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Old April 3rd, 2008, 01:08 AM
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Default 1st cruise.......help........need advice!

My family and have just planned our 1st cruise to the Caribbean with Holland America on the Eurodam on November 8. We were torn between the Crown Princess and the Eurodam and we finally decided on the Eurodam as it is a newer ship. Still, I would like to get more advice and/or opinions. Here are some questions I have........

1) I have a 7 and 4 year old . Will they enjoy Club HAL?

2) My husband and I are in our mid-late 30s, is the demographics on HAL a good balance of yonge and old?

3) Princess vs HAL?

Thank you ''










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Old April 3rd, 2008, 01:37 AM
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From all indications I do think Eurodam is going to be a magnificent ship.


However, to be honest, Holland America is likely the last line I would recommend for a first cruise to folks your age with young children.

Princess might be a bit of a better fit. Though to get a demographic that may fit even better, you may want to look at NCL, RCI, or Carnival.

Though still officially hurricane season... Nov. hurricanes are pretty rare, so I wouldn't consider that an issue. Plus ships move faster than hurricanes, so you wouldnt likely suffer much more than a possible change in itinerary.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Default Re: 1st cruise.......help........need advice!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MKC22
Hi Everyone,

This is my first time ever to post a message so I apologize in advance if I've written to much.

My family and I have never cruised before and have just planned our 1st cruise to the Caribbean with Holland America on the Eurodam in November. We were torn between the Crown Princess and the Eurodam and we finally decided on the Eurodam as it is a newer boat. Still, I would like to get more advice and/or opinions. Here are some questions I have........

1) I have a 7 and 4 year old . Will they enjoy Club HAL?

2) My husband and I are in our mid-late 30s, is this boat too "old" for us?

3) Traveling in November is the hurricane season, how safe is it?

4) Princess Cruise vs Holland America?

Thank you in advance for all your advice! ''










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Hi D and welcome to Cruisemates. Don't worry about asking questions, that is one of the things these boards are good for.

I cant' answer all your questions maybe but I will try.

YOu have picked a good ship and if you are traveling during Thanksgiving break the kids will have a great time, if earlier I think I would choose Princess. HAL is doing everything to attract families and there are some on every sailing, but it is still a cruise line geared to a little older crowd. Now the good thing is, the kids will get attention as there won't be many others sailing.

Don't worry about hurricanes. Yes, the season officially starts June 1st and ends Nov 30, but it is rare to see any problems much before mid July or after late Oct. The real danger if you can call it that is from mid Aug to mid Oct. November? the most you might get is some rain and rough seas. That can happen anytime of the year.

Have a great cruise. BTW, have you posted your questions on Princess thread as well and did you give any consideration to sailing RCI or NCL with young children? These lines as well as Carnival are designed more with families in mind. This does not mean you won't enjoy Princess or HAL, it is simply a matter of where you will fit in best and the kids will have the best time. They are at a great age for cruising.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 11:04 AM
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Default Thanks!

Thanks for the tip, nmnita for posting it on the Princess thread as well.

We looked into RCI and NCL and found the ship to be very large with over 3000 people on them. We don't like crowds too much and fear that it would overwhelm us. We were drawn to Holland because of the simple and classy ships and supposedly good food.

We are going Nov 8 so it won't be during Thanksgiving. My travel agent tells me that my kids are at an age where they will have fun on any boat and since it is our 1st cruise it will be great for them anywhere so he suggested we choose a ship to cater more to our needs. I know the NCL and RCI have lots of features (skating, flow rider, rock climbing) but I don't think our family would use any of it so it really does not matter. I think our main priorities are a good stateroom, kids club and a good spot to just lay in the sun and do nothing! We just really want to experience cruising and what it's like to be on a ship.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 11:38 AM
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I can only speak from our families experiences on the Zaandam and Maasdam. The boys (were bored to tears at the kids program. We went on a non holiday time in November and in May (with Grandparents who are only HAL cruisers).

The good: the cabins are large and the staff were all great to the kids (except the kids program staff - who were surly and bored). There were very few kids on board, may a dozen or so. No problem getting loungers by the pool (all the people were playing bingo - no kidding).

The bad: the food (think banquet hall food). The kids program. Not that I want to be flamed for this, but the number of people with wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks was pretty shocking. Horrible customer service on the Zaandam (no A/C for the whole week and they would do nothing). Maasdam was better for food.

My boys have also been on NCL (Spirit and the Gem) and said (unprompted I might add) that "I liked the cruise on HAL but I liked the one on the Spirit 100x better" this was a day or so before we left on the Gem. I know they liked the Gem even more. I have very easy to please boys BTW.

I personally think there are better choices for those with younger children for a non-school break week.

That being said, my in laws love HAL and have hundreds of sea days with them and have booked an upcoming 35 day from Vancouver on the Statendam, they have done Alaska, Mexico, Hawaii, Caribbean etc as well (so lots of 7days). It is right up their alley, they are both about 79.
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Old April 3rd, 2008, 12:03 PM
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Default Re: Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MKC22
Thanks for the tip, nmnita for posting it on the Princess thread as well.

We looked into RCI and NCL and found the ship to be very large with over 3000 people on them. We don't like crowds too much and fear that it would overwhelm us. We were drawn to Holland because of the simple and classy ships and supposedly good food.

We are going Nov 8 so it won't be during Thanksgiving. My travel agent tells me that my kids are at an age where they will have fun on any boat and since it is our 1st cruise it will be great for them anywhere so he suggested we choose a ship to cater more to our needs. I know the NCL and RCI have lots of features (skating, flow rider, rock climbing) but I don't think our family would use any of it so it really does not matter. I think our main priorities are a good stateroom, kids club and a good spot to just lay in the sun and do nothing! We just really want to experience cruising and what it's like to be on a ship.
The cabins on HAL are the nicest of any line we have cruised, which is a lot of lines. The food is good, similar to Princess., in some cases better. yes, the ships are classy and the crew friendly, but I am still a bit concerned about the kids and the kids club, especially at that time of the year. You will see mainly people from 60 to 90 cruising. I don't mean there are no kids or no 30 somethings, but they will be fewer than even on Princess. I am telling you this the same way I would tell my clients and HAL is my second favorite line. As for laying in the sun and doing nothing, you will certainly get that.

Good luck,

Nita
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Old April 4th, 2008, 04:43 PM
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Welcome aboard, New Cruisers. I could add a bunch but most of it has been said already. Only one thing I like to add: Please, don't call these things BOAT. The crew will hate you. Towards the end of your post you somehow reverted to SHIP; and that's what they are called. Have a grand time whom ever you travel (cruise) with. We are straight HAL cruisers. BTW, on our last cruise aboard the Amsterdam, the only time we saw the kids was in the dining room and most complaint about being tired since they had TOOOOO much to do. Just my nickel's worth.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:52 AM
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I have to take exception to several of Sun's comments.

I've received excellent service on my 6 HAL cruises. If you think the food is on a par with banquet hall fare, you must go to some pretty highbrow banquets.

What is shocking about wheelchairs and oxygen tanks? On my recent Oosterdam cruise, there was 1 person using oxygen, 2 in wheelchairs, 1 with an electric scooter, and a few canes. This was out of almost 1,800 passengers. Ironically, most of the passengers using medical equipment were relatively young. Bad stuff just doesn't happen to older folks. For instance, there was woman in her late 40s in a wheelchair who had a massive stroke at age 41...this could happen to any one of us, including someone in their 20s.

Some families have reported that their children got MORE attention in Club HAL when sailing at times when there were fewer kids onboard.

Relax and enjoy your cruise!

Shelby
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:23 PM
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Our family sailed on the Veendam in 2003 and LOVED it!!! Our son was six at the time and was well behaved and able to sit through the meals. On our sailing there were only 12 children during the cruise and at that time the children's club was limited, but I have read that Holland America has made improvements and additions to the club.

The staff made our son feel extra special, everyone greeted him warmly all around the ship and they seemed genuinely interested in his experience. Any time he was in the kids club and my husband and I were alone, the staff would ask where's Jackson? It seemed as is every staff member knew his name by the end of the first day. I was impressed!

We sailed on RCCL, Freedom of the Seas, last year and the boys liked the kids club on this ship and the staff was very good, but our kids were just two of 100's they see every week.

The mostly older passengers were accepting of our young son, many of them are loving grandparents after all, but our son was always well behaved and not disrupting to other guests. Our younger son is not as well behaved and is not able to sit through meals yet and I think that would not be well received by other passengers.

On the first night of the cruise, while we were waiting for our late supper seating, I took Jackson to one of the piano bars and we danced together to 40's music, the older onlookers loved it!!

Some of the kids clubs on these ships have such long hours I am surprised that some parents even see their kids during the week. My husband and I enjoy the "experience" of being on vacation with our children and this cruise was one of the best times of our lives.

For someone who has traved on Holland America with children I think your family will have a fantastic time. I think the family editor on cruisemates has traved on HAL with her children and has good insite, you might want to look up her articles. ENJOY!!!
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:30 PM
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Sun

Quote:
Not that I want to be flamed for this, but the number of people with wheelchairs, walkers, oxygen tanks was pretty shocking.
Please don't knock it! You might be there some day.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 12:43 PM
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Cruising is one of the better and easier ways to travel for disabled individuals. Why did it shock you that people with disabilities were on the ship?

Do you plan on traveling when you're older and/or disabled?

Shelby
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Old April 5th, 2008, 04:31 PM
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In response to Shelby and DeeDee, the only place I have every seen so many walkers is in Carlingwood Mall here in Ottawa, as it is one level and carpeted. What I found shocking is I have never in my life seen so many walkers, scooters, oxygen tanks in my entire life. Yet there were dozens on the HAL sailings. It was a stark contrast to the next sailing (right after the Maasdam) on ncl Spirit - I saw one woman with an oxygen tank. Much, much younger crowd. I have wondered why we saw so many people with these sort of things, because we rarely see them here. Are Canadians in better health in general? I am being serious, as I have never seen anyone in public here with an oxygen tank.

So far no one in my family (Grandparents, elderly parents, elderly aunties etc) use or have used any of the above mentioned appliances, maybe I will be lucky in that regard - or just keep active, not smoke and stay healthly and hope for the best. My inlaws who are die hard HAL fans are close to 80 and they get around just fine on the ships. It seemed to me that there are limitations for some with disabilities, when we were in Grand Cayman a very large man in a scooter (400lbs I would say and a heavy smoker, I saw him puffing away during the week yuck) wasn't able to be taken on the tender. He complained and complained, I felt sorry for the staff on the Zaandam, there was no way they could hoist this man on the tender, and of course there was no way he could have gotten off the tender and on to the steps at the dock in Georgetown. There are so many tendered ports I am sure this is a common occurance.

An aside, my FIL who is a retired RCN Commandor said something like 'a boat is what you take when the ship is sinking' lol

As for the children issue, I know the counsellors know the kids, but the kids won't have many or any playmates for the week. We were cruising with family (8 of us in total) so we were at our own table. I don't know if other people would have been so happy having meals with my boys during the week. They are extremely well behaved and they know how to use cutlery properly (gee if only some adults would learn! lol) and are adventerous eaters. My boys are history buffs and can carry on conversations as well, but not everyone wants to be near kids all week. I see it again and again on the boards were many people complain about children on board ship. The staff certainly treated our boys well, no complaints at all. They enjoyed being on ships with more kids their age.

If DH go on a cruise by ourselves we are looking into RSSC so it would probably be a cruise with no kids on board at all. Then we wouldn't feel guilty
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Old April 5th, 2008, 09:49 PM
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Did you look at Disney or Costa? We did our first on Costa "Romantica"
and even though we did NOT have children with us - the children were
having a great time !! The staff on the Costa line are primarily Italian
and what a fun loving group of staff they are !!! Really got all the passengers (who wanted to) involved and letting their hair down. As
far as Disney - you certainly will have plenty of children for playmates - I have no personal experience with the line - so you'll have to ask for
other's opinions.
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Old April 5th, 2008, 11:06 PM
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After booking our HAL cruise on Nov 8 on the Eurodam, my husband found out he had a very important meeting that week so we have decided to change our date to Dec 13. I think with it being closer to the holidays we might get more kids on the ship (I could be wrong).
In any case, we feel the kids club is a place for the kids to enjoy and be entertained for a few hours and not a place for you to "dump" your kids for the entire day. We DO want to spend time as a family and enjoy the cruise together. We chose the HAL because from their brochure, website and comments we've read on multiple cruise websites, it feels like a luxury cruise ship with good food and service (that is important to us) and will not be so crowded and "noisy" as bigger cruise lines.
While doing our research, we stumbled upon videos (from passengers who put them on YouTube) on Princess ("sexy legs" contest) and RCL ("belly flop" contest) as very tacky (sorry, not to offend anyone) and we are not interested in such things.
All we want is a nice quiet cruise and if that means traveling with an older crowd, we don't see anything wrong with that. After all someday we will all be that age and we will not want younger adults to feel like they can't enjoy being on the same vacation as us!
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Old April 6th, 2008, 12:20 PM
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I think it is funny that you should think only 'tacky' contests are on RCI or Princess...the tackiest contest that I have ever seen was on HAL lol it was a wet t-shirt (mind of the gutter!!) were two lines of people (one on either side of the pool) team a & b each had a wet t-shirt that they had to put on and the next person got it off and put it on, all the way down the line. It was funny and the losing team got the better prize! Apparently, they do this on HAL, which is quite funny. We walked away from some such contest with a travel alarm clock
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Old April 6th, 2008, 12:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sun~
I think it is funny that you should think only 'tacky' contests are on RCI or Princess...the tackiest contest that I have ever seen was on HAL lol it was a wet t-shirt (mind of the gutter!!) were two lines of people (one on either side of the pool) team a & b each had a wet t-shirt that they had to put on and the next person got it off and put it on, all the way down the line. It was funny and the losing team got the better prize! Apparently, they do this on HAL, which is quite funny. We walked away from some such contest with a travel alarm clock
I haven't seen that done in years? They used to have a lot of pool games (this one included) on the old Volendam, Rotterdam V and the "N" ships.

In fact I've seen very few pool games on HAL ships in the last few years.

When did you see this on a HAL ship and which one, can you remember?
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Old April 6th, 2008, 02:06 PM
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Boy has this thread turned out to be interesting: As for Sun's comments about walkers, oxygen, etc, even at 70 years old I think this is a point that should be pointed out. Of course it depends on the itiinerary as well as other things, but yes, we have seen more people using such things on HAL followed by Princess. I didn't take it as an insult being written, but more as a comment as they were not quite prepared for this. Anyway, it is still something to be mentioned so others will know what to expect.

MCK22: for what you seem to want and what your impressions are about HAL compared to other lines I think you are making a good choice. I do want to say a couple of things< no. there will not be more kids sailing on the 13th of Dec, anytime after the 15th this may be the case, but not when you are cruising and don't expect HAL to be that much more upscale from other mass marketed lines. Other than the fresh flowers throughout the ship and the slightly larger cabins it nothing like the luxury liners. Today's mass marketed lines are more alike than different.

I do think you will have a great time, and if I understand you correctly this is your first cruise. If so you will be completely satisfied. I still would not have chosen HAL with kids, but you know your kids and what they will like. I really think your mind was made up before you posted, you just wanted some re-assurance and you got that from many.

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Old November 7th, 2013, 07:20 PM
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Question Oxyger on ship

My son, age 32, is on oxygen, 24/7. He cannot be without it. Being so limited as to what he can do, attending concerts, ballgames, etc, where there is alot of walking up stairs, and so forth, I thought maybe a cruise could be a place he could go and we, his parents, would love to try a cruise too. However, it sounds like a major major battle to get his air supply on board, and to make sure he has it the length of the cruise. He needs constant air flow; in other words, the portable concentrators are not an option. Those with batteries will not work for him. He has to have the large one that plugs in, and then, carries a tank in a carrier over his shoulder when not in the room. It seems that to have the tanks he would need over maybe 5 day cruise, would be unmanageable. Does anyone know how this can be done? Surely, he is not the only person who has this kind of problem.
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Old November 8th, 2013, 02:31 AM
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This is not really a problem. Cruise lines are very aware of special needs, so they can be very accommodating.

Plus, if you need anything special, there are companies that can provide anything you need. We have a contract with a company, Special Needs at Sea, and our clients have had wonderful experiences with them.

Just because you son has special needs is no reason to exclude him from having a wonderful cruise.

Pete
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Old November 8th, 2013, 08:03 AM
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I agree with Cruise Planner. A cruise would be a great way to go. The cruise lines are excellent at accommodating special needs, like oxygen, and he will be able to enjoy all the shows and entertainment.

Your travel agent should be able to work with a company like CP's "Special Needs at Sea" to make sure oxygen is available for him.

The big problem is the airlines. They are not as good and there are more hoops to jump through in order to fly to the cruise.

Take care and enjoy,
Mike
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