We are cruising in Jan '08 on the Carnival Miracle. While we have cruised in the past, this is the first time with kids.
Our daughter will be 26 months when we cruise.
We will be cruising out of Ft. Lauderdate. The cruise is 8 nights with stops in St. Martin, St. Lucia and St. Kitts.
Question 1: Did you take a car seat? I'm concered about lugging it around and finding a place to store it on board.
Question 2: Does it make more sense to take a Pack In Play instead of using the cruise lines's crib? We do have a confirmed room - one with a balancany, but I'm concerned that I've read sometimes the cribs are too small for toddlers.
I've never seen anyone bring a car seat on a cruise. People usually bring those little fold up strollers.
Life is too short to let the ship of your dreams sail without you.
Carnival Destiny Feb. 2006
Carnival Fascination Feb. 2007
Royal Caribbean Grandeur of the Seas Feb. 2008 The DTW & MsBJ tour
Carnival Valor MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2009
Carnival Glory MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2010
Carnival Dream MsBJ and Dina Feb. 2011
If there is a posibility of us travelling by car during a trip we ALWAYS bring carseats. I know that just because I am on vacation, I am not immune to having a car accident. By the time we cruised with our children at ages 2 and 4 they were big enough for booster seats. We use XXL ziploc storage bags. One of them is big enough to hold two backless booster seats. The giant ziplocs are strong and have a handle. We stick a lugage tag on it and it checks through just like baggage. We've never had a problem with them. They stow easily under the beds in our cabin and take up very little space. While in some countries you will have difficulties finding cabs that have seat belts and of course buses usually don't, we've been very lucky with rental cars, even in Mexico. Here in the States, there are some places that have laws prohibiting kids from travelling in cabs without carseats.
But the kids are now 7 and almost 5, and we still bring the carseats. It makes me feel better honestly and it's no more difficult. The backless seats are not as good as the boosters with backs we use in our everyday vehicles, but they are better than nothing and will help keep the kiddo in their seat and not shooting around the car like a rocket in the event of an accident, heaven forbid. They are easy to get the kid into and out of. Hope that helps.
With regard to sleeping arrangements, I know that there was no way I could have gotten my two year old to sleep in a pack n play. So the first night we pushed the beds together to make a king bed and put her next to the wall. Well dd is all knees and elbows, so my 6 foot d/h climbed up in the pullman bed and slept up there for a few nights, depending on how much of the bed dd decided to push us out of lol. You can buy safety rails for the upper bunks but I would never let dd sleep up there because she falls out of bed when we travel alot. D/S on the other hand, sleeps up top with no problems. I have seen many cruiselines using pack n plays for cribs, and would not bring my own (way too much to haul through the airport).
Regarding umbrella strollers, I love them! If you are flying, you can check the stroller right at the gate, and it will be waiting for you as soon as you get off the plane. Our kiddos often fell asleep at Camp Carnival in the evenings. It is amazing how heavy they are when they sleep. So we would load them into the stroller and cart them back to the room. Having the kids in strollers also helps get you through the check in process at the port very quickly, they try to help get families with small kids through fast and will walk you to the elevator rather than using stairs or escalators, because of course no one wants to have to sit and listen to screaming miserable children as they begin their vacation. Including their parents. So I have to give Carnival a lot of credit for helping parents with small kids out and getting them on the ship right away.