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  1. #1
    lambjam's Avatar
    lambjam is offline Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!
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    Default Anyone taken children on a cruise?

    We're toying with the idea... We're looking at Holland America, which doesn't seem to appeal as much to the schoolies market, and has what look to be great children's facilities.

    Our children would be 14 months, 3 years, 6 years and 11 years.

    Any experiences? TIA!

  2. #2
    BH-KatiesMum's Avatar
    BH-KatiesMum is offline Community Manager
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    have taken my DD on Royal Carribean - but not Holland Amercia line. Check out the kids activities and stuff carefully, but most of the lines at that level are aimed at the family market.

    DD was 5 and it was AMAZING

    we had a balcony cabin as they were the only ones with fold out lounge rather than pull down extra beds ... but if you had connecting rooms for the kids you wouldnt need the upgrade.

    They have fantastic activities for the kids ... of all ages. Only the baby would be an issue as the kids club supervision is not including babies. They do have babysitters (pay extra) so that you can have a night or two to yourself.

    Food is awesome, entertainment is great, kids are happy ... you get to see them and do fun things together, and get time apart to have fun and enjoy yourselves as well.

    We are going to Europe in a few months, and are taking DD .... and doing another cruise over in the Mediterranean as well

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    lambjam  (28-04-2012)

  4. #3
    lambjam's Avatar
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    Thanks for your reply!

    Apart from the actual children's programs, what else did your DD enjoy? I'm assuming that between eating, swimming, the children's program and movies they should be occupied, but am just trying to make sure they're going to have a good time, and not be bored for two weeks without their toys etc... I can't imagine anything worse than them getting bored a few days into it!

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    BH-KatiesMum's Avatar
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    well - the kids club is open every day (free), which she LOVED. They have different activities at different times of the day, so no matter when she went there, there was something fun to do.

    A typical day was
    - breakfast all together,
    - a morning swim and maybe some rockclimbing or the deck games stuff,
    - then dd to kids club for an hour or two - while we relax, swim, go to an activity, watch a movie or read a book.
    - collect DD for lunch, then an afternoon swim. They usually had a band, pool games or other activities at that time which we enjoyed.
    - sometimes we would all do something together, sometimes we would do stuff with other families or couples we met (quite a lot of kids, so you got to know the parents as the kids make friends easily) or the kids would go back to kids club while we had afternoon cocktails, shopping, icecarving, pool games, wii competition, minigolf, dancing lessons or various other stuff that was going on
    - we had the early dinner which was at 6 (and I love the main dining room so we rarely went to the buffet) ... so we would go shower and get organised for dinner.
    - we had a table with 2 other families, and all the kids loved the kids club and each other ... so given the choice of staying for desert or going to the kids club at 7 when it re-opened, they regularly chose the kids club for the evening activities ) so 2 parents were the designated 'droppers' ... and we all got to enjoy desert, coffee and after dinner drinks in peace.
    - we went to the show, or a bar where they had music every night. If DD was interested, we would go and get here first ... and after the show (about 10) they would usually have another party/dance/activity that we would stay for. Even DD stayed up late and got up late .... 70's night was hilarious.
    - latenight supper if we could squeeze any more food in

    Food - was just amazing. The place served food constantly ... and it is AMAZING ... so all is good. As I said, I enjoyed the main dining room (5 star service always does it for me ) and we had a great table with other families, so we went there every night - but if that isnt to your taste, the buffet is open constantly and has no dress requirements, has really great food and is easy.

    Music / evening entertainment - the boat we went on certainly was geared to an older market. Having said that, we still had a fantastic time and really enjoyed ourselves. There were plenty of people our age (late 30's) ... and all other ages actually.

    Daily activities / entertainment - there is always something to do - for all ages. The teenage section had video games and a disco (though I think the video games were a bit expensive). They had wii and playstation competitions, karaoke, airguitar and dance nights, rock climbing competitions, pool games and loads of stuff. They give out medals for winning the games .... which the teenagers especially are fairly competitive about

    Because its all enclosed, well supervised and staffed, you relax a bit about the kids and let them have a bit more freedom than they would normally get ... and most kids have a fantastic time.

    the 3 and 6 year olds will be fine (as long as the 3 yr old is toilet trained, or wears pullups/nappies) and generally they will be kept together for the 6 yr old to reassure the 3 yr old (you are not allowed to stay with them ... which was a bit odd to me to start with, but makes it much easier as they cant beg you to stay, and they quickly get used to it). They will give you a beeper to let you know if the kids arent happy.
    The 11 yr old will be in a seperate area/program geared to kids his/her age.

    Anyway - I was a bit hesitant at taking DD ... but we ALL had a fantastic time.
    Last edited by BH-KatiesMum; 25-04-2012 at 20:26.

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  7. #5
    lambjam's Avatar
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    Thank you SO much for all that information! I can't wait to show DH, many thanks

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    lambjam's Avatar
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    OMG... It looks like we're going to do it! I'm in a small state of shock about spending this much, but we haven't had a proper holiday in years and this seems an ideal way to get away with the children.

    Oh so excited!

  9. #7
    lambjam's Avatar
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    And... we're booked

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    Oh I'm envious.

    Have fun x

  11. #9
    BH-KatiesMum's Avatar
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    ooh sounds exciting

    where are you going?

    As far as toys go, I took a small bag of things for DD to do.
    Some very small toys (princess figurines and hello kitty things), a couple of colouring books and some pencils, and a mini tv thing we had.

    The mini tv was awesome (or an ipod or game of some kind) for when they are just too tired. (like this) and was great for the plane too

    take several sets of bathers, shorts and tshirts and dressy clothes if you plan on using the main dining room. They usually have 1 formal night if the cruise is 5 nights, or 2 if it is longer than that.

    They also have great photo places on board. Its free for sittings, and the photos can turn out really, really nice (not the formal night ones and stuff, but where you go there for family sittings)

    shops on board are really expensive .... so dont buy stuff. if you find something you really want, wait till the last day or so as the shops often have sales at the end of each cruise.

    excursions are REALLY expensive, and depending on where you are going is whether or not you would do them or go on your own - especially with a baby.

    check in online before you go if you can ... (dunno with Holland Amercia but I am assuming you can). makes life so much easier when you get there

    check on their website about a month or so before you go, they may have really cheap upgrades.
    Last edited by BH-KatiesMum; 28-04-2012 at 18:03.


 

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