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Dulciana8

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About Dulciana8

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Huntsville, AL
  1. Dulciana8

    Milkshakes

    My five year old got a vanilla shake every afternoon on our Thanksgiving Cruise (we were bribing him for good behavior— it worked 😊). I tasted it and it was very good, but it was not covered under our beverage plan. (Not sure which plan we had— sorry, I can’t remember.)
  2. The Lido Buffet may also have like a Kids Corner menu— on our November cruise on Oosterdam it was posted above the pizza station. The menu contained kids food favorites not out in the buffet, that a crew member could get for you— PB&J, regular old style chicken nuggets, that kind of thing. It also had a separate breakfast menu. Our son liked the PB&J because the server cut the crusts off the bread!
  3. Dulciana8

    1st time Disney cruisers

    Haven’t sailed on Magic, but have sailed three times on her sister ship, Wonder, and once we were in an ocean view cabin on deck one. I’m guessing Magic’s deck one and Wonder’s are the same, or very similar. I loved it. Deck was quiet, minimal ship motion was felt by me (I am very sensitive to ship movement and do get seasick), was super convenient when disembarking at ports, and we were close to the mid ship elevators. I would not hesitate to book on that deck again. The only downside to the ocean views on that deck (but since you’re looking at an interior it’s a moot point) is that when docked, and if the pier is on the same side as your cabin, it’s crucial to keep the window curtains closed because outsiders can see right in! Lol!
  4. We are mid thirties cruisers who love HAL— we did two Eurodam cruises pre child (we now have a recently turned 5 year old) and one Oosterdam cruise with our son. In addition to HAL we have 4 RCI cruises, 3 Disney, and 1 Princess. We loved our Royal Caribbean cruises, and I can honestly say that we never experienced bad service or terrible food on those ships. We had some great times and great trips, but after four consecutive RCI trips, we started wondering what else was out there... and our search led us to HAL. We aren’t heavy into partiers, but I’d describe us as “work hard play hard” professionals who just want to cruise for excellent food and service, with a laid back atmosphere with minimal announcements, where non stop action (you know on RCI where there’s like 10-15 planned activities every hour? On HAL there might be like 1-3 activities or none at all). My husband appreciates the whiskey and bourbon selections at night, and we love Billboard, the shows aren’t anything to write home about (I say this partly because we’ve cruised Disney and literally nothing compares but also I’m a professional classical musician and I cannot help myself comparing...). We are booked on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving 2019. There are definitely younger people like us on HAL— you just need to try it and decide if it’s right for you!
  5. Dulciana8

    Zuiderdam New Year's Holiday Cruise

    Hi fleduc33! I appreciated reading your review. We are also a late 30’s well traveled professional family who (before kids) loved the Eurodam. Over Thanksgiving we took our 4 year old on his first HAL cruise on Oosterdam and we had a blast. I really really hate to hear that all of these old stereotypes of child hating HAL cruisers came to fruition for you during your family’s NY’s cruise. Over Thanksgiving the Oosterdam had like 280 kids on board. Our very first Eurodam Cruise in 2010, I recall the aft pool being adults only, but our second cruise in 2011 this wasn’t the case, nor was it on Oosterdam two months ago. It seems like a thing left entirely up to the hotel director’s discretion. I truly empathize with you for not being able to use it on sunny days. And no one wants to hear negativity about children, especially when they’re generally well behaved as you describe. Parenting is hard enough without strangers throwing shade for no reason. We are booked on Nieuw Statendam for Thanksgiving 2019, and are looking forward to another fabulous family HAL cruise.
  6. Dulciana8

    Selecting a Family Cruise

    We really loved our Disney cruises with our son, and it’s true in our experience, that Disney did an excellent job of separating the adult cruise experience from the children’s experience. We’ve only sailed on the Wonder, which is one of the older and smaller Disney ships, so that’s my only point of reference, but there are absolutely adult only areas that were enforced by crew, and then again in the evenings, after a certain time, public areas are adults only, too. If you’re signed up for late seating, the kids club cast members will even come to the main dining room after a certain point and bring the children back to the club area— definitely a bonus for adults wanting to enjoy a quiet(er) meal.
  7. I’m really enjoying your review! Thank you for posting it. We’ve only sailed on Wonder three times, and enjoyed our time on board, but it’s always so fun to read and see other’s experiences, and see the photos from the larger ships. Your writing is so bubbly and fun. Looking forward to reading more.
  8. Dulciana8

    Anytime Dining Reservations

    Our experience with anytime dining over Thanksgiving was a little different than what I was expecting from what I’d read on the boards here. We were a party of three, requested 5:30 or 5:15 each night, and still waited 10-15 minutes to be seated every single night. Yes, there was a line, too. Additionally, except for the first two nights where we made reservations at the Lido bar prior to sail away, we were discouraged and dissuaded by the maitre’d and reservations folks from making reservations for more than one night at a time. If I had to do it all over again, I would definitely eat later! But, we had a four year old, so we needed to eat early. Just our experience. We were on the Oosterdam.
  9. Dulciana8

    3 year old in Cozumel

    We were in Cozumel most recently over Thanksgiving and decided to have a beach day at Chankanaab. While the sea lion shows, crocodile viewing, and playing in the sand were great distractions for our five year old, I’m not sure I’d go back— there isn’t good water access for the little ones, other than a very small, easily crowded cove. Beautiful beach, but I’d probably recommend researching somewhere else. This was our son’s third trip to Cozumel— first time he was 18 months old, and we stayed at the pier area. Second time was when he was four and we just walked around downtown and swam in the ship’s pool. Taxis are regulated and easy to get, so no worries there.
  10. Beautiful pictures! Can’t wait until our NS cruise next year! Thank you so much for including pictures of Club HAL— that area is important to some of us 😊
  11. Dulciana8

    Oosterdam.....just back

    Thanks for your review! We enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving cruise on Oosterdam November 17-24. The crew was working fairly constantly throughout the week replacing carpet, tile, and working in the elevators replacing paneling in the public rooms. The difference from start to finish was really striking. I recall some earlier posts several months ago saying Oosterdam looked a little unkempt, and while when we first boarded there were portions of her that I may describe as little worn, by the end of our week on board, she was in great shape.
  12. Looking forward to following along! How exciting!
  13. Dulciana8

    Oosterdam family cruise

    The lettuce scare was a real issue for my husband who has an addiction to Cesar salads. Poor man could not seem to grasp that there would not be any Romaine on the trip, lol! But I agree with your assessment of the ports being crowded! GC and Cozumel were packed, with the streets in Georgetown so crowded you could hardly move there were so many people. It was still a great week, though!
  14. Dulciana8

    Oosterdam family cruise

    First of all— thank you all for your expert opinions and advice on all things HAL! We are just off our third HAL cruise, over Thanksgiving, but our first with our son, who is four years old, so we had a little bit of nerves going in to last week! (NB, this wasn’t our first cruise rodeo— we’ve taken little man on Disney but we adults were Moused out and ready for something... else!). We had so much fun, we booked next Thanksgiving on the Nieuw Statendam. The Oosterdam was wonderful. Our cabin was wonderful— balcony on deck 5 forward. Easily accessible to elevators/stairs, and we had great cabin stewards as always. Our steward got into the habit of asking our son what kind of towel animal he wanted each night— AND each morning!! Spoiled child got two towel animals every day. It was sweet, and some were very intricate! I was very impressed! Food was great. We had anytime dining in the main dining room deck 2, and had a reservation each night for either 5:30 or 5:15, which was perfect for our son. Service in the main dining room was spotty— one night it was near catastrophic— our server brought our food, but never brought our son’s food. Then we sat for at least 5-7 minutes with still no plate for our son, and no re-appearance of our server, so I got up and walked to a head waiter, explained the problem, then in a millisecond, our son’s food appeared, along with profuse apologies. Four nights we had perfect service, and three nights we had mediocre to poor service in the main dining room, so not sure what happened with those serving teams, but it was very off. Lido was wonderful, and the service quick. My husband had a beverage package for sodas, though I did not. A word about Club HAL— my son loved it! The counselors provided structured activities but there was also a lot of flexibility because of the number of children on board. Sailing our week were 280 children (total of 2100 passengers). We could access the club schedule on our stateroom smart tv’s which was handy. Our son was a little charmer— the crew would give him high fives at every turn, knew him by name after the first day, and he left the week with his very own free HAL lanyard and pin from the cruise director. He thought he was hot stuff. We utilized HAL’s EXC tours in Grand Cayman (dolphin encounter), Jamaica (Martha Brae rafting trip), and rented a cabana on Half Moon Cay. Our beach excursion was canceled in Cozumel so we did an independent trip to Chankanaab. The EXC staff went above and beyond— even emailed the Martha Brae tour operators to make sure my husband, myself, and our son could all ride in the same raft. In sum, we had a fantastic week. My husband says he still prefers Eurodam because of Tamarind, but I didn’t miss it. Truthfully we wouldn’t have gone anyway last week because of our son, lol! Now we can look forward to next year on the Nieuw Statendam! Thanks again for your help and tips!
  15. Dulciana8

    Oosterdam for kids?

    We are just off the Oosterdam from a Thanksgiving cruise, and while there were “a lot” of kids and tweens on board last week— 280 out of 2100 passengers, it was by no means a large number. Our son is 4, and liked the smaller setting and personal attention of Club HAL. Oosterdam doesn’t have water slides or a flashy kids club. It does have a nice, smaller club area with plenty of Xbox and games and there were Xbox tournaments and game nights going on all last week. Additionally I read that these games could be checked out to your state room. She also has two very nice pool areas. Bottom line— you know your kids best— are they content with entertaining themselves, and maybe having a smaller club area? Or do they prefer lots of cool interactive game areas? If it’s the latter, then Club HAL will definitely disappoint.
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