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Old 04-20-2013, 01:08 AM   #1
GatorMomInNC
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Anyone ever cruised HAL? and OMG, what have I done??

I just booked a HAL cruise and now I am literally feeling sick to my stomach thinking I made a mistake.

It all started when we were trying to plan a family get together, and somehow the idea of a cruse came up, and somehow, a few hours later, I now have booked a (non-refundable) 7 night Canadian cruise over the 4th of July weekend. This all happened in a matter of hours, and I think I got caught up in the excitement of going on a cruise instead of driving/flying all over the country staying in hotels (which was our original plan).

But then when I went to tell my son, I realized that there was really NOTHING on this ship (the MS Veendam) for him to get too excited about - no Mickey Pool, Aquaduck, characters, fireworks, magic porthole...nothing!! I showed him a picture of the kids club - he will have to stay in the 3-7 club, even though he prefers older kids stuff, and he said - "That is not the kids club, that is a room for babies!" (he thought I was joking). I'm dreading telling my other son, I'm so afraid he will be disappointed that we aren't doing a DCL cruise.

The only thing that will be better for them than a DCL cruise is their aunt and uncle are going (they never cruise DCL). Ever since I booked I've been thinking - I could have put that money towards an off peak DCL cruise in December or September!!!

So anyway, has anyone ever sailed HAL before, and specifically the MS Veendam? It just looks so BORING compared to the Magic or the Fantasy or the Wonder. OMG, I really think I made a mistake. I was concentrating on finding a way to do a cruise with my sister and BIL instead of thinking about what my kids will like...
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Old 04-20-2013, 01:28 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorMomInNC View Post
I just booked a HAL cruise and now I am literally feeling sick to my stomach thinking I made a mistake.

It all started when we were trying to plan a family get together, and somehow the idea of a cruse came up, and somehow, a few hours later, I now have booked a (non-refundable) 7 night Canadian cruise over the 4th of July weekend. This all happened in a matter of hours, and I think I got caught up in the excitement of going on a cruise instead of driving/flying all over the country staying in hotels (which was our original plan).

But then when I went to tell my son, I realized that there was really NOTHING on this ship (the MS Veendam) for him to get too excited about - no Mickey Pool, Aquaduck, characters, fireworks, magic porthole...nothing!! I showed him a picture of the kids club - he will have to stay in the 3-7 club, even though he prefers older kids stuff, and he said - "That is not the kids club, that is a room for babies!" (he thought I was joking). I'm dreading telling my other son, I'm so afraid he will be disappointed that we aren't doing a DCL cruise.

The only thing that will be better for them than a DCL cruise is their aunt and uncle are going (they never cruise DCL). Ever since I booked I've been thinking - I could have put that money towards an off peak DCL cruise in December or September!!!

So anyway, has anyone ever sailed HAL before, and specifically the MS Veendam? It just looks so BORING compared to the Magic or the Fantasy or the Wonder. OMG, I really think I made a mistake. I was concentrating on finding a way to do a cruise with my sister and BIL instead of thinking about what my kids will like...

BTDT. You will have a good vacation and enjoy the food and family and ports of call. It won't be Disney bu that ok. Have fun anyway.
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Old 04-20-2013, 02:39 AM   #3
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BTDT. You will have a good vacation and enjoy the food and family and ports of call. It won't be Disney bu that ok. Have fun anyway.
Yup! Just have a great cruise! YOU'RE CUISING
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:46 AM   #4
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Don't worry too much. HAL is a top-notch cruise line. The service is excellent and so is the food. I think your children will be fine. The cruise folks know what they are doing and I think they will be able to keep your children busy. Since you are cruising in the summer, there should be lots of families with kids on board. If you were cruising during the off-season, it would be a different story. Don't warn your children that it won't be like Disney -- I think you set them up not to like it before they even get on board. Just emphasize the good things - being with family, the ports, cruising, etc.

Relax and enjoy your cruise!

Last edited by antmaril; 04-20-2013 at 07:01 AM.
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Old 04-20-2013, 06:57 AM   #5
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Seven nights in Canada in July is a lot more comfortable than the caribbean! Also, the ports are more upscale. And you're saving enough $$$ on the cruise to book a DCL cruise in your future.

We've enjoyed cruising with HAL and their "dam" ships. Have a great time!
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:03 AM   #6
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Have a great time! It is a cruise with family and I'm sure it will be full of fun and memories. We have cruised 3 other lines - just tried Disney 2 months ago - and every cruise line has something unique to offer. It is a top noch cruise line so you will have a great time and like another said you are sailing in the summer so lots of friends for your kids. ENJOY!!
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorMomInNC View Post
I just booked a HAL cruise and now I am literally feeling sick to my stomach thinking I made a mistake.

But then when I went to tell my son, I realized that there was really NOTHING on this ship (the MS Veendam) for him to get too excited about - no Mickey Pool, Aquaduck, characters, fireworks, magic porthole...nothing!! I showed him a picture of the kids club - he will have to stay in the 3-7 club, even though he prefers older kids stuff, and he said - "That is not the kids club, that is a room for babies!" (he thought I was joking). I'm dreading telling my other son, I'm so afraid he will be disappointed that we aren't doing a DCL cruise.
OMG, I really think I made a mistake. I was concentrating on finding a way to do a cruise with my sister and BIL instead of thinking about what my kids will like...
I have no experience with HAL but wanted to say you are not alone in this feeling. We just booked a Princess Alaskan cruise this week and I was having similar feelings.

You should hear the conversations between my 2 youngest with each other about it not being Disney My saving grace is the indoor swimming pool and Disney does not have one, for Alaska that is a big plus. My oldest who is just 8 is happy it is not Disney as he said he is ready for something different. So you never know.

I will say every review I read did say the kids loved the club as they got tons of individual attention because there were so few kids. Many had cruised Disney and said their kids actually preferred HAL. You will need to check the kids club hours as I do believe they vary on Hal depending on how many kids they anticipate having, but not sure on that one.

Hope you have a wonderul time!
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GatorMomInNC View Post
I just booked a HAL cruise and now I am literally feeling sick to my stomach thinking I made a mistake.

But then when I went to tell my son, I realized that there was really NOTHING on this ship (the MS Veendam) for him to get too excited about - no Mickey Pool, Aquaduck, characters, fireworks, magic porthole...nothing!! I showed him a picture of the kids club - he will have to stay in the 3-7 club, even though he prefers older kids stuff, and he said - "That is not the kids club, that is a room for babies!" (he thought I was joking). I'm dreading telling my other son, I'm so afraid he will be disappointed that we aren't doing a DCL cruise.
I think your kids need an attitude adjustment. Not every vacation is a Disney vacation, but may even offer (gasp) something Disney doesn't. You have arranged a great cruise and both should be excited about it, not worrying about what 'better' cruise they could have had.

I'd like a Canadian cruise to be my next one, and since DCL doesn't go there, it will have to be another liner. If my kids complain, they can stay home. If your kids complain, take me.

Nancy
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Old 04-20-2013, 08:43 AM   #9
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HAL itineraries are a little long for me, so I've never been, but everyone I know who has sailed them raves about it. Personally, I prefer any cruise kids club that breaks the kids into smaller groups; we sail next week on the Dream and I'm still not feeling the kids being group 3-11; just doesn't make sense to me. Enjoy your cruise.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by GatorMomInNC View Post

But then when I went to tell my son, I realized that there was really NOTHING on this ship (the MS Veendam) for him to get too excited about - no Mickey Pool, Aquaduck, characters, fireworks, magic porthole...nothing!! I showed him a picture of the kids club - he will have to stay in the 3-7 club, even though he prefers older kids stuff, and he said - "That is not the kids club, that is a room for babies!" (he thought I was joking). I'm dreading telling my other son, I'm so afraid he will be disappointed that we aren't doing a DCL cruise.

The only thing that will be better for them than a DCL cruise is their aunt and uncle are going (they never cruise DCL). Ever since I booked I've been thinking - I could have put that money towards an off peak DCL cruise in December or September!!!

So anyway, has anyone ever sailed HAL before, and specifically the MS Veendam? It just looks so BORING compared to the Magic or the Fantasy or the Wonder. OMG, I really think I made a mistake. I was concentrating on finding a way to do a cruise with my sister and BIL instead of thinking about what my kids will like...
Well I am sure if this is how you presented it to your son it was a hit And after all the ONLY person who has to enjoy a vacation is your son. The rest of you just go along for him? (If so, life is going to really smack him in the face some day LOL!)

Honestly, with your attitude this is going to be bad. You are already going "I like Disney more" without giving the ship a chance.

You have TWO choices

1. Just write off the money and don't go.

2. Change your attitude from "if it's not Disney I won't like it" to something more positive. HAL is a great line, but if you start with the "I only DIsney and I am only going to note the things that are MISSING so I can prove i made an error" you will succeed in ruining the trip.

As for your son. I have a feeling if you point out the cool things he will get to see and do, including spending time with his Aunt and Uncle he will be fine. Of course if you say "well it doesn't have a aquaduck and it doesn't have fireworks" etc... He's going to whine.
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:27 AM   #11
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OP, DH and I are heading off on the m.s. Veendam on the 7 day Canada/New England cruise, Boston to Quebec City, in a couple of weeks. It will be our 30th cruise on HAL, so clearly we are sold.

Our motto has always been that a day on a cruise ship is better than a day not on a cruise ship.

Do you want to PM me with your concerns?
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Old 04-20-2013, 09:56 AM   #12
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I don't have kids, nor have I sailed many many cruises.

BUT, my first cruise was on HAL in Alaska. It was amazing. They are a top notch cruise line, and are very comparable to Disney service wise.

On our sailing, there were a couple hundred kids on board. We didn't find that out until our debarking presentation while they were thanking the staff for all they do. When they mentioned how many kids were actually on board, I have no idea where they put them. We never saw kids.....which meant they were all in the kids clubs which, on my ship, were tucked away. The leaders were fantastic (after talking to some parents) and most kids loved it.

If you are building your kids and yourself up to not enjoy this cruise because it's not Disney, then you will be very disappointed. If you build up the cruise because it's a vacation and you're getting a chance at family time and some great fun, then the cruise will be great. Really. It's up to you how the cruise turns out.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:00 AM   #13
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There will be more room to swim and you don't know for sure whether they will keep him in the 3-7 age group :shrug: The kids will have fun no matter what. They'll take their cues from you.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:04 AM   #14
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We sailed on Hal last year. I got an amazing price.

My kids were 11 and 13. They made friends with other kids and saw them at the pool and hung out around the ship.

I was worried that they did not have a good time. But, they liked having the smaller group of kids.

The kids clubs were not open all the time. Just check the schedule.

There were things that we liked better than DCl. We love the enclosed pool, buffet stations, and pizza and nacho bar.
Hal had an amazing piano player in the piano bar.

We had a great time. We loved the different ports (10 night southern carribean).

Just enjoy the memories you car making. Don't compare it to DCl.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:09 AM   #15
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Hey buyers remorse is perfectly normal when forking over a large sum of money for a vacation. Concentrate on how this cruise compares to what you originally had planned (cramped in a car, driving and staying in hotels.) It's always good to try something new. Do your research on HAL (find some HAL lovers on another forum to give advice) and figure out all the tips that will help you get the most out of your trip. There's nothing wrong with venting and working through the buyers remorse but once your done with that it will be time to start planning. Planning something new is always fun for me. You probably know very little about HAL- so go have some fun planning!
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