Hi. My husband and I have never been on a cruise before. Some friends of ours (have no children) have asked us if we would like to cruise with them this summer (they are avid cruisers and think we will have a great time). They have no set plans. I am a bit nervous because I am a first time mom and cruiser. Do you have any suggestions on good cruiselines to go on as well as itineraries? Also, I know they state that children that are not potty-trained can not go in the pools. Is this always the case? Do they enforce this? What have you all done to keep your infant/toddlers cool and entertained on the ship if they are too young for the youth activities? Has anyone brought an inflatable baby pool with them? Is that allowed? Is the water and food safe on the boat and in most ports? Do children need any vaccinations for caribbean cruises etc...?
Any advice or opinions on cruising with a child this young is welcomed.
Oh...he is on solid foods and is learning to drink from a cup currently at 10 months, so bottles/formula/baby food will not be an issue for us at this point.
I appreciate any help anyone can give us as we try to plan a vacation. If anyone feels cruising is not a good idea and has some land vacation ideas that would be better until he is a bit older, I am open to that as well.
Luisa wrote a great article about cruising with infants/toddlers. I would recommend reading it.
From other post here RCL is starting a new program for infants and toddlers. You might want to check it out. Carnival is also a very family friendly ship.
Children still in diapers are not allowed in the pools due to health reasons. I have seen parents with blow up pools on deck. A great solution to the problem.
Water and food on the ship is safe. I err on the side of caution in port and drink only canned soda or bottled water.
You should check with your pediatrician about shots. We travel with our kids, who are much older than yours, and they've never had to have any shots.
As far as advice on cruising with a little one, go and have a great time. You know your child. If you're in a public area, such as the dining room, and he gets fussy, just bring him back to your room. There was a little one in the dining room every night at the table next to ours and he was very good, except for one night, and then the parents just took him out. Try to make sure he gets his naps in, travel can be tough on the little ones, especially when they get out of their rountine. Also, make sure he drinks plenty of water. Its very easy to get dehydrated in the carribean.
Hope this helps.
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
We took our 6 month old and almost 2 yr old on a cruise( Mexican Riveria) the food and water on the ship are fine. Bring a refillable sippy cup and fill it with juice from the breakfast buffet for the little one for port visits.
Cruises are great for kids, and the staff seems to love them, so don;t worry, mind you your little one is so young that he will not be allowed in the kids programs, so you won't get much of a break. On some lines they will let you use the playroom , as long as you stay with the child.
Get a cabin with a balcony if you can afford it, then you can sit out there while he naps, it quite nice to do that.
Princess ships have fridges in the rooms, very handy as you can stock it with juices and friuts etc from the buffets, ( they don't mind at all)
My son has been on 3 RCI New Years cruises @ 11 mos, 23 mos, & 35 mos. It was much easier the younger he was since he either fell asleep or sat still during dinner and shows. He loved the ice shows (Voyager class), and the musicals with their flashy lights and music. The only time we used an umbrella stroller (anything bigger can be tight in crowded halls and elevators) was in port and to go to dinner/shows since thats usually when he fell asleep. The rest of the time, we let him walk around the ship which helped wear him down. He often knew his way around before we did! As for the pool, its off limits to kids not potty trained. Same goes for the kids club (must be 3 and potty trained-no exceptions) however RCI is starting a new Aquatots program for little ones and their parents. We have yet to do any excursions (almost went snorkeling this last time, but it was full) as they can be long and hot for a little one. Instead, we walk around port, shop a little, and then head to a beach so he can play for a few hours. We rent an umbrella and loungers, and bring along some sand toys and his lifejacket (cant use the ones from the ship). It is favorite part of the cruise! No need for a car seat in ports since most cabs/buses dont have seat belts. We get a balcony class cabin so that when our son naps, my husband and I can sit out there reading, talking, or just taking in the sights. Youd be surprised how well kids sleep on cruises (at least ours did)! Between the sun, sea air and motion its great! They have port a cribs on board, but we brought our own the first time not knowing what shape they were in. Now we bring one of those ready beds (inflatable sleeping bag) for him to sleep on. I also bring plenty of diapers, wipes, etc, several sippy cups (one for milk and one for juice), dish soap and brush to clean them out, his favorite snacks (hes a picky eater and they dont have much that he likes on board. You may want to bring some of your sons favorites since traveling can throw kids off and they get funny about things), infant medicines (Tylenol, Motrin) since this last trip he had a nasty fever due to ear infections, first aid stuff (cleanser, small bandaids for accidents), lots of sunblock, a hat, a sunsuit for the beach, lifejacket, sand toys, shoes for the hot sand, favorite blankie/animal, small /new toys to keep him entertained at dinners, and his portable dvd player for the flight/drive and down time in the cabin. Its a lot, but its nice to have on hand! What we did was at breakfast, fill up his cup with juice and water, snag a few bananas and milk for later in the day we had a small fridge in our cabin). They only put milk and juice out at breakfast, but you can ask for it and they will get it for you. Be sure to take lots of pictures, and use the ships service for portraits (expensive photos on board, but weve gotten some great pictures). Our son loves looking at his photo album and tells us we need to go on a trip back to the ship and beach! And now when he sees the ads on tv he goes nuts! Just be respectful of others around you and dont let your son disrupt others. Have a great time!
Definitely read the article "Bringing the Baby" on the main page of the family site that I wrote. Since the publication of the article, two new developments: little ones in diapers can go in the ears of the Mic key Mouse pool on Disney ships since it has its own filtration system; and RCI is rolling out Aqua Babies program this month, which is like a mommy and me type fun learning program.
Luisa Frey Gaynor
Family Cruise Editor
I agree with everyone on this board. Taking an infant is alot of fun. Just relax and have fun, and your baby will too! We took our 8 mth old a couple of mths ago and we had a blast. There's no need to bring a car seat at all. You can't use them on the ports anyways. We did go on a couple of excursions with her. We did the Passion Island one in Cozumel and the Swimming with Sting Rays in Grand Cayman. The sting ray one was a little bit more work, but she was right out there in the middle of the ocean with us, having a blast! Now, she did swim in the pools with us with a swim diaper on. We didn't know that it was not allowed, oops! Nobody told us to get out though!
Take the umbrella stroller, use the crib that they supply you, take them to the shows - they love the lights and action!....Your child doesn't need any other immunizations than what he/she's gotten already (just make sure he/she's up to date on them!). I believe that a cruise is a good vacation to take a baby with....although, we haven't yet brought her on a land cruise...but at 10mths, they are pretty mobile and can still sleep in the stroller when you're on port, etc. Have a great time!! We sure did! We went on Carnival.
1. Car seats are required in most ports- check with the island dept of tourism. Some taxis do not have seat belts, quite a few do. You only have to wait for a taxi or two and you can strap your infant in safely. Not a big deal -there are tons of taxis in the ports, at the beaches. The driving rules are quite different - you will be glad you have strapped in your baby!
2. if you are taking a plane to the port, you should have your child in a car seat anyway. Pay half price and guarantee a seat on the plane. Sitting in ones lap is unsafe. You don't back out of the driveway without a child in a safety seat, why do so on an aircraft?
3. All cruise ships do post, (have for years) that diapers of any kind are not allowed in the pools.
I do recommend the sit n stroll - acts as both the car seat and stroller. You can find them on ebay.
Just got back from RCL' s Brilliance of the Seas with my 8 month old and she had a blast. I brought her an inflatable baby pool on board, but I saw several moms putting their babies in with swimmers on. Up to you. I took a Chicco Tuscany lightweight stroller (babies r us) and I loved it!! The footrest is longer than most and folds up so she was so comfortable that she constantly feel asleep in it. It's a little bigger than an umbrella, but way better. Make sure you take several full size baby blankets. We would give her one to cover with and cover the stroller with the other and she slept through almost every dinner in the dining room. I also bought her a shaded float (either pooltoy.com or qualitytrading.com) that she adored. That way, I didn't need to keep reapplying sunscreen. Speaking of sunscreen, take Blue Lizard sunscreen with you. Another mom told me about it and I ordered it online for 9.50 a bottle. It's made with Australia's specs which are much more stringent than ours. It lasts four hours in water. My husband is a redhead and he didn't burn once with no reapplying at the beach. We were amazed. I bought the baby one for my daughter and she had no reactions and no sunburns even when it was almost 90 degrees. I also took my own fitted playyard sheet. The one they had kept coming off and it was gross thinking what was underneath. I don't think your post said how old your baby would be when you go, but I did talk to a lot of other moms on the ship and some did say that they wished they went on Disney because of Flounder's Nursery (babysitting for a fee for 6 months-3 years) because once their kids were mobile, they were unable to eat in the dining room or go on shore excursions. I did hear that there is in room babysitting on RCL for a fee, but I am not sure of the times it is available and I did hear that it was just crewmembers who wanted to make extra money. I don't think I'd feel comfortable with that. Carnival takes them at 2, potty trained or not. Hope this helped!
HAVE A BLAST!!
We took our six month old daughter in January on a Carnival Cruise. My husband and I are experienced cruiseres, but that was our first time vacationing with our daughter. We had an Excellent experience. We were ablet to put her in Camp Carnival from 10:00pm-3:00am every day and the days at sea from noon to 2pm (just enough time to lay out) and days at port from the time we ported until 4:00pm. She practically had one on one attention and they were great with her. They provided us a beeper (which only works on the ship) to get ahold of us. We were beeped twice when she was crying. We actually did not get off the ship in the ports, we just layed out by the pool so we could hear the beeper if it went off. My only suggestion would be to get a larger room since the cribs take up a lot of room and bring something you can put the baby on in the shower. Luckily, our daughter was litle enough to be bathed in the bathroom sink stil. Also, our stroller did not fit through the cabin door (too wide). An umbrella stroller probably would have worked, but we just kep the stroller in the hallway. Hope this helps!!