Being on a cruise for the first time in September 2001 (Alaska) Volendam with HAL, I didn't have anything to compare it with, but I just returned from Mexico (April 2002) on the Sea Princess (Princess Cruises) and wanted to give a comparison. Volendam's dining experience was much more outstanding, including the first rate food, compared to much to be desired poor quality food on Sea Princess. Our stateroom (just an inside with 2 port holes) was much larger, more closet space and a bathtub/shower compared to a tiny corner shower on Sea Princess. Volendam had a wonderful selection of free ice cream at the Ice Cream bar where you had to pay a fee at the Hagendaz Bar on Princess. Dessert extravaganza on HAL was outstanding and a wonderful experience. The "no tipping" policy was a relief not to have to worry about tipping, although we did tip because the staff was so wonderful compared to Princess which automatically charges your shipboard account $10 per person per day for tips. Volendam had superb entertainment but not a lot of selection far as the time to see the shows. Where Princess had 2 different types of productions to choose from, including comedians. The Jacuzzi/pool stayed open very late compared to HAL closing at about 9:00pm.Sea Princess had a floral shop to purchase flowers for special occasions: birthdays, anniversary's, etc. Sea Princess had more activites that you could participate in. The spa treatments were more affordable on Sea Princess and they did a better job of doing my hair on formal nights than HAL. There was a safe and small refrigerator in the room which we utilized both. However, all in all, we had a wonderful time being on vacation and enjoyed spending quality time with our special loved one. A-L-O-H-A
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