All Aboard! - My Family Travels


Sadness. Not a feeling one would associate with vacation. This is why my family and I, all 19 of us, were shocked at how sad we were on our seventh day aboard the ms Veendam.  This Holland America cruise ship took us to two different ports in Bermuda. My family was celebrating our grandparents’ 50th anniversary and this cruise line went out of their way to make sure this would be remembered for ages to come.

During this trip however I did pick up on some tips when cruising.  First off, shore excursions are simply amazing. From snorkeling, to catamaran sailing tours and museum trips, my family did just about everything they could in Bermuda. However, I found that we booked too many. A lot of these excursions are very lengthy, sometimes even five hours long, leaving no time for shopping or doing some exploring on your own.

Cruises have something for everyone, no matter what the age. If you’re a person like myself, you can lay out next to the pool, drifting off to the sound of the ocean below you all day and be satisfied. If you just so happen to have about eleven kids ranging from the ages of 7-16 like my family, there’s still plenty to do! The Veendam had a kids club and a teen club that my sisters and cousins spent a lot of time at doing crafts and meeting other kids. The best part is that you can relax while knowing your kids are safe and sound. Basketball games, scavenger hunts, cooking lessons, and dance parties are constantly going on throughout the ship.

One of my favorite parts of the cruise was of course- the food! Dining was incredible on the Veendam. You could find cuisine from all over the world and then five feet away home style pizza (that tasted delicious by the way). It was also fun to dress up on formal dining nights. The little boys sure looked great in their tuxes!

What a lot of people fear with cruises is the possibility of getting sick. Everyone knows a vacation is certainly no vacation when one is sick. I found plenty of ways to avoid this though.  A big cruise tip is bring plenty of Benadryl or Dramamine. If you prefer a motion sickness patch, don’t be afraid you might look silly! Plenty of people walk around with them and it's better than being sick, while having to still chase around your kids all day.

To me what stood out about the Holland America cruise line would be the fabulous staff and even more fabulous hygiene! Every staff member was humble and literally at your service 24/7 (with a smile on their face). At every corner and door there were also gallons of hand sanitizing gel.  So for any germaphobes out there- this is the cruise for you!

When the vacation was over everyone, both adults and kids, were extremely disappointed to leave our newly made friends and the boat we made our home for seven days behind. What we didn’t leave behind were our memories. This cruise brought our family together and created a great bonding experience. You would think that being on a boat with each other for seven days we’d be a little sick of each other but nope! When we got home, what did we do? Started to plan our next cruise. Hello, Disney Dream 2013!

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