Holland America vs Royal carrebean?

Old Mar 1st, 2018, 04:14 AM
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Holland America vs Royal carrebean?

I look for ship to Norway on summer 2019 and hesitate between two companies (for Holland America Rotterdam ship or Nieuw Statendam ship and for Royal Carribean serenade of the seas ship)
We go with children but they do not not need all the enormous slides and also going to sleep early so night life is not so important for us.
We look for:
- fancy ship With very good maintenance, Clean and elegant lobby and facilities.
- great food, not variety but quality.Also Good desserts. excellent food.
- indoor pools/jacuzzi since it might be cold in n Norway
- nice places in o see to watch the view
- excellent excursions while ship in port
- not very crowdy
- big ship
Any recommendation?
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 08:00 AM
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Adding also sapphire princess

Adding also sapphire princess
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Old Mar 1st, 2018, 11:13 AM
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Go to vacationstogo. Look at each ship. It tells you size, age, when last refurbished, etc.
Then go to cruise critic for reviews of each ship, ports, excursions, food, etc.

From what you say you want, Holland America Nieuw Statendam seems to fit best. It is brand new. Food seems to be a focus.

None of the ship's are mega-ships, but this one is bigger than the others except Princess Saphire which is bigger.
The Rotterdam is the oldest and smaller.
RCCL Serenade is also older and smaller.
Saphire is also somewhat older, but the biggest of the four.

I have not been on a Holland America ship, but have been on several Princess and Royal Caribbean ships and like them all.
IMHO, currently, Princess is more elegant and gets a slight edge for better food.
RCCL is a bit more casual with better entertainment and great service.

Age and size is not too important for me, but one important thing would be itinerary and how much time in each port.
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Old Apr 1st, 2018, 01:28 PM
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I think Princess had the best desserts of any of the four main line ships...Holland, NCL, Princess and Royal Caribbean.

In general NCL has the most boring food of the four, but actually the best service model in the dining room, more like a restaurant. It was easier to request and GET a modification, which tended to mean the food was cooked to order. Royal Caribbean is more like a conference hotel! But I very much liked their buffet food, at least on the ship and route I had..which was an old ship in the Panama Canal.
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Old Apr 1st, 2018, 02:13 PM
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We have been on several HA and always impressive with ships, service, and especially food. Only one RC a couple years and was disappointed with the food. Fewer choices are dinner and blander but it was a couple years ago so things could change. The HAs have been more recent.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2018, 03:15 AM
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I agree with Sassafrass...would go with Holland America & my agent at vacations to go is very responsive either by
phone or email. How old are your children? BTW, Royal Caribbean appeals to families with all their activities for kids
but it would not be my first choice.
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Old Apr 2nd, 2018, 03:06 PM
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Having been on the Sapphire Princess twice, most recently in 2016 I perhaps am biased but she is a beautiful ship, well maintained and we've always had great service. The International cafe serves very nice desserts too in addition to the MDR.

There is an indoor pool too but I think its adults only.

It should be in tip top shape as its scheduled for dry dock just last month.


As for excursions that should not be a problem. Most ships have very good excursions but are pricey compared to what you can find on your own from private companies.

IME even the mega ships like the RCI Oasis class are so well designed that it doesn't seem crowded even with 5-6 k passengers so the Sapphire should not feel jammed. al least not to us.
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Old Apr 4th, 2018, 08:46 AM
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We did a 14 night cruise to Norway a few years ago with HA and it was wonderful. Sorry, I have no experience with RC.
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