We're going on a Western Caribbean cruise, Norwegian Cruise line, with our toddler, who is almost 2 years old. We were thinking of doing some shore excursions, any suggestions on what to do in some of these ports? And any suggestions on what to bring for these day trips? Like should we bring a car seat, stroller.
Our Ports are:
Key West 8:00am - 5:00pm
George Town 8:00am - 3:00pm
Roatan, Bay Islands 12:00pm - 6:00pm
Belize City 8:00am -6:00pm
Costa Maya, Mexico 8:00am - 6:00pm
Cozumel, Mexico 8:00am - 8:00pm
I'd bring some sort of stroller for sure. Don't think you're going to want to be lugging the "lil darlin" everywhere.
A car seat won't be of much use. Most buses and taxis don't have restraints to tie the seat into.
I'd consider getting at a taxi for yourselves, as opposed to ship's excursions. With a toddler I don't think you want to be tied to someone else's schedule.
I took my 11 month old on an Alaska cruise last month. I brought an "umbrella-style" stroller. Took up very little room in the cabin, was easy to carry with her in it and empty (I sometimes found it easier to just carry the stroller with her in it up/down stairs, over rough ground, etc. than to try to push it). As Kuki indicated, a car seat could well be more hassle than it's a help. Even on the tour buses in AK, there were no restraints for anyone but the driver.
We did take two organized shore excursions. The first was a whale-watching trip and may have been just a bit too long (about 3.5 hours). She did OK but was starting to get cranky at the end. The other was shorter (about 1.5 hours) and worked out well. we also did our own thing in port, shopping, sightseeing by foot, etc. and found the stroller to be indispensable. Not only could I put her in it but could hang odds and ends from it to free my hands (be careful of tipping when you remove your child from a stroller with items hanging from the handles).
I've started planning for a Caribbean trip soon and am looking at excursions that look "toddler friendly". Let me know how yours goes.
Does your toddler like beaches? Most youngsters do and you have some nice beaches coming up on your cruise. Grand Cayman's 7 mile beach is gorgeous. There are beaches in Roatan and Cozumel. Key West has beaches too, but they aren't wonderful. I'd stay on the ship in Belize City. Take taxis to the beaches and arrange to have them pick you up later.
I remember when. It is amazing just how well a little one can travel as long as what is expected is within the limit for the child. Chankanaub Park in Cozemel would be a good choice. There is a nice beach, a small "tropical forest walk" with pavement, and refreshments are available as well. This is included for an entry fee of I believe $10.00 per adult. Children may or may not get a cheaper rate, I don't know for sure. In addition the park hosts an area where the dolphin encounter/swim is. A two year old would enjoy seeing the dolphins swimming from the pier for a short time. There is no fee for observing the Dolphin area. The park is an easy inexpensive convienent cab ride from the ships pier. As always I recommend negotiating the fare before getting into the cab and maybe adding a bonus for the driver to "Take his time driving" What is nice about Chankanaub is that for the price, you can spend a few hours when the baby is up to it and be back to the ship for rest time and come away satisfied with your outing. Also at Cozumel there is a nice sampling of shops right at the pier area so y'all can get an opportunity for a little browsing without having to go into the town and fight the crowds. It's the same stuff, with the same prices. Enjoy our family vacation. I am looking forward to grandchildren someday so that I may get another chance at traveling with kids.
We took our 3-1/2 yo daughter and 15 mo son (along with lots of relatives for babysitting).
We left the kids w/Grandparents in Caymans as we did the StingRay City. They took an afternoon excursion and we took them for naps. Sorry, no help there.
Roatan - On the advice of my aunt, former TA and 30+cruise veteran who was travelling with us, we went on an excursion called "Salt and Pepper". Don't ask me why it is called that. Basically it is a beach day. They take you in a mini-van to a very quiet bay, no waves at all, shallow water, great for kids. THey've got chaise lounges and a big tree if you don't want anymore sun. The van is ready to take you back at any time. THey include a lobster tail lunch. It was okay, don't get your hopes up. But the beach location was perfect and that made the day. While we had car seats with us on the ship, we did not take them on excursions. We always took the umbrella strollers. Ask the desk about Salt and Pepper in Roatan. The cruise director staff was at the place checking it out for inclusion as an "official" shore excursion.
Belize - Very humid place. We took a taxi to the Belize Zoo. Again no car seats used, but we buckled the 3 yo. Paths are gravel so stroller was useless. Too hot and humid to really enjoy it and the car ride was long (45min? each way). Everything in Belize we thought about doing seemed to be pretty far outside the city.
Cozumel - had plans to go to Chakkanab (sp) but it rained, so plan B was Grandpa and I played with the kids in the Observation Lounge (no one is ever there during the day) while Grandma and my wife went shopping.
Costa Maya was not on our itinerary.
in key west, we took the trolley tour around town (about an hour) and our 2 year old was fine and we got to see a bit of the town - mallory square has entertainment towards sunset - try and see the "cat man" - we strolled our toddler down to duval street and she was fine with that (sometimes we walked, sometimes we stroll, sometimes she sits on my shoulders).
chakanaab in cozumel - we liked it too - good place for kids- wherever you dock there are shops, so someone can shop while someone stays with toddler napping in the stroller perhaps - that's what we did - she might even enjoy getting her hair braided
cayman islands- our toddler went swimming with the stingrays and still talks about it - she was 2 years and 3 months old - we went through captain marvin's - smaller group - my wife took her (along with other family members - I took grandma on a taxi toue) - my wife is a very good swimmer so she felt very confident having our toddler in the water (our toddler has been "swimming" since 6 weeks old so she likes the water)