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About Dulciana8

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    Huntsville, AL
  • Interests
    music, reading, traveling, cooking
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Holland America

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  1. Loved your excellent review! Thanks for sharing! We also cruise as a family (our son is 6) and have found HAL to be not only a great value for family travel, but also one that checks all of our boxes. Our Nieuw Statendam cruise last November was awesome and a family favorite.
  2. A similar situation happened to us at Tamarind while on our Nieuw Statendam cruise in November. Booked a reservation in advance, paid for it, had an email confirmation... but once onboard, nothing by way of a note confirming our dinner reservation. A visit to guest services (sort of) resolved the situation— we were able to get a new reservation but on a different night, not our preferred night... and since we had an email confirmation for our online payment we weren’t double charged. Thankfully resolved, but in my opinion still an unnecessary hassle.
  3. @otters92 thank you so much for following up to let us know the resolution to your situation. We have a six year old who has loved Club HAL, and have been closely following this situation with the changing club/High Score set up before booking our next HAL cruise... especially since our son will be 7 when we are able to cruise again, the changes would directly impact him. Based on your information, we are cautiously optimistic! Thank you so so much for the report back from HAL corporate. Fingers crossed they continue to be a viable option in the way of family cruising.
  4. On our November Nieuw Statemdam cruise, there was an Oprah book club event. Otherwise, nada.
  5. Sure— folks on CC like to stay at Embassy Suites, but we find them a little dated. Home2 is a nice, newer alternative— a bit modern perhaps, but a good option for family travel. And easier on the points bank when we try to travel on Hilton Honors points, lol! Our table was right at the entrance to the MDR so we could see everything— the hostess was apparently very polite but firm about asking folks (interestingly in our view, the offenders were all men in shorts/ Plastic flip flops) and the guests all returned in pants and different shoes! 5:30 would’ve been so much easier for us, to dress and relax after a day in port— in our experience with cruising we’ve not come across a dining time this early before!
  6. We are also paying close attention to any changes to Club HAL— our son just turned 6 so we only have one more year under the “old” system before anything would change with the High Score programming! This was the first time I’d ever seen folks turned away for improper dress in a ship’s MDR across four cruise lines— and this was our fourth HAL cruise. The hostess was polite but she meant business! Hope y’all enjoy your cruise in July with your ggd— deck five was really quiet, and if you’ve got a verandah the view is nice looking straight out; can’t see anything looking down bc of the lifeboats. I do think the NS verandah rooms are smaller than our other verandah rooms on either Oosterdam or Eurodam (our only other HAL ships we’ve sailed for comparison), so three people in the room was a little tight, especially with all of our stuff!
  7. Yes definitely! The staff, crew, everyone working on board was so genuinely helpful to us with our son— and our son, who is a seasoned cruiser (this was his fifth cruise), and we travel regularly, totes the line pretty well with how to act in public, can turn on the charm himself. Plus Club HAL is a great distraction for him when he wants to get away from mom and dad and have some fun on his own with kids his own age!
  8. All, we had a fantastic Thanksgiving cruise on the Nieuw Statendam, and I meant to write a nice little trip report as soon as we got home, but sickness, school, and parenting a five year old got in the way— please excuse my tardiness and please take this little review at its value! Overall we had a fabulous trip! I’ve attempted a photo upload— just a few pictures; I hope it works as planned. We flew to FLL a day early, and spent the night in Dania Beach at the Hilton Home2Suites. We like Home2 as a nice alternative to other Hilton properties— room layout is good for family travel, large rooms, nice shower in the bathroom, and free breakfast. There is a complimentary airport shuttle between 5am and midnight, and a shuttle to Port Everglades is available, $20 per person round trip from hotel-PE-airport. Day1– Our son was bouncing off the walls ready to get on the ship! He was so excited to go back to Club HAL, and enjoy HAL pizza... easy shuttle ride to the ship, and we arrived at the terminal around noon. Our boarding docs gave us an arrival time of 1:30, but there was no way we could entertain ourselves or the kid until then— so we arrived early, waited in line for 25 minutes then boarded! As stated so frequently here, NS is really beautiful. Modern design, muted colors with little pops of brighter colors made for a really Impressive design scheme, in my opinion. Our room, deck five, cabin 5046, even though it was right by the stairwell/elevator lobby, was very quiet. I felt like it was a little small. The bathroom was really nice. We had early fixed dining (5pm!) which worked out great, because By the time we finished eating each night, our son was ready to attend Club HAL, which opened each evening at 7. Day2– Half Moon Cay is always gorgeous! One of our favorite places. We walked down the beach past the pirate ship bar and found some loungers in the shade. We just enjoyed a lazy beach day. Glorious! Day3– At sea. Really fun day on board— I enjoyed geeking out at the Origins film presented by the cruise director, which told the history of HAL. I thought it was interesting and informative. My son joined me at flower arranging, and then the highlight of his cruise was at lunch, when the bartender made him his first Shirley Temple! Club HAL sea day hours were 9-11:30am, then 1-4pm, and then 7-11pm. Dinner tonight was a Gala night, and it was interesting— our first experience observing folks being turned away for improper dress on the MDR (in this case, those on shorts were asked to change clothes). We enjoyed music each night in the Music Walk- this is really fabulous and the quality of the performances is outstanding. Day4– Turks and Caicos. For us, another beach day. We walked off the ship and found surf side loungers— we went further down the beach so we ended up paying $20, which was totally fine. We like Grand Turk as the beach is so pretty— this was our second time here, and the water is so pretty! Day5– In Amber Cove, we did an independent excursion through Marysol Tours— horseback riding and beach day. It was so much fun. Our son loved it, and our guide was wonderful with him. Afterward we shopped for a little in the port area. I thought it was a really nice port— we’ve been to Punta Cana before, and think the DR is really a gorgeous country, and Amber Cove definitely is surrounded by some beautiful scenery! Today was Thanksgiving Day, and the menu was lovely— ham, turkey, beef— best part is that I didn’t have to cook or clean, and my son got to eat another pizza, lol! Day6– Sea day. Tonight we ate at Tamarind. We love Tamarind— definitely our favorite restaurant at sea. Our sweet server brought our son a pizza! I got to enjoy a spa day— Swedish massage and mani/pedi. Very nice facilities. Day 7– Key West was amazing. We have been before but in our opinion, cruising into Key West was more fun than driving! We went through passport control on the ship here— a little bit of a nightmare lining everyone up, but generally it was okay, and even nicer once we realized there’d be no customs in FLL upon arrival! We walked on our own in Key West— super easy for us, visiting the Truman White House, the Hemingway House, Southernmost point, followed by lunch at El Siboney Cuban restaurant, and then a walk up Duval St to Mallory Square. My husband had to watch the Iron Bowl on the iPad so getting back to homebase at kickoff was critical. Thankfully Auburn won... We flew home a day after our cruise ended, choosing to visit my husband’s grandmother in Naples. In Summary— Another wonderful HAL cruise. We enjoy the family atmosphere, and son enjoys Club HAL. We are paying careful attention to the proposed changes to Club/High Score. Service was outstanding— our cabin attendants and MDR attendants anticipated our desires and went above and beyond to cater to our little one. We loved the World Stage— really technologically impressive! I wish the standard verandah cabins were larger and the first fixed dining seating was just 30 minutes later. I loved that the Lido Pool actually had a staircase rather than just ladders. In hindsight I would’ve booked an aft cabin rather than a forward cabin, my mistake. Thanks for reading along!
  9. The Club HAL facilitates on Nieuw Statendam are really nice— we sailed on her over the Thanksgiving holiday in November and our five year old son had a grand time. It did not appear to be any smaller than the facilities onboard the other HAL ships we’ve sailed on (we’ve been previously on Eurodam and Oosterdam... by way of comparison). Obviously I can only offer experience for the age 3-6 club, but a great time was had, and the NS is a beautiful ship.
  10. This describes me! I certainly thought the game room would be in addition to Club HAL... not replacing it... ugh!
  11. Thanks for your review. We were also on this cruise. Question— did you have Anytime Dining in the MDR? I only ask because last year on the Oosterdam our dining experience (service wise) mirrored yours nearly exactly. This year on NS we insisted on fixed seating and service was fantastic— preemptive, responsive, and dare I say practically perfect. We did not personally experience issues with service in the Lido, but we saw others who did, so I know that this definitely was not the normal this go around. I will add that I think our particular situation was helped by having a five year old in tow (doesn’t always work to our advantage but in this case, it did).
  12. This is terrible news. We just returned from a fabulous week on NS, where our 5 year old loved Club HAL— I cannot imagine what Holland America is thinking at this point. As a returning customer, if my son isn’t welcome onboard at a supervised and safe activity, like Club HAL (which btw everyone raves about!) then we will simply look elsewhere for our cruises.
  13. I have not tried Big Ed’s! Have heard wonderful things about it— definitely a Huntsville tradition!
  14. We will also be on Niuew Statendam leaving November 24– and our son will be planning to attend Club HAL (he’s five). In the past, normal club hours for sea days are like 9-11am, then 1-4pm, then evenings from like 7-11pm. It was possible in the past for kids to stay on board while parents went in port— if I recall, advance notice had to be given (something about ordering lunch? Emergency contact?). Port day hours were like 9-4, and then again from 7-11pm. I’m sorry, I’m not any help on the shows question!
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