Monday, August 16, 2004

HAL’S FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH: To lure a younger crowd, Holland America is upgrading its Youth Program fleetwide. Previously serving ages 5 and older, CLUB HAL now offers creative activities for ages 3 to 12, with nifty art-themed facilities and separate getaway areas for teens. The youth-oriented expansion is part of the premium line’s $225 million Signature of Excellence initiative. Club HAL, with art tables and a tape dispenser-styled slide, has colors swirling on the ceiling, with paint brush pillars and enormous pencils adorning walls. Activities are supervised by permanent, full-time directors and staff with degrees in education, childhood development, recreation, leisure studies and related fields, so kids enjoy safe, supervised fun. Ages 8 to 12 have their own area for arcade games, air hockey, Karaoke, Foosball, Internet access and Sony Playstations. Ages 13 to 17 can get away from family and siblings at The Loft, resembling a funky New York artist’s pad. A special passageway leads to a secluded teen deck near the stern called The Oasis, perfect for soaking up rays or cooling off in a one-of-a-kind waterfall and cave. Other features include the Little Artist program, Luau at the Oasis, Teen Superstar and Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) contests, Campin’ under the Stars and Wacky Olympics. Families can take advantage of Cranium Family Game time, Family Olympics and Karaoke. A new service, Club HAL After Hours, lets parents enjoy time alone while children have fun elsewhere aboard. At $5 per child per hour, the service extends from 10 p.m. to midnight. Improvements will be fleetwide by 2006.

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