#8: Holland America Line MinimumAge: Six months (twelve months for transocean and other longer cruises) Children’s Programs: Extensive Babysitting: Yes (ages three and older) Tickets: http://www.cruisecompete.com/lines/holland_america_cruises.html
Overview For more than twenty years, HAL has been named “Best Overall Cruise Value” by the World Ocean & Cruise Line. The award recognizes the line’s ongoing Signature of Excellence upgrades, a program that has so far cost $566 million. Five ships—the MS Maasdam, MS Statendam, MS Ryndam, MS Veendam, and MS Rotterdam—have new staterooms, new dining venues, and upgraded decor. The atmosphere on a HAL cruise is livelier and somewhat more relaxed than in the past. Though still wedded to fixed meal times, lunch hours have been extended while ships are in port, and alternative dining venues now offer more choices. This premium line has traditionally been known for having an older clientele, but it has made a shift in recent years to appeal to a younger crowd by adding such features as alternative restaurants, concierge service for the higher-end accommodations, Internet cafes with Wifi, spa cabins, indoor/outdoor pools, and specialty bars and lounges. With its upgraded children’s programs, HAL is attracting multi-generational family groups, especially during its summer itineraries to Alaska and its one-week Caribbean itineraries during school vacations. The fleet’s Signature Class vessels have cabins on the upper decks, spa staterooms with special amenities, healthy room-service menus, and an adult-only sundeck area called The Retreat, which features tented rental cabanas equipped with fruit trays, bottled water, iPods, and other goodies. Though some ships—notably the MS Rotterdam and MSAmsterdam—are “fancier” than others, with high-end artwork and ornate decor, all ships now feature the Mariner Dream Bed and high-end linens, flat-screen TVs, and bathroom enhancements. The new bar concept, Mix, encompasses three specialty lounges serving champagne, martinis, spirits, and ales. The new Showroom at Sea features Broadway entertainers and The Retreat has an upscale pizzeria and giant LED screen for evening movies. An increasingly popular feature on all HAL ships is the Culinary Arts Center, presented by Food &Wine Magazine, which has been described as a “world class show kitchen at sea.” In 2014, the center’s enrichment program included a roster of celebrity chefs, epicures, and authors, including NewYork Times columnist Mark Bittman and Food Network “Next Iron Chef” competitor Jehangir Mehta. HAL cruises are best for adults, families, and multigenerational groups who want a classic cruise vacation with modern amenities on mid-size ships. For those who want a deluxe experience, the high-end HAL suites provide concierge service and other luxuries associated with more expensive cruise lines. HAL has a broad appeal and offers programs and activities for all ages, from high-tech computer sessions to conventional Vegas-style entertainment.
Policies subject to change without notice, always check with your travel agent regarding pregnancy policies and children age policies prior to booking your cruise.
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