Kids Klub cancelled on cruise during Christmas vacation cruise

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May 16, 2019
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#1
Holland America Cruise line has cancelled the Kids Klub druing a cruise from Dec. 23 to Jan 5 to Australia & Tasmania. We are elderly grandparents taking a 13 year-old grandson on a cruise that has several days at sea. We received a notice in April that the kids' activities had been cancelled due to a small number (15) of kids on deck. I wrote guest relations on April 15 (they never answered) so wrote the CEO asking that program be reinstated and also had questions:

1. Are all the staterooms sold out for this school vacation cruise so that 15 is the final count on all passengers?
2. If there are still available staterooms, how do you know that NO children will be occupying those staterooms?

May 7 -Travel agent spoke to local HAL who said she checked & the kids' program had been reinstated

May 13 - CEO representative emailed that there was no kids' program.

My travel agent is following up but we are still concerned that we have purchased expensive cruise reservations & air tickets and are going to have a stressful holiday.

Any help will be appreciated.
Gloria
 

Neil Maley

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#2
Are you able to get a refund to cancel? The problem you have is Holland America isn't the best choice when taking a child on a cruise - they don't have many kids sailing so I wouldn't be surprised that they cancel this. Royal Caribbean would have been a better option. Can your agent get you on another cruise line?

I checked the HAL agent website . Is the actual title of the Cruise Australia and Tasmania? I see a 14 day Southern Australian Holiday Dec. 23 - Jan 6. Is that the cruise? That sailing is almost sold out, there are only inside staterooms left so they probably do have a good idea of how many kids are going to be on the ship.
 
Likes: justlisa
May 16, 2019
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#3
Unfortunately this is the only cruise that brackets the school vacation that goes to Tasmania because he wants to see the Tasmanian Devils. We combed every cruise line as did our travel agent. We will go but feel that it should have had a Buyer Beware - Hard to believe that only 15 kids are on so far. What do you think the chances are of getting more kids at this time of year which might put more pressure on cruise line? thanks you for any response.
 
Dec 27, 2014
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NoVA
#4
I'm unfamiliar with Holland America, but at age 13, the child should be able to do almost everything the adults can without the need to drop them in a kids club. I've taken mine on many cruises since he was nine years old and he always found things to do, whether it's cooking or drawing classes, games, etc.
 

Neil Maley

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#5
Literally none because if it the cruise I found the ship is nearly sold out. Did your agent tell you that HAL is not really a cruise line for kids? Its very important to qualify the cruiser along withe the cruise line to ensure that a line has what you are looking for. It is well know that HAL is not really for kids, but if it is the only line that works, there is no choice.

However, it is a very heavy port cruise so I think you are going to be off the ship much of the time. There will be activities going on the ship that your grandson can go to, there just may not be a formal kids club.

This is a once in a lifetime trip - I wouldn't let not having a kids club deter me.
 
Likes: Monica Lynn
May 16, 2019
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#6
I'm unfamiliar with Holland America, but at age 13, the child should be able to do almost everything the adults can without the need to drop them in a kids club. I've taken mine on many cruises since he was nine years old and he always found things to do, whether it's cooking or drawing classes, games, etc.
Are you able to get a refund to cancel? The problem you have is Holland America isn't the best choice when taking a child on a cruise - they don't have many kids sailing so I wouldn't be surprised that they cancel this. Royal Caribbean would have been a better option. Can your agent get you on another cruise line?

I checked the HAL agent website . Is the actual title of the Cruise Australia and Tasmania? I see a 14 day Southern Australian Holiday Dec. 23 - Jan 6. Is that the cruise? That sailing is almost sold out, there are only inside staterooms left so they probably do have a good idea of how many kids are going to be on the ship.
Literally none because if it the cruise I found the ship is nearly sold out. Did your agent tell you that HAL is not really a cruise line for kids? Its very important to qualify the cruiser along withe the cruise line to ensure that a line has what you are looking for. It is well know that HAL is not really for kids, but if it is the only line that works, there is no choice.

However, it is a very heavy port cruise so I think you are going to be off the ship much of the time. There will be activities going on the ship that your grandson can go to, there just may not be a formal kids club.

This is a once in a lifetime trip - I wouldn't let not having a kids club deter me.
Than
Literally none because if it the cruise I found the ship is nearly sold out. Did your agent tell you that HAL is not really a cruise line for kids? Its very important to qualify the cruiser along withe the cruise line to ensure that a line has what you are looking for. It is well know that HAL is not really for kids, but if it is the only line that works, there is no choice.

However, it is a very heavy port cruise so I think you are going to be off the ship much of the time. There will be activities going on the ship that your grandson can go to, there just may not be a formal kids club.

This is a once in a lifetime trip - I wouldn't let not having a kids club deter me.
Literally none because if it the cruise I found the ship is nearly sold out. Did your agent tell you that HAL is not really a cruise line for kids? Its very important to qualify the cruiser along withe the cruise line to ensure that a line has what you are looking for. It is well know that HAL is not really for kids, but if it is the only line that works, there is no choice.

However, it is a very heavy port cruise so I think you are going to be off the ship much of the time. There will be activities going on the ship that your grandson can go to, there just may not be a formal kids club.

This is a once in a lifetime trip - I wouldn't let not having a kids club deter me.

thanks. I guess there is really nothing we can do.
 
Feb 12, 2019
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#8
HAL is just not a cruise line for kids. My parents went on a few years back when they were 60 and I remember one of their remarks was that they were some of the youngest on the cruise.

FWIW from what I hear on the more kid-friendly lines the teenagers don't really have many planned activities anyways, the kids program just gives them an area to meet away from adults and introduces them to the other kids on the ship that are their age so they can run around the ship together. Maybe join Cruise Critic's roll call for the sailing or searching to see if there's a Facebook group for it or other cruise websites/boards you might be able to get in touch with the others bringing kids on the sailing and arrange a meetup on ship.
 
May 1, 2018
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#9
A 14 day cruise on Holland America? That's a double whammy against kids. The average age in general on HAL ships is like 70. Couple that with the fact that shorter cruises (4-7 days) are the most popular for kids and it's not hard to believe there are only 15 kids on-board.

Your travel agent really let you down here. They should have really made you aware that a 14 day HAL cruise in not the best fit for a teenager.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#10
I think if the cruise is port heavy enough, there will not be an issue. Also, check on cruise critic and FB, see if there are any kids going around the same age, and see if they want to start a bit of a pen pal situation to get to know each other a bit better before the cruise. I know of others who have done this and the kids are still friends years later and the families travel together still.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
A 14 day cruise on Holland America? That's a double whammy against kids. The average age in general on HAL ships is like 70. Couple that with the fact that shorter cruises (4-7 days) are the most popular for kids and it's not hard to believe there are only 15 kids on-board.

Your travel agent really let you down here. They should have really made you aware that a 14 day HAL cruise in not the best fit for a teenager.
A two week cruise is the reason why there are so few kids on this cruise. Most parents of teens cannot take two weeks off from work or school to go on a cruise that long. And even with a school break, the kids will still be out of school extra days .

Most people that have the time to take off two weeks are retirees. So you wouldn’t see a lot of kids on any two week cruise unless they are home schooled or traveling in the summer. Two weeks on a cruise ship is incredibly long for any kids.

If your travel agent didn’t explain this to you, or tell you the average age of a cruiser on HAL, they should have. But if that was the only dates that worked for you or the only line that stopped in Tasmania, you really had no other options other than a shorter cruise.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#12
I think if the cruise is port heavy enough, there will not be an issue. Also, check on cruise critic and FB, see if there are any kids going around the same age, and see if they want to start a bit of a pen pal situation to get to know each other a bit better before the cruise. I know of others who have done this and the kids are still friends years later and the families travel together still.
I agree with this idea. I would also suggest that, after boarding, you contact the purser or entertainment director or whoever handles on-board passenger programs (I've never taken a modern cruise so don't know the specifics) to see if they (or you) can contact the other 15 parents for the purpose of setting up an informal kids group coordinated by the parents. There are plenty of possibilities for self-organized activities while at sea, ones that wouldn't require a lot of cruise staff involvement. 52 years ago, my wife and I spent 40 days on the SS Kenya sailing from London to Dar-es-Salaam. Although we weren't kids, the ship's captain happily agreed to let us passengers organize some activities on our own, including a skit-pantomime production for the equator-crossing festivities.
 
Feb 28, 2018
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#13
Holland America Cruise line has cancelled the Kids Klub druing a cruise from Dec. 23 to Jan 5 to Australia & Tasmania. We are elderly grandparents taking a 13 year-old grandson on a cruise that has several days at sea. We received a notice in April that the kids' activities had been cancelled due to a small number (15) of kids on deck. I wrote guest relations on April 15 (they never answered) so wrote the CEO asking that program be reinstated and also had questions:

1. Are all the staterooms sold out for this school vacation cruise so that 15 is the final count on all passengers?
2. If there are still available staterooms, how do you know that NO children will be occupying those staterooms?

May 7 -Travel agent spoke to local HAL who said she checked & the kids' program had been reinstated

May 13 - CEO representative emailed that there was no kids' program.

My travel agent is following up but we are still concerned that we have purchased expensive cruise reservations & air tickets and are going to have a stressful holiday.

Any help will be appreciated.
Gloria

We are Holland America 4-star Mariners, hience frequent HAL cruisers, and we are OLD. At one time HAL did offer a children's program and employed people specifically to run the programs, and we utilized them on a prior trip with grandchildren. HAL has been changing immensely recently, particularly since acquiring a new President. Many of the prior programs , including c children's have been eliminated, on-board entertainment has changed, daytimes activities at sea have been minimized, and other economies have been made. HAL says it is trying to attract a younger cruise crowd, but compared to Royal Caribbean, Crysta, and even Princess, it offers much less. We now only take HAL cruises when no one else offers the itinerary we want, and accept the inadequacies.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
If this was a different cruise that attracted more kids, they would have the Kids Club operating. It’s just that this particular long cruise is difficult and expensive for parents to bring kids on this and why they may have canceled the kids program.

That takes the blame off the travel agent as you are a frequent HAL cruiser do you knew what you were getting.

I like the suggestion GAT have of talking to the Cruise Director on the ship and asking if they can do something that appeals to the kids. But they know how the breakdown of passenger ages and O would think they will have things that appeal to the kids.

Your grandson is very lucky to be going on this with you. I guarantee it will be a trip he’ll remember fondly for the rest of his life.
 
Likes: Nancy
May 1, 2018
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#15
We are Holland America 4-star Mariners, hience frequent HAL cruisers, and we are OLD. At one time HAL did offer a children's program and employed people specifically to run the programs, and we utilized them on a prior trip with grandchildren. HAL has been changing immensely recently, particularly since acquiring a new President. Many of the prior programs , including c children's have been eliminated, on-board entertainment has changed, daytimes activities at sea have been minimized, and other economies have been made. HAL says it is trying to attract a younger cruise crowd, but compared to Royal Caribbean, Crysta, and even Princess, it offers much less. We now only take HAL cruises when no one else offers the itinerary we want, and accept the inadequacies.
They're hoping to attract a younger demographic by cutting kids programs and eliminating activities? Bold move!
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#17
I am a frequent HAL cruiser and would also think 10 times before taking Grandkids on a HAL sailing. We are taking 4 grandkids on a cruise over Christmas and are sailing the Norwegian Joy (race car track, lazor tag, age specific kids clubs, teen club) taking 8, 10, 14 & 15 yr old. The ship and amenities for kids was what we looked at when booking. The 2 older kids would probably really enjoy the itinerary you have booked and just going to shows after a long day in port.

You will have a great time even on HAL!
 
Mar 20, 2019
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#18
My story is from another cruise line, but my children didn't really enjoy the "kids club" anyways. This might be a blessing in disguise if your grandson does better in small kid gatherings (as opposed to the busy large groups). I would hope that some of the other youth on board would be around his age and a buddy up will happen. Try to keep a positive outlook (even though it did not go as planned). Best wishes to you!
 
May 16, 2019
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#19
We are Holland America 4-star Mariners, hience frequent HAL cruisers, and we are OLD. At one time HAL did offer a children's program and employed people specifically to run the programs, and we utilized them on a prior trip with grandchildren. HAL has been changing immensely recently, particularly since acquiring a new President. Many of the prior programs , including c children's have been eliminated, on-board entertainment has changed, daytimes activities at sea have been minimized, and other economies have been made. HAL says it is trying to attract a younger cruise crowd, but compared to Royal Caribbean, Crysta, and even Princess, it offers much less. We now only take HAL cruises when no one else offers the itinerary we want, and accept the inadequacies.
It is sad that what u say is true but they are also unresponsive.
 
May 16, 2019
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#20
I am a frequent HAL cruiser and would also think 10 times before taking Grandkids on a HAL sailing. We are taking 4 grandkids on a cruise over Christmas and are sailing the Norwegian Joy (race car track, lazor tag, age specific kids clubs, teen club) taking 8, 10, 14 & 15 yr old. The ship and amenities for kids was what we looked at when booking. The 2 older kids would probably really enjoy the itinerary you have booked and just going to shows after a long day in port.

You will have a great time even on HAL!
Thank u. This is what he wanted to do.
 
Likes: JVillegirl541