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Dulciana8

Oosterdam family cruise

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First of all— thank you all for your expert opinions and advice on all things HAL! We are just off our third HAL cruise, over Thanksgiving, but our first with our son, who is four years old, so we had a little bit of nerves going in to last week! (NB, this wasn’t our first cruise rodeo— we’ve taken little man on Disney but we adults were Moused out and ready for something... else!). We had so much fun, we booked next Thanksgiving on the Nieuw Statendam. 

 

The Oosterdam was wonderful. Our cabin was wonderful— balcony on deck 5 forward. Easily accessible to elevators/stairs, and we had great cabin stewards as always. Our steward got into the habit of asking our son what kind of towel animal he wanted each night— AND each morning!! Spoiled child got two towel animals every day. It was sweet, and some were very intricate! I was very impressed! 

 

Food was great. We had anytime dining in the main dining room deck 2, and had a reservation each night for either 5:30 or 5:15, which was perfect for our son. Service in the main dining room was spotty— one night it was near catastrophic— our server brought our food, but never brought our son’s food. Then we sat for at least 5-7 minutes with still no plate for our son, and no re-appearance of our server, so I got up and walked to a head waiter, explained the problem, then in a millisecond, our son’s food appeared, along with profuse apologies. Four nights we had perfect service, and three nights we had mediocre to poor service in the main dining room, so not sure what happened with those serving teams, but it was very off. Lido was wonderful, and the service quick. My husband had a beverage package for sodas, though I did not. 

 

A word about Club HAL— my son loved it! The counselors provided structured activities but there was also a lot of flexibility because of the number of children on board. Sailing our week were 280 children (total of 2100 passengers). We could access the club schedule on our stateroom smart tv’s which was handy. Our son was a little charmer— the crew would give him high fives at every turn, knew him by name after the first day, and he left the week with his very own free HAL lanyard and pin from the cruise director. He thought he was hot stuff. 

 

We utilized HAL’s EXC tours in Grand Cayman (dolphin encounter), Jamaica (Martha Brae rafting trip), and rented a cabana on Half Moon Cay. Our beach excursion was canceled in Cozumel so we did an independent trip to Chankanaab. The EXC staff went above and beyond— even emailed the Martha Brae tour operators to make sure my husband, myself, and our son could all ride in the same raft. 

 

In sum, we had a fantastic week. My husband says he still prefers Eurodam because of Tamarind, but I didn’t miss it. Truthfully we wouldn’t have gone anyway last week because of our son, lol! Now we can look forward to next year on the Nieuw Statendam! Thanks again for your help and tips! 

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Great review. I too was on this with your family along my wife and daughter and her boyfriend. Our 25th cruise with HAL and the 6th cruise for our daughter. Her boyfriend was his first. We always choose late fixed dining since day one over 30 years ago. We noticed all the children.  Not too bad. Great excursions we took in Jamaica Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Having been to all before at least 3 times not much left to see or do. Best tours in years. We found the food up to par most meals but the service was definitely down.  The lettuce scare did hinder some meals. Our table mates at our large table for 8 were great. More new friends. Weather was great but each port had at least 6 ships each day made for busy days and heavy traffic and stress on the local tourist systems. Great cruise and look forward to the next three we have booked. Going to make 5 stars yet. Already have our free laundry.

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Thanks for your review and especially describing your son's interaction with the crew/staff.  Kids and cruising are always popular topics on CC and your son's experience will help ease future HAL cruisers nerves.

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Thanks for your review and so happy you and your son enjoyed your time aboard!  I hear nothing but great things about Club HAL and how well the kids are treated by the crew, so it’s nice to hear that remains consistent.  Welcome home!

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11 hours ago, Colakid said:

Great review. I too was on this with your family along my wife and daughter and her boyfriend. Our 25th cruise with HAL and the 6th cruise for our daughter. Her boyfriend was his first. We always choose late fixed dining since day one over 30 years ago. We noticed all the children.  Not too bad. Great excursions we took in Jamaica Grand Cayman and Cozumel. Having been to all before at least 3 times not much left to see or do. Best tours in years. We found the food up to par most meals but the service was definitely down.  The lettuce scare did hinder some meals. Our table mates at our large table for 8 were great. More new friends. Weather was great but each port had at least 6 ships each day made for busy days and heavy traffic and stress on the local tourist systems. Great cruise and look forward to the next three we have booked. Going to make 5 stars yet. Already have our free laundry.

The lettuce scare was a real issue for my husband who has an addiction to Cesar salads. Poor man could not seem to grasp that there would not be any Romaine on the trip, lol! 

 

But I agree with your assessment of the ports being crowded! GC and Cozumel were packed, with the streets in Georgetown so crowded you could hardly move there were so many people. It was still a great week, though! 

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