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MoyCoy

Sailing Holland for first time with 8 year old twins

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We found a great price on Holland Oosterdam for a 7 day Mexican Riveria cruise this December.  My kids adore Princess Kids Clubs. Is Hollands Kids Clubs Similar??

 

I would love to hear any and all details about your experiences.  My Husband is concerned that the kids will be board.  

 

They have sailed princess so they are use to a ship minus water slides etc. But the kids club usually makes up for the lack of amenities. 

 

 

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You might want to post on the HAL board. With that said, unless you are going during a school break, there will probably not be that many kids on board.

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Posted (edited)

I can’t compare HAL to Princess, but my son loves HAL kids club. He’s cruised on HAL and on Disney, and between the two, he enjoyed HAL the most— in fact, his first HAL cruise was on the Oosterdam last year over Thanksgiving when he was four. We are booked this year on Nieuw  Statendam. If you’re going over a school

holiday, you will find a greater percentage of school children on board— still not many, but last year our of ~2000 passengers there were ~200 children. 

 

We found Club HAL to be structured yet very accommodating to our son’s individual desires, so for example— if everyone in his group went outside to play on the sports court, he still had to go, but he didn’t have to play ball, or whatever. He got tons of personalized attention from the Club staff, and even more attention from the crew— HAL is not known for being a family line, but they excelled. Excellent kids menu, waiters bent over backward to get food our son wanted, and the excursions staff were so knowledgeable and helpful with helping us locate activities. Truly the whole week felt so personalized to our son’s wishes and desires, it was wonderful for him to experience the high caliber of service that HAL is known for, and we love. My husband and I cruised Princess before, so we are also familiar with the laid back style— HAL is also very laid back, maybe more so, with excellent service and this extends to the club areas. It’s all very chill. 

 

If you have specific questions, I’ll try and answer. 

Edited by Dulciana8

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We sailed on the Ryndam, which is one of the oldest ships in the fleet.  We also sailed on a one week segment of a 3 week cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale to Guatemala and Honduras, which is an itinerary that would rarely appeal to families (it was actually great for kids, but not popular with families.  I think there might have been about 10 kids on board).  

 

  The kids club staff was friendly, but there were much fewer kids club activities than on Princess (but again that could be due to the fact that the Ryndam traditionally sails itineraries that don't appeal to families and others have reported quite positive experiences with HAL kids club).  It was mostly nice counselors who had my kid gluing stuff on paper plates, while the activities were much more interesting on Princess.  Thankfully, my kid was happy though.  But do check the kids club hours - they are open much less during sea days than Princess.  The highlight for my son was making pancakes with the chef.  HE really loved the kiddie cooking class.  I'd be a little concerned if your cruise has a ton of sea days; otherwise they might be fine.  I think it'll be a little less strong than Princess overall, but if you have a good price and a good itinerary I'd go for it (you might want to consider board games or videos as a backup if the kids club isn't a hit)

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Oh my goodness.  Thank you all so much for such detailed responses!! It was mentioned that HAL is not open the same hours as Princess.  Do they close for lunch and dinner? Are they opened all day on port days??

Does Hal attempt to do a educational based club? Princess tries and educates about each port through thier discovery partnership.  I and the children enjoy that greatly. 

 

I heard about kid cooking classes. Is that through the kids club or do you sign and pay separately for it? Are the classes offered numerous times throughout a 7 day cruise?

 

We scored a great deal for Mexico.  It was too good to pass up. We have 3 sea days. My kids do enjoy vegging too. The TV , cards, and a few books  should help with veggie mode--should the kids club end up being a bust!

 

Does the club offer pagers? How do they get a hold of you? 

 

Do they have dance classes? Do they plan any family events around the ship?

 

Some one mentioned the kids menus.  Are they filled with items like pizza and hamburgers or are the items offered a little more healthier?

 

 

Thank you all again for answering my numerous questions!!!!

 

 

 

 

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On 10/9/2019 at 1:46 PM, Dulciana8 said:

I can’t compare HAL to Princess, but my son loves HAL kids club. He’s cruised on HAL and on Disney, and between the two, he enjoyed HAL the most— in fact, his first HAL cruise was on the Oosterdam last year over Thanksgiving when he was four. We are booked this year on Nieuw  Statendam. If you’re going over a school

holiday, you will find a greater percentage of school children on board— still not many, but last year our of ~2000 passengers there were ~200 children. 

 

We found Club HAL to be structured yet very accommodating to our son’s individual desires, so for example— if everyone in his group went outside to play on the sports court, he still had to go, but he didn’t have to play ball, or whatever. He got tons of personalized attention from the Club staff, and even more attention from the crew— HAL is not known for being a family line, but they excelled. Excellent kids menu, waiters bent over backward to get food our son wanted, and the excursions staff were so knowledgeable and helpful with helping us locate activities. Truly the whole week felt so personalized to our son’s wishes and desires, it was wonderful for him to experience the high caliber of service that HAL is known for, and we love. My husband and I cruised Princess before, so we are also familiar with the laid back style— HAL is also very laid back, maybe more so, with excellent service and this extends to the club areas. It’s all very chill. 

 

If you have specific questions, I’ll try and answer. 

That is one thing my daughter mentioned about Princess that she loved. She is a art buff and did not like being forced to play games for 3 hours. On NCL everyone has to do what everyone else was doing. No matter what.

 

On Princess, I could not keep her out of the kids clubs. She loved it that much. I had to make her stay with us for family time. I am hoping she will like HAL just as much. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, MoyCoy said:

Some one mentioned the kids menus.  Are they filled with items like pizza and hamburgers or are the items offered a little more healthier?

Kids can order off the adult menu if their little palates are a bit more developed. My 7 year old can live off chicken nuggets and pizza, but my 9 year old is the most adventurous eater I know. He always asks for the adult menu and looks for the most random and non traditional entree that he has never tried before and orders it. The waiters get a kick out of it because he orders stuff that many adults won’t touch. 

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13 minutes ago, MoyCoy said:

Oh my goodness.  Thank you all so much for such detailed responses!! It was mentioned that HAL is not open the same hours as Princess.  Do they close for lunch and dinner? Are they opened all day on port days?? club HAL Hours for sea days were like 9-11, then 1-4, then 7-11; on port days they were open all day with advance registration (I assumed in case children wanted to stay on board while parents went on shore— so the club could meal plan? Not sure on this as our son always went with us on shore excursions.) Evening hours on port days were “normal” 7-11. 

Does Hal attempt to do a educational based club? Princess tries and educates about each port through thier discovery partnership.  I and the children enjoy that greatly. On our Caribbean cruise there wasn’t a whole lot of education, lol... they did do one Mayan theme craft on our day in Cozumel but I’m my non expert opinion it barely qualified as educational 😂

 

I heard about kid cooking classes. Is that through the kids club or do you sign and pay separately for it? Are the classes offered numerous times throughout a 7 day cruise? I heard about these too— my son was still too young, maybe for the older groups? 

 

We scored a great deal for Mexico.  It was too good to pass up. We have 3 sea days. My kids do enjoy vegging too. The TV , cards, and a few books  should help with veggie mode--should the kids club end up being a bust!

 

Does the club offer pagers? How do they get a hold of you? This part was a little wild— it may be different now that there’s a new HAL app, but last year, we had to write down our location/or phone number, on the ship and if there was an emergency then the club staff would come and find us! Wow! Now that there’s a more dedicated HAL app I’m hoping this will be more streamlined... I’ll know for sure in November... 

 

Do they have dance classes? Do they plan any family events around the ship? There were some fun family activities in the club— pajama night, family game night. Otherwise, children were welcome at most of the venues (if i recall, BB King’s is adults only??).

 

Some one mentioned the kids menus.  Are they filled with items like pizza and hamburgers or are the items offered a little more healthier? My son  would order a soup or appetizer/dessert off the adult menu and something from the children’s menu nearly every night. He liked to mix it up. Staff was very accommodating. There’s also a dedicated kid’s corner at the Lido buffet (PBJ, Mac and cheese, pizza, etc) if nothing else appeals. 

 

 

Thank you all again for answering my numerous questions!!!! Have fun!

 

 

 

 

See above— I’m hoping my replies posted in red! 

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They let my 3 year old cook, and it was completely free.  But that was 4 years ago.  The big issue for us (since my kid napped) is that the sea day hours are a disaster if your child naps.  

 

These are the hours according to their website, but it is new that they can change hours based upon the number of children on board.:

 

Daily Program Hours
Times may vary based on the number of children on board:

  • Sea Days: 9 am–11:30 am, 1 pm–4 pm and 7 pm–11 pm
  • Port Days: 8 am–4 pm and 7 pm–11 pm

My kid napped from 2-4, so it was a nightmare since he would wake up and want to go to the kids club and it wouldn't be about to open for another 3 hours.  Fortunately, your kids are older so they can go if they like it.  IF the deal was good enough, I'd go and just bring enough backup activities in case the kids club doesn't work out.  Have a great trip!

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Thank you so much. Having the hours is so very helpful 

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HAL's kid menu as of last February. HAL's mac n cheese is actually really great... the real article with the homemade white sauce + fresh cheese. I actually shared some with our then 16 month old daughter. She loved it! But kids (and adults for that matter) can indeed order a half portion of any entree on the regular menu or if you have allergies/intolerances, there are extensive allergen free offerings which is very nice.

 

Our son started sailing HAL at about 7 (he is 18 now) and loved the kid's club because there were less kids and more individual attention. He also had more freedom to do his own thing than on Carnival or Costa.

IMG_20190203_180236771_BURST000_COVER_TOP.jpg

Edited by fatcat04

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      We found HAL kids/teen club to be very accommodating, especially when we did a cruise in January.  There were less than 20 children on the cruise.  We also had a great deal so we had our DD take a friend they were around age 14 at the time.  The staff found out their hobbies and interests our DD's friend was very much into sound equipment, so the staff arranged for our girls to spend time with the sound technicians during a show rehearsal.   DD was a dancer, and the staff arranged time with a dancer.  The staff also arranged for all of the children to have a tour of the bridge, since it was such a small group of children.  This was opened to all ages that the kids club served.

     Funny story on this cruise the four of us were waiting to be seated for dinner and a cruiser in a wheel chair says "Oh look, somebody under 90".

Edited by topspot

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