Originally Posted by You
Does any one have any advice/thoughts about bringing a 3 year old on the plane, on tour buses and on a cruise? We are going on the Carnival Valour ship. I am worried about how he will be in the plane as I heard that the plane really will hurt his ears! Also wondering how people have dealt with buses and taxis... should I bring the car seat? Any advice would be great!
Go for it!
The cruise ships operated by all of the major cruise lines have children's centers staffed by professional counsellors with programs for children age three and above, which all of the children seem to enjoy. Note that children must be toilet-trained to participate in this program. Also, their dining staffs are well prepared to cater to the needs of children of all ages. Your biggest challenge aboard ship probably will be that of tearing the child away from the children's center when it's time to eat.
You might want to consider taking the child to "nice" restaurants a few times before your cruise, just so your child will have some familiarity with dining in such situations and will know what to do -- and what NOT to do!
You also need to consider your accommodations aboard ship very carefully before booking. In standard cabins, the third and fourth births are usually upper berths -- where you might not want to put a three-year-old. A few ships have sleeper sofas or sleeper love seats in standard cabins, but these are the exception. Also, a standard cabin usually does not have enough space for a travel sleeper/playpen unit. You might want to spring for a "deluxe" cabin, a handicap cabin, or even a small suite to obtain a more suitable arrangement.
>> 1. If possible, book a WINDOW seat for the child.
>> 2. Have your child bring a small backpack ("personal item") packed with "quiet toys" with which to play and activities (crayons, coloring book, etc.) to do on the plane.
>> 3. Bring a supply hard candy on which the child can suck during ascent and descent -- the consequent swallowing will relieve the pressure differential in the ears.
>> 4. Bring a supply of a favorite snack food of some sort -- but NO liquids or gels -- in case the child gets hungry during a delay where food is not readily available.
>> 5. Before boarding each flight, try to find a place where the child can burn off excess energy at the airport before boarding your flight. Many airport terminals now have play areas for young children in the gate concourses that would be perfect.
>> 6. Make a "potty" stop just before boarding the plane. It's a lot easier to take care of this need on the ground than in the cramped heads on most airplanes.
>> 7. If you must connect, be sure to allow plenty of time on the ground to get a meal, allow the child to burn off some more energy, and make a "potty" stop before boarding the next plane.
Overall, the airlines are pretty well prepared for youngsters.
In your ports of call, plan shore excursions or other activities that your youngster will enjoy. If you have doubts, the shore excursion staff on the ship should be able to advise you as to suitability of tours for a three-year-old.
And I definitely agree with the recommendation to bring a stroller with a sun shade for use in the ports of call!
Have a great cruise!