Multigenerational family vacations are one of this year’s leading travel trends. Families are excited about reconnecting through travel, making lifelong memories, and spending time together. And cruises are a stress-free way to make it happen.
Cruising allows multigenerational families to conveniently explore incredible destinations together. Just unpack once and your floating hotel effortlessly brings you to the world’s most beautiful places. It makes traveling with grandchildren easier, so you can focus on the fun.
With 150 years of experience, Holland America Line is a popular choice for multigenerational cruise vacations. Holland America recently invited me to sail on a “7-Day Alaskan Explorer” voyage round-trip from Seattle. Alaska is a fabulous bucket-list destination and there were many first-time cruisers, families, and multigenerational groups on board.
I had the opportunity to talk with grandparents about their cruise and they raved about their families’ experiences on Holland America Line. One grandmother told me, “Alaska has been a dream trip for me and it’s been fantastic to vacation together and see the wonder through my grandchildren’s eyes.” Memories like these are treasured gifts that last a lifetime.
Here are nine reasons why Holland America Line cruises are a fantastic choice for multigenerational vacations with grandchildren.
1. Exciting Destinations
Holland America Line’s itineraries include amazing ports of call and multigenerational families can bond while enjoying memorable shared adventures. Holland America Line offers highly-inclusive voyages to unforgettable destinations including Alaska, Europe, Canada/New England, the Caribbean, and Mexico. Alaska and the Caribbean are particularly popular for family cruises with grandchildren.
Based on my sailing, it’s easy to see why TravelAwaits readers named Holland America Line the best Alaska cruise line. With over 75 years in Alaska, Holland America offers numerous Alaska itineraries and more sailings to spectacular Glacier Bay than any other cruise line. Kids can earn their Junior Ranger Badge from Glacier Bay National Park rangers while on board.
Multigenerational Caribbean cruises are sought-after options for families during the winter and spring when kids are off for the holidays and school breaks. All Caribbean cruises visit Holland America’s idyllic Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas — named “Best Private Island” for 20 consecutive years.
Pro Tip: Select some destinations and itineraries and plan your trip with your children and grandchildren. Pick cruises with ports that match your family’s interests.
2. Upscale Mid-Sized Ships
The best cruises with grandchildren cater to every generation’s diverse needs and preferences. Family members of all ages can have a fantastic vacation together on Holland America Line’s elegant ships. Holland America Line’s fleet includes 11 luxurious mid-sized ships ranging in size from 1,432–2,668 guests with double occupancy. These intimate vessels are the perfect “Goldilocks” size — not too big, not too small, but just right.
Holland America’s premium class ships are large enough to offer plenty of attractions and dining venues but not so huge to feel crowded and overwhelming. There are swimming pools with retractable roofs, youth programs, entertainment and enrichment programs, live music venues, and more. The amenity-rich ships deliver tons of fun, minus the noise and distractions. Service aboard Holland America Line ships is fabulous, too.
Pro Tip: When selecting itineraries, review the specialty dining restaurants, entertainment venues, and amenities on each Holland America Line ship to choose the one that’s best for you. A top-notch cruise travel advisor can help.
3. Spacious Staterooms
Multigenerational families will find plenty of room to relax and enjoy being together on a Holland America cruise. There’s a wide variety of staterooms and suites available on each ship. Holland America Line’s Rotterdam, Nieuw Statendam, and Koningsdam — all Pinnacle Class ships — offer Family Staterooms accommodating up to five guests with two bathrooms and additional closet space. Families also enjoy staying in the cruise line’s Signature, Neptune, and Pinnacle Suites.
Connecting staterooms can be an excellent choice for families since the door between the cabins can be opened. In addition, Holland America Line’s Verandah staterooms also feature a hinged “door” on the balconies between each stateroom, which can be unlocked and opened to make space for more family togetherness. Accessible staterooms are also available on Holland America Line ships.
Pro Tip: Book your cruise early to reserve accessible staterooms, accommodations located close together, or connecting staterooms. Your travel advisor or Holland America Line reservations agent can assist.
4. Awesome Activities For All Ages
Finding a fabulous multigenerational vacation that pleases every family member can be challenging. Holland America Line offers a cruise experience the whole family will love. There’s something for all ages on these voyages. Our cruise’s daily activities were excellent and I often wished I could clone myself to be in two places simultaneously. Holland America Line’s lively Music Clubs and World Stage performances were some of our personal favorites.
Destinations are the stars on Holland America Line cruises, both aboard and in every port of call. Holland America Line features destination-rich programming, onboard activities, and cultural interactions to help families immerse themselves in the locations they’re visiting. The cruise line’s Explorations Central (EXC) program includes superb presentations, talks, movies, and activities in venues throughout the ship.
Our Alaska cruise offered plenty of opportunities for high-quality family time. Multigenerational groups enjoyed relaxing together at the pool, watching movies and high-energy shows, playing basketball and pickleball, and participating in family trivia sessions, sing-a-longs, and game nights. Adults also loved the ship’s fitness centers and indulging in spa treatments at the fabulous Greenhouse Spa & Salon.
Pro Tip: Cruise vacations offer a wealth of activities and time flies by quickly. Grandparents, parents, and kids should discuss specific expectations and things they’d like to do before their cruise. If your family group is staying in multiple staterooms, download WhatsApp to keep in touch at sea.
5. Outstanding Dining Experiences
Holland America Line’s cuisine and dining options are so good that it’s hard to pick favorites. Multigenerational families can enjoy a wide variety of onboard dining experiences sure to please every palate. Holland America Line is passionate about culinary excellence and its Culinary Council of renowned chefs guides the world-class menus in dining venues across the fleet.
While adults savor their gourmet fare, kids can order half-portions or choose items from the special kids’ menu available at all dining venues. Children ages 12 years old and under also dine for half-price at specialty restaurants or free when ordering from the kids’ menu. Family favorites on our cruise included the casual dining poolside Dive-In burger bar, New York Pizza, and ice cream in the Lido Market buffet area.
I enjoyed the fresh, certified sustainable Alaska seafood and regionally inspired cuisine at multiple shipboard restaurants, along with the new Alaskan Brunch in the Dining Room. My meals at two specialty restaurants — Tamarind and the Pinnacle Grill — rank among the best I’ve ever had at sea. Holland America Line’s complimentary room service is also a treat.
Pro Tip: Multigenerational groups should make fixed-time dining reservations before departure and book specialty dining restaurants as early as possible. If family members have food allergies or other culinary requests, confirm these with the ship prior to sailing. In addition, connect with the maître d’ once on board about specific dining requests.
6. Fun-Filled Shore Excursions
Holland America Line offers multigenerational families a multitude of ways to explore destinations, both together and apart. Holland America Line’s award-winning shore excursions feature a myriad of memorable experiences to match the ages and interests of everyone in the family. Many of the cruise line’s tours also provide discounted prices for children.
Families can bond while enjoying exciting shore excursions like dog sledding on glaciers, whale-watching trips, breathtaking nature hikes, and sea kayaking in Alaska. Horseback riding excursions, stingray encounters, boat trips, and beach escapes are popular family-friendly options in the Caribbean. Multigenerational family members can also pursue their own interests and regroup over dinner to share their adventures.
Pro Tip: Download the Holland America Line Navigator app in advance and book shore excursions as soon as they are available for the best selection.
7. Entertaining Kids Club Programs
The best multigenerational vacations include the right mix of time spent together and apart. Family cruises are ideal, offering the perfect blend of togetherness and freedom. Holland America Line’s ships feature entertainment and activities for all ages, including the fun-filled supervised Kids Club youth programs and venues for children ages 3–17.
Holland America’s complimentary Kids Club (formerly Club HAL) makes it easy for young guests to meet new friends and enjoy exciting activities with kids their age. While they’re having fun, parents and grandparents can enjoy adult-only time on their own.
Kids Club’s spaces are divided into multiple areas for different age groups: Littles (ages 3–6), Middles (ages 7–12), and High Score! and The Loft (ages 13–17). Activities vary by age group and include themed parties, arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, teen events, storytelling, video game and sports competitions, and more. While some ships still feature The Loft for teens, these will be converted to the cool new High Score! rooms currently available on several ships.
Pro Tip: Read about the Kids Club programs before your cruise and register children on embarkation day. Theme nights are particularly popular.
8. Great Reunion And Family Cruise Deals
Many families I spoke with were reuniting to celebrate milestone events. Holland America Line offers an outstanding family reunion package for groups booking eight or more staterooms, providing exclusive amenities like free stateroom upgrades, a family lunch at the Pinnacle Grill, and a $50 beverage card and a $50 soda card per stateroom. Holland America’s groups department can assist with bookings and an entertainment coordinator is on board to help arrange special activities and celebrations.
If you’re planning a cruise with grandchildren, look for Holland America Line’s money-saving “Kids Cruise Free” promotions. Keep an eye on this page for details.
Pro Tip: Holland America Line also offers AARP members a member-only onboard credit that guests can use for specialty dining and other amenities.
9. Ideal For Holiday Celebrations And Skip-Gen Trips
Holland America Line’s holiday cruises are a memorable, stress-free way for families to reunite and celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year’s together. Ships are festively adorned with decorations and traditional holiday dishes are served. Adults and children will enjoy all the holiday activities and parties as well.
Some grandparents are also taking their grandchildren on “skip-generation” (skip-gen) vacations — bonding and making memories without the parents. Holland America Line’s cruises are a fantastic option for these kinds of trips. With all the unforgettable destinations and built-in activities, you’ll have an incredible time on board and ashore.
Pro Tip: If you’ll be sailing without your minor grandchildren’s parents, bring each child’s passport and travel documents, as well as an original letter from at least one of the parents giving you authorization to travel alone on the cruise with them and make medical decisions for them. Contact Holland America Line for the complete details of your specific cruise itinerary.