I tentatively booked a cruise on the new ship Westerdam for next March, 2005. I am hesitant to go through with it because of things I hear about it being a much older group. My kids will be 16 & 18 by the time we go. Does anyone have any experience with this?
I can't speak for the Westerdam, but I just returned from a cruise with my 18 year old daughter and her friend on the Zuiderdam. They had a great time! They really enjoyed the ports, the pools, the food, movies, and the shows. They were too old for the teen activities, so I can't tell you how they were.
The Westerdam is a sister ship to the Zuiderdam - on my spring break cruise, the passenger mix was quite varied. The Zuiderdam and Westerdam are geared more towards a "younger" clientle. There seemed to be plenty of teens enjoying themselves. It all depends on how open your teen is to meeting new people...if they are extremely shy, the "average age" of the passengers won't really make much of a difference.
I cruised on Maasdam in March 2003 and there were quite a few teenagers and children on board. It was quite rowdy at times by the pool (basically kids just having good old fashioned fun) and many of the HAL regulars (older crowd) were constantly complaining.
I would check out the HAL excursions. They tend to be quite "tame" on the HAL ships and the kids may not find anything that suits them. If that's not a problem, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't have fun, especially if the ship stops at Half Moon Cay where there are many activities they will enjoy. Have a great trip.
Just completed back to backs on the Zuiderdam with 13 year old twins. They had a blast and we adults enjoyed our usuall favorite cruise activites without the kids whining about being bored.
HAL is doing a great job of catering to the teens without inconveniencing the adults.
As we boarded the ship each of the twins was given a CD case with a schedule for each day in each sleeve. There were 5 or 6 activites listed for each day as well as a "teens only" beach party on Half Moon Cay.
Besides the Club HAL activites they also snorkeled at every port and learned to scuba dive. Their only complaint was that they had to chose between which fun shore excursion we would all go on.
They also enjoyed the shopping as much, if not more so than we adults.
Don't worry !!! I just returned from the Oosterdam which is a Vista class ship which are newer and bigger than the others in the fleet. These new ships do have far more "Club HAL" activities and more family friendly than the Maasdam or Satendam which I love but feel are more geared for adults.
It is a fact that the kids were having a ball on the 24 July Oosterdam (Westerdam's sister) sailing to Alaska!
<< Also, they do not allow the kids to roam free on the ship, correct?>>
In Club HAL, the parent has to state whether they will allow their kids to come and go as they please, or if they have to be checked out by a parent. If you tell them that they must be checked out, then the kids cannot leave the group on their own. They do take the kids various places on the ship, but it is so well organized that you never really notice them.
we were on the oosterdam in early june and it was great! I had so much fun and met alot of great people. I didn't think HAL was going to have a nice teen program but they did and it was awsome! Alot of school still weren't out yet but we had 70 teens onboard which is very good for early June. If you have any more questions feel free to email me I would love to help!