Holland America has a reputation among cruisers as being aimed at an older demographic but can you cruise Holland America with kids? One of the things I love about Holland America is the interesting itineraries they do but we were concerned about how much stuff there would be on Holland America for kids. After much deliberation and some apprehension we decided to go with Holland America to sail across the South Pacific with our toddler as part of our round the world trip. Having spent almost 40 nights aboard the Holland America Maasdam I feel I am well positioned to answer the question is Holland America kid friendly?
Can you Cruise Holland America with kids?
Is Holland America kid friendly?
As with any line, it really depends on the ship as to whether it is truly family friendly. When we travelled onHolland America we cruised the MS Maasdam and gaving an unpotty trained toddler under three we knew we would find any most ship limiting in terms of what she could do and were more than prepared for that!
We sailed on the Holland America Maasdam one of the oldest and smallest ships in their fleet! Overall there were very few families on board our ship but of those there was a wide age range from our toddler to fifteen year olds! So is Holland America for families? Here we breakdown our experience onboard Holland America with kids based on facilities and amenities we used onboard.
If you are cruising with a baby be sure to check out our dedicated baby cruise packing list!
Holland America Kids Facilities
So what are the best things to do onboard a Holland America cruise with kids?
There was a kids club on board our Holland America ship (The Maasdam), but obviously it wasn’t very busy for those old enough to use. However it looked like they did a good range of activities from using the sports deck to food related activities on the lido deck.
The Kids Club onboard Holland America is called Club HAL and is available for children aged 3-17 years old. Toddlers must be fully potty trained to be able to use the kids club.
While there was no specific children’s pool the main pool was a good size and surrounded by games such as connect four and chess.
While most activities and evening entertainments were aimed at the older clientele, staff did make an effort with the children on board especially with things like the ping pong tournaments.
We spent a lot of time of the sports deck running around with our little one and found that this was hardly ever used!
If you are travelling with a toddler like us check out our post on how to entertain children on sea days with lots of tips for the unpotty trained and under 3s in mind!
We also really enjoyed the DVD library onboard which had 100s of DVDs and lots in the family friendly category!
I imagine the ship would be good for multigenerational family groups!
The food on Holland America for kids
For me food is a big concern when travelling with a toddler. One thing I loved about Holland America is that they have Just started any time dining. This is great for families who aren’t always ready at the prescribed two seating times!
There is a children’s menu in both main dining room and room service which is great! In the dining room because so few children it took longer to get kids meals than adults. Our little one however preferred items on the adult menu – in particular the salmon so we just ordered this. Once we found a table and waiter we liked we stuck with them and they were always prepared for our little one which was great.
The menu itself has some activities for kids but they don’t stock crayons so remember to bring your own!
We loved that the chef came out every night to talk to guests about dinner and he always made an effort with the toddler and brought her out a chefs hat!
My one complaint about children’s food on Holland America is that the Room service children’s menu starts at 530 which perhaps a tad late. When we were tired after a long day out we could have done with this starting perhaps at 5!
The selection on the children’s menu was quite good with starters like crudités, and dumplings dumplings and mains such as pasta.
In room children’s menu was slightly more restricted with items like quesadillas, chicken tenders and pasta with sauces.
For more first time cruise tips click here!
Holland America Babysitting Options
If you are cruising Holland America with kids you might be wondering if there are any Holland America babysitting services onboard especially if you are cruising with a toddler. The answer is that there are some babysitting services available but there are no in cabin babysitting services available.
If you have children that are old enough you can use the kids club instead of the babysitting services.
Our room on Holland America – was it family friendly?
We had a mini suite. It was a good size and we loved the large balcony. We just wishes there was some sort of divide of the living room and bedroom for those nights spent in the cabin.
Holland America Loyalty Program for Families
One of the things I love about Holland America is the amazing family loyalty program. The more nights you spend on board, the larger the discount – up to 100% off – when people are staying in the same room which offers great savings for families especially those with small children!
For another families opinion on Holland america check out this post!
Overall: Did we find Holland America family friendly?
Overall I would say that this really depends on what you want and expect of a family friendly ship and itinerary.
Holland America, especially the smaller ships, don’t have the amenity of the super ships like those of Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Carnival. However we were very happy on board our trip with Holland America. I think the most important thing when booking Holland America is to pick the right itinerary. If I were doing a week around the Caribbean I probably wouldn’t choose Holland America however as Holland America cruises to all the continents I would say that they are great for traveling with children to more exotic destinations but don’t expect for there to be as much planned for those in the younger demographic.
FAQs About Holland America with kids
What is the Holland america baby policy?
If you want to cruise Holland America with baby please note that the Holland America Baby Policy is that the minimum age is 6 months old to cruise. Some itineraries may require a higher minimum age so please check with the line before booking.
What is the Holland America Pregnancy Policy?
If you are thinking about taking your babymoon cruise on Holland America you
- Must not have completed 24 weeks of pregnancy by disembarkation
- Must have a physician’s letter of fitness to travel and confirming that the pregnancy is not high risk with an EDD (estimated due date) sent to the line before travel.