Age group for HAL??



We sailed the western caribbean on the Zuiderdam, which is very similar to the Westerdam, this summer. There are a wide variety of ages on the ship from families to seniors and everything in between. We did not really notice a "majority" of any one age group. There are a vast number of activities to choose from, more than you can really do if you go on shore for the port days. I am 46 and I sailed with two 18 year olds. The things we chose to do were:

- Attend almost all the shows (magician, comedian, juggler, etc)
- Hang out in the disco various nights
- 50's dance in the Crow's Nest
- Pool games
- Movies
- Ice carving demonstration
- Bingo (for me) while the girls baked themselves
- Participate in the "Impersonator" show (cool since you get to go backstage)

Of course there was also eating and lounging by the pool! Other things that looked interesting but we didn't have time for were karoke, line dancing lessons, trivia contests. I'm sure you will have no problem keeping busy (or choosing to relax). Have fun, we sure did!


I have to admit I am a bit leary.....I am a first time cruiser and I am concerned about the age group aboard HAL. I am 30 and my boyfriend is 27. I really only want to relax and very much enjoy a good conversationalist, but how many people my age can I truly expect? Either way, I am ok with it, I was truly looking for relaxation and not partying. My main concern is the level of service and quality of the cruise line which is why I chose HAL in the first place. I hope my question doesn't offend anyone, I am truly just curious. Any comments are much appreciated....Also, we are going to Tortola, St. Thomas and Half Moon Cay, any comments regaring "must see's" would be fabulous.


We cruised HAL's Zaandam over the Christmas 2003 holidays. Our itinerary was Half Moon Cay, Tortola and St. Maarten.

On Tortola, the ship docks and several tours are available. Two of us took the shore excursion to Virgin Gorda. Virgin Gorda is a not to be missed excursion. The tour leaves the dock by ferry, for approximately 45 minutes, to the island of Virgin Gorda. At Virgin Gorda, you are transported by open air taxi (think converted pick up with seats in back with a canvas roof) to the Baths. The short trip is very lovely, large houses along the ocean and roaming animals along the road. We were curious as to why the road has speed bumps every few hundred yards. Also, as Virgin Gorda is part of the British Virgin islands, the driving is on the left and at first you are sure you are going to be killed when traffic starts to come at you. The pace of the island is very slow with little nightlife or shopping. However, the Baths are fabulous. The excursion drops you off at the top of the Baths and you are asked to negotiate a steep and sometimes slippery path to the beach below. At the beach you have two options, right or left. To the right is a beautiful beach with a few stands. However, you absolutely have to go left. Left takes you through the caves to another beach. The trip to the next beach is about 40 minutes of squeezing between rocks, bending to get under others, climbing ladders and waking in the water in caves as the waves come in from the ocean. The water is generally no higher than your knees but it is a great trek. Swimming is not needed, however, you need to be somewhat fit. The name of the Baths is from the water that pools in the caves as you trek to the beach. Once out of the caves, you are on a
picture post card beach with gigantic marble like rocks. The trip back is much quicker but no less fun. At the top of the Baths there is a small restaurant/bar and souvenir shop. In contrast, the town of Road Town is really nothing to speak of.

Half Moon Cay - This is the private island of HAL. Most ships spends about a half day at Half Moon. The beach is endless, the sea a beautiful blue and is crystal clear. The experience is wonderful. The ships serve an outdoor, but covered buffet BBQ lunch. The food of hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and ribs is good and eating outside is great. The only downside of Half Moon Cay was that the ship did not change its clocks back an hour and we were off of the times at half Moon and from the other ship there. As such, we signed up for the kayaking excursion on shore and because of confusion over time were not able to go. We would strongly suggest that the ship change its time or Half Moon Cay or have the island adapt to ship time. However, we split up and two of us were able to take the glass bottom boat ride, which was described as very relaxing and beautiful. The other two of us rented kayaks and went out into the ocean ourselves. It is a real blast - we were able to get to almost where the ship anchored before we were asked to go closer to shore. The sea is clear and warm and the kayaking is tiring but a blast. We rented for a half hour for $25 a single person kayak, but the times are not strictly enforced.

Voyager of the Sea - Christmas 2004
Zaandam - Christmas 2003
Norwegian Sea - Christmas 2002
Monarch of the Sea - Christmas 2001
Color Festivale - Summer 2001


To MegenPorter:
You can see my reply to this thread above. It truly reflects how I feel and I took my first cruise on HAL when I was not much older than you. Our first ever cruise was aboard Disney Magic in its inaugural year. I wasn't particularly inspired after that cruise. I found the service to be so-so (could be the fact that they were in their inauguarl year of their first ship) and the other people on board didn't really seem to care to interact with us. My daughter, who was 7 at the time, had a wonderful time, so if you had children, I'd be more than enthusiastic in making a recommendation for Disney.

Anyway, that's not what you asked about, but just wanted to provide some background for my opinions...

Before taking our second cruise, which was on the HAL Ryndam, I bought a guidebook and checked it out. I was fully aware that the passengers were going to be older and that I should expect the service to be stellar. I was not disappointed. There was an older base of passengers, but in our three HAL cruises, we have never failed to find people our age with children my daughter's age and have always enjoyed good conversation, whether at afternoon tea, trivia games or just waiting for a show to begin. Maybe the older, more experienced crowd (of which there is admittedly a majority) is more friendly and outgoing than the contemporaries you'll find on board. Either way, if you're not looking for a party scene and are outgoing enough to start the conversation, I'm confident you'll have a great time!




Thanks for the information, I am truly looking forward to it. I am a very outgoing person and I find it very easy to strike up a conversation with anyone. If I was looking for a party boat, I would have booked a Carnival Cruise. It was a bit concerned last week when some people had warned me about the age gap, but I am not worried any longer. I am sure I have a lot to learn from older, wiser, vacationers anyway!

I was thinking of booking some shore excursions llike the yacht/snorkeling in Tortola, and the Kayaking in Half Moon Cay, any suggestions or comments?


I can't really comment too much on the islands you'll be visiting. Our HAL cruise in the Caribbean was to St. Maarten, St. Thomas/St. John and Half Moon Cay. At St. Thomas, we tendered over to St. John and took the excursion which took us on a circle around the island, most of which is a National Park. We didn't visit St. Thomas at all as my husband wasn't feeling well when we were finished on St. John. Need to get back there someday!
On Half Moon Cay, we just took advantage of the beach and didn't do anything organized.
Each person has their own preferences, but I've always been one to try to explore the land when we get there! Having been on the ship for several days straight, I'm usually ready to see some inland areas.
You might try posting on the Caribbean board to see if you can get some recommendations for St. Thomas and Tortolla. I know many people rave about the snorkeling at Virgin Gorda which is near enough to Tortolla that you can catch a ferry over and back.
Enjoy your planning!