We are thinking about booking the eastern caribbean cruise on the zuiderdam in May. I have read where the majority of cruisers on Holland are over 50. Is this true? I am 35 and my wife is 33. We have nothing against older people at all, but we would like to be able to hang with people at least close to our age. Thanks!!
The Zuiderderdam seems to be attracting a younger crowd, so I don't think you have to worry about the ship being filled with "old" people. I think because the ship is so large and there is so much walking that the older folk (myself included) are staying away from the Vista ships and prefer the smaller HAL ships.
Go and have a great time - I am sure you will meet other "young" folk.
We are ages 30/32 and have taken two HAL cruises. Maasdam and Zuiderdam (both at Thanksgiving). We enjoyed both cruisers, and noticed Zuiderdam definitely had many more "younger" passengers. That week, with 2100 onboard, Club HAL had 350. We ended up having predinner drinks each night with the group we met on another messageboard - and thoroughly enjoyed our gatherings with them (we were all ages 30-50 roughly).
You really might want to consider another cruise line! At least don't take a longer than 7-Day HAL cruise and do it when school is out.! Otherwise, you'll be with mostly VERY,VERY older people and will have very little to do for entertainment!
I cruised on the Westerdam 23-30 Jan 05. I am 56 years young, and most of the passengers on that ship were too old for me. Compared to most of the passengers, I felt like a youngster. I saw a handful of passengers who appeared to be in their 30's. I've met a lot of old people on other cruises who are really lively and lots of fun. This cruise felt like a visit to a retirement village. The nightlife was quite subdued. One evening I walked past the piano bar and looked in. About that time, a couple who appeared to be in their 40's also stopped to check it out. The husband was about to step in when the wife grabbed his arm and pulled him back commenting "who wants to be depressed on a cruise." There was some type of Irish piano/violin music being played. I've heard livelier music at a funeral.
This was my first HAL cruise, and I was prepared for the older crowd because of reviews I had read. I have cruised Carnival and Celebrity, and want to try some of the other lines. I had a very nice, relaxing cruise, and actually met several nice people, but probably will not sail HAL again. Also, I was quite disappointed in the food.
The mattress in the cabin was wonderful; best I've had on a cruise ship or hotel; with the great mattress and gentle rocking of the ship, I slept like a baby.
Age is NOT the issue. It doesn't matter what the passenger age is. The question is:
1. what are you looking for in a cruise? rock climbing?
2. children running wild thru the halls and going up and down the glass elevators?
3. Discos and huge evening show extravaganzas?
4. Drunken youths screaming thru the halls?
Then this is NOT the cruise line for you.
If you are looking for:
1. well traveled people who love to share their travel journeys?
2. Excellent food and outstanding service?
3. Friendly staff and well-behaved passengers?
The age of the passengers on a ship depends stongly on time of year, and itinerary chosen, and the cruiseline.
Think lots of children during the summer or school breaks. Think lots of children in the Caribbean, Alaska, and Canada/New England cruises. Think lots of children on Carnival, Disney, and Royal Caribbean.
We love HAL and find the 'older folks' very educational and enjoyable travel mates. Oh (by the way) we are the 'older folks' (age 59), but we have been cruising on HAL since 1969 (when we were in our early 20's).
What makes a cruise 'fun' and 'exciting', is what YOU put into it. Surely, you and your spouse don't need to be entertained by 1,400 other passengers.
I am 34 and will be traveling with my 10 year old daughter on March 12th. I chose HAL specifically because I did not want my daughter exposed to the college spring breakers that I'm sure will be in abundance on carnival and royal caribbean.
My wife and I (52 and 54) will be taking our second HAL cruise (Baltic). Our last one (Eastern Caribbean last March) was excellent and we met many our age and others younger, including some families with children. I am a WWII history buff and have especially appreciated (and felt honored) meeting and talking to our veterans.
We cruised Carnival before. Nothing wrong with Carnival, on our last Carnival Cruise to the Mexican Riviera (Elation), the food, service and entertainment were all excellent.
But there were also large numbers of young families and getting near a pool or hot tub with all the kids was quite the challenge. But if you favor the poolside college games, late night entertainment, towel animals in your cabin, and (in my opinion) a bit too chummy waitstaff, maybe Carnival or RCCL is for you.
Each to their own, but for our tastes, we prefer HAL.
Mandy and Rocketcitylady made the same mistakes that many novice cruisers make. They sailed during periods when one age group or another is very dominant. Then they naturally assumed that the ship always has an age mix like that.
If you really do your homework - or have a savvy travel agent who knows his business -you will know that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter cruises are nearly always filled with children and young families. So are the 12 weeks of summer school holidays. The average age on these cruises is almost always incredibly low. If you choose to cruise during these periods, your ship will most likely have many children and young families onboard. Naturally you will assume that the ship is always like that. Not true.
The older crowd usually does not want to cruise under these conditions. They also rarely want to pay the higher prices for family holiday cruises. So they choose the "low" seasons, when fares are discounted further, and curtain climbers and their young parents are busy with school and work.
Older cruisers usually choose the period that runs just after New Years until the beginning of February and March school holidays, the period just after Easter holidays until the end of May (the beginning of summer school holidays), the period from just after American Labor Day until American Thanksgiving. If you choose to cruise during those periods, you will most likely encounter a much older crowd with very few children.
And you will most likely assume that the ship you sail on is always that way. Not true.
Currently RCI, NCL, and HAL all have an ANNUAL AVERAGE passenger age of about 46 years old.
Interesting reading as I'm considering HAL for a cruise in 2006. I agree with quite a few points in various posts, and I really do believe it is difficult to generalize and narrow it down to say a cruise line is this way only, not true, too many variables!
I recently read a post on the Princess board that they heard Princess cruises are for 60+! Being 57, having sailed Princess 5 times, I laughed!
It has alot to do with time of year, length and, of course, cost! I went on the Golden Princess at Thanksgiving and it was mostly families, middle age couples and grand parents. I had a great time, met lots of interesting people, all age groups!
I'm going to try HAL in 2006, I think. I've sailed with Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, NCL, Princess and RCI so I figure I need to try HAL and see what everyone is talking about!
Ooops - I think I misread a previous post. (So I'm editing)
I can really only cruise during those peak seasons, as I am a teacher. When working in the corporate world I took advantage of a couple of cruises during nonpeak season, so I've seen a little of both.
However, at least comparing HAL Maasdam and HAL Zuiderdam - the Zui seemed to attract more families and younger adults than the Maasdam the same week the year before. Both cruises were out of FLL during Thanksgiving (2003 and 2004) but we definitely noticed a difference between the two. I really didn't assume that the Zui was ALWAYS packed with 350 kiddos yearround - I could have been more clear in saying that it seemed to attract more at least based on our perceptions. It's not a mistake that we cruise when we do - I just chose a career where I cannot choose to cruise in nonpeak season.
This summer we'll try our first summer cruise to Alaska. With only 8 weeks for summer break and trying to cram in grad school work during that time, summers always fly by.