Here is the children’s view of their Alaska cruise — Thinking of taking your grandchildren on a cruise? Do it!

If you are following this blog, you already know that we recently took a cruise to Alaska on Holland America’s Oosterdam with my daughter Jennifer Colucci, her husband Steve, and grandchildren Vivian, Dominic and Cynthia.

I have asked them to write what they liked about the trip and the twins were the first to respond.

Dominic with one of the husky puppies

Dominic with one of the husky puppies

Here is Dominic’s vivid report. I have maintained the spelling and punctuation for authenticity:

Dear Nona and Grandpa Chet,

I had a tremendous time on the Holland America line. The best part was when I made new friends like my friends Braden, Zach and Ethan. 

The reason why I was looking forward to this amazing cruise is because it was fun spending time with you at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

What I wished to do everyday on the cruise is play basketball with my dad. Some activities I really enjoyed (in Club HAL) were ping-pong, chess and Sorry. 

I really did have a fun time in Juneau, Sitka and Ketchikan. The best thing we did was dog sledding in Juneau. I can’t believe that 15 huskies pulled 6 people that were eating a lot on the cruise ship. 

Another thing I loved was eating at the buffets. The Lido buffet because it (had) everything I loved for example the pesto spaghetti, hot chocolate with milk and cream, the fruit, and the oatmeal with brown sugar and colered raisans. 

On Saturday June 8 we did pillow fight rounds. So first 2 kids get ready to fight each other And then you have to fight against your opponent and if you hit them in the head with the pillow they get to smack you in the butt with the pillow. And whoever puts the pillow on the ground with there face on it wins.

I had a spectacular time at the Holland America Line cruise.

Love, Dominic Colucci


His sister twin Cynthia is a woman of fewer words:

Cynthia at the dog-sledding camp

Cynthia at the dog-sledding camp

Dear Nona, 

These are the favorite parts (of the cruise).

I like the Lido and and the pool and the dog sledding and Club Hal.

There were fun things to do.

I hope you had a great trip.

Love, Cynthia

Bless them. Not sure I could have said it better myself.

There are many good reasons to take your grandchildren on a cruise. I will be writing more about this in the future, but Dom and Tia identified a few key points here. Eating meals together, having memorable adventures together (dog-sledding, in this case) and the joys of buffet dining. Who knew? And I know the twins will long remember that pillow fight.

As long-time cruisers, Chet and I tend to see things through our own preferences and experiences and so it was enlightening and fun to see what their family enjoyed. Without a doubt, the children’s program (called Club HAL) was a huge success with the twins. Like camp all day, I guess. But their going there and being happy allowed their parents, their older sister Vivian and us to pursue other adventures aboard.

Cruising can be a tremendous experience for families. These days, in many families both parents work and it is hard to get “family together time.” A cruise provides that (sometimes too much so when you are sharing a tight cabin!). Meals together, but time apart as well.

Alaska cruise with family

Alaska cruise with family

In retrospect, I am not sure it mattered whether we went to Alaska, the Caribbean or where. I had thought the children were old enough to appreciate where we were going. But it rained almost the entire cruise, no whales were spotted and we only saw the tip of a glacier. In that regard, it was somewhat disappointing. But I will never regret the close time spent with this wonderful family.

Did I mention they live in San Diego and we live in Northern Michigan? A long way apart. So this quality time together was precious. As Dominic so aptly stated, “I had a spectacular time.”



About Cynthia Boal Janssens

Cynthia Boal Janssens is the editor and chief blogger for 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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