My son has been on 3 RCL cruises already @ 11 mos, 23 mos, and 35 mos. We will be going again over the holidays and will also have a 5 mos old. Heres what Ive found:
1. I would think they could leave out the salt since some adults are on special diets. You might want to let them know ahead of time. I just brought baby food for my son, and he also ate fruit, cheerios, yogurt, and other items available on board. As for pureeing-I dont know if they will do this, but Im bringing a food mill to do it myself for my daughter this trip. You could also mash it up with a fork if its soft enough.
2. They dont provide monitors or walkie talkies that I know of. We tried walkie talkies one day and they hardly worked for us on Mariner, so they stay home now. As for a monitor you really dont need one if the baby is in your cabin.
3. There are very few small tables in the dining room. On our first trip, we were seated with another family. While this is nice, it got to be a pain when we were held up by them coming late. They had two older daughters who were lifesavers-when they didnt eat a course, they would take my son out for a quick walk. He was walking at 9 mos and they adored him. On the other trips, we had our own table which is so much nicer. However, there were 5 of us in our group (my dad and brother come too), next trip 6 so we should get our own table. What to do-as soon as you board, go check out where your table is. If youre not happy, talk to the maitre d and request a smaller table. Chances are slim that you will get what you want, but its worth a try. As for a highchair-our travel agent arranged this ahead of sailing to be sure we had one reserved since it was the holidays. The first night they will have to track one down, but after that it will be waiting for you. In the other restaurants (ie Windjammer), you can ask a waiter to find one for you, or do it yourself. Those are first come so you may have to wait for one.
4. We took our son to many shows. The first trip we also brought his small stroller since he always fell asleep during the show. Much easier getting him back to the cabin in that. The other trips we stuck to the musical type shows since they held his interest longer. If he fussed or got antsy, we left. He really loved the ice shows. The sea air, sun, new sites, etc really wipe a kid out. Dont be surprised if they sleep more than usual. And be sure to get down time in your cabin for a nap if you want to make it through dinner! Another thing you could do is one of you go to the early show, and the other go to the late show if you need to stay with the child. Not as fun, but its something to do if you dont want to miss a show.
5. You will have to pay for medical care. I know first hand. Our first trip our son burned his hand. This last time he had a nasty ear infection and I took him down after midnight. The charges were put on our cabin bill, and when we got home we submitted the paperwork to our insurance co. which covered most of it thankfully. Do be sure to pack baby meds (ie motrin, tylenol, prescriptions, first aid kit) as they dont sell this stuff on board, and in port it can be hard, time consuming and $$ to find.
Just be respectful of others around you, leave the monster stroller at home (an umbrella type is best for ports, crowded halls, gangways, cabs, tenders, cabin, etc). Dont forget sunscreen and a hat for the little one. Have a great time and take lots of pictures!