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Hello cruisers. We just finished a cruise from San Diego, to Mexico, watched the eclipse, and into the Hawaii islands. From there we went to Victoria, BC and Vancouver BC aboard the MS Koningsdam. We found the cruise with good and bad activities. First with the goods: The view of the eclipse was exceptional. The tours we took in Mexico were very unique. They took us to Sierra Maestra and Colonial Mexico, and it was interesting the difference in culture. Then to Hawaii. While we were cruising we have several talks from a Professor from the University of California. He talk about space, the eclipse and many other objects in space. Specially the new telescopes that are installed in Space where they think it can pick up objects at the Big Bang. Hawaii tour were great we got to see the Wamia Canyon and spent two day in Honolulu. From there, we went to our last city in the archipelago and on to Victoria, BC. In Victoria, we took a tour of that city and saw all from a two story bus. Beautiful city with manicure lawns. Next day, we were at Vancouver BC, and we took the last tour around the city and the tour stop at the airport were we took the plane for our return trip back to Orlando Fl. 

Now with the bad. On the first day, we tried to get on the Jacuzzi at the Spa. Well, they charged $50 dollars per person per day. That is a little steep for a 10 to 20 minutes stay. I asked how much if the the entire cruise $250. Well, we balk out of it. My wife was spectating some activity like Zumba. The only thing the had on deck some Chinese slow motion exerciser.   We tried for a few minutes and found it lacking stimulation. The food aboard the ship, I found kind of bland and with out salt or any condiments. The breakfasts were good but the rest no biggie. Our stateroom developed a flood from the shower. It ran all the way into the hall and inside our room. They calked the shower, and we had to put up with two fans one inside the room and another in the hall. We practically couldn't use the room for two days until the carpet dry out. We were offer another room, but it was getting closer to departure and wife decided to stay. The morning coffee was super bad. if you wanted good strong coffee then you have to pay extra at the coffee shop below. The drinks, we found expensive for example a beer it is $10 bucks. Keep in mind, they get the beer with no added tax so practically it is almost all profit. Naturally, every time we went to see the shows, we had to pass by the picture taking people, the casino, and the paintings. The shows we found cheap. We have been in other cruises that they had a band with the dancers. No band, it all was recorded sound for these six dancers doing their stuff. Comedians were of bad taste. They did have a gent that played excellent the piano. He was great, but in general the  shows were cheap. They had an old Hawaii gent, and he gave us details about the Hawaii culture. That was interesting. There is no laundromat in the ship everything has to be send away to the dry cleaning, and it is not cheap. For a pair of undies $8 bucks. The saying, they take you the cleaners is a correct statement on this cruise.

In general and we talk to other cruisers aboard the ship. We found the Holland America does not compare to Princess at all. Holland America caters to very older people. We do not fit this category perhaps in another 10 more years. I do not think that I will be taking another cruise with Holland America. It was a good experience but not what I expected on a cruise.

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@Tony Urbizu That's such an exceptional HAL cruise! Unfortunately I missed the eclipse this year. The Jacuzzi at the Spa prices are very steep! That's actually much more than I would deem acceptable. I'm assuming the jacuzzi prices included other spa amenities, right? It's a bummer to read you felt the activities/entertainment were lacking. The beer and coffee prices are not surprising to me at all. Unfortunately most cruises are like this. Based on this review, it seems Princess Cruises is still your preferred line. It's good to branch out and try new lines every now and agin to compare. I'm glad you were able to explore a new line. I think your itinerary seemed lovely, but there were some things you prefer with Princess Cruises. I really appreciate this review because I have yet to cruise with both of these lines! Based on your review, I would likely try Princess Cruises first as the entertainment would likely better suit my interests. Thanks!

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Kendall, it was good to hear from you. In the past, we have taken the Princess Line, and we were happy with the way they run the show. They are very organized: the tours, the shows, disembarkation, and other activities. We thought, huh? Lets try a different line. I guess we are spoiled, but there was no comparison. Like from the start, the deck exercise was not there in the morning.  It was not what my wife wanted. She said where is the Zumba? I do not know. If they had kept the cost of the Jacuzzi low, perhpas, they would have more people using the pool. Consequently, it was always empty. Cruisers know when they are being scam.

What really turn us off was the flood in the room. BTW, the consolation price for our lost of the usage for two days,  it was a small bottle of wine. My wife said, this is how the calm us? Well, they do not have to give us anything, so be happy that is the consolation prize, I replied.

I think my next cruise, it will be with Princess. I hope they have not change the style prior to COVID-19. I like to visit South America. I been there several time on  business during my working days. I want to return to see how much they have changed.

Good luck on your cruising,

Thanks!

Tony

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Posted (edited)

@Tony Urbizu Thanks for sharing your perspective with me. I will certainly be cruising with Princess Cruises in the future. It's one of those lines I would plan to leave my children behind. When cruise lines charge for extras like jacuzzis, it's so frustrating. Many cruise lines are becoming more and more a la carte. I don't line that lines are doing this, but it's a way for the cruise line to make more from guests. When a line like Princess Cruises remains true to its guests and sticks to its original offerings, it's attractive. It proves that the line is loyal and consistent with its offerings to guests, not settling or cutting corners like many of the line's competitors have done/are doing. 

What part of South America have you been to? Have you cruised to the continent before? I have been contemplating a cruise there myself! Flights to that region are more reasonable from the US than traveling to Asia/Europe/Australia. The itineraries are just as lovely to South America! They offer so much to see and explore! 

Also, I speak Spanish so traveling to South America is pretty convenient since I speak a native language!

Edited by Kendall James-Vargas
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