Holland America vs. Norwegian Cruise Lines

I thought that I should write a little bit about the two cruise lines so I will be able to remember our thoughts on each one. We have been on 2 Norwegian ships recently and 3 many years ago, but this was our first experience with Holland America.

Ship: The ships are comparable. The Holland America ship, the Nieuw Amsterdam, does not have a grand atrium, but that is not a deal breaker in my book. Holland does have a super fancy explorations area in their observation area where you can use computers to explore you next destinations. Winner: Tie

Room: Our Holland room is a balcony and very large with much storage, but we have never had a balcony room on Norwegian so I can’t compare. However, Holland has many more options on the tv like movies and tv shows. Additionally, Holland leaves fruit in your room each day which the kids thoroughly enjoyed. Most importantly, Holland has free room service. Winner: Holland America

Dining Room: The food in the dining rooms have been comparable on both cruise lines. Holland has set dinner times which does lock you into a time. However, on Norwegian we were always limited on the times that we could make reservations because of our large party size so we were also locked into a specific time though we were able to choose an early or late time. On Holland, you set at the same table each night so you have the same servers. This means that they know get to know you-bringing the kids lemonade, ordering extra fries for the kids and bringing Grandpa coffee. However, on Norwegian they had chocolate lava cake almost every night while the desserts on the Holland haven’t been exceptional to me. Winner: Tie

Kids’ Club: Holland has older passengers so their kids’ club rarely had anyone there, always less than 10 kids with no one in the teen area. Their security was lax, and they didn't even have bathrooms in the kids’ area. Norwegian is hands down the winner on the kids’ club. Their security procedures seemed to take forever, but they were thorough and in place. Norwegian was full of exciting kid activities for kids of all ages. On Holland, we urged the boys to skip the kids’ club since they wouldn’t have fun being with the smaller kids. Winner: Norwegian

Cruise Director: So this category doesn’t really matter at all. Hollands’ cruise director was not too impressive at all while Norwegian's was exactly what you would picture a cruise director being-full of life and full of energy. However, the cruise director impacts my cruise zero percent. Winner: Norwegian (not counted in final total)

Activities: On the cruise agenda each night, we have circled about 4-6 items each day to do on our Holland cruise. On the Norwegian cruises, we would have to pick and choose what we wanted to do because of so many different choices. Norwegian was full of activities from sunup to sundown. Now, with all of these activities we often felt like we never slowed down at all-which is what we are used to. So having free time on the Holland America is a bit odd to us. Holland does have America’s Test Kitchen which was on of Campbell’s favorite things. Holland also has  some super cool computers to use to explore the ports.  Winner: Norwegian

Shows: I think that the shows on both cruises have been fairly comparable. Norwegian might have a slight edge, but not enough to count them as the winner. Winner: Tie

Buffet: On Holland, the buffet food is definitely fancier. At night, it becomes a restaurant, and they even bring you drinks. However, since the food is fancier, it is more difficult for the kids to find food that they enjoy. Holland has had scoop ice cream available at all times, plus waffle cones and not just soft serve in a plastic cone. Winner: Tie

Winner: Norwegian with a score of 2-1. I am pretty sure that our next cruise will probably be a Norwegian, However, if we find another great deal on Holland, we will jump on the boat immediately.

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