Hey everyone! I was feeling a little "cabin fever" over the spring and summer so we decided to plan our first family trip! I'm a first time cruiser and have been doing some research on how to make this enjoyable, so I thought I'd pass along my knowledge and ask for some in the process! My husband had cruised on Carnival and enjoyed it, so I wanted to try one out myself. After thinking about the price of a family vacation in Florida, I decided that a cruise would be just about the same with a whole lot less hassle.
A cruise will offer us a "home base" so to speak. We won't have to rent a car, go out to eat, plan excursions, etc. We chose to go Western Caribbean for 7 nights on Celebrity cruise lines. We are going on this vacation with the expectations that we'll be able to enjoy being served, relax a bit, see some sights, and enjoy our daughter. We are taking this cruise with my parents, but not so they'll do any babysitting, it just sounded so fun that they booked it too!
We will either try to find a cheap deal on a hotel room by the airport the night before our plane leaves. This way we can share a ride down to the airport. My parents flight goes out before ours (6:50am), so they take the shuttle from the hotel, we'll take it later. Or we are looking into calling a limo service to pick all of us up and take us to the airport. Any suggestions?
When we get to Ft. Lauderdale, we are hoping to find a deal (Priceline?) on a hotel room(s) by the beach. this way we'll split the cost and probably share a room with my parents.
To make traveling a little lighter and easier, I searched for a used Sit-n-Stroll, car seat and stroller in one.I called around to all the resale shops in my area and found one for 1/2 the cost of new one. It holds up to 30lbs. It goes rear facing for my infant, and can be taken on the plane. I also was thinking about storage on the cruise ship. The rooms are tiny, and we'll already have all our things plus a crib....so this will save space.
I'm also planning on bringing my baby food grinder. I can take it with me to the dining hall and easily grind up fruit or veggies. I'm going to pack my pump only to use in case something pops up...it will make me a little more flexable.
I am looking for suggestions as to traveling / flying/ cruising with my daughter. The more the marrier!!
Hi Beth, sounds like you have things under control. I would like to add a couple of things, i would think about getting a baby back-pack for your daughter its so much easier on excursions and at the beach. We like to book into the Embassy Suites hotel in Ft. Lauderdale - you could share a suite with your folks. The cost of the suite includes shuttle transporation from the airport to the hotel, shuttle service from the hotel to the cruise port, full breakfast and an evening cocktail party. Its clean and close to great restaurants, and a grocery store. Think about leaving the food grinder at home, the restaurant staff will be more than willing to take care of that for you. Book first seating for dinner and note that dinner in the main dining rooms is an event that takes about 2 hrs
I'm the family cruise editor here. I've taken my two year old toddler on four cruises already and all went well. Why don't you read the article I wrote on this site about taking the baby/toddler on a cruise? It offers helpful hints. Let me know if you have any add'l questions.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Thanks for the response to my e-mail! What a great way to gain info...and quick too! LIsa, are you saying that the dining staff would be willing to grind up some fresh fruits and veggies for my daughter?!! If so, that is way beyond my expectations already!!
We booked 2 rooms in Ft. Lauderdale at the Amerisuites for $30 dollars. Embassy Suites sounds better though. Since we booked through Priceline, we didn't know what we were getting. I'll check the internet and see if Amerisuites offers anything similar.
Luisa, I will definately read your comments on traveling with your little one. I do have a question. Does Celebrity offer any toys to borrow while onboard? Like an Exersaucer? And what would you suggest about nap time? Layne will often fall asleep in her carseat/stroller, are there any shady spots on deck that we could sit with her instead of being inside the cabin?
I wouldn't count on getting any toys/exersaucer to borrow. If you can afford a cabin with a verandah, get it. We go out there (take your monitor with you) while the baby was napping. That way you get to feel that you're enjoying the weather too.
Hope this helps!
Beth, you would be amazed at what the staff is willing to do for you, especially on what is considered to be a higher-end cruise line. All you have to do is ask your waiter on the first night. I am not familar with the layout of your particular ship, but you should be able to find plenty of shady spots up on deck.