Carnival vs. Holland America

I am planning a cruise in the fall & both of these lines have cruises that I might be interested in. If anybody has sailed with both, I would love to hear how they compare. How is the food & entertainment? What age groups are the passengers on HA? Carnival seems to have a lot of passengers from all age groups. Is the dining room dress code a lot more formal on HA, or are they similar?

25 Answers

You have been on Carnival so you know what your in for. HAL may be under the same corp. but it targets a different demographic. HAL is old time cruising. HAL is not a party ship, it is set up more for the older cruisers. The food is very good but nothing to spicy our out of the ordinary. The clients on HAL are more old time cruisers (think a lot of seniors) and tend to dress more for dinner and expect old time cruise ship shows every night. They ships do not have the water slides and that type of stuff.

HAL does allow cig and cigar smoking on balconies..... so you may not be able to enjoy the balcony that you paid for.

You can't compare the two lines. They are vastly different and cater to different people. HAL is a more experienced cruiser. Usually older. Carnival is, well, Carnival. Think, Nieman-Marcus vs, oh say, Old Navy

Having read that then, I would sooner stay with Carnival. Although I enjoy some quiet times, I do like a fun atmosphere and lounging in the pool with a cold whatever. I enjoy the more upbeat shows and comedy clubs, and I gather that HAL is more tame?

I always cruise through the reviews of the ships that I may be contemplating. I have only cruised RCCL so I may not be any help comparing the two, but if I had the choice, for me I would do Carnival just because its more my crowd/speed... I'm with askeegan.. I like quiet and down time, but like a little fun and excitement. I'm sure there will be a day where I want to be on a cruise with 0 kids/families, but that is hard to come by now a days

The Clients on HAL are so old they had the midnight buffet start at 10:00 pm. Just kidding. But it is nowhere as fun of a ship to be on as Carnival, no comedy club, less to do. I have done both lines and Id rather do Carnival.......Im not a cruise snob!!!!!!

JusMe, it seems like sticking with Carnival would be the better choice. I've enjoyed every one of my cruises with them. The thing is if you want to socialize or party there are plenty of areas on the ship to do so & if you want quiet time, there is the serenity deck where they don't allow children. I'm not a cruise snob either. I am on there to relax, eat & do some sightseeing when in port. I did a Disney cruise a couple of years ago because my nieces went with us & one thing I did miss on Disney was the comedy club. It's my favorite part of the ship's entertainment. The floor show in the theatre are nice but I do like to laugh. It is a great stress reliever.

meghad23, based on people I have talked to, I think RCCL & Carnival may attract similar types of passengers. I may need to try them sometime. You are right about Carnival. You ought to give them a try. If your in the mood for fun & excitement there are places on the ship for that & if you want quiet time there is the serenity deck which is for adults only. It's a great place for reading. Ultimately, I think the ports will determine whether I stick with Carnival or try RCCL.

Princess would be the in between line. A mix of crowds and tastes. Experienced and newbies. A little pricier than Carnival, but better food and service.

They do have a nice cruise the week I want to go. It goes to Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao. It's about $ 150 to $ 200 a person more than some of the Carnival cruises I am looking at.

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