Holland America has a reputation among cruisers as being aimed at an older demographic! However one of the things I love about Holland America is the interesting itineraries they do. So when we were looking at doing our round the world trip we knew that a cruise would be one leg of our journey. After much deliberation and we some apprehension we decided to go with Holland America to sail across the South Pacific with our toddler. Having done this I feel I am well positioned to answer can you cruise Holland America with kids?
Can you Cruise Holland America with kids?
Is Holland America family friendly?
As with any line, this really depends on the ship. Having 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!
There was a kids club, 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.
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 wh 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.
Is there babysitting on Holland America?
There is some in room babysitting but we didn’t use. I imagine it might be difficult though not impossible to get during the main dinner hours!
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!