I have never travelled with Zuiderdam but with Noordam. And Noordam and Zuiderdam is similar and let me tel you this. My husband and I and our 3 children cruised for 17 days on Noordam last year.There was 16 children under the age of 20. And then it was 75% over the age of 60.
I start with the negative things first: There is not any children pool, or any children outdoor play deck. During the days we was with our children at the pool on lido deck back of the ship. Because the other pool we find out very quick that this place was more for relaxing and reading and a quiet spot for older people. We did not feel comfortable there. But on the other pool I did not care and let the children play and swimm and have a good time. I really did not care what other people was thinking of me 3 wild boys. WE had payed for the cruise and our children was as much passangers as the others.
They had something called the CLub hall for young children and for teenager it was something called loft. But my children was not intrested to be in the CLUB HALL because they was the only 3 in that age. So they did not like it. But we did go there once in a while with them and had fun.
But we did some excersions and that was really intresting but also in some places we just took the children with us and went to a beach or if there was some intresting spot or the children around the places because they actually got borde on the ship. Holland America line is wonderful ships very nice and elegant and I dont have anythign to say negative about the ships but it is not a a ship for children. I would not dream of taking my children with me on Holland America line again. I would not dream of going on Holland America line for the next 30 years or so. One evenig we had a "nanny" so we should out and do the night "in town" yes fine untill like 11-12 then the ship was empty I guess 95% of the passangers had gone to bed so it say something about the age group. I dont mean to be negative because you can have a wonderful good time and your children also. I only hope there is some children in your children age group and that they can be a part of the CLUB HAL For this age group becuase if there is many children (it is not many children onboard a HAL cruise) they can have a good time. The bonus was the crew onboard they did everything they could for my boys and always tried to do something with them and even one evening they was invited to the captains table and they had hamburgers. So they do some things like this. Just dont worry and it will be fine. Bring a laptop with you and some dvd's so they have in the evenings..
I do hope you will have a good cruise I dont mean to be negative because its a wonderful cruise line with beautiful ships but not so much made for children more like wealthy retires.
Thank you - it is interesting to hear about your experience. I am still very apprehensive about this cruise, not only because of your experience, but also because of others that I have corresponded with on Cruisecritic. Unfortunately, it is too late for me to cancel now, as I would lose quite a lot of money. To be honest, I booked this cruise mainly due to the itinerary and also the price - it was reasonably cheap considering that we will have a balcony to enjoy. I did take into consideration the fact that it had a children's club, and it is advertised as a family vista ship. Another consideration was the freshwater pools - my son suffers with excema and has found the salt water pools on the other ships are irritating on his skin. However, I didn't realise that this was a ship that was traditionally for older 65+ guests - my TA never mentioned this, and it was only when I started to read comments on websites that this information came about!
I have spoken with HAL and they have advised me that so far there are 43 children under the age of 17 on this cruise. Therefore, I have decided to make the most of the ports, so we will go to the waterpark in Half Moon Cay and Aruba so they can have enjoyable days there. Perhaps horse-riding in Costa Rica etc.
As there is a nightclub, I am hopin that there may be a few younger people in there after 11pm, if not it may be just hubby and I dancing on our own!!!
I am sure you will have a wonderful cruise because it is a wonderful good quealety cruise line. Just be happy and glad and enjoy and I am sure your children will have a good time. Yes it is freshwater pools and its very nice. But you will cruise in the caribbean and I cruises in the mediteranean and it is actually diffrent. And your children will sure love the ship. Just have fun and realax and do the excursions and enjoy. Remember you can bring your own wine onboard the ship if you like.... We did find some very good wines in italy and we bought like 8 bottles and we delivered them to the restaurant and they served us every evening. YOu will enjoy a good quealety cruise ship with good food and very very good cabins. Your children will enjoy mine children did enjoy it but they got borde beause it was few onboard. Please write about your experience when you come back so I can read. Enjoy your cruise and take your children up to crows nest a beautiful spot on the ship for nice sailings and sunseth. BON VOYAGE. Caroline/oslo.
Thanks Caroline - I will let you know how the cruise goes. Im glad to hear that we can take our own wine onboard that is a real bonus!