So you are thinking of taking a cruise with a baby and wondering ‘Do you have to pay for babies on cruises’? The truth is that many cruises actually charge you full rate for cruising with a baby. In this guide we will round up each of the cruise lines infant policies to help you decide which is the best cruise for your family to take, which ones are free, which ones offer discounts and what cruise lines charge full price for babies on cruise ships.
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Things to Consider Before Cruising with a baby
Most Cruise lines have a minimum age that must be met on embarkation day. For sailings of 7 days and under with no consecutive sea days it tends to be babies can sail from 6 months old. For more exotic itineraries and itineraries where there are consecutive sea days the minimum age is likely to be 1 year old. We recommend checking with your line their policies before booking a cruise with baby.
Disclaimer: Be sure to check rates and minimum of age for sailing with your chosen cruise line before booking.
Which lines do babies cruise free on?
While not all cruise let babies cruise for free there are a few lines that do. They are:
MSC Infant Policy
MSC offer children under 11 years old free passage on select sailings and children two years and under are free on Caribbean itineraries. MSC are also one of the better lines for cruising with a baby as they have teamed up with Chicco to create amenities on certain ships for its youngest passengers in the form of the Observatorio Chicco Baby Research Center. They also provide bottle warmers, strollers, high chairs and other baby amenities.
Cunard Baby Policy
Cunard is another of the cruise lines that offer free sailings for children. Although not the first line that springs to mind when it comes to family friendly cruises they do have amenities for the youngest of passengers and the bonus of sailing with Cunard with a baby is that they let infants between 6 months and 2 years old stay for free when they travel in your stateroom as a third or fourth guest.
Another feature that makes Cunard one of the more baby friendly cruise lines is that they offer a Night Nursery. You can go to dinner or a show while your little one sleeps free of charge in the night nursery. This is available for children aged 6 to 23 months and operates from 6pm to 11pm.
Cruises with Discounted Infant Rates
Disney Cruise Infant Policy
When you think of family friendly cruise lines Disney will also be top of the list. The only downside to cruising with Disney is the cost but the great thing about taking a baby on a Disney cruise is that they sail for half the usual rate. Disney like Cunard has some of the best amenities on any cruise ship for infants and toddlers.
For more Disney cruise tips click here.
P&O Infant Policy
P&O offers a reduced rate for babies when cruising. However there is no set rule to how they charge for babies as this differs from ship to ship and itinerary to itinerary so please do check with the line before booking as to how the fee will be calculated.
Crystal Cruise with baby
Crystal also has reduced rates for babies and infants – often 50% off. They also often offer sailings where children can sail free as a third passenger in a stateroom.
Costa Cruise Policy
The set up for cruising with babies on Costa is slightly different to other cruise lines because while babies under 3 years old there are some fees that may apply. For instance if you are cruising as a single parent then you may have to ay the single supplement fee and in some instances you have to pay the port charges for the babies. It is worth checking with the line before booking exactly how your infant cruise fare will be calculated.
Full Price Cruises With Babies
For the rest of the cruises the policies differ greatly. In this section we will give an overview of each of the cruise lines policies in relation to infant fares.
Do babies cruise free on Carnival?
When there are two full fare guests, additional guests in the same stateroom may pay a discounted far. The added bonus of Carnival is that children under 2 don’t have to extend gratuities which can actually be a big saving.
Do babies cruise free on Royal Caribbean?
Infants are charged for sailings as per any other guest. The only exception is if they are in your stateroom as a third or fourth occupant inc which case a discounted rate may apply.
Do infants cruise free on Norwegian?
As with Carnival and Royal CArribean, Norwegian only offer discounted rates for infants when there are more than three people sailing. This is on selected lines so be sure to check before booking.
Do infants cruise free on Princess?
Children are usually charged full rate on Princess along with gratuities however there are some sailings where discounted fees apply though this are not all that frequent.
Do infants cruise for free on Holland America?
Holland America – on selected sailings they offer discounts for third and fourth occupants.
Are there any other fees for cruising babies
While on some cruises babies can cruise for free or at discounted rates however there are some other fees that apply to even babies. For instance even babies will be charged gratuities for each day of your sailings so be sure to factor this in when calculating your cruise budget.
For shore excursions, babies when sat on an adults lap will be able to go on excursions for free. However if you would prefer your child to be in a car seat on a coach then you will be required to pay the child rate for your shore excursion. It is also worth nothing here that not all shore excursions will be suitable for babies so be sure to check age restrictions before booking.
And finally, if you wish to use babysitting services, on some cruise lines this will be an additional cost. Check the cruise lines website for current fees for babysitting and any age restrictions that apply.
Other things to consider when cruising with a baby
When cruising with baby in tow there are a number of other things to consider. Including
- Can my baby use the pool – not many cruises let children with a diaper into the pool even in a swim nappy. Look for pools with a splash pool or head on a Disney cruise to be sure your infant can use the pool
- What is the best cruise cabin for babies – click here for out best cruise cabin for family guide.
- Is the cruise itinerary baby friendly
Have you ever cruised with a baby? We would love to know who you went with and how you found it