Departing 3/25 on RSSC Navigator with an 11-month old boy as part of our 4-generation group. Looks like he'll be just walking at that point. Is there anything we need to know to make this trip more pleasant for all of us? What to bring? What to request beforehand from cruiseline? What to avoid?
Luisa wrote a great article on this site about cruising with an infant/toddler. I would start by reading that. My kids were quite a bit older than yours before we started cruising with them so I don't have any first hand experience cruising with little ones. Some of the things others have posted were:
Make sure you bring enough diapers and wipes and over the counter mediations.
Bring favorite toy/blanket, hat, sunscreen.
I'm sure others will also give you some helpful hints.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
My son was 11 mos on his first cruise. He was already walking at 9 mos, so he mainly walked around on the ship. We brought an umbrella stroller to use in ports and at dinner time since by then he was tired, and when we went to the shows afterwards, he could crash in it, making the walk back to the cabin much easier on us! You wont want anything much bigger than an umbrella stroller as the elevators and halls can be very crowded. We often ended up taking the stairs vs waiting for an elevator and having a lightweight stroller was a huge plus!
We had a balcony cabin which was nice since our son took naps every day. We were able to sit out on the balcony to talk, read, or take in the sights while our son slept peacefully. He is a picky eater and I brought along a lot of his favorite foods and snacks since I wasnt sure what would be available on board. Our dr said that a change in routine can also affect how a child eats, etc. Our son hardly ate much at all, but filled up on Cheerios, breads, bananas and yogurt (all which were available on board). We would grab some milk, juice and food and keep it in our cabin's fridge for later in the day. We also brought a few sippy cups, some dish soap, brush, small utensils, and small bowls.
As the other poster mentioned, bring plenty of diapers, wipes, Tylenol and Motrin (this last cruise our son had a terrible fever due to ear infections and Tylenol didnt cut it, so we paid a lot more when visiting the ships dr-thank goodness for insurance!), small sized first aid supplies, sunscreen, hat, some beach toys, a lifejacket for the beach (cant use the ones from the ship), etc. Child size stuff can be hard and expensive to find in port, and they dont sell it on ships! What we really liked is this sunsuit we got for our son. It cover most of his body except for parts of his arms and legs and is made of lycra (looks almost like a wetsuit). It works like sunscreen and it doesnt wear off, so the only places we had to put sunscreen was where it didnt cover. Now that hes 3 he wears a rash guard top. We rent an umbrella at the beach as well to keep him out of the sun as much as possible. We skipped excursions as they are too long and probably too boring for a little one. We were going to snorkel this last trip now that hes 3, but it booked up fast. Our son was happiest at the beach, exploring the ship, and at the musical / flashy type shows. He wasnt allowed in the pools even with a swim diaper, but they were too cold anyways (we go over New Years). As for bedding, we brought our own portable crib the first time not knowing what the ship's stuff was like. After that, we bring a ready bed (inflatable sleeping bag) which works great. We stand it up during the day making more room to walk around. Dont forget to take lots of pictures and take advantage of the protraits the ship does. Our son loves looking at his photo album and when we went on our second cruise (he was 23 mos then) he remembered quite a bit thanks to the photos! Have a great time, and dont worry about negative looks, comments, etc. Just be respectful of others vacation and remove your child if he gets out of hand!
BeckyB, I agree about the umbrella stroller. We found one in Target or Walmart that was a small lightweight umbrella stroller with a canopy on top, that way the baby was protected from the sun. On Disney, they had a small pool that was dedicated for babies in swim diapers. The little guy spent a lot of time getting in and out of that pool! We brought along a few jars baby food, but I only remember using it while we were in Mexico and on our way to the ship. Onboard we just fed him regular foods (they would cut up certain things special for him). The sippy cups were important, because little kids get dehydrated faster than older kids or adults. So we kept one of those with us all the time. Otherwise, just bring what things you use every day (diapers, wipes, diaper rash ointment) as well as baby tylenol and PLENTY of sunscreen. If you're not used to packing for a baby, a good idea is to make a list of all the things you use throughout the day as you use them (like a running tally). I would bring along a couple of the swim diapers too.. even if you can't use them in the cruise's pool, they would be fine on the beach. Our baby's favorite activities were the pool and the deck parties, because he loved the music and dancing. He liked some of the stage shows, but fell asleep during others. Before we left, a lot of people said we were crazy for taking a 14 month old on a cruise, but we loved it and he LOVED it! He loves looking at the pictures from the cruise now.