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Warning to all Families with Children Traveling on Holland America’s Oosterdam

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This is really not such a big issue.  I have no doubt that other cruise lines will continue their respective children's programs.  EXCEPT of course for those people who booked a family cruise on a ship that will not have a proper children's program, and are now inside the cancellation window and hence cannot cancel and re-book on another cruise line.  

 

Not certain if HAL is making a conscious decision to move away from the small slice that they have of the family cruising market or if is simply a move to reduce headcount and expenses.  Either way, there are plenty of other family friendly cruise line options in the marketplace to choose from.

 

There is always a chance that this is a trial balloon to gauge customer reaction.  I do not think that the fat lady has sung her final song on this one.

Edited by iancal

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26 minutes ago, iancal said:

This is really not such a big issue.  I have no doubt that other cruise lines will continue their respective children's programs.  EXCEPT of course for those people who booked a family cruise on a ship that will not have a proper children's program, and are now inside the cancellation window and hence cannot cancel and re-book on another cruise line.  

 

And those who have made non-refundable or other travel arrangements.  (Flights, etc)

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.... AND perhaps they have reserved their time off from work and  are unable to change the dates  THAt is  a big deal to most young  working family persons.

 

 

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18 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

.... AND perhaps they have reserved their time off from work and  are unable to change the dates  THAt is  a big deal to most young  working family persons.

 

 

 

A very big deal, Sail.  Thank you.  My husband’s schedule is set in stone a year in advance.  It takes a lot of work to find something and put it all together.  There have been times where we’ve had everything booked and arranged, only to have a wrench thrown in.  That’s very disappointing when you’ve worked so hard and are looking forward to something.

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27 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

.... AND perhaps they have reserved their time off from work and  are unable to change the dates  THAt is  a big deal to most young  working family persons.

 

 

Exactly. I know we have to schedule vacation with dh's work 6+ months in advance. Not exactly easily fixable. And I have to say initiating this mess after many winter Caribbean cruises that will be effected by this change have gone past final payment is pretty reprehensible in my book.

 

It would be nice if just once HAL execs actually fully disclosed their plans prior to implementation instead of just springing changes on unsuspecting captive guests and ruining cruises. I get the feeling HALs top execs have succumbed to the "everyone agrees I'm brilliant." style of management. Surrounding yourself with sycophants and myrmidons who only parrot your own perceived brilliance seldom results in good long term business decisions.

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Thanks very much for posting this.  Have learned a lot from these boards in the last few months.  Really disappointed about this change.  Had gone with Holland over Princess (out of LA) for our upcoming holiday cruise (week of Dec 21) despite negative entertainment comments because we really wanted to try Holland now to figure out a line for future itineraries.  Feels like a wasted opportunity now--and it's precious vacation time and premium holiday pricing.

 

Now I'm a bit anxious about our upcoming cruise (we were planning on using Club HAL a bit, not a ton, but certainly wanted to make use of it).  I certainly won't be using it to stick my kids in a conference room with some games or whatever.  But I'm also worried about hundreds of extra kids not having structured entertainment/activity options--doesn't seem like that will make for a nice sailing for other (childless) passengers, either.

 

For this cruise, hope they listen to feedback and make some accommodations for busy holiday periods (many, many more kids), but I'm sure it won't be the same level of programming since any changes are last-minute.  

 

Hopefully the novelty of the ship will keep our kids happy, but I am concerned about all of the kids on the ship!

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2 hours ago, Hobbsey said:

I don't mean to hijack this thread but this is not the first post I have seen assuming an imminent departure of Veendam from the HAL fleet.  I wonder where the announcement of this might be found. 

It's not an announcement, just a guess. She's been well maintained, and no doubt will eventually be sold on for further trading (maybe even with her two other sisters down in Australia), but they really have not updated Veendam with what the new ships offer in terms of entertainment venues. And the big update the did do to her several years ago really butchered her aft deck with that stupid hot tub/splash pool set up so they could add cabins below the more substantial pool they ripped out. 

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32 minutes ago, *Miss G* said:

 

A very big deal, Sail.  Thank you.  My husband’s schedule is set in stone a year in advance.  It takes a lot of work to find something and put it all together.  There have been times where we’ve had everything booked and arranged, only to have a wrench thrown in.  That’s very disappointing when you’ve worked so hard and are looking forward to something.

I feel so badly when that happens to anyone who works hard all year and looking forward to their vacation keeps them and the family going

 

 

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

This is really not such a big issue...

You’re right. It’s not a big issue. Even for families like mine, with small children, who had their vacation time awarded a year ago, who chose Holland America over all other cruise lines for that specific week, who are now inside penalty, with airfare purchased, shore excursions purchased, as well as hotel reservations. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big issue. 😂

 

Thankfully, Holland America replied to my message and they have confirmed that Club HAL will still be available on our February cruise. We will still go on this cruise regardless of Club HAL though. We would’ve just tweaked our onboard activities, and we would’ve had a great cruise, but most likely it would be our last HAL Cruise if they indeed intend to eliminate Club HAL. As you said, there are plenty of other cruise lines out there a bit more in tune with what families truly need and want on vacation. 

Edited by Tapi

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Tapi......If you had  bothered to actually read the second sentence of my post you would have noted this:

 

EXCEPT of course for those people who booked a family cruise on a ship that will not have a proper children's program, and are now inside the cancellation window and hence cannot cancel and re-book on another cruise line.  

 

 

Edited by iancal

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22 minutes ago, iancal said:

Tapi......If you had  bothered to actually read the second sentence of my post you would have noted this:

 

EXCEPT of course for those people who booked a family cruise on a ship that will not have a proper children's program, and are now inside the cancellation window and hence cannot cancel and re-book on another cruise line.  

 

 

That EXCEPTION is who this thread is intended for. If you're not a family traveling with kids, a change to Club HAL would not have that big of an impact on you. But most families with kids are constrained by work and school schedules and must plan their vacations many months in advance, if not years in advance.

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1 hour ago, Tapi said:

You’re right. It’s not a big issue. Even for families like mine, with small children, who had their vacation time awarded a year ago, who chose Holland America over all other cruise lines for that specific week, who are now inside penalty, with airfare purchased, shore excursions purchased, as well as hotel reservations. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big issue. 😂

 

Thankfully, Holland America replied to my message and they have confirmed that Club HAL will still be available on our February cruise. We will still go on this cruise regardless of Club HAL though. We would’ve just tweaked our onboard activities, and we would’ve had a great cruise, but most likely it would be our last HAL Cruise if they indeed intend to eliminate Club HAL. As you said, there are plenty of other cruise lines out there a bit more in tune with what families truly need and want on vacation. 

 

 

No,of course it is no big deal to someone who has  been  assured their cruise will not suffer this change.

 

People who have cruises booked (and paid for) may feel differently if they are unsure re:   status  of  Club HAL for their cruise?

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1 hour ago, iancal said:

Tapi......If you had  bothered to actually read the second sentence of my post you would have noted this:

I read your entire post. And I do agree with what you had to say concerning families who are already booked like mine, and I apologize if my response made it sound like I hadn’t read thoroughly. I don’t agree completely with the first sentence though. 
 

If Holland America has the itinerary that I want on the dates when I can sail, then not having Club HAL becomes a big issue. Yes, I could look at other cruise lines, but probably I’d be sacrificing a better itinerary (or ship) because of this change. 
 

We specifically chose the Niew Statendam for our upcoming cruise because I was locked into that specific week (awarded vacation and kids school break). I searched all sailings across all cruise lines departing on that specific weekend, and all other itineraries were either mediocre, or they visited ports that I’ve been to repeatedly. Some itineraries were good but they were aboard older and worse ships.  Niew Statendam’s itinerary was the most enticing (out of the 4 ports of call, three will be new to me), plus NS is a new ship which is something that I enjoy immensely. It was the perfect combination.
 

There were other ships departing that same weekend on more family friendly cruise lines (like Royal Caribbean, Disney, MSC, and Carnival), but ultimately Holland America earned my business. My choice most likely would’ve been different had “High Score!” been in place when I made my decision. That’s how important kids clubs are to us when we cruise. 
 

What I do see happening is that some families will choose Holland America, unaware about the upcoming changes and assuming that all major cruise lines have a kids club, and they won’t find out until they are onboard that this is not the case on HAL. Not everybody reads cruise critic. I would’ve never known about this if I hadn’t read about it here. 

Edited by Tapi

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It may depend on how they book. If direct through HAL they will not have a clue.

 

If they book with a TA who is just an order taker they will not have a clue.

 

If they book with a  good TA, online or otherwise, that TA should give them a heads up. 

 

 Several years ago we were going to naively do a late booking on Veendam.   There appeared to be significant maintenance and management issues.   Our on line TA gave us a heads up based on feedback from her clients, suggested we take a look at the CC reviews, and suggested some alternate ships for the same dates.   We did look at the comments and were so very glad that we did not book on what was, at that time, a dog of a ship.  Since that time we often narrow our late bookings down to one or two ships.  Then we ask her if she has had feedback from her clients.  So far her comments, suggestions have been right on the money.

Edited by iancal

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8 hours ago, cat shepard said:


Well @Pepicou, if you are on the bridge of the Oosterdam, which I suspect you are from your statement about two 17 day Hawaii cruises in a row - let me thank you for an amazing cruise! And your Captain is the hero of every passenger on the ship! I was on the ship when he had to negotiate with the Harbor Master in Lahaina to let the tenders start bringing us ashore - as scheduled.

 

Calm seas to you & your colleagues!

 

Ann

 

The infamous Lahaina harbormaster! Nice job Kaptein Willems! 

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10 minutes ago, Copper10-8 said:

 

The infamous Lahaina harbormaster! Nice job Kaptein Willems! 


If he is a typical example of HAL’s Captains, we & the ships are in great hands!

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4 hours ago, liberty176 said:

Thanks very much for posting this.  Have learned a lot from these boards in the last few months.  Really disappointed about this change.  Had gone with Holland over Princess (out of LA) for our upcoming holiday cruise (week of Dec 21) despite negative entertainment comments because we really wanted to try Holland now to figure out a line for future itineraries.  Feels like a wasted opportunity now--and it's precious vacation time and premium holiday pricing.

 

Now I'm a bit anxious about our upcoming cruise (we were planning on using Club HAL a bit, not a ton, but certainly wanted to make use of it).  I certainly won't be using it to stick my kids in a conference room with some games or whatever.  But I'm also worried about hundreds of extra kids not having structured entertainment/activity options--doesn't seem like that will make for a nice sailing for other (childless) passengers, either.

 

For this cruise, hope they listen to feedback and make some accommodations for busy holiday periods (many, many more kids), but I'm sure it won't be the same level of programming since any changes are last-minute.  

 

Hopefully the novelty of the ship will keep our kids happy, but I am concerned about all of the kids on the ship!

 

 

 

Here is an idea:  Instead of finding  fault, why don't we  try to find a solution? 

 

Edited by sail7seas

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28 minutes ago, sail7seas said:

 

 

 

Here is an idea:  Instead of finding  fault, why don't we  try to find a solution? 

 

 

One of my solutions will be to expand my child’s dining and cultural experiences and expose him to new things.  

 

Other than that I don’t know if we can resolve HAL’s self inflicted wounds 

 

i truly feel ripped off 

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28 minutes ago, LMaxwell said:

i truly feel ripped off 

 

I don't blame you at all for feeling that way 😞  Has it been confirmed that the ship you will be sailing on will not have Club HAL?  And how far into the penalty phase are you?  Would it make sense financially/experientially to cancel the HAL cruise and find another one?

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32 minutes ago, LMaxwell said:

One of my solutions will be to expand my child’s dining and cultural experiences and expose him to new things.  

 

Good for you.  I would not worry about it unless it becomes a done deal on your ship.  Hopefully they will have had enough feedback to make some modifications.

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14 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

 

I don't blame you at all for feeling that way 😞  Has it been confirmed that the ship you will be sailing on will not have Club HAL?  And how far into the penalty phase are you?  Would it make sense financially/experientially to cancel the HAL cruise and find another one?

3 days ago I booked a non refundable fare and HAL will hold me to it.  They will NOT confirm Club Hal will be on our sailing. I just want my money back. I’m not interested in joining another loyalty program if this isn’t a family line and I feel very negatively about giving them my money at all. I’m not going to throw away thousands of dollars for nothing so we will go and maximize every available all ages venue and amenity. 

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11 minutes ago, LMaxwell said:

3 days ago I booked a non refundable fare and HAL will hold me to it.  They will NOT confirm Club Hal will be on our sailing. I just want my money back.

 

Again, I understand your feeling ripped off.  I understand you wanting your money back.  Any chance your credit card gives you coverage for this?  I know someone who was denied boarding on a flight, because the airline had changed the rules, and she was able to recover the cost of her flight from her credit card company when the airline refused to refund her (way more to the story, but that's the basics).

Edited by VennDiagram

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8 minutes ago, VennDiagram said:

 

Again, I understand your feeling ripped off.  I understand you wanting your money back.  Any chance your credit card gives you coverage for this?  I know someone who was denied boarding on a flight, because the airline had changed the rules, and she was able to recover the cost of her flight from her credit card company when the airline refused to refund her (way more to the story, but that's the basics).

Holland America have emailed me and will allow me a full refund for cancellation and I will take them up on their offer.  

 

And so ends the test run for our big 2021 or 2022 Alaska Adventure.  

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1 minute ago, VennDiagram said:

@LMaxwell that must be a relief for you.  Sorry you've had to endure this 😞

Thank you.

 

Maybe we will try again in a dozen years when HAL welcomes my WHOLE family. 

 

Or, maybe, we won’t. 

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