Holland American Cruise: Answers to Your Most Frequently Asked Questions

November 15, 2019

Caravan Sonnet Blog
Happy Friday Friends! I hope that this email finds you doing well. Today I am so excited to start sharing about the Canadian/New England cruise my mom and I took with Holland America Cruise in August. It was definitely a trip of a very very special trip and I can whole-heartily recommend Holland America Cruise line with no reservation. I shared the following on Instagram, but wanted to share it here as well... 

"Anytime I have had the beautiful opportunity to travel (near or far) I have always been inspired and changed...but this past week was a sweet blessing in the midst of some very difficult days & a true treasured gift.

When I was invited to be part of a press trip with @halcruises I was honored & humbled & as the details came together I knew it would be extremely special. What added a very personal component to the trip was my mom being able to travel with me & it was an incredible blessing.

As some of y'all know we left for the trip the day after (what would have been) my parents 50th wedding anniversary & on the day we were to have a special 50th party for them that I had been planning for nearly 2 years. Approaching both of these dates had been difficult & devastating.

The timing provided a beautiful opportunity in the midst of extreme pain & each day of this trip held so many lovely moments, & the care by each & every person we encountered went out of their way to make us feel like family & the atmosphere of @halcruises is laced with a genuine compassion & attention to the smallest detail so that you truly are completely blessed.

In addition to this our dinners with the entire press group were a gift that I will always treasure. For hours each evening (& different times throughout the day) we were met with lively discussion, incredibly inspiring stories, AMAZING people, and lots of laughter over a variety of different things & conversations that lasted well into the late evening.

Thank you @halcruises for an opportunity to experience the beautiful ship & excursions, but most of all the care & love & genuineness of the entire staff in all areas. I can't wait to share more on the blog over the next few weeks about this entire adventure in more details (although words will never be accurate enough to describe perfectly!).

Thank you again to each person who made this possible, to @annamansfield for your tireless efforts in leading this trip, to our dear new friends, and most of all to @halcruises . I can't wait to sail with y'all again in the future, and this special cruise will always have a dear place in my heart."

So as you can tell from my heartfelt post... this cruise and this company hold a very special place in my heart. I have never traveled in the way that we were before... and in the midst of our deep and painful grief we were met with the most incredible compassion and kindness (from people who didn't even know our story)... in ways that we never expected. 

In the next couple of weeks I am going to be sharing about all of the different places we went to, activities that we did, restaurants we ate at, places we stayed, and our entire itinerary for those of you that may want to do this exact trip in the future. (And just a side note- there are some incredible deals going on so you will want to book NOW!) 

To start things off I wanted to spend a little bit answering the most frequently asked questions that I received prior to the trip, during our cruise, and since I have returned. Some answers to questions I was asked you can find on Holland America's Frequently Asked Questions Page (HERE) so I am not answering those but am trying to answer questions that aren't covered on their page. If you still have questions after this post please feel free to leave a question in the comment section below and I will answer it! So here we go... 

1. I heard that Holland America Cruises are more for seniors or those who are 50+ in age- is this true?
This is probably the #1 question that I received across the board from so many people. In fact when I posted on Instagram this picture HERE I received so many messages from people shocked that there were people younger than 50 years old. To be honest before I went I was impressed with Holland America Cruise line but after experiencing their ship and itinerary and offerings, I was walked away thinking a couple of different things: 

First, in general Holland America don't have a predominately young kid crowd but that doesn't mean that there wasn't a lot of variety of age on the cruise that we took. I would say that about 1/3 was over 60 years old on our cruise, 1/3 was in their 40s through 60s, and a 1/3 were younger, including children (and yes, there are areas and activities just for children and teens). While Holland America has admitted that they don't "cater" to this demographic on their cruise ships (younger family members in the 2-18 age bracket), that doesn't mean they haven't provided excellent childcare and activities for this age to do. One of the reasons that I believe that Holland America is thought to be for a more mature crowd is because most people who are working and are not retired can only travel at some specific times of the year. I think that if you are looking for a mix of ages that the holiday cruises and summer break (and spring/winter break) would be the surest bet, but think you will a wide variety on each cruise.

Second, while Holland America has not marketed themselves as a "college cruise ship" many people of all ages are starting to realize the wise investment that Holland America actually is compared to some of the ship offerings of other cruise lines that appear to be cheaper. I will talk about this more in a minute! 

Third, I think the real question is whether or not younger people will be bored on the cruise ship if it is for those that are older. That could not have been farther from the truth. Let me answer that question next... 

2. Since it appears to be for those of an older generation will I be bored if I take this cruise?
My answer to this question is two-fold. First, I think that it depends on what you are looking for in a cruise. If you are looking for a party ship and want to just head to the Caribbean and escape and not think about anything but drinking for a few days than you may find this to be a bit overwhelming. Not boring- the exact opposite. Second, the days have so many offerings that if you are bored it is simply because you picked the wrong type of cruise to come on. 

I think it is important to note going into a Holland America that when they say "savor the journey" on their website they mean that completely. Our cruise was filled with amazing sites and excursion opportunities, amazing culture, and amazing learning... and amazing fun. This is definitely not the cruise to take if you don't want to experience a ton and see a ton of things. 

The days are PACKED full of excursions opportunities to really delve into the culture of where you are at and to see what you want to see. I hadn't been to every stop on this cruise before which was really exciting, but I walked away feeling like I had truly seen the heart of the places we stopped at through this cruise. We participated in an excursion each day (and we often chose the morning option) and my day often started at 6 am to get ready for the day, then breakfast, then an excursion, then lunch, then an afternoon activity or experiencing the ship, then dinner and then there was the option for after dinner activities that ranged from comedians, dance performances, BBC production, music, club orange parties, and lots of other things.
It was full. 
It was non-stop. 
It was just amazing.

 Now many people flexed the schedule and chose to relax or not join in on every day excursions or activities (choosing to see the port that we were in at their own pace) or but either way bored was never a word that was said. 

3. Holland America Cruises look wonderful but they are a bit more expensive than some other cruise lines. Is it really worth the investment for this versus other ones?
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Honestly, as I started to do a comparative cost rate on Holland America versus other cruises and other cruise lines I have been on I realized how cost effective Holland America is for the quality and experience that you receive. I am going to be addressing this topic in many posts so I am just going to leave the answer like that right now, but yes, it is definitely worth the money in every way. 

4. Did you have access to the internet?
I am giggling a bit as I write this because this is definitely one of the negative parts I do have to say about the Cruise. Technically, yes you have wi-fi. If you are planning to be dependent on it for work or for staying connected... I would caution you that it may not work as well as you hope for it to all the time, which let's be honest, is something that is not contingent on a certain cruise line. 

I needed to use the wi-fi as part of my job and I found it to be extremely reliable... was it slow sometimes? Yes, but that didn't mean that it wasn't available or that it didn't work well.

5. Do I have to know a different language to be able to go one of Holland America?
The simple answer to this is no. Everything on Holland America (including the local tour guides) will speak in English to you so you wouldn't have to worry about this. During your free times to explore in different cities you may run into needing to know some simple phrases but most people got by just fine with English. 

6. Is it really true that the staff on board is as nice as I have heard?
This question (and a variety of versions of it) made me smile because I understood where it was coming from. I think that in some ways we have become a society is a bit "jaded" in thinking that something really can't be "as good" as we believe it could be..or that people aren't as nice as we hear. It is simply not the case with Holland America's staff... they are as amazing as you hear and they are the first cruise I have ever gone on that has genuinely greeted people "goodbye" as we left. I can't wait to share more about the incredible staff but suffice it to say... everything you hear is AMAZING and true. 

I hope that these answers helped! If you have any additional questions that I didn't answer please let me know in the comments and I will be happy to answer them for you! I can't wait to start sharing pictures and details from the cruise. It was amazing!!

Happy Friday friends! 

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