I love cruises but besides the restaurants, amenities and convenience what I love most about cruises is the ports! I love seeing so many places in bite sized chunks so I know where I want and where I don’t want to go back to and satisfy my wanderlust in a really easy way. When we were travelling as a couple if the itinerary had somewhere new on it we would quite happily go especially if it was good value but now we have a baby we chose our cruise itinerary more carefully. A lot of people question whether there are baby friendly cruises so here are my top tips for picking a baby friendly cruise itinerary:
LOOK AT WHERE THE PORT IS
Many of the ports are not actually in the city they declare in their name! For instance Rome civitavecchia is actually about 40mins to an hour away by bus! Don’t even get me started on London (Southampton). I’m not saying don’t go to these ports but just to make sure you know. You might be willing to do the journey to Rome but probably not want do the drive to Florence from Livorno the next day.
WHATS IN PORT
Know what is in the port or if you have to travel to get to anything of interest. For instance, most people go to Florence from Livorno but there is a great aquarium in Livorno which is great for families. On the other hand we found visiting Toulon to be be a waste of a day as if you weren’t getting the coach to Provence it really wasn’t worth getting off! If you know this in avabce you can work out if there are too many of these on one itinerary or if it breaks the holiday up nicely.
Think about what family friendly activities you would like to do and see what matches your criteria. For instance we thought Valencia was perfect because of Turia Gardens a great place for families, Livorno was great because of the aquarium and Ajaccio was great because of the beaches.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT AND ACCESSIBILITY
Find out where your ship docks (some cities have two ports depending on ship size). Find out if you will need to take a shuttle bus or tender or a taxi if you are not getting a shore excursion.
CHECK IF EXCURSIONS TAKE CHILDREN
If there is a particular place you want to visit make sure you check that your cruise will take a baby. Otherwise you are going to need to make arrangements with a local provider.
CHECK THE TEMPERATURE
My baby is use to warm weather (understatement) having been born in the MIddle East but not all children are use to these climbs. Make sure you consider the activities available in port against the temperature to make sure it is comfortable and enjoyable for all the family!
PRIVATE ISLAND OR PUBLIC BEACHES
If you are travelling to the Caribbean consider if your cruise goes to a private island or if you will have to pay to visit beaches and resorts. It might be more cost effective to pick a cruise which stops at its own island.
OTHER TOP TIPS FOR FAMILIES
MAKE SURE YOU BOOK THE RIGHT CABIN
Understanding the different cabin sizes and picking accordingly will help you enjoy your holiday more. You can see our cabin guide here!
ALL CRUISES ARE CHILD FRIENDLY BUT SOME ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS
Recently I hosted a post by other family travel bloggers. While we all agreed that cruises are a great holiday with babies we found that some lines are better than others. For instance on our Royal Caribbean had some baby sitting facilities for babies where’s Sharon from Where’s Sharon found Carnival more difficult.
For more top tips to enjoy a cruise with a baby check out our guide here!