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  1. For Club Hal as long as they know she should be fine. The club staff are amazing. Given that there aren't usually a lot of kids they will get to know you and your child. You can also call and check in on the kids. Usually when you check in you are asked a location of where you plan to be, so make sure you write that down. Club usually has more than one staff member, and I have on a few occasions seen them looking for a parent (don't know the reasons). Oh, and they often have a snack break adventure and meals together on port days so as long as they know they can help your child.
  2. This is an easy fix. We often travel as a family of 8 (4 kids) in 2 or 3 rooms. Check in as per normal. Take the room key to whatever room your name is assigned to. Once on board, put your belongings in the room you are sleeping in. At some point the first day go to the guest services and ask for spare cards to the rooms. The people who have their name on the "wrong" rooms will now have two cards. Use the one with your name to get off the ship and the other to get into your cabin. Your room charges will be mixed up. I know I just sort it out later as my in laws don't charge many things.
  3. Announcements were long, but it was usually so loud I didn't hear them. 😝 I did know they would be in multiple languages in advance so it didn't bother me either way.
  4. I would rate MSC in the 3 night $199 Carnival category. A family member of mine used the words "a less classy crowd than HAL". We did cruise over Christmas (crazy on any ship) and found it to be okay, but not WOW. We did not do Yacht Club which is apparently better (it was sold out when we booked). MSC seemed to be less organized and professional than HAL. They were not prepared for the influx of passengers. Don't even consider having a drink delivered to you pool side as it won't happen. The service was meh. As in, not so bad to complain and get off the ship, but grin and bare it and not book again. The kids club was crazy - they lost a few kids on different occasions from what I heard. The productions shows were sort of repetitive with some good ones mixed in. I never knew what type of show we would get - some were good for kids others not, but you wouldn't know until you were at it. To the person with the comment about too many kids ... you may want to rethink your future HAL cruises as they are marketing kids sail free, along with a lot of family geared things in the advertising. At this point we only have traveled HAL at school breaks so there have been kids, but not a crazy number of them (200 was the most). I would say river cruising is a whole different discussion. We did a European one on Avalon and it was very classy.
  5. I agree to a degree as they do more background work. HOWEVER, we were in Costa Rica in December 2015 and one of the HAL crocodile tour boats was bumped by another boat and several passengers fell off. The tour guides apparently did nothing and fellow passengers completed the job of getting passengers back on board and performing first aid. After that I am aware of one passenger unit who did not return to the cruise and a few others had neck braces for the remainder of the cruise. So so that said, accidents can happen to both on Cruise line tours and independent ones. That event changed my view on cruise line only tours as there are some amazing independent operators out there (like this one was!)
  6. We did the holiday Panama Canal full crossing in December 2015 on the Amsterdam. It was excellent. There was just enough Christmas but not over kill. I hope to do it again some day when my kids are older I can see the crossing rather than be the parent at the Lido pool 🤣🤣. My husband and in-laws really enjoyed the canal and locks 😜.
  7. If you linked your reservations you should be able to go to the excursions and add the appropriate passengers from each room. I do do all the booking and usually end up booking my father in law or my kids on tours and we have 2-3 rooms 👍.
  8. Totally agree with most of the comments above! We have sailed over the holiday season 2x with HAL and my kids loved it (I have posted before about it). We have said a 18 night Panama Canal where there were around 100 kids on the Amsterdam and then also the Nieuw Amsterdam a 10 night Western and there were about 200 kids. Club HAL was excellent; though my kids preferred the Amsterdam staff. I always say if a kid is happy in a plain rectangle pool they will be fine. If they need a slide, an entertainer and everything about them they will be bored. As a comparison we have also sailed Disney 2x and the entertainment and activities were great but my kids didn’t care for the clubs (massive kid overload!). We went on RC’s Oasis and thought it was okay, but service wasn’t as good as HAL. We also had a bad week as almost all the shows were cancelled multiple times. There were a lot of kids! This past Christmas we sailed MSC. It was okay. Not wow let’s book again but okay as it covered ports I wanted to see! Entertainment was okay - however kids club for example was advertised LEGO theme - but they only had that theme for one day so that was disappointing to my LEGO lovers. My FIL described the crowd on the ship as “less classy than HAL” - not sure if it was because it had a large international blend or what, but I do have to agree. After all that, we are sailing with HAL this holiday season and like you, optimistic that there will be some other kids on board, as we aren’t ready for the geriatric unit yet 😬. We also travel as a multi generation family and the kids will be 7,9,11,13. I wouldn’t choose HAL for the kids unless it was a time kids are off school (except Alaska, however I am hoping there will be some kids on board when we go!)
  9. Does anyone remember the bed configuration of 4154 and 4152? We booked these rooms (thank you for the photos!!) and are crossing our fingers for at least one drop down bunk so the kids don't have to sleep together. If not, they can make do :). Thanks in advance.
  10. Great thoughts .... I completely agree that the east is driveable most likely a camping trip, however this particular trip won't be the entire family so I'm more interested in relaxing, floating to my destination and spending time with my daughter when she isn't in Club HAL. :0) That said I don't want her to be bored and will do some excursions! I agree with your comment on sale on cruise but hit on the airfare - I feel that way about the south!! We are in Canada so was hoping maybe, just maybe I could win for once on airfare!! 🙂 I am limited to a couple weeks in August when my oldest is travelling to the East Coast with a group which does make deals hard to find. I think I will check out the excursion options and maybe go at it from that angle! Thanks!!
  11. I've started looking for some summer ideas for my 10 year daughter and myself, narrowing it down to Alaska or New England. We are more flexible on destination than dates (thought I am thinking Vancouver or Montreal as our starting or ending points). I am wondering if anyone has experience or ideas when/if we will start to see some price drops or a sale pop up? I am flexible on cabins and will consider guarantee rooms. We have historically been Caribbean travelers so this is a new one for me!! We really enjoy HAL so prefer them, however I am open to other lines if someone thinks the experience is far better! Thank you in advance for your thoughts and wisdom. 🙂
  12. Sure did ... thanks for catching that. Twice to my bucket list destination in one year! :)
  13. This exactly! My kids have been on Disney, HAL, RC and hands down prefer Club HAL. It is calmer. They don't care about the waterslide or craziness of big busy clubs. They liked getting to know the kids club staff and had a lot of fun! I am hoping to do a "girls trip" to Alaska with my girls next summer - it will be HAL hands down as they do Alaska best.
  14. Cartagena, we didn't dock here Corinto, husband and I got off and walked around, very new port for cruises, and very poor desperate country. I would not have felt comfortable on my own. Not good for anyone with mobility issues. Constantly offered a ride in a carriage behind a bike - we wanted to walk but felt like maybe we should just go for a ride to help support them working. Puerto Quetzal, toured a banana plantation and went to a young childrens school for a tour where we gave supplies and they danced for us. We enjoyed this port. HOWEVER a week or so after we went a cruise tour bus was robbed in this area with passengers on it December 2015 (google it). Advised not to wear jewelry or take much cash by another cruiser, and now we know why. Huatulco, we did a river raft/float down the river. it was nice. not aggressive rafting. husband went in the water and didn't get any funky health issues. I stayed in the dingy. Also, there was a beach steps from where we docked and we spent some time hanging out on it before heading back to the ship. Puerto Vallarta, Playa Mia which is a private beach. We liked it because there wasn't anyone selling goods along the way. It was not a ship only excursion however it wasn't crowed, it was a white beach. they also had kayaks you could use for free and life guards on the beach. I don't recall if you said you have kids - if so they have kids zip lining and a monkey that stands on kids heads (with helmets) and a donkey ride. we enjoyed our day.
  15. We sailed the NA in 2016 over New years and the decorations were still up until about January 2 and poof they were gone! New Years had a "party" in the lido area that went past midnight. Also a special dinner was served, however I don't remember the details of it. It was the liveliest night of the 10 night sailing. Oh and I think there was something special during the day, so summary is, they do fun stuff and gave out party hats.
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