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JESSMANN

Can someone tell me about Club HAL?

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I have looked at the website several times trying to get an idea of what to expect for my children...and I'm not seeing it. Can anyone tell me about what sorts of activities they host or any special events/activities that I could plan for ahead of time? (For example if they have a theme party or tye dying where we can bring a shirt or hat or something?) What are other people's experiences with club HAL? We will be cruising 12/9/19 Caribbean on the Nieuw Statendam. (kids are boys age 14, 11, and 5) 

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1 hour ago, JESSMANN said:

I have looked at the website several times trying to get an idea of what to expect for my children...and I'm not seeing it. Can anyone tell me about what sorts of activities they host or any special events/activities that I could plan for ahead of time? (For example if they have a theme party or tye dying where we can bring a shirt or hat or something?) What are other people's experiences with club HAL? We will be cruising 12/9/19 Caribbean on the Nieuw Statendam. (kids are boys age 14, 11, and 5) 

 

Here is a link to typical HAL activities while on board:

 

http://www.rogerjett-photography.com/specialty-2/holland-america-lines-kids-activities-examples

 

From my experience, your kids will have lots of fun and you will only see them during meal times. 

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Club Hal is the best kept secret afloat in my opinion.  My 2 started at 7 and 10 and we did 5 voyages until I got sick.  I posted the actual activity itineraries on halfacts.com under Westerdam for both Club Hal and The Loft 13 - 17 year olds.

 

the activities vary every day and depending upon the number enrolled.  There are games, Olympics, pyjama parties, movies, arts and crafts, cooking breakfast one morning.....

 

mine liked it better than Disney which they referred to as Disney daycare zoo.  The attention in Club Hal is individualized.

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Just got back from Zaandam today; my kiddo is 8, spent every evening, and part of our 1 sea day, @ Club HAL. He LOVED it. 

 

Sched is 9-11:30a, 1-4p (during the day on sea days) and 7-10 every night. Each session had planned activities--organized games, movie night, going to a show, arts/crafts, drawing, plus there were video games, board games, building toys, etc. One day they made figurines out of some kind of material--I heard that from a brother/sister pair that my son was hanging out with. I also liked that it wasn't ALL day--kids still had meals w/ their families, and you could pop the kids in and out for whatever reason. Kids could stay in Club HAL on port days, but they must be pre-registered--go the night before to sign them up if you're doing an excursion that isn't kid-friendly. I don't know what the schedule is on port days. They don't take kids under 3. 

 

Staff could not have been nicer and I was confident and comfortable knowing he was safe and engaged with other kids on the cruise. 

 

The only other experience I have w/ a kids club is on Carnival and my son was not a fan. I'm not exactly sure why, except that on Carnival they made him wear a nametag and he hates that (he's weird). I also think it was just really crowded--lots and lots of kids on Carnival cruises. No nametags this time around, I guess maybe because there were less kids (we asked; they said that on average there were about 18 or so kids at any given session). There were 160 kids on board (of 1400 passengers), and I imagine that the #s allow for more individualized attention. Also on Carnival, from what I remember, kids could be in there all day--including meals--and that made me sad. I saw the same kids every night having meals w/ the kids club staff, and I just wondered where their families were. I bring my son on these trips to spend time with him. Maybe it's judgy of me, but I love having meals together as a family on vacations like these--that's the time that we can have dessert first, or try new foods together, or just recap the days events over a plate of pasta or the fish of the day. Sure, if I wanted one night to have date-night with my H, or if I was with a big group of people and we wanted to have an adult dinner, great, no problem, but every night w/o your kiddo(s)? That's not for me. 

 

I read before I went that Holland America tends to trend a bit older than say Carnival (avg passenger age), and I do see truth in that, but there were plenty of kids for my son to meet, hang out with, etc. at the pool, in the library/game room/Club HAL. I LOVED the Zaandam (1400 passenger load seems to be a sweet spot for me--the bigger ships just have so.many.people) and will easily and readily sail again. 

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On 7/31/2019 at 3:53 PM, JESSMANN said:

I have looked at the website several times trying to get an idea of what to expect for my children...and I'm not seeing it. Can anyone tell me about what sorts of activities they host or any special events/activities that I could plan for ahead of time? (For example if they have a theme party or tye dying where we can bring a shirt or hat or something?) What are other people's experiences with club HAL? We will be cruising 12/9/19 Caribbean on the Nieuw Statendam. (kids are boys age 14, 11, and 5) 

 

Our experiences have varied. We were just on the Koningsdam (July 2019 in Europe) with our teens and they went to Club HAL just a couple of times. I happen to still have a screen shot on my phone of the activities for one of the sea days so I’m sharing that with you in case it’s helpful to give you a glimpse from a recent cruise (that’s for the 13-17 age group). My kids didn’t love or use the teens club very much this time but our itinerary had very few sea days and the evening entertainment on Koningsdam was better than on prior cruises so they were not bored at all. Note that for the teen age group the kids are free to come and go as they please unlike the younger age groups where parents typically sign them in and out and there is more supervision. On a prior cruise (July 2017 on the NA in Alaska) my younger child who was 11 years old at the time loved the activities at HAL for his age group which were more supervised/structured and made lots of friends there. Note that if you are traveling during dates when most schools are in session (you mentioned 12/9?) that the HAL clubs for older kids may be fairly empty compared to summer/winter/spring breaks. Enjoy your cruise!

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We came from Disney to HAL my kids were 13and 16 unfortunately club Hal in the loft on both ships we tried sucked. They said there were to many teens so most of the time even though there was a schedule of activities they were supposed to do, they just licked the loft doors and told them to hang out in the basketball court. The younger groups when we went by always seemed to be watching movies. 

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