Hi. We are planning a cruise with our 15 month old and I am at a loss. We are thinking of RCI since they offier in room babysitting. Has anyone used this service and now how much it costs? Is it offered all day, everyday? Do any of the other cruise lines have this option? Also, can anyone offer advice about bringing him with us to dinner? Do the other passengers get offended if an infant in a high chair is at the table?
And one last question, do they rent strollers on the ships?
When we were on RCl last year the table next to us had their infant/toddler in a high chair with them everynight. No one seemed to mind. I don't know about the stollers. You might want to call and ask. The only ones I did see were the umbrella type that I think people brought with them. As far as the in cabin babysitting goes I would make sure to call the cruise line and ask what kind of background checks they do on the babysitters. You can't be too careful. Have you checked out Disney? I think they have group babysitting.
We took our son (almost 1 and then 2) everywhere with us. Our son has never had anyone but family look after him and only for a few hours, so I dont think a stranger
taking care of him on board wouldve worked for us. Plus I didnt want him to miss out on anything (or us for that matter). It was so much fun to watch his reactions to all the new things. I did have my dad and brother along so we got a break every now and then, and had a nice dinner at one of the nice ship restaurants.
As long as your child "behaves" you wont get any looks. However some people will never be happy when they see a small child (see following story). Make sure to rsvp a high chair ahead of your trip. The waiters weve had tend to play with our son during meals. If you cant make it through a meal, then usually there are other options (cafe, room service). They will usually bring out the childs food with the first course to keep him occupied. Also, it helps to bring along some toys, coloring stuff to entertain him. At 2, sitting through dinner was rough and the people aside of us (with 2 older kids maybe 10ish) were never happy. I dont think I ever saw them smile when they did show up. My dad had ordered a bday cake for me and when their son saw it, he got upset (apparently it was his bday too). They seemed really annoyed with us after that and grunted to us after we wished their son happy bday. Really nice!
Anyways-we took him on a few excursions, shopping, and to the beach. Check age limits on excursions, and watch the sun at the beach! As for strollers, check with the cruise line if they rent. Sometimes its first come first serve. We always take our own umbrella stroller. Remember you have to store it in your cabin, so the smaller the better. Plus its a lot easier manuvering around the narrow halls, on to the tenders, down the gangway, in crowded elevators, and through airport security (you have to fold it up and put it through the xray machine). You hear some people complain about the big bulky strollers on board on some message boards. Of course if you have a car seat to deal with you need the bigger ones. We will be sailing again around New Years and may have another little one tagging along. Ive been looking at the new Baby Trend compact sit and stand vs a double. My 2 yr old can sit or stand on the back while the baby has a seat up front.
Hi there - We just returned from a cruise of the Southern Caribbean on Celebrity's Constellation. Had a fabulous time with our 10 month old. The cruise line was wonderful - I would say that it was definately child friendly but not exactly child oriented. By that I mean that everyone was WONDERFUL to our baby but you might find that other cruise lines have more amenities for kids. Here's some tips/info that we learned -
Stroller - we have a Graco Citilite - was too big for under the bed but fit in the closet so we were fine. We found that we used it mostly on the ship (but our son isn't walking - just crawling). Offship we used a baby backpack - he loved it. Fell asleep in it quite a few times. You definately want as small a stroller as possible so if yours is bigger than a graco citilite you want to bring an umbrella stroller.
Sleeping - the pack and play that they provided worked great. We would put it on top of the couch during the day so he had an area to play.
Veranda - having a veranda definately opened up the room - we could sit on it and watch our son play (but he was crawling so his needs were probably different)
Eating - The wait staff was wonderful. They offered to make anything we needed for him. Celebrity sat us with another family that had a 18 month old. It worked out well as we had the same issues as they did. There were many times that one of us was up taking the child outside for a walk... We did the early seating and that worked well for us.
Babysitting - Our son goes to bed pretty early so we would get a sitter after dinner - around 8pm when he was asleep. She gave us a beeper so if there was a problem she would call.... It was $8 an hour which I thought was fair (we pay that at home) and it was a minimum of 3 hrs. We got the same sitter for 3 nights which was nice. They also had her come and meet us prior to sitting for us.
Pool - you are not supposed to take your child in the pools if they are in swim diapers. That said, there were several toddlers in the pool with swim diapers. We were only at sea one day so it wasn't really an issue for us. We did talk with some other people that have cruised and they said that no one had ever made any comments to them about bringing their toddler in the pool.
Treasure chest - They lend out these treasure chests that are full of different toys for babies/toddlers. They were free to borrow and our son really enjoyed it.
As for people making comments about bringing your child - we must have had 100 people come up to us and say how cute he was, tickle him, try to talk w/ him etc. People were wonderful. We never got any critical comments - actually it was the opposite. The first night we were eating by ourselves (it was open seating) and this one couple kept staring at us.. at first i was nervous as I thought that they were being critical. It turned out that they loved babies and just couldn't take their eyes off of him.
Thank you for your comments. I appreciate the feedback and the tips. I feel a little better about booking this trip. We are going to try RCI and get an in room babysitter each night for a couple hours after he goes to sleep. As for the excursions, baby and I will do beach and shopping and hubby can go diving. Thanks again for all the help.
We used RCI in cabin baby sitting for our one year old last year and it worked very well. The babysitter got him to sleep easier than we do! Make sure you reserve the times you want a babysitter (at guest relations) soon after you get on the ship to insure they'll be available. Make sure you go to one of the alternative restaurants on the night you use the babysitter -- the Italian restaurant on the newer RCI ships is great!
Also, make sure you read my article, "Bringing the Baby" on this seciton prior to your cruise for lots of tips.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor