Heading to Seattle for our Alaska cruise with grandchildren on HAL’s Oosterdam

Right now my husband Chet and I are in a Hampton Inn in Traverse City, Michigan. We are flying to Seattle at 5:45 a.m. tomorrow and we live an hour-and-a-half from here. Thus, the overnight here in TC.

We are going to Seattle to spend a few days before boarding a Holland America cruise on the ms Oosterdam to Alaska. We will be meeting up with my daughter Jennifer, her husband Steve, and their three children: Vivian, 12, and Dominic and Cynthia, 9-year-old twins.

For several years I have been planning to sail to Alaska when they reached this age…not yet teens, but old enough to venture around the ship on their own and to be awed by the majesty of Alaska.

We decided to sail from either Seattle or Vancouver because they live in San Diego and either embarkation port would be an easy flight for them.

Seven days was the right length for these two working parents.

Multigenerational cruising is all the rage, haven’t you heard? So we are giving it a try. How is it sharing a cabin with a grandchild or two? Will they like the children’s programs as much as I hope they will? Will their parents get some much-needed rest and alone time?

We have some activities planned and are open to other possibilities.

I have already encountered one strange thing: Last week I made online reservations for the specialty restaurants aboard. Because of the size of our group, it was tricky getting good times. I assumed the per-head charges would be added to our ship charges. But, no, they were charged directly to my credit card (and if I decide to cancel there is a 10 percent penalty). I am not sure if this is the same for advance bookings for the spa and shore excursions, but be careful about this. I was asked for my credit card but they said it was for security. They did not indicate that these charges would be paid immediately and two weeks before the cruise even began!

We are really looking forward to this. Our last cruise with family was when Vivian (now 12) was nine months old, on the Disney Magic, with another set of older grandchildren. This will be a new adventure.


About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for AllThingsCruise.com. She is a former national president of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). She has sailed on over 40 cruises all over the world.

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