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Is Holland America for older people? Help with cruise decision.

Is Holland America for older people? Help with cruise decision.

Oct 13th, 2010, 01:44 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2006
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Is Holland America for older people? Help with cruise decision.

I am trying to decide on a W. Caribbean cruise for New Years. There will be 5 people traveling ages 28 to 65. We have narrowed it down to 2 cruises that are basically identical - one on Carnival and one on Holland America. The only difference is the Holland American cruise goes to Guatemala vs. Carnival goes to Grand Cayman. We have all been to Grand Cayman so we prefer Guatemala but i have heard Holland America is a much older crowd. Any advice??
ssearls is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 03:48 PM
Join Date: Jun 2008
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We were on HAL for a Western Mediterrean cruise in July-August. It was our third with them. There were plenty of young people on the ship. More than I expected. On the overall, I would say that older people would do well on HAL while the younger people would not feel excluded. The ship certainly does not shut down at 9:30. On the other had, I feel that the 65 y.o.'s might be somewhat overwhelmed on Carnival. I know I would. Incidentally I'm 74 and I don't really enjoy parties on shore or on ships. HAL strikes a nice balance.
Aristotle is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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The mix of cruisers often has a lot to do with the time of year, the itinerary, and the length of the cruise. I'm sure almost every one-week cruise, during New Years (a time when a lot of people are away from work), and to a location like the Caribbean, will have an even higher percentage of younger people.
HAL is one of the best IMO, and I'd highly recommend it to everyone. Carnival, on the other hand, doesn't appeal to me. I'm not into belly-flop and hairy chest contests.
succeed is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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I'm 63 and have been on four HAL cruises. I agree 100% with Aristotle's analysis. Since yours will be a holiday cruise, there will be a mixture of all ages on the HAL ship.

We took our two teenage sons on a HAL Caribbean cruise several years ago and they and my wife had a blast at the New Years party. I was happily in our cabin asleep while they celebrated.

Carnival and Holland America are both owned by the Carnival Corporation, by the way.
Jimingso is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 06:17 PM
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There's that old adage about "the longer the cruise the higher the median age" and the corollary, "the more expensive the cruise, the higher the median age."

Although they are both owned by the Carnival Corp there is a BIG difference IMO in Carnival vs. HAL cruises...I have yet to see a "Men wear your wife/girlfriend's lingerie" contest on a HAL cruise; much less a "pillow fight on a bar over the pool" extravaganza..both of which we were treated to on the first, and LAST Carnival cruise we ever took.
Dukey1 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2010, 07:05 PM
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After 2 Carnival cruises and 3 on HAL, it's a no-brainer for us, HAL. Food is better, service is better and more personal. First cruised HAL at 38, last at 62 and enjoyed them all.
boom_boom is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 02:54 AM
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Another vote for HAL. The difference is their staff. Ask
anyone who has taken a HAL cruise & they will tell you what
service really is.
Rhea58 is offline  
Oct 14th, 2010, 12:48 PM
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Hi SS,

Also check out the comments about HAL at www.cruisecritic.com.

ira is offline  
Oct 15th, 2010, 03:37 AM
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I consider that it depends the time of the year and the route. We have taken early December HAL cruises out of FL and the demographics is heavily older than 60 yrs old. An April cruise out of San Diego was a great mix, less than a third I considered were older than 60 yrs old.

In your case, given the special ocassion, I would think it will be a good mix more like a 50-50; older crowd traveling woth younger relatives just as your case (the older crowd is probably "footing" the bill as well! ). I have to say the food in HAL is superb and their staff has some of the best reputation in the business. Go and have fun!
Viajero2 is offline  
Oct 18th, 2010, 04:34 PM
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We've taken two HA cruises. The first when we were in our late thirties. We loved it and have since taken a second. Both to Alaska. The food was excellent and the staff was beyond compare. We would definitely cruise only with HA in the future.
michele_d is offline  
Oct 23rd, 2010, 06:57 PM
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We've never sailed with HAL. We've been cruising with Princess mostly, but hands down I would choose HAL over Carnival with no reservations. Good advice above. Have a wonderful time. And an early Happy New Year!
Giovanna is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 09:01 AM
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I just returned from a 10 day mediterranean cruise with HAL. It was my first time cuising HAL, and I chose it based on 3 factors: 1)interesting ports 2)least amount of "at sea" days 3)Lots of time at port. I knew that cruises tend to have an older crowd, but I didn't think it would be this old. I felt depressed watching the old people in wheel chairs etc. Also, they were very slow in walking around both the ship as well as on excursions. I decided to forgo all ship excursions, and sourced my own - it was cheaper and faster. I would go based on on the ports and just be prepared to do things on your own.
chictravelista is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 10:29 AM
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I think your experience with HAL isn't a "HAL" thing, it's the fact that you went on a longer cruise (more expensive) and during school. We've been on two Med cruises - always during the school year - and the number of children has always been lower than during the summer or a holiday. As a previous poster said - cost/time/season - that is what tends to drive the age of the participants...... Back to the original question - HAL, no question....
Debi is offline  
Oct 28th, 2010, 10:35 AM
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I have no idea how old you are, but I find this a very strange reaction. You should havae felt good that these "old people" were on a cruise rather than sitting in front of a TV somewhere in the US. The desire to travel sometimes lasts much longer than your body parts. Also you lack of patience because the oldsters were slower than you wished to walk depresses me!
Giovanna is offline  
Oct 30th, 2010, 03:34 PM
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We were on a HAL cruise to the Black Sea (choose it for the ports offered) and it was great. Quite frankly it is not the particular cruise line that makes it a "great" trip - it is your attitude. I was quite surprized how "demanding" some cruise guests were - and how well the staff handled the situations.
Beachnut11 is offline  
Oct 31st, 2010, 07:49 AM
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It is interesting to note that the original poster had not made any comments so far other than the origianl post. A little more information on interest would certainly be helpful to decide between HAL and Carnival.

Based on the wide range of age, Carnival would be a better bet.
Eschew is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 03:25 AM
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We are both 66 and have had no problems on Carnival. There are people of all ages on her ships. We have never been on HAL - we were told the YOUNGEST person on HAL is 75! A Dr. said he'd never seen so many wheelchairs in one place as on HAL.Know that's not true but................ HAL used to be known as catering to older folks which is why my husband doesn't want to try them. They have been working on getting rid of that impression. Check cruisecritic.com's reviews on HAL ships.
bonniejns is offline  
Nov 4th, 2010, 10:12 AM
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I cruise a lot just on the Carnival Dream,going on Nieuw Amsterdam the 28 the of Nov.Now there is a big difference in these 2 lines,Holland America is elegant, medium size ship,nicer staterooms,even the chairs by the pool are better if it rains they close the dome so you can still enjoy the pool.Wait staff better trained,when leaving dinner from the dining room some one is standing behind a cart to offer after dinner mint,dates,candied ginger,The crowd will be mixed age groups we have taken our children(older) they love it verse Carnival,I sailed on Carnival first ship,first sailing when I was 15 years old I like Carnival it's just different, The cabins are just bland, Pool area are to small for the crowd ,Food is good(Holland America at the grill you can even order lamb burgers) Casino is better on carnival 1st night table games low is 3 dollars after it's 5.00 and up.Entertainment about the same,Holland America does have cooking classes and also they use the room for movies,One more thing you can bring on all the wine you want on Hal (we sailed on Eurodam 2009 had 7 bottles) Carnival one bottle pp
wandadavis is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 09:15 AM
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I had no idea that age strictly correlated with how people think and act, especially on a cruise.
Dukey1 is offline  
Nov 5th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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Bravo Dukey1!
Giovanna is offline  

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