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Old July 3rd, 2005, 02:16 PM
christinaf
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Default suitable for kids ?

My husband and I are planning a cruise for ourselves and our three kids (10, 7 and 3) for March 2006. We've always wanted to try Holland America as a couple, but would it be suitable for my kids too ? We've been on Voyager of the Seas and the kids LOVED, LOVED, LOVED their programs. Does Holland America offer such structured programs ? I've read that there are many seniors on these cruises; would it be a wise choice for us ? I would not want to make a mistake... Please advise.


Thank you so much for your input.

Christina
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Old July 4th, 2005, 12:09 PM
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

Christina - this from HAL's website.................... www.hollandamerica.com

hope it helps..................

"Club HALŪ for Kids
Special Features


" With supervised fun for our young guests, the entire family can have the cruise vacation of their dreams. Club HALŪ provides a wide variety of exciting kid friendly facilities and activities for kids ages 5 to 12. Participating youngsters receive an activity program delivered to their stateroom and a Club HALŪ t-shirt.

"Age-appropriate

"Club HALŪ cruise activities are designed to be kid friendly and age appropriate. Examples include storytelling, arts and crafts, ice-cream sundae or pizza parties, ship tours and Bingo for young kids ages 5 to 7. For 'tweens, ages 8 to 12, there's miniature golf, Ping-Pong, theme parties, on-deck sports events and scavenger hunts.

"Supervision

"You can feel at ease knowing that your kid's onboard experience is safe and managed. All activities are supervised by permanent, full-time Club HALŪ Youth Program Directors and staff. Club HALŪ Youth Program Directors hold degrees in education, childhood development, recreation, leisure studies or related fields.

"Extended hours

"Club HALŪ After Hours is available on all ships from 10:00 - 12:00pm. For a minimal fee, kids can have fun at Club HALŪ while their parents are enjoying other evening activities.

"Additional family services

"Holland America Line is dedicated to making your family's cruise vacation memorable and happy for each member of your family. We serve a wide variety of kid-pleasing food, including special sandwiches, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs and pizza. Baby food, high chairs and booster seats may be requested in advance of boarding. Baby-sitting services are available for a small surcharge. Special kid friendly birthday parties can also be arranged with advance notice.

"Signature of Excellence Youth and Teen Areas

"Our new Youth and Teen Centers on ships with Signature of Excellence enhancements (the ms Rotterdam, ms Ryndam, and ms Zaandam.) offer programs for kids ages 3 to 17."
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Old July 4th, 2005, 08:05 PM
Frank B
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

If you do go on HAL with the kids you should take one of their newer ships like the Oosterdam rather than say Masdam or Ryndam. HAL has some dedicated space built specially for kids on the newer ships.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 12:12 AM
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

My son, who was 9 at the time, loved club Hal on the Zaandam. There were many structured events for the kids that were base on age. They all appeared to have a great time. This was an Alaskan cruise and there were many kids on board. Might not be as many kids for a March cruise since school is still going on.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 08:22 AM
PJ PJ is offline
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

March is Spring Break in a lot of areas. I was on the Zuiderdam (sister ship of the Oosterdam) and she LOVED the Club HAL. I would recommend one of the Vista class ships - (Oosterdam, Zuiderdam, Westerdam). They don't have rock climbing walls and the like that other lines have, but the kids club was well organized and as I said, my daughter, and the friends she met on that cruise, loved the activities.
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Old July 5th, 2005, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

Club HAL is available on all ships - being March and school break for many, it will be in full swing. I should add that many HAL stewards are more than willing to baby sit (thinking of the 3 year old) of an evening - many of them are greatly missing their own little ones. Check at the Front Desk for this service. Of course it's an extra charge.

Can't really understand why anyone would want rock climbing walls and the like on any cruise!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old July 6th, 2005, 09:29 PM
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

Christina,

Been on four HAL cruises and I must say they typically draw an older crowd and not many kids. I don't have children so I have no experience with Club HAL. This line does a very nice job providing a great cruise experience but I might be apprehensive with kids of your age. If you do decide on HAL, I agree with the other respondents that you should stick with the Vista-class ships, Ziuderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Noordam (next year). Also, if you're planning a voyage longer than 7 days, you will definitely have a much older crowd on HAL.

Good luck with your planning!
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Old July 7th, 2005, 09:04 PM
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Default Re: Re: suitable for kids ?

*MarylandBob:*

Quote -
Been on four HAL cruises and I must say they typically draw an older crowd and not many kids. I don't have children so I have no experience with Club HAL. This line does a very nice job providing a great cruise experience but I might be apprehensive with kids of your age. If you do decide on HAL, I agree with the other respondents that you should stick with the Vista-class ships, Ziuderdam, Oosterdam, Westerdam and Noordam (next year). Also, if you're planning a voyage longer than 7 days, you will definitely have a much older crowd on HAL - .End Quote

With respect, I must take issue with you on your comments. With only 4 HAL cruises and no children I doubt you have cruised during school closing times.

Christina's children, with the exception of the littlest one, (who can also be looked after) are at a wonderful age for Club HAL. Traveling in March it's a fair bet that school will be out so I doubt they will be short of playmates.. Frequent childless cruisers avoid such dates.

I wonder on what authority you endorse staying with Vista-class ships? Are those the ships on which you've cruised? Personally we've not travelled on a Vista Class ship but we've several times sailed on all the other 'dam' ships (some of which have been replaced with Vista class vessels - they are just a bit too large for our taste).).

Last, but not least - what age group do you consider to be 'a much older crowd'?

We've cruised, wined and dined with 70+ year old honeymooners and I can tell you they had more get up and go than many 40 year olds!
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Old July 8th, 2005, 08:22 AM
PJ PJ is offline
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Default Re: suitable for kids ?

Suki - the Vista class ships were designed to be more "child friendly" than the other HAL ships. Initially, they were for the Caribbean - a strong "family" destination. I've been on the Zuiderdam twice - ages ranged from young kids to 80+ year olds. But the activities on the Vista ships were varied to accomodate those various age groups. When I took my daughter, they had a little "CD packet" - it looked like a little CD holder but it had the activites for the week for that age group in them - it was great because my daughter could "plan" her activities for the day.

I travelled during a Spring break (March '04) and there were a lot of kids on board, but in all honesty, you didn't really notice them. The Vista ships are large - there's always someplace that you can be with your own age group. In my case, the aft pool was mostly adult (30+ up). The Lido pool was where most familes with kids not in club HAL stayed, and the promenade deck was the place to go for complete relaxation.
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