Tips for Cruising with a Baby or Toddler
So you want to go on a cruise but not sure if it’s a good idea with your offspring? I think it’s a great idea. Get out there, explore the world, live life. No reason you can’t do all of this with a baby or toddler. I was terrified of cruising with our one year old. I was convinced it would be terrible. But I was so wrong! If you’re thinking about taking on the high seas with your infant or toddler in tow, here are some things to keep in mind.
Research Ships Before You Book
This is something that I’m so glad we did. Your trip is going to be 85.6% more enjoyable (that’s exact math) if you are on a baby friendly boat. No cruise ships allow non-potty trained children into their main pools. It’s a law or something for sanitary reasons. Some do have kiddy splash pads and shallow kiddy pools. These are what you want. We cruised recently with our then 12 month old on Royal Carribean’s Freedom of the Seas which had a great little splash pool for babies with a flamingo fountain. There are a couple other Royal Carribean boats in the Freedom class that have something similar, and I know several Disney boats have splash pads for babies and toddlers as well. These are awesome for at sea days so that you can be outside enjoying the sun and open air! You also will want a boat with other kid friendly activities. I loved all that the Freedom of the Seas had to offer. There were Shrek characters everywhere, which Maddie Grace loved, and tons of activities aimed towards children. She really just loved all the lights and excitement everywhere and always having something to look at!
Another thing I loved about our boat was that it had a nursery that you could drop your child off at for $6 an hour. It was a very clean center with the sweetest ladies working in it so I felt totally comfortable doing this. You could also rent toys for the week to take back to your room, and they had play times where parents could join the children which was a great thing to do on the at sea days.
Book A Trip With Few At Sea Days
We did a 7 night trip with 2 at sea days and it was perfect – any more at sea days though and we would have had a rough time. And our at sea days were spread out and not back to back which made them bearable. The days where we got off the boat and went to the beach were the perfect amount of boat/land time for our baby, and we kept her occupied on the at sea days and she behaved great, but I think more than one in a row she would have been over it.
Bring A Good Umbrella Stroller
And look no further – buy this one. Maddie Grace isn’t a stroller sleeper. Like not at all. Yet on our cruise she took every single nap in this stroller, an UppaBaby G-luxe, and even would fall asleep in it at night. I saved some money ordering on Amazon and it was still expensive, but worth every penny. Not only was it amazing because she napped in it on the beach (glorious) but it was so lightweight, folded up super small, and we put it through hell and back with transportation, being on the beach, etc, and it held up like a champ!
Never been on a cruise? Well there’s not much to do at the ports themselves. There are exceptions to this of course. On our cruise we stopped at Labadee, Haiti, which is owned by Royal Carribean, and the port was an amazing beach with no travel to anywhere necessary. Every other port on our trip had very little at it, so we booked excursions for them. For two we just basically booked trips to the beach (we probably could have taxi’d but we wanted the gauruntee that the ship wouldn’t leave us if the transportation messed up and you only get this when you book through the ship) and then for our stop at Grand Cayman we booked an awesome excursion to a turtle farm. The turtle farm was a huge hit for all of us, as Tom and I took turns snorkeling with the giant sea turtles, and MG loved looking at them and petting them, and swimming in the awesome pool there!
Pack Everything You May Need
You’re not going to be able to buy diapers or formula on the boat, and you probably won’t have much luck finding them at the ports either. I was lucky because I was still breastfeeding Maddie Grace on our trip so formula wasn’t a concern, but if it is for you bring more than enough in case of any spills! Also bring more diapers than you think you will need just in case. Of course pack whatever sunscreen you feel comfortable using on your baby or toddler, and any favorite activities or toys as well.
One thing that surprised me was how many babies and toddlers were on our boat. There were a ton! In the room next to us there was a 6 month old, across the hall there was a 9 month old, and we met several in the 1-2 year range just being out and about. And everyone who had their babies with them were remarking how glad they were that they decided to bring them – I didn’t see any babies or toddlers who seemed to not be enjoying the trip.
Have you cruised with a baby or toddler? What tips would you add? Or are you planning to and have any questions for me? Just let me know below!