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hubbard53

HAL newbies with kids

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Hey all. . . We need some advice / knowledge to put our minds at ease.

 

We are booked in the NS 1st week of April (Spring Break) and part of a 3-couple party. 7 adults (40s + 1 60s) 5 kids (8-13). 

 

We've cruised Disney several times (me, wife, son) but never any other line. We are looking forward to some more adult activities (casino,  music venues) but worried the kids won't have much to do. 

 

Do the kids clubs really close at 10pm?

 

Are there any lounges or locations available for the kids to hang out outside kids club hours? Are the club spaces open but un-manned? 

 

Will we need to bring along games, etc. For the kids in the evenings? Given it is spring break time-frame will there be any youth-orientee special programming?

 

I dont expect nor want disney- level activities  - just curious what they may have available and if kids are welcome on HAL. . . 

 

Thanks!

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HAL does have a kids club area but couldn't tell you much about it.   We've seen the 'clubhouse' and it looked nice but never been inside of it.  Demographics for HAL is usually an older crowd but that doesn't mean that younger families don't go on it too. 

 

Be patient waiting for your replies.  You'll get a lot of opinions soon.

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26 minutes ago, hubbard53 said:

Guess no one has experience with kids on HAL

I don't think that is the case. I suspect that nobody knows specifically what things are going to be like as far as the number of children on the NS during Spring Break and how that number may or may not influence the CLUB HAL operating times.

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There are no lounges where the children can stay after Club HAL closes -- they are all adult lounges.

 

Someone mentioned about where you can pick up games on this ship -- but I don't remember where that is.

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We've used Club HAL in the past. Now my kids are old enough to stay on their own in the cabin so they'd rather do that.  It really depends on the cruise and time of year. We did the 21 day South America/Antartica over christmas a couple years ago. There were a fair number of kids and they all seemed to fall into the same age brackets as my kids.. not a long of toddlers--mostly older elementary aged kids.  My kids had a lot of fun but also made a bunch of friends that they would then hang out with at the lido pool swimming, playing chess and ping pong etc. 

 

We did Rotterdam and Veendam this year. The kids liked going to the explorations lounge to play chess and board games.  For entertainment they liked the afternoon geography trivia.  There were also games in the Crows Nest on the Rotterdam. 

 

Spring break time should mean there are a decent number of kids so they'll have programming for both younger and older kids and not try to do one program for 3-12 year olds. 

Edited by TN Fem

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Our son always enjoyed Club Hal. School holiday cruises have a larger number of kids onboard with increased programming. No kid specific places outside the kids club but lido pool area and the sports courts are kid friendly. I think the new/ refurbished EXC areas still have board games and puzzles. Club Hal used to offer after hours paid kid sitting in the club when son was little. 

Here are some sample kids club program schedules from Roger's website. 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/holland-america-lines-kids-activities-examples

Edited by fatcat04

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Depends upon which ship you are considering. Noticed on my recent Eurodam the conversion of the old Northern Lights disco area to the new Gallery Bar area was well used by families and young people as a board game and table game venue -where they could gather, have fun and not worry about making noise and also watch sports on TV screens.

 

Too bad they call this a "bar" because that feature makes it sound like adults only - but there was an entire larger room that was set up with small tables for the board games and more interaction. The various board games were provided in large boxes along the wall. .  

 

Not all ships have this new dedicated  "Gallery Bar" location - the smaller older ships no, but the larger newer ones yes. Which ship are you looking at? This was a very successful recent space conversion. Took away the libraries which used to offer board games, but did create this new venue for those who wanted to  make a little more noise when playing for fun. 

Edited by OlsSalt

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7 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

Depends upon which ship you are considering. Noticed on my recent Eurodam the conversion of the old Northern Lights disco area to the new Gallery Bar area was well used by families and young people as a board game and table game venue -where they could gather, have fun and not worry about making noise and also watch sports on TV screens.

 

Too bad they call this a "bar" because that feature makes it sound like adults only - but there was an entire larger room that was set up with small tables for the board games and more interaction. The various board games were provided in large boxes along the wall. .  

 

Not all ships have this new dedicated  "Gallery Bar" location - the smaller older ships no, but the larger newer ones yes. Which ship are you looking at? This was a very successful recent space conversion. Took away the libraries which used to offer board games, but did create this new venue for those who wanted to  make a little more noise when playing for fun. 

Good to know as we will be on NA next month. We haven't been on a ship with this new venue yet. 

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42 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

Depends upon which ship you are considering. Noticed on my recent Eurodam the conversion of the old Northern Lights disco area to the new Gallery Bar area was well used by families and young people as a board game and table game venue -where they could gather, have fun and not worry about making noise and also watch sports on TV screens.

 

Too bad they call this a "bar" because that feature makes it sound like adults only - but there was an entire larger room that was set up with small tables for the board games and more interaction. The various board games were provided in large boxes along the wall. .  

 

Not all ships have this new dedicated  "Gallery Bar" location - the smaller older ships no, but the larger newer ones yes. Which ship are you looking at? This was a very successful recent space conversion. Took away the libraries which used to offer board games, but did create this new venue for those who wanted to  make a little more noise when playing for fun. 

 

We will be in the nieuw statendam so hopefully theyll have this available.

 

Thabks to all for the info so far. My son has always made friends on DCL so he will meet others in addition to his friends going along.

 

I guess we will see! 

 

Thanks

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We're doing a similar trip MAR of 2020 - my son and I were on a previous HAL cruise on Zuiderdam, the kid's activities were pretty good although not much late night stuff. If you set expectations now that after 10 is going to be 'on your own', the kids can plan to hit the sports deck, play games, or catch a movie. The NS is definitely a good choice for kiddos, tho, since she's going to have the most folks with kids during spring breaks.

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We have done 4 cruises with my kids.  They have loved the kids club.  It's usually open until 10 or 11, depends on the sailing.  We had one sailing were it closed at 10, but you could pay until midnight.  The kids could sit in the piano lounge later or the gallery bar when we were on the Eurodam.  

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I was Nieuw Statendam over Christmas and there were lots of kids.  One place later at night I saw groups of kids playing cards was in the Lido during the late (10:30-11:30) hours. There is a 10:00 movie on the big screen by the Lido pool and kids were playing ping pong on the deck above. Many games were available in the EXC area.

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We took our teens on HAL ( veddaam) last Easter, they were 13 and 16, they enjoyed it, not because of what HAL offered ( the teen program sucked) but because of the friends they made. We have also done many Disney cruises , we are going back over our spring break, which is March 24-31

Edited by Jareds_mommytoo

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18 hours ago, RubyCam said:

I was Nieuw Statendam over Christmas and there were lots of kids.  One place later at night I saw groups of kids playing cards was in the Lido during the late (10:30-11:30) hours. There is a 10:00 movie on the big screen by the Lido pool and kids were playing ping pong on the deck above. Many games were available in the EXC area.

Good to know. The group of kids going range from 8-13 so should be able to entertain themselves on the spirtsdeck, lido, etc. Thanks all for the replies.

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Our children started cruising when they were 5 and 7 and they are now 14 and 16.  We cruised DCL, RCL and HAL ... from Veendam being the smaller/older to Oasis/Anthem of the Seas being the largest and the Disney Dream being the most beautiful.  It is true that Disney's entertainment and service are unique and you can't find it anywhere else.  But for the price they are asking now vs paying less than half or 1/3, I find better deal elsewhere.  We like RCI for their onboard activities; we like HAL for the destination, itinerary and overall more quiet and relaxed atmosphere.  The kids had fun on all of them. 

Edited by Friend100

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Hi Hubbard53 - we have done multiple cruises on HAL with our kids and they have always had lots to do. There is Club HAL which had 3 age groups. The youngest will not be applicable as your youngest is 8 (meaning the tween age group). The oldest at 13 will be in a different group called the Loft.  Our kids are 10 and 13.

 

Club HAL was open until 11 pm each nigh on our Christmas cruise. On previous cruises it was open until 10 but they could stay after that for $5 per hour per child. Talking with the councilors, they said the change to the later was done on other ships too. You will need to sign any child under 12 in and our of Club HAL but the 13 year old will have freedom to sign themselves in and out.

 

The facilities for the kids on the NS look amazing.

 

With it being a Spring Break cruise you will likely have a lot more kids than at other times. The activities usually run through the day with breaks on sea days for both lunch and dinner. In Port, Club HAL is usually open from 9-4 and there is no extra cost to utilize - unlike some other lines.

 

Activities wise, our 13 year old mainly ended up playing game with some of the other teens he met on board. There is planned activities but I think in the Loft, it might be a little more less structured based on what the kids want to do. As for the program for the tweens, the generally will have special nights with activities, games, crafts, sporting activities, ISYSWASFIC, etc.  If you want more info, I brought home all the daily activity forms and can take a look for you.

 

The biggest thing you will notice is there is definitely fewer kids on board vs what you might expect on a Disney cruise. We have never done a Disney as the price is too high for our budget. We have always been treated well on HAL with the kids and our kids love it.

 

Questions, please ask. We are all 3* Mariners - and our kids have over 85 days on HAL.

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