Cruising with Kids: Holland America Line

Family cruise vacation are fun and filled with memory-making adventures -- especially when you're cruising in the Caribbean on Holland America.

Cruising with kids

When it comes to cruise lines, one size does not fit all. There are cruises designed for adults only, others geared towards families with children. Some cruise ships carry thousands of passengers, while smaller vessels may cater to only 50 guests.

The variety of cruise lines can seem overwhelming when it comes to planning your vacation, so it helps to decide what kind of experience you are looking for.

In our case, we wanted a cruise that offered something for the whole family, but wasn’t just geared toward kids. We wanted a ship that was big enough to offer dozens of activities, yet wouldn’t make us feel like we were always in a crowd. Most of all, we wanted an affordable cruise that would make us feel pampered.

In the end, we found ourselves aboard Holland America’s Zuiderdam ship in the Western Caribbean. This may seem a surprising choice, given Holland America’s past popularity with the “over 50” age segment. My siblings and I sent our own 60-something parents on an Alaskan cruise with Holland America last year — and they enjoyed every minute of it.

Cruising with Kids on Holland America Line

The whole family is coming on Holland America cruises because the ships have something for everyone. The kids can go to Club HAL, mom and dad can relax by the pool, grandma and grandpa can go to high tea in the afternoon and everyone can meet for dinner.

This multi-generational facet was evident from the moment our ship left the Fort Lauderdale, Florida port. We saw grandparents watching their grandkids jump into the pool, 30-something parents dancing at the Crow’s Nest and teenagers playing hoops on the top deck. The only demographic that seemed to be missing were singles in their twenties.

Club HAL was a big hit with my kids. It was small enough so that the Club teachers knew each of our children by name (there were 428 children onboard out of some 1,800 passengers), yet there were plenty of activities on offer, from computer game rooms to craft programs to swimming games. The kids even put on a talent show at the end of the week.

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