Hey cruisers, it’s Sheri with Cruise tips TV! Cruising with infants and toddlers can be a great adventure, and a little preparation can go a long way. We’ve surveyed cruise-savvy parents and dug into our personal experiences to share a few tips: Tip #1: If possible, choose your Cruise Line carefully. This is likely the most important advice we can offer. While most mainstream cruiselines cater to kids, there’s wide variance in the services they provide. Most will provide cribs or pack n plays for your bundle of joy, but some lines really knock it out of the park and offer free baby food, incredible childcare programs, and even special dining programs geared toward little ones. If having baby and toddler Childcare is important to you- you may want to choose a line like Royal Caribbean or Disney. They are among the few lines that provide child care options for babies under the age of 2.
Disney also offers cabins with more space, and in many cases, and extra half bathroom. We recommend using resources like the family forums at Cruisecritic.com to research what line is best for you. One topic that we often hear a lot of complaints about is cruise ship swimming pool rules. Here’s the deal – the great majority of cruise lines will not allow babies and toddlers in diapers in the pools. AT ALL. Not even when they are wearing a swim diaper. Yes, there are baby pools on some ships, but they can be tiny and sometimes, very cold. There are exceptions to this, so again, if swimming or even wading in the onboard pool with your baby is important – jump online before you book and find out your ships policy. Tip #2: You’ll want to pack plenty of diapers and basic medications for your baby – such as fever reducer and teething aids. Most lines don’t carry these items in their onboard stores and it’s better to play it safe and pack anything your child may need to be comfortable if they become sick. We learned the hard way…. If your baby gets a fever onboard, even the ship’s infirmary may not carry medication suitable for infants. Tip #3: If your cruiseline offers set dining times, You’ll probably want to Choose an early dining time. Most kids are tuckered out from all the excitement of the day. Remember, room service and the buffet are a great backup option if you have little ones.
Oh, and While we’re on the topic of dining, we’ve found that packing disposable bibs is a life saver on cruises. Who wants to add to the already mounting pile of laundry while you’re on vacation! Tip #4: Pack light and pack smart. You won’t need a mountain of toys, books and gadgets on a cruise. Stick to the essentials, and rest easy knowing that your little one will be making new friends, exploring the ship and enjoying precious time with YOU. Stick to a few things- like their favorite stuffed animal, book or blanket. You might consider packing a small umbrella stroller for your baby, since cruise ships are giant these days. Changing mats are also a good idea on most ships, as you won’t find changing rooms or changing tables in most cases. Our little man also liked to use his own baby food spoon on board. To sum it up, pack light, and Remember, its relatively easy to do a load or two of laundry on board most ships. Tip #5: Set sail with realistic expectations: No doubt, you may have those moments on any vacation with your baby where you ask yourself “what was I thinking??” But family cruises can be some of the most memorable.