I find the food on the M class ships better. The buffet is great with lots of choices and stations to aid in serving the massive numbers of guests. Lets face it though the whole thing is huge. Not warm and comfortable. The small indoor pool is poorly designed. The smallest of wave movement and water ends up every where forcing them to drain it.

I will not even bother to talk about Carnival other than to say it should be shut down due to the filth every where especially the buffet area. Disgusting!

Getting on the Amsterdam was so comfortable despite being in a Noro virus alert. The staff dealt with it so well. The food was awesome everywhere. Service beyond compare. We had only been on HAL once before this. We had a great time then but a few issues. So, we moved on to X but after the trip on the Amsterdam we vowed to return. We sail on the Prinsendam in October and can't wait.

X is great but the smaller HAL ships are truly the best!
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  #20  
Old July 24th, 2012, 09:41 AM
iancal iancal is offline
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Thanks for the review. Just goes to show how everyone's perceptions and experiences are different.

We don't care about Celebrity's offer of champagne or mimosa when we board. We just want to get to our cabin or up to the top deck. Besides, it is just' not so great run of the mill plonk'.

On our last Celebrity cruise (Istanbul) our pictures were indeed taken at the check in desk-we did not have to go to another station for this. I suspect it depends on where you board.
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