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Went with a family group (3 generations) for a special birthday celebration of a grandparent. Went along for the ride but we did not pick cruise, etc. We enjoyed the cruise overall and had set our expectations for activities for kids going in advance (ages 4-14yo in our group). Service was excellent in the rooms. A bit disappointed in embarkation and customer service as we had two problems: somehow they didn't apply our card that/payment that we used in the port at embarkation. So after getting charges denied a few times had to make trip to add it. Not a huge deal but not how you want to spend your time. Then, they continued to miss me as a named guest in our room even though TA submitted all my info in advance. So, that caused trouble with names on excursions, and charges for room. Club Hal was ok- staff seemed a bit rigid that we were dropping by for info first night but had missed the Orientation first afternoon. Not easy to make if you've just boarded, are eating, finding way around cruise. Ultimately, we didn't use it for the 6 kids in our group at all. If it is important to you age groups in clubs were different than cited on website. No paper schedules available and we were told to check the schedule on tv in room for ClubHal activities. Great when its working but it was one day behind on all data (port, menu, etc.) the first few days at least so that was no help. No pager or way to contact parents like on other cruises. They seemed like they might be accomodating to my special needs kid if he passed muster but they were quick to state they didn't have an extra crew member to take care of him and I would have to be with him if not. I get it and I wasn't requesting that. A little offputting since they advertise on the front of ClubHal that they accomodate special needs kids. My son would have done fine but that might have been a disappointing surprise to others upon arriving if hoping to have a break from the kids. I had made attempts to ask questions and inform them in advance of the cruise. Worked out ok but a bit disappointing. Activities for kids that we saw on board were 1 family pool, 2 ping pong tables, sports court, board games and advanced puzzles for more mature kids in Crows Nest. There was a BINGO contest or two but we missed it. Ironically didn't ever see shuffleboard either. Worked for us with cousins to visit with but might fall short to others. Many excursions had age limits that could have been limiting for kids under 8 or so too. Would want to read that in advance. Liked that they had Mass on Sundays and daily though that was not easy to confirm in advance. Decent entertainment but repeated later in the week (e.g. comedian) and only 1 main production (e.g. no Lincoln Center Orchestra and Planet Earth(?) movie per night- downfall of smaller boat maybe? Not many bars open past 830 or 9pm either. They existed but had to go find them in casino or Crow's Nest I think. Food was good and one of the better things about the cruise but not the reason to go. Ate in main dining room(MDR) as a group with two tables near each other for a scheduled early seating (530pm) a number of nights. The first night it took forever to even get drinks, menus and then for food to come. We were lucky to be done around 745 or 8pm when they were signaling to leave for the next seating every time. Had kids from 4yo+ so not for the faint of heart or with extreme wiggles : ) Ate in Lido Market a lot and that was pretty good. Lots of variety and broader hours. Nice cabin but not a fan that of the design that all Quad Rooms on HAL have the 4th bed over the 2 singles that make a Queen. Worked ok but no room to even sit up a little underneath vs maybe 4ft of clearance above the bunk. A few bumped heads by all. Cabin seemed a bit dated in terms of a piece of the divider between cabins on the balcony shook free first day and made horrible sound. They were able to fix with some towels wedged in for the rest of the cruise. Also, one overhead storage wouldn't stay up and kept slamming closed. Data on television not working first few days at least- heard their satellite was out but would think there might be a backup plan. May be true of all cruises but was really hard to hear announcements in room and around ship. A downfall of this cruise was the times we were in Cozumel. We arrived at 11am and left at 11pm. We were the last cruise ship in I think and most things had closed down or were pretty dead between 8-9p near the port (except for a few vendors right by dock). Many nearby parks closed at 430pm. So, not a ton to do if you weren't on a late day excursion except catch a cab and eat out if you were even venturing away from dock/port area. Check schedule in advance if you care about time there.

Nice cruise experience - just not my first choice with kids

Nieuw Amsterdam Cruise Review by TexansfromVA

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2018
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Went with a family group (3 generations) for a special birthday celebration of a grandparent. Went along for the ride but we did not pick cruise, etc. We enjoyed the cruise overall and had set our expectations for activities for kids going in advance (ages 4-14yo in our group). Service was excellent in the rooms.

A bit disappointed in embarkation and customer service as we had two problems: somehow they didn't apply our card that/payment that we used in the port at embarkation. So after getting charges denied a few times had to make trip to add it. Not a huge deal but not how you want to spend your time. Then, they continued to miss me as a named guest in our room even though TA submitted all my info in advance. So, that caused trouble with names on excursions, and charges for room.

Club Hal was ok- staff seemed a bit rigid that we were dropping by for info first night but had missed the Orientation first afternoon. Not easy to make if you've just boarded, are eating, finding way around cruise. Ultimately, we didn't use it for the 6 kids in our group at all. If it is important to you age groups in clubs were different than cited on website. No paper schedules available and we were told to check the schedule on tv in room for ClubHal activities. Great when its working but it was one day behind on all data (port, menu, etc.) the first few days at least so that was no help. No pager or way to contact parents like on other cruises. They seemed like they might be accomodating to my special needs kid if he passed muster but they were quick to state they didn't have an extra crew member to take care of him and I would have to be with him if not. I get it and I wasn't requesting that. A little offputting since they advertise on the front of ClubHal that they accomodate special needs kids. My son would have done fine but that might have been a disappointing surprise to others upon arriving if hoping to have a break from the kids. I had made attempts to ask questions and inform them in advance of the cruise. Worked out ok but a bit disappointing.

Activities for kids that we saw on board were 1 family pool, 2 ping pong tables, sports court, board games and advanced puzzles for more mature kids in Crows Nest. There was a BINGO contest or two but we missed it. Ironically didn't ever see shuffleboard either. Worked for us with cousins to visit with but might fall short to others. Many excursions had age limits that could have been limiting for kids under 8 or so too. Would want to read that in advance.

Liked that they had Mass on Sundays and daily though that was not easy to confirm in advance.

Decent entertainment but repeated later in the week (e.g. comedian) and only 1 main production (e.g. no Lincoln Center Orchestra and Planet Earth(?) movie per night- downfall of smaller boat maybe? Not many bars open past 830 or 9pm either. They existed but had to go find them in casino or Crow's Nest I think.

Food was good and one of the better things about the cruise but not the reason to go. Ate in main dining room(MDR) as a group with two tables near each other for a scheduled early seating (530pm) a number of nights. The first night it took forever to even get drinks, menus and then for food to come. We were lucky to be done around 745 or 8pm when they were signaling to leave for the next seating every time. Had kids from 4yo+ so not for the faint of heart or with extreme wiggles : ) Ate in Lido Market a lot and that was pretty good. Lots of variety and broader hours.

Nice cabin but not a fan that of the design that all Quad Rooms on HAL have the 4th bed over the 2 singles that make a Queen. Worked ok but no room to even sit up a little underneath vs maybe 4ft of clearance above the bunk. A few bumped heads by all. Cabin seemed a bit dated in terms of a piece of the divider between cabins on the balcony shook free first day and made horrible sound. They were able to fix with some towels wedged in for the rest of the cruise. Also, one overhead storage wouldn't stay up and kept slamming closed. Data on television not working first few days at least- heard their satellite was out but would think there might be a backup plan. May be true of all cruises but was really hard to hear announcements in room and around ship.

A downfall of this cruise was the times we were in Cozumel. We arrived at 11am and left at 11pm. We were the last cruise ship in I think and most things had closed down or were pretty dead between 8-9p near the port (except for a few vendors right by dock). Many nearby parks closed at 430pm. So, not a ton to do if you weren't on a late day excursion except catch a cab and eat out if you were even venturing away from dock/port area. Check schedule in advance if you care about time there.
TexansfromVA’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 7 to 9
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Deluxe Ocean-View Verandah Stateroom
Cabin VE 4016
Nice cabin but not a fan that of the design that all Quad Rooms on HAL have the 4th bed over the 2 singles that make a Queen. Worked ok but little room to sit up a little underneath vs maybe 4ft of clearance above the bunk. Cabin seemed a bit dated in terms of a piece of the divider between cabins on the balcony shook free first day and made horrible sound. They were able to fix with some towels wedged in for the rest of the cruise. Also, one overhead storage wouldn't stay up and kept slamming closed. Data on television not working first few days at least- heard their satellite was out but would think there might be a backup plan. May be true of all cruises but was really hard to hear announcements in room and around ship.
Navigation Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Snorkeling
    This was Snorkel and Chankanaab excursion. The guides, Arturo and Adrian, did a great job of meeting, transporting us, arranging gear quickly, touring us around for a snorkel, taking to resaurant (though too much time spent on how to make guac), tequila tasting, and back to taxi van to port. They got our gear right away and another guide was told to come back in 30 minutes.. The water entrance was just down some stairs into cold, deep water in March. It was a fairly crowded dive spot but they did a good job keeping the groups together. If you inflated your vest at all it was hard to bring feet down from surface and avoid bumping and kicking others a bit on accident. But saw some cool fish and sights including submersed huge Jesus statue. My 8 y.o. loved it with his own mask. Guides were super kind and allowed my 4 yo to wear a lifevest and try bringing him out. I thought I'd be responsible for keeping him on and ensuring he was ok but 1 of their two guys, Adrian, stayed with me the whole time and pretty much ensured he was ok- he was very sweet. Completely unexpected but nice I could look down and we could go as a family. Had planned to just have an adult and kid stay on beach during snorkeling part.
    As a family we wanted to see sea lion show too and couldn't make it if we stayed for lunch by time we were personally organized. So, we left, went to sea lion show in park, and came back to restaurant during tequila tasting. Met group at spot to leave together. Well done!
    View All 436 Snorkeling Reviews
  • Dolphin Encounter
    Our family split into two groups and did Dolphin Swim as well as Encounter due to ages with Stingray after. Both had a great time. It was March and water in lagoon was chilly. Had a 4y.o. and adult. Mainly got to pet, interact with dolphin and watch it perform from dock. It was fun and they were very kind and spent a little extra time with our son- which was not needed but very kind!
    Photos were overpriced but good shots. We knew we couldn't take pics of our own experience and that prices would be crazy. As a family of 4 ended up being not much more to get a cd with all pics vs buying 2-3 singles.
    View All 83 Dolphin Encounter Reviews
  • Dolphin Swim
    Our family split into two groups and did Dolphin Swim as well as Encounter due to ages with Stingray after. Both had a great time. It was March and water in lagoon was chilly. Had one 8 yo and adult and the rest were adults. Think min age per cruise was 8 for this one. Mainly got to pet, interact with dolphin and do the belly swim and get pushed on foot while on boogie board (went pretty fast). It was fun and my son was able to do it fine and had fun.
    Photos were overpriced but good shots. We knew we couldn't take pics of our own experience and that prices would be crazy. As a family of 4 ended up being not much more to get a cd with all pics vs buying 2-3 singles.
    View All 83 Dolphin Swim Reviews
  • Stingray Swim
    Combo with dolphins. Purchased lunch quickly there at a snack stand at Dolphin (Cove) before Stingray swim. Rode boat out to sandbar. Water was beautiful (and cold again) pretty high for my 8 y.o. who's 4' tall. Held our 4 y.o. toddler son. Just looked shallower in pics so FYI. They had snorkel masks for anyone who wanted. Lots of other boats there too but stingrays come to your area when guides feed them some. Got to touch, get back massage from them, and feed them. Somehow I was the one to feed them in my family despite having no desire to do so and one scraped my finger badly enough so it was bleeding on both sides. Heard they don't have teeth and held it with my thumb tucked in like ice cream as told but watch your fingers! Overall a fun experience!
    View All 734 Stingray Swim Reviews
  • Half Moon Cay
    1 hour long sightseeing boat. Good experience. Some had said the bottoms were so scratched you couldn't see but it was fine. Saw colorful fan coral, grouper, lots of schools of fish, small shark, and a few other things. They fed fish towards the end and so went up on deck to see then. Nothing too exciting that day but it met our needs.
    View All 13,582 Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Half Moon Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Conch Train Tour
    Mainly booked with Cruise to get off boat earlier. Took risk as we were not sure how marked up cost would be. Other excursions seemed to have a better group rate than doing it ourselves. Did Conch Train which was fine. However, they didn't stop in the 3 places designated on map which is crucial if that is how you plan to get to a point on the island. We just did our own thing after that anyway.
    View All 224 Conch Train Tour Reviews