Top tips and reasons why you SHOULD go cruising with a baby! 

Top tips and reasons why you SHOULD go cruising with a baby! 

We are experienced cruisers – now being in double figures, and have sailed round the Med, Carribean, Greek Islands, New York and Alaska, so there was no doubt in our mind that we would cruise with our baby! Excitedly we booked our first cruise on Royal  Carribean’s Rhapsody of the Seas sailing out of Rome as soon as our daughter hit the required 6 month minimum age (minimum ages vary by cruises but 6 months seems the most common – check with your cruise line before booking). As I normally do once I book a holiday I started googling. To my horror the first thing I found when looking for information about cruising with a baby was an article on how terrible cruising with a baby was – here’s said article – 9 Reasons Not to Take a Baby on a Cruise! Eek! Had we really been naive in thinking we could continue cruising with our baby?

Wandermust Family Cruise

The answer we found was NO! It was the absolute perfect family vacation for us!

So why are cruises great with babies?

Restaurants
There’s no need to worry about where to eat! There are restaurants for every occasions. If you are tired, have a cranky baby or just can’t be bothered you can enjoy the buffet or even better complimentary (check your line) room service. And for nights you want something fancier  you can enjoy fine dining in the main restaurant! We even managed to have a special anniversary meal at the ships Steak House!

Enjoying an anniversary glass of champers in the concierge lounge – baby asleep in pram

Plus you never have to worry about availability of a high chair! That’s the one thing we have found inconsistent when travelling with baby is availability of high chairs but this isn’t the case on cruises!

Also on our cruise, Royal Carribbean were only too happy to purée fresh foods for our baby. She particularly loved the fresh peach and pear purees the chef would whip up for her! I can imagine the restaurants being great for fussy child eaters too!

Organisation
Someone else can help organise. Organised shore excursions are a great way to see things without the hassle of organisation. Please remember to check with your line which excursions allow under threes and children!

Kids Club and Babysitting
There are kids clubs and baby sitting services offered, in room or Kids club dependent on age, for a charge, so it’s easy for parents to enjoy a baby free night while being only minutes away from your tot at any time. I really like the fact that you are guaranteed a certain standard of child care facilities. We didn’t use these facilities on our cruise but would definitely use them in the future.

Plenty of places

You get to satisfy your wanderlust without exhaustion for you or little one. I love the fact that you can see several places on one trip without the hassle and stress of driving between places. It also gives you a really good bite-sized introduction to a place so you know where you want to go back to (or not) at a later date!

Top tips

  • Pack wisely – bags don’t arrive in Stateroom until late in the evening (if you are unlucky). Pack your hand luggage wisely – for more advice on embarkation day packing lists why not check out our Essential Guide to Embarkation Day Packing List for Babies.
  • Remember babies, unless toilet trained, are not allowed to use the pool. I recommend taking an inflatable baby bath with you so baby can cool off on the comfort of your balcony. Also many staterooms – unless you book a suite or sail on Disney do not have a bath! So an inflatable baby bath in my opinion is a definite must pack.
  • Dining Room Options – first sitting or anytime dining. Anytime Dining on Royal Caribbean is only available if you prepay your gratuities but is totally worth it in our opinion. It allows you to change your schedule day by day and also means you can get a table on your own which might take some of the stress out for parents.
  • Pick the best stateroom you can afford. I am not going to lie, indoor staterooms are small. As a couple wanting a cheap holiday we would always book an inside cabin but we are older and wiser now. Babies come with lots of stuff. Storage of a stroller, travel cot, car seat plus cases will take up a lot of room so bigger staterooms are better if you can afford it. If not pack wisely and keep cases down to a minimum (I know easier said than done). Also you are likely going to be spending more time in your stateroom than when you were a couple. It might be nice to have a balcony or at least a window (depending on age and mobility of a baby you might prefer window to balcony)!
  • Don’t overschedule and be flexible – my go to advice for any travel with a baby! Tired babies are cranky babies and cranky babies make for cranky parents. Prioritise what you really want to do and plan down time for the little ones.

But don’t just take my word for it! Here’s what other parents of babies have to say!

Claire from Tinbox Traveller says

“If a friend was to asked me if they should take their baby on a cruise my answer would be a resounding ‘yes’. It really was the best family holiday we’ve had so far.

However, there’s lots of things you need to be aware of so you are well prepared before you set sail. We took our then 13-month-old baby and three-year-old on a Mediterranean cruise with Carnival Vista in June 2016.

The Tinbox Traveller Family enjoying Formal Night

Over eight days we visited three countries and seven ports of call. It was a trip that satisfied our desire to explore new places but also allowed for the down time needed when travelling with small children who are still dependant on ridged meal times and naps. We sought the advice of other seasoned cruisers before our holiday and learnt lots of lessons for ourselves. Here are my tips for cruising with a baby:

  • pack your own bottle cleaning and sterilising equipment. You won’t have a microwave in your cabin, so steriliser bags or a cold water steriliser are a must.
  • Take all the nappies, wet wipes and other baby consumables you will need for your cruise as you won’t be able to buy them onboard.
  • Be aware that the vast majority of cruise lines don’t allow children in their ships’ pools unless they are potty trained.
  • Most of all, don’t over do things. It’s great to see the sights in each port but excursions are often geared towards older families and couples. Go for half day excursions and opt for self-guided tours so you can stop for nappy changes and feeds without loosing your group or guide”.

You can read more about Claire’s experience of her blog:

http://tinboxtraveller.co.uk/2016/06/carnival-vista-8-day-family-cruise/

http://tinboxtraveller.co.uk/2016/06/reasons-carnival-vista-family-friendly-cruise-ship/

And you can find the Tinbox Traveller on: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YoutubeGoogle+ and LinkedIn

Sharon from Where’s Sharon says

“We went on our first family cruise when our kids were 20 months old and three. It was on the Carnival Freedom exploring the Caribbean for 7 days. I must admit that beforehand I was worried after reading that our kids couldn’t play in kids club together, that non toilet trained kids couldn’t use the pool, etc. I wondered if it was a good choice at all with a 20 month old.

I worried for nothing. We absolutely loved it. It’s the only time I have felt like I had a break since becoming a parent. It was just so easy. The biggest thing that made it a success for us was deciding not to worry about whether we thought activities were kid appropriate and just trying things anyway. It was great! We all enjoyed the shows and I never would have thought that a bar with live music would be good with a 20 month old, but he loved dancing away!

Where’s Sharon family enjoying onboard activities

We found our youngest could go to kids club – just only super early and on port days we could pay for him to play there. We did that one port day and it was so amazing to spend time in the Bahamas with just my husband.

The food was great. We went to the fine dining room most nights and they were fabulous with the kids. It was no problem at all. We loved getting room service for breakfast and would order a bit extra so we had some snacks in our room for later.

All four of us had a great time and we are looking forward to doing another cruise in January with our newest baby who will be 7 months old”.

I for one can’t wait to hear about Sharon’s next cruise goes. To find out more about Sharon’s experience of cruising visit her website here

 You can also find her on Social Media such as Twitter at WheresSharon
The Globetrotting Grommets are also no strangers to cruises. This is what they have to say:

“Our first cruise was in 2014 on Royal Caribbean Rhapsody of the Seas – my hubby booked it and I’m not going to lie I was a little hesitant , I had NO idea what to expect, especially with kids aged 7 5 and 9 months. But we have since cruised every year after and I found cruising with a baby much easier than with a toddler!

The Globtrotting Grommets Enjoying Formal Night

We stayed in a Grand suite (3 kids don’t fit in normal rooms), and it was perfect size for us. A lot of the normal cabins don’t have baths and the basins aren’t a great size for bathing a baby. So make sure your baby is used to having showers before you go.

Check to see if the ship you want to sail on has a nursery / daycare for under 3. Rhapsody of the Seas did and it was fantastic. Some days you could only do 2 hour slots once a day depending on how many kids where in there.

Make sure you have a good, compact stroller. Our baby would sleep while we walked around the ship. Plus with the ships being so big a good stroller is a necessity.

Take your own nappies and supplies, and plenty of – as it’s really hard to buy them on the ship. The same applies as for any other holiday, pack all your medicinal products with you – again there is limited options to buy onboard, and although there is a doctor if required it will be much easier to have anything else already onboard with you.

With shore excursions, a lot will not take kids under 3. Check your itinerary and make sure the shore excursions you want to do take babies. We never book our excursions through the ship so generally find the locals take the younger ones.

Bottle feeding – I had to heat the bottles up with the kettle in our room which was a pain but obviously there’s no microwaves in your cabin”.

You can read more about their cruise experience here and can be found on:
Instagram: @Globetrottinggrommets
Facebook: @Globetrottinggrommets.
Have you been on a cruise with a baby? What are your top tips for cruising with a baby?

58 Comments

  1. January 23, 2017 / 10:51 am

    Cruises have never really appealed to me but this looks good and a good way of travelling without the fuss of lots of flights with a little one. Thanks for sharing for #marvmondays x
    Fran Back With A Bump recently posted…Marvellous MondaysMy Profile

    • January 23, 2017 / 10:57 am

      I think there are a lot of misconceptions about them TBH

      • June 1, 2017 / 9:47 am

        I think a lot of people still have a very “Love Boat” impression of cruising when actually it’s changed so much in the past 10 years! Love your post, and I agree – it’s the perfect vacation option with kids #fearlessfamtrav

  2. January 23, 2017 / 1:10 pm

    Cruise would have been the last place I would have taken my two, but yeah, think I missed the boat on that one (!!!). Loved the bow tie outfit – very smart!

  3. January 24, 2017 / 10:14 pm

    We’ve never been on a cruise, with ot without kids, but reading your post it actually sounds like quite a good idea for parents of babies!

  4. January 25, 2017 / 3:31 am

    Cruises are so awesome!! (like i wrote above). However, we did just do a cruise last week with a 7 month old and I am not quite as positive about them as I was. It was still so much work whereas with a 1yo, it was so easy! What a difference a year makes! I’m jealous that you found child care and babysitters for your baby. It was so limited on our Carnival cruise that it wasn’t really an option. There was no chance for a meal in peace unfortunatelty.

    • January 25, 2017 / 5:11 am

      Oh no! How disappointing – I would have thought carnival would have been great for babysitting. We didn’t use in our ship – our baby just slept in the pram! If you want to write an update let me know. I hope you still enjoyed your holiday

      • January 25, 2017 / 3:28 pm

        No baby sitting on Carnival. Kids under 2 can go to kids club for a fee but only 10pm-1am (seriously!) and mornings on port days. It was the same on the last Carnival cruise we were on as well.

        I still definitely enjoyed it, just not as much as with the 1yo 😀
        Sharon Gourlay recently posted…4 Days of Fun in our Carnival Imagination ReviewMy Profile

        • January 25, 2017 / 4:38 pm

          Oh no! I hope you managed to enjoy as much as you could!

  5. January 26, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    It’s very encouraging to hear that something you’ve enjoyed so much as a couple can still be just as enjoyable as a young family. Sounds like cruising is going to be a big part of your family travels! Thanks for sharing your excellent baby cruising tips on #FarawayFiles
    Clare (Suitcases and Sandcastles) recently posted…Faraway Files #15My Profile

    • January 27, 2017 / 5:16 am

      Thanks – we try to mix up the ways we travel – trekking,cruising, Trains and driving etc. Cruises are the first we’ve tried again as a family and so happy we still enjoyed

  6. January 27, 2017 / 5:24 pm

    I would think cruising would the perfect way to travel with a baby – much easier with all the available amenities at your fingertips and all the stress of new places handled for you. Glad it was a successful first tour! Thanks for sharing with #FarawayFiles, Erin

  7. January 28, 2017 / 8:36 pm

    I enjoyed this article, and think that you’ve described not only why cruising is fun with a baby, but also why you should TRAVEL with a baby. My attitude is, just do it. Don’t overthink things, and you will make your own fun on the way. It’s really encouraging to see that you’ve also included cruise advice from some of my other fave family travel bloggers. I’ll be sharing this article on my social networks! Thanks #FarawayFiles.
    Ali May recently posted…Road Trip to the Mornington Beach HutsMy Profile

    • January 29, 2017 / 5:30 am

      Thank you – we write quite a lot on why you should travel with babies and completely agree with your just do it attitude! I really appreciate you sharing this far and wide thanks again

  8. January 30, 2017 / 10:37 am

    Great tips here – especially the one about the bags not arriving till late in the day. If you weren’t aware of that, it could lead to stressful hunts for babyfood! #MondayEscapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 11:50 am

      Yes we learnt the lesson while still a couple. Wouldn’t want that stress with a baby

  9. January 30, 2017 / 12:34 pm

    I didn’t realise about the baby and pool rule. We love the pool on holidays so I think the inflatable pool is a really good idea. I would love to go on a cruise though we’ve never seriously considered it yet!
    Notmyyearoff recently posted…Chinese New Year and the Terracotta ArmyMy Profile

    • January 30, 2017 / 12:37 pm

      Yes – Disney is different and some cruises have splash pools for little ones but ours didn’t. Our baby was perfectly happy with the inflatable bath! We love a cruise – I hope you get on one soon!

  10. January 30, 2017 / 12:46 pm

    We’ve never been on a cruise, but I’d love to someday! It just seems like a very expensive holiday, so I’ve always been very hesitant to research the options. I’ve read about relocation cruises though, might be a good alternative… Any experience? Would like some info about budget if you care to share! #MondayEscapes
    Lisa – FlipFlopGlobetrotters.com recently posted…10 tried and tested tips for flying with infants and toddlersMy Profile

    • January 30, 2017 / 12:49 pm

      Yes will definitely write about a budget option soon – thanks for the suggestion! We once did a cruise for less than it would have cost us commuting to work and have takeaways for dinner while we were having a new kitchen fitted! Will write soon and let you know when it’s live

    • January 30, 2017 / 1:15 pm

      It’s surprisingly not that bad. My mum was worried about it when we took her but even she didn’t struggle. I think the size makes the difference but it’s not for everyone

  11. January 30, 2017 / 2:47 pm

    My husband is not a huge fan of cruises, but maybe this post might encourage him since we have a 9 month old. I can totally see how it is a great compromise between satisfying your wanderlust and keeping the babies comfortable.
    Will be pinning for later! #mondayescapes

    • January 30, 2017 / 3:50 pm

      We have found it the perfect way to travel with a baby – lots more info on the blog to convince hubby to go!

  12. January 30, 2017 / 9:17 pm

    Great post. We want to go on a cruise but the price is just too much for us 🙁 our parents loved their cruise. We also have to make sure places can do food for our youngest has he has food allergies #MondayEscapes

    • January 31, 2017 / 3:28 am

      Gosh travelling with a little one with food allergies must make life very difficult

  13. January 31, 2017 / 11:39 am

    There is loads of brilliant info in here and some great ideas too

  14. January 31, 2017 / 12:38 pm

    I’m a little dubious about taking a cruise, not because we have one baby but because we travel with ten of our kids aged between 13 and 2. Keeping an eye on all of them on a boat… I’m not sure! Lots of good ideas and thought in your post for anyone travelling lighter in the kids department than we do! Great post! #MondayEscapes
    Tania @ Larger Family Life recently posted…Our Big Family Stay at Bluestone WalesMy Profile

    • January 31, 2017 / 1:10 pm

      Ten children! Wow you must have your hands full! I’ll have to check out your blog to read about how you travel with so many! You can teach us some juggling skills I’m surev

    • February 9, 2017 / 8:28 am

      Thanks for taking part – we loved reading about your cruise experience

  15. March 28, 2017 / 10:28 am

    Great tips here, especially bringing your own little inflatable baby bath/pool. I’ve only been one one cruise ever and it was with a 7 & 13 y.o at the time and they loved it, so I reckon you’ve got years of family cruising to look forward to. #GetGone
    Phoebe | Lou Messugo recently posted…Sunday Photo – Forest ArtMy Profile

  16. June 1, 2017 / 7:17 am

    Some great advice. I’ve never done a cruise before – with or without kids -but I’m sure that will change in the future. It’s interesting that children under 6 months aren’t allowed and the pool is out of bounds for younger children. Although makes sense. #fearlessfamtrav
    Elizabeth (Wander Mum) recently posted…7 Things That Surprised Me About The AlgarveMy Profile

    • June 1, 2017 / 6:29 pm

      No but thanks for the reminder I will make sure I get onto it

  17. June 1, 2017 / 3:38 pm

    The idea of a cruise has never particularly appealed to me – but it does sound like a good way of travelling to several destinations without exhausting a little one #fearlessfamtrav
    Baby Loves Travel recently posted…5 Tips for a Road Trip with a ToddlerMy Profile

  18. June 1, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    We have never ever taken a cruise. Even pre-kids. For some reason it’s never appealed to us. However, I think guys… you may have turned us around 🙂 A great read!

  19. June 1, 2017 / 8:34 pm

    We couldn’t agree more with how great a cruise with kids is, basically a floating hotel room so all your stuff stays unpacked while you get to visit new places everyday. We went to Norway with P&O and it was all so easy and the kids club was brilliant, we were able to get quality time with the kids but also the most time alone since becoming parents. #fearlessfamtrav

    • June 1, 2017 / 8:35 pm

      I agree with a.. your pointe. Great to hear from a fellow cruiser

  20. June 2, 2017 / 6:10 pm

    It sounds like a great family holiday! The activities, the pool, the kids club (!) and the restaurants, amazing! I always thought cruises are for retired people but now that I’ve read more about it, I need to adjust my opinion 😉 #fearlessfamtrav

  21. June 3, 2017 / 3:13 pm

    Since reading your other posts about cruises I’ve been researching different options and we are all very keen to go! I think our kids would love it. Just need to save up for it! #fearlessfamtrav

  22. June 5, 2017 / 3:17 pm

    What a great resource for families wanting to take a cruise! I have never been on a cruise, so this would be so helpful! #fearlessfamtrav

  23. June 12, 2017 / 9:20 am

    Whilst we are definitely not cruise fans, I find the article by CruiseCritic to be rather silly and superficial. With the exception of cabin space, I can’t see how cruising with a baby can be any different from other all-inclusive type holidays with a baby. If you are someone who enjoys luxury all-inclusive holidays, then surely cruising is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your little ones AND see the world at the same time. Hope you enjoy many more cruises with your family! #FearlessFamTrav
    Jonny (Daisy the bus) recently posted…Off the beaten track in ChampagneMy Profile

  24. September 20, 2017 / 8:16 am

    Cruise aren’t for everyone but most people do really enjoy them. It’s funny, one of the biggest barriers to cruising is for people to actually take their first cruise. There’s a static in the cruise industry that is something like well over 90% of first-time cruisers say they want to return for another cruise.
    Sofi leen recently posted…Dubai To KhasabMy Profile

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