Cruising with a baby or toddler for the first time can be daunting. You need to think of so much when travelling with a baby or toddler; packing is a massive task with much to consider. However, it is manageable.
A cruise vacation with a baby is a wonderful experience with some preparation. We have grouped our top tips and advice for family cruising, including the best cruise lines for babies and tots and what to pack. Let us know if we need to include anything, and we will find out.
Cruising with a Baby or Toddler – Important Things To Know Before You Cruise.
There is a lot of negativity about family cruising and taking babies on a cruise. It is hardly surprising that some people and put off by this. We have read some of those awful threads. Join a family-friendly Facebook group somewhere you feel safe and comfortable asking all the questions.
The key is avoiding the cruise lines that don’t cater for babies. Start by finding a cruise with a splash pool that babies can go in. Some cruise lines don’t allow babies in nappies or swim diapers to use the pool so do your research. Of course, this only relates to hot weather cruises; who wants to go into a pool in Alaska? But doing your research will help you make the best decision. Also, you should consider a cruise line with onboard nurseries for a little chill time.
Can I Cruise Whilst I’m Pregnant?
Most ocean cruise lines will not accept passengers who have entered their 24th week of pregnancy at any point during the sailing. This has been implemented to protect the safety of travelling mums and babies. So do check before you book.
Can I Take a Baby on a Cruise?
Family-friendly cruise lines like Royal Caribbean, Princess, P&O Cruises, MSC Cruises and Disney do not allow infants under six months of age to cruise. If you are going transatlantic, or have more than three days at sea, your toddler must be 12 months old on the first day of your cruise.
Is it Safe to Take a Baby on a Cruise?
Cruising is completely safe for babies; if you check the cruise line restrictions and your baby is the correct age for cruising, then cruising is as safe for families with babies as any other type of travel.
However, please keep in mind the vaccination requirements of any ports you travel to. Also, ensure you take sterilisation tablets with you, as with any other type of family trip. It’s also a great idea to take an umbrella stroller, potable fan and a parasol so baby can nap in the shade on deck or port days.
Can you get Nappies, Wet Wipes and Calpol on a Cruise Ship
Cruise ship shops focus more on souvenirs and gifts than baby essentials. You will find many don’t stock diapers or wet wipes. You can either bring them with you or buy them in port.
Most ports do have chemists nearby the port. However, some cruise lines go above and beyond to provide all you need for little guests.
Royal Caribbean Babies 2 Go Order Service
Royal Caribbean Offer A Fantastic Service where you can pre-order Huggies nappies, wipes, cream, and organic baby food to be delivered to your stateroom when you arrive and throughout your cruise.
Disney Cruise Sell Essentials In The Store
Essential baby supplies are available for purchase onboard, such as diapers, training pants, rash cream, infant formula (ready to feed), bottles, pacifiers, baby food, baby shampoo, baby lotion and baby powder. Also, check out our top Disney Tips from seasoned Disney Cruise Fans. Also, find out What Disney Cruise Offer For Babies.
Baby Food On A Cruise?
Buffet Food for Babies on a Cruise
Buffets are great for weaning babies, with plenty of pasta, vegetables, cooked meat cuts and cheese for mini-munchers to test their tastebuds. If you prefer to serve your weaning baby pureed food, bring your mini masher and Tupperware or pre-prepared food pouches and jars. However, some cruise lines do provide this service.
There are always plenty of high chairs available. Generally, when a staff member sees you, they prepare a high chair at your table. But if they don’t, do not hesitate to ask for one.
Dining in the Main Restaurant with a Baby
Don’t be put off the primary and speciality restaurants. The waiting staff are very attentive; a high chair will be ready if you have a regular table. Alternatively, should you choose anytime dining, getting a high chair is never an issue.
Servers will help to serve your baby food they can eat. Often tailoring meals such as rice, pasta and vegetables.
Cruise Lines that Provide Baby Food and/or Formula
Freshly pureed vegetables can be prepared at the main dining rooms and room service upon request on Disney Cruise Line. Disney Cruise Line sells formula (ready-to-feed) and baby food in the ship store.
Princess Cruises provide complimentary jars of stage 1 & 2 baby food; however, please ask for it through the Cruise Personaliser in advance. Additionally, pureed fruits, veggies, or rice can be prepared in the main dining room, speciality restaurants, and Horizon Court or World Fresh Marketplace.
Organic baby food can be pre-ordered for your baby on Royal Caribbean.
P&O Cruises provides Hipp Organic baby food jars [Stage 1 (4 months +) and Stage 2 (7 months +)] in an assortment of savoury and dessert flavours. Click here for more info.
Can you get Cows Milk on a Cruise Ship?
There are also often milk cartons at breakfast, so you can top up your cabin fridge with these for bedtime. Cows milk is only recommended for children over 12 months old.
Take a Snack Box to Fill with Snacks for Throughout the day
You are never far from fantastic food on a cruise. However, if your little one has favourites from the buffet, fill a snack box with their favourite treats to keep with you thought-out the day. So that you know, you may not be able to take food off at some ports; this is always on the cruise newsletter if it is the case.
Shore Excursions When Cruising with Babies and Toddlers.
When cruising with a baby and young children, you might not need to pay for their place on excursions. There usually are several options where under-fives could join in for free.
However, be warned if you’re not charged for your baby or toddler; it’s unlikely to be a family-friendly day. Speak to the shore excursions team to find the best day trips for you and your baby.
Also, if a coach is involved, the kids will have to sit on your laps if you haven’t paid for their place – it’s important to know when you are on a six-hour excursion from Livorno to Florence!
This is an excellent opportunity to self-explore. Long days on trips are often a little too long with children. It’s a great idea to research activities close to the port and create your child-friendly adventures. If you plan to get Taxis, find and pre-book a taxi offering car seats or a toddler booster.
Can Babies go in the Swimming Pools on Cruise Ships?
Some cruise ships do not allow babies and toddlers not potty trained to enter the pool; this also stands for some splash parks. This is due to international laws to limit the spread of infectious bugs onboard. However, many newer ships have splash pools for babies wearing swim nappies. It’s important to know that splash pools are areas toddlers and babies can cool of and play. But not swim.
Babies can go in splash zones on some cruise ships.
There are cruise lines with ships with dedicated splash zones where babies and tots can wear a swimming nappies. This is a welcome change to cruising families, making choosing the best cruise lines for babies and tots a much easier decision.
Which cruise lines have splash zones that are baby and toddler friendly?
Royal Caribbean Ships with Baby and Toddler-Friendly Splash Zones?
- Allure of the Seas.
- Anthem of the Seas.
- Freedom of the Seas.
- Independence of the Seas.
- Liberty of the Seas
- Oasis of the Seas.
- Harmony of the Seas
- Symphony of the Seas
- Wonder of the Seas
Disney Cruise Line ships with Baby and Toddler-Friendly Splash Zones?
- The Disney Dream: Nemo’s Reef.
- Disney Fantasy: Nemo’s Reef and AquaLab
- On the Disney Magic: Nephews’ Splash Zone
- Disney Wonder: Dory’s Reef
MSC Ships with Baby and Toddler-Friendly Splash Zones?
- The MSC Meraviglia
- MSC Bellissima
- MSC Preziosa
- And MSC Seaside
Princess Cruises with Baby and Toddler-Friendly Splash Zones?
- Caribbean Princess
P&O Cruise Ships with Baby Splash Areas
- Azura – Children’s pools (Aft) and the Coral Pool
- Britannia -The Reef Adventure Zone and the Lido Pool
- Oceana -Children’s Pirate paddling pool
- Ventura -Children’s pool (Aft) and the Beach comber Pool
MSC Ships That Offer Baby and Toddler-Friendly Splash Zones?
- MSC Bellissima
- The MSC Preziosa
- MSC Meraviglia
- And MSC Seaside
FURTHER READING, Keeping Your Child Safe In The Pool On A Cruise
Cabin Practicalities When Cruising with a Baby or Toddler.
Whilst laundry is not something you’ll be hoping to do lots on holiday, it’s inevitable with a baby or toddler in tow.
You may have a few options: bring your detergent and wash items in your cabin sink; make arrangements with your steward for your washing; or, if available, use the passenger laundry room.
These are small, so avoid them on a sea day as you could get caught in a queue. MSC have a special baby laundry service onboard, which uses a different machine and gentle detergents – ideal for sensitive baby skin!
Cots on Cruise Ships
When booking, you can request cribs for your cabin, and linen will be provided. Alternatively, take a pack-n-play if you are cruising from a home port.
Baths and Showers on Cruises
Not all staterooms will have a bath, so consider lining a suitcase with a baby bath if your little one doesn’t get on with showers. Plan ahead and take an inflatable bathtub that fits in the bottom of your shower; having an inflatable tub makes bath time so much easier.
The best Cruise Ship Cabin When Cruising with a Baby
While cabins with balconies might concern parents of active toddlers, there’s no way your baby can open the patio door by themselves. They have secure safety locks, so indulge in your desire for an outside cabin if your budget allows.
Remember that kids pay the same passenger rate as their parents unless your cruise line has special cruise fares for kiddies; these offers come up at intervals throughout the year.
Check out our comprehensive CABIN GUIDE HERE to learn more about family cabins.
Kids and Baby Clubs on Cruises
Many cruise lines offer amazing kids’ clubs, but you may find that not all activities, amenities or sessions are open to babies. However, many offer sessions where parents can take babies or toddlers and play with toys.
See our comprehensive guide on the best cruise ships for babies. Who offers the best baby clubs, and which cruise lines offer free cruises for babies? The Royal Babies & Tots on Royal Caribbean and It’s a Small World Nursery on Disney Cruise Line are notable clubs.
Getting Around the Ship When Cruising with a Baby
The most family-orientated cruise ships tend to be of a reasonable size. Bring a compact stroller and a baby carrier to help you get around by day and night. Click on the link above to see our cabin door width guide.
You’ll cover some miles visiting all the decks and wandering the promenade! On busy port days put your baby carrier to good use by going up and down stairs to avoid waiting for lifts
Reserve your stroller for evenings when your baby will nap while you enjoy a cocktail.
Being Prepared for Cold and Wet Weather
Not all cruises are hot weather cruises, but even if they are, we have all experienced those cold days. Be prepared for cold and rainy days. Take a rain cover, blanket, or foot muff for a buggy or stroller.
Look for something that is waterproof and easy to fold. We love the Bundle Bean Go that can be used as a blanket, cosy toes and can cover slings and car seats. It comes in a variety of colours has a fleecy lining and waterproof shell back. And comes in a handy travel bag perfect for airplanes, trains, car journeys and cruising.
You can read all about our first cruise with a baby or why not take a look at our cruise tips video below. Please note that all cruise ships are different and cruise lines are updating their offer for families all the time.
Are you planning a cruise with a baby? Do you have any questions or concerns? Pop them in the comments below. We’re always happy to share our experiences.