Importance of Kids Club on Alaska cruise

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#1
West Virginia
767 Posts
Joined Jun 2011
By way of background - we're planning a 4-generation cruise to Alaska (7 days R/T Seattle) for summer 2013. There will be 16 of us (9-adults + 7 Kids Ages 13,13, 11, 10, 9, 9, 6 ). The ongoing discussion now is selection of a cruise line and I'm seeking outside input.
There's Lots of opinions out there on what line has the better Kids Club - and that's not what I'm seeking input on.

The question is, how important a factor is/was the reputation of the cruise line's Kids Club in the selection of a cruise line for your 7-day Alaska Cruise?

Thanks

WVBill
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Ruby Princess - Eastern Caribbean 3/25/12 - Silver Anniversary Cruise
Ruby Princess - Eastern Caribbean 2/3/13 - Gayle's Birthday Cruise
Norewgian Pearl - Alaska 6/16/13 - 4 Generation Family Cruise
Golden Princess - West Coast Getaway 9/30/13

UPCOMING:
Ruby Princess - West Coast Getaway 9/30/16
#2
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
I am going in August of this year with a family group of 13. Kids are 12, 7, 6, 3, 2. I didn't worry about the kids club too much. All of the major cruise lines seem to have kids clubs that provide fun activities. While yes some, like Disney, may be a little bit more elaborate than others, I think our kids will have fun in any of them.

My number one factor was itinerary, since I wanted both Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Then I factored in time in ports. I figure they will only be in kids club maybe 2 or 3 hours a day so I'm not going to base the whole cruise on it.

We ended up choosing HAL Volendam from Vancouver.
#3
84,579 Posts
Joined Jul 2000
Alaska is really more about the itinerary and I would make my selection based on that.

You'll find that the cruise lines do have kids programs.

Personally I find that Princess has the best of the kids programs other than Disney and often have great itineraries so I would take a look at them to see if that meets your itinerary needs.

Others to consider that may meet both needs are Celebrity and HAL.

Keith
#4
197 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Besides itinerary, our number one concern was price. On certain sailings, HAL offered the third and fourth passenger in the same cabin for $99 plus tax. That was a savings of hundreds of dollars. I figure... we're on a cruise... they will have fun no matter what!
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Susan
HAL Veendam - Quebec City to Boston, June 2014
Carnival Freedom - Southern Caribbean 2013
HAL Zaandam - Alaska 2012
Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean 2011
#5
96 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
We haven't been on our Alaskan cruise yet (next month!) but for us, the kids' club was not a huge factor. Our kids are 10 and 8 and their only cruise experience was Disney 3 years ago- and there were so many kids in the club, they usually refused to go in there. More important- and more difficult to figure out- was which line had the best accommodations. Disney wins that, hands-down. But we couldn't see spending twice the price as other cruise lines for a sub-par itinerary. We ultimately chose HAL because the "J" cabins on the Zuiderdam are large interior cabins and don't require 4 bunks but instead a bunk and a sofabed. Turns out that our kids are more excited about the kids' club than we'd thought, and I'm glad they'll be in the same age group. They will be with us for all excursions and meals, so I'm guessing they'll only be in the club for sea days and probably only for an hour or two at a time.
#6
USA
8,952 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
Did Alaska in the summer, can't comment about any line but Princess here but my kids were in 3 different age group clubs, all were full / busy, lots of activity.

IMHO on any major line in the summer, larger ship will have appropriate keep them busy and entertained activities. Princess worth a looong look, lots of sailings to choose with mainstream price/ambience.

It is more important IMHO that those that are older and paying get what they want; Glacier bay, ambience, excursion, schedule, and price!
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#7
Nevada
270 Posts
Joined Jun 2005
We travel with extended family often. When we all go there are 27 of us with birth years from 1930 to 1999.

When I travel with just my family (46, 46, 18, 16 14 now), the kids club matters.

When we travel with my extended family, the kids club is meaningless. When the cousins who don't see each other often get together, NONE of them use the kids club facilities.

In August, it's just 10 of us total, and my kids prefer Carnivals teen club over RCCL and NCL (but not Disney!!! ).
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Patti

RCCL Monarch of the Seas (Baja) '00
DCL Wonder (Bahamas) '04, '05
Carnival Inspiration (Western) '05, '06
Carnival Triumph (Eastern) '07
RCCL Vision of the Seas (Mexican Riv) '08
Norwegian Star (Mexican Riv) '09
Carnival Glory (Eastern) '10
DCL Wonder (Cruise to Nowhere) '11
Carnival Legend (Western) '11
Carnival Spirit (Alaska) '12
Carnival Dream (Western) '13
Carnival Imagination (Baja) '15
Carnival Magic (Exotic Eastern) '16
Carnival Imagination (Baja) '17
#8
Syracuse, New York
49,366 Posts
Joined May 2000
I've been on a lot of Alaska cruises with my kids, never did I give a kids program, any priority over the itinerary. ALL cruiselines have kids programs, and kids will enjoy the cruise.

In my case, it's about Alaska- bottom line.
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Happy Alaska travels

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#9
Portland, Oregon
160 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
I just got off the Zuiderdam and I couldn't get my kids to go to the kids' club, but didn't try that hard. There's so much to do, even without internet access (which I thought they would miss, but didn't) that they didn't ever get there. HAL was very strict about the ages and wouldn't let them be together -- if they could have been, they might have been willing to give it a try. They swam together, went to lectures, went to the movie almost every day, and sometimes caught the reruns in the room, attended the magic or musical shows, listened to the guitarist with me in the Crow's nest, went on excursions, etc. Tons to do, but that may also just be my kids. Loved all the different eating opportunities too.
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Emily, usually traveling with my 2 sons and/or my husband and/or my mother

Cruises in the 1970s, 2 on Costa (in the Caribbean) and 2 on Sitmar (in the Caribbean and Mexican Riviera)
1982 Silja Line Stockholm to Helsinki
Two cruises in the early 2000s on Disney in the Caribbean
Alaska cruise on Holland America Zuiderdam June 2012
11 day Panama Canal Zuiderdam March 2013
#10
37 Posts
Joined Sep 2006
Originally posted by 9olivia
I am going in August of this year with a family group of 13. Kids are 12, 7, 6, 3, 2. I didn't worry about the kids club too much. All of the major cruise lines seem to have kids clubs that provide fun activities. While yes some, like Disney, may be a little bit more elaborate than others, I think our kids will have fun in any of them.

My number one factor was itinerary, since I wanted both Tracy Arm and Glacier Bay. Then I factored in time in ports. I figure they will only be in kids club maybe 2 or 3 hours a day so I'm not going to base the whole cruise on it.

We ended up choosing HAL Volendam from Vancouver.
Which sailing are you on in August?
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#11
26 Posts
Joined Feb 2005
I just got off the Infinity (7 nt rt seattle). My kids (girls 9 & 11) LOVED the kid's club. On sea days (there were 2 full, plus the Victoria day was practically a sea day) we couldn't get the youngest one out of there! They had all kinds of fun, safe activities. Also, the kids loooved the lectures by Brent Nixon, the naturalist on board. We made a point to go to them all and they were fantastic.
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Celebrity Infinity, Alaska 2012
Celebrity Century, Western Caribbean 2005
#12
Fl
891 Posts
Joined Jan 2012
In the summer, I've heard that there will be other kids for yours to be with no matter the line. That said, taking itinerary, cost and line into consideration, I wouldn't hesitate to take NCL Pearl for the 7 day out of Seattle. We sailed on her in the Caribbean and my kids 8,11,14 loved it. We had only ever been on Disney with them prior.

Alternatively, we are taking Princess this go around to Alaska, as it's a 14 day. We got the intinerary and price. The other option for us was HAL as they had a good price, but I was so turned off from their forum with many older people commenting in reference to youngsters, in addition to the smaller ship with seemingly less child friendly entertainment that that narrowed it down for us.
#13
Indiana
50 Posts
Joined Mar 2012
We have never even used the kids club on both of the cruises we've been on. The first was just my parents and me and my younger brother (ages 13 and 8), but the second was our extended family (kids 15, 13, 11, 10, 9). Normal life is so hectic and involves so much separation that we use the cruise as a way to reconnect and spend time together. The ship offers so many activities that we can ALWAYS find something that everyone can participate in and enjoy. Or you can always split up- like on our last cruise, my male relatives and younger cousins enjoyed playing basketball or swimming while me and my mom and grandma would enjoy listening to a presentation or looking through the shops. And if the adults ever wanted some relaxation time, it was easy for me to watch my cousins while we swam at the pool or enjoyed MUTS.

So the point I am trying to make is that of many other posters...it really does not matter, just make sure you get the itinerary/other ship features/price you want!!! In both of the cruises I've been on, neither me nor my brother/cousins ever felt bad we didn't go to the kids/teens club. There is SOOO much to do on board that it is impossible to be bored or not find something to do. Your kids will have a great cruise and enjoying being together with their siblings and cousins (and new friends they meet on board). I'm sure no matter what line you go with the clubs will have many activities, be safe, and be filled with other kids! And if your kids don't like it then there are other things for them to do on board.
#14
482 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We've done Celebrity, Holland America, and Disney, and the kids have loved ALL the kids clubs. I learned early on that they all have pluses and minuses and so it doesn't really come into play when we're deciding on a cruise. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll have a great time.
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#15
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by kaswife
Which sailing are you on in August?

Hi kaswife, we are on same sailing as you! August 15. What ages are your kids?