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Noordam New Zealand January 2020 with kids!

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We have just returned from the Noordam 14 night (4-18 January 2020) cruise around New Zealand. Our children attended Club HAL (7-12 years) and The Loft (13-17 years). This cruise took place during the Australian / NZ school holidays and, prior to travelling, I struggled to find information about cruising HAL with children (particularly in the Southern hemisphere). We had a wonderful time and I wanted to share information that might help others.

I have posted a blog that includes many photos of the Club HAL and Loft daily program guides, as well as many of the When and Wheres and menus. Hopefully it will be of interest / help to others!

https://bonjourn.al/journal/124230-new-zealand-2020

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Thanks for doing this.  We are always looking for options other than the mainstream ships.  Just one query there was listed Club HAL and Loft.  I noticed Club HAL ages differed from 3 to 12 and at times 7 to 12.  Our GD will be 8 and 5 so just wondering is there 3 age groups or just the 2.   Did your kids manage fine without the kids water park, rides, etc that the mega ships have for kids...

 

thanks

Vicki

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Thanks for posting we are taking our GGD10 on a Norway cruise in July. 

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thank you for sharing we have 3 kids and just booked 14 days on the Oosterdam in Dec Aukland to Sydney.  I sent this to my husband who promptly asked "did you write this from the future".. we booked similar cabins on deck 4.

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I loved your blog review. So great to hear about HAL with kids. We are taking ours, 9 and 11 on the Zuiderdam for a transatlantic later this year.

 

With the kitchen tour, were the kids allowed to go on that? Do you remember from what age? On the Behind the Scenes on Carnival, I think minimum age was 12. 

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2 hours ago, TN Fem said:

thank you for sharing we have 3 kids and just booked 14 days on the Oosterdam in Dec Aukland to Sydney.  I sent this to my husband who promptly asked "did you write this from the future".. we booked similar cabins on deck 4.

Not to hijack but I just wanted to make sure you knew and you may already know this but just in case, the Oosterdam was the first and thus far only ship to receive the High Score arcade which had been reported to actually replace Club HAL for ages 7-17. There have been some discussions about this here as the premier of the High Score was over the Thanksgiving holiday and some parents were not only blindsided by the change but also very unsatisfied with the replacement program. I'll try to locate that thread.

 

Finding information about all this has really been further hampered by HAL not providing any consistent statement regarding how the kids programming and High Score work together so we are left with phone reps saying one thing and PCCs being told something different and the onboard reports from parents, which were initially not encouraging. 

 

Nieuw Amsterdam, according to the press release, is slated to receive the High Score next month and my family will be on Nieuw Amsterdam in March. I plan to investigate and ask a lot of questions. Maybe they have worked out some of the kinks in the programs, who knows but I will do my best to find out and report back. 

 

Edit: found the original thread. There have been other thread and discussions too. I encourage you to research and even call or email HAL about it if you have questions. I certainly wouldn't panic as I know HAL has been taking our comments seriously and hope they are making this work for everyone but initially at least there were lots of mixed messages. Hoping I'll get some answers in a couple months. 😊

 

Edited by fatcat04

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What a lovely blog OP. We have been cruising with ds since he was very young (he is 18 now, how did THAT happen!??) and now we have a giggly wonderful 2 year old going on her 3rd cruise in a couple months so it is always fun to read about others that enjoy cruising with their kids. And yes, the daily (and on occasion multiple times daily) fresh scooped ice cream was always one of our son's favorites.Thanks for sharing with us.

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1 hour ago, fatcat04 said:

Not to hijack but I just wanted to make sure you knew and you may already know this but just in case, the Oosterdam was the first and thus far only ship to receive the High Score arcade which had been reported to actually replace Club HAL for ages 7-17. There have been some discussions about this here as the premier of the High Score was over the Thanksgiving holiday and some parents were not only blindsided by the change but also very unsatisfied with the replacement program. I'll try to locate that thread.

 

Finding information about all this has really been further hampered by HAL not providing any consistent statement regarding how the kids programming and High Score work together so we are left with phone reps saying one thing and PCCs being told something different and the onboard reports from parents, which were initially not encouraging. 

 

Nieuw Amsterdam, according to the press release, is slated to receive the High Score next month and my family will be on Nieuw Amsterdam in March. I plan to investigate and ask a lot of questions. Maybe they have worked out some of the kinks in the programs, who knows but I will do my best to find out and report back. 

 

 

 

Thanks. We saw that. My kids are older 12-15 so I think they will really like this change. In the past they have preferred Princess because they were allowed to come and go as the wanted once they were a certain age & with parent permission. 

The only reason they didn't revolt against Club HAL when we did the Antarctica cruise was because thankfully almost all the kids in there were also ages 9-12 and they made lots of friends that they then played with on the Lido deck/pool when Club Hal was closed.   Other times Club HAL has been full of "babies"... for us this is a good move and may make cruising like it was when they were toddlers and we could drop them off and have adult time. 

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10 minutes ago, TN Fem said:

Thanks. We saw that. My kids are older 12-15 so I think they will really like this change. In the past they have preferred Princess because they were allowed to come and go as the wanted once they were a certain age & with parent permission. 

The only reason they didn't revolt against Club HAL when we did the Antarctica cruise was because thankfully almost all the kids in there were also ages 9-12 and they made lots of friends that they then played with on the Lido deck/pool when Club Hal was closed.   Other times Club HAL has been full of "babies"... for us this is a good move and may make cruising like it was when they were toddlers and we could drop them off and have adult time. 

Gotcha. Yeah, the whole arcade concept sounds cool to us as we LOVE gaming as a family but yeah, mom and dad alone time, so nice. Hoping HAL makes it work well for everyone. Hope you have a great cruise. Sounds like a super exciting itinerary. 

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13 minutes ago, fatcat04 said:

Gotcha. Yeah, the whole arcade concept sounds cool to us as we LOVE gaming as a family but yeah, mom and dad alone time, so nice. Hoping HAL makes it work well for everyone. Hope you have a great cruise. Sounds like a super exciting itinerary. 

Thanks.

totally off topic but if you haven't checked it out Pins Mechanical in N Gulch is a lot of fun for families during the day. 

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7 minutes ago, TN Fem said:

Thanks.

totally off topic but if you haven't checked it out Pins Mechanical in N Gulch is a lot of fun for families during the day. 

Thanks. Will do. We are in East Nashville  so we are close to well, everything. They are opening up cool stuff so often now we can't keep up. 

edit: Ds walks down to The Soda Parlor on Woodland every so often and loves it so if you like 80's arcade games and milkshakes, he highly recommends it. 

Edited by fatcat04

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10 hours ago, Kangakid said:

Thanks for doing this.  We are always looking for options other than the mainstream ships.  Just one query there was listed Club HAL and Loft.  I noticed Club HAL ages differed from 3 to 12 and at times 7 to 12.  Our GD will be 8 and 5 so just wondering is there 3 age groups or just the 2.   Did your kids manage fine without the kids water park, rides, etc that the mega ships have for kids...

 

thanks

Vicki

Hi Vicki,

 

As our cruise was during school holidays there was a separate Club HAL for ages 3-6. I have heard that when there are less children on board they sometimes combine the clubs. I was worried about how the kids would manage without some of the ‘bells and whistles’ but I needn’t have been. The teens really used the teen club as a meeting place and then would make their own fun around the ship. The programming for the younger ones had a good variety - games on the sports court and lots of craft (which they loved). I also found the evening main shows to be very family friendly - my 7 year old loved the shows! Hope this helps.

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4 hours ago, shudie said:

I loved your blog review. So great to hear about HAL with kids. We are taking ours, 9 and 11 on the Zuiderdam for a transatlantic later this year.

 

With the kitchen tour, were the kids allowed to go on that? Do you remember from what age? On the Behind the Scenes on Carnival, I think minimum age was 12. 

I don’t recall there being a minimum age. Our 11 year old came and enjoyed it! From memory the only requirement was to wear closed-toe shoes. It was a fast paced tour and probably lasted only 20 minutes but it was really interesting!

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6 hours ago, TN Fem said:

thank you for sharing we have 3 kids and just booked 14 days on the Oosterdam in Dec Aukland to Sydney.  I sent this to my husband who promptly asked "did you write this from the future".. we booked similar cabins on deck 4.

Hi there,

I am sure your family will have a great time next year, we certainly did! I loved Deck 4 - the balconies were a great size (on Noordam and Oosterdam too I think the Deck 4 balconies are some of the deepest). I also loved the size of the bathrooms and the little bath was great for my youngest! 
I just had a quick look at the December Oosterdam cruise itinerary, it looks amazing! 

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