Holland America with Kids??

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#1
Long Island, New York
650 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
I've been on other cruise lines before - how does Holland compare to those with kids??

I have 2 - 19 and 7, she'll be 8 at the time of sailing -- wondering how Holland America is with kids --- nicer ship? The itinerary is the same, so now I have to decide on NCL and Holland.. thanks!!
#2
Raleigh NC
24,458 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Generally I think you will find less kids on HAL than NCL but it will vary based on time of year and itinerary. As far as the end product, i.e. HAL club, I would think HAL would be just as good.

Kirk
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#3
NJ/NYC
1,325 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
don't do it

Just take them on NCL.
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#4
New Cumberland,PA, USA
25,907 Posts
Joined May 2000
With HA you really need to give careful consideration to the itinerary and length of cruise. If you are taking a 7-10 day Caribbean cruise during a school holiday there will be plenty of other kids...although the HA kids program leaves something to be desired when compared to Princess, RCI or Carnival. But, if you are considering a longer cruise there will be very few kids....and this would even be more true if the cruise was during the regular school year. We have seen more then our share of kids who were bored out of their minds on longer HA cruises.

Hank
#5
California
184 Posts
Joined May 2010
My sons were 15 and 14 when we sailed on Westerdam and they both loved the cruise and HAL's Club.

Your 19 old wouldn't have a plan program per the HAL website

Club HAL® — Tweens*: Tweens, ages 8-12 might learn golf putting, have disco parties and theme parties, participate in the award-winning National Park Service Jr. Ranger Program on Alaska cruises, compete in on-deck sports events, compete in scavenger hunts or simply play Ping-Pong with a friend.
The Loft and The Oasis*: Teens, ages 13-17 will especially enjoy the teen disco, karaoke sessions, video games, teen sports tournaments, card games, trivia contests, bingo, movies and videos. When there are more than 100 children on board, a HAL Talent Show is offered. (The Oasis is not available on all Vista-class ships)
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#6
Ontario
667 Posts
Joined Sep 2008
Fewer kids does not equal a crappy time, IMO at least. We are taking ours (4 and 9 in December, first time with kids on HAL, and the fact that there will be less kids = more individualized attention, activities tailored to kids etc. etc. to me. My kids are keen on the lower numbers too. They don't want to spend piles of time in the kids club anyway, just the odd activity.
#7
559 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by sprockie
Fewer kids does not equal a crappy time, IMO at least. We are taking ours (4 and 9 in December, first time with kids on HAL, and the fact that there will be less kids = more individualized attention, activities tailored to kids etc. etc. to me. My kids are keen on the lower numbers too. They don't want to spend piles of time in the kids club anyway, just the odd activity.

very very true. how can kids become bored on a ship? There is so much to do, find to do and be creative. I think kids become bored too easily if there is no stimulation and think kids are over stimulated as it is. sit down, read a book, talk to some folks, learn a thing or two about others and the world around you. Am I too preachy now? Sorry.

Dec 2010 will be our third annual HAL and we always go off season when school is in session. This year we added another sister and her family. 6 adults, 6 kids age (by December) 7M, 2Y, 3Y, 4Y and 6Y and 6Y. last two won't go into HAL Club but the others will and in the past, they have enjoyed it, the small class and personal attention. Who wants to be in the Club with 50 other kids. Sometimes 6-8 is nice. We love HAL for the small amount of kids. Don't want to be on a cruise with hundreds of kids and that's only our opinion. We enjoy the company of the more travelled folks (is it bad to say those over 65?) and so do our kids. So do consider HAL, it is a classy ship and everyone is nice and the crew are great and love kids too.
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#8
Alaska
1,003 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
in Dec of 09 we took a 14 day cruise to the s. caribbean and panama with our then 10 year old. This was the cruise before the Christmas break cruise on the Maasdam. There was only 2 other kids on board that were between 8 and 10 years of age and that was it. One of which was a boy who came to hal club on the first day and found that he was the only boy and didn't want to participate the rest of the time. So the girls had the run of the place. They absolutely loved Hal club. There happened to be two workers most of the time because one was in training for the following cruise where they were expecting over 200 kids on board.

The girls got lots of attention plus were able to taylor make the program themselves from a list of approved activities daily to fit their wants. They had a daily scavanger hunt because they both liked it so much and asked for it to happen daily. They also went for a daily ice cream during the afternoons we were on sea days. They had a 'pajama' party on a formal night...so after dinner all dressed up...they got their jammies on and brought their pillow and met at the Hal club for movies, popcorn and pillow fights. My dd had a blast!

She will be going with us on our next cruise which is a 27 day trip to the med/TA and we know there is a high chance of not any kids being on the cruise...but she is aware of that and said she loves cruising so much it didn't matter if there was kids or not. As long as she has a pool and can play the games on occasion she is fine. Our cruise will be pretty port intensive for the most part and on those days she stays with us and documents her trip for her classmates to see.

whatever you decide...happy cruising!
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Joyce and John
LIVE LIFE ADVENTUROUSLY, PRAY!



Previous Cruises:
Celebrity~Eclipes 3/2015 Southern Caribbean 14 days
Celebrity~Infinity 11/2013 Panama full transit 14 days
Princess~ Star 10/2012 Hawaii 15 days
HAL~Rotterdam 10/2011 Mediterranean and TACross 27 days
HAL~Nieuw Amsterdam 1/2011 West/East Carib 14 days
HAL~Maasdam 12/2009 S. Caribbean/partial Panama 14 days
HAL~Maasdam 11/2008 Southern Caribbean 14 days
Cunard~Princess 11/1983 Mexican Riviara 7 days
Total cruise days: 115
#9
559 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by Cruisin'Lady
in Dec of 09 we took a 14 day cruise to the s. caribbean and panama with our then 10 year old. This was the cruise before the Christmas break cruise on the Maasdam. There was only 2 other kids on board that were between 8 and 10 years of age and that was it. One of which was a boy who came to hal club on the first day and found that he was the only boy and didn't want to participate the rest of the time. So the girls had the run of the place. They absolutely loved Hal club. There happened to be two workers most of the time because one was in training for the following cruise where they were expecting over 200 kids on board.

The girls got lots of attention plus were able to talor make the program themselves from a list of approved activities daily. They had a daily scavanger hunt because they both liked it so much and asked for it to happen daily. They also went for a daily icecream during the afternoons we were on sea days. They had a 'pajama' party on a formal night...so after dinner all dressed up...they got their jammies on and brought their pillow and met at the Hal club for movies, popcorn and pillow fights. My dd had a blast!

She will be going with us on our next cruise which is a 27 day trip to the med/TA and we know there is a high chance of not any kids being on the cruise...but she is aware of that and said she loves cruising so much it didn't matter if there was kids or not. As long as she has a pool and can play the games on occasion she is fine. Our cruise will be pretty port intensive for the most part and on those days she stays with us and documents her trip for her classmates to see.

whatever you decide...happy cruising!
wow, you guys can take 27 days off? cool. you live in Alaska...double cool. happy cruising.
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#10
Long Island, New York
650 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Originally posted by RareBird
don't do it

Just take them on NCL.
Why DONT DO IT??

Thanks everyone for your advice - it's MUCH appreciated!!!

The itinerary for both cruises are both the same - I'm taking her out of school for 4 days of either cruise. The difference is HA is stopping at 2 ports rather than 1.

I'll consider both tonight and make a decision.
#11
Alaska
1,003 Posts
Joined Oct 2008
Originally posted by Berk987
wow, you guys can take 27 days off? cool. you live in Alaska...double cool. happy cruising.
oh yes...she will have homework daily. She goes to a private Christian school but is dual enrolled in a district homeschool group also. So when we take these trips she still is responsible for doing her school work and the lessons will also focus around the history of the places she is visiting. Works out great and she learns alot about the world in which she lives!
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Joyce and John
LIVE LIFE ADVENTUROUSLY, PRAY!



Previous Cruises:
Celebrity~Eclipes 3/2015 Southern Caribbean 14 days
Celebrity~Infinity 11/2013 Panama full transit 14 days
Princess~ Star 10/2012 Hawaii 15 days
HAL~Rotterdam 10/2011 Mediterranean and TACross 27 days
HAL~Nieuw Amsterdam 1/2011 West/East Carib 14 days
HAL~Maasdam 12/2009 S. Caribbean/partial Panama 14 days
HAL~Maasdam 11/2008 Southern Caribbean 14 days
Cunard~Princess 11/1983 Mexican Riviara 7 days
Total cruise days: 115
#12
Colorado
7,815 Posts
Joined Sep 2000
Originally posted by Cruisin'Lady
She will be going with us on our next cruise which is a 27 day trip to the med/TA and we know there is a high chance of not any kids being on the cruise...but she is aware of that and said she loves cruising so much it didn't matter if there was kids or not. As long as she has a pool and can play the games on occasion she is fine. Our cruise will be pretty port intensive for the most part and on those days she stays with us and documents her trip for her classmates to see.
You never know. We did an Arctic cruise on HAL (22-days) and the ship had to open Club HAL as there were a dozen kids on board. That itinerary doesn't strike one as a typical one popular with 'families'. The kids appeared to have a great time. From what we saw from our table, they loved activities such as the 'Cupcake Tea'.
#13
NJ/NYC
1,325 Posts
Joined Aug 2003
Originally posted by ge0rgette2
Why DONT DO IT??

Thanks everyone for your advice - it's MUCH appreciated!!!

The itinerary for both cruises are both the same - I'm taking her out of school for 4 days of either cruise. The difference is HA is stopping at 2 ports rather than 1.

I'll consider both tonight and make a decision.
Please post same question on NCL board, to get their opinions.
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NCL Prior Cruises, Latitudes: Platinum
........2016 December in Bahamas on NCL Breakaway for 7 days and first time in Haven H6........2015 Dec Caribbean 10 Day on GEM in penthouse suite.......2014 December in Caribbean on NCL Gem for 9 days - mini suite Deck 11........2013 May in Bermuda on BRAND NEW NCL Breakaway 7 days - Aft B1 Balcony Deck 14. Moved mid-cruise to deck 10 mini-suite - lots of noise from Spice H2O at night, impossible to sleep.........2012 December in Bahamas and Florida on NCL Jewel for 7 days in 2 bedroom Family SC Ruby Suite on Deck 11........2012 May in Bermuda on NCL Star for 7 days in Penthouse SE Suite Deck 10 on bow.......2011 Sept in Bahamas/Florida [Hurricane Katia in Bermuda] on NCL Gem for 7 days in Aft Deck 8 BA Balcony........2010 April in Bermuda NCL Dawn 7 Days Balcony.......2009 Sept in Canada on NCL Dawn 7 Days in Aft Deck 10 BA Balcony........2008 April in Bermuda on NCL Dawn 7 days Deck 9 Balcony
Royal Caribbean Prior Cruises, Crown and Anchor: Diamond
........2016 May in Bermuda and Boston on Anthem deck 13 balcony.......6 year pause.......2010 Dec in Caribbean on Royal's Explorer of the Seas 9 Days in Deck 10 Grand Suite........2009 May in Bermuda on Royal's Explorer for 5 Days in Hump Deck 8 Balcony.......2007 May in Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas for 5 Days in deck 8 balcony.......2006 May in Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas for 7 days in Junior Suite........2003 May in Bermuda on Royal Caribbean Nordic Empress for 7 days in Junior Suite
#14
Katonah,NY, USA
2,682 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
I'd decide which ship suited me better. The kids will do fine on either, but there is such a difference in cruise styles, that you are sure to prefer one over the other. It's basically the traditional cruise experience versus the non-traditional. Most people have stong preferences.
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#15
Tampa, FL
409 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
HAL is a VERY kid friendly line. She will love the kids club
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#16
Raleigh NC
24,458 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by sprockie
Fewer kids does not equal a crappy time, IMO at least. We are taking ours (4 and 9 in December, first time with kids on HAL, and the fact that there will be less kids = more individualized attention, activities tailored to kids etc. etc. to me. My kids are keen on the lower numbers too. They don't want to spend piles of time in the kids club anyway, just the odd activity.
That is my take also. I would rather be with 5-10 kids versus 25.

Kirk
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Future Cruises
HAL Amsterdam 1-4-2017 - The World Cruise
HAL Prinsendam 7-15-2017 - Four months on the Elegant Explorer
Hurtengruten Fram 12-15-2017 - Christmas and New Years with the penguins
HAL Amsterdam 1-4-2018 - FLL to Sydney Segment
Azamara Journey 3-7-2018 - An Azamara World Cruise
Crystal Serenity 2-20-2019 - Perth to Cape Town
#17
So California
5,433 Posts
Joined Nov 2007
Holland Amreica has put in kids activites in as an after thought and squeezed them in to their existing ships...
For Children I would suggest Disney, NCL and Princess all of whom have built up their programs and built their ships with family in mind.
Holand america has much smaller ships 1200 passenger verses the 2400 and 3000 passenger ships which have total entertainment centers
On the smaller were built for a small group of people that dont really need to be entertained and with a strong leaning toward the older travler rather than younger ones
As such Hals is not a warm atmosphere for the youngetr set
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#18
Los Angeles, CA
1,628 Posts
Joined Jul 2007
Originally posted by Hawaiidan
Holland Amreica has put in kids activites in as an after thought and squeezed them in to their existing ships...
For Children I would suggest Disney, NCL and Princess all of whom have built up their programs and built their ships with family in mind.
Holand america has much smaller ships 1200 passenger verses the 2400 and 3000 passenger ships which have total entertainment centers
On the smaller were built for a small group of people that dont really need to be entertained and with a strong leaning toward the older travler rather than younger ones
As such Hals is not a warm atmosphere for the youngetr set
Quote from Hawaiidan in another thread...
"After experiencing the totaly out of control kid seen I will NEVER go on a cruise during any school holiday, or when the cruise line has a family special... that is kids sail at any discount. on any line.
The Kids factor drove me to sail Regent where they didnt give a discount to kids, has a strict policy ( a Kid is someone under 21 in their book.) and way willing to pay 500 to 800 a day to be on a kid free ship. On Kid cruises the parents are as bad the kids... and actualy facilitate the bad behaviour.
The whole promotion of bring kids as many and as young as possible is in my book wrong and self indulgent. sitting next to the little darling during their food fights in the buffet.... have then ringing cabin doors, A crying baby in the dining room..... NO way pal.... Children shouldbe seen and not heard.... I say let them wait till they have the maturity and the financial ability to take themselves.... Adults deserve cruises as a place to relax.... kids , in my book just plain dont belong a a cruise abnd any line with a Kids program has lost me as a passenger

Run dont walk from any ship that welcomes kids because the spolled adults who bring them are as big a problem or worse.


Thought I'd share Hawaiidan's comments from another thread about kids on HAL now on page 3... He's absolutely entitled to his opinion, but this might help you see where he's coming from and why he doesn't want to encourage you to go on HAL with your family.

We have found HAL to be absolutely fine for families and will happily take our DD on their ships. There is a small minority of people who don't want to see kids on ships under any circumstances, but you probably won't encounter this on board and I'm sure your family will have a wonderful time. Kids don't need rock walls to be entertained and as long as Hubby and I are paying for the cruise, we will decide which line we go on, not our 9 year old!

There are two other recent "kids on HAL" threads you would learn a lot from, so do a search for those and enjoy the variety of opinions on offer...
#19
Florida
302 Posts
Joined Jan 2010
We've been on four HAL cruises, starting when my kids were 7 and 9. On our last one they were 13 and 15. HAL is by far our family's favourite cruise line. We've cruised during spring break when there were a lot of kids, and during times when there were very few. Club HAL and the Loft have always been very enjoyable for them. We've been on NCL, RCCL, and Costa, but my children have always had much more fun on HAL.
#20
Clearwater, Florida
919 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Originally posted by Hawaiidan
Holland Amreica has put in kids activites in as an after thought and squeezed them in to their existing ships...
For Children I would suggest Disney, NCL and Princess all of whom have built up their programs and built their ships with family in mind.
Holand america has much smaller ships 1200 passenger verses the 2400 and 3000 passenger ships which have total entertainment centers
On the smaller were built for a small group of people that dont really need to be entertained and with a strong leaning toward the older travler rather than younger ones
As such Hals is not a warm atmosphere for the youngetr set

Eurodam and Nieuw Amsterdam accomodate over 2,000 passengers. Zuiderdam, Oosterdam and Noordam over 1,800 passengers. These ships were built with families in mind.

A lot depends on the itinerary, and time of year; less kids on board when school is in session.