This was the first time my husband and I have ever cruised with our children. We chose the Hal over the other more traditional family lines because before children we loved Holland America. We liked the quiet atmosphere, the service and food. Our children can get overwhelmed by too much action 24/7 and large groups of kids did not appeal to me. Overall we were very pleased with this cruise. The kids had a fabulous time. I cannot say enough about the ClubHAL staff and program. My children had a blast. They were so sad to see their teachers leave. The facility is small but the activities were many and the kids looked forward each and every day to them. It gave my husband and I just the right amount of family time and alone time. On At Sea days (we had 2 scheduled and then a bonus when we had to miss Key West) were filled with activities for them starting at 9 in the morning and then together time for lunch with the family and then again 2-4 and always an evening filled from 7-10pm. Many do not think of Holland America as a line to bring kids but we had a wonderful time. The dinner staff was very accommodating, my son always ordered off the kids menu (pizza every night with a fruit starter) but my girls loved to order off the adult menu. The wait staff was very kind to them and they loved the attention. The Lido deck food was also great for the kids. They loved the sushi and of course the burgers but they always had help to the table and every one was just great. It's about Santo Tomas De Castille, Guatamala which for some reason will not show on this site. This was a WONDERFUL stop. I was very nervous as we were not sure what to expect and especially with kids. We took a humanitarian excursion through Go With Gus in Livingston. We travelled through La Dulce Rio and were able to hand out school supplies to children at a local school. We were treated with a Mayan ceremony as a bonus and ate fresh tortillas from a local, not to mention the wonderful lunch and pre-trip fruit that was given at Gus' hotel. My kids were fascinated with the life on the river, from seeing locals washing clothing in the river to children selling all sorts of wares from their canoes. It was a first class experience. Very professionally done. The guides were amazing and it was a wonderful day. The port itself is very nice. The straw market I regret not buying anything at. The hand crafts and jewlery I thought I may see again in Mexico but it wasn't nearly the same.

Wonderful Family Vacation

Veendam Cruise Review by Floridianfamily5

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2016
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Large Interior Stateroom
This was the first time my husband and I have ever cruised with our children. We chose the Hal over the other more traditional family lines because before children we loved Holland America. We liked the quiet atmosphere, the service and food. Our children can get overwhelmed by too much action 24/7 and large groups of kids did not appeal to me. Overall we were very pleased with this cruise. The kids had a fabulous time.

I cannot say enough about the ClubHAL staff and program. My children had a blast. They were so sad to see their teachers leave. The facility is small but the activities were many and the kids looked forward each and every day to them. It gave my husband and I just the right amount of family time and alone time. On At Sea days (we had 2 scheduled and then a bonus when we had to miss Key West) were filled with activities for them starting at 9 in the morning and then together time for lunch with the family and then again 2-4 and always an evening filled from 7-10pm. Many do not think of Holland America as a line to bring kids but we had a wonderful time.

The dinner staff was very accommodating, my son always ordered off the kids menu (pizza every night with a fruit starter) but my girls loved to order off the adult menu. The wait staff was very kind to them and they loved the attention. The Lido deck food was also great for the kids. They loved the sushi and of course the burgers but they always had help to the table and every one was just great.

It's about Santo Tomas De Castille, Guatamala which for some reason will not show on this site. This was a WONDERFUL stop. I was very nervous as we were not sure what to expect and especially with kids. We took a humanitarian excursion through Go With Gus in Livingston. We travelled through La Dulce Rio and were able to hand out school supplies to children at a local school. We were treated with a Mayan ceremony as a bonus and ate fresh tortillas from a local, not to mention the wonderful lunch and pre-trip fruit that was given at Gus' hotel. My kids were fascinated with the life on the river, from seeing locals washing clothing in the river to children selling all sorts of wares from their canoes. It was a first class experience. Very professionally done. The guides were amazing and it was a wonderful day.

The port itself is very nice. The straw market I regret not buying anything at. The hand crafts and jewlery I thought I may see again in Mexico but it wasn't nearly the same.
Floridianfamily5’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Large Interior Stateroom
Cabin M
Our cabin was on the main deck in the back. We planned this on purpose as we had a room and our children also had a room and we wanted to not have to worry about their noise or etc. There is noise on the back of the ship and the rooms are tight but they were efficient and the kids nor my husband or I minded. The beds were nice and firm, the room attendants were very attentive and we slept well.

We did have plumbing issues toward the end of the cruise and I was not pleased with that. We felt very neglected by the hotel staff when we reported the issue. We sensed an issue would arise as a neighboring room had an overflowing toilet and our toilets were not flushing immediately so we brought this up and nothing was said or done and no apologies made. Then upon return from our day in Mexico we came back to an overflowing toilet and a room filled with a horrid smell. I called immediately and was told it was reported. No appologies. No regard at all. 30 mins passed and nothing. Not a call, not a person nothing. I blame the front desk entirely on this. They were short, unapologetic. In fact they really were my only complaint for the entire vacation. All other staff is so wonderful it's a pity and a shame that the front desk is not held to the same standard.

Nothing was done until my husband walked to the front desk and demanded a cleanup and attention to the problem. A special cleanup man came with a spray bottle and then called and said it was clogged. No kidding. Appearently me mentioning it twice was not enough to warrant response. He literally sprayed it down and wiped it with the towel we threw on the floor to cover the original spill over of vial waste!! In my book that is not a clean up. Luckily we had a second room for the kids and had to change for dinner there. The smell was overwhelming. I left for dinner with my kids and my husband had to wait for someone to arrive. No one did but our room steward who was terrific came and promised to have it cleaned and that he would be sure someone would take care of it. He did. He did the best with the smell but for the remainder of the trip it had a lovely RV toilet smell. Like one before a pump out. Yuck. It did put a damper on the tail end of or trip.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

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