I am new to these boards. My husband and I LOVE cruising. We didn't get to go this year, because we had a baby in July. We are thinking about taking him on a cruise when he gets a little older ( anywhere from 6 months- 1year). I was just wondering if anybody has taken a baby before, and what your experience was like. Are you able to eat in the main dining room with a baby (don't worry, I won't let him make a scene)? Do you have to pay for children, or are they free?
We were thinking of going on the Carnival Holiday from Mobile for 5 days. We thought this might be a good starter cruise for our son, because it is short, and the port is only 4 hours from our house.
I would appreciate any info. that anyone can give, negative and positive.
Years we took our then 5 month old son and our 2yr old son on a 7 day cruise with us. It was on the Jubliee, Mexican Riveria.
I won't go into too much detail, but to be honest the 2 yr old was more work!! The baby couldn't walk yet, not even crawling really, the 2 yr old ran everywhere.At that time Carnival said kids had to be three to go in the programs, so he was quite a handful to keep entertained, he just wan't happy sitting around!
The baby was MUCH easier, since he couldn't crawl( which is a good thing since you don't want them crawling on those floors then sticking his hand in his mouth ugh!) he was happy to sit in his stroller with some toys, or in the dining room he sat in his carseat( the type you can carry around) , and on shore exs we put him in a back pack( the streets are terrible for strollers, all bumpy and pot holey) . The two year old just wanted to run around, and dinnertime for him had us tag teaming, one of us speed eats while the other played with him and then takes him out of the dining room, since dinner is usaully at least an hour long!The baby would eat, then often fell asleep, or at least would sit in our laps.
The baby slept fine in the crib provided, the two year old needed bed rails for the bed( which we didn't bring) and the crib was too small for him.. the cabin steward pulled the mattress onto the floor for us, he was a nice guy.
Anyways to make a long story shorter, take the baby, sooner the better!
Yes we had to pay for him( it wasn't much but we also had to pay port charges, as they charge per head regardless of age.
The staff were all excellant with the kids, the waiters never minded the requests for extra crackers, breadsticks, napkins etc.
The cabin steward was heroic in his efforts to pick up lego and provide extra towels etc.
I recommend going soon, and then taking 2yrs off till he is three. Of course if you have grandparents that would like to go with you then that sure makes things easier!
My 2.5 yr old son will be going on his 3rd New Years cruise this year! I will agree with the above poster-he was easier the first time when he was almost one. Last year, he couldnt sit long enough for dinner, and all he wanted to do was play in the glass elevator or "drive" the restored car in the promenade (we were on RCI Navigator). We also took him to the beach, since he loves the sand. The first year, we did rsvp a high chair ahead of the cruise, but brought out own pack n play since I wasnt sure of the arrangements. They had one set up in our room when we got there, but used ours instead. If you use theirs, bring your own sheets. Dont plan on excursions that are long. All we did was walk around town, and hang out on the ship. For us it was more about relaxing and my dad and brother were with us, so we had "babysitters". Our son was walking at 9 months, so during dinner, we would take him out to walk around for a few minutes. Seeing his reactions to seeing things for the first time was priceless! I did use an umbrella stroller on the ship (and in ports, airports) if we had to walk from one end to the other (like for dinner), but if it was a short trip, we let him walk to burn off some energy. This last trip, we only used it in port while shopping. We did take him to shows, and he usually fell asleep the first year. Last trip, he would only like shows that were upbeat and flashy. Be sure to bring: camera for lots of pictures (our son loves looking at his), lots of diaper supplies as they can be a hassle to track down and $$, sunscreen, hat, shade for when youre out and about, baby food/snacks (our son was a picky eater so we brought his favorite snacks, Cheerios though they had some on board), a few favorite toys that dont make a lot of noise (we brought some new ones which held his interest longer too), a favorite blankie/stuffed animal to make bedtime a little familiar, any meds or first aid supplies (visiting the ship dr can be $$$-our son burned himself and the dr was closed so we had to wait to see him the next day...thank goodness for good insurance), and any other things that you can think of! Be sure to check age reqs as some ships wont allow babies under 6 months or more. Babies are not free, but are not full price either. The pools are off limits to kids in diapers/swim diapers (our pools have been too cold anyways for us to enjoy). We bring a lifejacket for our son to use in the ocean since you cant take the ship's. Also, you mentioned you cruise a lot....you might think about getting your son a passport. We got one for ours and its well worth it. I dont have to worry about taking/losing his birth certificate, and it speeds up getting through customs. Plus, with the ever changing world situation, I bet everyone will need passports soon. I believe the kids passports last 5 years, maybe 7. As for a car seat, we left ours in the car. I held my son on the plane (I know the dangers so please no comments from others!) and in ports, the cabs and bus transfers didnt have seat belts anyways. As for negatives, I didnt run into any until this last trip when the family beside us at dinner did nothing but frown about our son being there. They hardly ever showed up for dinner, but when they did, thats when our son was at his worst (and hes not bad). My bday is New Years and my dad ordered a bday cake. The waiters brought it out and sang. We got the nastiest looks from the parents. Turns out the it was the son's bday too and they were mad at us for having a cake! On our way out I wished the little boy happy bday and the parents growled a rude thanks. So realize that you wont please everyone on board as there are unhappy people out there. As long as youre respectful of others (dont let your son carry on during meals, shows, dont let him run around and get in the way of others, etc) you shouldnt have any problems. Stay away from the gripe board because it will have you paranoid about what others think of small kids on cruises! Have a great time and feel free to email me if you have any ?s!
We love cruising as well but didn't do it when ours were babies. We started taking them when our youngest was 2 and we went with Carnival because they take 2YO in their children's program. Even so, the 2YO was a handful on those cruises, he refused to eat any meal in the dining room because after one dinner he realized it was too long and boring for him, a real disappointment to my husband and I because we LOVE the dining room. Anyway, we made it through the next few years cruising with them, and now that littlest one is 4.5 YO and he did great in the dining room on our cruise last week. When our kids were babies it was really easy to take them out to restaurants so you probably won't have any problems there.
I say keep cruising. The baby should be fine as long as you know you have to lug a lot of supplies and stroller with you. When the baby hits that 18month point you might want to wait until he's 2 and then go on Carnival. We've realized the benefits now because our kids love cruising, and love the children's activities.
I agree. The more you travel w/kids when they're young, the sooner they become accustomed to planes, ships, acting in public restaurants,etc. My active son (almost 3), does better each time he flies/cruises and now really looks forward to planes and ships!
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
We started bring our son with us when he was 3 years old. IMHO, I can't imagine being able to enjoy our cruises with a baby and no kids club to give us time alone. Our son is now 7 and loves cruising, spending time with us and meeting many new friends in the kids club. He spends between 6-8 hours their and loves it.
My grand baby is 2.5 yrs. old and she has been on 2 cruises. First at 7 mos. and then at a year. She was fine on both cruises, and even on formal night she had her party dress on. My son insisted on a family suite that slept 6, because they wanted plenty of space. There were only the 3 of them, and the ship charged $500.00 for the 7 mo. old, which I thought was outrageous. This was on RCI Explorer of the seas. The suite was lovely!
Well Carol, your son wanted the family suite that slept six, he could have gotten a regular cabin and the charge would have been less fro the baby. I bet it was a nice suite!
I do know that every head on the ship regardless of age is charged port charges, that is not within the cruiselines control, so no cruise line will actually let kids( even infants) cruise " free", but sometimes there are great specials that have kids fares really cheap.
I know alot of people travel with their infants and todlers but by husband and I loved to travel and especially cruise. After 20 yrs of marriage we were "surprised" that we were going to have a baby! Well in all fairness to everyone ( us and and son) we put off our special vacations and now he is 10 and we took our first cruise in August and thankfully he is as hooked on cruising as we are. We now have 2 more booked for 2005, 1 4 day one and 1 7 day one. This is just my personal opinion but when I take a special vacation I want everyone to enjoy themselves. There are so many things that can happen with little ones and when you are out there in the Ocean it isn't like you can just pack up and go home.
Like I said in the beginning, alot of people to travel with little ones but I think also because we were older it makes you think a little differently and we had done alot before he came along.
Good luck in whatever you decide.