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Old April 21st, 2008, 03:09 PM
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Default Children on Board - Good and Bad

Hello everyone!

I've read a great deal of posts of issues revolving around children on board cruises and for this board specifically HAL cruises.

I'd like to everyone to share stories in posts that just focus on experiences with children.

I ask two things:

Please don't write about your own children. (As parents we are slightly biased)

Please share positive experiences. If you feel strongly about sharing a negative experience, please place it in the perspective of how we as a reader could avoid it and not how someone's parent needs to improve.

Thanks,

Steven
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Old April 21st, 2008, 07:13 PM
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On my two HAL cruises, there were not lots of kids, so we never had any issues. In general, on my cruises, the only issues with children were in the hot tubs, and they were not major disruptions, by any means.I can honestly add, we have never experienced unruly children in any dining room, on any ship.

Its nice to see kids smiling, and why not they're on a cruise!
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 11:53 AM
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We sailed in 2003 on the Veendam with our six year old son. There were only 12 club Hal children on that sailing, we did see a few toddlers and babies too. I was extremely impressed from the moment I entered the cruise terminal and was warmly greeted by ALL Hal staff. Most of them took time to ask our son questions and took an interest in him. Many of the staff remembered his name and would ask him questions about his trip all week (and these were people that weren't being tipped by us at the end of the cruise).

All the children we saw were very well behaved and the other passengers would ignore the kids or some would be very cheeky with them like a grandparent. I found a lot of the older passengers would take an interest in us with our young son and would stop and chit chat, which they probably would not have done if we hadn't brought him.

**HOT TUB** Please remember that on Hal the children are not sailing free and do deserve to use the facilities. On our sailing we did not find the pools very inviting. One pool was almost never open and was extremely cold and the other pool had no shallow end. My son could not touch bottom anywhere and could only go hand over hand around the edge. We hardly ever saw an adult in the pool. So our son did use the hottub with us. If this is a problem then I think Hal should solve it like other lines have with adults only pool areas and hot tubs.
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Old April 22nd, 2008, 01:08 PM
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Well I don't have kids, and I am 56, so for my demographic kids should be annoying on a cruise. The last cruise I took was on the Zuiderdam but it was only a 4 night cruise from Vancouver to Los Angeles. This was the largest HAL ship I had ever been on and because of the shortness of the cruise there were quite a few kids on board.

Now none of them got in my way of fun at all, but the thing is my wife and myself are not water people. We walked around the ship on our two sea days and wondered where all the kid where. Well they were in the pools,,just jamming them up. So since the pools are not where we go, we had no problem whatsoever. I must also say,,there were A LOT of kids too, especially by the outside pool. I do wonder where they all went at night but wherever it was, it wasn't where I was so no problems with kids at all. The handful I saw in the dining room (we did late seatings) were perfectly behaved. I did see some in the Lido pool doing cannonballs which I suppose would annoy someone trying to use the pool for something else, but it was all good for us. Oh yeah, there were older ones (like teens) up top shooting hoops and playing badmiton.

So I suppose to sum this rant up, if you want adult fun and want to do adult things, there is no problem. If you have kids and want to do mainly family things, there is no problem. For some reason the two groups don't seem to mix in each others interests and the ships are large enough for one group not to notice the other group..
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Old April 25th, 2008, 08:25 AM
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interesting question and comments Steve: 1-you asked us not to comment on our own kids and already someone did and 2-you asked for poistive comments; if giving only positive comments will you get a true idea as to what cruising HAL with kids is like? I assume that is what you are after.

We were on the Amsterdam about 18 months ago and there were very few young people. Overall the ones sailing were fine. There were 2 children, a girl about 8 and boy about 10 that seemed very bored the few times we saw them around the pool. They weren't really doing anything wrong, just not seeming to be having a good time. Don't ask for details, as it was just a feeling. There were 2 very young boys we would see coming into the dining room each night. They seemed to be happy, smiling, well behaved and never acted up.

To me, the good thing about the few kids we saw, they were not creating any serious problems, the bad, they didn't seem to fit it.

My personal opinion, if there are children that will be cruising it is better to consider, RCI, NCL or Disney, maybe Carnival, depending on the level of cruising you are after. Even Celebrity caters to kids a little more than HAL. Again, this is my opinion and what I would tell a cliant.

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Old April 25th, 2008, 09:03 AM
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On our Statendam cruise we didn't see a young person for two or three days into the cruise. One night I spoke to the Hotel Manager and he said there were 23 people under 18 onboard. When I did find a teenager I asked where they had been keeping themselves. I hope they didn't have them locked up.

He responded that most of the young folks had been in the Club HAL area enjoying video games, other things and their own private area to hang out. I checked out the private are on the top deck, stern of the ship and I wished I was a under 18. It was great. Hammocks, hot tub, palm trees (fake) and a great view.

Also, It was a port intensive Asian cruise so there wasn't a lot of time for kids to be around the ship.

I do have to add that in all of my cruises, on all lines, I have never been bothered by kids. I admit I am reasonably tolerant of young kids and toddlers but no child has ever detracted from my cruise experience. I can't say that about a number of adults.

Take care,
Mike
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:34 AM
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On our sailing there were approx. 2000 adult passengers and 12 children in the kids club, sprinkle in a few teens and toddlers and there was probably less than 2 percent of the guests were children. I don't know where you can take a vacation and find fewer children around!

We recently went on a Hawaii non-cruise vacation and their were children everywhere. Many of them being very young children that wouldn't ever remember being in Hawaii. It's very difficult to go on vacation and find somone able to care for your children; it's easier to just bring them along. This is probably why RCCL, Disney, & Carnival have greatly expanded and invested in their children's programs facillites and staff.

Times are changing people now vacation with their children.
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Old April 25th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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On our sailing there were approx. 2000 adult passengers and 12 children in the kids club, sprinkle in a few teens and toddlers and there was probably less than 2 percent of the guests were children. I don't know where you can take a vacation and find fewer children around!

We recently went on a Hawaii non-cruise vacation and their were children everywhere. Many of them being very young children that wouldn't ever remember being in Hawaii. It's very difficult to go on vacation and find somone able to care for your children; it's easier to just bring them along. This is probably why RCCL, Disney, & Carnival have greatly expanded and invested in their children's programs facillites and staff.

Times are changing people now vacation with their children.
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Old May 3rd, 2008, 10:36 PM
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I'm going to break several of the rules but here goes...I agree with many of the comments posted in this string. We are bringing our two children on HAL this summer for a Med cruise. I was worried after reading several strings where cruisers were clearly less than welcoming of younger guests. We are paying for our children to be on the cruise ship. They will be monitored by us closely...but they are kids...they may do a cannon ball off the side of the pool. It happens. (not supposed to talk about my kids I know but I am being honest). If you really don't want children around, I would suggest booking a cruise without a children's program. We would love to sail on Silver Sea or Seabourn...but without a kid's program, we won't. And I agree with the comment about the size of the ships ...if you don't want to see kids, you should have more than enough options in other parts of the ship. Aren't we all on vacation on a HUGE boat anyway?! We take trips without our kids, and trust me, I have two kids 12 months apart...when we are off by ourselves, we want adult time. I have to say that the sound of a child laughing always makes me smile...even when I am in my adult only frame of mind. It's a vacation!! How lucky are we to be on it in the first place.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Destin Mom
I was worried after reading several strings where cruisers were clearly less than welcoming of younger guests. We are paying for our children to be on the cruise ship. They will be monitored by us closely...but they are kids...they may do a cannon ball off the side of the pool. It happens. (not supposed to talk about my kids I know but I am being honest). If you really don't want children around, I would suggest booking a cruise without a children's program.
I think a lot of folks who sail HAL believe the line is an adults-only one. That is not true. In fact, HAL is actively soliciting the family market and as such people are just gonna have to accept that they will have to share the ship with families and yes, children.

I agree with your advice. If people don't want children around, there are some things they can do to maximize their chances of not having them around, even on HAL. Take a longer cruise is one of them. Make sure that cruise takes place while school is in session as well. Taking more expensive cruises also minimizes the chance of having lots of children onboard simply because parents are not likely to want to spend a lot of money on exotic cruises for children who probably won't appreciate them anyway.

Most of my cruises have been longer ones. One of them was for 30-days (Hawaii and the South Pacific in January of 2006). On that cruise, we had one child passenger onboard who was traveling with his mom. I think he was probably about two or three years old. We also had another child onboard as far as Hawaii. I believe he was about six years old and he was the son of one of the officers who was getting off the ship with his mom in Hawaii.

Another cruise I took was an 18-day repositioning one from Tampa to Venice. Eight children on that one.

But if you take typical seven and ten day cruises, of course you're gonna get a lot of kids onboard, especially if those cruises take place during school holidays.

I think what we all have to do is learn to get along. HAL is no longer an adults-only line (if ever they were such), and since they are actively seeking to get the family market onboard, HAL's traditional cruiser who would prefer a child-free environment onboard is going to have to either change their outlook or, as you say, seek a cruise line that has no provisions for children and thus doesn't appeal to the family market.

Go on your cruise with your kids, and the other passengers will just have to deal with it if one of them does a cannonball into the ball. After all, getting splashed with a little water isn't going to kill them.

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Old May 20th, 2008, 07:32 PM
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It's been interesting to see how this thread has gone.

I have read about some dreadful experiences concerning children being on cruises. I've also read about some peasant experiences.

I have experienced everything from the good to the not quite so good. but children become easy targets of attention. If you find a child behaving poorly, pay attention and I'll bet you can more easily find an adult behaving poorly. And I am not referring to the parents.

Generally I don't think children make worse passengers than adults. I have seen some teenagers being sick from drinking, while I've never seen an adult in this state. I've experienced children being disruptive and loud, but I've experienced far more adults being far more disruptive and loud.

I have empathized with parents who have taken toddlers and small children on a cruise, they work terribly hard for an experience that their children probably won't remember. I cruise to relax and as I project my values on them, I don't understand how they are enjoying their vacation.

I think the key is what many of you have mentioned; we must recognized that children will be on board. How we deal with it will be up to us. There are lots of options to avoid them. One can sail a more expensive line that generally excludes children or one can easily avoid where most children will be on the ship.

Steven
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Old June 13th, 2008, 11:46 PM
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As a dad whose kiddo has cruised since age 1 on HAL and has logged more cruises than most adults on this board, I have to say cruises can be fun for kids. I have never had a bad experience with kids being aboard, although I fault parents for having them in hot tubs, where medically they do not belong. I have also seen some scratchings in some HAL elevators that might have been kid vandalism, but then again some adults are wacko enough to do that, too.

I guess as a Scuba Ranger Leader I have a license to toss the kiddos in the water if they get out of hand.
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Old June 14th, 2008, 09:12 AM
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I agree that it's tough to not break the rules on this one, so I'm going to. Our first HAL cruise was with my parents, my husband, my 11 yr. old daughter and my 3 yr. old son. HAL was their favorite line, so onto the Noordam we went. Our daughter was busy with the kids' program the entire time, and our son was with us or his grandparents. I don't remember anyone being unhappy with him, other than the one time we wandered into a bingo game and he decided that "bingo" was a really fun word to say REALLY LOUDLY...there was one older lady who was one number away and wasn't too happy about that, but she ended up winning so it worked out! We are going on the Zuiderdam next month with my dad (my son is now 13) and I'm sure we won't see a lot of him as well.

Bottom line - have to agree that cruisers should assume that there will be kids on a cruise line that has a kids' program. And I also agree that I've been inconvenienced far more by inconsiderate adults who are convinced that the cruise exists only for them.

Cathy
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Old June 14th, 2008, 09:14 AM
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I agree that it's tough to not break the rules on this one, so I'm going to. Our first HAL cruise was with my parents, my husband, my 11 yr. old daughter and my 3 yr. old son. HAL was their favorite line, so onto the Noordam we went. Our daughter was busy with the kids' program the entire time, and our son was with us or his grandparents. I don't remember anyone being unhappy with him, other than the one time we wandered into a bingo game and he decided that "bingo" was a really fun word to say REALLY LOUDLY...there was one older lady who was one number away and wasn't too happy about that, but she ended up winning so it worked out! We are going on the Zuiderdam next month with my dad (my son is now 13) and I'm sure we won't see a lot of him as well.

Bottom line - have to agree that cruisers should assume that there will be kids on a cruise line that has a kids' program. And I also agree that I've been inconvenienced far more by inconsiderate adults who are convinced that the cruise exists only for them.

Cathy
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Old July 1st, 2008, 12:50 PM
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We've been on two HAL cruises, both Westerdam, in 2007 and 2008. In February 2007, the presence of children was almost non-existent. However, in April 2008, it apparently was spring break time for schools in the south. There were, according to HAL, a record number of kids onboard. We, in fact, were onboard with my sister and BIL and their 8-year-old twins. Since they technically aren't my children, I can comment on them. They are extremely well behaved and constantly read books. They preferred to just sit and read (I know, weird isn't it???). They would occasionally go in the pool to cool off, but then hop right back onto their lounge chair and read.

Having said that, there was a boisterous crowd of adolescents and parents onboard. They appeared to all know each other. The adolescents (as well as some of the adults) got extremely rowdy. They began playing football in the main pool. They basically took over the entire pool. Nobody could be in there without being majorly doused with water or knocked into. Then the kids started jumping out of the pool and running around the outer edge and having the football thrown to them and catching it in midair as they jumped back into the pool (One of the father's was the instigator of this). At one point they almost knocked over an elderly gentleman who clearly had Alzheimer's. At this point, I told one of the kids to "knock it off before someone gets hurt." He proceeded to walk over to his mother (who was lounging on a chair oblivious to what was going on), said something to his mother, and she sneered at me. My niece and nephew didn't even attempt to go into the pool when this group was in there. I complained to the pool attendant...nothing was done. I complained to a second pool attendant...they said they'd take care of it, but nothing was done. I then went down to the front desk and complained. They informed me that since kids were allowed in that pool, there was nothing they could do. At that point I just gave up...

I'm sure our experience was the exception to the rule, but it was nonetheless just as annoying.
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Old July 1st, 2008, 01:35 PM
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J-A:

There are two pools aboard most ships. One is primarily adults and the other is kiddos and the general public. You might have moved to the aft pool which is usually adults?

Expecting staff to supervise an unsupervised pool on any ship is a loosing battle IMHO. Only when there is an obvious danger will security step in.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo-Ann
We've been on two HAL cruises, both Westerdam, in 2007 and 2008. In February 2007, the presence of children was almost non-existent. However, in April 2008, it apparently was spring break time for schools in the south. There were, according to HAL, a record number of kids onboard. We, in fact, were onboard with my sister and BIL and their 8-year-old twins. Since they technically aren't my children, I can comment on them. They are extremely well behaved and constantly read books. They preferred to just sit and read (I know, weird isn't it???). They would occasionally go in the pool to cool off, but then hop right back onto their lounge chair and read.

Having said that, there was a boisterous crowd of adolescents and parents onboard. They appeared to all know each other. The adolescents (as well as some of the adults) got extremely rowdy. They began playing football in the main pool. They basically took over the entire pool. Nobody could be in there without being majorly doused with water or knocked into. Then the kids started jumping out of the pool and running around the outer edge and having the football thrown to them and catching it in midair as they jumped back into the pool (One of the father's was the instigator of this). At one point they almost knocked over an elderly gentleman who clearly had Alzheimer's. At this point, I told one of the kids to "knock it off before someone gets hurt." He proceeded to walk over to his mother (who was lounging on a chair oblivious to what was going on), said something to his mother, and she sneered at me. My niece and nephew didn't even attempt to go into the pool when this group was in there. I complained to the pool attendant...nothing was done. I complained to a second pool attendant...they said they'd take care of it, but nothing was done. I then went down to the front desk and complained. They informed me that since kids were allowed in that pool, there was nothing they could do. At that point I just gave up...

I'm sure our experience was the exception to the rule, but it was nonetheless just as annoying.
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Old July 2nd, 2008, 11:23 AM
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On our Alaska cruise last week there were lots of kids....only to be expected. DH and I were very impressed w/ how well-behaved they all seemed to be. Of course we only saw them at meals and on shore excursions, and occasionally around the ship..... we didn't use the pools on this cruise.

The one exception was a two-year-old that some Aussie idiots took on a 4-hour boat excursion in Ketchican......but that was the parent's fault...... the little boy was just acting like a two-year-old. How else would he behave? BTW.... not classifying all Aussies as idiots.... just those particular ones.
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Old July 7th, 2008, 05:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arkiegal
On our Alaska cruise last week there were lots of kids....only to be expected. DH and I were very impressed w/ how well-behaved they all seemed to be. Of course we only saw them at meals and on shore excursions, and occasionally around the ship..... we didn't use the pools on this cruise.

The one exception was a two-year-old that some Aussie idiots took on a 4-hour boat excursion in Ketchican......but that was the parent's fault...... the little boy was just acting like a two-year-old. How else would he behave? BTW.... not classifying all Aussies as idiots.... just those particular ones.
I have to agree, though I have mixed feelings about very young children cruisine (I am thinking about kids not old enough for the kids programs) overall, the kids I have seen on ships have been well behaved especially on HAL>

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Old July 7th, 2008, 11:14 PM
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Well, time to bail out on your Eurodam October 15, 2008 cruise - my now teenage son is ditching school to sail. Best stay off the beach at HMC when we rent the horses and stay out of the water when we rent the sailboat. Hide your young heiresses!


Quote:
Originally Posted by nmnita
Quote:
Originally Posted by arkiegal
On our Alaska cruise last week there were lots of kids....only to be expected. DH and I were very impressed w/ how well-behaved they all seemed to be. Of course we only saw them at meals and on shore excursions, and occasionally around the ship..... we didn't use the pools on this cruise.

The one exception was a two-year-old that some Aussie idiots took on a 4-hour boat excursion in Ketchican......but that was the parent's fault...... the little boy was just acting like a two-year-old. How else would he behave? BTW.... not classifying all Aussies as idiots.... just those particular ones.
I have to agree, though I have mixed feelings about very young children cruisine (I am thinking about kids not old enough for the kids programs) overall, the kids I have seen on ships have been well behaved especially on HAL>

Nita
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Old July 9th, 2008, 10:31 AM
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On my Alaska cruise there were a handful of children, all ages, and all extremely well behaved. However, I was usually not in a part of the ship that attracted kids, such as the pool areas. I saw a little bit of elevator games, but nothing to get in a snit over. Never did I see children in the casino/bar areas. I did witness an angry Mom enraged that her teens were not allowed in the spa, a standard rule even on land. The spa staff stood their ground, much to my relief since the spa is major part of my cruise experience. The whole point of the spa is to provide a quiet, soothing ambience and the shrill voices of children would immediately disrupt it.

On the Mexico sailing there were a far greater number of children, but again, not so many that it was noticeable and they were either around the pools or Club Hal. I did the dolphin encounter and naturally there were children participating in that, but it made it fun! I also had Anytime Dining and sat at a table with two children that were well-behaved.

My feeling is children have a right to be on a cruise as much as anybody else and I would welcome them at my table.

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Old July 17th, 2008, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo-Ann
My niece and nephew didn't even attempt to go into the pool when this group was in there. I complained to the pool attendant...nothing was done. I complained to a second pool attendant...they said they'd take care of it, but nothing was done. I then went down to the front desk and complained. They informed me that since kids were allowed in that pool, there was nothing they could do. At that point I just gave up...
I hope you took your neice and nephew back to the aft pool then? If the pool staff is not going to do anything to stop the shennigans in the main pool, making it an unsafe place for your neice and nephew to swim in, I would have told the front desk that I was taking them back to the aft pool and letting them swim there, regardless of whether or not children were "permitted" in that aft pool. If HAL can't provide a safe environment for them to swim in the main pool, then I see no problem with letting them use the aft one ... and trust me, HAL wouldn't give you any crap whatsoever about it ... because they wouldn't want to have to tell the other kids to get stop their stuff in the main pool.

Blue skies ...

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Old July 27th, 2008, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by kryos
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo-Ann
My niece and nephew didn't even attempt to go into the pool when this group was in there. I complained to the pool attendant...nothing was done. I complained to a second pool attendant...they said they'd take care of it, but nothing was done. I then went down to the front desk and complained. They informed me that since kids were allowed in that pool, there was nothing they could do. At that point I just gave up...
I hope you took your neice and nephew back to the aft pool then? If the pool staff is not going to do anything to stop the shennigans in the main pool, making it an unsafe place for your neice and nephew to swim in, I would have told the front desk that I was taking them back to the aft pool and letting them swim there, regardless of whether or not children were "permitted" in that aft pool. If HAL can't provide a safe environment for them to swim in the main pool, then I see no problem with letting them use the aft one ... and trust me, HAL wouldn't give you any crap whatsoever about it ... because they wouldn't want to have to tell the other kids to get stop their stuff in the main pool.

Blue skies ...

--rita
Rita, actually I don't think it would have been possible to move my niece and nephew to the aft pool. One afternoon they had all the lounge chairs and regular chairs and tables removed from the main pool because they were setting up for an evening deck party. In order for the kids to use the pool and us adults supervise them, we would have had to either stand at the edge of the pool the entire time, or (as one of the pool attendants suggested), just go up one deck and sit up there. Sitting one deck up wasn't feasible as we would never leave 8-year-olds in a pool with us so far away. Since this wasn't convenient, we asked if the kids could use the aft pool. They reluctantly gave us an "okay", but boy, did we ever get some ugly stares from the adults at the aft pool. Mind you, my niece and nephew are extremely quiet, well-behaved kids (really, I'm not just saying that). They are pretty much book worms, but like to go into the pool, and they don't act up at all (believe me, my sister would never put up with it). Anyway, we felt so uncomfortable we left the pool area so as not to upset anybody who didn't want children there.

Jo-Ann
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Old July 30th, 2008, 12:55 PM
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On our one recent cruise to Mexico on Oosterdam, we cruised while school was in session as we do want to avoid crowds of kids.

There weren't that many at all on the cruise, and the few that I saw in the dining room and around the ship were fine.

However, a small group of (apparently unrelated) kids - about 5 or 6 of them, started jumping in the main pool and that small number managed effectively to clear the pool of adults the entire time they were there. The parents were sitting around the pool and did not discipline them. The kids were also in the adult-only hot pool both alone & with their parents.

We had rather cool weather on this winter cruise and the aft "adult" pool was not a pleasant option. So this small group of kids managed to take over the main pool at prime hours on sea days. They were just being kids, and I know adults behave badly too, but what is your option if you, also, would like to use the pool? Going to a higher-priced line is not a reasonable answer.
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