View Full Version : X Club Vs Club Hal?? Anyone done both
December 7th, 2006, 02:11 PM
For the last two years we have done Celebrity with our kids, now 8 & 10, on Celebrity.
They have loved many of the activities offered by X Club. We like to have a lot of family time together in the evenings, so the kids are mostly there during the day, with the option to go in the evening after dinner if the regular evening activities aren't something that interests them.
So I'm curious about the activies in Club HAL.
Celebrity offers youth activities like Family Bingo, Family Scavenger Hunts, Sponge Bob Trivia, movie matinees, Pirate Night, Family Disco, older kids scavenger hunts, arts and crafts, dance lessons, talent shows, pizza parties, Scene It, Dance Dance Revolution, Leap Frog hand held learning games, Electronic globe games, Treasure hunts, attening fruit carving demos, play stations, Board Games, other Trivia games... Thats as many as I could think of,
Anybody been on Hal that can tell me what kind of activities they have?
I'm looking for specifics. About a year ago I was discussing Kids on HAL and I got a generic "HAL doesn't work well for kids" but I think the poster was grumpmeister who just wants to discourage kids from cruising.
December 7th, 2006, 07:55 PM
I've been on both. 13 when I was on HAL and 15 on X. I must tell you that when I was on HAL there were no designated kids club rooms and often the activities were poorly attended. I think now that they have improved some but I have to say that hands down X is better than HAL. X is also friendlier towards kids as I noticed that the average age of a HAL cruise is like 65.
December 7th, 2006, 10:14 PM
I have to completely disagree with the previous poster who said that X is better than HAL. However, I have to give you some background and then take that infomation and you make you descion. I started sailing when I was 4 or 5 years old and that was on the Noordam III. Most of my sailing have been on HAL as you will see with my signature but I can tell you that I have sailed on other cruise lines. These lines range from Carnival, Celebrity, the now disfunt Regent line. IMHO the best youth group has to be HAL. Yes they do have less things on board for children to use but the counselor are great. There is usually a smaller amount of children on HAL ships so the counselors have more time to get to know who they are taking care of. As the year go by HAL has added alot of new things for chilldren to do. THey now have the loft for teenagers, video games for all ages and other activties. Yes HAL has the bad distinction of being for the older people but really it depends on the voyage you go on. During the holiday there is usually a complete flip of the passengers from the usually 60ish to families. Alot of the older people don't like the way HAL is going but I myself love the idea that they are catering to the younger passengers. HAL and X are about the same with what they have to offer but if you are looking for more kids outside of holidays I would say go to X, but if you are planning on a holiday with the kids where there children are taken care of like they are kings or queens I would say that is completely HAL. There are so many stories from past passenger that I have heard that there children are taken care of like the are adults. Most of the crew member have children at home and don't see them for 6 months at a time so when they see a child aboard they will do anything to make them laugh and enjoy there cruise. And I am not talking about the youth conselors now. On Celebrity the crew outside of the youth conselors really didn't pay any attention to the kids. It seemed like they were not there. For you information I saild on Celebrity before there merge with Royal Caribbean on the Centry when I was about 16 years old. On HAL the crew other than the youth conselors will remember your childs name, what they like to drink at dinner, and sometimes if they are not busy will show them games that make the children laugh. The crew aboard HAL are so great even the adults will get a laugh with there children.
December 7th, 2006, 11:04 PM
Well, I sailed on a 15 day Christmas cruise with less than 100 kids and the kids club met wherever there was an open room. There were very few activities and since there were few kids I did not have a good time. I saw very few families on the cruise that I was on but like I said they have made improvements so I can only speak for my experience. The one thing that I remember one of the crew doing was he made me a little puppet out of an old menu that I still have to this date.
December 8th, 2006, 01:11 AM
Suzanne, don't do it. Although I think HAL would be fine for you and dh alone since it is a very comparable product to Celebrity, IMHO, it would be a mistake with the kids.
Have you ever heard ANYONE anywhere, rave about the kid's club on HAL? The Teen Oasis gets an honorable mention nowadays, but keep in mind that the clientele on HAL is much different from Celebrity. For a Christmas sailing you think families with kids right? 250 kids on a 10 night sailing and all I heard around me was grumbling about the kids being on the ship. These were very well behaved kids too. Not pushing and shoving people in line like the so-called adults. Obviously it was a very disheartening experience for us. The crew did try to compensate, but IMO, not nearly enough to make up for the experience. 4 months later my parents sailed the Westerdam TA for 13 nights and put it right up there with X, though they still think X has a small edge. There were a whopping 3 children on that voyage.
Perhaps I would not be quite as bitter except for the final straw. We had a day in port in Martinique. I had been there previously, dh wanted to stay at the pool. Fine, we signed dd up for the kid's club the day before, as requested. Needless to say she was looking forward to it.
My husband took her to the club to drop her off at the appointed time and guess what? The staff decided they were taking the day off. So THAT was exactly what they did. They were kind enough to arrange to have one of the male entertainers to "sit" with dd so she could "play" on the computer. Dd's best memories of the kid's club was the arts and crafts and of course, being able to "play" on the computer. The Galaxy had Play Station so in her mind, that was just as good. In my mind though, if HAL were serious about a kid's club they would not just make up programs and hours as they went along.
Now keep in mind, this was not some 16 night voyage with 3 kids on the entire ship. This was a Christmas cruise with 250 kids. Perhaps with one of the bigger ships you would have a better experience than we did. These ships do seem to be a little more family friendly. Check around over on the HAL forum, if you haven't already. I hate going there because of the seemingly endless bashing of kids.
If you really want, let me know and I will go through dd's keepsake box and find her little scrapbook from the cruise with the listing of daily kid's events. She was 8 years old on the sailing.
December 8th, 2006, 08:36 AM
CruiseArizona, it sounds like you have had wonderful experiences with your children on X (your kids are similarly aged to mind, and we're planning our first cruise). I was hoping you wouldn't mind answering a few questions for me, based on your experience with X. Would you mind telling me what the numbers of kids were like on your cruises (and if they were during holiday periods or not). We have booked on X for March with our kids 12, 10 and are nervous about the potential lack of other children for our kids to play with. Also, did you ever get a sense that children were not "appreciated" by the other passengers. I want our children's first cruise to be a memorable one. Judging by the activities you described they will enjoy it, but any insights you might be willing to share based on your actual experiences on X with your children would be SO appreciated. Thanks so much...
December 8th, 2006, 10:48 AM
Lisa, Wow, closing the kids club for the day??? Thats pretty awful!!! Grumpy passengers who complain about kids non stop..Even worse!!!!
We have had two cruises with the kids on Celebrity and both were very posistive experiences. Both were Thanks Giving sailings that extended into the week after Thanksgiving requiring them to miss 1 week of school, which I think was true for most kids, some may have even missed 1 week and 3 days.
On last years Hawaii cruise we had 53 kids in the kids program, and on last weeks voyage we had 103. There were plenty of other kids for our two, now 8 & 10 to play with. If they have enough kids, like on this last voyage they will devide the kids into 4 groups 3-6, 7-9, 10-2, and 13-17?18?. On the Infinity the Fun Factory was big enough that most activities were run our of there. My son was 9 on that voyage, and the only 9 year old, and didn't really like the arts and crafts activiities, has a lot of energy, so they moved him up to the 10-12 age group where there were more boys and he could do the more sports oriented activities in the older program. DD was very happy in the younger group.
On this voyage the kids did more picking and choosing of activities. Often choosing to do the "Grown-up" activities with Mom and Dad like the Production shows, the comedian, 50's Night, Liar Club, Trivia Contests, Spelling Bees ect.
For the most part they were welcomed by the other passengers. One guy did jokingly say "Oh no, Ankle Biters," when we sat down in the row next to him for one of the production shows. Which kind of annoyed me, because my kids were dressed in their formal wear and acting very appropriately at the time. My daughter was even made "Co-Captain" of our ladies "Battle of the Sexes" trivia team because she knew a touch down is worth 6 points and the Elvis's one true love was Peanutbutter and Banana Sandwiches. A few of the adult ladies would get my son to dance with them at some of the parties if they didn't have a partner. Several other people in our surrounding tables even made a special point of complementing our family on how nice we looked and how well behaved our kids were.
(An aside, I am a dress code followere to a T when it comes to my own family. On formal night DD and I wear gowns, and DH and DS wear tuxes. On informal nights DD and I wear nice dresses and the DS wear coat and tie, and DH just wore a coat because the daily didn't strictly say a tie, if it had I'm sure he would have. On casual night we wear nice casual, no jeans or shorts.)
Attention from Crew Members
We have been really lucky in that on both the Infinity and Mercury there were a few of the non-kids club crew members that really made the cruise fun for our kids. On the Infinity there were several waiters and sommoliers and assistand maitre'de who would come to our table after dinner and give the kids Oragami puppets, show them riddles or tell them jokes. They were very sweet. On the Mercury there was one Bartender in the Cova Cafe who was particularly sweet to both of my kids. She would help my son on every scavenger hunt he had, and when my daughter would come for her cappicinos in the afternoon she would always talk to her. She was really nice. There was another waiter whom we had one day for lunch and he would greet the kids and me every night as we walked past him in the dining room by name.
I'm just guessing on this, but there was one family on the Merc with two Dads, and a little 18 month old boy that they had, I'm guessing adopted. On the last day of the cruise when we were waiting for disembarkation there was one of the housekeeping guys chasing him around and playing games with him as we all waited in the theater to disembark. The Dads gave him a special thank you as we walked off the ship. My guess is that this guy might have had a little one at home the same age, so it was fun for him to get to play with the little guy. Perhaps he also might have done some baby sitting for them too??
My too cruises with Celebrity have been fantastic as far as kids activities and acceptance by other passengers, but I suppose that every voyage is different and every group of passengers takes on its own character.
Another note, was that in Mazatlan we were talking with a family that was on the Carnival Pride that week. The Mom was asking me about the Celebrity kids program, and I asked her how many kids were on pride that week. When she said 700, my jaw just dropped and I must have frightened her with my expression. 50-100 seemed more like a manageble amount for me, 700 is about 5X as many kids go to my kids school.
I haven't done Hal with kids, and its been almost 14 years since I've done HAL, although I did do HAL as a 13 year old, but that was over 25 years ago. Back then there was no such thing as a kids program so we just did everything with Mom and Dad and had a blast. But back then the ships were small and not many families cruised. We actually could easily do a cruise with no kids program because my kids enjoy the adult activities almost as much as the kids, but if people are going to be grumbling about even well behaved kids, then its not going to be much fun at all.