My two grandchildren, 11 1/2 yr old boy and 7 yr old girl, just returned from a 7 day Holland America Western Caribbean cruise. They just loved it.
The ports, Key West; Belize City; Santo Tomas de Castilla, Guatemala; and Costa Maya, Mexico, were wonderful for the kids.
They enjoyed Club HAL, the kids' activities. Because of the age difference, they were in different groups, but both enjoyed the time spent with the kids' activities. The staff was wonderful. Between the port excursions and Club HAL, we spent only one full afternoon at the pool, which they also enjoyed.
I had hoped to take the kids more often to the dining room, but the service there was slow enough that they became bored, so except for the formal nights and one other, they ate dinner at the self service buffet. I ate there once or twice with them, and twice took them up there for dinner and then to Club HAL, after which I went to the dining room and joined others for dinner.
The 11 1/2 year old went with me one evening to hear the comedian, who had been presented as family friendly, and my grandson enjoyed it. I was unhappy that the one evening we might have gone to a movie, it was R-rated. I am not sure why it was chosen for a holiday cruise, which includes many children.
The disembarkation was a snap, very smooth and easy.
We next stopped at Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala, which is not even on the list provided here.
We had arranged to join an excursion organized by a CruiseCritic member, before leaving on the cruise. There were 7 of us in all, on a boat with the guide, the boat driver, and a helper. We travelled about 35 minutes along the coast and then went into Rio Dulce at the town of Livingston. We went up the river, into the rain forest, and found it very interesting and enjoyable. The only form of transportation in that area is on the river, so we saw many people in canoes and small boats with outboard motors. Our guide, Javier, told us that many communities own boats that are shared by community members.
At the beginning of our trip up the river, we stopped at the hotel owned by Javier to order our lunches, and then on the way back, we stopped for lunch. My grandson and I had a delicious seafood soup, with a crab, shrimp, and a whole small fried fish.
The whole trip was about 7 hours and we had a great time!