I used to use this site years ago when DH and I were dating and used to go on cruises annually. However, we haven't been on a cruise in 6 years so I'm a little out of the loop.
DH and I just became 1st time parents in February to a beautiful baby girl. She is 4 1/2 months old now. If we do cruise, she will be 17 months old then. My family is thinking about taking the new Norwegian Breakaway next July.
My questions are: How do they accomodate a baby? Do we have to bring our pack and play on board or do they provide a crib?
What age do the children's activity centers start at? Would she be to young to go with the babysitting service if I wanted to put her in their little camp for a few hours? (I might not even put her in, but I'd like to know my options.)
I could always go to the website and research it but I'd rather get feedback from real cruisers.
Welcome to Cruisemates!!...This is a good ship because of the freestyle dining,and you can tailor your dining times to the baby's schedule. Lots of great dining options on NCL. A couple of things you have probably already thought of: Don't bring her into the pool, if she isn't trained by your cruise, and if by chance you go to a show,and she gets cranky, bring her outside of the theater,and try and make her comfortable, to go back in.
Both of these situations could be upsetting for you, because some people will not be sublte about their being annoyed. It's best for you to react first.
Another thing is, you could bring a blow up pool to set up by your chairs around the pool.
If you bring a fold up carriage for her in port...some ports have cobblestone streets, which are a pain to push on. As far as the onboard activities, I am sure you will get some helpful postings, from other young parents.
Enjoy the anticipation of the cruise, and, your littlle one, Ella....
Trip, with her book & tea!
Chat Hostess & Board Moderator
Most ships require that the child be potty trained, at least, to participate in the "kids camp." Minimum age is 3 or more, 5 on some ships. So your child would not be eligible.
Some ships have crew members who will baby sit during their off hours. It is NOT guaranteed to be available. Usually they will not change diapers (health and safety reasons.)
The baby will not be allowed in the pool in diapers, not even the "swim" diapers. Again obvious health reasons.
How are you going to manage shore activities? Honestly most ships tours are not going to be suitable for a baby. If they are you are going to be toting so much stuff that you will hardly be able to move. Would you take a stroller, or plan to carry the baby on walking portions? Any sort of "extreme" tours like jeeps or parasailing would be totally impossible, of course.
What about meals? I strongly doubt that the child would be able to sit through dinner in the main dining room for an hour or more. What if it becomes fussy in the middle of dinner? Certainly you would not inflict a crying baby on the entire dining room, so will you get up and leave your meal to take the child outside? Or will you eat at the buffet all the time? Even that will not be simple with the child.
And entertainment? Can a 17 month old sit through even 45 minutes of a show without making a fuss or running around? Remember that many cruise passengers are sedate older people who may have little tolerance for a child disturbing their cruise. Trip is right, some cranky people like me may not be subtle about being annoyed.
Setting up a crib or a play pen in an average sized ship's cabin is going to be very crowded. There is little enough space as it is.
I have seen parents on cruises with children that small. Frankly Mom usually looked harassed and Dad usually looked as if he wished he were someplace else. Rather than becoming a relaxing getaway for you, the cruise becomes a full time exercise in taking care of the baby in new and challenging situations.
Our daughter stayed home with Grandma until she was 10 before we took her cruising with us. We had more fun and she did too.
Thanks for the input. I in no way mean to sound rude because I appreciate the feedback but I would really like to hear from parents who have sailed with babies who could say 'we did it this way' rather than hearing 'it's not a good idea!" It's not an option to leave my child home, so she will be coming along. (I have been on many ships in the past where parents brought babies. I just never knew the ins or outs of the ship details which is why I figured I'd ask here at this site. Maybe I made the wrong decision coming here and should have posted this on a baby website with other parent who have done this before.)
It's good to know in advance the age for the "kids camp." That is the reason I asked the question. I didn't plan on putting her in there all day, every day but had we wanted to put her there for a little while, we might have considered it. I would definitely not want a one on one babysitting service. (You don't know who is nuts out there...) Besides, I will have a teenage cousin with me who can baby sit her if DH and I want to stay up a little bit later.
If she's not allowed in the pool, then she doesn't go in the pool. There are plenty of activities to do on board all day long, so finding something is not a concern of mine. We will be travelling with a group of at least 20 people, so at all times I will have plenty of help entertaining her!
As far as shore activities, we're going to Bermuda so all we would be doing is going to the beach. Whether we choose to have her walk, carried or use the stroller would be at our digression. We are beach people not 'extreme' excursions people! I've been to Horseshoe Bay twice, so I do know how small the buses are and how big of a hill it is walking down there.
About meals, worst case scenario if she is bad, I'd have to leave dinner and go to either the buffet or order room service. I'm not all that worried about that. I have a whole year to mould her into a cooperative child at the dinner table!
As far as a crib, if it doesn't fit in the room or is too cramped she can sleep in our bed. Either way, it will work out.
We will be sailing on the Norwegian Breakaway in the middle to end of July which is the height of 'family' vacations, so the whole ship will have plenty of 'little ones' running around. If any old folks are 'grumpy' and don't like children, then maybe they should consider cruising during off peak season when kids are in school. That's just silly for me to worry about my baby upsetting others to miss out on a family vacation. (And by the way our entire family has taken every child from a very young age away with them, and I will be doing the same with my child.) That's the beauty of freestyle cruising. You can go where you want, when you want, and how you want.
To be perfectly honest, I really don't need to give a play by play of my plans. As a mother I'd have to make a decision what is best to do with her if she acts up. Like I said before, I started this thread to get feedback from young parents on how they managed. I'm really not looking for 'this isn't a good idea' or 'don't go on vacation because your child might annoy someone!' Children cruise all the time and there is a minimum age to sail which is 6 months. She will be well over that age by next July.
Thanks again for the tips! Even though you might not perceive it that way, I do appreciate the thoughts!
Freestyle cruising, doing what you want when you want wont be truly freestyle when toting a baby.
It just does'nt seem like a vacation...and putting the burden on a teen going on a cruise so she can watch the baby even sometimes IMHO is not very cool for the teen. There may be times when the teen actually does not want to watch the baby when you both choose and that in itself is a problem.
Last edited by buttons16; July 7th, 2012 at 02:38 PM.
I have not yet taken my kids (now 3 and 5), but as a mommy I would suggest a few things...
Bring a few of her favorite toys for easy distraction
Bring extra Wet Ones, or Wipes for her hands and face. (At that age they touch everything!)
IF she is still using a binky (pacifier, popo, whatever) bring extra. Mine used to lose theirs frequently.
I am not sure if they provide a crib, but the pack and play is a great idea if you have the room for it! You could use it in the room, by the pool, etc.
I like Trip's idea to bring a small blow up pool! That would be a fun way for her to play on deck while the group swims.
Depending on how she eats for you, I don't see any reason why food would be an issue. There is almost always some fruit and simple meats available, and it will be a good chance for her to try new things as well!!
We have been waiting to take ours until they can go to the Children's areas and sit a little better through dinner. Maybe the next cruise we'll take them along?
Hope that was some help! Let us know how it goes!!
Golden Princess 9/8/2012
Carnival Elation 11/02/2009
Carnival Pride 04/24/2006
Carnival Pride 05/23/2004
Carnival Elation (I think) 1999