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Samanthac25

Christmas on Niew Amsterdam - 1st HAL Cruise

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We are spending Christmas week on Niew Amsterdam this year, just my 14 year old (she will turn 14 during the cruise) and myself (34). I have been on a number of Royal Caribbean cruises but have never been on HAL. I’ve also never been on a cruise for the holidays. I’ve heard that HAL is geared towards older passengers, which is okay with me, as we are quiet, laidback vacationers.

 

I do have a few questions though -

 

Can anyone tell me what to expect on HAL in terms of differences from other cruise lines? Are there any major differences with the culture/dress code/activities onboard?

 

Will there be more kids than usual over Christmas week? 

 

What can I expect for the holidays onboard? Do they do anything special that I should be aware of? 

 

Can I arrange any kind of birthday surprise for my daughter onboard? 

 

And one last question from my daughter - we know that pajamas are frowned upon outside of your stateroom, but would they be allowed for breakfast on Christmas morning? Or would be just look ridiculous and receive negative looks? We have an annual matching pj tradition for Christmas and are just wondering if we have to forgo wearing them for breakfast this year 🙂

 

Thanks in advance!! 

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Why not have room service delivered to your stateroom on Christmas morning and you can wear your PJ's and have breakfast! 👍  I am sure the sight will brighten up your stewards day when he see's you dressed up in Christmas PJ's. :classic_smile:

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50 minutes ago, Samanthac25 said:

We are spending Christmas week on Niew Amsterdam this year, just my 14 year old (she will turn 14 during the cruise) and myself (34). I have been on a number of Royal Caribbean cruises but have never been on HAL. I’ve also never been on a cruise for the holidays. I’ve heard that HAL is geared towards older passengers, which is okay with me, as we are quiet, laidback vacationers.  During Christmas, you'll find all age groups, much more so than on longer cruises at other times of the year.

 

I do have a few questions though -

 

Can anyone tell me what to expect on HAL in terms of differences from other cruise lines? Are there any major differences with the culture/dress code/activities onboard?  Oh, don't get us started on dress codes!  HAL has two "Gala Nights" for a seven-day cruise.  You'll see everything from blue jeans to evening wear, although fewer and fewer passengers are "dressing to the nines" these days.  If you wear a nice outfit, what most people think of when they say "Sunday best" you'll be fine.  Or if you don't want to dress up that much, you can go to the Lido those evenings or order room service if you prefer.  Major differences I feel are in the ambiance and staff.  Sailing with HAL is more like stepping back into the Golden Age of cruising, although that has started to change, IMO, with the newer ships.  As far as activities, those have been cut back recently, and you may find less to do, other than daily trivia, cooking demonstrations, or strolls around the Promenade Deck.  Nightly entertainment has been cut, and some long-time HAL cruisers are upset with this change.  You can expect some kind of show about 4 times during a 7-day.  BB King's Blues Club and Billboard Onboard fill out the rest of the evening, both of which we enjoy.

 

50 minutes ago, Samanthac25 said:

 

Will there be more kids than usual over Christmas week? YES.

 

What can I expect for the holidays onboard? Do they do anything special that I should be aware of? The ship will be nicely decorated with trees and several gingerbread displays.  Special events up through Christmas make these cruises special, such as caroling with falling "snow" and Santa's visit for the little ones.

 

Can I arrange any kind of birthday surprise for my daughter onboard? Call ship services to see what's available.  You can also look on HAL site under "Already Booked."  Type in your name and reservation # to access this area where you can pre-order reservations for restaurants, beverage packages, flowers, spa treatments etc.  Look at what's available, and I'm sure you can find something to make her special day memorable.

 

And one last question from my daughter - we know that pajamas are frowned upon outside of your stateroom, but would they be allowed for breakfast on Christmas morning? Or would be just look ridiculous and receive negative looks? We have an annual matching pj tradition for Christmas and are just wondering if we have to forgo wearing them for breakfast this year 🙂  PJs outside of your cabin, even with a robe, are frowned upon, even on Christmas Day.  You could order room service and enjoy breakfast in your PJs on your balcony, if you've booked in this category.  If not, enjoy breakfast in bed in your PJs.

 

Thanks in advance!! 

Have a marvelous time with your daughter.  I sail with my son now, since my husband died two years ago, and we still go on our Christmas cruises.  We haven't missed one since 2011.  The memories we have made are magical.  I hope the same for you and your daughter.  Happy cruising!

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1 hour ago, sevenseasnomad said:

 

Have a marvelous time with your daughter.  I sail with my son now, since my husband died two years ago, and we still go on our Christmas cruises.  We haven't missed one since 2011.  The memories we have made are magical.  I hope the same for you and your daughter.  Happy cruising!

 

Thank you so much for all of this information! 

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Took our grandchildren on NA Christmas cruise 2018 - ages 16, 14, 11, 7. All had a wonderful time. Talk to front desk when onboard to order a b'day cake to be delivered at dinner on your daughter's birthday. Hope you have a wonderful time!

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You can also talk to your dining room servers to request a cake - we have done it for birthdays and anniversaries.

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4 hours ago, Samanthac25 said:

And one last question from my daughter - we know that pajamas are frowned upon outside of your stateroom, but would they be allowed for breakfast on Christmas morning? Or would be just look ridiculous and receive negative looks? We have an annual matching pj tradition for Christmas and are just wondering if we have to forgo wearing them for breakfast this year 🙂

Maybe you could wear just the tops over regular day clothes? If I saw you doing that I would just think it's just a fun party thing! If the steward at the door objects you can take them off and just hold them to carry on your tradition secretly. 😁

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Samanthac25 said:

 

Thank you so much for all of this information! 

You're very welcome.  Come back and let us know about your and your daughter's experiences aboard Nieuw Amsterdam.  Having cruised on this ship three times---none of them at Christmas, though---she has become a favorite of ours.  Try Tamarind, one of the extra-fee restaurants with a Thai fusion menu.  Very interesting and delicious.

Edited by sevenseasnomad

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14 hours ago, cruisinteach2 said:

Took our grandchildren on NA Christmas cruise 2018 - ages 16, 14, 11, 7. All had a wonderful time. Talk to front desk when onboard to order a b'day cake to be delivered at dinner on your daughter's birthday. Hope you have a wonderful time!

That's a great idea! Thank you!

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11 hours ago, sevenseasnomad said:

You're very welcome.  Come back and let us know about your and your daughter's experiences aboard Nieuw Amsterdam.  Having cruised on this ship three times---none of them at Christmas, though---she has become a favorite of ours.  Try Tamarind, one of the extra-fee restaurants with a Thai fusion menu.  Very interesting and delicious.

I will let you know how it goes! We are very excited to start this new holiday tradition. I lost my mom last November and she was the only real family we have. Last Christmas was so lonely and sad that we decided we would look for a new tradition! I hope we love cruising for Christmas and want to go every year :)

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Do you have fixed dining or Open Seating?  Talking to the maitre'd about a birthday cake is the way to go.  Several of the other dining room serves will join your server and sing Happy Birthday.

 

There will be more children on board at Christmas than on other cruises.  Have you thought about Club HAL for her to go to?

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1 hour ago, Krazy Kruizers said:

Do you have fixed dining or Open Seating?  Talking to the maitre'd about a birthday cake is the way to go.  Several of the other dining room serves will join your server and sing Happy Birthday.

 

There will be more children on board at Christmas than on other cruises.  Have you thought about Club HAL for her to go to?

We have open seating, but try to make reservations to eat at the same time every night... I will definitely talk to them about a birthday cake. She would love it if they sing happy birthday to her! I'm not sure that she will be interested in Club HAL. She'e never wanted to go to the kids clubs on previous cruises and I honestly don't mind because I don't like to be all by myself 🙂

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You may call and book reservations for a certain time and table in three-day segments.  When we've had open seating, the maître d' has taken care of it for us, but you should know that you can call from your stateroom as well.  

 

If you or your daughter decide you don't want to go to the MDR or Lido, you can call room service up to 45 minutes after the MDR opens for dinner and order from the MDR menu for that evening.  You can request that the meal be served anytime.  It's a wonderful option for those of us cruising with younger people, who don't want to leave the movie on TV!  As if a person can't hit the pause button and return to it later. . .     😮

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If it is just breakfast and you are eating in the Buffet, I say go in your PJ’s.  I can’t imagine anyone caring except for the super uptight people.  

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