Our Travel Stories

Holland America Line – a disappointment before we step on board.

Kids club withdrawn just 9 days before sailing!

During our year of worldwide travel we have integrated three cruises into our schedule as they are a fantastic way as seeing numerous destinations in a short space of time, can be a lot more economical that people expect when you find the right deal…..and being a single mother travelling, are a great way for both mother have child to have a little space away from one another mixing with people of our own age and enjoying individual child/adult activities.

So far that has worked well, we spent Christmas aboard the Carnival Dream darling around the Caribbean, last month we enjoyed an incredible cruise on Royal Caribbean’s ‘Ovation of the seas’ exploring New Zealand and next week we are due to set sail on our final and longest cruise: 24 nights Transpacific from Auckland to San Francisco on Holland America’s MS Maasdam. (The latter two cruises having both been sold to be by cruise 118).

Obviously when booking any cruise there are lots of decisions and choices to to made, which destinations and route, which company, which ships etc and often based on facilities included.

I was fully aware that the MS Maasdam is a much smaller ship that we have sailed on previously and therefore wouldn’t have the full range of facilities which we enjoyed previously, however the route and price both suited us and I wasn’t too worried that there were not huge games rooms etc so long as the Club HAL (Kids club) was there Cameron would be able to spend some time doing the children’s activities and I would be able to immerse myself in some of the enrichment classes and facilities, even maybe able to enjoy some ‘me time’ and treat myself to a massage or something.

Imagine my surprise then when just 9 days before sailing I receive an email from Holland America Line saying that they are withdrawing the kids club on this cruise due to the small number of children sailing,,.and the length of the voyage. (Personally I would have thought the length of the voyage and given the large number of sea days involved is the exact reason that the SHOULD be running the kids club!!!!)

It’s one thing for a cruise ship to not run the kids club, but withdrawing it just 9 days before sailing is not on. They and/or Cruise 118 should have advised me about this and been totally transparent as it would most definitely changed my decision about booking this cruise.

It’s hard enough if you have two parents cruising with children, but at least if one wants to go off for a massage, lecture, activity etc then the other can entertain the children. I don’t have that luxury – Cameron and I are with each other 24/7 and including cruises within our travels was a very deliberate decision to each enjoy just a little time mixing with our own peers.

I’m not quite sure if a 7yr old is going to enjoy sitting through enrichment lectures or photography lessons; things which I had previously been looking forward to.

Holland America have confirmed via cruise 118 that they will not refund ANY of my money at this stage to enable me to change into another ship. I kind of guessed that would be the case at 9 days notice.

I am very disappointed at Holland America to say the least and this shall most certainly be my first and last cruise with them.

If you are a parent looking to book a cruise with HAL then I would definitely advise you to reconsider and book with another cruise line unless you also want to risk paying your balance in full only to see the kids club withdrawn 9 days before you sail.

HOLLAND AMERICA LINE – most definitely NOT family friendly, and NOT recommended by Mums Travel Blog.


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